How Long to Find a Band...

ottog1979

Senior Member
...that you can be in for a while? I'm wondering about experiences of others in this regard. How hard has the been for you? Was it quick or did it take a lot of trial & error? What do you put up with to be in a good band with gigs but difficult personalities (if at all or anything)? It seems to be a hard target to hit when trying to find 4-5 players that are fairly equal in talent and desire, want to practice/gig with similar frequency, willing to contribute to band management (gig sales, promotion, management, sound/mix/PA, etc.) and get along fairly well.

Here's my story and why I ask: Playing for 5 years again after a 25-year hiatus (career/raising kids), I've been in 3 bands. Still in 2 of them, the first & the last. The first are neighborhood friends, don't gig often and are sometimes musically challenged which has continually motivated me to be in another band also. However, I stay be cause I like them personally, it gives me playing time and will always be there to keep me playing. The other band gigs more often and is musically great. We're all pretty equal in ability, sound fantastic and I'm challenged and stretched (which I enjoy).

That said, I'm about to leave the better band because of personalities - one in particular. The person and environment is toxic. The toxicity has recurred intermittently but often enough that I know it's not fixable, won't go away and I don't want to be around it anymore. So, in a week, after the next two gigs, I'm done.

So, that puts me back out looking/auditioning. Not a bad thing, but its left me wondering the experiences of other DW members and how long it's taken you to settle into a really good and compatible band with guys you like, get along with and have fun with. Any stories/tips?
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
There are only two types of bands I have ever felt comfortable in...

1: The band where I manage everything, own the PA, handle the bookings, merch, etc... Basically, I do everything and the other members simply show up, plug in, and play.

2: The band where I just show up, set up, play, break down, and leave. Someone else does everything.

Any other scenario has turned into a cluster-fuck-abortion where everyone (and no one) thinks they are in charge and drama happens.

There's probably some academic sociology-backed explanation for this, but I'm content to fall back on my experiences. One does not have to know how to spell diarrhea in order to know they've got it.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Not that long with craigslist and what not. People are pretty up front about who they are and what they're after in my experience. There are things I consider red-flaggy, but I learned that over time.
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
Good stuff to consider KarmaK.

Dr. Watso, finding and auditioning for bands has not been a problem. But, the issues I'm experiencing in the one I'm about to quit only really came to light with 9-12 months already invested. Not that that was an entirely bad thing - I've learned plenty on each stepping stone.

But, I'd really like to settle into a place that I can sink my teeth into and gel with great Karma!
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Good stuff to consider KarmaK.

Dr. Watso, finding and auditioning for bands has not been a problem. But, the issues I'm experiencing in the one I'm about to quit only really came to light with 9-12 months already invested. Not that that was an entirely bad thing - I've learned plenty on each stepping stone.

But, I'd really like to settle into a place that I can sink my teeth into and gel with great Karma!
Ah.

You're asking if we know of a way to make guitar players be good human beings? HA!
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I tend to find it pretty difficult. It's like dating, only there's 2 or 3 or 4 of them and trying to have everyone get along with everyone else is tough.

There was some sage advice posted here years ago by another drummer, that I wish I had heard when I was much younger:

"Bands come and go, all you can do it give 100% when your there".
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
It does depend on what you're looking for.

Teaching is what's paid my bills for many years now and I move around a lot. In small communities the spots are sort of taken. They have their go to guys. Usually the ones that made the mess you have to clean up in.

In smaller cities it's easier. You can of course look at ads and if that doesn't work out the first time it will still help you out knowing where to go and meet people. It's still about who you know.

Last time I gigged full time I moved to Oslo with one months rent in my pocket. It worked out by the 3rd audition. That was the only one with guaranteed income, so that's fine. Cover band that played on the weekends. Some strange internal issues. A couple of people with less than optimal social intelligence and very clear narcissistic tendencies.

I'd just go to the right spots, go to jams where the type of music you want to play is played, always be networking and play the numbers game.

The main guy I know who lives primarily doing freelance work it seems that's mainly what he does. Every social setting is a work opportunity. Not sure I could do that as it seems a bit too fake to me.
 

belairien

Silver Member
Ah.

You're asking if we know of a way to make guitar players be good human beings? HA!
Yeah good luck with that! I have only met one with a manageable ego, but he is in another band currently. I've been stuck with guys that have the attitude of rock stars but the skills of drunk garage band for years. I've had to suck it up just so I can play shows.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Hey! I'm a guitar player. lol


Situation in that old band was basically that we were 6 members. 4 guys and 2 female singers.

Pretty much every gig, before or after, one of the singers would start complaining about typical primadonna stuff. Sometimes it was money, but usually just annoying. This would set the bass player off which then would make the leader, who played drums at this point, sad and/or angry enough to want to just call it quits. Wash rinse repeat.

After I left there were a few guys in and out. We always looked for another bass player and the leader took the other singers role. It was actually hard to find competent bass players.

