Author Topic: The Saga of Orbert's Band  (Read 33365 times)

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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #630 on: January 15, 2021, 12:57:36 PM »
Well, it's officially over.  Again, but for sure this time.

I spoke with John on the phone for about an hour last night.  We talked about many things, and of course the band occupied a lot of that time.  A lot of things have happened, and a lot of things have changed, since the band last played nearly a year ago.  Obviously Covid-19 is still raging, stronger than ever before, while almost ironically the vaccines are being rolled out.  So here's the short version:

David is still recovering from the long-term effects of Covid-19.  I was hopeful after seeing a few videos of him playing acoustic guitar on Facebook, but that's about all he can do.  Play one song, then rest for a few hours because it exhausts him.  His vision still has not returned, and may not ever.  His strength is slowly coming back, but he will not be attending any rehearsals any time soon, let alone standing on a stage.

Jerry has taken a new job and will be relocating to Colorado.  We are in Illinois, and even though most of us work in IT, there was no option to do everything remotely.  Taking the job means relocating, which he wasn't thrilled about since he and his wife just bought a new house in 2019, but the new job also means significantly more money, so he's going for it.

The clincher, however, is that John is also moving, probably by the end of the year.  He shared that the reason he was pushing so hard last year to play, trying to find substitute players and singers to play the gigs, was because the company he works for (and is part owner of) was being bought out.  Because he had equity in the company, he couldn't say anything, and he had already told us that his long-term plan included retiring by 2023 and moving to Tennessee.  With the company being bought out, and him standing to rake in a buttload of cash (and he was already a millionaire), the plans have moved up, and he's retiring this year, after the paperwork is done.  So with all that going on last year, and him not being able to say anything about it, he played it like he was just really wanting to continue the momentum we had, with what was easily the best version of the band.  And that was true, and while I thought he was being a bit nuts about pushing so hard, I bought it.  What he was really trying to do was play at least one more gig before retiring and moving away.

So best case scenario for the band would include vaccines rolling out by summer, the band rehearsing for months to bring the new guitarist and bassist up to speed, maybe playing a handful of gigs, then John rides off into the sunset.  It might have been doable and worthwhile without having to bring new people on board, but between two new people for sure, and possibly one or both singers (he hasn't even thrown them into the equation yet), it's just not worth the work.

Instead, we'll have our memories (and videos and recordings) of the best band any of us had ever been in, and some kickass gigs, and we'll leave it at that.

Fuck.  I mean, I figured, but now it's official.  Fuck!  2020 was to be our year.  John had previously shared some of the gigs that got cancelled, but he told me a bunch more last night.  Two county fairs, opening the season at Arlington Raceway, the biggest and best indoor and outdoor venues in the tri-county area, and when we're not busy with all that, a permanent slot as opening act for the big band we'd opened for last February.  They were blown away, and wanted us to open for them every show.  Still only an hour to play, but paid more than most regular gigs we'd seen so far.  Dammit!!  All that hard work, replacing players until the perfect combination of personalities and talent was in place, then finally dozens of top-shelf bookings, and a fucking pandemic takes it all away.  It will forever be something that might have been, would have been, if only...

Online Grappler

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #631 on: January 15, 2021, 01:37:31 PM »
Crazy!   I'd been wondering about your band - some of the larger bands in the area, are playing shows where they can.  Then again, those bands tend to be very anti-pandemic mitigation efforts and are very willing to play. 

That sucks that the band is over, and that you weren't able to play those scheduled gigs.....those would have been really big ones for you guys!   

Offline Evermind

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #632 on: January 15, 2021, 02:44:12 PM »
Man, that sucks. Fuck indeed.

I've been following this thread for a couple of years as of now and it's sad that's the way your band goes out. I mean, it's life, and it sucks, and I mean with Covid what could anyone expect, but I'm going to bed now and I'm quite bummed this ended like it did. Like, shit, this has somewhat ruined my evening. I hoped you'll finally get a functional band and be performing out there in the future.

