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lojo

Starting a band without a gigging audience in mind

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I have played with various covers/functions bands over recent years, but all with the main focus being on the gigs I get to do, regardless of my numbness toward the material.

Currently I am in an 80s tribute , I love the material , gigs are always a blast and we have good gigs booked in, but again its all about the gigs and want goes down well.

I am thinking of forming something with the reverse intention, to get together and play material that doesn't really have an easy audience entry level, and focus on something that even if it did, we may not hit the mark (maybe folk or even obscure funk covers) . I have a good network of players I think I could find the right people, and know others that would be up for something like this.

I don't think I have explained it well, but question is, has anyone done this, started up a project knowing it wont have an easy audience to target, but just for the music and fun of doing something different (different for those involved at least)

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I'm more into the funk genre and I wanted a change so I formed a heavy metal band which 4 years later is still going strong and has a good following. The band has done some amazing gigs during 2015 and its going from strength to strength. Finding gigs can be hard but worth it when you find the right ones.
The only issue I have now is that I'm wanting to go back to my roots playing funk and I find myself at a crossroads. Its been a blast and I've no regrets doing it but I'm wanting a new challenge.

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I did the same but really just went with the material that fell easily as it started at a charity gig.

When I got the set list..ie, stuff the singer would sing, I didn't know about 95% of the material..
and hadn't ever heard of most of it....but I didn't worry about that because of the nature of the gig.
I thought I had a large DB of tunes but ..obviously not ..:lol:

The gig went down a storm...and the guys are superb players..so I knew it would be fun if nothing else.

So, now, we have a few bookings and I have to pick the right venues/dates as I can't flog this.
The money has to be right and I can't take stupid bookings and also accept that the guys have better
gigs they'll want to do... but musically it is great.

I think that alone will drag the audience to our way of thinking. And..also, people aren't always as narrow
minded as you think. They will accept other stuff than the standard pub fare.

As always tho, it depends on what you have and how you deliver it...
Just doing stuff you want to do for that reason alone does not mean the gig is viable.
The better players you use... the more the costs go up and nobody wants to play to a
flat pub.

Pick your players, pick your gigs and do it..if it is good enough, you'll soon know.

Fortunately, I can tell people if the band is good or not and they'll go along with it.

Edited by JTUK

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1451650076' post='2942037']
I have played with various covers/functions bands over recent years, but all with the main focus being on the gigs I get to do, regardless of my numbness toward the material.

Currently I am in an 80s tribute , I love the material , gigs are always a blast and we have good gigs booked in, but again its all about the gigs and want goes down well.

I am thinking of forming something with the reverse intention, to get together and play material that doesn't really have an easy audience entry level, and focus on something that even if it did, we may not hit the mark (maybe folk or even obscure funk covers) . I have a good network of players I think I could find the right people, and know others that would be up for something like this.

I don't think I have explained it well, but question is, has anyone done this, started up a project knowing it wont have an easy audience to target, but just for the music and fun of doing something different (different for those involved at least)
[/quote]

If you have the time for that sort of project it's fine.

It's hard enough hitting the mark with material that we know goes over with an audience.

I think putting this together if you don't plan on gigging is cool. But, for me if your gigging it's always about what the audience wants to hear.

Blue

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This is the way for most originals bands isnt it? Its easy to go out & play songs you know are popular; playing something that is a risk, be that your own song or an obscure cover, has got to be worthy of your time if thats what you enjoy.

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It depends on what 'purpose' your gigs have. If you want to make a living from it, or the fee is a significant part of your overall income then you will need to wheel out the old favourites. Even then, there's no reason why you shouldn't slip an obscure one or two in the set to keep yourself interested. I'm a firm believer in playing for the fun of playing, so much the better if there's some original material being written. I really like the creative side of music and I prefer it to playing covers, but then I have a job, so gig money isn't such a big deal for me. There's no reason why people can't have 'money band' and a 'fun band' on the side where you play whatever you like for the fun of it. Makes sense to me....

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The difficulty isn't in getting the gigs.

If your band is playing tunes with strong hooks with an attitude and people have heard the songs before you've got a winner.

Your main problem will be getting a good singer/frontman on board who can pull it off.

Keep your main band running at the same time until your new project gets wings.

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I followed much this line of thinking when I set up The Sapphire Grooves (with Neil the drummer).

We'd never been in a band together despite wanting to do so, and we started by asking what a drum'n'bass band should be good at. We came up with ... (drum roll, please) groove.

We spent over a year trying to find the right people to play with where all we wanted was songs that grooved. Not fussed with what genre they fall into or how you'd describe them, the one-line pitch was "we play songs with a groove".

Are we there yet? Probably not.

Does the band have a future? Probably not.

