Being "subbed"

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by Gasp100, May 21, 2019.

  1. Laurence

    Laurence Silver Supporting Member

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    Interestingly, and this had slipped my mind, my current gig started off with me as the sub, but I was asked to stay when the original player was able to come back. Now, if he has a conflict we just move forward as I know all the parts and visa-versa.
     
  2. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    There are only 3 "acceptable" subs for me, according to the singer and bandleader. If neither of them is available, they cancel the gig.

    The guy that usually subs for me is a great player and a great singer. His style doesn't necessarily fit the group(he's in a 3 pc, we're a 7 pc...), but he handles it all well.
    The second choice absolutely destroys me on guitar, but doesn't sing. He was the other guitar player in the band when we had two.
    The 3rd call knows the songs, doesn't sing, and is "good enough".

    I feel most comfortable when guy number 1 is there, he's a pro and little is missed, on the surface. Guy 2 scares the **** out of me. We're completely different players, and played well together. The budget doesn't allow for 2 of us, so I worry the guys may get sentimental about the aspect thats been missing.
    Guy 3 worries me because I know the show suffers to an extent. Maybe not to the audience, but I know the guys either have to work harder or are deflated.

    Our bass player is a killer/capable guitarist, and he's subbed for me before and had a sub bass player. I don't understand why that's not a viable option anymore. Easier to find a bass player around here. We've subbed bass with "the stranger" before, (our keyboard player's left hand).
     
    ned7flat5, Gasp100 and Laurence like this.
  3. gennation

    gennation Member

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    I play with 3 bands right now, just left the fourth last week actually. And I do pickup gigs all the time. I/we sub all the time.

    I have a handful of players that I call when I need a sub. Those players are guitarists I trust to do a great job as well as subs for all other instruments in the bands when needed.

    I have a calendar and when I get a call about a gig, I stay true to the “calendar” which is a “commitment” to me. I’m either free or I’m already booked.

    I sub gigs all the time and bring in subs all the time for myself too.
     
  4. Grun

    Grun Member

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    Contrary to some of what has been said, at the 'pro level' subbing is common. I'm talking about guys that can walk in and play just about any gig with little to no prep. Which I am not one of, by the way.
     
    GerryJ likes this.
  5. Trevordog

    Trevordog Member

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    I had a steady summer gig for over 20 years on weekends. I left a message on the leader's answering service that I picked up a high paying show that was six days and nights a week, so I could get him a sub for the five weekends of his gig.
    He left a message on my answering service to the effect, 'it's been nice knowing you, good bye'.
    After a few years, the guitarist they used split, and he called me back for the gig, and I've been doing it again for the last ten years. This band has had the gig for 39 years.
     
  6. RhytmEarl

    RhytmEarl Member

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    Very true. But it's not the OP's livelihood, so in this case, I stand by my statement.
     
  7. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Supporting Member

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    We have worked out a lot of medley's / segues so all of those will go by the wayside for one off's. I'm not too concerned about the two venue's I will miss (although one place is fun as hell). I just hope they do well enough to keep at least one of these venues on the docket.
    Just to be clear, I'm not offering up suggestions of people to sub for me firstly because I don't know anyone personally that could cover the gig. In fact, I only personally know 2 other guitarists in this area.
    The band leader scheduled the first gig knowing that I couldn't make it so the onus is on him to fill the role.
     
  8. Doctor of Rock and Roll

    Doctor of Rock and Roll Member

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    I think this is where things can get dicey. What player is going to learn 45 tunes for 1 or 2 gigs with hardly any notice? He is going to want a bigger return on the investment so the bandleader,feeling desperate, may be tempted to sweeten the pot and offer him a few more gigs. If the guy is available all the time..well who knows.

    I know a bassist that is perhaps not the greatest but is constantly working because he is always available..there are guys who are ten times better but are juggling careers etc. this guy retired early and music is all he does so he is always busy.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
  9. take1carry1

    take1carry1 Supporting Member

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    Is your name Wally Pipp? If so.....
     