Orbert, please know that this thread and your posts, even though this is it for your band, have been entertaining me for years. :)
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Offline Lax

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #633 on: January 18, 2021, 08:39:38 AM »
Sorry that it might end this way, covid is destroying the world of culture and the vaccine alone isn't enough to guarantee a worldwide return to live music this year...

I followed this thread for years too and it has its highs and lows, cringy funny drama, uneasing not funny drama, shows, rushed rehearsals etc...

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Online Stadler

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #634 on: January 21, 2021, 07:17:46 AM »
Wow, Orbert, I'm so sorry.   Like Evermind (and Grappler, and others) I've been following this intently for years now, and had always hoped of sometime catching you live.   I wonder if there's some solace that it ended rather... organically than through a meltdown of people.  Perhaps salvaging the relationships can make it a slightly softer land.

What are your plans?   Do you have any desire to latch on to something else?  Perhaps that band that you were going to open for has an opening or knows someone that does? You sometimes lament the politics and the behind the scenes, but your love for playing is pretty clear to me; can you just shut that off?

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #635 on: January 21, 2021, 11:58:42 AM »
I will continue to play in some form or another.  I've always made music at my church, sometimes at more than one, and that helped scratch the gigging itch.  I'm still up for real gigging, but the prospect of building a new band really turns me off.  A couple years back, while our band was in yet another hiatus, I auditioned with another band and wrote about it here.  They were supposedly an established band looking for a keyboard player to round out their sound and help them move to the next level.  Pretty much what I would be looking for.  Instead, they were really just starting up and were "established" in that they had a song list and everybody except a keyboard player.  I showed up with a handful of songs ready to go, and spent most of the evening listening to them discuss the songs and why half of them hadn't even learned their parts.  So that was a hard pass.

I was contacted last year by a Bon Jovi tribute band looking for a keyboard player, with background vocals a big plus.  I think I may have shared that in this thread as well, or maybe it was in the Musician's Chat Thread.  At the time, our band wasn't playing, but no one was playing, and if gigs started happening again, I would've returned to my main band.  I double-checked my contact message again the other night; it's worded like a form letter.  It wasn't addressed specifically to me, but probably went to all the keyboard players they found on the site I'm on.  But that's the type of gig I'd want, if I were to jump into this again.  I'm sitting here with a bunch of gear and no band to play them in, but I sure as hell don't want to start from the ground up again.  What I could do, however, is learn or brush up 40 songs and go play with a band that already has 40 songs down.  A rehearsal or two, and let's go gig.

Once the vaccines start rolling out, restrictions start getting lifted, and gigs start happening again, I'll probably change my status to "Looking for a band to play in" and hopefully start fielding offers.  I seem to be something of a rarity; a keyboard player who actually knows what the fuck he's doing.  I try not to put too much stock in that, as there will always be better guys out there.  But I figure that out of the countless bands around here, there might be a few who have managed to stick together throughout the lockdowns, except for the keyboard player, and that's where I step in and save the day.  The next several months will be interesting.

Offline FreezingPoint

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #636 on: January 21, 2021, 01:24:58 PM »
Likewise, I always enjoyed reading the new posts in this thread and hoped of catching you guys live sometime. Thanks for all the stories.

I may know of a local area band looking for a keyboard player. More of a progressive/alternative rock group. They've done some Rush, Porcupine Tree and others. I'd have to check to see where they're at because everything is up in the air now (obviously) but I can pass the word on if it sounds interesting to you.
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Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #637 on: January 21, 2021, 03:26:24 PM »
Thanks for the offer.  For right now, I'm gonna sit tight.  I'm not looking to expose myself to any new people just yet, not with Covid numbers as high as ever in my area.  A band that does Rush and Porcupine Tree does sound like a band I'd be interested in.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #638 on: January 23, 2021, 09:54:43 PM »
Well, that didn't take long.

