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  #1  
Old 08-08-2010, 02:19 PM
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Default Tactful corrections of band members

I'll start by saying that kicking this player out of the band is not an option. He's too a good friend to some of us. Our music is important to us, but our friendships more so.

We have a player in our band who tends to overplay. He is not playing his main instrument with us. Trouble is he is always trying to do things that he can't do reliably - zero headroom. His timing is not good.

If he simplified and just focused on being tight he'd be fine, but he keeps on adding out-of-time clutter. Then he changes things from practice to practice, even though we record everything.

At a recent social band get-together our bassist was saying how important it is to leave space and to just execute simply and well ... which looked like a veiled, general way of suggesting to the musician-in-question to de-clutter. All enthusiastic agreement.

Then next practice, the same sloppiness as though the conversation never happened. Late last year our singer and I tried to get him to tidy things up be he got all insecure and huffy and suggested that maybe we might like to find someone better (Why not just simplify FFS!). Since he doesn't tell us what to play I guess he thinks we should provide the same courtesy (we are much more tight than he is).

Occasionally a couple of us have tried dealing with specifics ... "How about trying this or that?" and he may or may not go for it.

Has anyone found a way of diplomatically dealing with this situation - or can think of something?

Any ideas? It's not end-of-the-world because we're in it for the fun, but it's an irritation because it limits our fun.

Cheers

Pol
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:19 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

When subtle hints don't cut it, it's time to be blunt.......blunt doesn't have to be rude either. Just be direct and to the point. It can still be done with a smile and a laugh over a pint.......especially when you're dealing with mates. State your case directly, so that there's no missing your point and hopefully he'll get the message.

Personally, I'd do it this without the hordes though. Maybe myself and one other......no need to have him feeling the whole band is against him (they're obviously not, but it can feel that way if you're on the receiving end). You want him to be receptive, not on the defensive.
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

One on one. Sage advice, PFOG. Damn, I'll probably be the muggins who'll have to do it. Poo.

"Now, X, you're wonderfully talented ... a rare and remarkable genius, really ... but I have noticed a couple of things which could be even more brilliant ..."
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:38 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

Well, for one, didn't he play that way from the beginning? If not, what precipitated the change?

If he didn't play that way from the beginning, it might be possible to approach what led to the change and turn that around . . . I don't know, it depends on what started it. (And if he played that way from the beginning, I have to wonder why you guys hired him (or joined the band, depending on who started it) in the first place.)

In either case, what might be a better idea is trying to compromise a bit the other way and having the whole band work on the more difficult, busy stuff--even if they do not need to. The idea isn't that it's all going to end up busier--it's that you're going to help him get his chops in shape so that if he's going to play that way anyway, it at least sounds good, then the rest of the band can eventually back off and be simpler if they want to be.

You'd need to coordinate this with the other band members ideally.

Let's say for example that he plays some complicated ostinato figure or run or whatever over something. Have the other members, including you, say, "I like what you're doing there; I'd like to do something similar or complementary to it, can you show it to me?" Then here's where the serious play-acting might have to come in: even if you can easily do it, act like you can not. Make him show it to you slowly, then gradually speed it up. If he's having timing problems as you speed it up, then have worse timing problems, and get everyone to count out the rhythm together. What you're doing is slyly helping him woodshed the part so that he can do it.

Also, by doing this, when he changes the part at the next practice, you can say, "Aw, man--I liked what we were doing together before there, why don't we do that instead?" He might still change parts, but if he does, just take the same approach again so at least his new part sounds good. If you do this enough, you're going to make him a better player , while always approaching it as complimenting and supporting him, so that you'll at least get to a point where you don't have to worry about what he's doing any longer.

He just might not agree with you guys that "less is more", it's better to keep things simple, etc.--I do not agree with that as a player, either. He also might not prefer to keep parts the same all the time--I definitely do NOT prefer that, for example. I prefer that people change parts, change the way they play songs regularly. I hate being in situations where others are uncomfortable with that, and I'd never be able to be in a Rush-like band where everyone is pretty much trying to get things note-per-note the same all the time. So depending on his preferences, you're probably not going to change his mind about that stuff if he doesn't agree with you.

