#1
Well recently (on friday to be exact) our band played a gig. It was the first gig after our little hiatus, and after that we have basicly been practicing for 6months with no gigs. We have around 20-30 gigs under our belt, but on this last one, i finaly realized how utterly shitty our live show is, after watching the bands after us preform.

I have to admit that our playing wasnt the best, but that was probably because of nerves and not being on stage for so long, and it can be mended with practice. What really bugs me, is the other parts. The song introductions, the banter, the crowd interaction. Basicly our show consists of our other guitarist/singer (we share lead guitar and vocal duties) rambling incoherently and trying to make lame jokes and pretty much being inapropriate on stage. And if we dont stop him by starting a song, he just keeps on rabling, and when he runs out of words, he just dubly looks around for us until we start.

I think he got that kind of think from fronting a punk band before this one, but it just doesnt fly anymore. It's unprofesional and quite frankly, painful to watch or be on the stage during the breaks between songs. As for stage presence during songs, that we have pretty much down, cause we all like trashing and jumping on stage while playing.

I was thinking of becoming the frontman, since I got more vocal duties and he got more lead guitar stuff with the new songs we are writing. And i honestly think that i would be a better frontman than him, since he tends to be either slightly drunk or high on stage, so his mind kinda wanders. It usually doesnt affect his playing, so its not such a problem. How could i approach this topic with him without hurting his feelings?

Also, please, any advice on how to build a succesful stage show would be greatly apreciated.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#3
Quote by winterXsolstice
try telling him the truth in a kind way, or just let it come about on it's own


i dount it will just "come up", we have been playing for 3 years, gigng for 2.5, so it should have already come up.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#5
Wait, so he does less of the actual band-fronting, but he's still the frontman? What? And what are you doing while he's talking? Tell him to shut up, or show him a video of himself acting like a jackass. He ought to get it if he has much of anything going on upstairs.
#6
He does less singing if thats what you mean. We just kinda wait hm out while he's talking, or just start playing if he rumbles on for too long.

we have no videos tho.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#7
You shouldn't do this, but I think it would be funny for someone to yell shut up at him on stage and immediately start playing. He would be angry, though, so you shouldn't do it. Really.
#8
I think you need to talk to him.

You need to be nice, but honest. "The random patter you're doing isn't working. It seems aimless. That's not what we're about, it's distracting from the music."

If he pushes back, make the focus tightening everything. Eg, don't tell him, "Don't talk to the audience" but instead let your approach be words to the effect of "We rehearse our songs. If you want to introduce songs, you need to have prepared, clear, concise introductions." Again - don't be super aggressive about this, instead nudge him in the right direction.

If you haven't talked to him about it, he may not be thrilled about it either but think it's what you expect.

Perhaps the whole discussion should be one of stage demeanor and tightening up the performance - so you're not just talking about his rambling, you're talking about stuff like drinking and drugs before a show.

But don't let this get confused with issues of who's the frontman.
#9
Seems like you got it pretty figured out. If you want to be a frontman and give him lead guitar duties, i don't really see why he would be upset about that. Getting to be the sole lead guitarist. Maybe it's just me, but I am a little egotistical when it comes to playing in a band, I like being the only guitarist (assuming you guys don't have another).

I'd just play it by ear at your next gig and see if the situation continues and if it does...then take over being the sole frontman and give him lead guitar, and then take his mic if he continues to banter the crowd and goof off like that and give somebody else backing vocals if you need them.
Last edited by scguitarking927 at Sep 6, 2011,
#10
It can work in certain bands like punk bands or if youre killswitch engage, but it has to actually be funny in order to work. Just politley tell him that if he wants to introduce the songs be quick and to the point with it, you want any song introduction to be pretty quick just so that it doesnt distract from the song. Crowd interaction is cool but you can do it for too long and people get bored. Explain this to him but as said before be as polite and nice as possible with it because if you are confrontational from the beginning itll just be an arguement with nothing productive coming out of it.
Ibanez RG7321
Jackson Randy Rhoads V with Floyd Rose
Peavey Valveking 112
Digitech RP70 Guitar Processor
#11
i find this hilarious because this is pretty much me in my band. i guess, however lame it would be, get him to plan stuff to say rather than just let him blurt it out onstage.

another solution is to have less breaks between songs, for example, end a song with a drum fill that goes into the next song. if you have the presence that you claim to have when you're actually playing, and you want him to talk less, this sort of thing could definitively work. think of the set less as a collection of songs and more as one big one.
#12
Talk to him, be brutaly honest, tell him how embarassing he's being but tell him that you don't want to hurt his feelings.

