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Author Topic: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)  (Read 2713 times)

hargerst

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Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« on: May 22, 2004, 03:31:46 PM »

November, 2001 - Why Bands Break Up.

This column is kinda cutting my own throat, since it's about groups NOT rushing into a studio to cut an album. Groups break up or lose members for several reasons; the band is not succeeding as fast as anticipated, differences in opinion about the band's direction, lack of personal recognition for a band member's contribution, or simply too many rehearsals and not enough playing out.

Every band goes thru several steps when they form or when there's a change in the lineup.  This is the oppurtunity to set new directions for the band, based on a new member's skills, or when the band is just getting started.  It's NOT the time to be planning an album.

Yes, you may wanna do a 4 song demo to get jobs and get noticed, but the band should be concentrating on building the song base, working out sets, doing live shows, and building your fan base.  When people come up to you after a show and go "Wow, you guys rock. Do you have an album?", that's the time to start thinking about filling out your four song demo with six more songs.  Why work on a whole album if you don't have a big following, big enough to buy the albums anyway?

When you've just changed one of the band members, or the band is just starting out, that's the time to look at where you're going, where you want to go, and how to get there.  Losing the lead singer or your main songwriter can be devastating if you're a new band, but it's not the end of the world - it can be an opportunity to move the band into a new direction.  

But anytime somebody leaves the band, the rest of the band should seriously reflect on why the person felt he/she needed to leave.  And make plans to prevent the situation from reoccuring. Sometimes, it can't be helped.  Often though, it can be prevented. Give each other the credit you each deserve.  Make sure everybody has an equal voice at band meetings.  Listen to legitimate gripes.  Remember the reasons you all got into music in the first place.

When I hear a band come in to the studio, most of time, I'm really excited by their music, because there's a passion in the music and sometimes, I can capture that passion on tape, and that is so exciting to me - to hear everything coming together, and really rocking.  

It pisses me off when I hear that a band has broken up - like a small part of me just died. Yeah, I know some of them will join a new band and I'll see them again, but it won't be the same - each band is a unique combination of musical elements, and that particular combination will never be heard again.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2004, 09:53:39 AM »

Having been in various 'bands' for well over 20 years, my experience has been that the majority of the time these breakups occur when one or more members was not upfront and forward with their musical goals when the group was being formed...

For example: A group can form and do their recording....the formation was based on the idea that everyone would travel, do the road for a while, etc...Then when bookings come from places 1000 miles away, someone decides they can't be away from mom/dad, girlfriend/boyfriend/husband/wife (or all of the above)...thus the group begins to crumble.  If people would just be straightforward (I can't/won't stay out for more than 4 weeks at a time without coming home...and others) these issues can be addressed and worked around before things start getting to the breakpoint.

Plus, responsibilities do change...pregnancies can hit a band pretty hard.  Medical issues, the inevitable rehab for one or more musicians, domestic insecurities, all can mess up a good thing.

What really frosts my Fritos is when bands fall apart while I'm still working on their project...it seems nothing brings out "individual musical direction" like a live mic into a recording system...when this happens (only once so far) I'm left wondering two things: 1) will they be able to resolve this and finish their project? and 2) who the heck is gonna pay for what has been sone already?

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Trumpetman2

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2004, 12:33:26 PM »

 Sad  Shocked  Harvey:  This has something to do with your article - been there, done that!  I have been playing trumpet in different bands for a lot of years (I'm close to your age..) I have had my own bands too and have had to deal with all that you mention - well, since I also have another profession and don't do music "professionally" any more, I've decided to go "one step further"- Here is the deal and the question:  I will "get my fix" of playing ONLY in my own home studio AND ONLY by playing and recording for myself.  I will NOT be using live musicians since I have found that I can record jazz tunes with backing tracks such as those from Aebersold and others (these have come a long way and some are real good).

The problem is how to record my trumpet w/these tracks so that they sound close to a "real" recording.  I can transfer the tracks to my DA38 and they sound great, but it is VERY difficult to match my live trumpet to them (I always end up overpowering the track and if I bring down my track it sounds weak and thin compared to the rythm tracks....).

HARVEY, PLEASE HELP!!!  WHAT AM I MISSING?  I am inputing my trumpet through a Ward-Beck twin mic pre, racked by Dave Thomas in Canada, I have an RNC on the output and am using a Shure SM7 (NOT a 57!).  My mixdown board is a RAMSA WR8112.