The nicer singer brought in her new boyfriend to play drums and the band finally disolved after he and the leader had one too many fights.
 

belairien

Silver Member
Hey! I'm a guitar player. llol
So am I, except for the fact competent drummers around here are rare, and guitarists are a dime a dozen. I always get stuck hitting skins which isn't bad, but I have ideas the other guitarists butcher beyond recognition, because they cant play it, or want to take all the writing credit. Cause you know, I'm just the drummer and don't know what those shiny noodles are. I have "no right" to write.

My vocalist and I have been trying for years to get a half decent guitarist to stick around, but their ego gets the better of them. One of which blamed the "odd time" I play in. Which was mostly 4/4 with some accents and ghost notes falling on the odd 8th, 16th, or 32nd note. As per how the song was written.

Can't find any drummers because they lack that competence I mentioned. We at least have a bassist that, no matter how much coke and sass is in his system, can hit his notes right and in time. Maybe should just rock drums, bass, and vocals. It'd be perfect.

If I could play live shows by myself, I would. But a single guy playing to a drum machine lacks energy and stage presence.

But you gotta roll with what you got. Otherwise what you got is nothing. And nothing isn't fun.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Depends if you do it for a living, or not. I play music now,and play in bands, because I love music, money is nice but not my motivation.

I will never play in a band simply because they are good musicians and get lots of gigs. I am not prepared to put up with horrible people simply to be in a band. I left a band last year because the new singer was a know all dick head who wound everyone up. I play mainly for fun, and If someone is spoiling that fun then I am out.

I am far from perfect but I can get along with most people. It takes quite a lot to wind me up, but If I am doing something for enjoyment I am not prepared to put up with arrogance or big ego's in a bar band. Life is too short.

So, If It takes a month or a year to find like minded musicians who are reasonable and friendly, than that's how long it takes. I presume pro musicians are prepared to put up with much more s**t because they have to make a living.
 

specgrade

Senior Member
I get along with my drums and that is good enough for me. Too many others get along with drink and drugs.
 

iCe

Senior Member
Well, here are my 2 cents ;)

The first/second band i was in was a metal band consistent of friends mainly. We were all starters and in hindsight we sounded terrible haha. But it helped me get clear what i wanted in a band. I really disliked the 'take it easy' approach by some members; long coffee and smoke breaks. Also got fed up with the singer's attitude and he left luckily shortly thereafter (he was getting a lot of flak from other members as well). We reorganised in a more symphonic band and kicked out a guitar player due to not rehearsal and low level of playing (the singer was the only one keeping him in). Eventually i felt more at place with this music, but after our singer left (her voice was limited and didn't take lessons) we spent a lot of time searching for a new singer. Our bassist left eventually too and we ended up as a trio for a time.

I was asked for another band that used the same rehearsal space. Played prog rock and that was really my thing. Had a good click with every member and we recorded even a demo with 4 tracks. But the guitar player fell in love with a girl in Brazil and moved there (he eventually married her and i believe he still lives there). So the band fell apart, because the other 2 members were done with all the personal changes. Really was a blow to me, because it had a lot of potential to go somewhere. Was also in that symphonic band (still a trio) and quit that shortly after. Was done with playing music in general.

Didn't play in a band for a few years, but was asked for a one-of Christmas cover band. Had fun and played some tunes. Year after that we did it again and around the 3rd time we started talking about doing this more often. We rehearsed every 2 weeks or so and was a lot of fun. Unfortunately our bass player had to quit since he worked a lot and our original bass player returned (which is a good friend, but a terrible band mate; not rehearsing, playing the wrong parts, doesn't hear what the rest of the band is doing etc.). After 1 1/2 years things heated up; was done with members not rehearsing and i left.

I was also in a new prog rock band around 2011 and was of a high level. Was at odds with the bass player, but learned a lot from him. Eventually he left, because he wanted us to be the next Rush and the guitarplayer and me didn't have and ambitions. The guitarplayer and me eventually recorded a 9 track cd (with him doing the bass lines) and found a new bass player shortly thereafter. But playing this music was a tad too hard for him and he wanted to gig more, so he left and after a few months came back. Eventually we decided to pull the plug, because of different ambitions (or lack of). Bass player wanted to gig, guitar player not at all, and i was in between. I still play with the guitar player once a month, because we have this unique chemistry and have a lot of fun playing prog rock. But probably will stay at that.

At the moment I'm in a rock band since january 2016. I played with that band before when their drummer left a month before a gig, but had my prog band and didn't feel like stepping in another band too. Did the gig and that was it (around 2012/2013 or so). Fast forward to november 2015; they contacted me because their drummer was unstable due to health issues (sometimes cancelled rehearsal an hour before or even a gig) and asked me to be their plan-b. Rehearsed a couple of times and they let me know that they rather recorded the EP with me (their current drummer had a habbit of speeding up and fills not coming out, like on the one or even an odd time). Eventually their drummer was confronted with this and his instability; they also said they were recording the EP with me because of that (and after recording i would step down again), but he took offense and left the band. So i did the EP, we sat down with some beers after that and the rest is history haha. But the main reason i joined was; serious attitude, good playing abilities, wanting to gig and push forward, and most of all; we have a lot of fun
 
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mikyok

Platinum Member
I'm happy gigging with close friends these days.