Then play him a live Ramones recording, they just went straight from one song into another with a sudden shout of "1,2,3,4..." for about 5 or 6 songs, then there'd be a short stop between songs where the singer basicaly just told everyone what the name of the next song was and someone would shout "1,2,3,4..." and off they went again for another 5 or 6 songs.
#13
Quote by SlackerBabbath
Talk to him, be brutaly honest, tell him how embarassing he's being but tell him that you don't want to hurt his feelings.

Then play him a live Ramones recording, they just went straight from one song into another with a sudden shout of "1,2,3,4..." for about 5 or 6 songs, then there'd be a short stop between songs where the singer basicaly just told everyone what the name of the next song was and someone would shout "1,2,3,4..." and off they went again for another 5 or 6 songs.


Maybe i should play him another show, i want a bit more diverse act than that
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#14
Quote by gorkyporky
Maybe i should play him another show, i want a bit more diverse act than that


Protest the Hero's singer has a problem with getting tipsy and rambling occasionally, and they deal with it pretty well. On Gallop Meets The Earth, he was talking to the audience and halfway through his speech they just started the hook to Bloodmeat while he finished his thought. In addition, they tend to write certain songs that 'go together' and figure out which songs flow easily from one to another. As soon as the cheers die down at the end of one song, the next is starting off without too many bells and whistles segregating the two.

Even now, they're relatively unknown, and have been touring constantly for years in many small sets in many small places, so they're about as close as you'll get to a 'big band' that can relate to a local/early touring band that doesn't have the luxury of playing a stadium of people that already love them.
Quote by Kevätuhri
Hail isn't too edgy for posts, posts are not edgy enough for Hail.


Quote by UseYourThumb
You win. I'm done here.
#15
You know, the thing is - patter between songs is just like anything else:

Every song doesn't need an epic guitar solo - even if you're Led Zeppelin (eg, the master of the epic guitar solo).

Every song doesn't need to be a romantic ballad - but you'd notice the absence if you had a 90 minute set without one.

Every song doesn't need a singalong section, but it can add a lot to a show to have one, or maybe two.

Patter is the same. Yes, having the frontman say a few words to connect to the audience is an important tool of showmanship. I think introducing yourself either before or after your first song is a good idea. Reminding the audience the name of your band before your last song is a good idea. Saying thank you to the audience before or after your last song is a good idea. Introducing your bandmates before the encore? Telling a story about a song -

- all these things can have a place in a live show. But they all lose their power if you overdo them: give me a show with one epic guitar solo, and I'll go home raving about the guitarist. Give me a show with eight epic guitar solos and I'll think the guitarist is an egotistical wanker.

Same with your lead singer. A few comments are probably a good thing. (I would absolutely, positively insist that he prepares what he's going to say at least until he proves that he can make it work - it's exactly the same as insisting that the guitar player know what his solo is going to be - more or less - until he's shown he can be a solid improviser. Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. Song intros are part of your rehearsal!)
#16
Some people aren't born with the gift of speaking extemporaneously. He either needs to prepare or he needs to shut up/keep it to a word or two.
#17
Well i think i kinda have a genreal idea of what our show is gonna be like. Or at least how to plan it. Im thinking, we write down a setlist, and then reherse the entire set, not just songs, so we can piece them together, and have a couple of breaks for banter. That sounds like a good idea?

Also, i realized that i actually sing more than him. Like, he sings on about 4-5 songs and i sing on 10-12 songs. And it probably looks pretty stupid to have the singer off to the side of the stage. How would we go about juggling our positions? We cant just switch positions everytime, since the sound would be terribly different, and we wouldnt be able to hear our playing as well as we should. Should we simply decide on who will be the center all the time? I think that designating the center, it would be much more easy to practice the whole show.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#18
Quote by gorkyporky
Well i think i kinda have a genreal idea of what our show is gonna be like. Or at least how to plan it. Im thinking, we write down a setlist, and then reherse the entire set, not just songs, so we can piece them together, and have a couple of breaks for banter. That sounds like a good idea?


You rehearse every song individually, and then once they're all working you run the whole set. As you get more experienced, you don't need to plan the set so meticulously - but I do think for a young band doing at least one full "walkthru rehearsal" - where you stop and redo things that don't quite work right - and one full "dress rehearsal" - where you treat it as you would a show - is crucial.

