Author Topic: The Saga of Orbert's Band (now with A New Development)  (Read 85536 times)

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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #385 on: November 22, 2016, 07:56:34 PM »
« Last Edit: November 22, 2016, 08:03:19 PM by Orbert »

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #386 on: November 22, 2016, 07:57:03 PM »
...
Bros before... well, something like that.  I won't speak that way about Anne, maybe because I still kinda want to bang her, though I'm pretty sure that would never happen anyway.

Steve at least had one thing right: Females in a band make things infinitely more complicated.  If it's all dudes, we can give each other shit, speak freely and with whatever level of profanity is appropriate, and at the end of the day it's all good.  With females, you never know what one remark they're going to remember and go home and cry about, and then bring it and a dozen other things up later when they finally get upset enough to make a scene.

John has started looking (quietly) for another female singer.  I asked him whether he's learned anything from dealing with Karen, and now Anne.  He says he has.  I hope so.

Something else I thought of.  All this crap that Anne has been laying on John these past months, all the whining and long rambling wine-fueled emails that have driven John to the point of just not wanting to deal with her any more regardless of how great a singer she is... that's all John's word and nothing else.  It's possible that John is completely making it all up.  It's not likely, and I don't believe it for a minute, but it's an interesting thought.  What if John is really the psycho here, and his "alternate personality" surfaces from time to time and torpedoes everything we've accomplished?  Weird how you never really know.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2016, 08:03:39 PM by Orbert »

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« Last Edit: November 22, 2016, 08:04:00 PM by Orbert »

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #388 on: November 22, 2016, 08:04:15 PM »
...
It's a wacky thought, and as I said, I don't believe that that's the case.  For example, Jerry independently brought up at our previous meeting about how all this behind-the-scenes drama was just driving him nuts.  He wouldn't feel that way unless he too had seen it, right?

Or maybe John had been telling him about it, driving him nuts, and it never really existed.

Jessica made the situation ten times worse when we were in the middle of reassuring Anne that she's the lead singer, the one and only front person, and she (Jessica) said "Wait a minute, I'm a front person too!"

Or maybe John had been talking to her about that, and told her to make sure that if it comes up, to assert herself.

John talks to each of us individually, and there are also emails to subsets of the band back and forth, the ones he feels are relevant to the conversation.  This is 100% due to his many years of "managing" people, and he takes the exact same approach with running the band.  I'm sure you can see the problem there.  Being in a band is not the same as working your job and doing what your manager says.  The band is supposed to be fun; we're all in it because we want to be.  You can't just up and quit your job if you don't get along with a coworker.  Well, you could, but you get the point.  It's not the same thing.  Some aspects have similar dynamics, yes, but you can't just run it exactly the same way.  It's just interesting that it creates the possibility that he's manipulating every one of us.  Or maybe I'm going nuts, too.  It's a very paranoid thought to even have, isn't it?

Anyway, it's just a weird and wacky thought I had.  For right now, the band still exists, I get to Rock and Roll, and it's all good.  I'd rather Anne stay, but if she's causing problems for the rest of us, causing others to leave, then she's the problem.  It's just a lot harder to find a good leader singer than it is to find a good bass player.

And in a twisted way, I do find all of this drama interesting.  Call it studying human behavior.  I'd rather it didn't happen, but as long as I get to Rock and Roll, whatever.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #389 on: November 22, 2016, 08:04:27 PM »
...
It's just a lot harder to find a good leader singer than it is to find a good bass player.

Are you sure? I mean an actual good bass player. Not a guitarist who happens to know where the notes are, but one that can groove and really give a song that nice low-end. One who can add subtle bass lines to the song without overdoing it or becoming yet another melody-instrument.  In my experience, a good bass guitarist is really hard to find. Then again, this can be said for basically any instrument. Once you really start looking for quality, you'll find out how many bad musicians there are out there.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #390 on: November 22, 2016, 08:04:41 PM »
...
In our position, yes, I think it's harder.  We're all in our 50's, and it's just common sense (and a bit of experience) that the singer will need to be of a similar age.  Some hot 20-something or 30-something singer might have great pipes, but they're not going to want to sing classic rock with a bunch of dinosaurs.  They also have to live near enough to make practice every weekend and have weekends free in general because that's when the gigs are.  John is set on the singer being female, so if she has kids (which is definitely the norm around here) they have to be old enough to be left alone during these times.  Sure, it's possible that she's so fired up about being the singer in a rock band that she'll shell out for a babysitter just so she can go practice with a bunch of dudes 20 years older than her, but what are the chances of that, really?  And how many 50-somethings can still sing, really sing Rock and Roll?  If they can, chances are good that they're already in a band.

And part of it is because, while we'd love to have a really good bass player who can groove, there's a bit more leeway there.  The bass player only has to be "good enough".  The musicianship level of the rest of the band is still very high; we could get away with a mediocre bass player if need be.  A mediocre lead singer/front person is not an option.

