Author Topic: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread  (Read 99459 times)

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Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #315 on: December 10, 2013, 09:31:21 PM »
Just got back from playing Christmas carols at the retirement home.  An hour of faking it on the piano, first time we'd done it in three years.  30 or 35 old people are now that much happier.  :)

It's somewhat tied to the church, as we have a number of members who are also residents at the retirement home.  Our old choir director would sing, I'd play the piano, and our other tenor (there are only two of us) would usually join us.  He's got a great ear for harmony would provide a nice harmony or just double the melody.  It was somewhere between a sing-a-long and a performance.  A lot of the old folks still like to sing, but many are just there to listen and dig the Christmas songs.  It's cool either way.

Two years ago, we didn't do it because our choir director was just too busy, had too much going on.  Then last year, she apparently just never got it together.  The bummer was twofold; first, we used to get $100 each to do it, and I'll take $100 for an easy hour's work.  And I just like playing Christmas music anyway.  She told me that I could organize it if I wanted.  Right.  Unfortunately I can't really lead songs from the piano, so someone would have to step up and lead.  Michael (the other tenor) just isn't a front man, I honestly couldn't think of anyone else with the personality to do it (I'm 51 and the second youngest member of the choir - Michael is the youngest).  So it didn't happen.

This year, we have a new choir director.  Our old one finally decided that it was just too much work and not enough money.  Fine, later, see ya.  One of the old church ladies asked me if we were going to do the Christmas sing-a-long this year.  It's been a while, and they miss it.  So I pushed our new choir director into leading it.  She, Michael and I did it, just like in the old days.  Except there's also a new Activities Director at the old folks home, and I couldn't figure out how to bring up the subject of money.  I could use the $100, I'm sure they could afford it, but oh well.  I guess this is how we do it now.

On the way home, I started wondering how long it's been since I played for money.  All the church stuff is gratis of course; I've accompanied people a few times, also for free, and played a bunch of gigs just for fun.  People used to slide me cash now and then to play for them.  That doesn't happen anymore.  I guess it's kinda cool that I've finally grown up and figured out that it's not about the money.  It would be nice, yeah, but so is seeing all those old people smiling and singing.

Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #316 on: December 20, 2013, 05:06:20 PM »
Okay, since this thread seems to have become "Orbert's Music Diary and Brag and Whine Thread" I'm gonna just go on.

December tends to be pretty busy for me, musically, but this month has been extra fun.  Mostly church and church-related stuff, but that makes sense since most of it's been Christmas-related.  So if that bugs you... too bad.

December 8th, Sunday, the choir performed our "Christmas Cantata".  I don't know why or how it came to be called that, other than that it's catchy, but it's not really a cantata.  In the past, the church choir has performed a number of pieces from Handel's "Messiah", but honestly, that was getting old, so we went a different direction this year.  Five pieces arranged for full choir, each preceded by a scripture reading, taking us through the Christmas story.  Nice variety to the songs, nice arrangements (each was anthem-quality), and I even got to play the flute on one of them.  And then we finished with "The Hallelujah Chorus".  So six pieces altogether, extra rehearsals, great stuff.

December 10th, Tuesday evening, the aforementioned Christmas sing-a-long thing at the old folks' home.  I just played the piano, and literally got a cookie for my efforts.  It was a good one, though.  Chocolate chip.  Big and thick and soft and gooey.  I'd gone there straight from work and hadn't eaten dinner yet, but I had to be a little bit social, so one cookie.

This past Sunday, the 15th, was the Children's Christmas Pageant.  It was drama this year, rather than a musical as it's always been in years past, but since we have a lot of kids who play instruments, they asked me to come up with stuff for them to do.  I was given some specific things to try and do, but a fair amount of rein in how to do it.  Altogether, I ended up adding two flutes and a viola to "What Child Is This?" (instrumental intro, various countermelodies and augmentations throughout); a clarinet to "Away in a Manger" (same, but more advanced since he's really good and can wail); and the show-stopper, "Silent Night" ended up being two flutes, violin, viola, bells, and acoustic guitar.

I was originally told that it would be the Prelude, just a nice instrumental thing to set the mood, so I went with two verses, pretty simple arrangement.  I didn't have the guitar, and the tuned percussionist was going to play marimba, not bells, so the marimba laid down the pattern, and the strings and flutes played around.  Then they wanted to make it the offertory and asked me to make it longer, three verses.  Argh.  I hate it when that happens.  Also, my percussionist didn't like the marimba and asked if she could play her bell set.  This completely changed the dynamics of the arrangement, and at this point I only had a week.  Later that same rehearsal, I was told that I'd have a guitarist available.  Problem solved.  He strums acoustic guitar throughout to give everything a base, bells get to play around, double the melody/harmony here and there, everyone gets their chance to shine.  When it's three verses of instrumental, it can really start sounding like the same thing over and over, so you have to get creative.  Start it simpler, build it up as you go (or otherwise vary things), give different sections their turns at melody, harmony, and various counters, that kind of thing.  The big constraint was the relatively limited skill level of the musicians.  The violinist was fourth grade, the flutes are eighth grade; that was my range.  I used all the tricks I could think of.  People seemed to really like it.