So if you don't want to can him, and I can certainly understand that, then it's going to be just as much your responsibility to help him do what he's trying to do better, without making it seem like you're criticizing him, implying that you're better than him, more right than him about what the music should be like, etc.--all of those things put the person on the defensive instead. It's just as much your responsibility then to make it so that what he's doing better meshes with the music overall . . . that might involve just as much or even more compromise on the other musicians' parts to come up with something that works that kinda satisfies everyone involved.

-------------------------
Just thought I'd add this quickly: I once played with a keyboardist and singer who was like an R&B/funk/jazz Jim Morrison--including the acid-fueled unpredictability onstage. Sometimes it could be frustrating, because it could be hard to follow him and adapt to what he was playing and singing, but he also turned out some genius stuff. But the rest of the band approached it as needing to follow him and make it sound good based on what he was doing--there was no way he was going to take or consistently follow advice, structures, etc. from the rest of us.

It's also a bit like the Tout Mask Replica situation--the rest of the band had to figure out what the Captain was doing and follow him, making that the hinge of the music. There was no way they were going to get the Captain to play something more normal at that point. He just wasn't capable of it, for one.

Last edited by BrewBillfold; 08-09-2010 at 03:13 PM.
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Old 08-08-2010, 03:41 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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... but I have noticed a couple of things which could be even more brilliant ..."
Ha......that'd be my first approach.

The second would be: dude, you play way too many friggen' notes. Either lay back or we can arrange to have a couple of fingers removed and force you to chill the f*** out!! :-)
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

I'd say you say to this person what you just said to us.

As Pocket said, sometimes you have to be blunt.
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Old 08-08-2010, 08:44 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

i agree with p-fog, we had a similar problem with our bassist a while back. not that he played to busily but he wouldn't learn what we needed him to. we tried subtle hints here and there and tried showing him little tips and tricks but each time he got defensive and thought we wanted him gone and so forth.

being he is best friends with the guitarist since they were kids, i asked him to approach it and just flat out tell him, you need to do this and that and do it quickly and explain to him we're not pushing him out but he's holding up progress and if he needs us to help cool but the change needs to be made.

couple weeks later he was starting to fall in line right where we needed him.
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Old 08-08-2010, 10:10 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

Good luck with trying to change the way a person plays, it's as deeply ingrained as their personality. If he got huffy in the past, he'll probably get huffy in the future. Which is OK as long as he changes. I have no real advice to offer except approach it honestly. Something like, "we are all in agreement that there are things that you play that do not work with this band. We really need you to change them, because it's causing problems. Do you think you are able to do that?"

Let it be on him to say he if can or can't. If he says he can, that's when you stop the song when he reverts back to his old ways and call him on it. He will either change or quit. If he stays the same, then you have the option to say, "but you said you could do this.." Make him agree to it and hold him to it.
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:21 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

Hey Pol, it's a difficult situation - how about recording your practice sessions and then have a dedicated "listen back" session to review what works and what doesn't.... the old saying is "the tape doesn't lie". You may only need to highlight a couple of the "misses" to get the point across - good luck
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

My first guess is that this is a guitarist.

Pocket got to the good advice first. However, It seems like what was causing this over-playing is unclear. Maybe he doesn't understand the principle of groove? Maybe his ego is kind of big. Whatever it is, it really needs to be fixed if he's ruining the tightosity of the band.

Be blunt, don't be mean, be completely honest. If he can't take it, then that's one of his faults.
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Old 08-09-2010, 02:24 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

Thanks guys interesting replies.

Brew, yes, I think he is looking to be "more sophisticated" in his playing. This would be fine if he could execute accurately, but he can't.