It just blows my mind that this band keeps getting better and better, and we're on the verge of actual success, including real money (which was never the goal but certainly a nice plus) and we have not one, but two people going "nah, this just isn't working for me".  We're a fucking great band, it's official.  Every time I play with this band, I can't believe how good we are; it's the best band I've ever played in.  And our singer still can't put her selfish wants and needs aside; it's still not enough for her.  And our bass player loves playing with us but can't deal with the behind-the-scenes bullshit, which is so behind-the-scenes that I didn't even know it existed.

When I'm playing, if the music's good, I don't give a fuck if the singers hate each other, if the bass player secretly wants to be somewhere else, or anything else.  All that matters is the music.  I guess for me, that's enough.  That makes it all worthwhile.  Others aren't the same, though.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #391 on: November 22, 2016, 08:05:13 PM »

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #392 on: November 22, 2016, 08:05:36 PM »
...
I'll second the "way easier to find a good bassist than a good singer" conundrum.  Currently there myself, and I suspect that it's due to the kind of stuff we want to do.  We've likely been entirely too ambitious in the type of stuff we've chosen to do, and because of it, we can't find a singer worth a shit.  Or at all, really.  Bummed, but not much I can do.  I need to get something going though.  I'm ready to start playing again and really would love to be playing again.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #393 on: November 22, 2016, 08:05:48 PM »
...
Solution: get a male singer.

Female singers start with the advantage of having higher voices.  Good singers are hard to find anyway, but you'll still find more girls that can sing Steve Perry or Tom Johnston than guys who can sing Pat Benatar or Ann Wilson.  Also, John is pretty stuck on having a female singer, although part of that is because of the variety and flexibility that comes with it.

Even if you find a guy who can sing way up there, how many are willing to sing "girl songs"?  Benatar, Heart?  Joan Jett if you're lucky.  Girls don't seem to have the same issue singing guy songs because they're the norm.  Very few bands can get away with only doing songs originally sung by female lead singers.  You'd have to be really, really good, make it your thing, your trademark.  Otherwise the lack of variety just won't get you gigs around here.  Way too much competition.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #394 on: November 22, 2016, 08:07:12 PM »
...
So we got together Friday night for a short practice.  We ran through the medley start to finish a couple of times.  Got through it both times, which was good, second time was better than the first.  This Friday is the Festival Showcase.

I was the last to leave, stuck around and asked John if anything had changed since we talked last Sunday, he said No.  Oh, well Yes, actually.  Friday is the thing, then our next regularly scheduled practice is Saturday.  The rest of the band, including Jessica, gets together to check out a singer named Cheryl.  Or maybe that'll happen Sunday afternoon.  He'll let us know.

This is shitty.  No one says a thing to Anne about the impending axe falling, because we want to get through the showcase, then John's gonna talk to her I guess (or maybe not), and we're already looking for new singers.  Just like how it's done in business.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #395 on: November 22, 2016, 08:08:21 PM »
...
John called me this evening, says there's a new wrinkle.  I can hardly wait.

I've been whining about feeling shitty about how this is all going down, with Anne and the Festival Showcase, but Larry (unlike Orbert) had the fucking balls to lay it down with John.  He does not feel good about doing this showcase with Anne and her having no idea that she's about to be chopped.  And he cannot in good conscience play the showcase with her if we don't tell her what's what.

Bravo!  I didn't have the balls to put a friend before the band, but he did, and I'm glad.  His history is not with this band, it's with Anne.

I say to John "So you're calling her tonight, right?" and he says "I already left her a voicemail."  I told him I look forward to hearing about their conversation.

You cannot make this shit up.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #396 on: November 22, 2016, 08:08:38 PM »
...
Can Jessica do the job for the showcase, if Anne won't do it?

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #397 on: November 22, 2016, 08:08:56 PM »
...
Jessica isn't available that day, which is why we have Amy to fill in.  But Jessica is not a lead-vocal quality singer anyway.

It comes down to Anne doing it, knowing full well that it'll be her last appearance with us and that she's basically helping us to move on without her; or her choosing not to do it, which is well within her right.  If she doesn't do it, we don't do the showcase.  We find a new singer, work up our new guitarist, and say "Just wait 'til next year"

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #398 on: November 22, 2016, 08:09:49 PM »
...
I received a text from John about an hour ago.  She called him back.  He told her, she's bummed, she'll go through a few more emotions in the next 24 hours and be a wreck at work (kinda dumb idea calling back from work, but whatever).  Then she texted him 20 minutes later and said she wouldn't be doing the showcase on Friday.

As for "back-stabbing" and doing stuff behind her back, it's all a matter of perspective.  John is a communicator.  He talks to each of us individually, he sends texts to the group, he sends emails to the group, or to the subset of the group which seems relevant.  As much as possible, he tries to insulate the rest of the band from issues any given individual might be having.  This can be good or bad.  If there are problems and they get dealt with and I never even knew about them, I'm fine with that.  But the deal with Jerry getting to the point where he's ready to quit, while I had no idea, was an interesting example of how it might be better to let others in on things sometimes.  But what's he gonna say?  "By the way, Jerry is thinking of quitting, he's so tired of Anne's crap."  And before John could do that, Jerry himself let it fly at a band meeting.