JT contacted me a few days ago via Facebook Messenger, just wanted to see what I was up to.  I have to assume that John called everybody and talked to all former members of the band, to let them know that the band was officially ending and that they were in fact former members.  It would be his way.  JT asked me what I was going to do, join another band, or what?  I told him that with Covid vaccines just around the corner (relatively speaking) for old farts with health conditions, such as ourselves, that there's no hurry.  I'm gonna wait until I've had my shots, or numbers are way, way down.  I've sat tight for almost a year now, and yeah it's driving me nuts, but the irony (or whatever it is) of contracting Covid now would be too much.  I cannot allow the universe to have that great a joke at my expense.  I'll wait for my shots.

I got a text from JT today, to me and a phone number I don't recognize or have as a contact.  The text is introducing me to Paul, and Paul to me.  Paul is trying to start a band.  He plays bass, Kate sings, Jackson plays guitar and sings, JT is of course the drummer.  They need a keyboard player.

I told both of them that if there's a way to actually jam online, in real time, it could be interesting, but until then, sorry not interested.  Last I knew, there was no such software because any latency at all (and there's always at least a little) means you can't really play together in real time.

JT says "We are not doing anything live until vaccines.  No worries.  We've been virtual for months.  As you know, I am very cautious myself".

Interesting.  Maybe someone's figured it out.  I hadn't heard.  I said I'd have to see a song list.

Paul enters the conversation.  He'll send me a couple of links.  One is to the band page, one is to a set list.  He just needs my email address.

I sent it to him.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #639 on: January 24, 2021, 05:38:56 PM »
Paul emailed me a couple of links.  One wasn't just a set list, but a shared spreadsheet (actually very similar to how we did it in my last band) with song, artist, decade (interesting!), and columns for each person to vote.  Votes have already been tallied, and songs have been ranked by results.  From there, the Final Song List has been derived.  The Final Song List (which Paul says in his email is a bad name because obviously nothing is ever final) has 88 songs.  At least a dozen or so songs don't have any keyboards, possibly more because I didn't recnognize a lot of the songs.  It skewed heavily towards more recent stuff, the stuff bands play in bars these days.

The band page wasn't really a band page yet; it's more like their Mission Statement.  (It's actually called the Band Concept page.)  It lays out what they're trying to do, which is appeal to 25-to-50-year-old females, on the assumption that if you get them up and dancing, the guys will follow, drink will flow, bars make money, bands make money, girls get to dance, guys get laid, everybody's happy.  Okay, I may have extrapolated a bit towards the end there.  It has a section where he lays out the "desired lineup", divided into what they currently have and what they're still looking for.  The section with "currently have" has the names of the current members and has presumably been edited to reflect their exact status.  Kate sings and plays some keyboards, mostly filling chords and stuff.  The rest is as described above.  Under "still needed" there's a second guitarist with vocals considered a plus, and another singer with some instrument (keyboards or guitar) considered a plus.  Keyboards are not otherwise mentioned in the band concept, and the song list bears this out.

I'm not going to be the guy who joins a band and starts demanding changes.  But I'm sure as hell not the guy who's going to learn 50 songs he doesn't even like just for the possibility that he'll get to play them somewhere, sometime.  I just spent seven years getting another band to that point, only to have it all vaporize just as it reached payoff.  The vaporization could not have been predicted and is no one's fault, but that doesn't change the fact that I'm seven years older and do not want to do this all again.  If I'm going to play, make the effort, learn the songs, invest myself, I have to at least like the music I'm playing, with being appreciated as a band member a strong second.  I swear, that doesn't seem like so much to ask for, but maybe I'm the one who's deluded.  It shouldn't be so hard to play songs you like, for people who like and appreciate what you're doing.

