Cover band issue, bassist wants to speed up the tempos...

Discussion in 'The Sound Hound Lounge' started by 67blackcherry, Jun 11, 2019.

OK to speed up the tempo?

  1. Yes

    19 vote(s)
    21.8%
  2. No

    68 vote(s)
    78.2%
  1. 67blackcherry

    67blackcherry Supporting Member

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    Love him to death, he’s a great guy and really puts 110% into the band; however...

    We’ve been playing together 9yrs+, he’s got a degree in Musical Theatre and directs musicals...and he keeps going on about speeding up the songs and even shortening them.
    We’re in a cover band, you want to cut a 3min song? It’s not like I’m taking Freebird-Type solos or anything.

    I tell him it’s all about the groove and if other bands are speeding up songs (as he says they do) it’s because their drummers suck and play too fast. One of my fav Steven Tyler quotes is “and because we’re white, we have a natural tendency to speed things up and play too fast...”.

    I’ve started Hit Me With Your Best Shot too fast a few times (see above...I’m white, it happens) and it just wrecks the groove. If it’s of any consequence, I listen to a lot of funk and he doesn’t.

    What say ye, TGP?
     
    aynirar27, strat62 and Badtone like this.
  2. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    The bass player has arrangement ideas? Unlikely...
     
  3. Gasp100

    Gasp100 Supporting Member

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    Ask the drummer.
    Heightened stress (good or bad) and excess energy in a live show often time pushes tempos forward. It can also make "proper" tempos feel like they are really dragging.
    You should be able to sense the crowd and the vibe to be able to easily cue each other if tempos are a bit off.
    But, you really need to have a trustworthy time/tempo keeper.
    I used to gig with a killer drummer and I recall trying to cue him to speed up a tune once, he basically shook his head no and in between songs said "I'm the time keeper buddy"... he was probably right and I was just tense, in the moment.
     
  4. Bluesful

    Bluesful Supporting Member

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    I thought it is normally the drummer suggesting that.
     
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  5. 67blackcherry

    67blackcherry Supporting Member

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    I should add, I’ve known and have played with the drummer on and off for 30yrs...he’s a machine, always plays the right tempo, never waivers, solid as a rock.

    Also sings like an angel, great harmonies, and is a joy to be around.
    Yeah, I’m blessed.
     
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  6. michael.e

    michael.e Supporting Member

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    Maybe he/bass can modulate up a full step the last 3rd of the vocals as well.....

    If you are already playing them at tempo, leave it.
     
    FFOGG likes this.
  7. rocknrollshakeup

    rocknrollshakeup Member

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    Have you guys recorded these songs during rehearsal playing them at normal tempo and then at the faster tempo he recommends?
    The band can then vote which version they want to go with.
     
  8. eclecticsynergy

    eclecticsynergy Member

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    Traditionally it's the bassist's job to prevent the drummer from rushing.
    It's his primary responsibility as part of the rhythm section to keep the tempos in line.
    Often crucial to grooves.
     
  9. 2HBStrat

    2HBStrat Member

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    The bass players job is to get his bass out of hock and get his mom to drive him to the gig...
     
  10. doc

    doc Member

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    I'd ask the drummer what he thinks, and get his thoughts on discussing it with the bassist.
     
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  11. gtrdave

    gtrdave Member

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    That's the problem. Tell him that he can only put in 100% and I think your tempo issue will work itself out.
     
  12. rumbletone

    rumbletone Silver Supporting Member

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    Elect a musical director from your existing members and do what they say. If you don’t like them, fire them from that role and pick someone else. If none of you is capable of fulfilling the MD role to the satisfaction of the others, find someone who is.

    For an original band where there is more than one songwriter, agreement by committee can be a necessity. But for a cover band ... my experience is that having a musical director who can dictate setlist, key, arrangement, tempo, etc is almost always the best approach. Though I’ve been in some bands where it’s somewhat shared - e.g. one player MDs some songs/gigs/set lists - but for any given scope they dictate it so there is no endless conversation/debate and no one gets bu**hurt because they are losing the debates (since there is no debate - the MD dictates).
     
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  13. buddaman71

    buddaman71 Student of Life Silver Supporting Member

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    I don’t mind pushing the tempos a tiny bit live; that’s natural. Some players just go bonkers tho, and it sounds ridiculous.

    Record the tunes and listen back. It’s often shocking to some players that it sounds faster in playback that it felt onstage.

    I’ve actually had a couple guys accuse me of speeding up the recording. Nope.

    Always record live shows occasionally, even if just using smartphone memo recorder.
     
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  14. stratotastic

    stratotastic Member

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    Thanks for reminding me how much I don't miss the days of playing with hacks with stupid ideas.
     
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  15. StompBoxBlues

    StompBoxBlues Member

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    I'd have to hear the song.
    If it is unnaturally speeded up that is one thing (manic like).
    But if it grooves and is at faster tempo than original...great!

    It's a choice. A good number of the old bands used to play their hit songs faster, slower, or at the same tempo. They'd play them like the record, different from the record, etc.

    But if it is a taste thing, if you or several really LOVE the original tempo, and he wants to speed it up, say so.

    I had a song I've been wanting to do forever, got the band to try it and it was great, at the right (original tempo). One person in the band posted a youtube link to the original band playing live with a much peppier and faster version. To me, it lost all the great charm I heard in the original.

    But other songs, we've done them faster (accidentally a few times, in the heat of the moment at a gig) where it was really good!

    OTOH, one gig we started into "Done Somebody Wrong" (ABB version) and I think it was more than double normal time...I've never rushed the slide parts in my life before that...it was even hard to sing it. I'm not sure what happened there. It was pretty funny, but not good.

    Ever since then we have nailed the best tempo (much slower).
     
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  16. standard24

    standard24 Member

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    This sounds like a reasonable suggestion... Record the gigs, (and showing the dance floor and response of the girls...) The girls are the ones you want to please. If you've got the dancers smiling and gyrating, then that's a good sign. Maybe some songs could be altered and others not.
     
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  17. Funky54

    Funky54 Member

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    Go by the dance floor. Try a song or two his way to see what the reaction is. It’s really a group decision in my opinion. But the drummer and bass together need to work that out.
     
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  18. Funky54

    Funky54 Member

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    Funny true story. I kinda new a guy, I did some repairs on his vintage guitar cabinet. He shows up at a little gig, after a break, he comes over and hands us a speeding ticket for our playing. Didn’t know his day gig. It was funny though and we deserved the ticket
     
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  19. Bankston

    Bankston Supporting Member

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    What's his reasoning for speeding up the tempos?

    If it's to get or keep people on the dance floor, then the better option is to cut out dead air between songs. You don't have to turn songs into a medley either. Just hang on the last chord of a song and kick into the next one.
     
    Tony likes this.
  20. T Dizz

    T Dizz Member

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    Not to mention, the singer has to speed up the lyrics, the solo is gonna be rushed.. Its gonna sound bad.
     
    67blackcherry likes this.

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