Have we played paying gigs? Yes.

Have we had fun? Oh yes!

As a side project, this sort of thing is solid gold. But IMHO it only works if you also have a main band to focus on.

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You need people with the same motivation whatever purpose the band has. I understand where you are coming from but I've hit snags with this in the past. Mainly, i wanted good quality players to be able to create something to be proud of. Trying to get them all at rehearsals with no solid gig prospects in the bag is tough. All the good guys were busy. Not saying that you have to have great players to write good material. Depends on your "vision" i guess.

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There are no rehearsals as the gig is the rehearsal.
The first few gigs will have a load of songs learnt on the fly
so it helps if you tape it for reference.

This is where the bass player really earns his money as he is the guy that has
to keep going. The bass can't drop in and out like the keys and gtr can and
the bass is going to have to handle a solo or two.

It is close to a jazz gig in a pub setting. Give it two years going in the right direction
and the band will have evolved and outgrown pub dates... or everyone will have moved on.

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[quote name='odysseus' timestamp='1451674699' post='2942370']
It depends on what 'purpose' your gigs have. If you want to make a living from it, or the fee is a significant part of your overall income then you will need to wheel out the old favourites. Even then, there's no reason why you shouldn't slip an obscure one or two in the set to keep yourself interested. I'm a firm believer in playing for the fun of playing, so much the better if there's some original material being written. I really like the creative side of music and I prefer it to playing covers, but then I have a job, so gig money isn't such a big deal for me. There's no reason why people can't have 'money band' and a 'fun band' on the side where you play whatever you like for the fun of it. Makes sense to me....
[/quote]


For me playing covers is also creative and fun especially if your geting decent pay.

I think this whole creative thing in some cases is overplayed as well as an excuse for some that have problems getting consistent bookings.

And I'm never sure about this "I don't need the money, I have a job". Seems like a slap in the face for those of us doing this for a living.


Blue

Edited by blue

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I'm in a difficult position here folks - I agree with Blue. For me a great gig is one the audience loves, and I don't understand the snobbery over Mustang Sally and Sweet Home Alabama. A great performance of Mustang Sally is far more satisfying to me than performing average "originals" that no-one in the audience knows or cares about.

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I'm not sure the OP is talking about originals at all, average or not - folk and obscure funk covers were mentioned.

I'd say do it. I once formed a band doing strictly obscure Stax songs (all Commitments-type material was totally banned). We got decent local gigs and within six months we were playing a show in France to 2000 people. The project didn't last: the horn section were a problem, a singer had personal issues. But it was cool, and popular, and musically exciting, and it could have done well.

[quote name='blue' timestamp='1451689943' post='2942603']
For me playing covers is also creative and fun especially if your geting decent pay.

I think this whole creative thing in some cases is overplayed as well as an excuse for some that have problems getting consistent bookings.

And I'm never sure about this "I don't need the money, I have a job". Seems like a slap in the face for those of us doing this for a living.
[/quote]

I think your viewpoint is narrow and I'd guess that almost every song in your set was written and popularised by a hard-working band who did NOT go out with the attitude you do. Respectfully: you are a follower. I'm 90 per cent that way myself.

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None of the originals bands I've formed have ever had a 'target market'.

That was the reason for forming them - I had tunes that I wanted to play and got other folks involved.

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[quote name='neilp' timestamp='1451690474' post='2942606']
I'm in a difficult position here folks - I agree with Blue. For me a great gig is one the audience loves, and I don't understand the snobbery over Mustang Sally and Sweet Home Alabama. A great performance of Mustang Sally is far more satisfying to me than performing average "originals" that no-one in the audience knows or cares about.
[/quote]

Guys don't get me wrong, I have an appreciation for originals bands, it's a tough frustrating road.

I have never appreciated or liked snobbery where some cats think it's cool to put down guys and the work cover bands do.

Maybe they have never seen a good cover band or perhaps on their high horse of jealousy.

Blue

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[quote name='KK Jale' timestamp='1451691075' post='2942611']
I'm not sure the OP is talking about originals at all, average or not - folk and obscure funk covers were mentioned.

I'd say do it. I once formed a band doing strictly obscure Stax songs (all Commitments-type material was totally banned). We got decent local gigs and within six months we were playing a show in France to 2000 people. The project didn't last: the horn section were a problem, a singer had personal issues. But it was cool, and popular, and musically exciting, and it could have done well.



I think your viewpoint is narrow and I'd guess that almost every song in your set was written and popularised by a hard-working band who did NOT go out with the attitude you do. Respectfully: you are a follower. I'm 90 per cent that way myself.
[/quote]


Hmmmmm, seems like I remember when The Beatles and The Stones we're cover bands.

