Tips to help me get in a good quality functions band.

BFrench501

Senior Member
Happy New Year folks!

I'm struggling to get myself into a band that I am happy with playing as I want to be in a functions band. I seem to come across some common obstacles and would like some tips.

1) "Applicant must play to click". I can play to click - but my point is that how can I use decent in ear monitoring and get a good mix of the band through my ears unless they have a good sound guy etc?

Half the time the bands can't play in time to drumming anyway so why the drummer has to use click is beyond me.

2) Promoting myself. Plenty of drummers on youtube seem to hire expensive studio time and a film crew to do the multiple angle thing etc. Is all that necessary just to get in a decent function band?

It seems there is such competition - there are 20 deps sometimes going for the same gig and I just don't know how to make myself stand out. It is very awkward for me to ask as I am effective asking for you to teach me how to do your job, but as this is a worldwide site and not just the UK I would hope I am not stealing your work.

I don't want to be a full time professional necessarily, but I just want to get more dep work as I enjoy playing different styles. I just don't want to have to spend £2000 on studio time, a flash website and film crew to then find it's an absolute waste of time.

If there's any information I'm omitting please ask me and I'll try to give answers.

Thanks
Baz



PS Sorry for another long post.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Functions band? You will need to be able to sight read and play to a click.

Most of the function bands do requests, and that means playing everything from "Ace of Spades" to a Frank Sinatra song. The music and lyrics will be on laptops so you can play stuff you have never done before, in real time.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
1) "Applicant must play to click". I can play to click - but my point is that how can I use decent in ear monitoring and get a good mix of the band through my ears unless they have a good sound guy etc?
Of the ~1000 I've been on a stage playing guitar, I've been able to hear clearly exactly twice. The majority of the time, I could not even hear what I was playing. I think you might be looking for something that doesn't really exist here.

Half the time the bands can't play in time to drumming anyway so why the drummer has to use click is beyond me.
A positive attitude and social grace will get you into more bands than raw talent will.
 

BFrench501

Senior Member
Of the ~1000 I've been on a stage playing guitar, I've been able to hear clearly exactly twice. The majority of the time, I could not even hear what I was playing. I think you might be looking for something that doesn't really exist here.

A positive attitude and social grace will get you into more bands than raw talent will.
Perhaps I do not know what to expect sound wise but I don't see how I'm meant to hear click properly while hearing the band too. Would a pair of Vic Firth earphones do and have the click going at low volume so I can hear everything else?

As for the attitude/grace thing. Jeez I'm on a drummers forum. I'd never challenge a musician outright on the use of click if they want it for a gig, I was jesting but I have watched certain bands who have been all over the place and not necessarily due to the drummer. I'll do anything that's asked of me and I will learn it in the timeframe I am given and I will be spot on. I have a professional outlook, maybe jesting isnt a good idea when I'm looking for help eh?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Perhaps I do not know what to expect sound wise but I don't see how I'm meant to hear click properly while hearing the band too. Would a pair of Vic Firth earphones do and have the click going at low volume so I can hear everything else?

As for the attitude/grace thing. Jeez I'm on a drummers forum. I'd never challenge a musician outright on the use of click if they want it for a gig, I was jesting but I have watched certain bands who have been all over the place and not necessarily due to the drummer. I'll do anything that's asked of me and I will learn it in the timeframe I am given and I will be spot on. I have a professional outlook, maybe jesting isnt a good idea when I'm looking for help eh?
It's all good.

Drummers play to a click so that the trigger/synth/keyboard samples line up, and so that songs always begin at the right tempo (so people can dance).

Never start the chicken-dance song too fast, cause it will burn you in the end.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Of the ~1000 I've been on a stage playing guitar, I've been able to hear clearly exactly twice. The majority of the time, I could not even hear what I was playing. I think you might be looking for something that doesn't really exist here.
.

It can be done. I wont do it any other way.

It's no fun to me if I can't hear the songs properly. I want to be able to say, "damn, that sounds good" with a big smile on my face, or, "damn, we need to fix that".
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
It can be done. I wont do it any other way.

It's no fun to me if I can't hear the songs properly. I want to be able to say, "damn, that sounds good" with a big smile on my face, or, "damn, we need to fix that".
Not trying to be a smart ass, but if you say you wont do it any other way what do you do when you show up at the club and they have 1 working monitor and a sound guy who could care less. Do you just walk away from the gig? In my world that happens far more often than not. We rarely get sound checks and when we do its a couple of minutes for FOH.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
It can be done. I wont do it any other way.

It's no fun to me if I can't hear the songs properly. I want to be able to say, "damn, that sounds good" with a big smile on my face, or, "damn, we need to fix that".
I guess that drummers have it easier because they're sitting in the same spot all night. For a guitarist, the difference between hearing yourself and/or not is often one or two paces to the left.
 

