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How do I get this bunch of amateur musicians in an order we can have even more fun in?

Discussion in 'Sidewinders Bar & Grille' started by TangerineDog, Oct 2, 2018.

  1. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    We're not after gigs or anything. We're friends and bedroom musicians, we were friends long before I even picked up guitar. All we want to do is jam out once in a while.
    Sounds simple enough, right?

    So there's me, I'm an ok rhythm guitarist I guess but not as creative as I'd like to be in the heat of battle.
    So in that group, I probably am some hybrid between the rhythm guitar and the bass, a solid background, but not lively enough to be entertaining on my own.

    There's our lead guitarist/ keyboard who is great on the keys if he's playing a melody on his own, fast on the guitar, has an incredible sound, is creative or has enough riffs of bands I don't know under his belt to make me think he's coming up with that stuff, but he can't keep in time to save his life.
    Also, he always gets the key he should play in wrong and doesn't notice and I can't even think what he thinks he's doing when he's backing us with chords on the keys.
    He's the one who had a gig before though, on his own so it must have been good. But try telling that guy he's doing it wrong when he thinks we're screwing up. I tried, he listened, he still played something without any semblance of coherence, rinse, repeat.

    Then we have a concert flute/ violin/ piano man who limits our total volume to comfortable living room level, which I like, and he's hands down the best musician in the group. But that's on the piano and we usually only have a keyboard which he's not really used to.
    He's a bit shy so most improv work goes to the lead guitar, which, again, is 80% awesome and 20% at the wrong bpm rate.

    And then there's our... ahem... 'bass player'. He doesn't own a bass and has never shown up to a session, but he's got his own problems and plenty of those, so who knows if he turns out to be the hidden diamond amongst us.
    We meet a lot out of any musical context though, so he's not somebody hogging a slot but we're rather keeping a slot open for him.

    Now when we manage to meet up, and we're all kinda swamped so we can't get the band together very often, we try blues patterns and alternating lead improv, which sounds pretty neat at times. Until it falls apart and we fail to correct on the fly.

    Now we try, we have fun with what we're playing and everyone's willing to leave their own musical comfort zone to find common ground (which between Classical, Metal and my ragtag taste in music that ranges from Classical to Blues to 70s Rock is quite hard to find) or just so someone gets to play their favorite style once in a while, but there's something missing and I don't know what. A certain sense of satisfaction when we're done.

    What should we try? Cover a song? Write an original? Carry on as usual? Get someone else on board to spice things up.

    I'd really appreciate any input on how to get some fresh wind into our little jam circle of catastrophe.
    We're going by what's fun right now but we're at a point where we need more, and I thought that maybe y'all might know where to start.
    circles, Yves and BallisticSquid like this.
  2. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    What you have there is a bunch of friends. If you want to be in a band, go and find musicians that want the same. Just be happy to some have fun with your friends.
    nigelr, CigBurn, stratobiker and 6 others like this.
  3. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 3, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I’ve got some friends I’ve jammed with for years, and they like to call us a band. Bands are cohesive units. We aren’t a band yet.

    I’ve decided that the best course of action is to work on my own skills as much as possible, and to network with new players and work on putting together something closer to a real band.

    I’m still jamming with them (when they show up) but I am not going wait on them either. I’m actively seeking the best players I can get. It might be them, but probably not.

    My main problem is that it’s hard to attact better players when your “band” isn’t gigging regularly.

    Good luck, and let me know if you figure it out!
    nigelr and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  4. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    Well, we're all eager to make something that more closely resembles actual music, we're united in that.
    And we all don't want to be a proper band so we've got that going for us as well.
    I've edited the thread title to more accurately reflect that.

    We still feel kinds 'There's gotta be more' when we put down our instruments.

    Any player looking for a serious unit would be bitterly disappointed in us.

    It's more like... I don't know, think about a bunch of guys riding their bikes though the city park every few weeks and getting a bit bored.
    I'm hoping for somebody here to suggest something akin to "Try going to the nearest national park!" - 'cause while we're open for anything, we don't really know what direction to go in now.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
    stratobiker likes this.
  5. Stormy Monday

    Stormy Monday Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 19, 2011
    the Barn Band is just a few old guys that like to play. I had to set up two separate Barn Bands for a while to accommodate a few individuals. There is not any money being made. We don't gig. We will play out for a private event when someone asks. Guys have come and gone. No one is in charge. But having fun with some like minded individuals is great fun. So step back and let things take shape on their own. and enjoy.
  6. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Get everybody to pick one tune that they like, then learn to play each one. Don't be too disappointed if it doesn't go well, you should get some really funny moments.
  7. fezz parka

    fezz parka Do you Reach? Strat-Talk Supporter

    Apr 21, 2011
    Going to Eden...Hey Brother...
    A band is like a bus. It needs a driver.

    Friends jamming on the other hand is a friendly fun conversation. Have fun.

    Decide which you want to be and remember to have fun with both.
    Keith268, Elvie, circles and 5 others like this.
  8. JustABluesGuy

    JustABluesGuy Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 3, 2016
    Houston, TX
    I know we have always done our best when we have a performance coming up. Having a deadline seemed to cause everyone to up their game a bit.

    We don’t perform often at all though...
    BallisticSquid likes this.
  9. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    This pretty much sums up my initial thoughts.

    Just because you guys are all friends doesn't mean you'll click musically. The corollary it true also...somebody you click with musically may not be somebody you'd be friends with. That describes my duo partner...for a while we clicked really well musically, but once the music was gone, we didn't really have anything in common.

