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behindthenotes
08-22-2008, 06:39 PM
Hi Guys

We have posted this as our weekly discussion and would be keen to hear your thoughts.

Does a group REALLY need a leader ?

The front man, the boss, the leader, the mac daddy, the main man.....can a group exist as a collaborative or is it essential to have a front man calling the shots?

Which of these situations do you prefer to work in ?

Ironcobra
08-22-2008, 06:43 PM
If a group can flow well by itself and has good chemistry, then one is not needed. However, most of the time, some form of leadship is needed. The same goes for movies, if there was no director, the film production would be chaos to say the least.

If you're following someone elses orders, you will have so sacrifice some of things that you want, but in the end, having a leader will create a better result.

Personally, I like to lead, I like to get things done. It's people who don't want to listen that can mess up a whole idea or production.

Fett2oo5
08-22-2008, 06:56 PM
Wow what a loaded question. I could write A LOT about this subject, but I won't, so you can rest at ease. =)

yes a group does need a "leader", even if a group of Non-Leadership people are put together, over time some form of leadership will evolve.

You donot have to have One person be the leader, it can have a group of people be the leaders. In our band we have the three core people Drums, Bass, Singer/Songwritter. We all share the leadership, and we all share the responsibilities an equal 1/3.

This type of leadership requires "backup" behavior. IE: I (drums) am not present when a decision needs to be made, so Bass player makes the decision because it must be done. You must have respect for each other and trust one another. So even if I dissagree with the Bass players decision I will STILL back him up and suport his decision when in front of other people. ONLY when the two of us can talk candidly while I address my concerns of the decision that was made.

Leadership is a big topic to discuss.

So while a leader is not required, wether you like it or not, SOME form of leadership will naturally arise, in most any situation.

mrchattr
08-22-2008, 07:26 PM
I agree with Fett...even if there isn't a true "boss-style" leader, leadership will evolve in any group over time, and that is pretty essential.

In a lot of cases, including one of my current bands, excellence is what creates leadership. The guitarist and I are equal in talent and dedication. While the other members are also quite talented, and pretty dedicated, they will let their butts drag a little bit. I'm amazed at how often we'll agree to learn five new songs, and when we get to rehearsal, the guitarist and I know them, but the vocalist and bass player have no clue. We've even gotten to the point where the guitarist will learn the bass part and teach it to him at practice while I work with the vocalist (including making sure I have the lyrics printed out). Everyone gets an equal say in decisions (there's no "well, you might not want to do this, but I do, so we are"), but in cases of a "tie," if the guitarist and I agree, the other two will usually go with us, since they know we haven't steered them wrong yet. Also, if there's ever a situation where it's split that way, but one of them won't back down, it really makes the guitarist and I re-evaluate our decision, since we know it must be very important to them at that time.

It's especially interesting to see this in the case of the guitarist. I'm a natural leader, and have had leadership roles my whole life. The guitarist is quiet, and not really what you would think of as a leader, but he has earned the right to be one, and does a great job.

Rimshot1
08-22-2008, 11:47 PM
I have played with many bands here in the UK. No I am not brilliant, just available. However I find it most disturbing when the role of leadership (when required (and often it can be required)), is so easly passed onto the drummer who in most cases has never met nor played with a particular group of guys
. In my experience, each band is different in their approach and style of projecting and playing the music they are doing. Yes, I know the song, the groove, the tune so to speak but I do not know how they are doing it. Here then I am looking for some guidence from the head honcho but I find that he/she has deligated the job to the drummer.
So my preference here would be to play in a band that does have some form of leadership, be that the bass, lead vocals or all three. :-)

georgeman
08-23-2008, 03:58 AM
as a boy scout and in many bands having a leader makes things easier but only if the leadership style is correct... there are many different styles of leadership but i will only explain 3 of them commanding communicating and suggesting. Commanding is the fastest way to be kicked out especially when there are more than one natural leader in the group, but is also the fastest way to get things done. Communicating is kind of like a committee meeting where everyone makes a decision together, this takes the longest but most people are happy. The last one is the one that makes peoples skills stick out and their personality stick out. In this one instead of telling people "Make me a sandwich" you ask if they can make you one most people will make you one as long as its not for personal gain... and if they don't do it for another reason you have to respect their decision because you asked.

my last point is going to start with an example.