This Sunday, the praise band is doing three songs plus the offertory.  Our personnel has changed since last year, I'm down one flute and one guitar, so I had my choice of coming up with a new instrumental or revamping the old one.  Kinda cheesy, but I ended up reworking the one from last year.  Violin, flute, and soprano sax for leads, acoustic guitar and piano for continuo and color.  I'm not 100% happy with it, but my audience isn't particularly demanding and I'm sure everyone will rave.  That's not a brag; they pretty much go nuts anyway.  They're a very appreciative congregation.  Last week, our guitarist came up with this wacky idea to lead a sing-a-long 15 minutes before the start of the service.  Most people get to church early, hang out, drink coffee, and chat.  The choir is rehearsing, and there's the people who set up the coffee and snacks anyway.  So starting at quarter to, we'll play five songs and dare people to come in and sing with us.  Secular yet Christmas/winter-related songs, like "Jingle Bells", "Winter Wonderland", etc.  Rehearsal tomorrow.  And oh yeah, the choir is still doing the anthem.  So I'll be singing, playing keyboards, and flute at various times throughout.

On the 29th, the choir gets the day off, since so many of us are out of town for the winter break and stuff.  They asked me if I'd be around, and I am, since we're broke and never go anywhere.  They asked if I could put together some music.  I'm just gonna do a piano solo.  I'm trying to decide between some kind of wacky fantasia of Christmas songs/hymns, or just a single song done up.  I'm leaning towards the latter since it will be less work, but you never know.

About a month ago, I was contacted by a girl who used to sing in the bands with me at one of my other churches (I have a few, kinda) about joining a band.  A regular band, classic rock.  They were getting together for an initial run-through and getting-to-know-you, I think it was back on the 7th, but I couldn't make it because I was rehearsing with the kids.  I told her that December is just too crazy, but I'm interested and please keep me in mind.  Church music will calm down significantly after the holidays, so if they still need a keyboard player come January, let me know.  She contacted me again the other day, asked if she could give them my email and phone number, and I provided them.  So we'll see.  I might actually be playing in a real band, first time in years.

Offline sneakyblueberry

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #317 on: December 21, 2013, 10:58:51 PM »
Your church sounds freaking epic, Orbert.  I lead worship in my congregation and most, if not every Sunday, we are a power trio :lol.  I have a Geddy-esque midi keyboard pedal-board thing which I use to run Mainstage, just for pads and the like, to fill out the sound.  Which can be a doozy to get around considering I'm playing the only guitar (electric, so I have guitar pedals to keep my feet extra busy) and singing, leading the band and the congregation.  I'd love to be at a service conducted by you, sounds like it would be so beautiful. 

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #318 on: December 21, 2013, 11:13:13 PM »
Midwest Clinic was FUUUUUUUN. We also won like 3 significant spots, so that's amazing.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #319 on: December 21, 2013, 11:22:51 PM »
Congrats!  :tup

Your church sounds freaking epic, Orbert.  I lead worship in my congregation and most, if not every Sunday, we are a power trio :lol.  I have a Geddy-esque midi keyboard pedal-board thing which I use to run Mainstage, just for pads and the like, to fill out the sound.  Which can be a doozy to get around considering I'm playing the only guitar (electric, so I have guitar pedals to keep my feet extra busy) and singing, leading the band and the congregation.  I'd love to be at a service conducted by you, sounds like it would be so beautiful. 

Our church is actually pretty small, maybe 60 or 80 people in attendance any given Sunday.  We just do a lot of music.  I guess I'm one of the more active ones, just because it seems to me like these musical things should be happening, and since I can do it, I do it.  I lead, or at least participate.  Someone has to.  It's weird; when I was growing up, everyone took piano lessons, most kids took band or orchestra, so most people I know play at least one or two instruments.  Or maybe it was just the people I hung out with.  I don't have a lot to give, but I can contribute my music, and people seem to dig it, so I do it.

In other news, I got a call tonight from the guy from the band that needs a keyboard player.  Unfortunately, it was while we were on our way out to dinner with another couple.  All four of us were in the car, I was driving, plus it was raining, so I didn't really want to talk on the phone at the time.  You know how people ask "Is this a bad time for you?"  Well, it was.  He understood, and said he'd call me back tomorrow afternoon.  I hope he does.  I want to play in a band.  A real band.

Offline Sketchy

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #320 on: December 22, 2013, 03:59:50 AM »
My friend who plays crazy instruments turned up yesterday and demoed both a new song he's got (with an accoustic in drop-B) and a new instrument he's got (Irish bouzouki). We ended up getting the beginnings of two new songs which are guzheng and bouzouki driven.

