Author Topic: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)  (Read 17230 times)

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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #525 on: December 26, 2018, 06:31:36 PM »
At one point there was a Maybe on a New Year's Eve thing.  Then it was Probably Not because both of our singers are unavailable.  Yvette is a good sub, but she can't sing both parts.  Then it's maybe back on because she knows a guy that she's sung with before in another band and he looked at our list and said he knew most of them, and between them we could probably do three sets.  So it might still be on.  I wish they'd make up their minds.  On the other hand, the only other thing we would do that eve is get together with our friends anyway, the same couple we've gotten together with for years whose kids grew up with ours.  But back when the NYE gig was looking better, he had a chance to take a gig on NYE also, so I told him to take it.  So now he might have a gig and I might not.  Whatever.

Panic and confusion for a few days because this local venue, the very nice one that we've been trying to get into again since 2016, suddenly posted a Facebook Event with us headlining on Fri Jan 18.  WTF?!  Our next scheduled rehearsal is Sat Jan 19.  And also, WTF?!  It was a Tentative back in November, but I guess they decided to move on it, skipping the part where they check with us and see if it's still good.  The other day, they changed the event picture to a nice banner with our picture and name and the venue and everything.  Crap.  We've wanted to get in there, but now's not a good time.  We don't want to go there and suck, and right now that could be tough to avoid.

Turns out David is unavailable that night.  Gig is off.  In a way, I'm relieved.  But for a couple of days, I was ready to man up and do some weeknight rehearsals and hopefully get our shit together for what could be a big break.  Except we're down a singer (except that they don't know that (except we should tell them because if we don't it could come back and bite us big time)).  Oh well.  Next time.

Offline hefdaddy42

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #526 on: December 27, 2018, 08:29:28 AM »
Never a dull moment, huh?
Hef is right on all things. Except for when I disagree with him. In which case he's probably still right.

Offline Architeuthis

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #527 on: December 27, 2018, 10:48:07 AM »
Stuff like that is part of the many reasons I don't miss being in a band at this point.  Also, working full time and driving back and forth to to practice twice a week blows too. It was an hour drive each way. I felt really selfish pursuing something that didn't pay back.
 Yeah we made an album, yeah we played some cool gigs, but it seems like it was all a waste of time now I look back. I sacrificed too much time away from my wife and dogs.  If I was doing just music and making money at it (enough to make a living), that would be great!  We usually would only make enough money for gas to get back and forth to the gig,  oh and a free beer...Yeah,, woo-hoo!!
 I really hope Orbert, that your band does well and sorry if I sounded a bit negative. It's not easy being in a band especially when everyones schedules clash and cancellations happen.
You can do a lot in a lifetime if you don't burn out too fast, you can make the most of the distance, first you need endurance first you've got to last....... NP

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #528 on: December 27, 2018, 11:52:22 AM »
Thanks for the thoughts and words.  I know it's different for everyone, everyone's got different priorities.  I think our band works (when it does work) because of John's "business" approach as I've alluded to previously.  Online calendar, links to online song lists, practices and song lists.  Any given week, not everybody has even a few hours to practice, but somewhere in two weeks, you can find the time to learn four songs.  So we get together, hammer out the songs, and they're in the bag.  Once a week would be too much for me, no way I'd do twice a week.  There's no point if people don't have time individually to learn their parts.  We cancel maybe 1/4 of scheduled practices, but don't sweat it when we don't have gigs on the books anyway.  We all have our lives, our other commitments including other musical things, and this band survives because it doesn't interfere with that.  When we manage to get together, we kick ass.  It's been a slow progression forward, certainly much slower than I'd like, but we're still going.

The payoff is that despite all the shit that's been going down, I have a hobby that I enjoy.  I learn songs, I get together every few weeks for some good jams, and we even get to go out sometimes and be rock stars (and get paid for it!)  And it works because I don't sink a lot of time into it.  It's just a hobby.  :)

Offline Architeuthis

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #529 on: December 27, 2018, 12:07:37 PM »
That's a great approach, and a balanced view.  Nowadays, I have some local friends that I jam with from time to time but no-one really wants to iron out well constructed songs. We start to get something cool going, but they don't seem to have the attention span and want to move on to something else too quickly.  They are cool people and it's fun to be around them, and at least it helps keep up on my chops.  As long as I don't take it seriously it will be fun.
You can do a lot in a lifetime if you don't burn out too fast, you can make the most of the distance, first you need endurance first you've got to last....... NP

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #530 on: December 27, 2018, 12:34:45 PM »
That's the most important thing:  It has to be fun.  No point in a hobby that doesn't make you happy.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #531 on: January 24, 2019, 07:26:21 AM »
So, we finally had a rehearsal last Saturday, three hours, in preparation for a gig this Saturday.  Rehearsal was supposed to be four (10 to 2) but we got smacked with a huge snowstorm and it was 11:00 by time everyone was there.  Two of us had hard stops at 2:00, so we ended up rehearsing about three hours.  Since we have a three-hour show, we could have tried just running through everything once, or instead focus on songs that needed the most brushing up.  We went with the second option, since there are songs we haven't played in... over a year?!

