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Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame

I Guess I Spoke Too Soon: Out of the Band

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Bottom line up front:

After 3 rehearsals, the lead singer said they were going to go with another guitarist.

He said I hadn't learned enough songs.  I pointed out I learned 35 and there were another 10 I could get within a week, I just didn't know they wanted me to learn those.

He said learning the songs wasn't really the point, it was being able to get through a song from start to finish, communicating to him when I was finished with the lead break, and when to end the vamping at the end of the song.

Well, we went beginning to end through 25 of the 28 songs we did in the 3rd rehearsal, and the other 3, he explained to me how they were doing it different, and then we went through start to finish.

Ending a song just takes rehearsals.  I had made huge progress.

Then he said my solos were too generic, that I needed to adjust the solo to the song...but that was right after he admitted I nailed the Santana feel for Evil Ways and the feel for Rock Around the Clock, Wonderful Tonight, and Keep Your Hands to yourself.

I thought I impressed the bass player with my ability to follow through unexpected changes they'd made to some of the songs.

I also thought I was working from behind the 8-ball, because they'd give me a list of songs to work on, give me some key changes (that were incorrect a few times, like telling me they were doing All Summer Long in A, which makes it impossible to play the Sweet Home Alabama lick, but when I showed up to play, they said that it WAS actually still in G).  But for the songs that were in a different key, I had to play along in the original key with the recorded song just to get the feel of the song, and then play it in a different key when with the band.

 

The 3rd rehearsal was just with the lead singer.

I think he decided before I got there that they weren't going to use me. So he was looking for the problems to use as reasons.  The result was that every complaint he had, which weren't *wrong*, all had multiple songs where I successful did what he said I failed at (following when he changed something on the fly, coming up with an ending on the fly that he could follow, adjusting the solo to fit the song, filling in the song with something that wasn't on the record, etc.).

We still had 2 weeks until the first gig I was supposed to join them with (6 March). I think one more rehearsal and we could have cleaned up 90% of what was bothering him, and with one more week, I would have added another 10 songs. And this was going to be just a 3-set gig. about 28 songs total, because there were a few we could extend out, and you can repeat one or two early songs again in the last set (based on the set list examples they gave me earlier).

And then another full month until the first full 4-set gig (3 April), where I definitely could have their full 60-song catalog down.

 

I also felt like things accelerated unexpectedly.  They knew their old lead guitarist was going to leave. They brought me in, and I was supposed to do just 1 or 2 sets on 6 March, and if it went well (and I thought it would), then I'd do the full set list on 6 April, and if it went well, they'd fire the other guitarist.

But on 20 Feb or so, they said I needed to learn the whole set list for 6 March. Except they didn't have a set list for me to work on. So I was supposed to learn as many songs as I could before that 3rd rehearsal with just the lead singer. And I did.  I went from knowing about 15 songs well and iffy on another 5 to knowing 28 songs and another 10 iffy, and another 10 that I knew would be easy to add with another week.

And that wasn't good enough. I guess he wanted me to be able to play 45 songs, from start to finish, being ready for the key I had rehearsed it in to not be the key they actually did it in, and put in solo breaks at points of the song not on the recorded version, or longer than the recorded version, but without them telling me beforehand what those changes were.

If I sound like I'm complaining and irritated, I am.

Because I felt like he blamed me for not being able to read his mind.  Or for not having the experience to make up for his lack of musical knowledge/ability.

 

I mean, the end result was good: I know a bunch of songs I would never have learned.

I picked up a love for old Stax songs.

I've got my gear pretty much fully figured out right now (Firehawk FX + 2nd expression pedal, through an Atomic Reactor FRFR powered speaker, with the axes being a Yamaha PAC 611, a JTV69 Variax, and a Vibracell Switch Innovo).  I've learned that I can play a bunch of solos I thought were out of reach. I can now actually play Pride and Joy credibly (albeit still slightly slower than SRV), because having to learn it for the band helped me to get past trying to get every hammer on and bend exactly like the transcription in the book and instead focused on just hitting the major landmarks.  That helps with a bunch of songs and other solo styles (like Santana), and is a huge breakthrough in my playing.

And honestly, the lead singer isn't a good singer, and a pretty bad musician. The bass player and drummer are fine.

But I should be able to find a better band, one I don't have to lead, but can just groove with. Which is what I really want.  I still would prefer to be a rhythm guitarist than a lead. Or a lead guitarist that does solos to give the lead singer a rest, but is really in it for the feel of jamming in a band.