Offline pcs90

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #640 on: January 25, 2021, 12:22:45 AM »
Regarding the jamming software, if you are all close together (and you surely would be,) Jamulus will work for this in realtime if one of you knows how to host a server on their computer. If connecting to an existing one, there may be lots of lag. You all must have asio audio interfaces.
There's also ninjam, but that's not really intended for covers and such, more for improvising/jamming due to the way that system works.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #641 on: January 25, 2021, 07:34:23 AM »
Well, close together is relative.  We're all out here in the Chicago suburbs, so within 75 miles of each other.  JT is about 60 miles west of me; I don't know where the others are.  I looked into jamming software last year, and the explanations about how latency, even fractions of seconds, make it basically impossible to jam in real time.  At the very beginnings of the lockdowns, we tried to have choir rehearsals remotely, but it was impossible.  I figured that the inherent latency was compounded by the fact that 20 people were involved, and thought maybe if you cut that down to four or five, then maybe it could work.  But the latency really has to be close to zero, and I can't see that happening.

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #642 on: January 25, 2021, 12:13:16 PM »
I have friends in various parts of Europe who all jam together and they are more than 75 miles apart. Frankly, it is better not to read too much into it and just jump in, it's one of these things that doesn't make sense or seem realistic but I have loads of recordings to prove that it works (though again, not covers really.) I can sit here in the USA and play with guys in Australia using some of this tech and some of these jams are so interactive that they really sound like we're in person together. It's scary at times.
The choir latency may be due to a variety of factors. Was everyone actually set up with a high speed audio interface on a computer? I imagine the number of people would also be a factor as you said.
I think the largest struggle will be that your use case is for specific covers with a specific form as opposed to a looser structure. A lot of this stuff is really intended more for improvising and experimentation.
That being said, if you simply wish to play without leaving the house and don't actually care about learning songs note for note, I'd definitely look into it -- it's kept me sane all the way through 2020, that's for sure.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #643 on: January 25, 2021, 01:51:42 PM »
I take your point about not analyzing it too much before trying it, but I don't see how the genre or format of the music makes any difference.  You keep mentioning that I play covers.  That's true, but how does it matter whether we're playing covers or originals?  It's either happening in real time, or not.  To me, the whole point of playing with someone is that it's interactive, happening in real time.  If there's latency, then it's not real time.

Offline pcs90

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #644 on: January 25, 2021, 02:41:03 PM »
Sorry I should have clarified a little better. There are 2 different platforms I have used for playing with other musicians online and they work quite differently -- one really is realtime and one is delayed by a fixed interval. Obviously, for covers (or original compositions for that matter,) you want the first option, which is Jamulus. Given your distance from each other it should absolutely be doable as I've heard people hundreds of miles apart in Europe play music (both covers with singers and original jams) perfectly locked in time on there. In your situation the latency should not be a problem, with a nice interface it would add a few MS on top of the interface's delay. Basically what that means is you should hardly notice it.

Ninjam, which is the second option, is not so good for covers because it delays audio by a predetermined amount (based on a progression, tempo, etc) so that, no matter where you are on the planet, it will be in time and line up. For that reason, even though it isn't realtime like Jamulus, I prefer it because in my case, I do not have a band and am not working on specific material, and the pool of musicians to play with is much higher since it's not location dependent. In the majority of cases you don't even notice that it's not actually realtime, but for composed pieces it is obviously not going to work correctly.

So that's why covers make a difference; only one of these options will really work for that format where you have a defined structure (verse, chorus, bridge, etc) due to it actually being realtime. I would look into Jamulus. Someone in the band would need to host the Jamulus server on their computer (preferably someone with a fast and reliable internet connection) and the rest of you would just connect to that server. The only investment would be a USB interface with asio support, but even a cheap one will be fine. If the drummer and singers don't have mics then they'd need those too of course.

Offline Orbert

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Re: The Saga of Orbert's Band
« Reply #645 on: January 25, 2021, 04:26:50 PM »
Interesting.  I'm pretty sure someone mentioned Jamulus last year when I first started asking around, but I didn't really follow up because at the time there was no need.  Thanks for the explanation!