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Old 11-13-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
Dae1337
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Can't get my band a little more 'off the ground'

Hi folks,

I'm the leader of a coverband that's had a few gigs and we're going to write our own music as well. We always have a lot of fun playing together but still we can't manage to get people to really respect and like us. Often friends will tell me that we were 'the best of the evening' and stuff like that, but still it just doesn't 'seem' to me that the crowd really likes and respects our music.

The crowd never dances to our music and they do to the other bands playing. Bands similar to us (friends) get more likes on FB than we do. Why do people say that we were the best and still, the way i see it, those other bands get more respect?

What could it be? Thanks for helping out!

Dae

Oh and PS. one other thing: tonight i played with some other guys for the first time. They told me they were playing their own songs but it turned out they played all kinds of covers and i didn't know the songs.. They weren't better musicians or anything but i just couldn't find a way to 'get involved'. I just played some stuff randomly, they didn't tell me what to do and i did not know the songs: it was awful. I feel like i screwed up and i could feel they thought i was a rediculous musician. This is not my fault right? Why didn't it work out that well?
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:38 PM   #2
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To your first point, you did mention that the reassurances you received were from your friends, perhaps they were being nice. Or the crowds havent been kind to you because youre the wrong genre for them, or youre playing covers people dont like.
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Old 11-13-2012, 08:39 PM   #3
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If you want people to me more interested in you, be more interested.

It depends on how good they expected you to be. Some people can hop in and make stuff up, most people can't.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:03 PM   #4
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If you get any videos of you playing then feel free to send some to me I'll have a look and listen... I'll think of it.. it could be anything.. the genre, the songs.. maybe even the fact that you are playing covers not your own stuff? it could be (im not assuming anything im just suggesting things) that your playing is just.. too sloppy? or maybe singing (important part of music when people listen to songs... to them its 50% vocals 50% music.. while for real.. to musicians it's 20% vocals, 20% guitar, 20% bass drums blah blah.. whatever..) it also could be the fact that you maybe arent giving enough energy or interaction to the crowd? many things are important.. remember it is a SHOW and people come to SEE you live not only listen Hope I helped...
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dae1337
The crowd never dances to our music and they do to the other bands playing. Bands similar to us (friends) get more likes on FB than we do. Why do people say that we were the best and still, the way i see it, those other bands get more respect?


First thing first - watch these other bands. Listen to them.

Be honest and compare yourself to them.

One of the hardest things you'll have to learn in any artistic endeavor is how to be objective about the quality of the work you're putting out.

If your as good as they are musically, how good are you from a charisma point of view, connecting to the crowd?

We can't tell you since we haven't seen you (although if you can point us to a youtube clip of one of your live performances, we might be able to offer clues).

Quote:
Oh and PS. one other thing: tonight i played with some other guys for the first time. They told me they were playing their own songs but it turned out they played all kinds of covers and i didn't know the songs.. They weren't better musicians or anything but i just couldn't find a way to 'get involved'. I just played some stuff randomly, they didn't tell me what to do and i did not know the songs: it was awful. I feel like i screwed up and i could feel they thought i was a rediculous musician. This is not my fault right? Why didn't it work out that well?


It's your fault.

If you don't know what to play, DON'T play until you do know what to play. Don't play until something demands to be played.

It's hard to integrate into what a group of other musicians who all know each other are doing. The first thing you have to do is not be shy about talking. "Hey, what are you doing there?" Communicate.

Then you have to listen. You have to listen and really hear what they're doing, and hope that inspires you to do something cool, too.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carl LOG
If you get any videos of you playing then feel free to send some to me I'll have a look and listen... I'll think of it.. it could be anything.. the genre, the songs.. maybe even the fact that you are playing covers not your own stuff? it could be (im not assuming anything im just suggesting things) that your playing is just.. too sloppy? or maybe singing (important part of music when people listen to songs... to them its 50% vocals 50% music.. while for real.. to musicians it's 20% vocals, 20% guitar, 20% bass drums blah blah.. whatever..) it also could be the fact that you maybe arent giving enough energy or interaction to the crowd? many things are important.. remember it is a SHOW and people come to SEE you live not only listen Hope I helped...

While I agree with you that people come to see bands and not only listen, I'll rather have my audience moved by the music in mind rather than moving around by the beat.

