As for Bandleaders, I can still remember Doctor Thomson's Symphony Orchestra, for the LewisClark Valley, He had a set of 'rules' of what was expected of the musicians who participated. Practice was held at the Clarkston High School. One of the rules was, if you show up late, don't open the door, until after the current score in play, is done. And the dress attire for the performance's...I mean for a small community it was almost a dress code like the Boston Pops Orchestra. But it was fun I might add. Nothing like RockNRoll, but doing and taking part with a Big Band, gave a musician a sense of control, (and it came in handy when Rockin), when playing. Reading music like I havn't done since. I gotta get some glasses to do it again. another challenge.
About the posting date material?..
I sometimes, go to the end of the list, or pick a place in the middle, and start looking for an interesting topic . Usually a topic that is similar to what is on my mind. Sometimes not, sometimes, the topic just appeals to me. Don't you ever revisit old topics Bugs?
Maybe I can get these guys trained to read the date on the post?
Some of these topix are very deserving of extra espounding upon. Or, as the DFO membership expands, you never know, there might be some interesting takes on the subject. eh?
I'm the leader of The Burgundy Watch, the band in which I play guitar, and there's no question who is the leader. I feel I'm qualified for this position after years of being a bandmember and sometimes a sideman. I like the challenge of dealing with four other personalities, which in this band, can be a real trip. Sometimes I feel like a psychoanalyst, but all told, the guys I have are OK.
I've come to believe that every band needs a leader or co-leaders who make the final decisions. Democracies aren't very effective in the music world. This old "one for all-and we're all equal" stuff is not the way to go.
I'm the leader of my band. It's a big job. The band is a high energy dance/wedding/club date/casino band. Being in the NYC area, we are pretty high priced and the more you charge the more people expect (what a shock huh?). Honestly, I dont have a very high tolerence level for nonsense from musicians. When a client is paying thousands of dollars for a nights work, they get my very best (especially when my name is on the contact). I expect no less then the same from musicians who work for me. I'm fortunate being in the NYC area that I have alot of great players to choose from in the event I need a sub or replacement for a given spot. The rythym section and lead singers are permanent members and I expect them at every gig. Horn players are contracted by gig (we have charts so it's pretty easy). I have the band name set up as a DBA, with a dedicated bank account. I issue 1099's at tax time. It's like any other small business. I think I'm pretty fornunate, we average 100 gigs a year and I have some GREAT players (Broadway vets, studio players). I pay them well and the play well. No, its not the most musically rewarding situation in the world (Yea, Ive played "Disco Inferno" about 10000 times..lol), but its alot more lucrative than most gigs.
Tips I would offer (Atleast in the club date world):
1) ALWAYS take a dedicated person/player over the "monster" player. This stuff isnt Mozart, a good player can handle it. That said, they need to be able to play alot of styles (its a VERY long night playing "Night and Day" with a bass player who cant swing, make sure he can). Most of us in the band read music as well. From my experience, a monster player who is unrealiable or has a huge ego is trouble waiting to happen. If you can get a monster player who's reliable, you got lucky. I have several, but they arent common and if your work slows down they WILL freelance and possibly leave you in a spot. Playing ability and dedication are directly affected by how much work you have and how well the band pays. Thats a fact!
2) Assert yourself and let people KNOW you are the boss. Dont be a prick, but dont take crap either. Ive heard a billion excuses, they go in one ear and out the other. It's a job period. Let them know whats you expect. One way I found to get players to tow the line? Cut their pay. That usually straightens them out. I had one guy who is a male lead singer, part of his job was to load in and set up the PA. I wanted him there an hour and 15 minutes before the start time. He was averaging 45 minutes leaving others to do his job. I warned him, nothing. I cut his pay $100 (it paid $400). I told him next time it was $200 and there wouldnt be a third time. Now he's there an hour and a 1/2 before the gigs.
3) Always communicate with the client. We do alot of weddings and brides are pretty nervous. I try to easy their nerves. We as professionals need to do that. Weddings are pretty straight forward to a seasoned wedding musician, but its the FIRST time for a bride (well first or second, maybe third..lol).
4)Always commincate with the venue. Know who the manager is and introduce yourself. All functions are different but you need to know the agenda for the evening. Being a drummer, its hard to access me during a set. I know whats going on but our female lead singer handles most contact with the venue. Thank God, she knows the business very well.
Ok, Ive rambled enough. I treat is as a business, because it IS a business. A cut throat business that unfortunately now is mainly covered by the dreaded DJ. EEEK!
Oh Yes my friend. I'm sure between the 2 of us we could have some chat on the NYC area clubdate business. We keep saying it, but we REALLY need to hook up. My next trip to NYC or LI for sure, I'll call you. And, if you are up in Westchester or CT, buzz me.