Friday night music club

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'm a ~40 year old with (small) kids, career, and a desire to play music. In an effort to get something going, I opened up a Friday night music club. I called a bunch of ~40yo musicians, set up a back-line in my basement, and opened up my house every Friday, from 6:30 - 9. It's a lot like poker-night, or fantasy-football night, but with musicians.

We're about a month in and it's been great. There are quite a few ex-musicians in the same position as me. They don't have time to join a band, and given our hectic schedules, it wouldn't be fair (to the band) if we did. Nobody wants to tour or gig. Nobody's an egomaniac or has delusions of rock stardom. It's great. We're not a band, and nobody has an issue with there being 2 guitarists, 2 bass players, and 3 drummers. Sitting a song out, drinking beer, and heckling each other is almost as much fun as playing. I don't mind playing other instruments, as I get to watch real drummers playing in my basement, kinda like a pseudo-mini-drum-lesson.

The one challenge so far has been material. Nobody wants to play covers in a "cover band" sense, which I am completely in line with. We have two writers among the us that can produce interesting material on the spot. Everyone's well versed enough that we can go from a 30-second conceptual tidbit to something that resembles a real band playing a real song. The down side is that the other writer and I are under a bit of pressure to keep ideas coming and the show moving. There's no planning, no self study, no development of parts, etc, and that's kind of a bummer.

So how would a "not-a-band" come up with "not-a-set-list" and keep things developing, moving, and fun for all? Does anyone have suggestions beyond "song in a hat"?
 
Last edited:

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Are the song writers the guitarists? Maybe they could play a melody line a few times and then the bass and drummers could come in and just produce a song on the fly. Since you have more than one of each instrument you could take turns adding parts. Never know you may come up with something.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Are the song writers the guitarists? Maybe they could play a melody line a few times and then the bass and drummers could come in and just produce a song on the fly. Since you have more than one of each instrument you could take turns adding parts. Never know you may come up with something.
Indeed. The two writers (I'm one) are primarily guitarists. In 30 seconds, we convey a verse, chorus, bridge, and a little "Fountains of Wayne Hotline" lingo.. Section lengths fall in line automagically in some feral "power-of-two" duration. We all futz with the dynamics, everyone gets a bit of space and play time. Like a jam band with a straight rock/folk influence. The issue we face is that nobody is really looking for the quintessential jam-band experience.

I've toyed with the idea of jotting down concepts in GBand and sending them via youtube between gatherings, but that feels a bit like I'm telling other people what to do, and I don't want to be 'that guy'. I've had to be 'that guy' before, and I didn't like myself all that much.

Perhaps what we have is fine, and I simply need to be a bit more prepared with material so that I can push the next song when the current song becomes a bit stale.
 
Last edited:

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Easy peasy.

Start recording the jams you're doing. Then you can all listen later and work up those songs a bit more, and do even more songs after that. It's a natural way to extend what you're doing now.

I'll warn though... It's possible you might end up with something approaching a band. Didn't want to scare you, but it might happen.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Dr. Watso,
It's possible you might end up with something approaching a band. Didn't want to scare you, but it might happen.

That's kind of what I was thinking.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I'll warn though... It's possible you might end up with something approaching a band. Didn't want to scare you, but it might happen.

Lol, indeed.

That's the goal. To sound like a band without all the bullshit a band requires.

Will begin recording once all the obvious shortcomings are fixed. Most of the gents are still shaking off a decade of rust.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Lol, indeed.

That's the goal. To sound like a band without all the bullshit a band requires.

Will begin recording once all the obvious shortcomings are fixed. Most of the gents are still shaking off a decade of rust.
Start now. You're not recording the performances, you're recording the ideas and spur of the moment arrangements that worked well. Tell everyone this is not to focus on the performance... It's to help build up the stuff you're creating and give you more enjoyment later when you can all be on the same exact page.
 

Macarina

Silver Member
FNMC is an absolute genius of an idea. Bravo.

I'll call it... we are seeing the first inclinations of Funk Brothers / Wrecking Crew.
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
I've heard of a similar concept....but on Tuesday nights.

