Author Topic: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)  (Read 20167 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.

Online 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.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #542 on: October 03, 2019, 03:11:35 PM »
The audition didn't end up happening.  She had a head cold or something.  I think the last three singers we've auditioned and/or hired had head colds at least once and had to reschedule their auditions with us.

Meanwhile, our last scheduled gig happened.  With Angela officially out of the band, Yvette subbed, so it was Jess and Yvette, as it has been many times in the past year and a half.  Honestly, all three girls have gotten to be pretty good singers and decent front persons.  Not great, but pretty good.

So with no gigs on the books and a singer to replace, and singers lined up to audition, an interesting question comes up.  Are we auditioning for one position, or two?

It seems that JT has been feeling more and more frustrated with this band.  We should be better, we should be playing better places, we should be building a following.  Instead, we fuck around with these greenhorn singers who can't front a band and hold us back from our true potential.  Musically, we're as good as any band he's ever played in.  But our singers are amateurs and it's not just disappointing, it's downright embarrassing, and he's sick of it.

Umm... where in the fuck did this come from?  Not that he doesn't make some valid points, but that's beside the point.  John and I have been pretty happy with the upward trajectory we've been on for the past year and a half.  Return gigs to decent venues, actually building a following, nothing but onward and upward.  Yep, we have another personnel turnover to deal with.  We've done it many times before, and always come out of it stronger.  Anyway, John and I thought we were doing pretty good, we find a new singer, we continue.  JT thinks that this is the perfect opportunity to find two really strong, experienced, professional singers and really go to the next level.  We couldn't do that before.  We didn't have the power to pull singers from working bands to take a chance on us.  But we're out there now, people have seen us.  We have three singers who've come right out and said that they want to join our band, and they're all going to be auditioning.

So it's an interesting question.  What if we audition all these singers, and when you rank them all, including Jess somewhere in there, what if Jess is third (or lower)?  What if we really do find two very strong singers who are willing to work together and work with us?  Do we say Good-bye to Jess?  Unceremoniously dump her because we've found someone better, when we weren't even looking for it?  That's cold.

We discuss this in a private meeting, just John, Jerry, JT and myself.  The "core" of the band.  Lead singers and lead guitarists have come and gone, but we've been with the band since the beginning.  The way we left it was: We get through the auditions.  We evaluate them all.  If only one seems a good fit, we offer them the job.  Problem solved, we move on.  If there are two who are both good enough, both better than Jess, then theoretically, following the rule that "the band comes first", we consider hiring them both.  Because let's face it; Jess has been in the band three years now.  She's had time to learn, watch others, refine her craft, etc.  This is possibly the best she's ever gonna be, and she's still pretty green, pretty amateurish.  Personally, I don't have a huge problem with Jess because she more than makes up for it with energy and enthusiasm.  Yeah, she's goofy and awkward sometimes, but it's fun.  The audience responds, positively.  We do get plenty of compliments on our singers, both of them.  All three of them.  We also get comments, not so loudly, from folks in other bands and others whose opinions carry some weight, that our singers need some coaching, some help.  If there's an obvious weak spot, it's our front line.  Also true.

So anyway, what we decide is that if there are two who are better than Jess, it depends on how big the gap is between the top two and Jess.  If the top two just completely smoke and it's no contest, John will have a tough call to make (in more ways than one).  I'd like to see the band improve, but mostly I'd like to see it improve because the current personnel get better, not by replacing them.  At this point, as with many times before, I am but one voice out of many.  As far as I know, my job is secure, as long as I choose to continue.  And that's all I can count on, for now.  JT is all in with this band; he quit his other band (which sucked anyway) to go all in with us.  That actually means very little to me.

This Saturday is the first round of auditions.  Two singers (neither of whom have backed out yet, so that's a good sign), one at 10:00 AM and one at 1:00 PM.  We play through some songs, we chat, we get to know each other, we play some more.  Then we do it again for the other singer.  We'll probably share a lot of comments afterward, not being able to really wait until after the next round of auditions two weeks later.  Also, the top two candidates (based on online videos) are the two we're seeing this Saturday.

