How To Quit Your Band

Quitting your band can be a hard decision but you can make it easier on everyone by leaving the band slowly.

Silver Tuba Player
Even Tuba Players Think About Quitting The Band

   So you’ve been playing in your live band for a while but it just seems like it’s not what you wanted. Believe me, we’ve all been there. I remember playing in a band where I had steady gigs three weekends a month and all I had to do was learn the songs, show up with my gear and play. But it was becoming a hassle trying to juggle band practices and gigs with my personal life. I also wanted to write and perform my own music live. I knew the time had come to quit that band but what was the best way to do it?

   Well, quitting a band is just like quitting a job. There’s a right way and several wrong ways to quit a band. Let’s discuss the wrong ways first.    Continue reading “How To Quit Your Band”

Week Before Gig Preparation

Suggestions for how to prepare your live band the final week before your gig.

In Stereo At 2002 Winter Olympics   Having a big gig on the calender is the main goal of every live band. If you’re lucky, you’ve had plenty of time to prepare for your gig,  you’ve got all the songs learned and your show is completely rehearsed. There are a few things I like to be on top of my game the week before a big gig.

   The first thing I do is spend time alone practicing any parts that I have trouble with. This includes complicated guitar solos, tricky lyrics or anything that gives me rhythmic problems. I like to just put a little more polish and sparkle on my playing the final week before a big gig so I put in some extra time playing with a metronome as well. I try not to overdo it but the extra practice really settles my nerves.

   Continue reading “Week Before Gig Preparation”

Tips For Auditioning For A Live Band

If you are going to be auditioning for a live band, here are some tips to help you do your best.

Kyle Johnson
Bill Barely Passed His Audition

   The other day I wrote a post about joining a band by answering Musician Wanted ads. Naturally the next step in the process is going to the audition so that’s what we’ll discuss today. I’ve played in a lot of live bands over the years and been to my share of live band auditions too. Auditions are always an interesting process and I’ve always learned something going through the band audition process. Today I’m going to give you a few tips on preparing to audition for a live band.

   The first thing you want to do is make sure you have the correct address for where the audition is going to be held. I remember once getting so lost going to an audition that I was an hour late. Needless to say, it didn’t make a good impression and I didn’t get the gig. Get directions and a phone number you can call in case you get lost or you get stuck in traffic.     Continue reading “Tips For Auditioning For A Live Band”

Tips For Answering “Musician Wanted For Live Band” Ads

When answering Musician Wanted ads, follow these simple tips to protect yourself and your equipment.

Frank With Drums
Frank Brought His Own Drums And Cords To The Audition

   I’ve played in a lot of live bands over the years and I’ve answered my share of “Musician Wanted” ads as well. Finding auditions are always an interesting process and I’ve always learned something going through the band audition process. Today I’m going to give you a few tips for when you answer a Musician Wanted Ad before you set up an audition.

   Let me start off with a little story. One time when I was about 18, my bass playing friend and I were at the local music store looking at musician wanted ads. We picked one out that said something to the effect of “Wanted, musicians to form rock band. Need guitar, keyboard and bass player.” So naturally we gave them a call. The guy on the phone said “bring all your equipment and come to our practice studio at this address.” We asked what constituted “all our equipment” and the guy said “microphones, amplifiers, mixer, speakers…whatever you have”. Luckily, we didn’t have much but we loaded up our beat-to-crap microphones along with our beginner guitars and amplifiers. We then set out to find the address of the practice studio.    Continue reading “Tips For Answering “Musician Wanted For Live Band” Ads”

Tipping The Bartenders And Waitresses

Tipping the bartenders and waitresses at your live band gigs will get your band remembered and re-booked.

Full Tip Jar? Spread The Wealth Around
Full Tip Jar? Spread The Wealth Around

One of the most important things to have when you play in a live band is places to play. Without having a club or venue to play in we couldn’t really call our band a “live band”. It would just be a band that gets together to play for each other and although that’s fun for a while, the real fun is playing in front of an audience at a venue.

   I’m sure you know there is a lot of competition between bands to get into the places that feature live music. Even if you have a regular gig you can rest assured that there’s another band ready to step in and take that gig if your band can’t fulfill it. Most clubs have several bands on a regular rotation and there are many other bands trying to get their foot in the door and get booked too. Today I’m going to talk about a very simple way to set your band apart from the other bands that are playing in the same clubs as you.   Continue reading “Tipping The Bartenders And Waitresses”

Make Your Live Band Gigs Easier By Downsizing Your Rig

Almost all musicians hate hauling equipment, that’s why it makes sense to downsize your live band rig.