Hopefully in March, I'll have a week or two off to work on said songs and record some others too.

Also: Hope you can get in a band again soon, Orbert.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #321 on: January 05, 2014, 10:43:42 PM »
The guy called me back the next day, as he said he would.  It was a little different, but I can't say it was too weird considering the circumstances.  We're all fogies, in our 50's.  We used to play in bands back in the 70's and 80s.  It was just called Rock and Roll then, but now it's Classic Rock or 70's Rock.  Through a couple of different websites aimed at putting people together based on similar interests, he's assembled a second guitarist (he plays guitar), a bassist, and a drummer, also a male and female vocalist.  His "vision" is to have a singer of each gender to maximize the number of songs we can cover, and they can harmonize as needed, possibly adding one or more voices from the others.

The first male singer didn't work out, and they didn't have a keyboard player, so a week from today, I'll join them on keys, and the new male singer will also be there for the first time.  Right after Christmas, the drummer dropped out, citing previously unforseen conflicts, so a new drummer will now be starting as well.

The "different but not really weird" part is that it's somewhat business-like.  We talked on the phone for 45 minutes.  Talked about my musical background as well as my personal life.  He's the CIO of a major corporation; he's doing alright, and has no illusions of being a "rock star" as most of us did when we were younger.  This is strictly to get together and play music, hopefully very well, with other like-minded folks that he can get along with.  And if we ultimately end up playing weddings or parties and making some money, that's cool too, but it's not the primary goal.  So the lengthy phone call was like an interview, a phone screening.  By the end, he said I sounded like a good fit.  We have similar tastes in music, are around the same age, and played in bars back around the same time.  We all miss playing, and are just looking to play in a band again.

Through email, he sent out mp3's and chord charts for four songs, which everyone will practice individually, and we'll put them together on the 12th.  They're the same songs the others played last month, but half the band is new now.  "China Grove" by The Doobie Brothers, "High On You" by Survivor, "I Saw Her Standing There" by The Beatles, and "Spooky" by The Atlanta Rhythm Section.  All original keys, all original arrangements.  "High On You" fades out at the end, but we found a live version of it with an ending, so we'll do that.

The Beatles song is the only one without keyboards, but interestingly, there are handclaps throughout, and I have a couple of different presets with various sounds, including handclaps.  So I'll "play" the handclaps at the runthrough.  Will they be impressed at my initiative?  I don't know.  But in general, keyboard players are there to fill things in, and I'm covering something that's on the original record.  The song will sound better, and if they say anything, hey, it's on the record so I played it.  There were songs back in the old days that didn't have keys, and I sometimes grabbed a tambourine or woodblock, but sometimes those were just songs which I sat out.  I hated that.  If the band has keys, you play songs with keys, none of this "Well, you just don't play on this song" bullshit.

Anyway, we'll see.

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #322 on: January 05, 2014, 10:55:43 PM »
These days keyboards a great "catch all" for any instrument or sound effect that another band member isn't playing, whether it was originally a keyboard part or not. Anything that makes the song sound closer to the original studio recording that people know and love and want to hear, all the better, I say.
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Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #323 on: January 06, 2014, 02:54:33 AM »
Lately I've been trying to make my rig more of a classic keys rig. I don't want to press a button and have a complete patch setup full of splits, pre-fixed effects etc. Nowadays I have my NordStage, with either a cool Rhodes, or a B3, a cool Synth Lead on my Korg R3, a cool Synth Bass on my MS20Mini, and a small iPhone-midi-keyboard with either some strings or a mellotron on it.
Everything else I have to do, I do live. Want a soft organ for this song? Just set it in the milliseconds you have between songs. Some crunch on that rhodes sound? Turn the drive up a little. That way I'm not a fifth 'make it sound like the original' bandmember, but more like a guitar player. I've got a sound, and I can fiddle with that, but nearly everything is live.
The point is, there are not a lot of bands that dig that. It's kinda like the Jordan Rudess (everything is set up) vs. the Derek Sherinian (classic instruments, everything is there when you need it) approach.

Here's my setup
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Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #324 on: January 06, 2014, 07:48:39 AM »
I agree with you regarding the Jordan vs. Derek thing.  I have to admit, Jordan's setup is pretty damned cool, how the entire set list is pre-programmed, and all he has to do is hit a foot switch, and he goes from synth to piano to organ; pre-split, doubled; before, during and after songs.

But I always feel more like a "real keyboard player" when I actually have to hit some buttons or tweak some knobs between or during songs.  To all three people out there paying attention to me, yes I actually do know what all this shit does.

These days keyboards a great "catch all" for any instrument or sound effect that another band member isn't playing, whether it was originally a keyboard part or not. Anything that makes the song sound closer to the original studio recording that people know and love and want to hear, all the better, I say.