This should be interesting.
« Last Edit: October 04, 2019, 07:41:56 AM by Orbert »

Offline Grappler

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #543 on: October 04, 2019, 06:33:37 AM »
Awesome.  I'm interested in seeing what happens...I stopped going to shows over the last handful of years because of my young kids, but I still follow our local scene and generally know about the majority of the cover bands in the area.  It's cool that you guys are making progress and have a few 'known' singers auditioning.

Good luck!

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #544 on: October 04, 2019, 07:48:59 AM »
Thanks!

Re-reading my last few posts, I'm annoyed that I keep referring to the situation with the band as "interesting".  I use that word way too much, especially in describing a lot of the musical endeavors I'm involved in.  In writing, it looks like "Stay tuned for our next exciting installment!"

But the fact is, I specifically seek out things that are interesting to me, same as we all do.  Why have I been in this band going on six years, way the hell longer than any other band I've been in has even lasted?  Because it holds my interest.  We continue, and we continue to get better.  What else could you ask for?

Life is adventure!

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #545 on: October 08, 2019, 09:32:03 PM »
Ha!  Of course at least one of the singers had to have a last-minute emergency, or come down with a terrible cold, or something.

I shouldn't joke.  She called John Thursday night, saying that there was a family emergency, and she wanted to reschedule, hopefully the following Saturday.  John was a little hesitant, knowing that that might be a tough sell to the rest of the band.  Giving up a Saturday morning/early afternoon for a couple auditions is one thing.  Doing one this week and then one next week is a bit more work.  Especially me, since I really have no choice but to haul all my gear up to John's place, set it all up, tear it all down, and take it home in between.  Well, I could leave it there, but I like to practice (oh God, did I just say that?) so I always like to have my gear either at home or in my car.  But I was the first to tell John that I'm in if we have to reschedule.  Also, it's a good sign (relatively speaking) that she had to cancel, but wanted to reschedule as soon as possible.  So it's not like she's backing out and we'll never hear from her again.

So Katrina auditioned Saturday.  She did well.  She has a nice voice, good tone, good range, and in tune.  She nailed her harmonies and sounded pretty good on her leads.  It's not a really powerful voice, though.  So if we're looking for someone else to sing the Heart or Pat Benatar stuff, she might not be the best choice.  The good news is that she has another band, and she was actually interested in the role of alternate vocalist.  John is looking to replace both Angela and Yvette.  The rationale is pretty simple: we need another lead vocalist, and we've seen over the past year and a half that we need an alternate vocalist sometimes, and the model works.  So... cool, Katrina is probably good enough to be an alternate.

New wrinkle, though.  Katrina did well, and thought we were great, and she likes everyone and we sat around and had some lunch and chatted and got to know each other, and she asked if it was too late to change her mind about the alternate position.  She'd like to officially be considered for the full-time lead vocalist role.  So that changes things, maybe.

At this point, nothing is decided.  Eventually we'll get through these auditions, and we'll see what we end up with.  I hope Katrina works out one way or another, because she's the cutest.  And she can sing, it's just not a super-powerful voice, although we didn't really try anything that required super pipes.  That may have been a mistake.  John should have made sure at least one or two wailers were on the list.

Meanwhile, a new player enters the game.  Lex (Alexis) has just moved to the area, is an experienced singer, and is looking to join an established band.  She will audition this Saturday morning, and Joie (the reschedule from last time) will be Saturday afternoon.  So we'll knock out two auditions this Saturday anyway, and have two more scheduled for next Saturday.  Yeah, it's a lot of hauling gear around, but I'd like to get this over with, so you do what'cha gotta do.  And I probably could leave my stuff at John's for a week.  I'd survive.

Lex chose some killer tunes to sing for her audition.  Separate Ways by Journey, Heartbreaker by Benatar, Call Me by Blondie, etc.  Joie also chose Heartbreaker, and our other Journey song, Any Way You Want It.  I forget the others.  But we apparently have some serious wailing coming up.  Okay, bring it on!

