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Masochist issues... D=

  1. Oct 8, 2015 #1

    BiGyElLoWhAt

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    That's the name of my band, and we're having some problems. Well, problem.
    Let me just start off by saying I don't necessarily expect this site to give me a solution, but I would really like some advice.

    Background:
    We've been a band for 5 or 6 years now (3 of us, 1 is new ~1year in), we started off covers, metallica, megadeth, slayer, testament, annihilator, etc., but with some originals, knowing that we wanted to be an original band. There were a couple songs that were written when I "joined" (it was basically a new band when I joined, no bass player, etc.) that were written by one guitar player solely. I learned them pretty quickly, there wasn't much to them, basic thrash. We moved on fairly shortly to writing songs as a band, a full collaboration. Everyone needs to be on board with every note that everyone is playing.

    Fast forward to today, we're one song away from having the album done, we've played many shows, including Pierre's (million dollar stage, but I wasn't impressed) and the Embassy theatre, as well as a lot of dive bars, because, you know... metal.

    We've gone through phases, playing phases and writing phases, we play shows, and get off task from writing (I feel this is critical to a successful original band, more on this later) so we can play lots of shows that do little, if anything, for us. Then we take breaks from shows, and write a half a song or a song (the writing process is rather grueling, 7-9 minute long songs with 30-40 riffs in them, shortest one took a month and a half of 2x/week writing sessions, usually 5-8hours long + individual writing so you can bring something to the table to kick off next practice). The point I'm trying to make here is the writing process, for us, takes an excruciatingly long amount of time.

    The Problem:
    We've sat down and discussed the course of action several times, and it is extremely apparent that there is a 2v2 split in the band w.r.t. schools of thoughts. One guitar player and myself want to keep writing, we're about a minute and a half into the last song for the album, and once we finish it it's done! We can record it and have a tangible album, that we can sell at shows, and people will have something to remember us by after the show's done. Believe it or not, no matter how much people get into our music, they don't really know the songs that well, because, you know... 30-40 riff long songs, 10 of them, in an hour.

    The other side, rhythm guitar player and bass player want to gig-gig-gig, and also seem to think that we can keep up with our level of productivity whilst spending a day or 2 a week out at the bars (we all have day jobs, also, by the way). Slight side note, the bass player has brought up the idea of a deadline for writing, which I find contradicting to his stance on gigging (I'm not looking for agreement/disagreement, just saying). I also disagree with that because it puts us in a position of either rushing the song and having it potentially not come out as well as we would have liked, or ditching the deadline at the end, in which case it was pointless. They say they have a plan to get us from point A (nobody, AKA where we are now) to point B (global domination), but never produce it, and quite honestly, I feel like if we go along with this, it will be detrimental to our end goal.

    The reason I bring this up is this: we've had "the talk" probably 4 or 5 times now, over the course of the last year, and come up with a game plan, but then shortly thereafter, someone gets pissed and brings it up. That happened today, and it got rather heated.

    I'm not sure how to proceed. Another problem that we have and have been trying to deal with (well lead guitar player and I), is that there is a sort of, I don't know how to say it, but "parental" role that the two of us have, and we don't like it. We write the majority of the music, book ALL of the shows, etc. No matter how many times we say stuff to the effect of "This is a full collaboration, everyone has equal say", it doesn't really change. It has gotten a little better, the rhythm guitar player has started pitching more riffs at band practice, so that it's not just a song that the two of us write in front of the other two and they nod their heads and learn the riffs.

    What I'm asking for is how to proceed with this. We have band practice tonight, and I feel I need to force "the talk" again, and hopefully get the air cleared (I'm doubtful it will happen permanently, however).

    How can I guide the discussion productively, without actually guiding it? I don't want a mediator, I want the band to stay the band. Everyone is equal, although they don't necessarily act like it, so I don't want to run the show, but I think someone is going to have to step up and keep it along a straight line, or relatively, at least.

    I'm still shaking after the long heated discussion we had just an hour or so ago via G+ hangouts.

    Advice? Correct me if I'm not being fair/rational. How to run a collective meeting, get people involved, and GET A DECISION MADE THAT WILL BE STUCK WITH.

    It makes it really hard, also, that lead guitar player and I are almost ALWAYS 100% on the same page with each other, and bass player rhythm guitar player are the same way.

    HALP ME
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 8, 2015 #2

    BiGyElLoWhAt

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    @Amrator , perhaps you've encountered similar issues? Any advice?
     
