Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Poison Concert Review – Salt Lake City, Utah August 25, 2009

Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Poison 2009 tour Salt Lake City, Utah concert review August 25, 2009.

Joe Elliot of Def Leppard
Joe Elliot of Def Leppard

 I had the opportunity to see the Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Poison tour when it came through Salt Lake City, Utah on August 24, 2009. Cheap Trick is one of my favorite bands of all time and I’ve never had a chance to see them perform live. So I was extremely excited to see Cheap Trick perform. Def Leppard is also one of my favorite live bands so I was really excited to see them even though I’ve seen them twice before. As for Poison, well, I like C.C. DeVille but I don’t particularly like Bret Michaels singing.      Continue reading “Def Leppard, Cheap Trick, Poison Concert Review – Salt Lake City, Utah August 25, 2009”

Weekend Gig Report – In Stereo at Canyon Inn August 21-22, 2009

Recap of the In Stereo gig at the Canyon Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah on August 21-22, 2009.

In Stereo - Live At The Canyon Inn
In Stereo - Live At The Canyon Inn

 My live band “In Stereo” played at the Canyon Inn in Salt Lake City, Utah this past weekend. The Canyon Inn is becoming our home club since we play there so often. In Stereo seems to have pretty good success every time we play there. The regulars tell us we’re one of the better bands that play there and it’s nice to hear those kind of comments. I personally believe we’re the best band that plays there buy hey, I’m biased.

   This gig was sort of a surprise as we didn’t have it down on the band calender. But our agent called us up to “remind” us that we were booked to play at the Canyon Inn. It was news to us that we were booked at all but being the professionals that we are, we honored the commitment our agent made for us. We went into this gig without any practices but we have been playing together for about 14 years so we weren’t too worried.     Continue reading “Weekend Gig Report – In Stereo at Canyon Inn August 21-22, 2009”

Weekend Gig Report – Distant Thunder At The Summit County Fair

Matt Rushton performed with Kent Rushton, Frank Lee and Erik Rushton in the band Distant Thunder at the Summit County Fair in Coalville, Utah.

Distant Thunder Rocks The Summit County Fair (L.-R. Matt Rushton, Frank Lee, Erik Rushton, Kent Rushton)
Distant Thunder Rocks The Summit County Fair (L.-R. Matt Rushton, Frank Lee, Erik Rushton, Kent Rushton)

   This weekend I had a chance to play with my cousin Kent’s live band, Distant Thunder. We played at the Summit County Fair in Coalville, Utah as the last act on the main stage before the big rodeo! We had some challenges in getting set up and playing which made it a very interesting gig.

   I don’t mind playing at county fairs because there’s usually a pretty good crowd there. Another thing that I’ve found to be true about county fairs is that if your band is the headline act, they pay pretty darn well. We make a lot more playing at fairs than we do playing in bars. The Summit County Fair was no exception.     Continue reading “Weekend Gig Report – Distant Thunder At The Summit County Fair”

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”?”

Using Backing Tracks In Your Live Band

Using backing tracks in your live band will give you the ability to play a more diverse range of music than otherwise possible.

This 15 year old laptop runs our keyboard sequencer.
This 15 year old laptop runs our keyboard sequencer.

   I’ve played in a lot of different types of live bands over the years. I’ve played solo with just my guitar, as a duo, as a trio all the way up to playing in a full on 40 piece Big Band. As you know, it’s great to have more musician’s to create more of a musical soundscape but it also comes with a lot more logistical problems.

   Right now I’m playing in a 4-piece band that has bass, drums, guitar and keyboards. We are able to cover a lot of music with this lineup. We also do a lot of songs that would take many times more musicians to pull off live by using a computer sequencer to play the extra parts on a synthesizer module. This gives us the ability to cover tunes that there would be no way to do live with just a 4-piece band. It solves a lot of the problems associated with using a lot of musicians in the band.

   We are able to play songs by Nine Inch Nails, Santana, Sting and many other artists that use large groups of musicians or layers of synthesizers to create their music. It really helps us to flesh out our live sound by using these sequenced backing tracks. Having this tool at our disposal has helped to set us apart from the local bands that don’t use a sequencer live.      Continue reading “Using Backing Tracks In Your Live Band”

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.     Continue reading “Being A Musician Playing In Multiple Bands”

Seize The Moment If You’ve Got A Large Crowd

If your live band gets the chance to play in front of a very large crowd, don’t let the moment pass you by. Seize the moment and Wow! that crowd.

Shufflin' Noah Rockin' The 90's
Shufflin' Noah Rockin' The 90's

  I’ve played to audiences of 1 person and I’ve played to audiences of 10,000 people over the course of my career in a live band. I’ve made some basic mistakes over the years and I’ve learned some good lessons from them. One mistake that I made early on in my career was not seizing the moment and giving an over-the-top show when I’ve played in front of very large audiences.

   I consider a large crowd to be anything over 1000 people. I have played to audiences of 1000 or more quite a few times over the course of my career as a live musician. It’s such a great feeling to look out and see a big crowd but it can also be quite intimidating and I’ve blown it a couple times.       Continue reading “Seize The Moment If You’ve Got A Large Crowd”

What To Do When The Band Breaks Up

When your band breaks up, it’s an opportunity to expand your talent and skills to become an even better musician.

Sammy Hagar Became A More Complete Musician After He Left Montrose
Sammy Hagar Became A More Complete Musician After He Left Montrose

I’ve been playing in live bands for 27 years now and I’ve been through my share of band breakups. By band breakup, I mean either the the group will completely disband or I have quit a band that I felt wasn’t going anywhere. It’s always a bummer when your time in a band comes to an end but it’s also an opportunity to re-examine why you are playing music and what you hope to do with your skills as a musician.

I remember when my first band broke up. I had been playing with Seniors in High School and I was just a Freshman. They all graduated High School and that was pretty much the end of the band. I knew I wanted to keep playing but my skills were extremely limited at the time and I had no clue how to even go about getting into another band. I did know a couple of things though, I knew I had a deep love of music and that I wanted to become a better guitarist. So I immersed myself in the study of music theory and the guitar.   Continue reading “What To Do When The Band Breaks Up”

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”

Holding Auditions For New Band Members

Whenever you need to replace a band member, you will probably have to hold auditions.

Paul Rodgers Passed The Audition To Replace Freddie Mercury In Queen
Paul Rodgers Passed The Audition To Replace Freddie Mercury In Queen

   Every live band will go through personnel changes throughout the life span of the band. Members of the band will quit for all sorts of reasons from health issues to the ever popular “artistic differences” which is really just code for personality conflicts. Whatever the reason, if your live band is going to continue you will have to find a new member to replace the one who is leaving.

   Sometimes you’ll be lucky and know a musician that can step right in and replace the person who is leaving. Most of the time you’re going to have to do some asking around  and find a few musicians who would be interested in joining your band. Once you have a few names, it’s time to have an audition session and give the candidates a chance to show you what they can do.   Continue reading “Holding Auditions For New Band Members”