After dealing with Anne all summer and trying to get her to put the band first, to try to work with others instead of always saying "I want this" and "I don't like that" and finally having it lead to one member leaving and another threatening to leave, John made the decision to start looking for a replacement.  It's his band and as far as I'm concerned, that's his decision to make.  He assures me that if I knew all the shit he's been through with her, all the back and forth, all the whining he's gotten and the pleading he's done in vain, I would feel differently.  Well, okay, I'll have to take his word for that.  Anyway, because he didn't want to make a decision this critical without input from the others, he contacted me, Jerry, and JT separately.  Jerry and JT were on board.  I took a little more convincing, but I'm on board.  It wasn't a "secret vote" or a great conspiracy against her, though I can see how it looks like that.  It was to see if he has a consensus, and he does.  Larry was approached a bit differently.  He's a member of the band, but hasn't actually started working with us yet.  He was okay with the decision, though a bit bummed because it was Anne who brought him in.  But he didn't like the idea of doing the showcase with her and her not knowing what was coming while the rest of us all did.  That's fair, and that's why he insisted that Anne be brought up to speed.

So John had to tell her, and hope that she'd be willing to do the showcase anyway.  She has chosen not to.

This weekend, time and date to be announced, we start looking at new lead singers.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #399 on: November 22, 2016, 08:10:46 PM »
...
The other shoe drops.  Larry has left the band.

Larry was brought in by Anne, and seemed to fit very well with us in terms of personality and of course musical background.  John talked with him before the official decision to cut Anne, and Larry indicated that he would stay in the band even if Anne was cut.  At his "suggestion" Anne was informed of her impending fate prior to the showcase, and she has chosen not to do the showcase, which surprised no one.  Larry quitting, I must say, is not really a surprise, just disappointing.  Because he said he'd stay even if Anne was cut, my only conclusion is that it wasn't just the cutting; it was the way it was done.

Texts have gone around.  JT asked if it's time to call Jimmy.  I ask who Jimmy is.  Jimmy is a male singer.  Goes against John's "vision" for the band, we're already looking at a singer this weekend, and in context I assumed he was a guitarist.  Maybe Jimmy Page is looking for a new gig.  You never know.

So once again, I feel like I have no fucking idea what's going on.  But I'm still not ready to quit.  I'll stick with it and rock when I can, because the current option is to not rock at all.  Finding a new band would be a pain in the ass.  Jerry hasn't weighed in yet.  If Jerry quits (less likely now that Anne is officially out but potentially more likely because Larry is now also gone and we're again looking at rebuilding for a few months, minimum) then there's a good chance that the band will just fold.  When John called me the other night to talk about things, he briefly mentioned the possibility of the ending of the band, so it's crossed his mind as well.

In a way, it would be a relief.  An end to all the drama and frustration.  If that happened, I'd probably see about maybe finding another band.  I still won't be the one to quit and do that, though.  I don't see any upside to quitting a known quantity to take your chances on an unknown, not in this biz.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #400 on: November 22, 2016, 08:11:16 PM »
...
FlashDrive is officially in a rebuilding season.  I tossed that term out there yesterday and got nods all around.  Wait, let me back up.


The Festival Showcase was Friday.  The band did not play, but that turned out to be maybe a better thing after all.  Last Saturday after practice, we sat and stuffed press kits, 50 of them.  Nice shiny black folder, logo (custom decal) on the front.  Open it up, 8x10 glossy of the band on the left side, song list and cover letter on the right.  Pretty slick-looking package.  John called them this week and turned the $100 audition fee into a booth fee, a kiosk with electricity.  He sat there all day Friday with the kits and a laptop playing video of FlashDrive playing live, ready to fellate prospective clients.  Good stuff.

Friday I had the day off, so I was being a bum at home and decided Oh yeah, I should revoke Anne's Editor privs on the band's Facebook page.  While I was in there, I took the opportunity to clean up some things, standardize Album Titles, add Descriptions to pictures, make sure everything looks nice if/when prospective talent folks go there for a look.  One of the pictures from our last gig is JT and Amy.  Amy is the girl who was going to fill in for Jessica as backup singer, since Jessica is a teacher and couldn't just take the day off.  Anne had added most of the pictures in the last two albums, but didn't add Descriptions, so I added them.  Mostly serious, some silly.  It was easy to tag Amy because we became Facebook Friends this week, yay.

I get a Facebook message from Amy, thanking me for the tag.  She remembered that picture being taken, but didn't get a copy.  By the way, her and JT have had a falling out and she doesn't think they'll be friends any more.  Um, okay.  So she removed the tag but downloaded the picture.  Then it occurs to me that Amy was really only brought in to fill in this one gig, Anne took her under her wing, we didn't do the gig, Anne is gone, her only connection to the band was JT, and I wonder if anyone actually told her that we weren't doing the gig.