Thing is though, you have to be interested in what you're playing. You can sound right and you can play it "meh, this again" and it can go great. But it still won't look like that you're in it, cause you're not. You have to show that you're in it 110%.

What else do I have on my mind.. Well, if you didn't know what to play since they didn't tell you what they're playing, to me that sounds like a total nightmare. I could imagine myself backing up for someone and then I wouldn't have any idea what I'm going to play. It would surely send shivers down my spine. What's more, I'm not really into that "life's full of surprises" thing. If I get told "we play originals", they better let me just listen to them.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:18 PM   #7
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Dae,

Having this kind of mentality of wanting to have your audience like and respect your band could lead to a lot of negative results. If you play music to be liked by the crowd, they will know it and to their ears it will sound preconceived and pretentious.

What you and your band should do is to do your best on stage and not to give a single **** about what anyone else would think. Just give it your all. In my several years of performing on-stage, my lesson learned is... you can never please everybody. Yes, performing on stage is a form of entertainment to listeners but it is always better to look at it as an art, in which, self-expression is the one and only purpose.

It would really help if your band could finally perform the songs you have written to make the overall performance more real.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:36 PM   #8
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Once a cover band, always a cover band. It also matters what type of music you play. Changing your demographic or what you play sounds like the problem.
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Old 11-13-2012, 09:45 PM   #9
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The people that you're playing for should respond to cover songs better than originals simply because of familiarity.Playing obscure cover songs is not much different than playing originals.Putting together a list of cover songs that are fun and relatable is key.Try not to be too serious with it.Pink Floyd,Rush,Metallica,etc. are all great bands,but covering these bands at a bar,party,wedding,etc. usually doesn't go over well.Play songs that everybody knows.Pick stuff from different styles,don't just play rock or pop or whatever.The idea is to put together a fun show,not to try to impress people with technical stuff.You may find yourself playing songs that you personally hate.If you can get the girls dancing by playing some old disco classic,the guys will follow,even the ones in the Slayer t-shirts.Check out other cover bands,and what songs the crowd responds to.Check out The Dan Band,They were in that Starsky and Hutch movie.They are the ultimate cover band.They quit their day jobs a long time ago.Good luck ...

Last edited by rickyvanh : 11-13-2012 at 09:59 PM. Reason: add something
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Old 11-13-2012, 10:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C0FF1NF33D3R
Once a cover band, always a cover band...


The fun thing about statements like this are the obvious exceptions.

Like Metallica.

Were the Garage Days before or after lessons from Satch?


On topic, I've found people more likely to dance to stuff that the crowd can move to. The the most dancing I've seen from the stage was when we cover Blood Red Shoes with "Boring by the Sea"--not a really well known song. Next is probably "7 Nation Army."

I've also seen the same basic crowds on different nights react differently to the same songs based on the stage banter leading up to the song. Seems like they get a lot more into it when we take the effort to make it a participatory experience for them. Like encouraging them to clap for "I Love Rock n Roll".

Genre is a huge factor, like someone said. If the crowd's into country/southern rock, don't take it personal if they're not into your metal or alternative, or whatever else you're playing.

It also matters a lot if you have personal connections with the people in the crowd, or if they've invested in you by buying your merch. You can even pass out cards with a link to where they can get a free download of one of your originals.

Hang in there and ride it out. This is just part of what they're talkin' about with "paying your dues"
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Old 11-14-2012, 02:27 AM   #11
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Yeah a +1 to the "who cares what people think" school of thought. Play for yourselves. The audience will dig that more.

And for the second problem, about the jam, I would say that if you are going to jam actual songs then you need to learn them first. Thats the standard way. It should be "Hey man... learn song x, y, and z then come jam with us"....

...so dont get to freaked out about that.... many if not most would have found that situation impossible...

Side note alluded to above... Metallica were a covers band that played obscure covers.... people thought they were originals!
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Old 11-14-2012, 03:07 AM   #12
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Two parts to your question, I'll address them in turn:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dae1337
I'm the leader of a coverband that's had a few gigs and we're going to write our own music as well. We always have a lot of fun playing together but still we can't manage to get people to really respect and like us. Often friends will tell me that we were 'the best of the evening' and stuff like that, but still it just doesn't 'seem' to me that the crowd really likes and respects our music.

