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#159079 - 01/29/07 06:15 AM Moving away from band work...
Bill in Dayton Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 2202
Loc: Dayton, OH USA
Gang-

This thread is certainly related to the other discussing "Playing arranger with other instrumentalists". I didn't want to hijack MarcK's thread so here's a slightly different twist on the same general issue.

I formed a quartet back in 1998 that has worked almost every weekend, sometimes more up until recent times. Its a good band, our crowds are large, we keep our dance floor filled and have had a lot of fun.

When I bought my first arranger (Tyros) in 2004, it quickly became apparent to me that I now had maximum control over my music. Not to suggest that it was out of control before this time, but in the context of now comparing my solo arranger gigs to the band gigs, the difference was obvious.

The guys in the band have always been cooperative, but we're not really friends. So, its been more of a casual business relationship. They have been loyal without question to me. Each brings certain plusses and minuses to the band, but at the end of the day, its worked out really well.

Several years ago, the State of Ohio changed how animal clubs can sell tickets and hold drawings. The State now takes a massive cut of these monies, which the clubs had often paid for entertainment with every week. Since thise change, the call for bands has declined dramatically. Clubs that used to have dances every FRI/SAT nights are now down to once a week, some are down to once every other week, a few are having monthly dances...Sadly, roughly a dozen clubs in the Dayton area have had to close due to the lack of sufficiant revenues.

Entertainment budgets are usually the first place to cut expenses. DJ' became more common very quickly around town and truth be told my solo business went through the roof. I easily increased my annual gigs by upwards of 18-22% or so.

So....the band is working less and less, while my schedule is filled. Because the band performs less often, when we do, there are more errors occuring. The other guys will not rehearse...and frankly, I'm not that interested in it either. I should say of the four of us, I am the only one who does this for my living.

I'm leaning heavily towards having this be the last formal year for the band. Area clubs, for the most part won't even discuss booking bands with you any more. They want to stay around $250-$300 a night max. Two of the guys seem to resent my solo work...they want things to be as they where before I began using an arranger and how things were before the State changed the rules...

Sometimes I can book duos, and I'll usually use my sax player on those, though recently I've begun to incorporate a really talented pedal steel player, which has worked out terrific.

Kind of sad...But part of a successful business is the ability to adapt to changing market conditions. Right now, the market has moved away from bands in general...and there's just not much I can do about that. I think a couple of the guys feel a bit betrayed, but again...I'm running a business to support my family and there's just no way I'll turn down solo work to sit home with the rest of the band.

Musically, while its nto the same dynamic of interacting with 3 other musicians on stage, I think in many ways, it IS better. Intonation isn't a problem, nobody's pouting because they had to drive 45 minutes to get to the gig, nobody has the wrong shirt on, no one is insensitive to anybody on stage, no one complains about the money, no body critisizes the song I call up, etc., etc., etc...

So, being an arranger player has definately had a huge impact on my band situation.

Anyone else have a similar experience juggling bands and arrangers?

Bill in Dayton

[This message has been edited by Bill in Dayton (edited 01-29-2007).]
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Bill in Dayton

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#159080 - 01/29/07 06:19 AM Re: Moving away from band work...
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 43703
After 21 yrs we dissolved our 7pc band.... been SOLO the last 16 yrs never looked back......best move I ever made for SO many reasons!!!.....move on & enjoy!!
Mix it up as a OMB....Play live Arranger...go out and sing solo in the audience with a wireless mic, DJ a bit for big dance gigs,Play live & sing to SMF/Mp3 backing tracks....use all the tools available to always make you STILL sound like a Bigger band....that's the trick.....think BIG BAND but.....Play OMB
Good Luck



[This message has been edited by Dnj (edited 01-29-2007).]

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#159081 - 01/29/07 06:25 AM Re: Moving away from band work...
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 43703
Your making the right move
You POCKET will thank you Big Time $$$$
Next, start booking & playing all the old band gigs & venues as a solo....


[This message has been edited by Dnj (edited 01-29-2007).]

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#159082 - 01/29/07 06:25 AM Re: Moving away from band work...
ianmcnll Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/27/05
Posts: 10606
Loc: Cape Breton Island, Canada
Like Donny, I made the changeover several years ago.

It has greatly simplified my musical(and personal) life, and I have never regretted making the move.

Ian

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Remember to leave good news alone.
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Yamaha Tyros4, Yamaha MS-60S Powered Monitors(2), Yamaha CS-01, Yamaha TQ-5, Yamaha PSR-S775.

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#159083 - 01/29/07 06:31 AM Re: Moving away from band work...
Chris Valenti Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 123
Loc: Florida
Hi Bill,

I have played in bands in the past. I still do some band work now. However, I mainly work as a single or duo if the job calls for that. I sing as well so that helps alot. Don't care what others think about how you work. It's art and commerce. I haven't seen any cart and buggy's around latley.