That's my attitude as well.  It's gonna sound better having the part covered, especially if the alternative is me doing nothing.

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #325 on: January 06, 2014, 09:01:15 AM »
But I always feel more like a "real keyboard player" when I actually have to hit some buttons or tweak some knobs between or during songs.  To all three people out there paying attention to me, yes I actually do know what all this shit does.


That's my attitude as well.  It's gonna sound better having the part covered, especially if the alternative is me doing nothing.

If the alternative is doing nothing I'd go with playing handclaps, yes. With the Beatles songs we play, I usually fire up an old, distorted Farfisa organ, sounds pretty 60's. Or drink whiskey, but that's not really something to do during rehearsal. I totally agree with the way you approach keyboard playing though!
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Offline sneakyblueberry

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #326 on: January 08, 2014, 09:14:37 PM »
Nihil (or Orbert) What iphone app do you use for Mellotron sounds?? 

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #327 on: January 08, 2014, 09:45:04 PM »
I can't answer that one.  I don't have an iPhone.

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #328 on: January 09, 2014, 11:23:35 PM »
Nihil (or Orbert) What iphone app do you use for Mellotron sounds??

Super Manetron! By far the best!
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Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #329 on: January 13, 2014, 10:49:25 PM »
So I played with the new "almost-band".  Okay, it wasn't horrible.

The Good:

In two hours, we locked down four songs.  That may not sound like much (and it's not), but this is starting from nothing, and ending up with four songs we could play all the way through, everybody getting all their parts, vocals, instrumentals, breaks, everything.  Live performance quality.  And it sounded damned good.  Really.

The Bad:

John, the "organizer" (he emphasizes that he is not the "leader" but merely the one who organizes and schedules everything), started off by explaining the "rules".  We start the song, and any time someone gets lost or can't hear something or hears something bad, we stop and fix it.  Okay, that's one way to do it, I guess, but I'm used to at least plowing through the song the first time, and only stopping if it becomes a complete train wreck and we literally can't continue.  A lot of things work themselves out once you've played through the song once or twice.  Instead, we literally would play 20 or thirty seconds, stop, figure out what the problem was, fix it, start again.  Repeat.  And the vast majority of the time, it was stopping so that the guitarists and/or bassist could get something figured out.  They are the ones who've already rehearsed this stuff once!  The drummer and I, both of us new but apparently much better prepared, just ended up looking at each other and grinning and shrugging a lot.  We never said a word, but it was there.  "What? Didn't these guy learns their parts first?"  Never once did we have to stop for me or the drummer.

But hopefully that will get better.  I mean, I knew I was "trying out" so I've done nothing but listen to these songs on my iPod at home, in the car, and while working out.  I've played along with them, played without them, played them in my head while going to sleep.  I had my parts down.  What the heck were the other guys doing the past month?  I used to learn four songs a week.  These guys have had two months.

So it was a slow start, but a start.  By the end, we had four songs locked and we sat at the big table, had a beer/pop/water, and talked about the future of the band.  We're all in (for now).  We'll put together songs lists, start adding two songs per week, and in four months we should have 30 songs, enough to play a gig somewhere.

It's interesting.  I've never played in a band with "strangers" before.  It's always been the guys I grew up with, or at least one or two guys I knew, plus some friend of somebody's, something like that.  Here, I knew Karen the singer, she's how I got hooked up with these guys, but everyone else was new to me.  We all got on pretty well; we're all professionals, not kids with raging egos and delusions of becoming rock stars, so it was very well organized (almost too organized, really).  But once we get more comfortable with each other and our "real" personalities start to show, we'll see how well we still get along.  For now, it's just fun playing again.  The next couple of rehearsals will reveal much.

Offline PuffyPat

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #330 on: January 14, 2014, 04:52:14 PM »
Progress is progress. What type of music are you guys playing?
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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #331 on: January 14, 2014, 04:56:46 PM »
Took part in the competition to win a spot at Bloodstock Festival this year (Down, Megadeth, Emperor headlining), and we absolutely smashed our heat, up against some very good bands. The judges were positively glowing about us.

Well chuffed. Through to the semis  ;D

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #332 on: January 14, 2014, 10:06:28 PM »
Congrats, and good luck in the semis!

Progress is progress. What type of music are you guys playing?

"Classic rock" -- whatever that means.  We all played in bar bands in the 70's, some of us in the 80's and beyond, and some still play.  We learned a 60's tune, two 70's tunes, and an 80's tune on Sunday.  Ultimately, I think we should focus more on just 70's and 80's.

With two singers, two guitarists, a bassist, drummer, and keyboardist, we'll never make any money, but if we're lucky we'll reach the point where we get paid enough to cover gas to get to the gig.  I have no idea how much bands make these days, I've been out of the biz for so long, but we're splitting it seven ways after expenses, so it's not going to be much anyway.

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #333 on: January 16, 2014, 07:05:10 AM »
Well, i'm a guitar player, piano sratcher, violin noob, cello loverand bad singer.