2bsticks

Platinum Member
You need to play many styles of music. Be prepared before you go for the audition. If there is a band you have in mind go see them if possible and maybe record them so you can get familiar with the material. It's a business be neat and on time. You will be representing them not only on stage but off as well. If you are comfortable playing to a click thats great but don't worry about it too much. I played functions all through the 80's and finally had enough and left in 95. Pretty archaic technology back then, I used to use 4 track cassettes with headphones on the tunes that we used tracks. Helped my time but I was not crazy about it believe me. Made great $$$ but just got tired of the scene. I will still do one if I get a call but thats it.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Not trying to be a smart ass, but if you say you wont do it any other way what do you do when you show up at the club and they have 1 working monitor and a sound guy who could care less. Do you just walk away from the gig? In my world that happens far more often than not. We rarely get sound checks and when we do its a couple of minutes for FOH.
Functions band gigs have always been a little different. Fewer clubs, more "Ramada conference hall 2B" and the "Reception Room at Wedding-Gardens". We always had our own PA.
 

New Tricks

Platinum Member
Not trying to be a smart ass, but if you say you wont do it any other way what do you do when you show up at the club and they have 1 working monitor and a sound guy who could care less. Do you just walk away from the gig? In my world that happens far more often than not. We rarely get sound checks and when we do its a couple of minutes for FOH.
I don't play in places like that. We bring our own PA. If I had to, I would adapt but, I don't have to :) I'd rather stay home thatn struggle through a gig that sounded bad to me.


I guess that drummers have it easier because they're sitting in the same spot all night. For a guitarist, the difference between hearing yourself and/or not is often one or two paces to the left.
The stages I've played on are pretty small and the players in front of me are only 6' away. I haven't hit the big time yet :)
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Happy New Year folks!

I'm struggling to get myself into a band that I am happy with playing as I want to be in a functions band. I seem to come across some common obstacles and would like some tips.

1) "Applicant must play to click". I can play to click - but my point is that how can I use decent in ear monitoring and get a good mix of the band through my ears unless they have a good sound guy etc?
You would use a small personal mixer, and plug your IEMs into that. Into the mixer, you would connect a signal from the click, a signal from the pre-recorded track, and a signal from the band's mixer (which will contain a blend of the instruments and vocals).

Half the time the bands can't play in time to drumming anyway so why the drummer has to use click is beyond me.
So that when you have coffee right before the gig, you don't play too fast! :)

2) Promoting myself. Plenty of drummers on youtube seem to hire expensive studio time and a film crew to do the multiple angle thing etc. Is all that necessary just to get in a decent function band?

It seems there is such competition - there are 20 deps sometimes going for the same gig and I just don't know how to make myself stand out. It is very awkward for me to ask as I am effective asking for you to teach me how to do your job, but as this is a worldwide site and not just the UK I would hope I am not stealing your work.

I don't want to be a full time professional necessarily, but I just want to get more dep work as I enjoy playing different styles. I just don't want to have to spend £2000 on studio time, a flash website and film crew to then find it's an absolute waste of time.
Yes, the studio time would pretty much be a waste. Better to spend that money on lessons from a highly regarded drummer, and learn about what it takes to play these gigs. There will be much focus on reading and making charts. After you've built up that relationship, then (humbly) ask to be referred for any gigs that the instructor can't take. The only way to beat out 20 other drummers is to be referred by the best one.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Re: clicks and sound:

I used to carry a drum machine, a Rolls head phone amp, and basic ear buds. Then later some 1/2 way decent headphones that let me hear the click and backing tracks without covering my ear too much.

These days, there are so many products, it's much easier. I only wish in-ear monitors were as easy to purchase 20 years ago as they are now.

As for a mix though, you can't stress about it. If you're a drummer for hire, you're going to get hired for plenty of pubs where the PA is nothing more than a mic for the singer and basic set of speakers. Nothing else will be mic-ed, so there will be no mix. Other times the equipment might be top notch, but the guy running it isn't. Part of being a working drummer is rolling with whatever is there.

Promoting myself. Plenty of drummers on youtube seem to hire expensive studio time and a film crew to do the multiple angle thing etc. Is all that necessary just to get in a decent function band?
Promoting yourself is huge.

But the expensive multi-camera thing only impresses other drummers. So what if a bunch of bedroom hero's have fancy drum cover videos, someone looking to hire you most likely doesn't care and won't sit through them. They want to know if you can deliver what they want, not a full blown epic presentation.

What I did way back when was I went into a simple studio, and recorded 5 examples of my playing. I brought in a bass player I knew, and he brought along a guitarist buddy who was talented but had no aspirations of playing pro.

1 piece was maybe 2 minutes long, the other 4 were just 30 second snippets.
They weren't full songs because I knew no one was going to sit through a 15 minute tape. Most people just want a brief example.

The snippets weren't even songs per se, they were just common chord changes. Each one was in a different style. This way I could hand someone a tape (no mps's back then) and they could hear me doing different styles, but the whole tape was short enough no one got bored listening to it.

Short, to the point, and effective.

Best part is I didn't even pay for the studio time. The studio owner wanted to rent a nice set of drums for his band's demo, but didn't have them. So I traded use of my kit for 3-4 days for an afternoon in the studio to record my stuff.
Win-win.

These days it's so much easier. So many people have home studios, I'm sure you could work something out with someone.

Promoting yourself is important, but again, it's easier now.
Make a facebook business page, set up a twitter, and like/follow people in your area. Then get out and follow up in person. And when you meet someone in person, follow up online.
 
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