It went well, about as well as can be expected.  Once again, I'm struck by how productive our rehearsals are, due to the amount of talent in the band and the fact that people actually do what they're supposed to do and learn and practice individually, leaving band rehearsal time for putting it together and working out things like vocal harmonies.  We have a gig this Saturday, at a place we played twice back in 2016, two singers and two guitarists ago.  We won't be perfect, but we will be pretty good, and the gig is a little place two counties away.  Last time we played there, we were done by Midnight because after 11:30 the place just starts emptying out.  It's a small place in a small town out in the sticks, and people just don't stay out at the bars until 2:00 like some places.  So I'm not worried about it.

But the following Saturday is a different story.  We have a gig that came up very last-minute (someone else probably cancelled) and it's a nice place, a big place, that we could do well to get into.  We won't have time for another practice between now and then, so this Saturday's gig at the place out in the sticks will basically be a paid dress rehearsal for the following week, the one that really counts.

Altogther, we have six gigs in the next four months, and already a few maybes later in the year.  We're almost getting to be like my buddy's band that plays so often that they never actually practice.  They go out and play, they sound fantastic, one week or two later they go play again.  They're super tight from playing all the time, and they play all the time because they're super tight.  Great show, great sound and lights.  It's been this way going on two years now, and my buddy is actually getting kinda sick of it.  It's still music, still fun, but is now much more like work.  Yeah, the money's nice; nothing wrong with a hobby that's also a second income.  But because they never rehearse, they haven't added much new material in a while.  Doesn't matter that much; classic rock isn't going to change, so those 70's and 80's songs that worked two years ago still work fine.  But doing anything too much without changing it up can get boring and tedious, and at some point it's just not fun anymore.  And music's supposed to be fun.  I don't want to get to that point.  We decided a while back that playing once every month or two would be fine.  We're there now.  Let's not overdo it.

Offline pcs90

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #532 on: February 07, 2019, 08:26:33 PM »
Once again, a cheapo Yamaha to the rescue.  I picked up an MX61.

So, now that you've had this board for a while, any more thoughts on it? I have an analog synth, but I'm looking for something cheap to cover EP's, clavinets, strings, brass etc for jams. I don't plan on doing a lot of deep editing as it has over 1000 patches already; maybe just editing some effects and other basic things. Would this be a good choice in your opinion?

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #533 on: February 07, 2019, 09:28:02 PM »
I like it, and would recommend it.  It's not perfect, but for $700, you get the Motif sound chip, five octaves of touch-sensitive keys, and a silly interface that defies both instinct and logical thought but which can eventually be learned and dealt with.  You spend all the time up front programming the sounds, then pulling them up live isn't too bad.  I've got 20 or so "performances" saved.  A performance can hold up to 16 "parts".  So each performance can be one song and all the different voices you need for that one song (up to 16), or it can be a collection of patches based on some criteria and there are up to 16 of them, or however you want to do it.  Parts 1 and 2 can be "layered" (played together per note) or you can split the keyboard and Part 1 is the left side and Part 2 is the right side.  You can program the split point.  Parts 3 through 16 are all single voices, but some of the sounds are pretty robust so I'm trying to get out of the mentality of layering everything to make it sound bigger/fuller.  I got into that because my other Yamaha, the 88-key "main" board, is basically a glorified electronic piano and it truly does have shitty patches (though if you layer them and use the built-in chorus and reverb, they sound almost good).  Anyway, the MX61 starts with pretty good sounds and its built-in chorus and reverb are much better, so overal it's a pretty capable board.

Offline pcs90

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #534 on: February 07, 2019, 09:45:56 PM »
Good to hear. Yeah, I'm familiar with the Motif engine but this one has a small subset of it (I believe 160-something MB compared to the Motif XF's 760ish,) so wasn't sure how much was compromised sonically. Also good to see 16 favorite sounds could be accessed in a performance this way; that's a very nice feature for improv jams, which is mostly what this is for anyway! I'll probably grab the 49-key version -- they show up used for around $300 fairly often and that's enough keys for me. Once sounds are programmed, how simple is it to assign them to a performance?

By the way, this program might make editing the MX much simpler and also give you access to go deeper if you wish. There's a trial version for download. http://www.jmelas.gr/motif/bundle.php

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #535 on: February 07, 2019, 11:15:09 PM »
No, my understanding is that the MX series contains the full Motif sound engine.  You just can't access every single feature through the interface.  There is functionality that you cannot access except via MIDI to a PC or laptop.  So programming patches, if you need to tweak those parameters, must be done via MIDI.  But it's all in there for you to access.