 Always listened to good music since i was inside mommy... Things going from Bach and Paganini to Genesis, Yes, Iron Maiden, Helloween and stuff. Got a little acoustic guitar at age 4, which i used to play until i took it to "brind your favourite toy day" in school and it broke. Yeah.
 Then i started playing with piano (yes, WITH piano, because i couldn't play shit). It was from my grandmother. It was always fun to create sounds ant try to play things i heard. Good times.
 When i was 12 years old, the electric guitar came in, and so my love for music grew stronger every day. I started taking classes and practiced whole days with a cheap stratocaster. The strings were so high that i could put my pinky under it. That got my arm quite injuried, since i played with tons of tension. Everything i practiced in my first year of guitar was downpicked and with legatto, everything with a lot of tension. I'v cut my fingers open, washed my fingerboard in blood, because of how much i sweated and how rusted the strings got after 1-2 days. I HAD to buy a new guitar. And so did i. I bought my first decent guitar, an Ibanez RG 370, which costed me around USD$1000, because of my country's taxes. :angry:. Well, that was a great boost to my musical interest, and so i kept practicing every day... And here i am :D

Now i really wanna learn to play other instruments, like Sax, Cello and Violin, and play piano again. That's kinda hard where i live, because everything is so expensive...

Still don't know what i want with music...
My plans are to go to a good college of music, not just for the classes, but also to meet people in this area, and maybe create something...



Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #334 on: February 12, 2014, 10:41:48 PM »
Update on the "almost band" that I'm playing with.  We decided that to start building our song list, we'd each email five songs to Rob the bassist, and he'd set up a Survey Monkey.  Each of the seven of us would rank the songs from 1 to 5 indicating how much we liked the song and/or would want to play it.  Survey Monkeys are anonymous.  After everyone votes, Rob ranks them based on average score, and we use that as our guide to narrowing the field.  This was all Rob's idea; he volunteered to do all this.

Dave (singer) screwed up and accidentally emailed his list to everyone.  Rick (guitarist) offerred his feedback by replying to all, and it was not positive.  Dave's a bit younger than the rest of us and is more into 80's and 90's stuff, and his list of songs reflected that, whereas the rest of us are all old farts and prefer 70's.  Anyway, I'm not sure what Rick's problem was, but he didn't hold back.  Lots of big red bold letters, THIS ISN'T CLASSIC ROCK and NO!  NO!  NO! next to every song.  Shit like that.  What an asshole.  So Dave quit.  His official reason was that a conflict has come up and he won't be able to continue with the band.  To be honest, I'd rather have had Dave than Rick.  With me on keys, we need a second guitar less than we need a good singer, and he was a great singer.

This all went down two weeks ago, also Karen (the other singer) had an emergency at home, and Rob threw his back out shoveling snow, so practice was cancelled, during which time John launched a new search for another male singer.  He also contacted Rick and presumably told him to stop being an asshole.

We got together last night, with the new singer, who also plays guitar.  He told us that he actually considers himself a guitarist first, and a singer second.  He likes to sing, but doesn't want to sing all the leads, so it's great that we have Karen as well.  He's a pretty good guitarist and not a bad singer.  So great, now we have three guitarists.  Oh yeah, Karen texted John earlier, saying she'd be there, but she never showed up.  John texted her, made sure she was coming, but she never answered.  She actually lives the closest to John, less than 10 minutes away.  Karen was on Facebook today, posting silly shit, so apparently she didn't get in a wreck on the way over or anything; she just didn't want to be there.  I think Karen is gonna quit, too.  That's too bad.  Karen's the one who got me into the band.  I don't even know the rest of these guys.

I still don't really care.  I just like playing.  We ran through a bunch of songs, tried out the new singer/guitarist, and it was all right.  With seven of us, we're never gonna make any money anyway, but some of the others said that there was no point in learning songs if we're never gonna gig anywhere.  I guess I can see that, and I'm not opposed to gigging.  Hell, it would be fun.  I haven't gigged regularly in 30 years.  But it's not my main goal.  I'll show up to practices, I'll have my parts down (I always do), and if we ever can keep any singers long enough, we might even have a band.

Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #335 on: February 13, 2014, 03:41:46 AM »
Aw Orbert, one day you'll get the band you deserve and rock the fuck out and it will be awesome.
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Yep. I think the only party in the MP/DT situation that hasn't moved on is DTF.

Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #336 on: February 13, 2014, 07:54:27 AM »
Yeah, it's one of those situations which would actually be comical if it weren't so pathetic.  A bunch of fogeys trying to put a band together, apparently with no idea how, and with mostly different ideas about what we're doing in the first place.  But as I said, it was fun just playing with other guys.  I'll haul my gear half an hour up the road every couple of weeks to jam.   I guess I can see it getting old after a while, but for now, what the hell.

