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#41
What's advanced theory? Sorry, complete noob with things related to theory.

The bassist is an ass. One doesn't need to know theory. You just need to have a willingness to jam and have fun. Would like to name drop a famous band but I refuse to do so on the grounds that the vocalist is headless
Last edited by evolucian at Apr 11, 2013,
#42
I don't get why this thread is still going on. I think it's pretty clear that you don't need to know any theory to play in a band. Most bands will start with some cover songs so that they learn to play together and find their sound. Also, as I said earlier, the bassist is at the same level as TS if he has never played in a band. I was much less experienced than TS when I started my first band. Just start jamming. It doesn't need to be that serious in the beginning. If you see that the band works well, you can decide to start playing more seriously.

Playing in a band needs a good sense of rhythm and good ears. And also both can be improved by just playing with your band. You don't need to know theory to play in a rock band.

And if you don't have a good ear and can't really play good solos then just don't play solos. Not every song needs a solo. And if you have a bad technique, just play simple songs. Just play in a band. When the first punk bands started, nobody knew how to play their instruments but they just played and had fun.

As people have said many times: the bassist is an idiot. He doesn't deserve to be in the same band.

And I think TS knows enough "theory". He knows scales, chords, notes and stuff and has been playing for 6 years as he said. That's pretty much enough to be a lead guitarist in a band.
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 11, 2013,
#43
Every popular music band is different on what their "schtick" is. Some build their richness on beautiful, harmonically complex chord progressions which would require quite a lot of knowledge of Harmony & Voice Leading (or as people call it here, Music Theory). But plenty of other bands succeed with very simple harmonies because they employ very rich textural landscapes and such. This requires a different set of skills, more of a personal aesthetic than book-taught knowledge.

Both types of music are great and most really good music has both aspects, but it is certainly not necessary to have a classical-musician's knowledge of Harmony & Voice Leading to make good popular music.
#44
Quote by MaggaraMarine
I don't get why this thread is still going on. I think it's pretty clear that you don't need to know any theory to play in a band. Most bands will start with some cover songs so that they learn to play together and find their sound. Also, as I said earlier, the bassist is at the same level as TS if he has never played in a band. I was much less experienced than TS when I started my first band. Just start jamming. It doesn't need to be that serious in the beginning. If you see that the band works well, you can decide to start playing more seriously.

Playing in a band needs a good sense of rhythm and good ears. And also both can be improved by just playing with your band. You don't need to know theory to play in a rock band.

And if you don't have a good ear and can't really play good solos then just don't play solos. Not every song needs a solo. And if you have a bad technique, just play simple songs. Just play in a band. When the first punk bands started, nobody knew how to play their instruments but they just played and had fun.

As people have said many times: the bassist is an idiot. He doesn't deserve to be in the same band.

And I think TS knows enough "theory". He knows scales, chords, notes and stuff and has been playing for 6 years as he said. That's pretty much enough to be a lead guitarist in a band.


Again, why does any of this make the bassist an idiot? If he doesn't want to play with somebody under his level, then he doesn't want to play with somebody under his level. So what? My theory knowledge basically consists of chord construction, scale construction, basic harmonies, some key changes, and other basic stuff. I wouldn't want to play in a band with people that didn't know the basics unless I intended on doing 100% of the writing myself (which actually was the case in my previous bands). Granted, OP knows the basics, but evidently the bassist knows a lot more and wants to hold his mates to a higher standard. What's the harm in that?
#45
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Again, why does any of this make the bassist an idiot? If he doesn't want to play with somebody under his level, then he doesn't want to play with somebody under his level. So what? My theory knowledge basically consists of chord construction, scale construction, basic harmonies, some key changes, and other basic stuff. I wouldn't want to play in a band with people that didn't know the basics unless I intended on doing 100% of the writing myself (which actually was the case in my previous bands). Granted, OP knows the basics, but evidently the bassist knows a lot more and wants to hold his mates to a higher standard. What's the harm in that?

The thing is, the bassist knows nothing about playing in a band. So he's at the same level as TS, not above him.
Quote by AlanHB
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#46
Quote by MaggaraMarine
The thing is, the bassist knows nothing about playing in a band. So he's at the same level as TS, not above him.