I am in the marching band at my school... the snare line is made up of all boyscouts( me an eagle scout... the next almost an eagle...the next starting his eagle... the last not even close.) but as an eagle scout leadership skills are needed but i know when to back down to help the group.

so if you are a leader be willing to help the group be willing to step down...

a leader is needed and will come out in time

georgeman

Vipercussionist
08-23-2008, 05:22 AM
Hi Guys

We have posted this as our weekly discussion and would be keen to hear your thoughts.

Does a group REALLY need a leader ?

The front man, the boss, the leader, the mac daddy, the main man.....can a group exist as a collaborative or is it essential to have a front man calling the shots?

Which of these situations do you prefer to work in ?
There HAS to be a final say, or disagreements will cause animosity.The guitar player is the band leader for me, but he has to deal with the good parts AND the bad parts of leadership, and for the most part there's nothing but grief in trying to run a band.

Musically, there's not to much for us to say to each other, we're to the point now where we trust each other to know how to play our instruments, and we realize that each of us wants to put forth the best show we are capable of doing, it's not like any of us take the easy way out musically.

Mostly the band leader in my band runs the business, and makes the setlist. He IS the lead vocal, so it makes sense that he knows what he can handle that night and in what order will work best for his voice. He's been running the band for 25 years, the bass player has only 14 years in, and I'm the n00b with 6 years, so I'd say he gets to lead by default.
.

Class A Drummer
08-23-2008, 06:29 AM
I dont think there needs to be a leader at all, it just makes things go a little quicker if there is. People should just try to negotiate and agree on what and how to play things, and if not, they should just vote on stuff.

just my two cents.

burnthehero
08-23-2008, 06:39 AM
I find that I work best in groups where there is a primary source of creativity.

crdirtRider856
08-23-2008, 08:06 AM
Maybe not a leader in the sense of being in charge, but dedicating certain tasks to a certain member seems to make it easier. I ve never been in the leader position and dont really want to, but I d gladly be in charge of the "percussion dept."

aydee
08-23-2008, 08:22 AM
This is a deceptively simple question.

In my experience democracy hardly ever works in a band situation.

Maybe once when I was in a school band and every member had a lot of time for each other and had the ability to take constructive direction and/or criticism.

Other than that, with the exception of cover bands you are always playing somebody's tune. So he or she needs to lead that creative process. Overall I think bands need a single authority figure who can cut through of the musical tip toeing and political correctness and extract the best from each player.

arthurk1
08-23-2008, 05:14 PM
Yes, a band does need a leader. Someone needs to call the shots, point out incorrect parts, make schedules, set tempos, and keep people in check. Usually the leader would also take the role of a musical director and assign parts, such as harmonies or tell you that a certain part should be played a certain way. Big tours like Madonna or Justin Timberlake would never work if one person didn't call the shots. Now if it's just a bar band for peanuts, you might get away without one, but you probably won't make it out of the bars. If you do, it's because someone took charge!

basscase
08-23-2008, 09:56 PM
From a tax standpoint it is good to only have one person dealing with all the money. Then the leader pays the rest of the band and distributes 1099 to each.

behindthenotes
08-25-2008, 04:52 PM
Hi Guys

Quite a few posts coming through on the "admin" side of the group - which is great, what about from a creative point - composing, arranging, or even selecting what is played - is a "leader" needed in that sense ?

aydee
08-25-2008, 05:05 PM
Hi Guys

Quite a few posts coming through on the "admin" side of the group - which is great, what about from a creative point - composing, arranging, or even selecting what is played - is a "leader" needed in that sense ?

Good question. IMO, yes you do. All group creative processes must have a facilitator- an enlightened being who can see the potential of each band member and coax the best out of him. To keep egos from clashing and to forsee the greater good.