Turns out Amy called Anne to talk about practicing one more time this week, and Anne told her the gig was off.  John assumed JT would tell her, JT saw the group email saying that we weren't doing it, but didn't notice that Amy wasn't on the To: list (it was just regular band members) and thought she knew.  Meanwhile, she found out from Anne, who was already pissed about being let go and had quickly become best friends forever with Amy so Amy called JT and says What the fuck, you didn't even tell me? and JT has no idea what she's talking about so they get into an argument and let's just say JT isn't fucking Amy anymore.  Too bad, she was cute.  Amy and JT aren't Facebook Friends anymore, but she and I still are.

Also, Anne unFriended Jerry and JT, but not me, and I can't believe I'm relating Friending and unFriending drama like it's the 90's and we're in high school but that's just how ridiculous this all is.  Bring on the fucking drama.  Jerry sends a text to me, JT, and John just laughing about the fact that Anne has unFriended him ("Good riddance!") but wondering why.  I said it's because she traces her exit from the band back to his comments at the round table, about him being 50-50 on quitting the band because of all the drama, and she knows she brings the drama, so it's "his fault".  Ah, wisdom!

John's email is just to me, JT, Jerry, and Jessica, the only people still officially in the band.  I'm the only one left whose name doesn't start with J.  It states that Anne is officially out of the band, and that Larry has left as well.  Larry was on his third strike with him (John) anyway, so John didn't actually try that hard to keep him.  So the search is now on for a new lead guitarist as well as a singer.  John goes on to question his leadership of the band, and now understands why many band leaders prefer a more Authoritarian model than the more Democratic model he's been using.  He does not say so, but he seems to be looking for feedback.

So I give him some.  First, I ask for clarification on Larry's "three strikes".  Then I go on to say that I actually like the way the band has been led thus far.  No leadership model is perfect for all situations; it depends heavily on the individuals involved.  If someone's not good with the way the band is run, they're not a good fit for the band, and that's going to be true of any model.  The band has been through some serious setbacks recently, the lows which always seem to follow the highs, and it's natural and expected for him to reexamine things, but I'm telling him that things couldn't really have gone any other way.  Anne was consistently putting herself ahead of the band, and was practically the definition of "not a good fit".  But we've replaced band members before.  I'm still in.

He thanks me for the "calming words".  Larry's three strikes were: 1 Telling John that he was okay waiting until after the showcase to tell Anne and otherwise deal with band personnel issues.  The personnel issues are separate from the gigs we have to play. 2 Turning around and insisting that Anne be told, or he's not going to play the showcase.  But don't worry, he's not quitting the band or anything; he just thinks it's not cool using Anne like this.  3 Quitting the band anyway after Anne says she's not doing the showcase.

Saturday (yesterday) I get there, ready to audition a new lead singer named Cheryl.  Her Soundcloud is good.  She's also pretty, but it's just a head shot.  She sings Jazz, but that's just her Soundcloud profile.  She sang in Rock and Roll bands for eight years out in Colorado.  Okay.

I get there, and Jerry is already there.  I ask him point blank: Are you still in?  He's like What?  The band, Are you still in?  He's like Yeah, of course I'm still in!  JT shows up, and I ask him: Are you still in? and he's like Fuck yeah, I'm still in!

Wait, this stack of promo packs that we stuffed last week, it looks like most of them are still here.  John fills us in on the showcase thing Friday.  It was "a learning experience".  Promoted as a showcase to 40 or 50 local vendors, representatives from three counties, folks looking to sign bands to their local events and bands looking to play them, John says there were maybe 12 or 15 vendors there all day.  It wasn't a continuous crowd, lots of folks all checking out the local talent.  There were two or three people there at a time, at the most, they'd listen to a few bands and leave, and sometimes they'd go a while with no vendors actually there.  The first band, right at 9:00, played to an empty room.  No one was there yet.  They just kinda wandered in and out all day.  John handed out 15 packets altogether, but probably only 12 to vendors.  The other three went to other bands.  They were wandering around, too, and saw our kits and went "Whoa, can I take one?"  So now they know how to make a professional-looking press kit.  So anyway, if we'd played, it would've been for the maybe one or two reps there at the time.  This way, 12 vendors out there have our info.  The band that they sign will not be the same people as in the picture, but so what?  We show and play, we have a new singer, or a new guitarist.  It happens.

Cheryl is just going to audition with the four of us, the "core" of the band.  We have just established that we are in fact the core and are all still in, and we've replaced singers and guitarists before, and what the hell else are we gonna do on weekends?  And we're all here, and we all sit down for a second and have some snacks (John always has snacks and drinks; he's an excellent host) and reassure ourselves and each other that we're the core of the band and we're all still in.  We ponder whether being "the core" means that the new guitarist and new singer will not by definition be part of "the core".  That depends.  Pat never felt like he tried to fit in.  Larry seemed like he would have, everything seemed so cool, but then he went psycho on us the same way Anne did.  So you never know.

