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  #1  
Old 09-01-2010, 06:35 AM
Schism21 Schism21 is offline
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Default Playing in multiple bands?

I have a bit of a situation currently. I've just been invited to my 4th band, and I'm trying to work out how to be playing in 4 at once :/

So, I was wondering. Is it a good or a bad thing to be playing in multiple bands at once? I think it is, because each band is a different style. One is prog metal, one is thrash, one is punk rock, and the other is lighter alternative. I think that jamming with people that have different musical tastes could be beneficial to my development as a drummer.
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:48 AM
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alparrott alparrott is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

As long as you can honor all commitments to all bands, without causing one band to suffer or lose work to accommodate you, and you can physically hang, and nobody in any band objects to you working other projects, why not?

I personally can't do that, because I multitask in so many other ways in my lifestyle, but many drummers do it, and do it successfully, at all levels, from semi-pro to touring drummer. Ask Bermuda, he plays in several bands. There are quite a few pro touring drummers with a side band for "their" project music.
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:08 PM
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

I used to play in 3 bands. Now it is only 2, I was spending too much time practicing during the week, working around everyones shifts at work and plans it was a nightmare. Now I'm in 2 and that is more than enough for me. I work full time and have a partner so I would have no time at all for a 4th band. Practicing probably won't be a problem for you (assuming you don't work full time) however it is hugely likely that when it comes to gigging you will get a lot of double bookings and your band mates won't stay understanding for long. Just be careful dude and think about it long and hard.
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:14 PM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schism21 View Post
I think that jamming with people that have different musical tastes could be beneficial to my development as a drummer.
Of course it's a good idea to stretch and play different styles that you like, but remember your participation in other bands isn't just about you... it involves the members of each band and perhaps their ability to do a gig if you're not available.

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Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
As long as you can honor all commitments to all bands, without causing one band to suffer or lose work to accommodate you, and you can physically hang, and nobody in any band objects to you working other projects, why not?
Exactly, and I've been lucky to juggle 3 working bands with only a few occasions where a sub was needed. But because I'm also on tour most years, these bands already have subs lined-up, so they're covered. I feel privileged that they have me back after each tour.

Band's are entitled to have a consistent line-up, and I'd have to respect them if they said they need a drummer who could devote all of their energy to them. As I said, I've been very lucky, but I also think 3 bands (+ Weird Al) is my limit.

Bermuda
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Old 09-01-2010, 04:19 PM
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BrewBillfold BrewBillfold is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Schism21 View Post
I have a bit of a situation currently. I've just been invited to my 4th band, and I'm trying to work out how to be playing in 4 at once :/

So, I was wondering. Is it a good or a bad thing to be playing in multiple bands at once? I think it is, because each band is a different style. One is prog metal, one is thrash, one is punk rock, and the other is lighter alternative. I think that jamming with people that have different musical tastes could be beneficial to my development as a drummer.
I play in many different bands myself, although aside from my own bands, it's more of a "hired gun" thing.

I agree that if you're in multiple bands it's important to make sure that they won't get in the way of each other in terms of scheduling, at least without other folks knowing that that's a possibility and being willing to work around it.

What I've never understood is musicians who have an attitude that "If you're in my band, you can be in no other", in the sense that they object to you doing music with other folks even when there are no schedule conflicts. I'm not getting married to anyone I'm in a band with, and even at that, I do not support monogamy anyway. ;-) Relationships shouldn't be about taking other folks hostage.