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #546 on: October 11, 2019, 02:31:53 PM »
The other shoe drops.  Joie sent John a text saying that for personal reasons, she has to withdraw herself from consideration for the lead vocalist position.  She's the one who rescheduled from last week, and had originally contacted us way back in July about auditioning, but didn't follow up then because she had an eye infection.  Then we kinda decided to hold off on auditions while we knocked out the three remaining gigs on the schedule.  They were pretty close together on the calendar and I think we only had one practice during that time.  We needed it, and it wouldn't have made sense to try to squeeze any auditions in there.  Then she rescheduled, and now she's pulling out.  Bummer.  She's the one who we later realized was the lead singer that John saw three years ago fronting a band with two female singers which gave him the idea of doing the same thing with our band.  In other words, she was perfect for the gig with us because she'd basically created the model.  But now she's out, for reasons we'll probably never actually find out.

So we're back to one audition Saturday.  Then (as of this moment) two more the following Saturday.  So much fun.  Oh well, I get to rock and roll with a few different singers, some pretty cute, and I've got nothing else going on right now, so what the hell.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #547 on: October 15, 2019, 04:56:48 PM »
Holy shit.  Lex was great.  We offered her a lead singer position, disclosing that there may still be another change in the front line, and she accepted the position.  She wants to join a band.  She, her husband, and their son just moved to the area for his job, and she told him that the first thing she's gonna do is find a band to sing in.  And damn, she can sing!  Text messages went around Saturday and by Sunday John had offered her the job and she'd taken it.  She is an experienced, talented singer, and she's not gonna last long on the open market, so we grabbed her.  Waiting until the audition process was completed was a formality that we weren't gonna bother with.

We still need an alternate vocalist if we can swing it, and possibly (probably) another lead singer, and we have two auditions this Saturday, a girl named Traci and a guy named Jason.  Jason is the singer for what was until recently JT's other band, the one that sucked.  JT insists that none of the suckage is this guy's fault.  Sure, okay, we'll give him an audition, though he starts at a huge disadvantage.  Traci is the third girl who had come to our gig a few weeks back, the one Katrina and Joie also were at.  Joie is out (which sucks), Katrina is a contender, and Traci is this Saturday.  Of the three, Katrina is the hottest, Joie was second, and Traci third, but Traci is still pretty cute. 

This apparently matters only to me.  Last year, there was hesitation moving forward with Yvette because of her "image issues".  None of us were sure about having someone front the band who ain't much to look at.  But she could sing, and we didn't have many options at the time.  This time, the other guys are dead-set on getting the most talent up there on the front line.  Okay, that's important too.  But this is rock and roll.  If I'm going to spend any amount of time with females, in a band or any setting of my choosing, it's a simple fact that I'd prefer they be as attractive as possible.  It's a given that they can sing and we get along.  They wouldn't be in the band otherwise.  Therefore the deciding factor is how hot they are.  Simple mathematics.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2019, 05:13:44 PM by Orbert »

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #548 on: October 19, 2019, 09:09:27 PM »
Today we were doing the final (?) two auditions, Traci and Jason.  Thursday night, no new emails or texts, so both auditions were still on for today.  Last night, still go; this morning I checked one last time before leaving the house.  Traci's audition at 10:00, Jason at 12:30.

I get to John's house around 9:30 so I have time to set my stuff up.  At 9:46, John got a text from Traci's mother.  Traci is in the hospital, she went to the Emergency Room last night.  This morning she asked her mom to send a text to John to advise him, and also to let us know that she's withdrawing from consideration.  Wow... okay.

JT calls Jason, gets him out of bed, and tells him to get his ass over there.  That's the way JT talks basically, and Jason is the singer from his other soon-to-be-ex band.  While waiting for Jason, we jam for a while, play a few songs, then stop and take an early lunch.  Jason shows up during lunch maybe an hour or so after JT had called him.