Chris

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#159084 - 01/29/07 06:42 AM Re: Moving away from band work...
Bill in Dayton Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/23/04
Posts: 2202
Loc: Dayton, OH USA
"Next, start booking & playing all the old band
gigs & venues as a solo..."

I've already been slowly transitioning most of the band accounts to OMB or sometimes duos.

Example: An Eagles an hour away from us used to have the band every month, for about six years steady. Crowds were HUGE here...upwards of 400+ people nightly. From this account, two other clubs saw us and booked the band there as well. Well, a year ago, the Eagles came to us and said they weren't making enough money. (Our crowds aren't big drinkers...) and asked us if we could drop our price by $100 if they knocked it down to a 3 instead of a 4 hour gig. I was ok with that...as was my sax guy. The bass guy and drummer said no...I cautioned them that once the other clients we had in this audience heard my duo, they might drop using the band at those higher paying gigs. They still said no.

Guess what? The two other clients couldn't believe how good the duo was, dropped the band right away and gave all the gigs to the duo. So, in about 90 days time, the band lost 24 annual bookings which became duos. (Which meant a hefty increase in pay for yours truly.)

So when these same two guys who walked away, now bitch about fewer and fewer gigs...I ask them what did they think was goin to happen? They looked at my OMB as a nice novelty act and didn't ever dream it could replace them.

Sometimes guys just aren't thinking...

Bill
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Bill in Dayton

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#159085 - 01/29/07 06:51 AM Re: Moving away from band work...
travlin'easy Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 12/08/02
Posts: 15563
Loc: Forest Hill, MD USA
I believe this will be the trend in the very near future. In my case we had three guitar players (lead, bass and rythm), a drummer and a great fiddle player. I owned the PA and lights, did the setup and tear-down by myself, booked all the jobs, did most of the singing and took care of the business end of things.

The members of our group reluctantly came to rehersals, and one just never showed up for practice more than once or twice a year. Sometimes, he didn't show up for the job, and if he did he was always late.

Everyone got the same slice of the money pie, even the guitar player that came late. The big change came when I purchased that PSR-500 and did my first solo job. At that point I realized that I could make a living in the OMB entertainment biz as opposed to picking up pocket change as a member of a 5-piece country band.

We had lots of fun over the years, but like Donny, once I switched to a solo entertainer I never looked back.

Good Luck Bill,

Gary

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Travlin' Easy
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PSR-S950, TC Helicon Harmony-M, Digitech VR, Samson Q7, Sennheiser E855, Custom Console, and lots of other silly stuff!

K+E=W (Knowledge Plus Experience = Wisdom.)

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#159086 - 01/29/07 06:54 AM Re: Moving away from band work...
SemiLiveMusic Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/28/04
Posts: 2204
Loc: Louisiana, USA
Interesting insight in your thread. Live bands are slowly dying. I find that quite sad. If I had a choice between watching a good live band versus a good OMB, it's band any day of the week, I don't care how good the OMB is. And hey, I play OMB, too! For bands, it will only get worse.

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Bill
smallGig.com
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As a songwriter, I need feedback on songs posted! Thanks!
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Bill

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#159087 - 01/29/07 07:04 AM Re: Moving away from band work...
captain Russ Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/02/04
Posts: 7288
Loc: Lexington, Ky, USA
You're right...the busines has changed dramatically. For me, even though I use an arranager when necessary, it's still all about making music with other players. that interaction is irreplacable. I take less money to add a player or two.

Luckily, around here, horse farms and other places still have what I call "society" events, where bands are used and pay will.

Right now, I'm still going to play as many group jobs as possible, although, as we talked elsewhere, most are arranger, plus a sax/flute/percussionist and a guitar.

Believce it or not, but I'm starting some jobs with another keyboard player. We switch on real vibes...what a delight!


Russ

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#159088 - 01/29/07 07:09 AM Re: Moving away from band work...
Dnj Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 43703
Bands still have their place in music its just that the venues are changing for them....Bigger clubs, concert & touring shows, big Tourist destinations, Cruise ships etc, etc, ......but for the every day bread basket venues work is dwindling down very fast, just look around you!....especially if you want to make a living FULL TIME at it VS being a weekend warrior..like any business for see the future and make changes accordingly no matter what the price as long as you maintain YOUR happiness....be lazy & your down for the count simple as that, but dont worry theres always a job waiting for you at McDonalds ...time & longevity will always prevail.....follow the lead of the successfull ones & give it your all & you 'll be ok !

I just want to add...that's when You come from years of "PLAYING IN A BAND STOCK" this is the secret that will make you a VERY successful Arranger player......because in reality you still have to create & most importantly THINK like a bigger band sound when you are playing as a OMB.



[This message has been edited by Dnj (edited 01-29-2007).]

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