Oh god, why do I always wait to the last second to write these? Sound check! I need to get to sound check!
Here is a question I doubt anyone has ever asked (I hope).
My band is doing well, and I want to expand our gig opportunities by running our own sound. The hope is to be able to play any gig, anywhere without having to worry about the sound setup. I'd also like to start running sound for other bands to help us earn some extra money. (Plus, it gives me another musical outlet in case the band implodes or something).
So, here's my question: I made a list of gear I think I'll need, and I want to make sure I didn't forget anything. (I think I can get by without some of this stuff, at least at first.)
(this includes mic cables, speaker cables, drum mic cables, extra cables, etc)
Powered Amps (at least 2)
Monitors (at least 2-3)
Eventually, I'll get lights too, so I can run a complete show...but that's later.
I appreciate your time and comments!|
Ugh, equipment question. Where's the drama, man? I mean, you do realize that if you're not funny, it's up to me to be funny, and I don't need that kind of pressure, man, you dig?
You've got all the gear you need, except for all the pyro your apartment building's illegal international maintenance man can sell you, plus a mechanical bull, a big robo-zombie costume, a giant wheel of spinning meat, and a catapult loaded with human bones. And anything else you want to add to make your show more interesting.
You've got to stand out from the crowd, you know.
|Dear Smith HammerVan,
I know what you know. I got kicked off a tour with DL after flipping a tour bus in 1981, been kicked out of a dozen bands, and am not allowed to play in Australia as well as a few other countries. I'm also borrowing someone's account because I can't have my own. But that's alright, I got Rock 'n Roll. I don't need nothing else. But to the question thing. What have you got?
(begins to play slide guitar, gliding back and forth between country and blues)
What have I got, Pat Kelly? Let me see what I've got here...
(falls into a creeping riff with a long slide from B to D)
I've got a switchblade in my pocket that I've never had to use,
I've got a notebook with the names of girls I always lose,
I've got a guitar and a band of mates I didn't choose,
I've got a heart and mind that's been ruined by booze,
And if you don't know me pal, I'll give you some clues,
I've got those deep down broke-ass Van Hammersmith Blues.
(briefly solos, and then stops playing).
I've got that, Pat Kelly. I've got that.
|First of all....what's up? How's life?
Anyways, I recently went all "pre-Madonna" on my current (or ex) band of my buddies and stopped playing their songs, and just stopped showing up to practice in general. We have different tastes in music (like you haven't heard that one before) the drummer is pop-punk, the bass is a lazy slow music "lover" and the other guitarist is some combination of "cores" and "metal" I've never heard or cared for. As for me, I'm into good'ol' metal and classic rock. How is that relevant? It's not. I technically already stopped caring and started looking for a new band and it couldn't be better (sarcasm!).
My question is what are YOUR experiences on switching bands or jumping overboard on failing ones? Is it a smart idea? Is it better to put up with thing you don't like for gigs and shows? Is it worth looking for new people? Oh, I forgot to mention I'm 18 (yes another whiny teenager) and only have about three year of experience. Will people want me in their band? When did YOU first start playing in bands? Were you a whiny teenager with strange preferences too?
Ozzy (no not Osbourne) |
Ask Van Hammersmith. The name of the column is Ask Van Hammersmith, not Ask Van Hammersmith Fifty Quick Queries, nor is it Probe Van Hammersmith's Soul, nor Interview Van Hammersmith And Ask Him A Bunch Of Painful Questions About His Difficult Upbringing.
Yes, I admit that I was a teenager with strange preferences, although my preferences were related to my attraction to chicks with shaved heads and rubber pants, which I swear was quite normal at the time and maybe still is. And I may have been whiny, but I also punched out my dad once, so I guess things balance out.
But your questions are still too numerous, young Osquid. I will answer only one, and I choose "Will people want me in their band?" And the answer is no, young Osquid, not unless you learn to interact with people without being a sausage-headed jack-apple.
What does that mean? It means wash off the stink of pre-Madonna-ish-ness, Osquid.
A clear way to look at your situation is to say that you are an interested dilettante (that means dabbler).
If you're presentable, halfway friendly, and you can play well, then you should be able to get a gig in a band. But that's when the trouble starts, right?
Yeah, it's trouble for dilettantes to actually be in a band. Because then you have to do things like show up on time to practice, you have to learn a bunch of stupid songs that you didn't even ask to know, and you have to respect other people's ideas. You actually have to fall in line with the other members, work together, and do your part. God, that sucks, right? Because you really just want to tell chicks you're in a band, and somehow play huge, awesome shows even though you don't want to take the time to learn the actual songs.