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #337 on: February 13, 2014, 08:24:05 AM »
Organizing any group is going to have problems, which seem to compound with the more people you have involved, which is why putting together a band with a common goal and motivation is so seemingly difficult.
It goes for any task really. That's one reason I like to stick to the safety of working alone wherever possible to avoid relying on other people flaking out or just drifting apart from the same goal (that and having no friends :neverusethis: ).

And it probably gets even harder as you get older too, with more responsibilities and less disposable/expendable income for starting up and messing around.
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Yep. I think the only party in the MP/DT situation that hasn't moved on is DTF.

Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #338 on: February 13, 2014, 09:57:41 AM »
Yep.  All of those things.

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #339 on: February 25, 2014, 03:37:01 PM »
And one other thing.  When you're in junior high, playing in the garage with your bros, it's not a huge deal if one or more of you isn't exactly professional quality.  It's just for fun.  Okay, some of you might be naive enough to think that you're great and will become rock stars, but eventually you grow up.  35 years later, I still get together with those guys back home once or twice a year and have a great time.  There's nothing like jamming with guys you've known all your life.  It's gonna be fun anyway.

But this is different.  Most of us don't know each other, or didn't before signing up for this thing, so there's no personal connection.  And none of us are under any delusions that we'll someday be rock stars; we're definitely just doing this for fun.  But it's no fun if one or more guys is an asshole and/or doesn't learn his parts and/or can't play in the first place.  We practiced again last weekend, four songs, everyone knew what to learn, the guitarists exchanged emails on the side to make sure everyone knew who was playing what part.  Rick is still an asshole.  "Oh, I thought I was playing this part." And "Hey, I know we agreed to <something> but I just thought it would sound better if I played <something else>."  Seriously, dude?

Then the clincher.  Afterwards, we're packing up and hauling stuff out to our cars.  Some guys leave some gear there, singers travel pretty light, Terry the drummer just leaves his kit there (he has three!), but I have to make multiple trips up and down the stairs (keyboards, amp, stand).  I head down for my second load, and John is there with some of the others, and he says "Hey, while I've got you guys here, can I ask your opinion of Rick?  Do you think he's going to be a problem in the future?"  And three of us immediately say "Yes" and go into reasons why and examples so far.  My biggie is that we now have three guitarists, and we just don't need that.  Even if there are three distinct guitar parts on the record, two will be played and I can cover/fill on keyboards.  It will sound fine.

John shares with us that Rick actually took him aside just a few minutes ago and said "I don't know how much more of this I can take."  That surprised John, but he diplomatically asked him to elaborate.  "You know, there's all this pressure to learn all these songs, and it's like we're supposed to have everything just right.  Like, there's no room for any real grooving or anything."  Or however he put it.

Yeah, we pick the songs, and we each have two weeks to learn four songs.  Studio versions, as closely as possible; we'll explore ways to "liven them up" as we go, but everyone has to start from the same place.  Yes, you're supposed to come to practice after actually having learned your parts.  Don't waste band practice time learning your individual part, and don't argue about what you think would sound better after everyone has agreed on who plays what.

So, sorry Rick, but you're an asshole and you can't play.  Plus, none of us know you from Adam, so that doesn't leave many reasons to keep you in the band.  After getting our feedback, John said he'd been contacting Rick this week to let him know that the band "will be moving forward without him".  There's a reason this guy is a VP of a company.  He takes charge, and he runs a tight ship.  We've still got a lot of shit to work out, but we're getting there.

Offline Obfuscation

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #340 on: February 25, 2014, 10:23:01 PM »
And one other thing.  When you're in junior high, playing in the garage with your bros, it's not a huge deal if one or more of you isn't exactly professional quality.  It's just for fun.  Okay, some of you might be naive enough to think that you're great and will become rock stars, but eventually you grow up.  35 years later, I still get together with those guys back home once or twice a year and have a great time.  There's nothing like jamming with guys you've known all your life.  It's gonna be fun anyway.

But this is different.  Most of us don't know each other, or didn't before signing up for this thing, so there's no personal connection.  And none of us are under any delusions that we'll someday be rock stars; we're definitely just doing this for fun.  But it's no fun if one or more guys is an asshole and/or doesn't learn his parts and/or can't play in the first place.  We practiced again last weekend, four songs, everyone knew what to learn, the guitarists exchanged emails on the side to make sure everyone knew who was playing what part.  Rick is still an asshole.  "Oh, I thought I was playing this part." And "Hey, I know we agreed to <something> but I just thought it would sound better if I played <something else>."  Seriously, dude?