Exactly. If none of the members in a new band ever played in a band, then all of them are at the same level. Yes, one member may know more theory than the other, but that doesn't make that one member a master at being in a band.


It's like learning a new instrument. I've been playing guitar for 10+ years, and I know a fair amount of theory. I recently bought a bass guitar and am teaching myself that. I am a noob at bass. The theory I know doesn't mean I can play bass and be awesome. In the same way, knowing a ton of theory doesn't mean you're going to be awesome at doing your part in a band.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 12, 2013,
#47
Quote by MaggaraMarine
The thing is, the bassist knows nothing about playing in a band. So he's at the same level as TS, not above him.


Why are you assuming he knows nothing about being in a band? Because he wants to play with somebody with the same amount of knowledge that he has? I ask again, what is wrong with that?
#48
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Why are you assuming he knows nothing about being in a band? Because he wants to play with somebody with the same amount of knowledge that he has? I ask again, what is wrong with that?

Because TS stated that the bassist had never been in a band before.

Quote by KinkyC
Quote by MaggaraMarine

Has the bassist even played in a band before?



Nope
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 12, 2013,
#49
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Because TS stated that none of them, including the bassist, had ever been in a band before.


Fair enough. I missed that bit.

Even so, if he can't find anybody up to his standard, that's his issue, but it doesn't make him an asshole or an idiot in any way.
#50
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Fair enough. I missed that bit.

Even so, if he can't find anybody up to his standard, that's his issue, but it doesn't make him an asshole or an idiot in any way.


the very fact that this bassist is using music theory as an indication of level within a band scenario is what we are all hating on. theory isnt always a reliable indication of standard, its just a tool more often than not.
...and it is kind of an asshole thing to say "im better than you at music theory so i wont be in your band"
Last edited by pushkar000 at Apr 12, 2013,
#51
Quote by pushkar000
the very fact that this bassist is using music theory as an indication of level within a band scenario is what we are all hating on. theory isnt always a reliable indication of standard, its just a tool more often than not.
...and it is kind of an asshole thing to say "im better than you at music theory so i wont be in your band"


I say it again... why should he have to settle for less than himself? And before anybody decides to be a smartass by pointing out yet again that that your amount of knowledge in theory isn't the only thing rating you as a musician, no shit. There are many elements to judge and rate a musician on, and this person happened to decide that theory is one of the elements that is important to him. So what? Everybody should absolutely be picky about band mates. You're not going to make a good band if you don't find yourself to be compatible with your band mates, obviously.
#52
The way I see it, the band should all have around the same level of theory knowledge. If you're all theory experts it'll work but it would also work if you guys don't know much. That way no one is frustrated by say someone yelling out "i'm on the 7th fret of the top string."
IMO it's all relative to the people you're playing with.

NOTE I'm not saying you don't need theory, because it's definitely made my life easy knowing it!
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#53
Quote by bobtrack
The way I see it, the band should all have around the same level of theory knowledge. If you're all theory experts it'll work but it would also work if you guys don't know much. That way no one is frustrated by say someone yelling out "i'm on the 7th fret of the top string."
IMO it's all relative to the people you're playing with.

NOTE I'm not saying you don't need theory, because it's definitely made my life easy knowing it!


This this this. Sure, theory isn't required for a good band. But, it should always be recommended, and a band will be healthiest in a situation where everyone is on even ground. For example, in my last band, I did 95% of the writing, besides where I would tell the other guitarist to write his own lead somewhere. He didn't know any theory. It would have been fantastic if I could just say to him something like "the chord progression is in B minor, but watch out for that borrowed C chord," but instead it had to be left to guess work for him.
Hell, I primarily write prog metal. Would people call me a stupid asshole if I declined to play with somebody whose skill set didn't go past playing some basic punk rock? It wouldn't be fair that I don't want to work with musicians that haven't reached a similar level to me? Why should I be forced to hold back? Granted my example is more about physical skill than compositional skill, but the point is the same.
#54
You don't need music theory, hell I'd need 10 minutes per chord to work out exactly what chords I'm playing half the time, and I don't even think about what modes/scales I'm playing.