I've looked at the various software packages and interfaces for the MX series and the Motif series.  I could probably learn how it all works, if I really wanted to, but for now, I'm fine just programming it the way it is.  It's a pain, but I don't do it that often.  Also, I'm a computer programmer by profession and have been doing this a long time.  I actually enjoy the process of sitting and crafting a good patch.

Programming and assigning to performances is the same thing.  You start with a built-in patch, and assign it to a Part of a Performance.  You can adjust any of the parameters prior to assigning it.  Once assigned, that's it; it's saved.  You can pull it up whenever you want it, by specifying a Performance and Part.

Example: "Move" by Saint Motel uses five different patches (plus two on the main board.  The main board is split with strings on the left and brass on the right).  For the synth, I pull up Performance 014.  There's the handclaps, the weird overdriven sound right before the vocals come in, the spooky sound behind the verses, the solo brass sound during the break, and the synch sound behind the word "Now!"  The 16 buttons which give you access to the 16 different voice categories (pianos, strings, lead sounds, etc) are the same buttons used to pull up the 16 Parts of a Performance.  Since the buttons are in two rows of eight, I put the handclaps (actually one of the drumkit patches, each key plays a different percussion sound) on 8 because I can just hit the top corner button for it.  The others go on Parts 1 through 4, because they're the four other patches used, more or less in order during the song.  So I'm only using five Parts of Performance 014; the other 11 are currently unassigned.  No biggie; it holds 128 Performances.  I'm not worried about "wasting" space.  Once each of the sounds is programmed, I just pull up Performance 014 for the song, and hit buttons to select the various Parts along the way.

Performance 006 is different; it's my "Minimoog" sound.  When I pull up 006, it starts with Parts 1 and 2 layered together.  Parts 1 and 2 are both the "Lead Synth" patch, each altered.  They're different octaves, slightly detuned for thickness, and have different waveshapes and stuff.  It's also mono as opposed to poly, and the glide is set to a timing I like.  That's all saved.  006 = Minimoog.  I don't use any of the other Parts.  At some point, if I need another lead sound, I'll probably save it as another Part of Performance 006.  So this is an example of a Performance which is just a single saved patch.

As I said, you can use them however you want.  If you only need 16 different sounds to get through a whole show, you could just save them as Parts 1 through 16 and each sound is a button away.

A slightly different example: "Workin' for the Weekend" is Perf 013.  It's two synthy/brassy sounds layered together, so they're on Parts 1 and 2.  But this same sound works nicely in other songs, so Perf 013 is also "Raise Your Glass" by Pink and "Lonely Boy" by The Black Keys.  It's a generic synthy/brassy sound.  Again, I'm not worried about the fact that I'm only using 2 of the 16 Parts.  What's important is that half a dozen songs use that patch, and I just pull up Perf 013 for any of them.

"Separate Ways" by Journey is Perf 002.  It too is a synthy/brassy sound formed by layering two patches, so it uses Parts 1 and 2, but it's more of a Prophet sound than a Roland sound.  I currently don't have any other songs that use that patch, but I've used it during jams because I like the sound.


I don't know how much sense this all makes.  As I said, the interface is really weird, not intuitive at all IMO.  But once you get a hanlde on how it's set up and how to work with it, you have a lot of control and flexibility.  I looked at a handful of synths for $1000 or less, which is all I could afford, and this one seemed the best bang for the buck.

Offline pcs90

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #536 on: February 07, 2019, 11:36:36 PM »
Yeah, that is an interesting design choice, not having a dedicated 'voice mode' as such, but depending on how you set up the performances it could provide easier access to a regularly-used set of sounds compared to a more standard layout. I'd probably just set up 1 or 2 performances, each being a bank of favorite sounds. But your method makes sense given that you are playing covers and need to dial in very specific sounds to match the originals.

As far as the sound engine, everywhere I've seen it listed, the MX has a much smaller sample set, compared to the most recent Motifs. From what I understand, they mostly cut out extra articulations (some are still there though,) reduced the number of velocity layers, converted many samples to mono, etc... I think where most of this would matter is in the real instrument emulations. The synth side should be the same as the Motif. That's what I've always read, anyway.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #537 on: February 08, 2019, 07:02:42 AM »
I thought about setting it up that way, using the Performances as banks (similar to what I'm used to with the Prophet) and enjoying having 16 presets per bank rather than the eight that I'm used to.  One of two Performances, each with 16 presets, should be plenty for pretty much any situation.