His audition actually goes much better than any of us thought it would.  He had more range and expression then we'd previously seen, and everyone was surprised.  Out of the three auditions, I still rank him third, but it was nice to be surprised anyway.  He also has a weird vibe about him that's hard to describe, but Jess found him really creepy and I found the word to be oddly appropriate.  I don't usually think of other guys as creepy, but it fit.  Something about the guy just seems off.  Like, you talk to him, and something's just weird, but it's hard to say what.  David said the same thing, so it's not just me, and not just Jess.  But he's third of three in my ranking (some of the others put him second, ahead of Katrina, and we all ranked Lex the highest) plus he's not female, so I'm not worried about it.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #549 on: October 21, 2019, 02:12:39 PM »
It's your band, your business, but my advice is to trust your gut.  If not you risk someone else holding "creepy" as a more important criteria, and then having them leave, so you're back to finding personnel.  If you have a reasonable replacement (this Katrina girl) and all things are otherwise equal, then so be it.

Oh, and you would not be the first band to hire based in part on image.  Kiss. 

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #550 on: October 25, 2019, 04:18:53 PM »
The 24 hours following Lex's audition were a flurry of texts and emails, ending with John offerring her a lead singer position and her accepting.  Cool.

There was no such activity after Jason's audition.  He was better than any of us thought he'd be, but still no real competition for the two girls.  There are supposedly some other leads, both of whom John intends to follow up with, but I'm already thinking that we need to start moving on things.

Sunday evening, John sends an email.  He's disappointed that we only ended up with three auditions, and while Traci apparently didn't have much of a shot, Joie's withdrawal was tough.  She would've been perfect, because our band is modeled after hers.  So his recommendation is to get Lex and Katrina up front, and move forward.  This leaves Jess out of the picture.  Nobody is really happy about this, but it's simple logistics.  Yes, JT and Jerry are the ones with the most issue with Jess, and are the ones pushing to replace both singers (rather than just find a replacement for Angela and moving forward, which we thought was the idea).  Jess has caused issues with each of the other singers she's worked with, and if she stays, she will likely continue to cause issues.  Also, JT and Jerry would both likely quit, because after three years it's clear that she's not going to change.  If JT and Jerry quit, we probably lose any other singer(s) we've landed because they won't stick around while we replace our rhythm section.  So we'll be out 3/7 of the band, and to be honest I don't think I'd stick around either at that point.  Keeping Jess leads ultimately to the total collapse of the band.  Dropping her means continuing.  I concur both with the logic and with the conclusion.  I don't see any other way.  The only question is whether Katrina is an alternate or a permanent singer.  That would seem to depend on the results of any other auditions, none of which are even scheduled yet.  But we can start rehearsing now.

David is not happy about this.  We're not a corporation that answers to shareholders or a board of directors; we're people, and people matter.  Also, JT and Jerry are both drama queens in their own right.  True.  David thinks we should give Jess one last chance to get her act together.  Explain to her, JT, and Jerry what the deal is, see if we can make it work.  I'd already replied and offerred my support for John's decision, and we already know where JT and Jerry stand, so I just sit back.  John will make a decision and we'll get an email.

That was Sunday.  Today is Friday.  There has been nothing since.  No communications at all.  Obviously there's no rehearsal tomorrow at this point, so I'm happy about being able to sleep in for the first time in a month, but it's odd just waiting like this.  It's tempting to shoot John a text or brief email asking if there will be anything coming, but basically we'll get it when we get it.  I'm not sure how much I care at this point.

I mean, I care about the band.  This is the best band I've ever been in, and also one that's lasted far longer than any I've been in.  If it falls apart, I'll be bummed, but not crushed or anything.  We had a good run.  If I felt up to joining another band, I've built a pretty nice rig, I've got experience, and I know keyboard players are in demand.  I could get a gig if I wanted it.  Or I could take a break for a while.  Or the band might even continue.

I'm fine with however this plays out, and worrying about it does no good, so I'm just waiting to see what happens.  But waiting is annoying.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #551 on: October 25, 2019, 09:58:52 PM »
John finally sent a text out, less than an hour after I made the above post.  Of course.