I'd say my view point is vast.All originals bands are not the same and neither are cover bands.

By the way my 70s style rock & blues band has released 2 CD s of all original material.

Knocking originals bands is lame. Knocking cover bands is lame.

Blue

Edited by blue

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Thanks guys , I have a main gigging band, this would be a side project with no real goals in mind , apart from to produce some good music.



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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1451689943' post='2942603]
And I'm never sure about this "I don't need the money, I have a job". Seems like a slap in the face for those of us doing this for a living.
Blue
[/quote]

I would urge you not to take this so personally , perhaps see it like a guy who loves cabinet making in his garage at weekends , but doesn't do it as a professional during the week.

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1451650076' post='2942037']
I don't think I have explained it well, but question is, has anyone done this, started up a project knowing it wont have an easy audience to target, but just for the music and fun of doing something different (different for those involved at least)
[/quote]
As I read the first post all I could think was "[i]This is what it's like for every original band[/i]" - maybe that's not what you're after but it might be worth considering? The thrills, both high and lows, are seldom equalled when you're living and dying on the strength of music you've pulled from the ether. Plus, your direction is entirely up to you, the policy is what you make it.

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1451672856' post='2942336']
I think putting this together if you don't plan on gigging is cool. But, for me if your gigging it's always about what the audience wants to hear.

Blue
[/quote]

For me, playing in a band is [i]only[/i] about producing new music, or if we do a cover, putting and interesting new spin on it.
As a result, the audience will only come if they want to hear our music. It's much more risky than being a glorified jukebox, but for me, far more satisfying!
This means that I can't (yet - but who knows when pigs will fly!) make a living playing music. But, I'm in 2 bands; the first got back together after 30 years -
2 of the members had succesful careers in that time with chart singles and even supports of u2 (eek!) - and plays good time funk-rock of our own devising
involving the wearing of very silly clothing. We gig 1-5 times a year and are recording an album at the end of the month.
The other band plays no gigs - mainly because we haven't found a venue for our type of racket - but jam completely improvised free jazz/noise. And we're happy with that!
However, it takes all sorts... Some are very happy with playing (or listening to) covers - look at the success of the X Factor! It's about enjoying and playing music.
If you're just going through the motions and it's no longer enjoyable, that's the time to give up!

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1451723865' post='2942698']
I would urge you not to take this so personally , perhaps see it like a guy who loves cabinet making in his garage at weekends , but doesn't do it as a professional during the week.
[/quote]

I need a lightweight cabinet with long scale legs and standard door spacing. Do you think he could make one for me if I specified alder?

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1451723652' post='2942697']
Thanks guys , I have a main gigging band, this would be a side project with no real goals in mind , apart from to produce some good music.
[/quote]

Do it.
This has always been my only objective when I've been in a band or involved in a musical project. I have been in an originals band that ended up with a good following, some radio play etc. & while it was good that we had an audience that side of it was never important to me personally.

Edited by RhysP

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[quote name='lojo' timestamp='1451723652' post='2942697']
...apart from to produce some good music.
[/quote]

Producing good music having fun whilst doing it - perfect.

Not sure what part of the world you're in but I'll come & listen to some obscure funk covers if you come through Reading.

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[quote name='blue' timestamp='1451689943' post='2942603']
For me playing covers is also creative and fun especially if your geting decent pay.

I think this whole creative thing in some cases is overplayed as well as an excuse for some that have problems getting consistent bookings.

And I'm never sure about this "I don't need the money, I have a job". Seems like a slap in the face for those of us doing this for a living.


Blue
[/quote]

Well, I approach it that if a leader calls the tunes..and I'm not much convinced they have much of a handle on this..and are just doing it for
populist tricks, I'll make a decision if it is worth it to me. I might like the players, the money might be good. but it isn't a gig I'll likely take for a gigs sake.
I can afford to do things my way. I'm probably too jaded to travel over an hr to a gig unless I'm very excited about it... and basically that is it..
does it excite..? I admire guys doing it for a living/career but then they need to get to a level where they don't play crap..or are not expected to..IMO.

Music needs a creative outlet and I'm done with gtrs telling me how the track goes when what they really mean is 'don't get in my way when I'm playing this killer solo'. Don't tell me about the bass and drums when all you do is play str8 8's over everything.
If there is no chemistry and interplay, don't bother. It should be a live band that moves, not a series of notes in sequence that you've ripped.

So, that is why I want to pick the gigs... and I'm very glad I don't have to bend from that stance and take what is offered or anything I can find just to make the cash that week.

I can't think of much that is more soul destroying or draining, tbh.

I just think..whatever you've got, put it up there, and see how it goes.

A small piece of quality goes a long way... IMO.

Edited by JTUK

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