Rimshot1
08-25-2008, 06:31 PM
In the case of original material, it is vital that a leader is present. There is room here for debate and improvements, new ideas etc between the band members but in the event of a serious disagreement regarding arrangements, timing and such, one individual should take charge here because generally speaking it is this one individual (band leader) who should be knowing of what is to be required from the musicians he has probably recruited himself depending on their temperaments and knowledge and experience.

Additionally, I suppose the job of leader is much reduced when it comes to a band doing covers, although not exhonorated. He is still required to take charge and control input from the rest of the band and direct but he can give more space if necessary. :-)

kwolf68
08-25-2008, 07:03 PM
Really good question, but I have to side with not having an authority figure.

I left my last band because 'the authority figure' would not replace an incompetent bass player and because he was so strident in our musical selection it prevented us from gettting gigs.

My new project has 3 members (me-drums, guitar, bass), and everyone seems to be pushing the creative envelope as he wishes and/or is able to. I can play guitar and I wrote a song and played it for my guitar player Sunday and he liked it. The vibe is great....we just kinda instinctively know what we need to do.

No one in our band needs to 'lead' from that standpoint. That said, our bass player is the one with all the neato contacts that will get us good gigs, so in that effect HE CAN LEAD.

Drumsword
08-25-2008, 07:15 PM
Good question. IMO, yes you do. All group creative processes must have a facilitator- an enlightened being who can see the potential of each band member and coax the best out of him. To keep egos from clashing and to forsee the greater good.

I agree, there should be someone to steer the direction of rehearsals, music arranging of material etc. And there should and needs to be equal input from all members of a band. If a band is to breath and take on a life and identity of it's own everyones input needs to be taken seriously and tried. Otherwise if one person is a musical dictator, he or she might as well just go solo and hire a band to play their music. But in the bands I've been in and/or fronted Things have gone smoother with someone to look to and follow.

But again, everyone needs equal input to help the music grow and mature.......If neil peart throws out a suggestion I'm sure Geddy and Alex don't shoot him down..lol.

Rimshot1
08-26-2008, 08:06 AM
Really good question, but I have to side with not having an authority figure.

I left my last band because 'the authority figure' would not replace an incompetent bass player and because he was so strident in our musical selection it prevented us from gettting gigs.

My new project has 3 members (me-drums, guitar, bass), and everyone seems to be pushing the creative envelope as he wishes and/or is able to. I can play guitar and I wrote a song and played it for my guitar player Sunday and he liked it. The vibe is great....we just kinda instinctively know what we need to do.

No one in our band needs to 'lead' from that standpoint. That said, our bass player is the one with all the neato contacts that will get us good gigs, so in that effect HE CAN LEAD.

It really is not an easy task, being a leader and often the job is demanding in the sense that decisions must be made good ones and duff ones.
However I do know where you are coming from, I too have played with musicians in many local bands and the reason they are still in the band is not because they are good at playing their instrument, only because they have a large "private" social following of "friends" or have this Aunt and that Uncle, in laws, outlaws etc etc. In other words they get the gigs, yes, but musically, they are not up to par in their own departments. Dis-organized on stage as they are a reflection of their own private lives, totally non-professional in their approach to the art of playing, the music, creativity, administration and all else that goes into putting on a good gig. These are the ones that brandish the phrase, "It's my band" freely. (I am speaking here of some people I have had to gig with, not your bass player (Respect to him)).
All I am saying here is just because someone is good at getting gigs (which of course that is also what playing music is all about to pay the bills), it does not necessarily make for a good leader all around and often as in the cases I have seen, having a leader as I have described or no leader at all leaves everyone on stage running around like headless chickens in the dark. :-)

PQleyR
08-27-2008, 12:02 AM
From a creative standpoint, sometimes it's good to have something to work against as well as with. It doesn't have to mean a lot of conflict, but differences of opinion can lead to interesting things as well as just fights.

TheGroceryman
08-27-2008, 04:23 AM
From a creative standpoint, sometimes it's good to have something to work against as well as with. It doesn't have to mean a lot of conflict, but differences of opinion can lead to interesting things as well as just fights.

yes creative conflict does indeed lead to many fights, but fights that break up bands, in my case. ha!