He said he would try to contact Jess tonight to tell her that the band is moving forward without her.  That almost sounds graceful, it's so damned smooth.  We're kicking her out.  It's either her or we lose both the drummer and the bassist, definitely one and probably both singers, and the problem isn't even solved because the person causing the problems is still in the band (even though practically no one else is at that point).  So it's simple logistics, and it sucks.  As a person, I really like Jess, but as a bandmate, she is the problem.

The one thing that helps me accept such a shitty situation is knowing that everyone is better off this way.  Everyone, including Jess, who has been trying to get pregnant for years, and actually has stepped up the efforts lately.  Jess is very high-strung, very intense, and when she gets behind something, she's behind it 100%.  Her stress levels have been pegged for a while now, and I'm no expert but I do know that women under severe stress often have trouble conceiving.  This really is better for her.  Yep, I'm going to keep telling myself that.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #552 on: October 26, 2019, 11:23:55 PM »
:corn

This is honestly one of the most exciting threads out there.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #553 on: October 27, 2019, 06:40:05 AM »
John sent an email out last night.  JT's birthday was earlier this week, and he and Jerry and all the wives were out at a place near JT's to celebrate, and got a chance to talk some more.  Jerry pointed out that we've all agree that Lex should join the band, and in fact she is officially a member as of two weeks ago.  So shouldn't she have some say in who the other singer is?  We've all be assuming that she'll just go with whatever we decide, but she will have to work most closely with the other singer and it is their chemistry together that will front the band.  Excellent point.

So John sends Lex links to Katrina's and Jason's audition recordings, and she thinks Katrina would be a better fit.  Shortening the story up a bit, the two of them will meet (literally, since they've never met) at John's this afternoon for some karaoke-style rehearsal, getting to know each other, and getting to know the songs.  Seperately, Lex has already gone through our song list and marked 35 songs that she alreadys knows and/or has done in other bands.  Yeah, baby!  So there has been some activity and things getting put into place lately; we just weren't all aware of it because of John's business mentality.  It's like at work; you don't know everything your co-workers are doing, and you don't know everything your manager does, but you trust that everyone's doing what they're supposed to be doing and that the manager is on top of things.  He is, and has been on top of things; he just doesn't feel the need to keep us up to date on every single detail.  I did tell him at one point to just let me know when the next rehearsal is, so it's at least partly my fault that he doesn't feel the need to give us every single detail.  I hadn't thought of that.

John invited all of us to stop by this afternoon if we want, since this concerns all of us.  I have some other stuff to do, unfortunately, otherwise I'd go.  But we are indeed moving forward, and it's the outcome I'd hoped for.  Lex and Katrina, the two hottest of the remaining contenders and the best singers, are our new front line (pending this afternoon's session and the absence of any horrible personality conflicts, which no one really expects).  Time for some more rock and roll!

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #554 on: October 28, 2019, 10:25:15 AM »
More drama threatened to rear its ugly head, but apparently was resolved.  I was out most of yesterday and only checked my email/texts a few times, so I got bits and pieces, but by time I got home, we were back to DefCon 5.

Jerry finally entered the email chain regarding Lex and Katrina getting together at John's.  He's pretty sure his suggestion the other night was misunderstood.  He only said that Lex should have an avenue for providing input on the other singer, be it Katrina or Jason.  He questions why John has set up this session, and whether a similar session with Lex and Jason is in the works.  Once again, Jerry is reminding everyone that he (and I think JT still) thinks Jason is the better choice, and Jerry's emails are usually long and convoluted, but it seems pretty clear that he thinks this is a step towards solidifying Katrina rather than a vetting, which John is presenting it as.

I find the dynamics of this whole thing fascinating.  John could play the "Manager card" any time he wants.  It's his band, and while he welcomes input from everyone, and he generally flows with the majority, this is simply because if most people are happy most of the time, things are better.  That's just common sense.  But he always reserves the right to cast the tiebreaking vote, and more than that, he'll choose a direction even if it outright doesn't work for some people if it appears that a compromise is not going to be satisfactory for everyone.  That's not only his right; it's his job.  JT and Jerry are pushing Jason as the next singer.  John very clearly doesn't want that; his "vision" of the band includes two female singers.  Also, the two girls are the better singers.  Jason may have some stage charisma, but that's behavior and can be learned.  Katrina can become a better stage performer through experience; Jason will not become a better singer -- not in the way we need -- through experience.  His range will not get better, he may gain some better control over his pitch issues, or he may not.