The crowd never dances to our music and they do to the other bands playing. Bands similar to us (friends) get more likes on FB than we do. Why do people say that we were the best and still, the way i see it, those other bands get more respect?

What could it be? Thanks for helping out!


The purpose of a cover band is to play popular material. The bar does not have the cash to hire the original artist so they get you instead. I have a grand suspicion that your band is playing songs that you like, rather than what's popular. You choose Tool covers over Carly Rae Jensen. That's not choosing popular music, it's more jerking yourselves off, at the expense of a dance floor.

On dance floors. There's a simple logic to it. Guys follow girls. Girls like to dance. The girls hear a song that they like and go to dance and the guys follow. It's rare to see a single group of guys dancing on the floor while the girls sit on the side (unless the guys are exceptionally wasted).

So the question is, are you playing the songs that the girls like? This goes back to the idea of "popular". It's not for you to decide, all you have to do is look through the top 40, your setlist is already written out for you.

Argue what you want, but if the audience is dancing to everyone except you, on the same night, you're obviously not the best band. You could be not tight, but it's just as likely that you're picking the wrong songs.

So that's point one, cover bands play popular music. If they aren't they may as well be playing originals.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dae1337
tonight i played with some other guys for the first time. They told me they were playing their own songs but it turned out they played all kinds of covers and i didn't know the songs.. They weren't better musicians or anything but i just couldn't find a way to 'get involved'. I just played some stuff randomly, they didn't tell me what to do and i did not know the songs: it was awful. I feel like i screwed up and i could feel they thought i was a rediculous musician. This is not my fault right? Why didn't it work out that well?


Firstly they should have told you what covers they were doing, or given you links to their songs in advance so that you could learn them in advance. So that's point one.

As for the other stuff, a foundation in music theory and learning songs by ear (rather than tab) will help you understand your instrument better and improve to the point where you can learn new songs quickly, and have the tools to write original parts for them.

Is it your fault? Nope. They knew what they were going to play, and they didn't tell you. It's quite possible it wouldn't have worked out regardless, but they should have told you anyway.

Why didn't it work out? You didn't know the songs, and don't have the tools to learn them quickly.

How to avoid this in the future? Ask for the songs before you meet up. Learn music theory.
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Old 11-14-2012, 06:46 AM   #13
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Thanks for the very helpful replies guys!

I'll PM some of you with a youtube vid.

I'm not sure what i want to do.. We could play the popular songs, but i don't think I want the image of 'pop group that 15 y/o girls dance to'. The band of a couple of friends of mine doesn't really play popular songs, but somehow they manage to get everyone jumping and mosh pitting all over the place. I guess i'll have to let go the mentality of 'wanting everyone to like me', but in the end, isn't that why people market their groups? Isn't promoting your stuff on facebook the same as shouting 'Like me! Listen to me! Watch this!'?
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:12 AM   #14
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^^^^ Such is the life of the cover band that doesn't play popular music.
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Old 11-14-2012, 07:16 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dae1337
Thanks for the very helpful replies guys!

I'll PM some of you with a youtube vid.

I'm not sure what i want to do.. We could play the popular songs, but i don't think I want the image of 'pop group that 15 y/o girls dance to'. The band of a couple of friends of mine doesn't really play popular songs, but somehow they manage to get everyone jumping and mosh pitting all over the place. I guess i'll have to let go the mentality of 'wanting everyone to like me', but in the end, isn't that why people market their groups? Isn't promoting your stuff on facebook the same as shouting 'Like me! Listen to me! Watch this!'?


If it's metalcore, just play Parkway Drive - Carrion.

But really, start working on originals, good originals. Keep going, eh!
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Old 11-14-2012, 11:42 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C0FF1NF33D3R
Once a cover band, always a cover band. It also matters what type of music you play. Changing your demographic or what you play sounds like the problem.


One does not simply



start a band by
playing originals right away.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:39 AM   #17
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I'm going to give you the best advice I can.Don't go off half-cocked.What I mean is don't be in too much of hurry to play out.If people are not responding to your band it can only mean one thing.I played in a band in high school with a guy that was trying to get gigs before we had one song down.He couldn't wait.He made a fool out of the whole band again and again.Within six months of practicing every day,we had about twelve songs down and sounded good and had all of our gear figured out.But since this poser needed attention so badly,everyone had already seen us play a bunch of times when we sucked.He did this again and again with other bands.If you want people to like your band your band cannot suck.It's that simple.What you play really doesn't matter as long as you do it good.Good luck with your band.
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Old 11-15-2012, 07:58 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 6-String_Madman
One does not simply



start a band by
playing originals right away.