Cheryl arrives, along with her husband Neal.  She hopes it's okay that he came along (of course it is) and she jokes that you never know, she thought she was auditioning for a band, but she might have been driving out to some house to get gang-raped or something.  Neal is maybe 5'7" with glasses and kinda nerdy-looking, and he immediately points out that he would have been no help at all if this had turned out to be the case.  Okay, so these two have a wacky sense of humor and don't feel the need to hold back.

Cheryl sings pretty well.  We go through four songs, "What's Up?" by 4 Non Blondes, "Higher Ground" by a cross between Stevie Wonder and Red Hot Chili Peppers, "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" by Pat Benatar, and "Some Kind of Wonderful" not by Grand Funk Railroad, but Joss Stone's version.  We've never heard her version.  Jerry has never heard of Joss Stone.  Loser.  The rest of us have.  John plugs Cheryl's iPhone into the board and we listen to it.  It's funky, cool, and does not suck.  So we try that version.  She's like What, do you know this version? and we're like No but we just listened to it so let's try it and she seems impressed but hey, we are professional musicians here, baby.

So we rocked it.  We couldn't remember how to get to the ending thing, so it kinda crashed at the end, but we did it, a funky, cool version we'd never even heard before.

Cheryl and Neal leave, just the core four of us again.  Thoughts?  Decent singer, a bit thin in the upper range, though.  Alto, not a Soprano.  Anne was stronger in the upper range, so it didn't matter so much that Jessica wasn't, but we don't know how it'll work with Jessica and Cheryl.  They might be able to support each other, or they might suffer because neither are really that strong up there.

JT points out an uncomfortable truth.  This is show business, and talent definitely matters, but image also matters.  Cheryl is pretty, but she's not tall, and nearly as wide as she is tall.  She's like, round.  You can get away with mediocre looks if you have massive talent and presence.  You can get away with mediocre talent if you're hot and have great presence.  You can even get away with lousy stage presence if you're hot and talented.  But you have to have at least two of the three.  She was a decent singer, had no presence, and is not strong in the "image" department.  Hmm.  John says, Well, we keep her in mind and we keep looking.  Somewhere in here, I threw out my line about this being a rebuilding season.

In sports, a team occasionally has a period where it's a given that they're not realistically even thinking about the pennant.  They've lost some key guys and/or have a lot of new talent coming up and in need of seasoning, etc.  With us, it always seems to be winters.  Two years ago, we'd lost Karen and Mike, and had to replace a singer and a bassist, then we had to build up enough songs to play gigs.  We rebuilt over spring and summer, and by fall we played out for actual money.  Then Steve quit.  We got Pat in and by spring we were gigging again.  We gigged all summer, had some fun, played a major local venue, then lost both Pat and Anne.  Larry never even played a gig with us, so fuck him.  We got the holidays coming up again, I'm always busy with other musical things this time of year, and there's no gigs anyway, so whatever.  We rebuild, and keep on rocking, because what's the alternative?  Not rocking?  Sorry, but that's just not an option.  We must rock!

FlashDrive updates will likely be lesser over the upcoming months, as we enter the off-season and audition folks.  Hopefully, we'll be back to a full lineup and gigging again before too long.  I might take the time to create a separate thread for all these band updates, because in terms of total content, there's a fuckton of it and I feel like it dominates this thread too much.  I know some of you guys are fine with that, but hey, you can follow the updates in the new thread, too, and this way guys like Kotowboy and TheLordOfTheStrings and their projects don't get bombed out by me.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #401 on: November 22, 2016, 08:24:02 PM »
We're caught up now.  My first post about this band, or the first version of the band which became Oh Zone, which later evolved into FlashDrive, was nearly three years ago on Page 10 of the Musicians Chat Thread, which right now is up to 44 pages.  This thread is 12 pages, so just over 1/3 of the posts from that point are either me talking about the band, or discussion more or less directly related to it.  I should have been more consistent and in general more ruthless with the editing.  I think it's kinda cool to have some follow-up discussion of things directly brought in the updates, but I wavered between including it all and trimming it down.  So this is what we have.

To all of you who've been following the drama and trauma of Orbert's Band in the Musicians Chat Thread and have commented positively, Thank You!  I don't know whether that thread will see more traffic or less now.  Maybe more because my updates have rather dominated things and in that sense discouraged others from posting, maybe less because my updates themselves generated traffic.  So we'll see.  I'll still post in The Musicians Chat Thread about other music-related stuff I'm doing and have been up to, but the band updates will just be here from now on.

Offline sneakyblueberry

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #402 on: November 23, 2016, 01:02:05 AM »
Following.  As always.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #404 on: November 24, 2016, 05:33:37 PM »
Glad to see there's a thread just for this now. :D Makes it a lot easier to follow, IMO.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #405 on: November 24, 2016, 08:17:24 PM »
Minor update: John has been in contact with a couple of guitarists, including one who lives right near him and coincidentally just listed himself online the same day John called him.  Similar age, background, etc.  They're going to get together next week for some 1:1 jamming, just so John can get to know him a bit.