I think this is because, as CHS pointed out, he doesn't "get" groove. He is a highly intelligent, cerebral guy and I think it's all in his head and not in his body. I almost never see him tapping his foot or swaying as he plays. I might pursue the idea of groove with the band more (another treble player in the group could do with this as well).

Funny thing, how some musicians think that placement of notes is simply a matter of putting them in more-or-less the right place. If they try to play things that stretch them then all they will do is place the notes rather than really play them

PFOG, he is an old friend and |'m not inclined to chop off his fingers (yet).

Hercules, the listen back session is food for thought ...
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:53 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

I'll trade you for a Stick-In-The-Mud bass player that I have to deal with!

I think of it this way, When I die, I know that I'm going to heaven, Because I've already been to hell!

There is no tactful way to tell someone that they suck!
It won't help anyway, If you tell him, He will still suck, He will just try harder not to suck!
The harder that he tries, the more he will suck!
He will then be overwhelmed with self conscious reservations from trying to hard not to suck.
I know from first hand experience.

You have heard the bassist that I speak of play.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:50 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

Yeah, I have heard him, Bob. The player in our band is nowhere near as tragic so no swaps, young fella. Just as well he's a bassist, eh? A vocalist or drummer like that would render a band non-functional ...
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Old 08-09-2010, 05:43 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

I just crated Phil the bassist up and I shipped him to you.
He is my gift to you so no need to send me a lame musician in return.
I put him in a box with no air holes and I sent him on a slow boat!
He should arrive at your door in about a month.
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Old 08-09-2010, 07:07 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

Uh, gee thanks, Bob ... can he cook, clean and debug PCs?

I gather your tractor is in for repairs ...
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Old 08-09-2010, 09:06 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

The record & playback suggestion's the best way forward imo. Arrange a band listen. Highlight a few of his worst excesses, but be sure to include a few from others too. Make him feel part of a collective band improvement drive! Clever editing & presentation is the key. Hold all band members to their promise to clear out the clutter so the band can deliver a clean clear message. If he feels he's part of the solution, not part of the problem, you'll probably get your way.

If that fails, it's Bob's tractor I'm afraid.
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Old 08-09-2010, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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Has anyone found a way of diplomatically dealing with this situation - or can think of something?
Pol, I think some things in this world just aren't fixable or have politically acceptable solutions.

You can't really fix insecurity, lack of maturity, lack of taste, listening skills or the lack of sheer playing skills.

Constant overplaying is a sure sign lack of maturity, listening skills, cluttered playing and sloppiness is lack of musicianship skills.

The core issue really is, does HE realize what he's doing?
If he does and is secretly hoping no one notices or is mean enough to point it out, you might have a small chance of improvement. Heck, I've been in situations where I'm way out of my league and in over my head and have sounded like the musical equivalent of a jackass. Good thing was I did realize I was being one though, soon afterwards.

If he doesn't, then I'm afraid its a lost cause, and you might as well grit your teeth and enjoy his friendship.

Great story about 'overdoing it'...

Halfway through the recording of 'Thriller' the Sony Music execs realized they were sitting on a gold mine and started to ride Quincy Jones about the arrangements.
When one of them asked him why there was " all this empty space" in the opening groove of Billie Jean, Quincy replied " I'm leaving a little room for God" .

How's that for diplomacy?

...
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Old 08-09-2010, 12:15 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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Pol, I think some things in this world just aren't fixable or have politically acceptable solutions.

You can't really fix insecurity, lack of maturity, lack of taste, listening skills or the lack of sheer playing skills.

Constant overplaying is a sure sign lack of maturity, listening skills, cluttered playing and sloppiness is lack of musicianship skills.
Sadly, this is my gut feeling. Yet he's so mature in the rest of his life ... his weak listening skills and overplaying are out of character. I think Meg has shown us that lack of playing skills is no barrier to being tight. You just need to know your limitations, but that means acknowledging them first ...

My guess is there's friction between the musical idealism of his youth and his current lack of time for private practice. So he always seems a bit anxious when he plays - trying to do the double somersault with triple pike as he expects of himself, but with nowhere near enough time to practice on what is one of his secondary instruments.

