Being A Musician Playing In Multiple Bands

Playing in multiple bands can be a challenge but it also opens up some excellent performance opportunities.

Matt Rushton - Lead Guitarist
Matt Rushton - Lead Guitarist

   I’ve been playing in live bands since I was 15 years old and in that time I’ve been a member of many different types of bands. I’ve been in cover bands, original bands, wedding bands, jazz bands, country bands, rock bands and the occasional church group. I’ve been in some of these groups simultaneously and I’ve had some interesting times juggling multiple bands.

   There are a few different reasons I like to play in multiple bands. I know a lot of great musicians and I like to play music with all of them. Some of the musicians I know are more skilled at different types of music than others. So I spend time playing with different groups of musicians and I get to play different styles of music with different lineups of musicians. I personally like to play a lot of different types of music so playing in multiple groups allows me to play more varied music styles.    

   I’m currently actively playing in a cover band, an original band and a wedding band. They’re all fun and I get to indulge in a lot of different styles of music. My cover band makes me the most money and we play to the biggest crowds. My original band records a lot of music and plays the occasional gig doing all of the music we write together. The wedding band is quieter and more suited to playing at weddings. The wedding band also plays the largest variety of music and can be the most challenging of the three bands.

   It’s really not too hard to juggle playing in three bands. I play a lot of the same songs in my cover band as I do in my wedding band. The original band doesn’t play out a lot so it doesn’t take a lot of my time. My cover band gets top priority because we play to the largest audiences and that’s important to me.

   The key to playing in multiple bands is to prioritize them. As I said, my cover band takes precedence over the other two so if a gig comes up for my cover band, the other bands take a back seat. Of course, if I get a big gig with either the original band or the wedding band, the cover band will take a lower priority. I guess it really comes down to how big the gig is. If a gig pays well or there are going to be a lot of people there, then that’s the gig I take.

   So, the primary reason for being a musician playing in multiple bands is the gig opportunities. If you play in more bands that have multiple, specialized talents then your gig opportunities go up. Since I’m a live musician, then it’s all about playing gigs and that’s why I play in multiple bands. I want to play as many gigs as possible because that’s what I love doing the most! -Matt-

Author: Live Musician Central

My name is Matt Rushton. I have been playing in bands for 27 years. I've been playing professionally for 21 years. I have opened for Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett, Little River Band, and Quiet Riot.

One thought on “Being A Musician Playing In Multiple Bands”

  1. Beside playing in multiple bands to get out your musicial ambitions it’s always a challenge to substitute in a band. I’ve played a few gigs with bands who’ve needed a bass player on a moments notice for some reason. So with no practice I’ll just go and wing it. It helps the chops, expands the mind, is exhausting but is great for the ego when it works. The ultimate comment is “I love what you did, it added a lot.” If they ask you to join the band, just say thank you and go back to your own band but take the experience with you and make your band better.

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