  10. Bluzeboy

    Bluzeboy Member

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    OMG there actually is a purgatory.
     
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  11. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Supporting Member

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    That is a tough sell for a sub. I've done many subs in the past, but when you've got to learn an entire gig's worth of tunes in less than a week, that equates to a lot of cramming time, and that's time you'll never re-coup (generally speaking), especially if you're only playing a few gigs with that particular band.
     
  12. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Supporting Member

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    This is true. I took a chance after these guys contacted me in desperation because they had two upcoming gigs in VERY local places, very hard spots for me to try to get into on my own. They would have basically been f@cked in the local scene if they canceled the gigs last minute AND/OR if I didn't nail every single tune.
    So I took it super seriously because I wanted desperately to gig after spending 6+ months rehearsing regularly with another band that could not get one SINGLE gig. My hard work paid off for everyone and I was instantly in the band. Plus that ridiculous amount of work is 75% of the core of the sets we are still performing today.
    Since then I've helped build a lot of medley's / seques and I sing all backing vocals and some lead as well.

    I think he is selling this as a sometime sub / probable rhythm guitar slot. But, they are cutting it damn close because the first gig is this Wednesday night.
    The way things are run, bandleader will get an offer and just take the gig. Lately he hasn't even updated us, just put it on the google calendar and I have my personal notifications setup so I get an alarm automatically. That is pretty ballsy IMHO and I have been able to make every single gig so far.
    I don't know how many guys can play a 2PM show on a Wednesday with less than a week's notice unless they are working pro's. That is just an example, but down here in season many of our shows start early. 6PM is very regular which means like 4:30-5:00PM load in, lots of mid-week gigs. During event weeks like bike week we could gig anywhere, anytime.
    Again, because I work from home I can almost always make it happen.
    But if I'm on the road for work - which frankly has been very little - I can't.
    For one gig I actually stayed and worked through the weekend in NYC just so I could fly home on a Wednesday night and make a Thursday afternoon gig... for $150. If that's not enough, I don't know what more I can do really.
     
  13. bluejazzoid

    bluejazzoid Supporting Member

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    I totally appreciate your situation -- band leaders like that can sometimes make a big mess of things w/o keeping everyone in the loop upfront about gigs. And yeah, in MB the summer gigs (esp. beach-front stuff) are earlier than normal, so it's a tall order indeed to find someone to fill-in for you that is 1) pro/good enough, 2) has the time to learn songs quickly, 3) can play an early gig like that, and 4) isn't already playing with somebody else!

    So what's the worst that will happen if those dates have to be canceled because a sub can't be found in time? I know club/bar/hotel owners can be a fickle bunch, but if you guys have been playing there a while maybe a 1-time cancel won't kill your relationship. Honestly, it sounds like your band leader really needs to start chugging some Clue-Aid and learn not to put the band in this kinda situation in the future (lol, but you already know this).

    I wish you and your band luck!

    :aok
     
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  14. whaler13

    whaler13 Member

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    I have been forced to put subs in place for our female singer and drummer because I refuse to turn down gigs due to them being unavailable at times. No one else books any gigs, and I won’t be held hostage by their schedules. It’s turned out that I enjoy playing with these subs, and the different vibe that they bring to the band, so now I will rotate them with the original members at my choice. Plug n play can be a good thing.
     
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  15. 27sauce

    27sauce Member

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    I assume this is a cover band situation?

    Are bands really playing 45 songs unique to them? That’s a wildly diverse scene, if so.

    I would never call on a sub that had to learn that many songs. Even for us, who play off the radar stuff, we have at least 45 songs in common with every other band in town.
     
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  16. briwinters

    briwinters Member

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    I’ve done this before...it’s a great learning experience. The goodwill I generated doing it led to dozens of other gigs with the same band and a ton of networking opportunities.

    I currently am the “regular” guitar sub with a local band that works a LOT...usually out a few times a week. All of the band members play with other acts so subs are a regular part of the gig...rare these days I’m the only sub when I show up. It’s usually pretty obvious who’s done their homework and who hasn’t. The guys who have a “yeah yeah yeah we'll just jam and make it sound good” attitude usually don’t come back too much. The guys who do their homework and keep doing it before every gig end up generating a lot of business for themselves.

