So I just recently got together with this group of guys. Just a vocalist and a drummer. I play rhythm. These guys are already talking about a theme. Some pirate shit. I know it sounds really really gay. But, that got me thinking about this. For a band to be focusing on this before having all of it's slots filled or even having any songs what so ever written is it too soon? I really feel like it's too soon at this point but my band and stage experience is limited and just wanted some outside perspectives from people that have done this longer than I have.
I think sometimes you have to let loose and play around with the fun stuff. That really shouldn't be your main focus though! If the theme is all they talk about instead of filling your slots and getting your music together, then they may not be serious about the project. Sometimes having a theme sets a goal to work towards, though.
Well as far as filling slots we do also discuss that. We had a bassist come out last night and play for while and I thought he was really good. Had good tone, knew music theory and seemed to mesh really well with everyone.

Here's the biggest problem. The idea that was first thrown around is to learn covers from an assortment of styles and play those for the time being for exposure and inspiration for originals. This makes a lot of sense. I can get on board with this. When we play we start off with me making some random on the spot riff or the vocalist trying to direct something he wants me to play. Also completely fine. When it comes to what the main focus was supposed to be, (covers) you realize pretty soon that the drummer hasn't gone over the arrangement of the songs so we can get the changes and he can learn his fills, and the vocalist doesn't know the damn lyrics. Our list is 5 songs.. As far as our random riff jam-o-rama, I can't even discuss basic song structure with the vocalist without getting snide comments or the dreaded "WTF" face. Are you really supposed to be able to go to practice say "I wanna write a song, let's jam a riff with no words all the time and something will materialize" .....?

Granted these guys are a little older and know a lot of songs so they can jump in with really any guitarist that knows them, but how can you come up with a list then not work on it and talk about some crazy theme for the far future where all of the foot work has already been done? It just makes no sense to me, but again I haven't really been doing the band thing for that long. Sorry for the apparent gripe fest, but the area I'm in it's hard to discuss stuff like this with other musicians face to face.
Last edited by The musician123 at Sep 25, 2014,
Sorry didn't mean to offend with the comment. I mean to say that it sounds unappealing and I think we would look stupid.

Moving right along....

I understand that you have to have a general idea of where we are going but I always assumed that a theme if you will, would come out naturally by what you write about. The message. Look at Clutch for example. I wouldn't say they have a theme really but if I had to put a name on it I would say they are a bunch hillbilly guys fusing rock and blues and some spacey sounding effects. They don't really look like they have any kind of costume or of that crap. They just throw some shit on and get on stage and play. Hell even their process is kind of like what we are doing. They go to their rehearsal spot and jam to something and Neil Fallon makes up lyrics on the spot, but I bet they write that crap down.

I don't know. I'm pretty much going to be sticking with this because I need the experience just wanted to pick brains of those that know more about this than I do.
I'd say stick it out for a while, and if the covers thing isn't working out, forget about them and start working on the original stuff you guys are having fun jamming. If you can record your practices (even if it's just with your phone, so long as you can hear what's going on) that gives you the freedom to work on stuff and arrange songs based around what you've jammed and what the singer's comfortable with (some singers are just terrible with timing, especially when learning other songs, but do ok on stuff they write). Even the Pirate theme, or whatever theme you go with, isn't a terrible idea as it'll get you noticed and people talking about you, whether it's an original idea or not. You still have to be good musically and fit that theme, and deliver good stage presence when playing live, or else you'll just be a bunch of boring pirates, and nobody likes boring pirates. End of the day, just have fun with it, it doesn't have to be forever, it just has to get you playing, gaining experience, and networking with other bands in your area that could go on to be future bandmates in an even better band.

If it's really not working out after trying for a while, take the bass player with you and start your own thing.