Your music scene and competition

Cedar

Platinum Supporting Member
Messages
1,711
Yeah, there used to be a joke in Asbury Park that if you tell a cop you're a local, they'll ask for a guitar pick. If you don't have one, you're from out of town.

The gigging scene here is said to be pretty unique. Story time: a couple of years ago I saw a desperate message from a friend. He got to his hired-gun gig in Asbury and realized that what he thought was a guitar gig was supposed to be him on bass. Within 15 minutes he had my bass in his hands, ready to soundcheck.

The guys who'd hired him were from down south somewhere, and when he told them what happened, they laughed and said, "Back home, that dude would show up and said, 'I'll take the gig' instead of 'here, use my bass'."

But everybody on the scene is very supportive of each other and it's more collegial than competitive. A bunch of these guys are touring pros and if you're on their sub lists you can gig a lot when they hit the road. Tomorrow I'm doing a tribute gig in PA, subbing for a guy I've never met... he's in Europe (Switzerland today) with his original band (Monster Magnet). The weird thing is I got the same call 3 years ago, and when I was booked recommended a buddy who did the same gig.

Saturday is a similar deal, but a local acoustic cover duo. When guys call the full-time "name" players, they don't just say, "No, sorry". They say, "No, but you should call this guy Mike... here's his number."
How do you just step in and know the material?
 

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
6,769
How do you just step in and know the material?
Depends on the gig... a lot of them are classic rock, which I grew up with. Sometimes they're songs you've heard but never played, or shifted to the singer's key. If you're on these recommendation lists there's an expectation that you can do it or, at worst, you won't do any damage. A couple of weeks ago, on a private duo with a "name" touring pro, he called "Into the Mystic" in Db. My buddy who hooked me up told me afterward that the guy does it all the time in Eb... he just wanted to make sure I could adjust if I needed to.

Sometimes they're "casuals", like country-club galas. A lot of those come out of the Real Book or these days, iReal Pro. In any case you usually get a setlist ahead of time. I also know my limitations... if someone needs a guy who knows tons of bro country and calls me, I decline and give them the number of a friend who does that stuff.

Something like tomorrow's tribute gig, it's one of a handful of good gigs (good pay, hotel, meals) so I spent some time shedding the song structures (Doors tribute, so the playing part is easy). And sometimes (like on Saturday) the guy might call some "deep cuts", so I'll chart them and keep them in my iPad library. I've done a few with this guy already, so I have charts for most of it.

And to be perfectly honest, sometimes you lay out and add fills or rhythm after you've heard the structure.

You also need to think like a thick-skinned pro. I'm a B- or C-lister, so some gigs only come when the A-listers can't do them. I was on a series of gigs like that when the bandleader apologetically told me that his first choice, Andy York, had become available to do the last one.

I told him I was more than happy to be anywhere on any list that said, "Andy York" on it. And that attitude, rather than bitching, is why I've had a few more of those since.
 
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MrTAteMyBalls

Member
Messages
4,694
It's rough. I have been searching for a band for 2 years after being in a band continually for nearly 25 years. Unless you want to play metal, covers, or traditional Bavarian folk music it is slim pickings. There aren't really any rock or alternative bands.

I had an audition earlier this year with a band that was so good. I worked my ass off for 2 weeks and completely nailed it at the audition....it came down to me and one other guy. It was a perfect fit for me and the way I play/sound. And they chose the other guy. I was and am still bummed out since that was the only real rock band I found here in 2 years.
 

sergiodeblanc

Member
Messages
4,706
It's rough. I have been searching for a band for 2 years after being in a band continually for nearly 25 years. Unless you want to play metal, covers, or traditional Bavarian folk music it is slim pickings. There aren't really any rock or alternative bands.

I had an audition earlier this year with a band that was so good. I worked my ass off for 2 weeks and completely nailed it at the audition....it came down to me and one other guy. It was a perfect fit for me and the way I play/sound. And they chose the other guy. I was and am still bummed out since that was the only real rock band I found here in 2 years.
The other guy had balls.
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,265
I'd personally rather focus on making unique, personal art that is inimitable and building a community of like-minded musicians that mutually support one another than seeing everyone else as 'competition'. My only competition is with myself. Doesn't mean I'm not inspired by other bands to raise the bar, but frankly I want the entire scene to succeed because then live music as a whole succeeds and we all benefit.