Then the clincher.  Afterwards, we're packing up and hauling stuff out to our cars.  Some guys leave some gear there, singers travel pretty light, Terry the drummer just leaves his kit there (he has three!), but I have to make multiple trips up and down the stairs (keyboards, amp, stand).  I head down for my second load, and John is there with some of the others, and he says "Hey, while I've got you guys here, can I ask your opinion of Rick?  Do you think he's going to be a problem in the future?"  And three of us immediately say "Yes" and go into reasons why and examples so far.  My biggie is that we now have three guitarists, and we just don't need that.  Even if there are three distinct guitar parts on the record, two will be played and I can cover/fill on keyboards.  It will sound fine.

John shares with us that Rick actually took him aside just a few minutes ago and said "I don't know how much more of this I can take."  That surprised John, but he diplomatically asked him to elaborate.  "You know, there's all this pressure to learn all these songs, and it's like we're supposed to have everything just right.  Like, there's no room for any real grooving or anything."  Or however he put it.

Yeah, we pick the songs, and we each have two weeks to learn four songs.  Studio versions, as closely as possible; we'll explore ways to "liven them up" as we go, but everyone has to start from the same place.  Yes, you're supposed to come to practice after actually having learned your parts.  Don't waste band practice time learning your individual part, and don't argue about what you think would sound better after everyone has agreed on who plays what.

So, sorry Rick, but you're an asshole and you can't play.  Plus, none of us know you from Adam, so that doesn't leave many reasons to keep you in the band.  After getting our feedback, John said he'd been contacting Rick this week to let him know that the band "will be moving forward without him".  There's a reason this guy is a VP of a company.  He takes charge, and he runs a tight ship.  We've still got a lot of shit to work out, but we're getting there.

I just read some of your posts today about this band you've been practicing lately and want to say its great you guys got rid of that Rick problem quickly before it turned into a bigger problem and messed up the entire band. Hopefully this is a good push for the band in the right direction and everything else goes up for you guys.
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Offline Sketchy

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #341 on: February 26, 2014, 12:24:33 AM »
Nice.
This is as exciting as superluminal neutrinos. The sexy thing is that this actually exists :D

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #342 on: February 26, 2014, 08:18:01 AM »
We're getting more to where everyone's on the same page.  The only remaining instance of people pulling in fundamentally different directions -- which hasn't caused a real problem thus far, but still might -- is how often we practice and how fast we get songs down.

The original concept was John was just putting a band together to play songs in his basement and have fun, because he misses doing that, and is in a place in his life where he's got some time to do it and some money for some equipment.  After that second practice, the first one I was at, we sounded good.  I mean, damned good.  It was only four songs, but we could've played them live in a bar, we were that tight.

So suddenly (some) people are talking about actually getting out and playing.  How often?  One a month, twice a month?  And if we're serious about that, learning four songs every two weeks isn't gonna cut it.  Problem is, we have day jobs, and varying degrees of free time, so that's about the best some of us can do.  I'm out of town this weekend, so when I left Sunday, the next practice was set for two weeks hence.  Then emails went out yesterday, John asking who's around this weekend and when, and everyone except me is getting together.  There's one song left with no keys, and Steve the new singer still needs to be brought up to speed on the other songs.  (I noticed that Rick is not on these emails, so that's good.)  John made the point that this is all they can do until Bob gets back, so I don't fear for my position or anything.  Everyone else seems to think I'm fine, and John's a staight-shooter.

Argh.  Sorry for dominating this thread so much lately.  Apparently I need to get a lot of this off my chest.

Offline Obfuscation

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #343 on: February 27, 2014, 02:53:45 PM »
We're getting more to where everyone's on the same page.  The only remaining instance of people pulling in fundamentally different directions -- which hasn't caused a real problem thus far, but still might -- is how often we practice and how fast we get songs down.

The original concept was John was just putting a band together to play songs in his basement and have fun, because he misses doing that, and is in a place in his life where he's got some time to do it and some money for some equipment.  After that second practice, the first one I was at, we sounded good.  I mean, damned good.  It was only four songs, but we could've played them live in a bar, we were that tight.

So suddenly (some) people are talking about actually getting out and playing.  How often?  One a month, twice a month?  And if we're serious about that, learning four songs every two weeks isn't gonna cut it.  Problem is, we have day jobs, and varying degrees of free time, so that's about the best some of us can do.  I'm out of town this weekend, so when I left Sunday, the next practice was set for two weeks hence.  Then emails went out yesterday, John asking who's around this weekend and when, and everyone except me is getting together.  There's one song left with no keys, and Steve the new singer still needs to be brought up to speed on the other songs.  (I noticed that Rick is not on these emails, so that's good.)  John made the point that this is all they can do until Bob gets back, so I don't fear for my position or anything.  Everyone else seems to think I'm fine, and John's a staight-shooter.

Argh.  Sorry for dominating this thread so much lately.  Apparently I need to get a lot of this off my chest.