After not getting any leads on female vocalists, he's decided to give a male singer named Jim a try.  If Jim works out, I will be the only person in the band whose name doesn't start with "J", although we still have a guitarist to add, and the guy the lives by John is named David.

Then just yesterday he found someone named Angela who would seem to be the perfect fit.  Vocal performance major, 10 years experience fronting cover bands, can sing lead but is currently looking to share lead vocal duties.  Also, she's hot and JT knows her.  I told him to set up an audition, and others concur.

Rebuilding is underway!

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #406 on: November 25, 2016, 03:01:29 AM »
I know some of you guys are fine with that, but hey, you can follow the updates in the new thread, too, and this way guys like Kotowboy and TheLordOfTheStrings and their projects don't get bombed out by me.
That's nice of you man! Don't feel bad about that though - you've got a very interesting saga going on. ;)
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #407 on: November 29, 2016, 09:04:06 PM »
Audition with Angela is set for a week from Saturday.  Her signature song is "Alone" by Heart, so we'll learn that.  I've got it pretty nailed down already.  Great song, lots of cool keys for me to play.  It's gonna kick ass.  I can't wait to hear her sing it.  She was over at John's singing to some karaoke tracks, and he said she sounded great.

We're also gonna try "Bring Me to Life" with her.  Both of these are with Jessica on harmonies.  Then Jess wants to try singing lead on "Separate Ways".  Angela will probably take the high harmony (B) so I'll take the E.  That'll rock.

We'll also mess around with "Burning Love" (Wynonna version), "Hit Me with Your Best Shot", and "Shut Up and Dance".  At that point, we should all have a pretty good idea if it'll work or not.  I'm looking forward to this.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #408 on: November 30, 2016, 09:51:56 PM »
David will be joining us on December 10th as well.  It will be a "kill two birds with one stone" type of day.  Multiple auditions, Angela, David, and us.  David wants to play "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin for us, but someone needs to sing it, so we'll see how Jess or Angela, or both, do.  John shared the rest of the list with him, and he'll be ready to play them as well.  They got together a little bit the other night.

We got a gig!  We're set for one of the local festivals next June.  $800 for an hour and a half.  Not too shabby.  Now we just need to put a band together.  We only need 90 minutes.

Since i manage the band's Facebook page, I get notifications like "FlashDrive has received 8 new views" and "FlashDrive has received 4 new views" every couple of days.  I'm guessing that that's people out there who John has given promo packs to, and maybe some others.  The promo packs have the band website and the Facebook page, and each of them has links to the other.

Here's a fun story:  Angela and John were talking about how she has experience fronting bands, but her profile page says something to the effect that she hasn't found the right band since returning to the Chicago area.  She says Yeah, she moved back her a little over a year ago, and auditioned for some band, and it was such a negative experience for her that she got turned off for a while, and is just now getting back into things.  Apparently they acted all desperate and pushy about setting an audition date and she finally auditioned for them and they went "You're great!  Welcome to the band!" and she told them No because actually they kinda sucked and she didn't really like them anyway.  She shared this with John; we don't know how much of this she actually told them.  John asks if that band happened to be <Anne's old band>.  It was.  And John laughs, and Angela laughs, because John knows those guys, and they're assholes.

But wait, didn't Anne leave that band two years ago?  Correct!  Two years ago, we talked Anne into leaving her old band to join us.  This left them needing a singer, and who should join them?  Karen, our old singer.  The one who left us with no notice.  So while we were building up our show with Anne, her old band was rebuilding with Karen.  We basically switched singers.  Then Karen quit that band too, also with no notice.  This left them needing a singer again, and pretty badly because they had gigs booked.  That was a year ago, when they auditioned Angela and acted all desperate (because they were), and she told them No.  Now she's auditioning with us.  Except we're freakin' awesome and she'll see that and want to join.  And so will David.  John says he has a good feeling about each of them.

I cooked up a new synth patch tonight.  Nothing huge, just a little snippet for "Shut Up and Dance".  That high resonance synth that comes down right before the second verse.  It's a cool sound, a fun sound.  I'll whip that out on Saturday, too.

Offline BlobVanDam

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #409 on: November 30, 2016, 09:56:23 PM »
I'll whip that out on Saturday, too.