  4. Oct 8, 2015 #3

    BiGyElLoWhAt

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    Alright, well, practice time. Wish me luck guys, I'm more anxious now than I've been in a while.
     
  5. Oct 8, 2015 #4

    dlgoff

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    To be right honest, you could be talking about the relationship in a marriage. Got to have "Give and Take".

    btw I've had multiple marriages and could be wrong.
     
  6. Oct 9, 2015 #5
    Perhaps writing 7-9 minute long songs is a bit much for you guys right now? I mean you guys aren't a progressive rock/metal band. Also, considering the fact that you guys have other responsibilites (jobs, education, etc.), maybe just try taking things down a notch.

    Are you abandoning your physics studies? Because pursuing a master's in a scientific field and striving for success in music (in addition to having a job) isn't exactly realistic.
     
  7. Oct 9, 2015 #6

    BiGyElLoWhAt

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    Well, I'd call us prog thrash, we started off straight thrash, but evolved. It's also not that we set out to do it, it just happens that way a lot. I'm an undergrad right now, but I shouldn't have a job when I go to grad school, also. It's really about gigs vs. Writing at this point, and how to get a real discussion and results about it.
     
  8. Oct 9, 2015 #7
    If making music is just a hobby, then just go easy on yourself with all of this. If you want to start recording music but the other members want to continue with just playing gigs, then perhaps you should find different musicians? We can't really help you with your discussion because we would have to hear what the other member have to say. Sorry, man. Best of luck to you though.
     
  9. Oct 9, 2015 #8

    BiGyElLoWhAt

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    Yea I get that, I was more asking how to approach the topic gently. Everyone wants to record, but half don't want to bust it out. Everyones stoked to set ourselves up a tour for hopefully next summer, but we can't go on tour without a cd, everyone's on board with that as well. It's just whether or not we get the album done asap or keep gigging and hope it all works out for the better.
     
  10. Oct 9, 2015 #9

    lisab

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    You got that right! I mean, if marriage is like a two-person gunny sack race (and yes, it really is) -- just imagine what it would be like with three people.

    To those who don't know about gunny sack races: imagine a race where you have two people, and one big bag. Each person sticks one leg in the bag. Now you try to navigate to a goal.

    The OP is in that situation (figuratively), but with three people.
     
  11. Oct 9, 2015 #10

    lisab

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    My $0.02: do the CD first. If you can't put a CD together, how can you do a tour - which is much more stressful?
     
  12. Oct 9, 2015 #11

    dlgoff

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    I was wondering how it would be if a song on their album became a hit and they needed to make a tour?
     
  13. Oct 15, 2015 #12

    BiGyElLoWhAt

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    Pretty much, except it's 4 if you include me XD

    I whole-heartedly agree. That is the divide, though.

    I don't think we have to worry about that, haha. We don't play "hit" music. If you're curious, you could either check out our FB, we have a video of a live song from a bar here in town, it's rather poor quality, though, and 10+ minutes long. If you're open to comparison, you could check out the album "The Sound of Perseverance" by Death, and that would give a rough approximation of what we're doing.

    I really appreciate all the advice, everyone. I'm way less stressed about this now than I was. So I got to practice, and the one that I was mostly arguing with, the bass player, didn't want to talk about it, which was good for the moment. After he left the 3 of us had a talk/debate somewhat, but it was still the same old positions. It hasn't come back up since, and I'm really hoping that since we're nearing the end of the album (approximately half a song left to go), that we can just plow through it, and this will all be dust in the wind.

    We shall see.
     
  14. Oct 19, 2015 #13
    I'm no expert, but it seems as though your band is experiencing growing pains. The two who want to just go from gig to gig need some sort of reality check, methinks. Lisab said it best, if you guys can't even get an album together, how do you expect to put a tour together?
     
  15. Oct 20, 2015 #14

    BiGyElLoWhAt

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    I agree. The issue then becomes how to approach that without making the situation more tense.
     
  16. Oct 20, 2015 #15

    Pythagorean

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    I have viewed my band as a marriage more times than I'd like to admit. Jams are now "one night stands", jamming with other bands is cheating (unless you have permission, then its polyamory), when people are auditioning for us, they're dating us. The relationship requires good communication and everyone saying how they feel about our lovemaking (music) and making sure no boundaries are crossed and expectations are known.