To put into perspective, I did learn music theory, could read music and knew what scales/chords I was playing, I even used to teach guitar. I have actually forgotten it due to how little use I've had for it (none) in my music career. Not completely forgotten but rusty enough that I would need to do a lot of studying, which is pointless because I would only forget it again as I have no use for it.

If I was still teaching guitar, I would need it, but havent had a student since 2007. But for the band? I have no use for it.
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Last edited by Bigbazz at Apr 12, 2013,
#55
He asked because he won't be able to communicate with the guys who don't know the notes on their fretboard. It's easy for me to say the key is D and the progression is etc...The timing aspect does not need theory to communicate imo. That's what the jam practice is for.
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#56
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Granted my example is more about physical skill than compositional skill, but the point is the same.

Theory =/= compositional skill.

If the bassist is serious and he is consistent in his logic then he should start a band of his own. As part of the audition process to be in his (first ever) band he should have all interested parties sit a written test on music theory to determine their level of understanding of music theory. Then he should invite all the people that pass to come and audition for him thus saving a lot of time.

To me this sounds like a really stupid idea but it is consistent with the bassists logic; logic that you seem to be supporting.

If this were followed through he could miss out on some really amazing musicians that have spent all their time mastering their instrument and musical skills while ignoring the theory side. (This guys reasoning would see him reject musicians of the calibre of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page from being in his band.)

On the flip side it doesn't really matter what his reason is, he doesn't want to join the band. The reason doesn't really have to make sense to anyone but himself to justify his actions. But we can reassure the TS by fairly considering the reasoning given and giving our opinions on whether it is something he should worry about. In this case it isn't.

If the bassist had left and said - sorry guys your drummers timing is all over the place, no one was in tune with each other, and you could only play two chords it just wasn't working for me. Then we could suggest that the TS listen and use it as workons. But that's now what happened. The fact is you don't really need to any theory knowledge to be in a band.
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#57
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Hell, I primarily write prog metal. Would people call me a stupid asshole if I declined to play with somebody whose skill set didn't go past playing some basic punk rock? It wouldn't be fair that I don't want to work with musicians that haven't reached a similar level to me? Why should I be forced to hold back? Granted my example is more about physical skill than compositional skill, but the point is the same.

For prog metal, your example works. For basic rock, for basic blues, for post-rock, pop, etc.; not so much.

You're arguing your viewpoint without considering that there's genres where you really don't need theory. Also, as 20Tigers said, theory =/= compositional skill. All theory does is give you tools, but it's like this. If you're hammering a nail into a wall, what do you need? A hammer. That's it. You don't need a complex jigsaw. All you need is a hammer (and maybe a pencil to mark where to put the nail beforehand). On the other hand, if you're building a house, you need many tools.

TS never gave the impression, by any means, that he was writing for a genre that is very big on complexity. In fact, from what I can gather, it sounds much like the opposite. It sounds like TS wants to form a basic rock band. The bassist probably would feel more at home in a jazz band or a prog metal band or whatever. Problem is, he showed up to audition for a basic rock band and then decided, "Fuck it! They don't know enough theory!" That's what makes the bassist an asshole.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 13, 2013,
#58
Quote by 20Tigers
Theory =/= compositional skill.

If the bassist is serious and he is consistent in his logic then he should start a band of his own. As part of the audition process to be in his (first ever) band he should have all interested parties sit a written test on music theory to determine their level of understanding of music theory. Then he should invite all the people that pass to come and audition for him thus saving a lot of time.

To me this sounds like a really stupid idea but it is consistent with the bassists logic; logic that you seem to be supporting.

If this were followed through he could miss out on some really amazing musicians that have spent all their time mastering their instrument and musical skills while ignoring the theory side. (This guys reasoning would see him reject musicians of the calibre of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page from being in his band.)

On the flip side it doesn't really matter what his reason is, he doesn't want to join the band. The reason doesn't really have to make sense to anyone but himself to justify his actions. But we can reassure the TS by fairly considering the reasoning given and giving our opinions on whether it is something he should worry about. In this case it isn't.

