Rehearsal Rant

ludwigmod72

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Ok so I finally had the chance to get together with my friend last night to do a rehearsal with a bass player he knows. My friend plays guitar and occasionally fills in on some of my gigs. I normally don’t rehearse unless there is a pending gig as my life is constantly busy with work and family. Regardless, I agree to this practice and as always show up ahead of time excited and ready to go. Upon arrival, nothing (PA) is even ready to go (Red Flag). I ask my guitarist about the whereabouts of the bassist. He says “ I haven’t heard from him all day”. Now, my patience is starting to run a bit thin because I loaded/unloaded my equipment already and ready to go. He finally calls him and is on the phone with him for 30 minutes giving him step by step directions. Practice was scheduled for 7PM At this point I was ready to pack it up. 745 he shows up, nice guy pro equipment but no cords. Unbelievable!!! We end up running his bass thru my guitarist’s PA (Which after 5 yrs of owning it still can’t operate it) and barely get a mix going. To top it off we start doing tunes that are not even part of our regular set list. FWIW, this is a poor way for everyone to try and be comfortable with each other. Anyway, 9PM and a dozen songs later and we’re done. I honestly couldn’t wait to get home. I guess the older the get the less tolerance I have for players who don’t understand what being “professional” is about. It also keeps me from gigging out with these types of people as they appear to have no desire to actually gig out and prefer to just have jam sessions. Ok rant over anyone have similar situations?
 

ian.thomas

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Coincidently, the bassist in my band is also the weak link as far are professionalism, being on time, and prepared. All he has to bring is his bass, sometimes not even that (our lead guitarist has one too), and he still can't make it on time.
 

CC Cirillo

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This sort of behavior makes me, and I bet most of the fine folks on here------------crazy.

Years ago I played a one off gig with a band. We did two rehearsals the week of the gig. At both, the bassist would, by the third song, be so stoned he’d drag. The guitarist would turn up to 17 on his poorly executed solos. The keyboard player had something wrong with her gear, fiddled, and went home to get some piece but never came back and didn’t show up to the second rehearsal. The singer was at least an hour late each time.
At the second rehearsal I diplomatically pointed out some of the above issues, and the response went a little like this:

The bassist had perfect tempo and maybe I was rushing;

The guitarist had to turn up his volume because the drums were too loud;

The keyboard player would be there at the gig (which she wasn’t);

The singer was good people (I’m sure she was, but she was late to the gig too).

I should have just dumped the gig but, frankly, it was a stage in my life supporting two households and I needed the cash. A few of the members were quite well off and the band leader, sensing my frustration at the end of the last rehearsal helped me carry my gear to the car told me how much he appreciated me filling in and said he’d double my pay.

He was good on his word. The gig -–a big corporate retirement party for one of their friends--went about the same as the rehearsals, but it was a home crowd so we—um—to those too drunk to hear, “killed it.”

Contrast this to another band I played in with players 20 to 30 years younger than me. Their first band. During the first few rehearsals I sort of laid out what it takes to be a cohesive professional unit. They listened, took the advice and then took everything up to another level.

These were originals and you could tell in the week between practice they seriously were honing their parts. Kicked my but into a gear I didn’t know I had.

The practice before our first show we rented a studio with a stage and invited friends and played the rehearsal like it was the gig—professional demeanor.

Every aspect of that band was geared to getting better. In 6 months we went from starting from scratch, writing material, a backyard gig, bars, recording, then headlining clubs.

Individually not a single virtuoso, but together we learned to play as an organic, pulsing, five-headed, sexy beast.

Being in a band: It ain’t poker night.
 

jptrickster

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Oh man don’t get me started. Way to much time wasted because dudes don’t do there homework. Learn the material at home not on my time you lazy mothertruckers! I also hate sitting there while they hash out vocal harmonies, just kill me already. Well at least we’re gigging again …. And that’s usually a good time. The ying and the yang
 

bbunks

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This stuff drives me batsh*t crazy.