    OP: The bassist and I serve the parenting roles in our band. Our head man and our drummer get in silly spats occasionally (often leading to the drummer quitting). But our front man is our main content generator. I don't think we can get our band mates to change much. Being as much like a relationship it is, and being art, there's some amount of preservation of character that's important. It would be a lot easier if our front man wasn't an aloof non conformist diva, but I feel it would take away from the music and performance and maybe even his content if he wasn't.
     
  17. Oct 20, 2015 #16
    You know, OP, I've scanned through your posts twice now and can't seem to find what position you play. You keep talking about the other band members and who gets along with who, but what instrument do you play? Or you may even be the manager or producer for all know. I may have missed it in there somewhere, but the role you personally play is important.

    I have a lot of experience being in bands in Seattle for many years. I can sympathize with your situation as I'm sure almost any person who has been in a rock band can. I've got a thousand stories, but the bottom line is that at the end of the day it's a battle between optimism and frustration with frustration winning out for most in the end and a return to their "day jobs." Sorry to be so pessimistic, but that's the way it usually ends up. Unless you're one of the outliers like Motlely Crue or Metallica. Which you might be, but the internal milieu of your band right now isn't very promising. There needs to be a strong vision and visionary, and consensus. Thrash bands are at an especial disadvantage, as the venues they can play are much more limited than the general top-40 pop band. That doesn't necessarily mean a dead end, though. Personally I agree with LisaB:

    Get the CD done. Then you will have something tangible as a legitimate identity not only for the public to recognize, but more importantly for the band to recognize. Until then you really are little more than an audition act on probation. So DO IT. Especially if you only have half a song and a few more measures to record. My god mon, get it done. In fact, what I'd do personally is put an ultimatum to the rest of the band, this is what we're doing or I'M OUT.
     
  18. Oct 20, 2015 #17

    Pythagorean

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    I was thinking he was a drummer or vocalist (or both) since he never mentioned the drummer or singer but he mentioned the rhythm guitarist, lead guitarist, and bassist.
     
  19. Oct 20, 2015 #18

    BiGyElLoWhAt

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    I am in fact the drummer. Our lead guitarist pulls vocal duties, for the most part. There is one section that I do some vocals, but they're some back up gutterals. The rhythm also does some back up vocals, they're mostly the clean high vibrato type. I wouldn't consider myself manager, but the lead guitarist and myself will likely do a bear share of the producing for the album. The lead guitarist also handles the bulk of the booking, and between the two of us, we produce most of the content.

    The ultimatum idea is a nice one, but I don't think I could bring myself to follow through with it. I love my band, I love the music we make, and I really like where I see it going.

    I definitely see the marriage analogy, as well. Maybe we need a marriage councilor.

    I'm definitely on board with getting the album done, that's what I want to do, and moreover, I think that it's the best decision, logistically, as does the LG. The RG and BP are the show pushers, and therein lies the issue. We absolutely need to get our album done (how else can we start on the second? Lol) in order to really do anything.

    Unfortunately, we actually don't have anything recorded. As far as I know, at this point, we're going with the game plan I suggested (it's the only timeline we have to work with). Finish the album -> Practice the album -> Gig the album for a month or so to tighten up -> record the album -> tour.

    However, there is this looming "let's just start playing shows, I just wanna play some shows" attitude coming from the RG and BP.

    I also seem to have to defend myself a lot, saying that I'm not anti show, I just want to get the album done first. Quite frustrating.
     
  20. Oct 20, 2015 #19

    Pythagorean

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    I think that would he a tough call for us. We are desperate for gigs and don't have a regular slot, so we get a lot more chances to record and we jump at any gig opportunity that comes up.
     
  21. Oct 20, 2015 #20

    BiGyElLoWhAt

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    Yea, we don't have a problem wuth the number of gigs, just the quality. We can play all the shows we want for 20 bucks, for a half hour, in front of a half a dozen people. Not to brag, but we've played some really good shows, the embassy theatre, to name one, and we killed it. I'm not expecting every show to be like that, but if we're playing for 20 bucks (so 5 each), I think we should at least play our whole set. We tend to get the scraps, we und up playing shows with us plus 3 bands, and between setup teardown, that's roughly a half hour set each. I've grown partial to booking our own shows. We have a reasonable reputation in the area for being a good band and putting on a good show, so we have bands that want to play shows with us. Shows aren't sparcely available for us, just good shows.

    Recording is another thing. We're piecing together our "studio", adc interfaces, mics, gear, etc. so we can do it ourselves. We can't afford to record our album with a professional, it would come out sloppy in the time we could afford.
     
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