If a band were busy every day of the year except for a couple short breaks, you might not have time to play with others, but many bands do not schedule themselves that way. They might have long breaks in between projects or gigs, etc. I like to keep working on music both on my own and with others. Folks are welcome to take breaks when they want, but then I'm going to work with someone else in the meantime. I do like taking vacations here and there, although I'd just as well travel while I'm making some money at the same time. I'm not the type of person who takes a vacation by sitting around the house, sitting in a hotel somewhere, sitting on the beach, etc. I like to travel and see things.
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Old 09-01-2010, 05:57 PM
Schism21 Schism21 is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Of course it's a good idea to stretch and play different styles that you like, but remember your participation in other bands isn't just about you... it involves the members of each band and perhaps their ability to do a gig if you're not available.
Yeah, this is definitely true. I'm eventually going to cut it down, depending on what band decides to take it one step further and start recording/gigging more often.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewBillfold View Post

What I've never understood is musicians who have an attitude that "If you're in my band, you can be in no other", in the sense that they object to you doing music with other folks even when there are no schedule conflicts. I'm not getting married to anyone I'm in a band with, and even at that, I do not support monogamy anyway. ;-) Relationships shouldn't be about taking other folks hostage.
And, I absolutely hate it when musicians keep this kind of attitude. Most of my bandmates don't understand why I always go off and jam with other people, even if it is just for fun.
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Old 09-01-2010, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

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And, I absolutely hate it when musicians keep this kind of attitude. Most of my bandmates don't understand why I always go off and jam with other people, even if it is just for fun.
Right . . . I particularly see that on Craigslist a lot--people stating in their ads that you have to ONLY be in their band. LIke they're going to be paying you 100k per year to be exclusive to them whether they're working or not . . . yet they're advertising on Craigslist for a drummer, lol.
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  #8  
Old 09-01-2010, 06:24 PM
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

An older musician once told me it was always good to be in at least 3 bands because one of them will inevitably deteriorate because of personality conflicts, while another has already gone broke, and you either don't know or will be informed by Saturday.

Therefore he believed that being in 3 guaranteed that you were safely in one, while those who thought they were in just one were really just freelancers or really not playing at all. Made sense to me.
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  #9  
Old 09-01-2010, 07:39 PM
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

That seems to be the vogue on Craigslist. You can ONLY be in their band and nothing else, even when they are not rehearsing or gigging, and this is the first sign of you are dealing with either 1) an egomaniac and control freak, or 2) an amatuer who doesn't know what he or she is doing, or 3) both.

Years ago both of my drum instructors insisted I get exposed to all types of music, regardless if I truely like the genre or not. They wanted me exposed to jazz, rock, classical, funk, swing, country and western, etc. Thier philosophy was a good drummer can play any chart put in front of him, or if no chart exists, make it up to fit the song and genre. Faily tall orders, and they insisted I play anytime and with everyone I got the chance to play music with, be it jazz, church - sacred, funk, swing, classical, c and w, etc. And they told me to play in as many different bands as I could play in to get that exposure.

It was great training and has served me well over the years.

So play in as many bands as you can comfortable play in and be able to realistically support without them having to find a sub all the time. What's more - HAVE FUN!!!
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  #10  
Old 09-01-2010, 08:23 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

First off, Congratulations on being so in demand!

Four bands, on the surface sounds like you're spreading yourself thin. But, it depends on you, and their combined gig/practice schedules.

If you don't work a regular 40, then I'd say it's doable. Preferable? Your call. If you go for it, here's bound to be nights where you are going to disappoint someone concerning bookings.
But hey, if you and all the others can all work around that, then that's your best move, for the variety.
I think playing in at least 2 bands is rewarding. It broadens your scope. Plus it's really cool to be able to say that you play for multiple bands.
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  #11  
Old 09-02-2010, 03:17 AM
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Zickosdrummer Zickosdrummer is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

If you have the time, go for it. Besides, the different styles will keep you fresh. If you don't have the time, throw some of them our way. Some of us need the work. :-)
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  #12  
Old 09-02-2010, 08:48 AM
Concrete Pete Concrete Pete is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

Hey Schism,

Go for it!
I'm currently in 3 (sometimes 4) bands, and one thing that I've noticed over the years is that when other band members know that you're in a multi-band sitch, they somehow seem to treat you better and give you a bit more respect, my guess is that they consider "If he leaves, he won't be hurting for gigs, jammin', or band camaraderie".

Who knows?- just my 2 cents.

Cheers,
C. P.