Here are your options mate:

1. Originals band

- Write songs
- Perform songs and gain fanbase slowly
- Hire venues, charge door price for people to see you play

2. Covers band

- Learn pre-written songs
- Venues hire you to entertain the audience with songs they know (fanbase doesn't really apply to cover bands)
- On basis of performance, venues hire you again and again

3. Covers band that then changes music to originals

- Follow covers band steps above
- Then play songs that the audience doesn't know
- Audience leaves, venues get angry and don't hire you
- Then follow original band above

So it's best to keep the two separate.
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Old 11-15-2012, 02:09 PM   #19
Dae1337
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Hi! Some of you suggested me to send some vids of my group playing so you could give some tips.

These are some vids, the first one i was really ill so i did not sing well. It also isn't a song we play that often because it isn't really dancable, but sometimes we can really surprise the crowd when we pull out that harmonica
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45YBgJwb3jo&fea ture=plcp
This is a song the lead guitarist and me sing together, so the singing quality isn't that great because he can't really sing well yet It's quite an awesome song though.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k04h5U-meuc&fea ture=plcp
Now these two songs are not really the usual kind of songs we play, most of the times we play upbeat danceable songs but somehow we don't have any video's of them :P
Just judge us by playing, normally we play these kind of songs: (in this case the crowd was drunk so yes they were jumping, still 90% of the times the crowd doesn't).
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJZdUSeWxgg&fea ture=plcp


Quote:
I'm going to give you the best advice I can.Don't go off half-cocked.What I mean is don't be in too much of hurry to play out.If people are not responding to your band it can only mean one thing.I played in a band in high school with a guy that was trying to get gigs before we had one song down.He couldn't wait.He made a fool out of the whole band again and again.Within six months of practicing every day,we had about twelve songs down and sounded good and had all of our gear figured out.But since this poser needed attention so badly,everyone had already seen us play a bunch of times when we sucked.He did this again and again with other bands.If you want people to like your band your band cannot suck.It's that simple.What you play really doesn't matter as long as you do it good.Good luck with your band.


Thanks! It's true, a couple of our first gigs didn't work out that well. But even bands like Queen admitted that their first gigs sucked terribly..?

By the way, these are the songs we play!

Quote:
1) Free - All Right Now
2) Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
3) Bill Wither - Ain't No Sunshine
4) Stevie Ray Vaughan - Pride And Joy
5) Paul McCartney - Twenty Flight Rock
6) The Beatles - Back In The USSR
7) Supertramp - Bloody Well Right
8) The Rolling Stones - Brown Sugar
9) Pearl Jam – Alive
10) The Black Keys - I got Mine
11) Herman Brood - Saturday night
12) The Rolling Stones - Jumping Jack Flash
13) The Rolling Stones – Can’t You Hear Me Knocking
The White Stripes - You Don’t Know What Love Is
Mountain – Mississippi Queen
The Who – The Seeker
The Raconteurs – Level
Wolfmother – Joker and The Chief
Jimi Hendrix – Voodoo Child
Kings Of Leon – Molly’s Chambers
Tame Impala – Half Full Glass Of Wine
Lenny Kravitz – Are You Gonna Go My Way
LMFAO – Sexy And I Know It
Pink Floyd – Young Lust
Cage The Elephant – In One Ear
The Black Keys – Gold On The Ceiling
Sex Pistols – Pretty Vacant
Johnny Thunders – Pirate Love
The Rolling Stones – Love In Vain
Jimi Hendrix – Manic Depression

Last edited by Dae1337 : 11-15-2012 at 02:14 PM.
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Old 11-15-2012, 03:44 PM   #20
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Your band is good, but out of those vids you posted only one song was a hit while the audience was still alive. And that was the only song where they were dancing.

It's simply the wrong song choice for your audience.

As for the longer list, it's a list of lesser hits from older bands. You should go for the bigger hits if you opt for the older guys.

However I am sure that if your audience consisted of people in their 30s-50s they would have enjoyed it a lot more.
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