Wait, what kind of audition is this? :zydar:

So does your area just have a small pool of singers/musicians for your type of music that these people have been related to these same bands, or are they just the best people going around for this type of thing?
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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #410 on: November 30, 2016, 10:07:29 PM »
Funny how you basically keep trading singers back and forth with this other band. Hopefully this audition goes smoothly and you guys can get back on track!
At least you are able to recover over and over again after losing members. That's more than a lot of bands end up doing.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #411 on: November 30, 2016, 10:53:58 PM »
To answer both of you, it kinds works out this way because there are only so many singers and musicians out here in the burbs, and we all want to play, so various subgroupings come and go.  Steve, our old guitarist, has a new band, and he's got Jerry playing bass and Jessica is their lead singer.  The same Jerry and Jessica from our band.  That's why both of them were willing to push back against Anne.  Because they have another band, it would be a shame if FlashDrive came apart, but it wouldn't be the end of the world for them.  Steve approached me to play keyboards for him, but I don't need any more bands right now.  And when Steve left and we got Pat, we got him because Anne knew him from her old band, and he basically played with both bands for a while, and ultimately quit our band to go full time with them.  Heck, for all I know, she'll go back with them, too.  I heard their new singer sucks.

I did tell Steve that if FlashDrive falls apart, and if he still needs a keyboard player, I'll think about it.  That would make four former FlashDrive members in the same band, though we weren't all in FlashDrive at the same time.

It seems to me that music for people our age is best played by people our age.  Some of the other guys talk about wanting to play more newer music, more recent stuff, and I think that "kids" these days (which is anyone younger than us, which is most people) don't want to hear a bunch of 50-year-old dinosaurs trying to sound cool playing whatever's hot and hip right now.  That should be left to people who know that music and grew up with it.  We grew up with 70's music.  We're best playing 70's music.  I think it's cool that it's so easy to do that, for bands to find people and people to find bands, through the Internet these days.  It wasn't like this back in the 80's.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #412 on: December 02, 2016, 05:20:14 PM »
Is this thread Back to the Present now?
Political discussion post-election = pointless.
Nothing like getting a lecture on “what is and will happen” from the same people that just went 0 for 100 at bat during the election cycle.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #413 on: December 02, 2016, 08:49:53 PM »
Yeah, the backstory was caught up earlier on this page.  Moving forward, it's all real-time.  Or close enough for Rock and Roll. ♫♫♪♫

Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #414 on: December 05, 2016, 08:31:34 AM »
So does your area just have a small pool of singers/musicians for your type of music that these people have been related to these same bands, or are they just the best people going around for this type of thing?

Most local music communities are one big dysfunctional incestuous family.  There are a couple bands here or there that have had an established lineup that has stuck because it works.  There's a band around here called Steel that has been together for 20+ years.  Unquestionably the single best band in the area, without a doubt.  The bass player rocks the living shit out of a BC Rich Bich.  Nails all the bass licks on Slow Ride, for example.  The guitarist gets a solo spot doing Satch Boogie.  Slightly faster than the recorded version, which is quick enough already.  The singer effortlessly nails things like Last in Line and Victim of Changes.  The drummer is a drummer.  But he's still freaking stellar.  They will never have a need to recruit a new member for any reason.

The other 99% of the bands that seem to crop up and subsequently die quickly often have a lot of the same names and faces.  I was in two bands for a while.  My bass player is currently in two bands.  The band we've been talking about putting together (that I'm pretty sure isn't going to happen now) would've put my rhythm guitarist and drummer in a second band.  Lots of the guys on the scene are in multiple bands.  So it goes.  And it isn't necessarily because they're best suited to anything, because believe me, some of them aren't.  :lol

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #415 on: December 10, 2016, 08:32:43 AM »
Minor update:  Today is our "double audition" and I'm pretty psyched.  David on guitar and Angela on vocals.  It's partly a time-saving measure, since we have to audition both of them anyway, and partly a practical thing.  Ultimately, we all have to play and learn to create together anyway, so let's throw everything into the pot and see what we can cook up.

"Alone" by Heart has a very distinctive 80's electronic piano sound (it's actually two patches synched), and I realized that playing it with my stock Yamaha piano sound wasn't cutting it, so I spent some time yesterday building new patches for that song.  I have to have just the piano thing, then with quiet strings in the background, then blasting full orchestral while I pad everything out with cheesy 80's synth on the Prophet.

I also came up with another new patch for "Shut Up and Dance".  The synth drone is more synthy now.

Playing in a cover band is interesting for me, someone who considers himself reasonably knowledgeable about music and how it's created.  I know damned well that 90% of what we do is going to be just fine with most people.  But there will be specific things that stick out.  When we get to that one part where the singer really nails that one note, it has to be good.  If not, we suck.  That one guitar lick has to be there, every time, and it needs to sound just like on the CD because everyone knows that part.  If not, we suck.

So if you think about it, most of the hard work we put into covering things properly doesn't even get noticed, and that's a good thing.  Some people will walk out of there thinking the singer was really good, or the guitarist was really good, or whatever.  Most will think we're pretty good, some will hopefully think we're very good.  What we do not want is people hearing things they don't like.  What gets noticed is where you didn't put in the work to make it sound right.

Most songs, we dive right into them if everyone feels good about them, but sometimes John thinks it's a good idea to play the mp3 once or twice to get the tempo and stuff into our heads.  A couple of times, I've started playing songs and some of the others didn't come in because they thought we were listening to the mp3 one more time.  Yes!  I sound just like the fucking mp3.  That's the idea, right?