After each sit down and talk for 15 minutes about what went well, what went badly.


Also, i realized that i actually sing more than him. Like, he sings on about 4-5 songs and i sing on 10-12 songs. And it probably looks pretty stupid to have the singer off to the side of the stage. How would we go about juggling our positions? We cant just switch positions everytime, since the sound would be terribly different, and we wouldnt be able to hear our playing as well as we should. Should we simply decide on who will be the center all the time? I think that designating the center, it would be much more easy to practice the whole show.


I'm a little worried about aspects of ego here - yours and his.

And this sort of thing depends a lot on the stage space. Stop and look at the stage from the audience before you set up, how's that work?

The guy who sings the most should probably be front and center, but if you're worried about egos clashing - and it sounds like you should be, unless you guys have a positive, constructive ability to talk about this stuff - then don't assume the settup has to be like this:


                   Drummer
  Guitarist       Singer       Bassist


You can do something like this:


                Drummer
                            Bassist
          Singer/guitarist     Singer/Guitarist


In this sort of setup, the bassist has less interaction with the audience but more with the drummer, which can be good. The key point is that the frontman who isn't singing steps back a little bit , but ultimately neither position feels more "front and center" than the other.
#19
Well stages we usually play have the drummer on the back and centre, and are not that teribly big... Also, you are kinda correct, i would love to have more of a centre role and crowd interaction. The second setup looks very interesting tho, i like it, but it doesnt really solve the issue on how to decide the "main frontman" or whatever.
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#20
Quote by gorkyporky
Well stages we usually play have the drummer on the back and centre, and are not that teribly big... Also, you are kinda correct, i would love to have more of a centre role and crowd interaction. The second setup looks very interesting tho, i like it, but it doesnt really solve the issue on how to decide the "main frontman" or whatever.


That's an ego question.

Honestly, it's a meaningless designation. Who's singing more? Who's personality is driving the personality of the band? Those are the questions that determine who your "main frontman" is.

I would strongly encourage you NOT to make this about "is this my band or yours?" - that is, not if you want to keep playing with this guy. Instead focus on simple, practical problems with solutions that don't involve somebody getting their ego out of the way.

That is to say, rather than say, "I should be front and center, I sing more songs!" say, "I have a hard time connecting with the audience when I'm singing if I'm too far on the wing. Let's reorganize so that I can be more comfortable with that." Rather than say, "We suck because you talk to much between songs," say, "Let's tighten up what happens between songs, so the set really flows."

Maybe you guys are heading for an ego clash anyway, but if you approach it from a reasonable standpoint like this, chances are that you'll have the rest of the band on your side. It's not about you - keep your focus on what makes the show itself work better. And a discussion about who the "main frontman" is does nothing of the sort.
#21
Meaningless babble between songs can kill a performance. I have seen both ends of the spectrum on a few local bands. One band was pretty decent, but they spent too much time making pathtic jokes to the crowd, lame attempts at self-depricating humor, etc. The awkward lack of response from the crowd told the story.

Another band was the opposite. They had truly FUNNY banter between songs, and the crowd was engaged into both them and their set. They made you feel like THEY were the IN crowd, and were inviting the audience to hang with them. Night and day from the first band I described. I've seen them play wasted and sloppy out of their minds, and the crowd STILL loved it.

Some people have charisma, some don't.

If the other guy wants to babble/joke between songs, then fine... He BETTER be interesting, or the audience will tune out of him AND your music.

Being a creative and artsy individual with something to say doesn't mean that the audience won't think he's an ultimate tool. When he becomes Jim Morrison, THEN he can ramble incoherently all he wants, and the crowd will think rainbows are shining from his ass.

But until then, try getting your band focused on the best overall product for your audience and not creating the best soothing ointment for ego.
#22
I like to open a show with the phrase "Me and your mom walk into a bar..." and then start playing.
#23
I also want to add that you don't have to be funny to be charismatic. People like Freddie Mercury rarely told jokes on stage, and they didn't get big laughs when he did. But he was great to watch, and he could talk to a crowd if he wanted to.
#24
When you practice, practice like you're playing a gig. Then you'll be more prepared when playing live, and then say what went wrong, change it, practice again.

You should also keep different gig lengths in mind. If you're playing like 30 minutes on average do a 30 minutes live practice, if its a hour do a hour, etc.