Do me a favor, okay Osquid? If you go to an audition, show up and be honest. Say you're a quitter and you'll lose interest and wander off if everything isn't exactly the way you want it to be, and you'll probably walk out sooner or later because to be honest, being in a band actually requires work and you're only interested in telling chicks that you're in a band, but telling them that you just quit this band because they're all a bunch of stupid shoegazers is just as good, right? Because that would totally impress chicks.
Aw, I got lost on a rant there, man. Just do me a real favor, okay Osquid? Just don't join a band unless you're going to stick around. Ask them what music they like, and if you care that much about "genre wars," then don't join the band.
Dilettantes, man. You people get my blood up.
|Dear Mr. Van Hammersmith,
I'm in a band. We have been together for a year. They are from another town, but I have no problem coming to practice and we were very cool. I even started to write some songs.
But lately (for 3 months to be exact) we have totally lost contact, I mean they don't answer e-mails and all that. It's true that they are all students and have serious stuff, but we used to get together no matter what.
So the question is, am I kicked out of this band? And if I am, should I make my own band?
(Sorry for being a crybaby and asking two questions. I know you hate that.)
Thanks and stay cool.
No problem, Al. I hate to say it though, but yeah, if all the members of the band all at once all of a sudden stop answering emails, they've probably replaced you with some kind of six-armed guitar ninja with diamond teeth and really good credit rating (sorry, that just slipped in there. Van Hammersmith owes money).
Yes, I would say you should make your own band, preferably with guys who live in the same town as you. It would be best that they live within walking distance, so you can drop by their houses if they stop answering emails. Get their phone numbers too, and the numbers of some of their close friends so you can call around and find them if they start avoiding you.
Ideally, you and your new band would get razor-sharp awesome and win a local battle of the bands, and then go to regionals where you would face your old band in the finals. It would be cool if you and the six-armed ninja could face each other in an awesome ax-battle on stage, and then your old band and your new band could fight in the parking lot just before running inside to find that the judges have awarded your new band FIRST PRIZE!
That would make a pretty good movie. If I sell the screenplay to Hollywood I'll cut you in for one percent. Van Hammersmith shares!
|Hello Van Hammy,
I've been playing guitar/writing songs for a little over a year now and I decided to form a Powerpop band with my college friends.
We practiced our asses off, playing covers and some original material and I could say that we're getting a pretty decent sound. We started out playing at our friends' birthdays and, after a while, some bar/club gigs with some success (though the lead player does get a little carried away at times).
But here comes the ditty: See, I'm afraid our lead player (who also happens to own the place and gear we use for rehearsals), we don't see eye to eye.
Even after a few gigs, he doesn't seem aware of the sound we're aiming for. He came up to me and said that we should play more like "Linkin Park" or some heavier-sounding band. I swiftly opposed and said that it ain't happening. But now every time we play together he's always out of line, doing weird proggy stuff. Should we talk to him? kick him out? Or is it just a phase that'll go away? Or am I the Nazi dictator here?
"Verbal Pancakes" |
I am going to call you Vice President "Verbal Pancakes," so that I can abbreviate it as VP "VP," which I think is cool for some reason. Actually, now it doesn't seem so cool. I going to call you Jug. Hey, what up, Jug.
As for your buddy Link, you guys definitely need to go Band Meeting on his ass, and he needs to be dragged, kicking and screaming onto the Power Pop Mother Ship (PPMS). We can't have no radio-friendly synth-rap-scream-guitar pop-prog-metal guitarist bringing his occasionally sometimes uplifting but alternately gloomy polished distortion droning aboard our craft of big, bright, also distortion-heavy riffs.
Perhaps you think that success at a few local gigs means you stop pushing in new creative directions. Perhaps he should stick to the script you've already written?
Seriously, unless this is driving everybody nuts and the rest of the band agrees that Link is way off base, you should probably just cut him some slack and let him put his musical mark on the sound of his band. Instead of telling him he's playing wrong, provide a musical counterpoint. Going Linkin Park, are you? Well, eat my Weezer!
I bet that the creative difference between you could push you to amazing new heights, if only you don't destroy each other first. You'll hate each other for a while, but then you'll start making these amazing news songs together. Eventually all-night songwriting sessions will turn into sessions with booze, drugs and people of loose moral standards performing bizarre acts for your amusement and participation.
But eventually the quality of your work will suffer and jealousies will form between the power pop rhythm player and his pop-prog-metal lead guitarist. Maybe a woman will come between them... maybe one will get the other hooked on horse, as they called smack in the olden days.
But then, after many years apart and a few failed solo projects, the two guitarists, now clean and in good emotional places, will meet again for a reunion tour and the inevitable studio album to follow.
Same deal. Movie. You get one percent. Van Hammersmith is a business man.