Last Thurs we had an unplugged practice (such a misnomer ... amplified acoustic instruments :) He's sitting near me on a box with castor wheels. His left foot was jiggling on one of the castors making a helluva racket to me, given that I'm playing brushes with just snare, djembe & cymbal. After a while I gently asked him to stop making the noise and he seemed surprised. He was so wound up that his busy mind was blocking his ears.

In another song he was to do a solo following on from another solo. The other player played a different solo to usual because he was on acoustic guitar ... Mr X leaps into his solo totally trampling the ending line of the previous solo - sort of like Bob's tractor.


In another, a highly ethereal tune, he chose a staccato voice which he plays out of time.

Last Thurs I suggested he play a washy, legato sound and he said no, it would be too muddy with the other instruments. This is after I'd sent around a copy of the tune we played a couple of weeks ago while he was on hols, where I dubbed an old ambient piece I did decades ago over the end passage ... and it (flukily) sounded spot on. I didn't say "We should do it like this", which would have been uncool, but "Hey, listen to how this turned out - amazed!" (which I was).

If I was in his shoes I would have gone "Cool! I'm stealing that!".

I have attached the ending of that version plus last week's one - in one 2-minute file - so you can see where I'm coming from (bear in mind that in the 2nd version I was using a 10" djembe as a faux timpani as opposed to my usual 12 x 5" tom haha).

I'm not crazy, am I?? The ambient sound in the first ending is about 100x better than the dinky harpsichord in the second ending, yes???

How do you get someone to listen? Maybe I should periodically send him John Cage compositions?

Will try to arrange band listening sessions for what it's worth. Andy - I'm not inclined to turn my old friend into compost with Bob's instrument of death ... yet :)

Sorry about the long rave but I need some objective ears to say, yes Polly you are not mad and your ears aren't playing tricks on you.



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Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Great story about 'overdoing it'...

Halfway through the recording of 'Thriller' the Sony Music execs realized they were sitting on a gold mine and started to ride Quincy Jones about the arrangements.
When one of them asked him why there was " all this empty space" in the opening groove of Billie Jean, Quincy replied " I'm leaving a little room for God" .

How's that for diplomacy?
Haha, nice, but it wouldn't wash in a band full of science-heads! Be nice if we had to ask him to play more notes. Closest we had was in '81 where we had a singer who wouldn't sing up and project, even though she had a fine voice, good pitching and her own special vibe.

Go figure(s) ...
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:29 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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In another, a highly ethereal tune, he chose a staccato voice which he plays out of time.

Last Thurs I suggested he play a washy, legato sound and he said no, it would be too muddy with the other instruments. This is after I'd sent around a copy of the tune we played a couple of weeks ago while he was on hols, where I dubbed an old ambient piece I did decades ago over the end passage ... and it (flukily) sounded spot on. I didn't say "We should do it like this", which would have been uncool, but "Hey, listen to how this turned out - amazed!" (which I was).

If I was in his shoes I would have gone "Cool! I'm stealing that!".

I have attached the ending of that version plus last week's one - in one 2-minute file - so you can see where I'm coming from (bear in mind that in the 2nd version I was using a 10" djembe as a faux timpani as opposed to my usual 12 x 5" tom haha).

I'm not crazy, am I?? The ambient sound in the first ending is about 100x better than the dinky harpsichord in the second ending, yes???
First off, I'm loving these wide open spaces some of your tune have, Pol. I'd love to jam with some cymbals and rods on that track! Nice.
And, no you're not crazy. The difference between the two is obvious and he's just the way you described him.
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:52 PM
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First off, I'm loving these wide open spaces some of your tune have, Pol. I'd love to jam with some cymbals and rods on that track! Nice.
And, no you're not crazy. The difference between the two is obvious and he's just the way you described him.
Phew! Thanks Abe. Sometimes my grip on reality is tenuous :) not unusual that something I thought was totally obvious turns out to be wrong.