John's reply is diplomatic, as always.  He had time to arrange this session.  He hasn't had the opportunity to arrange one with Lex and Jason, but there is one in the works.  (If considering logistics is the first step in planning something, and planning is the first step in actually doing it, then technically just thinking about it means it's "in the works".  I seriously doubt John has done more than that.  I'm okay with that.)  He then goes on to explain what I just said above about what the criteria are, and how Katrina is the better singer, while Jason's superiority as a front person is still being debated.

Jerry says that if those are the criteria, then why mess around setting up a session with Jason?  (Um, because you asked for one, remember?  The rest of us were ready to drop him.)

John's next email thanks Jerry for suggesting this "avenue", as the session went really well, much was learned, much was revealed.  David was there as well (he lives five minutes from John) so he encourages David to chime in, but he goes on to give a pretty detailed account of the session.  It is almost entirely positive.  They worked well together, they listened to each other, they reasonably and objectively figured out who would be better at singing what, there was some risk-taking, a few flubs, but a lot of smiling.  He includes a link to the recording of the session.  We record pretty much everything.

Jerry's next email says that that's great, sounds like we're good to go, let's set up some rehearsals.

Jerry is too smart to not understand John's position, and that the band will ultimately do what John says in this case.  He will play the M card if necessary.  John is too smart to not understand that what he's done is spin Jerry's word into something that he (John) wants but is doing what Jerry wants on the surface.  Jerry to too smart to not understand that, and if he wants to be in this band that's cool and even preferred, but this is how it's gonna be.  So his suddenly being on board and ready to move forward is nothing short of a concession speech.  It's not said anywhere, but we're all intelligent adults here, if this is the game we have to play, fine, let's have some fun.  But can we just get on with it now?  Okay.

David was not 100% okay with just dropping Jess, but that ship has sailed, and as for who the new singers will be, he's fine with Lex and Katrina.  Jerry is now on record as supporting Lex and Katrina.  At least we think so.  He emails are usually long and convoluted, so it's his own damned fault if he's misunderstood.  JT has been oddly silent during all this, despite him being the one to push Jason in the first place, but I think he's on board now.


Jess still has not called John back.  Maybe they were gone for the weekend and made a decision not to check voicemail.  Maybe she's read the writing on the wall and has already checked out.  Maybe an emergency of some kind came up.  We have no idea.  John left another voicemail, and says he's going to wait another 24 hours for her to call him back, then send her an email.  Not his preferred medium for this kind of communication, but he wants to put this behind us.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2019, 10:35:58 AM by Orbert »

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #555 on: November 03, 2019, 07:06:55 AM »
Jess didn't call John back by Monday night, so John sent her an email letting her know that he'd tried all weekend to contact her and email is not the way he wanted to do this, but he gave her the news because we have to get this closed.  He forwards a copy of the email to us guys.  It's cold, and brief.  I suppose it's an email you might get from a job if your job is so impersonal that you get fired via email.  Coming from the band leader, and a person you counted as a friend until that moment, I'm sure it sucked for her.  John didn't want to call her during the week because she'd be a wreck the next day at work, so he waited until they could speak on the phone that Friday.  Turns out she got sick but worked all week and Friday night she turned her phone off and went to bed basically all weekend, which is something very close to what I'd figured must have happened.  She got up Monday, went to work, and by Monday night was trying to catch up on voicemails and emails from the weekend.  That's when she got John's email.  Damn, that must've sucked.  At that point, John had been sitting on it for over a week, having made the decision the previous weekend, and he just needed to get it over with.  She heard two voicemails and got the email before she had a chance to call him back.  Ouch.