I can see how much scenes could be competitive if the music is based on tributes or technical skill alone though, where you can more objectively evaluate one against another apples-to-apples. I certainly felt more 'competitive' when I was more focused on being a jack-of-all-trades sideman ace than being an artist.

If I were young and gigging in bands, this is the route I would have went, creating something of my own. When I was gigging, I chose to do it as a semi-pro hobby and predominantly with cover bands. So many amazing artists like Dylan, Neil Young, The Clash, The Ramones...whatever...would have never made it in the note accurate tribute and cover scenes that dominate today. I think tech and American Idol (and the like) changed it all. YT gives you everything to go copy a song or an artist and do it by yourself whenever you want. Don't have to find other people and struggle through learning by ear or on-the-fly experiences. With these singing shows, it's a literal competition. Who looks the best and sounds the best in covering someone else's music. There's no way some of the bands we loved and had their own voice could break through in a big way with that type of environment. Music is on its way to being a craft and trade vs. an artform. As always, there are and will be plenty of exceptions. And...as always...YMMV.

For me, I like a nice mix of craft and art. Too much craft and there is no soul or anything compelling and new. Too much art and it's unlistenable poo.

Going forward for me, I'm 100% fine to no longer compete for public gigs. If I'm going to gig, it'll be house parties and block parties. Maybe sneak into a festival via connections. Couldn't imagine the bar or club circuit anymore at 52. I don't do this for a living though.
 
Messages
1,599
If I were young and gigging in bands, this is the route I would have went, creating something of my own. When I was gigging, I chose to do it as a semi-pro hobby and predominantly with cover bands. So many amazing artists like Dylan, Neil Young, The Clash, The Ramones...whatever...would have never made it in the note accurate tribute and cover scenes that dominate today. I think tech and American Idol (and the like) changed it all. YT gives you everything to go copy a song or an artist and do it by yourself whenever you want. Don't have to find other people and struggle through learning by ear or on-the-fly experiences. With these singing shows, it's a literal competition. Who looks the best and sounds the best in covering someone else's music. There's no way some of the bands we loved and had their own voice could break through in a big way with that type of environment. Music is on its way to being a craft and trade vs. an artform. As always, there are and will be plenty of exceptions. And...as always...YMMV.

For me, I like a nice mix of craft and art. Too much craft and there is no soul or anything compelling and new. Too much art and it's unlistenable poo.

Going forward for me, I'm 100% fine to no longer compete for public gigs. If I'm going to gig, it'll be house parties and block parties. Maybe sneak into a festival via connections. Couldn't imagine the bar or club circuit anymore at 52. I don't do this for a living though.
That's how I feel about the new Smile band's record, aside from a few good songs/moments. It just comes off as slightly pretentious in the artsy fartsy relm, don't get me wrong cuz I love Radiohead.
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,265
That's how I feel about the new Smile band's record, aside from a few good songs/moments. It just comes off as slightly pretentious in the artsy fartsy relm, don't get me wrong cuz I love Radiohead.

I had to look up Smile (the band). I didn't realize they're a subset of Radiohead. Who knew.

I love Radiohead up to OK Computer, then I lost them for a bit until In Rainbows...then I lost them again :)
 

mtmartin71

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
5,265
Right! In rainbows is my current fav record from them.