I had an interview recently with a band leader and asked him how many of the band members were adults. I don’t have time - or patience - for people who can’t get it together.
 

Deafmoon

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I have been spoiled over many years of club dates. It is remarkable how people with no sense of direction and time, manage to have all their equipment set up and ready to go, ON TIME ..when there's money involved.
 

dale w miller

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I was in a band chronic latest could have been its name. If rehearsal is at 12pm, the bassist shows at 12pm, guitarist at 12:30pm, and the singer at 1pm if at all. It was the only band that truly needed a tour manager simply to babysit them to get them to shows. I didn’t understand how all we worked for and the opportunity given and we were pissing it away with rockstar behavior while still being the opening band.

Needless to say, the band broke up after a fistfight with the singer & guitarist backstage before a show in England 6 months later.

In your case, I wouldn’t fret over it unless I had something invested in it. I’d just walk. I should have walked myself.
 

LarryJ

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Our P&W band at church is, except for the "worship leader" and "accompanist", all unpaid volunteer church members. So naturally they showed up at Thursday night practice late and unprepared, and most of the time was spent listening to mp3s to learn their parts. Most of the members live within 5 minutes of the church, I have a 30+ minute drive one way.

I finally couldn't take it any more and quit the band. I told the leader I would fill in until he could find a replacement, but I would not come to Thursday night practice. That was 7 years ago and I'm still there.
 

wflkurt

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I hate rehearsals with a passion as I just have too much going on to fit them in. That being said, I do them when they are needed but fortunately all the bands I play with know that we need to stick to the plan. As long as everyone has practiced on their own, a rehearsal should be pretty easy. It's also nice because at one of the places I rehearse, the guitar player also plays drums and there is a full set ready to go at all times. It's also nice because this guitar player probably has the best sense of time of any guitar player I have played with. Playing drums has kept him firmly planted with tempo. That's a bonus!
 

Polska

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Rehearsals work best if everyone has done their homework beforehand. Thankfully the ones I'm involved in now are prompt, productive and still have some fun/chat time involved, without taking up everyone's entire evening. The perfect balance and I'm very grateful.

The worst for me was the tail-end of a band I was in. I was hosting rehearsal and on the last "rehearsal" we had, a couple guys showed up 15 - 20 min late. They then informed me the bass player and the singer wouldn't be at practice, though no one thought to tell me that. We tried a couple songs with drums, guitar and keys and no vocals, but that was pointless. They then settled in to some chatting (the 2 of them were old friends) about old bands/gigs that I had no interest in or connection to. My patience was at an end and they just sat their talking and talking. I finally ended it with some excuse, but that was 2 hours wasted on a week night. I quit the next week as that opened my eyes to what should have been obvious to me. That this was just a social club for the others, and if we played a gig here and there, that was good enough for them but not for me.

In the history of terrible band experiences, not so bad. But it taught me a lesson on what rehearsal expectations are for me, and I've walked out of situations that aren't productive. I don't want to simply "hang", unless that is the intent from the start. I don't want to simply "jam". And I don't want to sit around while everyone listens to mp3's trying to learn songs they didn't have time to listen to when assigned a week ago.
 

equipmentdork

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In one of my bands, this is what you get. Been like this since 2006.

The same singer/guitarist shows up late(he has ADHD, so that is part of it).
The bass player also shows up late(he's a contractor, so that's the other part).
The keyboardist and other guy learn their parts ahead of time, but the bass player almost never does.

That's the best you'll get from these guys. Believe me, I've tried.


Dan
 

CSR

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Our big band rules (18 people):

You are at rehearsal unless you let the leader know in advance or it’s an emergency. Then, a sub will be called for you.

You are there 20-30 minutes early (or earlier if necessary) to set up and get organized. The band starts the first rehearsal number at the “start” time.