 

So it was a great move for me, but I'm back looking again.

I'm still going to keep learning the set list.

If the other guys they audition don't work out, I guess I'd still play for this band.  Just to play, and get gig experience.

They probably won't call me. If they do, I won't let hard feelings stand in the way. But even this does still end up being my first band, there is no way this can be my permanent band now, like I hoped it would.

Edited by Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame
correct typos
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As time is closing in on the gig next week, the singer showed how he is out of touch with reality.  If he expects someone to come in knowing 45 songs with key changes and different arrangements all within a week that band is going to have to pull off a miracle. 

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to be fair, I still have some rough spots.

Gigging isn't like playing along with the song on Youtube.

But in my favor, I did everything I could, and I thought I showed HUGE strides every rehearsal.

I wasn't there yet, I admit it, but I thought one more full-band rehearsal and I'd have it.  I guess they just didn't want to trust that.

 

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Also to be fair to them: I have no band experience as a guitarist.

But I don't want to start from scratch. I am selfish enough to want to join a band that already has gigs.  That means the band is going to have to be willing to do a few extra rehearsals to build our rapport, and the bass player and drummer lived far enough away they didn't really want to do that.

I agree with you that I don't think they're going to find a guitarist that does what they want.  That's why I think they might still end up calling me back.

But they *might* be able to find someone that can do it better than I am right now.

We'll see.

I know what I can do as a musician.  I now know what I need to do as a gigging guitarist, and I'll get there with another month of woodshedding on my own.

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Sometimes singers are a pain in the ass, with criticism, wanting to change your sound, your gear, your contributions; yet so many don’t have a PA system, want other band members to provide it; each and every gig they show up with a microphone in hand after the rest of the band unloads and sets everything up, then they leave with their microphone and leaves the tear-down and loading to everyone else... not all, but too many. You’ll find another band. F*ck that dickcheese. 

Dang it Man! When you came back to the forum a couple of weeks ago you said that you didn’t have anything left to say :lol:

Edited by gtrdaddy
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6 minutes ago, gtrdaddy said:

F*ck that dickcheese. 

 

THIS ⬆️

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This is exactly why more people simple choose to play at home. People Suck sometimes, and it sucks the fun right out of it. 

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I hear you. I pulled out of "the band" about 2 years ago. It would be good for my so called abilities to get back into gear, but my life is better for not being tied down with folks that want to show up weekly, unprepared for much beyond beer.....Really? At NOON on Sundays?

Up until the last actual gig, we almost seemed to still be moving forward. But that cemented my desire to exit. Life is too short.

Based upon your outline of what you had done and the rapid progress, I am sure you can do better. Best of luck.

 

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I’m guessing the “singer” is probly the “rhythm” guitar player. I gigged for over 30 years and around 20 years full time. The biggest issue was ego’s from someone who’s ego was larger that their talent!
Just keep working on your playing and stage presence. Don’t let critic’s bring you down!! This is your 1st attempt so take as much from it as you can, it’ll help you with the next gig! 
If the guy is really being a jerk about things he’s probly pissin everybody off!!! Steal the Bass player and drummer find a singer/player and start your own band. There’s agency’s to help with bookings and guys that own PA’s that they rent and due the FOH sound! You won’t make much till things tighten up and the band is growing a return audience, but you’ll be getting better!!! 

Just some thoughts from someone who’s been there. 

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You're patient and a hard worker.  After the second objection you'd proven to be baseless, I would have just asked why he didn't want me in the band.  

That said, you got a lot out of the work you put in, advanced your skills and probably had great fun in rehearsals going through 25/28ths of the songs.  Best of luck finding the next band!

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I suspect it was mostly that you simply aren't the old guitarist. He is used to hearing one thing, and you brought another thing. He may have a long road ahead of him...

Might be worth talking to the bassist, as you thought he was on board. Not to vent, but he might be able to offer feedback, ranging from "Singer's a dick, don't lose sleep over it" to "Look, I gotta tell you, this aspect of your playing wasn't working."
 

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11 minutes ago, polara said:

 "Singer's a dick, don't lose sleep over it" 

So, Nathan....long story short.....you joined a band?

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18 minutes ago, polara said:

I suspect it was mostly that you simply aren't the old guitarist. He is used to hearing one thing, and you brought another thing. He may have a long road ahead of him...