    That all being said, I’ve learned my lesson: I’ll never take a sub gig again where I haven’t played at least half the songs before. Been there, done that. Again, great learning experience...one I’d recommend musicians go through at least once or twice in their life. But very very stressful if you are trying to do the gig proper and respect the material, the other musicians and the audience.
     
  17. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Supporting Member

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    Well, the country bands around here (some of which are very good players) actually play much more traditional country (even the younger guys).
    There are a lot of variety bands - you know the Bruno Mars crews... but we play all modern/bro country with a tinge of Southern Rock.
    I would say ~10 of our songs should be regular must know stuff for any sub.
    Another ~10-15 is very formulaic and pretty easy to just chord through if you have to. But you probably know as well as I do that the thing that makes those songs are the quick stops, extensions, etc.
    Tunes like "Real Good Man" from Tim McGraw are "easy" but if you don't hit the right stops and the right chords at the right time it won't sound too good.
    Stuff like "It Ain't My Fault" from Brothers Osbourne just has some quirky timing that you need to hit to pull off.
    Add stuff like "Keep Me In Mind" by Zack Brown and "Hotel Key" by Old Dominion which has guitar parts that you pretty much need to create to fill out the arrangement, plus backing vocals (to sound good).

    When I joined I literally had never heard ~40 of the 45 songs that were on the list so it was a tall order.
    But, if your style is modern country then I'm sure you have heard and probably played a number of these songs.

    "I’ll never take a sub gig again where I haven’t played at least half the songs before. Been there, done that. Again, great learning experience...one I’d recommend musicians go through at least once or twice in their life. But very very stressful if you are trying to do the gig proper and respect the material, the other musicians and the audience."
    -- I absolutely agree. The only reason I took the original gig was because I knew the venues, I knew how long it would take me to play there (if ever), they were on my "bucket list" because they are each 5 minutes away and when I decided to move down I saw live music at both places and said: I would ****ing love to live here and play this venue.
    It was a huge challenge for me and 1 week out of the two I had to learn I was away from my guitar. Another factor was the "same-ness" of the material. There is a lot of formulaic progression and changes in this stuff, but the songs literally bleed into one another and it's super easy to forget what the **** you're playing!

    "Hurricane" and "Redneck Crazy" could be extrapolated / intermingled easily, same key, same chords, similar melody, similar lead lines...
    Oh, I would never use a cheat sheet or iPad live either... **** that!
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    27sauce likes this.
  18. Doctor of Rock and Roll

    Doctor of Rock and Roll Member

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    Yeah, I see what you are saying. It is a good opportunity to show you can master a lot of material and play it at a pro level so there is certainly networking value in doing it, plus you add new tunes to your knowledge base. I would hope the BL would keep whoever did that kind of work in line as first call sub for future gigs.
     
  19. wstsidela

    wstsidela Sedulous Gold Supporting Member

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    I have a steady casino gig playing R&B. Juan Nelson, my bass player, is going back on the road with Ben Harper this summer. Andrew Ford is subbing. Andrew has played with Whitney & Chaka Kahn among others. Killer player. Wonderful human being.

    We'll play three one-hour sets with no rehearsal. I'll send Andrew the set list. He'll show up and kill it.

    I have a long list of monster players for subs. Since it's a paying gig with food and hotel, real players aren't that hard to find.

    Although, there was a time, not too long ago, where I had to use Craig's List for players. I once hired a singer that advertised himself as a Steve Perry clone. He was 5' tall with a Steve Perry mullet wig. And most unforgivable - he had no timing. Did I mention the mullet wig? We still laugh about that one.
     
    Last edited: May 23, 2019
    MikeMcK likes this.
  20. Trevordog

    Trevordog Member

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    Yeah, the whole freakin' original band plus it's leader have passed away during their 39 year run.
     

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