Last edited by Concrete Pete; 09-02-2010 at 09:06 AM.
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  #13  
Old 09-02-2010, 03:15 PM
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Garvin Garvin is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

Yes, the more projects you have going, the better. I'm currently involved in 4-6 "bands". 2 of them only gig about once a month, the others make up weekly gigs and festivals throughout the summer. That, plus I have a full time job and a wife and two kids. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Blues band, jam band, jazz quartet, North Indian Classical Duo, latin-son group, West African drum troupe, occasional studio sessions. All of these help inform the other, and keep my playing fresh.
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  #14  
Old 09-02-2010, 03:36 PM
jer jer is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

Really depends on the commitment involved with each band and their goals.

If it's casual playing for fun and the occasional show, involve yourself as much as you can. If all the bands want to jam twice a week and gig several times a month, I reckon you should keep it to a minimum. I played with 4 bands for a few years, jammed 8 times a week and was gigging sometimes 10-15 times a month.

Aside from practically burning myself out and developing small health problems, not only did I end up feeling as though I was missing out on some of the more social aspects of life, I couldn't ever be a more than just a member who showed up to rehearsals and gigs. In my opinion, not what a band struggling to get ahead needs at all.

Because of each of the bands desire to "make it", there was a silent (but very strong), competition between bands. This left me in a really crappy place at times. Although I was good at scheduling and rarely drew conflicts - when a band couldn't accept a gig because I was doing something else, it really hurt the band that got the shaft and my relationship with said members. Likewise, the resentment that would appear when band A got an opportunity that band B, C and D would have liked to of had, increased 10 fold and made for some trying times.

I made the decision to drop 2 of the bands over time and was happy playing with just 2 bands, now down to one, I feel happy that I can completely focus my energy on this project and give it the effort that it deserves that is at least equal to what the other guys are putting in.

Interestingly enough, the last band standing was the first of the 4 that I joined, and made up of guys I've known the longest and pretty much consider family. They were also the band that does it more for fun and enjoyment than chasing a dream of stardom.
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  #15  
Old 09-02-2010, 09:27 PM
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Living Dead Drummer Living Dead Drummer is offline
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

I love being in more than one group. Keeps my chops up and keeps me playing every day.
You just have to be a little careful about bugeting your time. Things like your social life or hobbies you may have will suffer a little, but if being a drummer is what you want to do with your life then you need to be okay with cutting some things out.
I don't like the "only one band" rule as well. I understand that some guys want you to be dedicated, but you can do that while sharing as well. The only way I will be in one band and not play with anyone else is if they are paying me enough that I don't need anyone else. Right now playing in 3 or 4 groups is the only reason my rent gets paid ontime.
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  #16  
Old 09-02-2010, 09:50 PM
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Default Re: Playing in multiple bands?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jer View Post
Because of each of the bands desire to "make it", there was a silent (but very strong), competition between bands. This left me in a really crappy place at times. Although I was good at scheduling and rarely drew conflicts - when a band couldn't accept a gig because I was doing something else, it really hurt the band that got the shaft and my relationship with said members. Likewise, the resentment that would appear when band A got an opportunity that band B, C and D would have liked to of had, increased 10 fold and made for some trying times..
I had this the ONE time I was in two bands.

I had my "serious band" and my "fun band". It was clear to me which was which, and it was clear to my 2nd band the 1st band was my priority, and I thought it was clear to my 1st band the 2nd band was just filling in for fun.

Then my "fun" band got a prestigious gig that my "serious" band would have killed for.
Oye.....the drama....

Mostly I was only in one band at a time because I considered myself more than "just the drummer". It was my career too, so I was involved in the marketing and promotion all aspects of the business end. Which didn't leave much time for a 2nd band.

Although in retrospect, I think I should have been more opened minded about fitting in other gigs/bands. I did on occasion, but rarely as much as I should have.

On the flip side, I got burned on my last band, because I was the only one who wasn't in two bands, and it became a pain because every time we got offered a good gig, someone couldn't make it because they had a gig already, or worse, a booking agent would offer a gig to both bands, with whomever replies "yes" first gets it. It became quite the headache.
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