Except that I still love layering sounds.  Piano and strings, strings and brass, fat synth leads.  So I switched to each song having its own Performance when necessary, and some Performances being my stock sounds as described above.  I'm still in no danger of running out of presets, so this works well.  But yeah, my job is to cover specific sounds.  I can't just go with stock sounds.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #538 on: July 26, 2019, 09:01:51 PM »
Update on Orbert's band

We've played 12 gigs in the past 12 months.  We have three more on the books right now.  We've gotten pretty tight, our shows have improved, and we might even be building a following.  Over 700 Likes on Facebook can't be wrong.  So of course it's time for something to fuck up.

One year ago, Angela announced that she was taking time off from the band to focus on her pregnancy.  We found a substitute singer (what a bizarre concept) to get us through some gigs, and we soldiered on.  Angela had her baby, took some new-mommy time, and eventually starting working back into work and band and life.  She sang five of the past 12 gigs, our sub Yvette has sung seven.  After the last gig, Angela has announced that she is leaving the band.  She loves the band, but also loves her new baby and doesn't get to spend enough time with her as it is, so leaving her baby to go practice or gig is now a negative thing.  Priorities have changed.  Baby wins.  No one can argue with that.

Our sub Yvette just last month found a permanent gig with another band, so good for her.  In some ways, she was a natural to take over for Angela as co-lead singer.  She's been doing that on and off for the past 12 months anyway.  But she told John that she wasn't interested in going full-time with us now that she has the other band, but she'd be fine with continuing on as a sub.  So we'll see how that works out, and meanwhile we start looking for another singer.

Angela said she'll do the next two gigs, then she's done.  The last gig was already planned to be with Yvette instead; Angela wasn't available.  So she's finishing out what she'd agreed to, everything is amicable.  That's something of a first for this band.  Many people have come and gone over the years, but usually when someone leaves it's because of something that greatly reduces the likelihood of them ever playing with us again.  This one's not like that, which is nice.

Anyway, the search is on.  We have one lead already, and one maybe.  We shall see.

Offline Architeuthis

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #539 on: August 01, 2019, 02:48:30 PM »
I hear ya!  We've had the curse of the drummers syndrome. Every time we get a drummer up to speed, something happens and we're back to square one.  Back in 2009, we had the best drummer we ever worked with. We were about to record a prog album after performing many shows with him. He all of a sudden had a midlife crisis went through a divorce and moved out of state.  Just one of many examples..arghh!  :facepalm:
You can do a lot in a lifetime if you don't burn out too fast, you can make the most of the distance, first you need endurance first you've got to last....... NP

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #540 on: August 14, 2019, 11:21:36 AM »
We had a gig last Saturday.  It was to be the final gig with our "classic" lineup, the 2017 version with both singers and the lineup which actually reached the point of playing gigs regularly.  I was so looking forward to it.  Then on Wednesday an email goes out saying Angela has a horrible cold and can't do the gig.  Yvette (our sub) has already agreed to fill in.  In fact, she backed out of a gig singing for another band because she'd rather sing with us.  But this means that we already did our last gig with both Angela and Jess, but we didn't know it at the time.  Somehow that strikes me as sad.  When I'm doing something for the last time, I kinda like to acknowledge that.  Oh well.

The gig itself was great.  Nice venue, recently remodeled and upgraded with a nice stage, new house lights and sound.  Pretty cool.  We were there in the spring, before the remodeling.  We had both fans and staff coming up to us, telling us that we were great last time, and this time actually blew the first time away.  One particularly drunk guy came up to me and Jess and told us that we're "the greatest band since... like, FUCK!!"  I laughed, Jess thanked him and turned to me and said "I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds good."  Hey, it's a compliment for sure.  Just take it.

We have at least three singers interested in auditioning for us, and three more possibilities.  The first three were all at the gig to check us out.  Two of them stayed basically the whole night, one left a little earlier.  That's too bad; she was easily the hottest of the three, and from her videos on Facebook, the best singer of the three.  But she saw and heard what she came to see and hear, I guess.  I was really more just bummed that she left because she was the hottest.

Anyway, this Saturday we audition one of them.  She's gonna do maybe half a dozen songs from our list, and we're learning one of hers.  John likes to call these a "mutual audition".  Just as with a job interview, it's a two-way street.  We might love her, but she still has to at least like us.  The whole band learning a song in a week and playing it with her should give her a good feel for our work ethic and talent level.  Then we do it again, probably multiple times, over the coming weeks and perhaps months.

So this should be interesting.

Offline Evermind

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #541 on: August 14, 2019, 02:31:41 PM »
One particularly drunk guy came up to me and Jess and told us that we're "the greatest band since... like, FUCK!!"  I laughed, Jess thanked him and turned to me and said "I'm not sure what that means, but it sounds good."  Hey, it's a compliment for sure.  Just take it.

:lol

That's definitely a compliment.