May I suggest you become a blues music club? Compile a list of well(ish) known blues songs and pre-announce that these songs will be played this week. People learn the form/riffs of a song and then have at it. Perhaps with several line ups tackling the same song/s.

Rules:
If a song gets played this week, it's out for the next n weeks.
One person gets to choose this week's songs, and his final task is to nominate the chooser for the next week.

Three chords and the truth, man!
 

Chollyred

Senior Member
No too far from my house, there's an old stone store that currently houses a flea market/junk store. There are no residences nearby and only a few businesses.

One of my dreams has been to take that old building and turn it into a small music hall kinda like your FNMC. It would be fantastic for acoustic music or lightly amped music.

I think there's enough local talent around that it could become popular, but wouldn't be expensive. I wouldn't try anything like food or alcohol sales other than maybe coffee, sodas, and light snacks. Then again, maybe invite audience members to bring snack items to share?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I've heard of a similar concept....but on Tuesday nights.

Rules:
If a song gets played this week, it's out for the next n weeks.
One person gets to choose this week's songs, and his final task is to nominate the chooser for the next week.
I heard it worked out quite well for the Tuesday crew ;-)

Good suggestions. Will probably end up with something along the lines of what you suggested (everyone pick a song/concept). While blues certainly is something we would do from time to time, I'm not certain anyone would play along with it being an exclusive.

@Cholly - Go for it. See if you can make it work. Then come back and tell me how you did it! ;-) The only down side of snacks is that you can't simultaneously eat hot wings and play guitar. I've had relative success with shrimp cocktail.
 

TheDrumster

Senior Member
I'm a ~40 year old with (small) kids, career, and a desire to play music. In an effort to get something going, I opened up a Friday night music club. I called a bunch of ~40yo musicians, set up a back-line in my basement, and opened up my house every Friday, from 6:30 - 9. It's a lot like poker-night, or fantasy-football night, but with musicians.
Great concept! And where might that be?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't understand why you guys just can't play already written songs.

It would make things a lot easier. Every guy gets to pick a song (that you guys can all pull off) for the next get together. With jams in between.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I can see by all the talking in this thread, that some of you have broken the first rule of Friday Night Music Club.

Remember, rule 8 still stands. If this is your first night at Friday Night Music Club, you have to jam.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
so hows the non-band band stuff coming along?
It's been wonderful. The only challenge is that I want to practice drumming when I should really be practicing guitar parts. On the positive side, I get to play drums full time when the other drummer doesn't show, which is a treat.

I don't understand why you guys just can't play already written songs.
I know its hard to understand, but a lot of us that toured in original bands get no joy playing covers. Occasionally, we'll borrow something from a cover and explore it, like a riff or a verse, but none of us really want to play a cover beginning to end because there's no gratification in it for us anymore. On a related note, we do take songs from local writers, give them a new composition/arrangement/orchestration, and record. So far we've only sex'd up a few three-chord-wondes though.
 
Last edited:

Ajax

Senior Member
Do you have a repertoire or found a workaround around the tracks you play?

(notice i did not say setlist cos you know, that´s what bands do :p )
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Do you have a repertoire or found a workaround around the tracks you play?

(notice i did not say setlist cos you know, that´s what bands do :p )
We usually go into the night with two or three things planned, and simply lean on the guitarist for new sounds when the milk goes sour.
 

Ajax

Senior Member
Good stuff. You should make some room for self-reflection though, maybe? Get a mini audience in/film yourselves...to take things out of "the moment" and on the up?
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I'm in the same sort of situation with some friends of mine. We're trying to get it going again at least. We've been on a long hiatus last year because the guitarist with the warehouse space got a little too busy, but now he's starting to loosen up a bit with his time.

We do alot of open jams where ideas just come from a certain drum beat, or a riff that somebody has been sculpting, and sometimes we revisit older jams and come up with something else. We will occasionally jump into a Grateful Dead song, but either way it's a copy of a copy of an older traditional song.
 
Top