#1
Hey UGers. I know that someone on here has probably asked the same or very similar question on here, but I have yet to find it.

My band consists of myself on vocals and occasionally rhythm guitar, A lead guitarist, a drummer, and a bassist. Our band has been going steadily downhill for the past few months.

In the beginning, we had full band practice roughly 2 times a week. Since we were in school, however, it was difficult for us to get together all the time. Our practices went from 2 a week to once a week with the full band with myself, the guitarist, and the drummer meeting up one more time in the week. As finals drew near, we then just met about once every other week with the full band and once every week and a half with just the guitarist, the drummer, and I (the bassist had trouble making it as they had to make a 15-20 mile commute.)

Now, however, we practice about once a month, and I haven't even seen the bassist since 2009. The bassist said they want to come, and is just waiting for our phone call, but that's the problem. The guitarist and I have been practicing pretty steadily on our own, but the drummer seems to have no motivation. He hasn't learned any new material in several months, and whenever the 3 of us get together practice doesn't last long as we get sick of playing the same few covers we have always known.

So my question to you is this:
1. What should I do to bring this band back to life? I want to still play with these guys as they are very close friends of mine.

2. How can I re-motivate the drummer? He has raw talent, but he doesn't go anywhere with it.

And 3. On a semi-unrelated note, when you first started playing in a band, how long did it take you to learn a cover?

Any and all feedback is appreciated!
#2
I'd say get a new bassist. The drummer is probably frustrated that all the practice he's put in with you guys is practically wasted if the bassist isn't there or doesn't take it seriously enough. Ye need to start moving or ye'll just fade away
#3
Ok well first you should define whether you're a cover band or an originals band. They are very different beasts in terms of expectations and time frames. You don't have a half-half band, nobody will hire you. Considering you asked how long it takes to learn a cover, I'll assume you guys are a cover band.

How long does it take to learn a cover? Well you decide what covers to learn, and each person learns the cover at home. Everyone should know their parts within the week, so that it's all together for next practice. That's easy. A cover band has a set list of 40+ songs.

Next, you said you haven't seen the bassist since 2009. Sounds like he's not into it, no matter what he says. You need a new one. The drummer doesn't seem into it either.

The problem looks like you guys never got around to gigging. A band can only go for so long without gigging. I think twice a week practice is fine until you have a full set (40 songs for a cover band). After that I like to crank it back to one practice a week, to keep everyone together without the songs getting boring.

So did you ever gig? Because if you don't gig, motivation goes away, band progression drops to nil. In terms of speed, a 40 song set should be doable in 2-3 months.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#4
I hear you man, I've got pretty much the same problem with my band, just that everybody's gone for holidays.

1. You really should try to talk to your bandmates and maybe fix a precise date for rehearsal, like every thrusday...I don't know, any day that goes well for all of you
2. Ask the drummer why he isn't giving all of his potential, and maybe learn some covers he would like to do ?
3. I started playing in my band about 6 months ago, and we had our first gig after 3-4 months, wih 5 covers, some Iron Maiden some Metallica, classical stuff, so actually not very long, mainly becasue all of us knew some songs even before we were in a band togheter.
#5
Well, we don't see ourselves as a cover band. I don't, at least. We were just planning on learning some covers because, at least around here, nobody wants to come to your shows if you only do originals. We figured if we learned some covers while in the meantime we wrote some originals, we could start playing cover gigs and slowly filter in more and more originals as people got to come to our gigs for us, not because "We played a kickin' Beatles song."

And regarding the bassist, she's extremely talented and I live in a relatively small town (3000 people,) so finding a new one with that much talent might be tough.
#6
The answer is GIGS. my band has been in the same situation so many times but every time me or the other guitarist would set up a gig, a very small scale one cos we don't have a demo, and we'd be practising 3 times a week because of the pressure. nobody wants to be embarrased. then the gig goes well and everyone is excited again because gigging is the most fun in the world. then you rehearse once a week again for a while but you must keep the gigs coming. as soon as you have nothing planned for a long period of time you'll fall back into old rhythms.
as for your question how long it takes to learn a cover; it completely depends on how musically talented you all are, and how long you've been playing together. but average would be about an hour if everyone knows their shit? maybe 2 hours
#7
Quote by Sandwich8080
Well, we don't see ourselves as a cover band. I don't, at least. We were just planning on learning some covers because, at least around here, nobody wants to come to your shows if you only do originals. We figured if we learned some covers while in the meantime we wrote some originals, we could start playing cover gigs and slowly filter in more and more originals as people got to come to our gigs for us, not because "We played a kickin' Beatles song."


Well see - there's your problem. You never decided what sort of band it was, so it just disappeared. If someone in my original band goes "hey why don't we learn a cover", I quickly put them into line and go "nah, lets do a new original if you want a new song". An originals band only needs 2-3 covers for their set. The rest is original music. So set an aim for your band, whether it be covers or originals.

Think about it, if people came to watch a cover band, why exactly would they want to hear originals?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#8
Because our originals rock?

Actually, I suppose if we had to choose we'd rather be an originals band. But we also want to gig, and that's not gonna happen with just originals. I also don't believe I could produce enough lyrics to feed an entire gig in a few months.

As far as gigs go, we played once at a talent show. We did one song (Come Together by The Beatles,) and we had positive feedback. But besides that we never learned enough songs to fill out an entire set.

And as a little bit of an update, I just called the guitarist and he said he's ready to play anytime. The bassist told me the same thing a week or so ago over the phone. Its our drummer I'm worried about in the readiness department...
#9
So now that you've decided to be an originals band, don't learn any more covers - it sounds like you have enough. An originals band should have 45min-1hour worth of original music, which is usually 10-12 songs. It can vary of course. You can use 2-3 covers in a set.

For originals bands, there's practice sessions and songwriting sessions, and these are usually separate. This is because original bands usually have 1-2 primary songwriters, and the others just flesh the song out and add their parts. It's boring for the others to hang around and watch the other guys write. So the songwriters get together in their own time, present the songs to the rest of the band later.

An easy way to get a lot of original songs is to continually write stuff by yourself, and you'll eventually get enough material. These will be your personal set that you can take through as many bands as you want. Axemanchris made quite a popular band by writing and recording all his songs before forming a band for them, and I'm doing the same right now.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#10
Quote by Sandwich8080
Well, we don't see ourselves as a cover band. I don't, at least. We were just planning on learning some covers because, at least around here, nobody wants to come to your shows if you only do originals. We figured if we learned some covers while in the meantime we wrote some originals, we could start playing cover gigs and slowly filter in more and more originals as people got to come to our gigs for us, not because "We played a kickin' Beatles song."

And regarding the bassist, she's extremely talented and I live in a relatively small town (3000 people,) so finding a new one with that much talent might be tough.


that might be your problem people are generally motivated by fear of punishment or the pleasure of reward if the bassist has strongg position security why bother trying if she knows you can't replace her. Also the drummers probably not motivated as his band seems to be going nowhere start working on a load of originals (if im honest your set should be mainly originals to start with) and push yourselves writing things just a little too difficult for you so you have to work hard at them and will be proud of them at the end of it