Yeah, I love playing that song - until the end my drumming is all just textures - space, cymbal washes and faux timpani BRRRRR rolls with mallets. As a matter of interest, what would you be getting up to with rods in the song?

But, like I said, if I was in his situation I'd be happily ripping off the ambient lines and I find his approach hard to fathom. I'm guessing that it's because he's keen on folk music and early guitar blues, which often has no percussion at all. We have very different musical mindsets.
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Old 08-09-2010, 01:57 PM
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. As a matter of interest, what would you be getting up to with rods in the song?
Tapping out some very low intensity, washy poly rhythms...
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Old 08-09-2010, 02:04 PM
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Tapping out some very low intensity, washy poly rhythms...
More of an 8ths or 16ths feel? Nothing I can steal, I'm guessing ... not being very good with polly [sic] rhythms ... ironically :) I need to iron out bumps in what I'm doing there too, but I'm aware of my bumbles.
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Old 08-09-2010, 02:35 PM
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This is a very interesting topic as it's a situation that I think a big share of musicians will stumble into one way or the other.

I just typed a big load of improvement ideas but then I thought about the situation and re-read everything I wrote and came to a not so nice conclusion.

I'd like to share a little story of a similar situation. Im in a Genesis tribute band and we had a drummer on the drumstool for 3 years that had no sense of timing and couldn't play his instrument. Now you might know genesis and if you do, then you might have an idea what it takes from a drummer to play the stuff Phil Collins came up with in his 30 years of Genesis. The guy just couldn't play a groove straight or play a fill without f*cking up the timing (or worse, just make it trough the fill without getting lost). I already lost my interest and sat in the keyboard department 1,5 years with little to no motivation because I knew that every rehearsal would be the same story.
Why not firing him? Well because of the same reason you guys have him in the band. The social part, the friendship part.

You are playing with someone that just doesn't match up with you guys and thats the problem. I know from experience that everything mentioned will not really help sort out everything because what he need is education and a change in attitude and insight. That's very difficult to accomplish.

I think that you should try out a few things and see if he's making progress (also, consider backing tracks, playing to a click and suggesting parts although you did try the latter one). But if he doesn't make good progress (get better timing, listen and not overplay) then I think it's really important to save the friendship. What that means is that you guys have to split up as a whole or fire him (but I think the first option is better for the friendship).
It's a very hard decision and very dramatic but I really believe that if you guys want to have everything sorted out and still keep the friendship the same, it is only option that looks manageable because other options just fail and will end in a negative spiral. What happens at the end of the spiral is that you guys loose the friendship and or the project. That would be a lose lose situation. I think putting the band on hold is a lose situation but also a win situation, especially if friendship is much more important.

If the band is just to make fun and do nothing serious, then I would suggest really leaving it for what it's worth, don't have expectations and just have fun togheter. If it's serious then really get rid of him (but that will cost you a friendship, unless you are VERY diplomatically skilled or if he just sees the light and understands that he needs to work hard himself to get somewhere and leaves by himself).

Btw, our story ended with the negative spiral, costing a friendship because he just couldn't understand the problem and always thought that we where just too hard for him. We had our round of auditions and have a drummer we could only dream of, but at the cost of a friendship.
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:04 PM
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Thanks for the salutary tale and wise words, Santi. I'm hearing you.

(BTW, thanks to all for pitching in).

Wow, a dodgy drummer trying to play Genesis. Do you feel the f/ship is retrievable in the future?


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Originally Posted by SantiBanks View Post
If the band is just to make fun and do nothing serious, then I would suggest really leaving it for what it's worth, don't have expectations and just have fun togheter. If it's serious then really get rid of him (but that will cost you a friendship, unless you are VERY diplomatically skilled or if he just sees the light and understands that he needs to work hard himself to get somewhere and leaves by himself).
We're not serious - the main ambition we have is to have fun and please our ears and those of others. If I aurally squint enough I can ignore his messier moments (most of the time) and we usually have a lot of fun. If we were serious I think he'd jump rather than wait to be pushed.