If the bassist had left and said - sorry guys your drummers timing is all over the place, no one was in tune with each other, and you could only play two chords it just wasn't working for me. Then we could suggest that the TS listen and use it as workons. But that's now what happened. The fact is you don't really need to any theory knowledge to be in a band.


I don't support his logic, so much as I don't think he's an asshole or an idiot like this whole thread seems to think. I'd rather have somebody in my band that can write well than whom can understand theory well only given those choices of course, but obviously it's a pain in the ass to not be able to use the theory I've spent years learning to communicate to communicate with my band mates. He may be setting his standards to high, but their his standards, and he's not an asshole for it.

Quote by crazysam23_Atax
For prog metal, your example works. For basic rock, for basic blues, for post-rock, pop, etc.; not so much.

You're arguing your viewpoint without considering that there's genres where you really don't need theory. Also, as 20Tigers said, theory =/= compositional skill. All theory does is give you tools, but it's like this. If you're hammering a nail into a wall, what do you need? A hammer. That's it. You don't need a complex jigsaw. All you need is a hammer (and maybe a pencil to mark where to put the nail beforehand). On the other hand, if you're building a house, you need many tools.

TS never gave the impression, by any means, that he was writing for a genre that is very big on complexity. In fact, from what I can gather, it sounds much like the opposite. It sounds like TS wants to form a basic rock band. The bassist probably would feel more at home in a jazz band or a prog metal band or whatever. Problem is, he showed up to audition for a basic rock band and then decided, "Fuck it! They don't know enough theory!" That's what makes the bassist an asshole.


Somehow I doubt this bassist was given an ad that said "Join a basic rock band!" If he doesn't want to play that kind of music, then he doesn't want to play that kind of music, but he was probably told nothing more than "hey, I know a guy that's looking for a bassist, you should check him out." Hell, plenty of bands don't choose a genre until they have most of the band put together.
#59
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
He may be setting his standards to high, but their his standards, and he's not an asshole for it.

may i edit this sentence please
#60
And I think the bassist is judging TS and his band too early. If they have never played together, he can't know if the band works or not.

For example in my band people are not at the same level at theory knowledge. I think I'm "the best" in our band when it comes to theory knowledge. But that doesn't matter. We find a way to communicate and it doesn't bother me at all. The pianist is not the best pianist skill-wise and I don't know if he knows that much theory. His ear isn't the best. But still I like his playing. He has a good touch and some things he plays are great. And if I come up with a cool piano part, I show it to him and he plays it.

It seems like the bassist is just having an excuse not to join the band. That's OK, he doesn't need to join the band. But he's giving TS an impression that he needs to know a lot theory to join a band that isn't true. Also the first songs a band will play are usually covers. That way the band learns to play together. That doesn't need any theory knowledge. Playing songs doesn't need theory knowledge and even writing songs can easily be done without theory knowledge if you just have a good ear. (Also, TS doesn't need to write songs for the band.)

And really, seems like TS knows theory well enough. If he knows chords and scales and stuff, it's enough. And the bassist may be thinking he's better in theory than he really is. And also TS may be underrating himself in theory.

Just find a bassist and start playing.
Quote by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

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Last edited by MaggaraMarine at Apr 13, 2013,
#61
Theory can be wonderfully useful in many ways. But as the previous posters have said it's certainly not mandatory. If your fellow band mates have a decent knowledge of theory then it would very handy to be able to communicate to them using the language of theory.
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#62
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
This this this. Sure, theory isn't required for a good band. But, it should always be recommended, and a band will be healthiest in a situation where everyone is on even ground. For example, in my last band, I did 95% of the writing, besides where I would tell the other guitarist to write his own lead somewhere. He didn't know any theory. It would have been fantastic if I could just say to him something like "the chord progression is in B minor, but watch out for that borrowed C chord," but instead it had to be left to guess work for him.
Hell, I primarily write prog metal. Would people call me a stupid asshole if I declined to play with somebody whose skill set didn't go past playing some basic punk rock? It wouldn't be fair that I don't want to work with musicians that haven't reached a similar level to me? Why should I be forced to hold back? Granted my example is more about physical skill than compositional skill, but the point is the same.