At the ripe old age of 33 I've endured some insufferable arseholes down the years and they've always been singers and/or bassists. (Gotta make up for the lack of musical ability somewhere!)

Find a band that you can get on with and doesn't take itself seriously. Remember it only takes someone with a god complex (bono, axl rose, Geldof) to break any band up.

Also steer clear of any band that has Yokos
 

DrumWild

Senior Member
Finding a band is one thing, and sometimes the band finds you. Finding a paying gig can be a different story.

I had a few tiny bits of success looking for paying gigs on CraigsList.

When I made my website in 1999, I got an email 5 months later, asking me to join the band. No audition. She liked what I had on my site, and we went from there. It was a decent year.

Had a falling out, so I left, took the bass player with me, and formed another band.

We went to record at his friends' house. They are in a band called "Noodle Muffin." They asked to "borrow" me for some gigs. That was 15 years ago, and I'm still with them. No money, but some rather incredible music.

We stopped playing out in 2009. While our recordings are epic and a ton of fun, sometimes I miss playing out, so I may be looking for a band right now. Maybe drums, maybe bass, maybe guitar, who knows. I'm in a phase where I am enjoying making music for myself, and I've also been taking guitar lessons, to get my guitar abilities up to my drum abilities.

What I do know is that I want a healthy situation where people are enjoying themselves, and nobody has to be fought in order to show up. Who calls themselves a "musician," joins a band, and then complains about having to show up? That's confounding. They'd best want to be there and have a good time, because there certainly won't be any money magically showing up.

It's a bit like fishing. A few fish jumped in my boat on their own, totally by chance. But now I'm putting a line out there to see what bites. Maybe one bite tomorrow, maybe a few down the road, and lots of days of nothing. Of course, there will be a few that you will want to throw back [or vice versa]. Not everyone fits in every situation.

Good luck!
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
How long from one band to the next?

My wait was 9 years - from 2006 to 2015 I was in a rock band that broke up in 2006, and then I ended up playing with a couple of guys in 2015, and we are still together (Americana music). It's very, very different from what I was doing before, but I really like these guys a lot, and we actually hang out from time to time outside of playing music. All of us are in my late 30s/early 40s, and we all are married and have kids about the same ages. It's working out really well.

During this 9-year band hiatus, I did other things. I did a project all myself as a singer/songwriter, and I played everything in the studio on that project. It was horrible, but I'm glad I got it out of my system. After doing that, I learned to play the hammered dulcimer, and I released 4 projects on my own and had some regional success. Also during this time, I was playing drums at church on our praise team just about the entire time, so I still sort of kept my chops.

I'm really happy where I am now and where things are going.
 

ottog1979

Senior Member
3-4 months his how long (answering my own question). I auditioned with 4-5 band opportunities over that time. A few were close to what I was looking for but not enough to jump and commit. Watching Craigslist daily, I was lucky enough to respond to a Craigslist add and separately get a personal referral to the same band within the same hour. Auditioned a few days later (one of at least 3 drummers), got the call the next morning and signed on about 4 weeks ago as the new drummer with a local covers & originals band.

I'm super-excited about the opportunity and sinking my teeth into this project for the foreseeable distance! All of the other band members are at least my level or higher of musicianship which will push my playing to new places. Both covers & originals allow the band to play the best of both worlds as far as venues. Plenty of covers allowing 3-4 hour gigs. They have two albums out and a third in the works which I'll get to record. Their 2014 debut album was named album of the year by the local music awards group. While all bands have their "family" personalities, the band members are focused, yet seem chill and are open to discussion/suggestions from everyone. They have been very welcoming, eager to have me aboard and very patient/helpful as I'm getting up to speed. I was at least partly chosen because they like my approach to playing/learning songs, managing tempo and groove.

Played the first gig (3 hours) last Saturday and the performance was smokin' (the band and I!). My friends & fans who came and hadn't seen me play in a while were blown away and said so. Kinda nice to hear. Had to learn 21 new songs for the 30-song gig in 3 weeks and 7 practices. About half of the new ones were originals, all the rest covers (10 of the 30 which I already knew). It was a busy and stressful 3 weeks but I pulled it off, showed up on gig day ready to play, focused on playing authentically, being myself and doing what I do and just had a blast at the gig.

While I really missed playing out during the time between bands, I'm really glad I was patient and didn't jump onto the first open possibility. We'll see how this project goes, but it's really fun to be fully engaged again with a new band and 3-4 months of scheduled gigs.

Just wanted to share the stoke.
 
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