Our singer is excellent and he's more pained about it than I am, but then again Mr X is more my and the bassist's friend than his. Meanwhile the singer would be my best friend in the world so I'm caught right in the middle between two of my best pals. Haha it sounds like a daytime soap :)

There is a risk that our singer will jump if a better band makes the offer because of the situation. If he did I wouldn't blame him.

Come to think of it, when we did a demo in May this year Mr X really lifted his game and tidied up his lines. So he must be able to hear it. It's like he treats band practices like his lab, where he conducts experiments while the rest of us are trying to get things right. He should be doing most of his experimenting at home and bringing the results to the group effort IMO

I wouldn't mind if more of the experiments weren't fizzers ...
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:25 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
I'm not crazy, am I?? The ambient sound in the first ending is about 100x better than the dinky harpsichord in the second ending, yes???

I need some objective ears to say, yes Polly you are not mad and your ears aren't playing tricks on you.
Yes, ending 1 is a ton better than ending 2 (even if the harpsichord bit was well played).

And that brings about a slightly sneaky idea. How about posting a selection of band recordings featuring the playing crimes you describe, but under the guise of inviting critique on your drumming prowess. We, of course, will do our duty and offer our thoughts on your drumming, but also make balanced observations from a rhythm section perspective. You can select the best, then copy them out & hand them around in your next band meeting. Of course, to show it's not a stitch up, we'll have to pull you apart too. But hey, you can take it on the chin, and unconditionally offer to up your game, like the accepting egoless band hero you are!

Cool plan huh? But can you take it, even if we're only commenting for the sake of pseudo balance?
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Last edited by keep it simple; 08-09-2010 at 03:35 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Let it be on him to say he if can or can't. If he says he can, that's when you stop the song when he reverts back to his old ways and call him on it. He will either change or quit. If he stays the same, then you have the option to say, "but you said you could do this.." Make him agree to it and hold him to it.
It depends on his personality, really. If he were anything like me, and per what I'm gathering about the scenario (I'd have a different approach in different scenarios), he might just keep playing the way that other folks in the band are not digging so much because (1) he doesn't agree with their views about what sounds better--he's probably playing what he's playing because it sounds good to him--and that's the case relative to what other folks are already playing, and (2) he's not of the opinion that player's parts should be up for vote--he already said he's not telling other folks how to play, so they shouldn't tell him how to play. In a situation like that, they'd probably have to either can me or adjust themselves to be able to accept what I'm doing.

There are situations that I'd handle differently, though. One is based on money. If the money is good, I'll play any crap you want me to play regardless of how bad I think it sounds, how much I dislike it, etc. The sole reason I'll do that is so that I can play what I do like on my own time instead, and then I don't have to worry about whether I'm going to make any money with it.

The other is if it's a band where we take turns writing out charts--I'll play whatever someone has written for me to play on their chart, and then when it's my turn, you'll play whatever I wrote for you to play on my chart.

But in a more casual situation, I'm not going to respond well to "gang pressure", people telling me what I should be playing, etc. What I'm more likely to do, if people keep pestering me about it, is play that way even more to annoy you, and I'd probably start complaining about the way you're playing as a bit of tit for tat, too. If you're shooting for "less is more", I'll keep telling you you're playing too simple, etc.--at least until you just let me play the way I want to play, and then I'll let you play the way you want to play.