Not to derail this into a Radiohead thread, but 100%. Might be favorite. It's their most heartfelt and accessible for sure. Maybe it's timing. That album came out right after I got divorced...so there is that! ;)
 

john weires

Member
Messages
912
Here in Estes Park, Colorado the number of commercial venues to play at is very limited.
Unfortunately it's not a very music friendly town with essentially no night life after 9pm.
Fortunately we are plugged into the few bars that do want a rock band and so we get to play
2-3 times a month at various places and there is only one other band that we regularly compete with for the gigs. Full Throttle Saloon opened a location here and we played at their grand opening over Memorial Day weekend. Definitely a fun place to play. Good whiskey too!
 

sandcastle

Member
Messages
1,803
I wish I knew. Lockdown destroyed my musical network, and I have not been able to get involved since. Perhaps it's time to wind it down.
 

jbviper4

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
1,241
Our local "big bar" has recently dumped all of the regular dous, bands and cover acts in favor of new, younger and more talented bands in the past month.

Cool with me, as I'm on the sidelines and I'm tired of the SOS. And the others are following suit with newer acts and bands. They did it all of a sudden, and lo and behold, there are different faces and drinkers in the bar.

I like it
 

Ayns

Member
Messages
624
Here in the North East of England you can probably chose between 20-30 bands within a 15-20 mile radius on a weekend night. I've been playing Southern Rock/ Country Rock/ West Coast covers with my current band for 15+ years, and we're actually turning gigs down at the moment. Most of our gigs are repeats at regular venues that we've been playing for years plus the odd event that we get asked to play. Only problem is that the pay for the average bar gig is the same as it was 20-30 years ago. Seriously.

I've never viewed music as being competitive, and generally go out to support other local bands when I'm not playing.

On the other hand, the opportunities for original bands have dried up unless you're ;- under 30, promote the gig yourself, or are prepared to play for free.
 

Lucidology

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
27,887
Unfortunately ,.. Hobbyists have basically taken over with support from the çommunty ...
 

Dwag87

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
155
Springfield, MO here...

Pre-Covid, we had a pretty active scene of all kinds of music with quite a few venues willing to take a chance on a new band.

Covid hit, and a couple of the more open-minded venues closed. Now, there's really only one venue that let's all genres play, so they're always booked. It's tough, but we've had a decent turnout both times we've played there so hopefully we're making progress. It's a real bitch/chore getting venue owners or whoever does the booking to get back to me.

The other venue complex (3 seperate venues but you can access all three) got "saved". One turned into a karaoke bar, the other a DJ hall for the college kids, and the actual big venue is for all the Tik Tok rappers. If you want to play there, you have to sell tickets or cough up $300 and hope you make it back. The new owners really rub me the wrong way and come across like everyone should bow down that they saved the place. I completely get it from a business perspective, getting the acts they do, but it sucks because it used to be a cool place to hang out. But what's popular is always changing.

We are lucky enough to have a handful of people that have been putting on a weekend festival around Labor Day for the last 5 years. It's had mild success but it's out of town and hard to get people to travel to see local bands they've never heard of.

There's no real competition but the "good" bands definitely get all the big event gigs. There's no way of hearing about these events before they're established. I'll admit that a couple of them are actually good while the others just have good connections. I'd rather someone just tell me my band isn't a good fit.
 
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Wyatt Martin

Member
Messages
3,830
On the road to recovery and back to normal there are a few bands in my area playing for free just to get back in the clubs/bars. With $5 gas I can't do that now more than ever. No matter which direction I go when I leave my house I have no less than a 100-mile round trip just to play a gig.

I can't even justify the 80-mile round trip just to go to band practice right now. Haven't practiced with the band since mid-April and unless they book another gig I still won't be practicing with them.... This is what the "freebie bands" are doing to us just wanting to make enough to cover the fuel right now.
 

MothAttack

Member
Messages
966
Yes, it is a competition. It doesn’t have to be nasty but it is a competition.

I’m just amazed at the number of local and regional bands that are out working. I’m also amazed at the quality of so many of these bands. I think the talent levels of the musicians is a very high.

I don’t go to bars anymore so maybe that’s distorting my perception but the summer outdoor concert bands I’m seeing are really very good.

How would you describe the music scene in your area?

I’m in Ohio
Dont have to worry about competition around here. It’s scarcity of players who don’t want to play for the farmers markets and wine and cheese tasting rooms, that you have to contend with. The. There’s the motivation if you get lucky and find good players outside of PDX.
 




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