So that chapter of the band's history ends pretty ugly, on par with Anne's departure three years ago, which was forced by Jess's arrival.  So there's something like symmetry, perhaps even justice, in how it worked out.  I just thought of that.  Jess is the only person who did not audition for the band.  John wanted another singer, John knew another singer, the band suddenly had another singer.  They were friends, he played the M card big time, and we got three good years out of it, so it wasn't the wrong move in hindsight.  The band has done amazing things and was on a pretty good upward trajectory, but now with the band threatening to break apart again, he had to pull the trigger, again.  This is why I'll always be a worker bee.  I can't be a manager because an important part of the job is having to fire people if and when the time comes.  If they're a real asshole, sure no problem.  But if they're a good person, someone I even like, and for whatever reason they are no longer the best person for the job or the job has been eliminated, I have to cut them.  And that would suck.  I'd rather just be a drone than ever have to do that to someone I care about.

Rehearsals immediately appeared on the band's online shared calendar, each sending an automatic email to each member.  First one was yesterday, next one's in two weeks.  These are the every-other-Saturdays from before, which were changed to Tentative while we searched for and auditioned singers, so the dates were still clear and it wasn't a problem (for me anyway).

Yesterday was an amazing first-time run through.  The girls had talked a few times during the week, figuring out who's singing what, and a lot of stuff was pretty tight.  Some nice harmonies, and that great effect you get when there's more than one lead singer.  With cover bands, that's a big plus; it's one more thing to make each cover different, not sound all the same because there's just the one singer.  You go to a concert, it's going to sound like them.  You go to a bar, you want the music to be the same or pretty close, but the singer is going to sound like the singer, so every song has that in common, kinda makes them all sound the same.  This breaks that up, lets you appreciate our band's take on each song.  It's not gonna sound like the CD anyway, but it's gonna be a damned good live version of the song.  That's what you're there for, and that's what you get.

Sorry, getting ahead of myself.  The rehearsal was great.  We worked on 15 songs.  Half of them, we ran through them once and moved on.  I always think you should run through at least twice.  Even if the first one was fine, it will tighten up another 30% to 50% with a second run-through because now everyone knows what it sounds like and can fix their fuck-ups from the first time because it was the first time playing it in two months, or ever.  Nope, we moved on to the next song about half the time, because John wanted to get through 15 songs in three hours.  I know; you do the math, we could've taken those extra four minutes a few times to nail the song down instead of just having it "pretty good" but whatever, not my call.

Why the big hurry?  We have three more rehearsals on the calendar.  Well, John already has calls in to Agent Dude (remember him?) and a few other places, independent places (since he knows quite a few now), and he's got a list that we go over during lunch.  This Friday, two possibilities, the following Friday a few more plus one that Saturday.  Places that don't have bands scheduled and currently just have a DJ or just piped music.  The idea was to put together a dozen or so songs, get them to let us set up and play for an hour, take some pictures and video with the sound and lights, and get some new promo materials.  And if necessary, do it for free.  Not everybody replied in the affirmative on that last point, but I'm kinda pathetic that way.  I just want to play.  I just finished playing for two hours with some smokin' hot babes who are our new singers and fuck yeah I'll set up and play for an hour at any of the places John just named, and you don't have to pay me.  I just want to play.

So like I said, not everyone said they're in, at least not all right away, not how I remember, but John is pushing ahead.  If a gig shows up on Friday, are you gonna be the one to say we don't do the gig because you won't do it for free?  It's not that kind of gig.  It's our photo and video shoot, promo stuff.  You gotta put in the work to get the work.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band (consolidated)
« Reply #556 on: November 13, 2019, 03:21:24 PM »
We had our thing last Friday night, and it was by all accounts a success.  Our new lineup played 12 songs after only one rehearsal, and we pretty much nailed them all.  First gig jitters officially shaken off and stomped.  We got a bunch of pictures, audio, and video, so our official website and Facebook page both have lots of new media.



David, JT, Orbert, Katrina, Lex, Jerry, John

Highway Tune Video

Separate Ways Video