I've enjoyed your posts so far and need more. Sounds like a band's autobiography being written down here. I like it. :hat
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Offline Lucien

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #344 on: February 27, 2014, 03:03:35 PM »
So on Saturday I'm auditioning at University of Texas at Arlington, where I will be auditioning with these things:

C major, C minor, G major, and G minor 2 octave scales
Mozart Symphony 40 excerpt (mvt. 1)
Beethoven Symphony 5 excerpt (mvt. 3)
Simandl Bass Etude #17
Dragonetti Concerto in A minor (mvt. 1)

That is some tough stuff, but I've basically perfected 3/5 of those things. Tonight I will finish perfecting all of them.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #345 on: February 27, 2014, 10:34:24 PM »
Go get 'em!

Also:  Man, I hate proficiencies.  Scales and arpeggios and other technical stuff.  Yes, I understand why it's required, and I actually believe that mastering that stuff can make you a better player.  But I still hate it.

I've enjoyed your posts so far and need more. Sounds like a band's autobiography being written down here. I like it. :hat

Thanks. :) I at least try to make it interesting.

Offline Nihil-Morari

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #346 on: February 28, 2014, 10:44:40 AM »
Go get 'em!

Also:  Man, I hate proficiencies.  Scales and arpeggios and other technical stuff.  Yes, I understand why it's required, and I actually believe that mastering that stuff can make you a better player.  But I still hate it.

I've enjoyed your posts so far and need more. Sounds like a band's autobiography being written down here. I like it. :hat

Thanks. :) I at least try to make it interesting.

I always feel like you should master them, and then forget about them as quickly as possible. There was a time, during conservatory, when all my solo's were basically scales and arpeggio's. I couldn't play one single good sounding melody.

So me and my band player for our biggest crowd so far last wednesday. Three olympic speed skaters come from Zwolle (our home town) and there was a big ceremony. There was a square that could fit 6,000 people, but there was a big screen on another square where there we're at least hundreds, maybe a few thousands more too. (We've only heard other peoples estimates, as the entire crew was needed on stage). Here's a picture:



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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #347 on: March 22, 2014, 10:46:43 PM »
Wow, it's been a month already?  Must be time for another update.

So Rick is out.  Good.  He was a head case, and honestly wasn't that great on guitar anyway.  We've rehearsed three more times, and we keep getting better.  First set is almost done.  We have 11 songs.  Yesterday, we were going to get together for the fourth week in a row, just to nail down all the songs, and learn that 12th song.

Friday night, John called me with bad news.  Rob the bass player had fought off cancer three years ago, it was in remission, but now it's back.  They had talked for a while, and basically Rob was giving us an out.  He loves playing, he still wants to be in the band, but he has to be honest in that these next few months will be really tough for him, and his head will not be in it, not to mention whatever will happen to his body during the treatment.  They're starting chemotherapy pretty much immediately, of course.

At this critical point in the band's development, do we wait six or eight weeks for Rob to get the treatment he needs, then slowly work him back in, then slowly move forward?  Or as a practical matter, do we start looking for a new bass player?  Because, for all we know, this is it for Rob.  Even if he beats it, he won't be 100% and we'll have put things on hold for 6-8 weeks anyway.  He told John that he totally understood if we moved on without him.  I read that as him giving us an out.

John and I talked for maybe 15 minutes.  I told him that we should start looking for a new bass player.  I also reminded him that Karen's husband Mike is a bass player, and I've played with Mike before.  He's a good guy and a great bass player; there's no doubt in my mind that he could step right in and learn the songs.  He probably already knows many if not most of them.  It occurred to me at that point, and I didn't share it with John, that Rob is actually the weakest link at this point.  Now that the Rick problem is solved, Rob is the one who shows up to practice most often without having learned the songs.  He usually has an excuse, some of which are even pretty good, but it's somewhat annoying.  He learned a different version, or he couldn't find the mp3 (both of those excuses suck because I've already told everyone that I have every single song we've talked about, and can always get them).  Or he didn't have time because he was out of time.  Well, that one's better because we know he travels for work a lot, but combine that with the other times, and it's not great.

Still, cutting the guy because he has cancer and we don't want to wait around for him seems really cold.  But that's what I told John we should do, since he was asking.  And I kinda felt shitty about it, but again, I didn't know any of these guys before January.  I knew Karen, and personally I'd rather play with Mike anyway.  The rest of them, well, sorry.  We're trying to put a band together.

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #348 on: March 24, 2014, 06:40:34 PM »
Wrote this piece for my hero and friend, Jason Becker. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDXkkojT4Ew

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Re: All musicians unite! - The Musicians Chat Thread
« Reply #349 on: March 25, 2014, 06:58:49 AM »
...

Letting people go is always difficult, especially when it's because of a disease. You could however make some sort of agreement, that when he is back to full strength he could start rehearsing again, and you could get a new guy, but letting that new guy know that's it's maybe only for a short period of time. On the other hand you have a way to say 'well to be honest, it's been pretty awesome with the new guy, so we're sorry but that's it'. That way you don't have to deliver the bad news right now, and you still keep a door open for him to come back.
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