What I'm most interested in musically, anyway, in a band situation, is when you've got a collection of people with very different styles and influences all working together to try to play something they each think sounds good (and by the way, because of that, I always think it's a bad idea when people are advertising for musicians for them to be looking for people into the same influences). I tend to think that the best bands are bands that have some tensions there--I think they tend to do the most interesting music, and the music that moves me emotionally the most . . . even if those tend to be the bands most difficult to keep together, at least without periodic arguments, screaming matches, maybe a few fists flying . . . lol.
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:34 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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it really needs to be fixed if he's ruining the tightosity of the band.
Man, if they had "rep points" here, I'd definitely give you some for "tightosity".
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Old 08-09-2010, 03:46 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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Halfway through the recording of 'Thriller' the Sony Music execs realized they were sitting on a gold mine and started to ride Quincy Jones about the arrangements.
When one of them asked him why there was " all this empty space" in the opening groove of Billie Jean, Quincy replied " I'm leaving a little room for God" .
I once had a producer who was into the "less is more" idea use "Billie Jean" versus the 9/8 section of "Scatterbrain" as a hopeful example--I guess he was banking on me thinking that "Billie Jean" sounds better, so he played both and asked.

I said, "'Billie Jean' might be impressive in terms of production, but 'Scatterbrain' sounds far better to me overall--I mean, that's a monster groove, that whole song just kicks ass. It's your responsibility to make this 'Scatterbrain'-type stuff that we're playing sound as good production-wise as 'Billie Jean'". We didn't really get along that well with that producer, lol. I'm not sure how we ended up with him, because I don't think he was into the kind of music we were doing.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:00 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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In another, a highly ethereal tune, he chose a staccato voice which he plays out of time.
I liked the second version guitar part better . . . just there was some dead space in the middle of it--what happened to the keyboard? (That's the part you overdubbed, I take it?) The second version could really use that, but not, in my opinion, at the expense of what the guitarist was doing--in addition to it instead.

I wouldn't say that he was out of time, but there are different senses of time going on--different people playing slightly ahead of or slightly behind the beat. I do not think that's necessarily a bad thing, but the way to iron it out is usually to just play with each other a lot more.

Last edited by BrewBillfold; 08-09-2010 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:04 PM
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Phew! Thanks Abe. Sometimes my grip on reality is tenuous :) not unusual that something I thought was totally obvious turns out to be wrong.
Just different tastes. It's not the kind of thing one can be wrong about.

One thing to think about is something I mentioned earlier. How about the possibility of folks in the band presenting more complete charts, or at least complete tunes with parts figured out for each musician in advance (in other words, this latter option being that they don't actually have to write the parts out (handy for players who can't read at all or can't read very well--they can just "dictate" the parts to others instead)), and then you guys take turns with that. That way, when you do a song like this, if it's your chart, then everyone plays whatever you wrote. But you play whatever they wrote when it's their turn. Would the other people in your band be up for that? It's kind of a "composers' collective" idea.
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Old 08-09-2010, 04:12 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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Originally Posted by BrewBillfold View Post
It's your responsibility to make this 'Scatterbrain'-type stuff that we're playing sound as good production-wise as 'Billie Jean'". We didn't really get along that well with that producer, lol. I'm not sure how we ended up with him, because I don't think he was into the kind of music we were doing.
Hey, I know for a fact that God always loved Jeff Beck more than the other two guys, so he can do no wrong.. and yup, thats a great example of wall to wall notes creating music magic. Its still not overplaying, though, is it? : )

Are you sure about the 9/8? ( kidding.. )

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Old 08-09-2010, 06:22 PM
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Hey, I know for a fact that God always loved Jeff Beck more than the other two guys, so he can do no wrong..
Yeah, I think that producer just didn't like prog and fusion, including Beck. I don't know if he was just thinking, "I know how I can get these guys to play some disco instead" or what.
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and yup, thats a great example of wall to wall notes creating music magic. Its still not overplaying, though, is it? : )
I'm probably the wrong person to ask if anything is overplaying, lol. I wouldn't even say these guys are overplaying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvEhyxZqtCk
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Are you sure about the 9/8? ( kidding.. )
haha--I'm sure I think of it in 9/8. ;-)
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:36 PM
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I'm probably the wrong person to ask if anything is overplaying, lol. I wouldn't even say these guys are overplaying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvEhyxZqtCkhaha--I'm sure I think of it in 9/8. ;-)
Pol, normal service will be resumed shortly. WARNING! Do not forward this clip to your bass player.
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Old 08-09-2010, 06:47 PM
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I wouldn't even say these guys are overplaying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvEhyxZqtCk)
The clip description says ex-bassist of Braindrill. Should we be reading more into it?