Offline Sir GuitarCozmo

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #416 on: December 16, 2016, 07:27:38 AM »
So how'd it go??

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #417 on: December 16, 2016, 11:16:49 AM »
I just came here to post an update, so thanks for saving me the trouble of digging up the thread. :)

It went very well.  Angela was amazing.  "Alone" by Heart and "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence both sounded great.  Jess wanted to try singing lead on "Separate Ways" by Journey and she blew us away.  I'd never heard her sing like that.  She says it's because Anne would never let her.  It's been coming out more and more how much drama, turmoil, and just plain shit was caused by Anne, especially towards the end when she went full-blown psycho.  Everyone agrees that she wasn't like that at first, but gradually went that direction.  Jess has only ever seen her dark side, having been brought in to help build the band's vocal strength (easily our weakest spot for a while) and Anne treated her pretty badly.  Jess also sang "Rock and Roll" by Led Zeppelin so David could audition his signature piece, and she killed that, too, again surprising us all.  So we seem to have two kickass female singers now.

David I honestly was not as impressed with, but he mostly did well.  He had the harmonics and a great sound in "Separate Ways" but there was one chord somewhere that was just plain wrong.  Every time it came around, it clashed horribly with what John and I were playing, and we all heard it.  The second time, he looked at John; the third time, he knew it was him.  Later he said something about working with John on that one some more.  My concern is that I don't consider that a very difficult song.  Sure it sounds impressive as hell if everyone's playing it right, but the parts themselves aren't that hard.  But maybe the guitar part is.  He rocked on "Rock and Roll" and his power chords were powerful on "Bring Me to Life" and "Alone".

What else did we do?  "Burning Love" (Wynonna Judd version) was good, "Shut Up and Dance" and "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" were good, overall he was good.  It was just that one chord in the one song, I guess.  It stuck out, and I guess it made quite an impression if it colored my opinion of him that much, because I can't think of anything else he did that sounded wrong.

We took a break, chatted a bit, got to know each other a bit, then played through the songs again.  I told David to go ahead and turn up a bit, since he seemed to be holding back, and he did, and went a little nuts with the harmonics in "Separate Ways" which got so ridiculous that I busted out laughing.  I looked at JT, and he started laughing too, though he didn't know why.  Angela said something later about how we seem to have a lot of fun, while playing some pretty difficult music, and that's impressive.  I was just really buzzed, more than I'd meant to be since it was an audition, but since the band rarely sees me in any other state, it was just Orbert as usual to them.  And I'd just as soon keep it that way. :hat


So emails went out this week, first from John asking if anyone had any comments, concerns, reservations, and it came out that Angela is still nursing a vocal chord injury and needs to take it easy for a while.  No more than a two-hour rehearsal every two weeks.  If she's going to be splitting the lead vocals with Jess, then that's fine.  She'll gradually increase the amount of time she can sing.  She's working with a therapist, and she's a trained vocalist anyway, so she knows how to deal with this.  Also, if that was her not at 100%, then she is going to absolutely slay people when she's back to full strength.  Jerry was the most concerned, but we convinced him that this is still the best course.  Everyone else was in.  David had a great attitude and seemed like a good guy, and everyone was in favor of him, so invitations went out to both David and Angela to join the band.  David was invited and accepted right away, but we had a bit of discussion via email about Angela's convalescence and what it means, but eventually her invitation went out, and she accepted just this morning, which is why I was coming here to update things.

FlashDrive now has a full lineup again!  As always, we'll start by keeping as many songs from the current list as possible, in order to minimize the total amount of work to get us to a full set list.  Obviously the new people will have the most new songs to learn, but most of these are songs that everybody knows or at least has heard 1000 times on the radio.  We'll also work in the new songs each of them brings with them.  John is very good at selecting which songs to work up each rehearsal to spread things around, give everyone a little something, and I expect no different in the coming months.  We have a gig booked in June, but we're hoping to get some lined up sooner than that.  Still no other bites from that showcase thing in November, but no real surprise there, as it was mostly a waste of time.  We'll see how things go.

Offline pcs90

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #418 on: December 17, 2016, 10:14:58 AM »
Definitely sounds like you guys made the right decision by getting rid of your old singer. Now you have 2 great ones instead!

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #419 on: December 17, 2016, 11:37:09 AM »
It would seem so.  Cutting someone is always a tough decision to make, but in this case it was particularly tough because we were already replacing a guitarist at the same time.  And just making the decision to do it was hard, because we were gigging.  We had a sound, it was good, and people liked it.  I personally was okay with how we were doing, and would have chosen to just keep her.  But things behind the scenes were so bad that the band was ready to fall apart unless we rooted out the problem.  Pat had already turned in his notice, Jerry was ready to quit, JT likely would have followed, and Jess told John privately that she really wasn't having any fun with this band.  If Anne stayed, the band would have completely come apart.  So it was necessary if we wanted the band to continue (which obviously we all do) and thus the right decision.  But man, it was tough.