in the punk rock example, you have legit ground to decline. the genres are different, you wont enjoy it.

in the current example, the grounds for declination are based on level of knowledge of music theory. the bassist thinks that if they are not at his level, he will not enjoy it, so he declined. the TS wants our opinion as to whether this is a declination with any reasonable backing or not.

many of us with experience in multiple bands know(out of experience, granted, and not for a fact) that the bassist is not seeing things correctly. i personally know that writing a good song has close to nothing to do with music theory. my last band had two very talented writers, one who knew tons of music theory, one who didnt know the notes on her fretboard. both wrote amazing music and lyrics.

so basically we're all telling the TS that the bassist doesnt know what he's talking aboutand our argument is especially strengthened by the fact that he's enver been in a band.

yourself being a prog metal writer which is a genre i know nothing about except dream theater rocks, i hesitate to question your judgement of the situation. maybe from your perspective and genre, theory is a rather important indication of musicianship, and by extent, whether one should be in a band or not.
i enjoy nothing close to as complicated as prog metal, and if i were to form a band, music theory knowledge would be the last thing on my mind.

everyones opinion, as i see, differs here and their probably due to the individual experiences they have had. so everyone is just giving the TS their piece of mind. who is to say who's right and wrong? what works for you works for you, and if it works for you, nobody can touch that.
#63
If your a guitarist all you really need to know is how scales are built, how chords are built, keys and chords of keys.

The guy is just being a loser.
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Last edited by lbc_sublime at Apr 13, 2013,
#64
Quote by Bigbazz
You don't need music theory, hell I'd need 10 minutes per chord to work out exactly what chords I'm playing half the time, and I don't even think about what modes/scales I'm playing.

To put into perspective, I did learn music theory, could read music and knew what scales/chords I was playing, I even used to teach guitar. I have actually forgotten it due to how little use I've had for it (none) in my music career. Not completely forgotten but rusty enough that I would need to do a lot of studying, which is pointless because I would only forget it again as I have no use for it.

If I was still teaching guitar, I would need it, but havent had a student since 2007. But for the band? I have no use for it.


That's pretty strange dude - you use theory all the time when playing. I have no students either (dont teach) but theory is always in my mind when playing. I can understand not seeking to learn music theory, but to actively forget it is a bit weird. I think what may have happened is that you learnt music theory on a superpicial level, but never applied it to your playing. That would explain why you don't use it now.
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#65
Quote by AlanHB
That's pretty strange dude - you use theory all the time when playing. I have no students either (dont teach) but theory is always in my mind when playing. I can understand not seeking to learn music theory, but to actively forget it is a bit weird. I think what may have happened is that you learnt music theory on a superpicial level, but never applied it to your playing. That would explain why you don't use it now.


It's not that I actively forgot it, its just that I've always played by ear/feel and in my early years learning theory was a side thing for me, almost disconnected to how I naturally play, I had to do it because I was studying music at A-Level and for the grade 8 nonsense (that seemed such a big deal at the time and seems so meaningless now).

But after finishing university and after I'd stopped teaching it stopped being part of my life, I kept playing guitar but as I had always done I played with feel and by ear. Similar to how I can no longer speak my native (welsh) language, even though I could speak it fluent as a child, moved to an english speaking school and it just seemed to fade away without me noticing, but then the Welsh language is never used in my part of the country, so it's natural that I've never had to use it and I genuinely can no longer speak it past a basic level.


In the same respect I don't need theory in my band, I play with a group of very talented and capable musicians, all of us have studied it music theory to some degree in the past, we write a lot of music and never do we discuss the theory of it or talk about it in theory terms. The only exception is timings and time signatures because of how they relate to the feel of a song.
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Last edited by Bigbazz at Apr 13, 2013,
#66
Why are people so obsessed with knowing stupid useless tidbits of harmony & analysis (as you call "music theory") information? Most bands could write perfectly decent pop songs without knowing anything about the seven modes of the Melodic Minor scale. In fact, that information is even useless in classical circles because classical music, as most popular music, is based on harmony and voice leading and not "chord to scale theory" which was a popular jazz idea in the 1950s and 1960s.