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Old 08-09-2010, 08:12 PM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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The clip description says ex-bassist of Braindrill. Should we be reading more into it?

...
haha--I think maybe he thought those parts were too easy. He thought it was too similar to being Cliff Williams.
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  #36  
Old 08-10-2010, 11:21 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

Thanks for the latest gems of wisdom, gents :)

1. Larry, you have a way about you where you can get away with saying things that others can't. I can get away with things up to a point but there's no way I'd get away with Larry-esque brutal bluntness.


2. I certainly would NOT send that clip of the ex-Braindrill guy to our bass player. He is a friend and I'm not in the business of making my friends suffer :)


3. Brew, I agree. I was stoked with the flamenco-ish guitar in the unplugged (second) version. Yep, in the first version there's my ambient piece dubbed over the top (this is the ambient piece). I slowed it down, lay it over the top and voila! Total fluke ...

I feel the noodling harpsichord in the second version detracts rather than adds, but I agree that it is probably a matter of taste. I also suspect that he can't imagine getting another chance to use the harpsichord sound on the keyboard lol. I remember my period playing keys - you look for excuses to use different voices. He's been itching to use the occasionally-lifelike alto sax sound on the keyboard too ... lol ... *shudder*


4. Andy, you're a sly one ... fake a "My Playing" entry, eh? I reckon there'd be three comments ... you, Larry and Abe lol.

Brew's a renegade and I can't be sure he'd play ball :)

The danger is ... what if most decide the biggest problem is the drummer? lol
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Old 08-10-2010, 11:33 AM
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Default Re: Tactful corrections of band members

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
I feel the noodling harpsichord in the second version detracts.... He's been itching to use the occasionally-lifelike alto sax sound on the keyboard too ...
Thats when you dart him. A mild tranquilizer should do the trick. That or rubber bullets..


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The danger is ... what if most decide the biggest problem is the drummer? lol
Does everybody in the band suffer from a lack of taste?

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Old 08-10-2010, 12:06 PM
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Thats when you dart him. A mild tranquilizer should do the trick. That or rubber bullets..
LOL sh** yeah! ... when we first played the song he used the harpsichord at the start AND shifted to the f*ing alto sax later on. Now it's just the Lurch impersonation. Small mercies. Hopefully another epiphany is on the way ...


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Originally Posted by aydee View Post
Does everybody in the band suffer from a lack of taste?
Obviously none of us are perfect, even our wunderbar vocalist. One clear area where we could improve is there's too much tendency for the players to play ALL the time through every song. I'd like to see more dropping out at various times to give the band different flavours ... say, a guitar trio or a keys trio ... especially during verses. Then we can all come in for the chorus and there's instant impact and tonal variety.

Having said that, I think our keys boy would play at least twice as many notes as everyone else - he works damn hard for the (lack of) money.
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Old 08-10-2010, 12:17 PM
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One clear area where we could improve is there's too much tendency for the players to play ALL the time through every song.
To me, this is a huge, HUGE issue that a lot of bands seem to overlook. It is a sensibility that comes with many hours of playing in bands, playing with other people, and being comfortable with your instrument.

To be able to mesh your voice into the music rather than simply overlay it, comes with a lot of experience IMO.

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Old 08-10-2010, 12:44 PM
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To be able to mesh your voice into the music rather than simply overlay it, comes with a lot of experience IMO.
I like that - meshing rather than overlaying.

We've all been playing for yonks so it also comes down to ears and taste. Can old dogs learn new tricks? I think we are all learning new tricks as we go, or at least remembering long-forgotten old ones.

The hard part is getting past his insecurity, pride, preconceived ideas or whatever so he will consider taking my - a mere drummer's - ideas seriously.
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