You have practiced the tune(s) ahead of time. Rehearsal is to coordinate the sections, not learn the tunes.

You bring a pencil to mark any changes on the chart. You listen to suggestions or changes, not talk to your neighbor or noodle. If you have any questions, you ask.

All charts are kept in order in the folder. We might rehearse up to 15 charts in a 2-hour rehearsal and/or sight-read several new charts.

If you are late to a gig without a solid excuse, you may be replaced. If you skip a gig you WILL be replaced. If you do drugs at a gig or drink to excess, you will be replaced.

Professional.
 

Houndog

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Our big band rules (18 people):

You are at rehearsal unless you let the leader know in advance or it’s an emergency. Then, a sub will be called for you.

You are there 20-30 minutes early (or earlier if necessary) to set up and get organized. The band starts the first rehearsal number at the “start” time.

You have practiced the tune(s) ahead of time. Rehearsal is to coordinate the sections, not learn the tunes.

You bring a pencil to mark any changes on the chart. You listen to suggestions or changes, not talk to your neighbor or noodle. If you have any questions, you ask.

All charts are kept in order in the folder. We might rehearse up to 15 charts in a 2-hour rehearsal and/or sight-read several new charts.

If you are late to a gig without a solid excuse, you may be replaced. If you skip a gig you WILL be replaced. If you do drugs at a gig or drink to excess, you will be replaced.

Professional.
Yes !!! Start time is not arrive time !!!!
7 PM rehearsal means I’m ready to count us in at 7 sharp !!!

I’ll go bang my head in futility now …..
 

Squirrel Man

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Ok so I finally had the chance to get together with my friend last night to do a rehearsal with a bass player he knows. My friend plays guitar and occasionally fills in on some of my gigs. I normally don’t rehearse unless there is a pending gig as my life is constantly busy with work and family. Regardless, I agree to this practice and as always show up ahead of time excited and ready to go. Upon arrival, nothing (PA) is even ready to go (Red Flag). I ask my guitarist about the whereabouts of the bassist. He says “ I haven’t heard from him all day”. Now, my patience is starting to run a bit thin because I loaded/unloaded my equipment already and ready to go. He finally calls him and is on the phone with him for 30 minutes giving him step by step directions. Practice was scheduled for 7PM At this point I was ready to pack it up. 745 he shows up, nice guy pro equipment but no cords. Unbelievable!!! We end up running his bass thru my guitarist’s PA (Which after 5 yrs of owning it still can’t operate it) and barely get a mix going. To top it off we start doing tunes that are not even part of our regular set list. FWIW, this is a poor way for everyone to try and be comfortable with each other. Anyway, 9PM and a dozen songs later and we’re done. I honestly couldn’t wait to get home. I guess the older the get the less tolerance I have for players who don’t understand what being “professional” is about. It also keeps me from gigging out with these types of people as they appear to have no desire to actually gig out and prefer to just have jam sessions. Ok rant over anyone have similar situations?
Serious question, has the band had discussion on what direction in this sense this band is supposed to be? In other words maybe the other guys just want a casual jam band where you seem to want more of a regimented "down to business" band. And there's nothing wrong with either but if everyone has differing, not strongly communicated expectations of what this band is supposed to be this could be a frustrating venture for everyone involved.
 

drumbum91

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I’m so thankful that the band I’m in now does not rehearse. If we add a song we all rehearse it on our own and play it live. We have great chemistry and I’m lucky to play with such top notch guys who get it.

In the past I’ve played with guys that did ok learning on their own and some that wanted to listen to the material while at rehearsal. It always drove me crazy, I’d spend the time on my own to work the material only to show up and have to twiddle my thumbs while they worked out the progressions, etc. I just simply don’t have the patience for that anymore. That said, I have a side project that I play guitar in for fun. The rehearsals still drive me crazy but I also enjoy the hang as the gig is not that serious. We play out a handful of times a year and enjoy getting together and making music.
 


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