    Perhaps you guys need to lay down some structure. Maybe you could work on a cover song that lends itself to extended jams. Roadhouse Blues, Can't You See, stuff like that.

    Is everybody on board with the "just jam" thing? Not every musician is into that. Personally I like to jam, but I have to be in a situation that feels comfortable, otherwise I can't really "put it out there". In one band, if a guitar solo went on too long the drummer would start with the eye rolls. In my current band we don't jam either. When we have a song we are working a song it's good and things click as we put ideas together.
    rafasounds and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  10. DickBanks

    DickBanks Strat-Talker

    May 2, 2017
    Olathe, KS
    If you are really stuck on "this bunch of fellows," and if your town (or one nearby) has no summer music series, start one.
    Get the chamber or city to cough up some money to hire good locals bands...
    ...Who will need an opener, and thee you are.
    Worked for some people in my city.

    Otherwise, seek out real musicians, and form a good working band based upon that.
    Real musicians have the chops, can write originals, and walk in with gigs-in-hand.
  11. BallisticSquid

    BallisticSquid Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 12, 2016
    Yes, same here!
  12. Thrup'ny Bit

    Thrup'ny Bit Grand Master Curmudgeon Strat-Talk Supporter

    May 21, 2010
    Monthly "Band Night" with my friends was just an excuse for us to get away from our respective families, have a few beers, play a few tunes, have a laugh. About half of us were playing in bands during those years, but not together, the other half never played out at all.
  13. trapdoor2

    trapdoor2 Senior Stratmaster

    Oct 25, 2017
    Nawth Alabama
    You probably need a communal goal. That way, when y'all are apart, you know what to work on. Doesn't matter whether people actually do or not...but at least everyone knows at least one tune that will be messed around with when the get-together happens.

    I used to go to a local weekly jam. Bunch of amateurs, friends, etc. Anarchy usually...but we finally decided to have three tunes which would always be played at every session. That worked really well and some of the rank layabouts blossomed into 'players' just because they got comfortable enough to start messing around with those three tunes.

    It sort of re-balanced the jam a bit. After a while, we slowly changed the three basic tunes to other tunes.
  14. TangerineDog

    TangerineDog Senior Stratmaster

    Sep 5, 2015
    The EU
    Maybe it's time to re-evaluate that.
    Initially we all thought we were, but who knows, maybe having a song to work towards will give us the kick we need in lieu of any deadlines.

    I am. And out city has thriving musical scene already - and everybody in it is far beyond our own current entertainment value. So trying to make it there would take away what we all (and that I know for a fact) value about our jam group - no real pressure.
    I even only started this thread 'cause in our last chat, we were like 'Yeah, let's step up our game, but how? - Should we cover something? - Nah, let's write stuff! - When?'
    So we're willing to step up but just don't know where to start. Apart from learning to stick to one bloody beat :D

    Also, I work in a kind of 'venue' that hires some local groups occasionally. IDK how comfortable the folks would be with the guy who usually deals with them in both a professional and a financial aspect but if I ever get good enough to put it out there, I'll not be shy and just ask :D

    It seems like we should definitely start by setting our sights on one definite song for now and add to that.

    Who knows, maybe we'll replace our 3 tunes with originals after some time and I'll post them here and force y'all to listen to them :whistling:
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
    JustABluesGuy and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  15. Cerb

    Cerb Most Honored Senior Member

    Jan 22, 2016
    Write a song together by letting it evolve through jamming. Most RHCP songs were written that way, someone would bring an idea, lyrics, a riff or a chord progression and tge rest of the babd would join in and jam around that until they had a finnished song.
    JustABluesGuy likes this.
  16. Stormy Monday

    Stormy Monday Most Honored Senior Member Strat-Talk Supporter

    Jan 19, 2011
    No bus driver with the Barn Band. And just getting together for a beer, music and some semi-adult conversation works.

    We have a list of songs we play. We try new stuff. I get to sing without any stuff getting thrown at me. Some of the guys have played in bands for money. I'm just a hack. I usually supply the digs. Others bring the beer.

    So enjoy
    JustABluesGuy and Thrup'ny Bit like this.
  17. Yves

    Yves Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 2, 2016
    I'd suggest ask each one of them to draw a list of say a dozen of tunes they think you could work on together.
    And ask them to send it back to you by a fixed date.
    If they miss the deadline, they loose their chance.
    Once you got all returned.
    Send them back their suggested numbers and ask them to tick their favourite three by order of preference.
    When they return those to you.
    Draw the list of all the top choices and run a vote.
    The winner's the number you'll work on.
    Everyone's got to work their part individually. And you' ll put it together next time you meet.
    Jimi Lightning likes this.
  18. nutball73

    nutball73 Senior Stratmaster

    Nov 12, 2013
    Southern UK
    Sounds a bit like a Euroguestock!

    What we do is put together a list of songs that people want to play, set a date and then try to learn them all by then.

    When it happens, we have fun but nobody gets judged, we just try our best. It's about making music together, good or bad.
    JustABluesGuy, Thrup'ny Bit and Yves like this.
  19. Paperback Rocker

    Paperback Rocker Nitro-mancer Strat-Talk Supporter

    Sep 18, 2014
    Lewisville, TX
  20. Yves

    Yves Senior Stratmaster

    Jan 2, 2016
    Following on from my earlier suggested strategic approach.
    Once common agreement is reached on which tune by all.
    Circulate all list of suggested sanctions to vote on that will apply to those who don't do their homework.
    - Put 10 usd in a tin. ( find a hilarious name for it)
    - They'll be put in the naughty corner
    - They're on duty to the mixing table and fetch the refreshments

    This way they all know what they sign up to. The most committed will remain.