Might be worth talking to the bassist, as you thought he was on board. Not to vent, but he might be able to offer feedback, ranging from "Singer's a dick, don't lose sleep over it" to "Look, I gotta tell you, this aspect of your playing wasn't working."

Good advice.

Sorry this one didn't work out, Nathan, but these sorts of experiences are really valuable not just for getting better at guitar, but also for learning what works and doesn't work for you in terms of band work and communication styles.

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It's just a good thing you didn't show up with a Kammerer!!

 

:D

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1 hour ago, gtrdaddy said:

Sometimes singers are a pain in the ass, with criticism, wanting to change your sound, your gear, your contributions; yet so many don’t have a PA system, want other band members to provide it; each and every gig they show up with a microphone in hand after the rest of the band unloads and sets everything up, then they leave with their microphone and leaves the tear-down and loading to everyone else... not all, but too many. You’ll find another band. F*ck that dickcheese. 

Dang it Man! When you came back to the forum a couple of weeks ago you said that you didn’t have anything left to say :lol:

I'm sorry! I'll try to shut up again!

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1 hour ago, Dutchman said:

I’m guessing the “singer” is probly the “rhythm” guitar player. 

nailed it

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Sounds like a shit situation anyway TBH.  Why did you suspect the old guitarist was leaving?  Was he tired of their shit too?  Then you say if you did well at the first gig, they were going to fire him?  One, that's shitty on their part and two, who do you think he would have blamed for that?  These guys sound shady as hell.  There were so many red flags in your story the bulls started running in Pamplona.  Be grateful you got out early.

Edited by tommy p
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Agree with the vast majority of sentiments expressed thus far.

Singer was just looking for any way to shit can you. For what reasons, we will never really know. His balls were apparently in the possession of his wife or GF and he opted for a more douche-y approach. Good riddance, man! You don't need that shit.

By way of comparison, I had to let go of my original band's drummer  a week back, due to his style being ill-suited to the more er...  uh, progressive, dynamic direction emerging in our music. He wasn't a bad drummer by far, just not the best fit for what/where we are heading. But he is a helluva nice guy and was a valuable member whilst in the band. I tried to be respectful, direct and clear when I broke the news. I guess I was successful as he is still willing to work with me on a more 4 on the floor, hard rock project.

Makes me grateful as hell to have some decent musicians and human beings in both the originals and the cover band. No egos (yet) and everyone is competent and professional. Hopefully, Nathan, you'll come across a similar bunch soon! 

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36 minutes ago, polara said:

I suspect it was mostly that you simply aren't the old guitarist. He is used to hearing one thing, and you brought another thing. He may have a long road ahead of him...

Might be worth talking to the bassist, as you thought he was on board. Not to vent, but he might be able to offer feedback, ranging from "Singer's a dick, don't lose sleep over it" to "Look, I gotta tell you, this aspect of your playing wasn't working."
 

I find this very persuasive. I thought about reaching out to the bassist. I might do that now.

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It sounds like the singer has some issues. I am SO thankful for my band mates. Eight years and we still enjoy each other. Our rehearsal night is our dart night or bowling league weekly outing, then we go for beer following rehearsal. I'm not sure I would last in a situation that had tension or ego - it's got to be fun.

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Finding a decent band is hard, not easy...you have the right attitude....take the Setlist you’ve learned and add it to your repertoire...shop yourself around at jams..,,you’ll score a gig with some cool dudes or dudettes soon enough....

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9 hours ago, Nathan of Brainfertilizer Fame said:

Also to be fair to them: I have no band experience as a guitarist.

Wanna fix this? Start attending jam sessions. You can spend the first few just observing.
Jams teach you to think on your feet. There's no Pause or Rewind button; you plow though to the end no matter what.
You learn how to anticipate chord changes, move to different keys, deal with awesome and poor musicians (a whole thread there!) and relax and have fun playing with strangers and people watching you play.
Years ago I attended blues jams (as a bassist) every Saturday for nearly an entire year. It was invaluable. I recommend you get some jams under your belt.

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51 minutes ago, killerteddybear said:

Wanna fix this? Start attending jam sessions. You can spend the first few just observing.
Jams teach you to think on your feet. There's no Pause or Rewind button; you plow though to the end no matter what.
You learn how to anticipate chord changes, move to different keys, deal with awesome and poor musicians (a whole thread there!) and relax and have fun playing with strangers and people watching you play.
Years ago I attended blues jams (as a bassist) every Saturday for nearly an entire year. It was invaluable. I recommend you get some jams under your belt.

good advice

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