Haul Less Equipment With A Small Amplifier
Haul Less Equipment With A Small Amplifier

   One of the least fun things about playing in a live band is hauling your equipment around. Of course, having the right equipment is crucial to being able to put on a live gig. So it seems like the longer you play in a band, the more equipment you acquire and then have to haul to your gigs. It’s a problem that can quickly get out of hand and can leave you feeling overwhelmed when it’s time to load up and haul all your equipment to the gigs.

   When I started playing in bands I had one electric guitar, one distortion pedal and one amplifier. It wasn’t bad to haul that small setup even though my amp was really heavy. Naturally over the years I added more guitars that I used onstage, more effect pedals and multiple amplifiers. When my guitar rig was at it’s biggest I was hauling 3 guitars, two amplifiers, an effects rack, multiple effects pedals, wireless guitar system, microphones to mic the amps and all the necessary audio and power cables to hook everything up. I also had to haul my vocal microphone, mic stand, guitar stands and a couple racks of lights to the gigs. Needless to say, I hated hauling all that gear even though it was necessary to my show.    Continue reading “Make Your Live Band Gigs Easier By Downsizing Your Rig”

Should You Stay In The Band If You’re “Forcing It”?

If you find yourself “forcing it” when playing in front of a live audience, it may be time to quit your band.

Nobody "Forcing It" here!
Nobody "Forcing It" here!

   There comes a point in every musician’s life when playing in a live band becomes a grind. Things start to lose their newness after awhile and the band just doesn’t seem like much fun anymore. You start to notice that learning new songs isn’t much fun anymore and the practices become a drag and a burden. Even having to pack all your equipment up and head to the gig seems like more work than it’s worth. It’s at that point that you may ask yourself “should I quit this band?”.

   As I’ve said before, playing in a live band is work more often than playing. Sometimes the constant work that goes into making your live band be the best it can be gets to be a real drag. It’s easy to get caught up in hating the non-playing aspect of being in a live band. But, you keep working and grinding it out because of the the feeling of stepping out in front of a live audience which is giving you a lot of love for your great effort.    Continue reading “Should You Stay In The Band If You’re “Forcing It”?”

Developing A New Member Of Your Live Band

Developing new members for your live band can be challenging but very rewarding if done right.

Brian Johnson Developed Into A Perfect New Singer For AC/DC
Brian Johnson Developed Into A Perfect New Singer For AC/DC

   When you start a new live band it can be difficult to find an entire group of top level players. Sometimes you won’t be able to find the perfect player for your band. If you find yourself in this situation, don’t give up on the idea of getting your band off the ground. You can really help out an aspiring player as well as your band if you take the time to do some work and develop a player that shows good potential.

   The other day I wrote about holding auditions for new band members. One of the challenges you will face when adding a new member is developing their ability to blend with the rest of the band. Remember that everyone grows the more they play in a live band. If you find someone that is showing some good potential that you really like and seem to get along with, give them a chance. Even if they’re not the greatest player in the world you may find someone that will grow and become the best member of the band.    Continue reading “Developing A New Member Of Your Live Band”

Dealing With Change And Guiding Your Live Band’s Evolution

Live Bands must change and evolve if they are going to keep on playing gigs.

In Stereo Sings 3-Part Harmony
In Stereo Sings 3-Part Harmony

   One thing I’ve found from all my years of playing in a live band is that things are constantly changing. The type and quality of equipment is always changing. The current popular songs are always changing. Your live band has to constantly change as well just to keep up with everything else. Believe me, the best way to let your band die is to refuse to change.

   One of the biggest problems I see in live bands is they become unwilling to change to fit the their ever changing environment. The biggest reason for this is because of plain old laziness. It takes work to keep your band up to date and relevant. The biggest mistake that bands make is an unwillingness to change their set list. You really need to get rid of songs that you’ve been playing forever and start learning some new songs. Your song list should be constantly added to and changed up at gigs.   Continue reading “Dealing With Change And Guiding Your Live Band’s Evolution”

In A Live Band, Multiple Skills Will Increase Your Value

You can increase your value in your live band by bringing your mutiple skills and talents into the band.

Frank and Kyle Are Both Multi-Instrumentalists
Frank and Kyle Are Both Multi-Instrumentalists

 One thing I’ve noticed in my years of playing in a live band is how important members are that can do multiple things in the band. I was in a band where we had a lead guitar player that was a good lead guitar player, but that’s all he did. He didn’t sing lead or sing backup, he only brought his guitar and his amp and he didn’t book any of the gigs. Yes he would have the songs all learned and he played his parts perfectly but he just didn’t seem to contribute as much as the other members of the band.

Continue reading “In A Live Band, Multiple Skills Will Increase Your Value”