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FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / How do you tell a bandmate he shouldn't be singing so many songs.

BbendFender
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American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Jul 16th, 2019 07:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

Our drummer sings harmony parts well but his lead singing is marginal at best. He is constantly emailing us songs that he wants to us to learn.
He currently has 11 songs he likes to do. We play only 4-5 times a year and we have 4 other great lead singers who do most of the work. We play for about 3 hrs. at most and we play for free most of the time. I don't want to hurt his feelings but that would happen if we ever approached him about singing so many songs. It takes away from the other singers and it hurts the band sound when he sings. He's like me that he doesn't have a good singing voice and he has trouble staying in tune.
What in the world do you do?

littleuch
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Florida

Itchy finger on the outrage trigger
Jul 16th, 2019 07:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

The one thing I really like about autotune in the recording process is its ability to demonstrate in graphics mode just how off pitch a vocal is. In a collaborative way, I can say "dude, look how sharp you are on that note". It always amazes me how some musicians just can't hear it, can't feel it. Or they make excuses about "their style". Bull hockey, sliding into a note is one thing, missing it all together is just bad performance.

How this translates to your situation I don't know. Record his vocal and see how he reacts to it. Next step would be to point out all the flaws. Next step would be to just say no, you can't sing lead. Then, replace him.

Or live with it if the musical camaraderie is more important than the output.

mroulier
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Suburban MD.

You DESERVE an Ibanez Iceman!
Jul 17th, 2019 06:56 AM   Edit   Profile  

The easy thing I would do is tell him he can keep the ones he has, but any new songs he wants to sing require him to cut his OWN songs.

If you want to reduce his songs, blame the crowd:
"I've heard from friends that have seen us that they like it better when XX or XY sings..." OR
"XX has more energy; they get the crowd involved since they're not nailed down to a drum set..."

It's sorta the same thing when a lead player isn't getting his solos and the other guy can play them.
"For the good of the band" parts need to get re-divvied up sometimes.

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 17th, 2019 07:10 AM   Edit   Profile  

Record the performances and have him listen to them.

This works for me because when I'm singing, it sounds to me like I'm on pitch. The problem is I'm not much of a singer: I listen back on my stuff and it's painful to listen to. Why would I torture an audience with that stuff?

But, like your drummer, I'm much better doing harmonies. For whatever reason, I can stay o pitch there.

Rick Knight
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St Peters, MO USA

Busy doing something close to nothing
Jul 17th, 2019 07:19 AM   Edit   Profile  

Edited because while I was trying to figure out how to say what I wanted, mroulier said it better.

If he's singing 11 songs in a 3 hour gig, he already has a disproportionate share, so drop one to add one seems very reasonable. Perhaps you could influence which one(s) get dropped.

(This message was last edited by Rick Knight at 12:56 PM, Jul 17th, 2019)

Leftee
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VA

The Escalator
Jul 17th, 2019 08:22 AM   Edit   Profile  

Ditto the recording idea. It was decades ago when we recorded our band practice that I learned I’m not one of those who should drink beer and play guitar. My beer goggles where firmly over my ears. It wasn’t a good look but it was a worse sound.

BbendFender
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American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Jul 17th, 2019 11:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

One of the guys recently recorded us at our last gig. I haven't heard it yet but will get the CD this weekend. I hope our drummer hears it. Problem is, he is the deafest one in the band and he may not be able to hear how he sounds.
It's not like we are big time but we are popular around this area. We are just a bunch of old guys who decided to reunite and play some. Age ranges from 70 down to about 62.
Myself and another bandmate have talked about this very thing and we just don't know what to do. I do think that substituting a new one for an older song might work. Oh, another thing, this guys voice doesn't carry and that makes it even worse.
I'll see what happens this weekend.

Peegoo
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If irritation occurs

discontinue use.
Jul 17th, 2019 11:23 AM   Edit   Profile  

Good luck. Constructive criticism can be difficult to take for some people. I hope your drummer is simply unaware of the issue.

tahitijack
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San Clemente, CA

Happy Sunsets, tahitijack
Jul 17th, 2019 12:43 PM   Edit   Profile  

You should read Don Felder's book. Really good advice throughout it. Hehehe

Laker
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Forgive your enemies

but never forget their names
Jul 17th, 2019 01:24 PM   Edit   Profile  

I once worked with a drummer who was kind of a “ham” when given the chance to talk on a mic so we tried to limit the amount of opportunities he had to do that. We told him we needed him to concentrate on laying down some good, solid drum parts that would require him concentrating on delivering that to the show. It worked for a bit but he eventually quit the band.

I think that, whatever you do, you will probably be faced with that inevitable outcome.

Mick Reid
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jul 17th, 2019 04:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

I could see the recording idea backfiring really easily.

scene:
You play the recording for him. He sits there listening with a grin on his face thinking, "Jeez, I sound *great*!!!"

It's a tough situation, and unfortunately I don't have any good advice. Delivering the truth is never easy for either side.


Leftee
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VA

The Escalator
Jul 18th, 2019 10:02 AM   Edit   Profile  

Turn his vocal monitor way up and turn his mic way way down.

gdw3

LA-la-land, CA

Insert clever comment here
Jul 18th, 2019 03:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

I think the recording is a good idea. If he says it sounds great, you say, "No. No it doesn't." But in lieu of that, I also like the idea of removing a song from the list if he wants to add one. ESPECIALLY since you have other lead singers.

No one wants to hear that what they're doing is not good enough. Maybe offer to help him improve his singing. But you definitely run the risk of him being dissatisfied with just playing drums. But that's the reality of it. Either YOU or HE are going to be dissatisfied. So, who do you choose? If everyone in the band agrees, then it seems pretty obvious. But if it breaks the band apart, and you're playing for free anyway, is it worth it?


Rick Knight
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St Peters, MO USA

Busy doing something close to nothing
Jul 18th, 2019 06:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

"It's not that you're a bad singer, you just happen to be in a band with 4 better singers, so we need to distribute things accordingly."

Mick Reid
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Australia

American-made in Oz!!
Jul 22nd, 2019 04:59 AM   Edit   Profile  

That's a pretty good tact RK.
Could be just the right approach. Good on ya!


BbendFender
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American Patriot

About as ordinary as you can get.
Jul 22nd, 2019 06:21 AM   Edit   Profile  

Well the gig went a little better than I expected. Our "greedy" singer did sub some new songs in the place of his older songs. I think he did only 4 songs all night. Made me feel better about that.

FDP Forum / Performer's Corner / How do you tell a bandmate he shouldn't be singing so many songs.




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