All tracks sound great on their own - but the mixdown is not that great!  
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hargerst

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2004, 04:34:43 PM »

Get a little distance between the horn and the mic. Not TOO much compression.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

Bob Olhsson

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2004, 04:49:44 PM »

My experience has been that most bands break up because most, if not all of the members have no idea how hard you actually need to work.

John Ivan

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2004, 04:59:18 PM »

Bob Olhsson wrote on Sun, 30 May 2004 15:49

My experience has been that most bands break up because most, if not all of the members have no idea how hard you actually need to work.


Exactly!! I thought I was lazy.. I guess I'm not so lazy after all.
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Trumpetman2

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2004, 06:42:32 PM »

 Smile Harvey:  Thanks.  I have been kind of close miking...I'll try about 2 feet.  Also, I am hitting no more than 6bd on the RNC on the loud/high notes; is that about right or should I back of a bit?  And, I am using a Lexicon LXP-15 using a dark plate setting for all in order to "gel" the group ambiance...is there a better setting that would make the whole more unified?  I also have a newer Roland (3030?) would that be a better verb to use?  THANKS AGAIN!
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hargerst

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2004, 08:52:02 PM »

Trumpetman2 wrote on Sun, 30 May 2004 17:42

 Smile Harvey:  Thanks.  I have been kind of close miking...I'll try about 2 feet.  Also, I am hitting no more than 6bd on the RNC on the loud/high notes; is that about right or should I back of a bit?  And, I am using a Lexicon LXP-15 using a dark plate setting for all in order to "gel" the group ambiance...is there a better setting that would make the whole more unified?  I also have a newer Roland (3030?) would that be a better verb to use?  THANKS AGAIN!


Yup, the compression sounds about right, but leave the reverb off till you mix your horn track with the backing tracks.

When you mix, bring up all the background tracks and try for a nice blend.  (Think of it as trying out for a big band.  Get the band sounding killer first.)

Now, bring in your horn track and adjust the level till it's about right, or just a tad louder than what you think it should be. Next, bring in the reverb just a hair and see if sounds better.  If not, try another reverb setting, or send the reverb to a seperate track and play with the eq on the reverb till it sounds right.  

Roll off a little bottom end on the reverb, below about 200Hz, and you may have to boost the eq somewhere between 2 and 3kHz on the reverb channel.  All the eqs, reverbs, and toys are nice, but in the end, let your ears tell you what's missing, or what's too much.  Basically, the band has left a hole for you to fill in; your job is to figure out what will fill the hole perfectly.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2004, 05:37:16 AM »

I will toss on one more big reason I see bands break up (this is usually a little further down the road once they get a small indie deal, or a management deal) Then BAM! Arguements begin about money!

Usually over publishing rights, and who wrote what.

Most often there is one or two people who write most the songs, and when it becomes clear that they will be making a sometimes significantly different sum from other band mates, then things begin to go to hell...

Another variation is argument between the composer, the lyricist, and the arranger, if these are seperate people, or different parts of tasks were done by different people. Anyone familiar with what Kurt Cobain did in his last year to his bandmates, and then his Estate went on to do--royally screwing the other two guys, will know what I am talking about.

Bands need to talk about this kinda stuff early, and avoid the lawyer insanity. Lawyers are for putting what you want down in writing, not telling you what you should want. What often begins so pure and Spiritual, ends up being a mad money grab. Each band member ends up sitting around some office table with their own individual attorney whispering fursiouly in their ear. This scenario makes me sick.

I should probably be its own thread, but there are some very creative and fair ways to work out how to divide royalties. Perhaps some of the fine people here will share. If there seems to be any interest, I will start a thread and describe a few of the ways I see bands work this conflict out.


--KT
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Kurt Thompson
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Trumpetman2

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2004, 08:52:12 AM »

 Very Happy  Harvey:  Thanks much.  My mixes are already stsrting to sound much better.  This is indeed a fine art.....not as easy as I thought!
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hargerst

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2004, 09:28:21 AM »

Trumpetman2 wrote on Mon, 31 May 2004 07:52

 Very Happy  Harvey:  Thanks much.  My mixes are already stsrting to sound much better.  This is indeed a fine art.....not as easy as I thought!

Often, a great mix is more akin to black magic than it is to art.
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Harvey "Is that the right note?" Gerst
Indian Trail Recording Studio

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Re: Why Bands Break Up. (Important Article)
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2004, 11:13:19 AM »

hargerst

Why Bands Break Up.

So much work
So much sacrifice
So much rejection
So very, very, very little to show for it
This is the story of my band.
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