If you really want to deepen your "theory" knowledge, learn some rules of voice leading (as most popular music exhibits terrible voice leading) and chromatic harmony (like secondary function chords, etc.). These are things that will actually enhance tonal music rather than distract from it, which is what playing rote scales will do. I never understood why "The Chord Scale Theory" in jazz infiltrated popular music so much. It doesn't work well in most genres IMO.
#67
@Bigbazz; So basically at some point you knew all your theory up to a grade 8 level, but never actually used it in your playing.
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#68
Quote by AlanHB
@Bigbazz; So basically at some point you knew all your theory up to a grade 8 level, but never actually used it in your playing.


I knew grade 8 theory at a fuzzy level, knew my modes, scales and chords and could read music (though that wasn't my strong point), the thing is I was good at studying for exams. When I did my driving theory I passed with 100% but even before I had passed my practical test I had forgotten a lot of it because I wasn't actively thinking about or using perhaps 50% of it for the practical part.

Maybe I'm just different to other people and have a bad memory, I easily forget things I'm not actively thinking about and I don't actively think about music in theory terms when I'm playing. If you started playing a chord progression I could play over it and follow you without issue, but if you asked me what key or mode I was playing in I would not be able to tell you without stopping and really thinking about it, going over the notes to find out. Sure pentatonic/major/minor which is at a very very basic level, but anything further would take some serious thinking on my part.

But my point is that it doesnt matter, it doesn't hold me back as a musician or stop me from being able to create the music I want. What I'm thinking about when playing is more what note I need/want to do next and how I'm going to play it, how it's going to flow into what comes next, focussing on the technique. I can think about a note and play it without having to think in "theory" terms or thinking about scales simply due to muscle memory of the fretboard.
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Last edited by Bigbazz at Apr 13, 2013,
#70
You need to know as much theory as your bandmates expect you to know. When it comes to ensembles, it's all about picking the right people to play with.
#71
Quote by Macabre_Turtle
Somehow I doubt this bassist was given an ad that said "Join a basic rock band!" If he doesn't want to play that kind of music, then he doesn't want to play that kind of music, but he was probably told nothing more than "hey, I know a guy that's looking for a bassist, you should check him out." Hell, plenty of bands don't choose a genre until they have most of the band put together.

True, but most guitar players who are looking to play complex music would tell the bass player at the beginning of his audition something like, "Hey, we're looking to play complex music here. Can you handle that?" It doesn't sound like TS did that.

Quote by lbc_sublime
If your a guitarist all you really need to know is how scales are built, how chords are built, keys and chords of keys.

Actually, that's all a basic rock guitarist needs to know. On the other hand, if you're a prog metal guitarist or a Jazz guitarist (particularly if your Jazz ensemble uses guitar as more than a rhythm instrument), you'd better know a hell of a lot more than that...

What genre you play can determine what amount of theory is needed.
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Apr 13, 2013,
#72
@Bigbazz; no worries, you didn't use theory on a practical level, I understand now thanks.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#73
@ Crazy Sam

Yeah he knew beforehand that we were gonna play normal Rock music like Rage Against the Machine, A Perfect Circle, etc. Not exactly Dream Theater-esque complexity

I left most of the message out, but he was a major dick. He did apologize later on so I appreciate that, but still. I'll post the whole thing if anyone is interested
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#74
Quote by KinkyC
@ Crazy Sam

Yeah he knew beforehand that we were gonna play normal Rock music like Rage Against the Machine, A Perfect Circle, etc. Not exactly Dream Theater-esque complexity

I left most of the message out, but he was a major dick. He did apologize later on so I appreciate that, but still. I'll post the whole thing if anyone is interested


If he apologised I'd say let it rest and move on.

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Who's Andy Timmons??
#75
I'd be happy with people that can read music with some degree of proficiency because then they at least know what the hell key they are in and you don't need to hold their hand on new material.
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I was incredibly drunk and only really remember writing a fanfic where ESP was getting porked by a pony.

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I'd honestly fap to anything with a set of genitals as long as I find it aesthetically appealing.
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