Grateful Dead Music Forum

A place to talk about the music of the Grateful Dead 

When it doesn't fit anywhere else
 #139753  by flyingheelhook
 Tue Jun 10, 2014 7:36 am
Does anyone have any useful tips/strategies for successfully forming/storming/norming groups of disparate individuals into cohesive functioning bands? I am sure we all have horror stories but I am more interested in success stories. Seems certain responsibilities always fall on some shoulders while other people 'show up'. How do you motivate people to actively communicate and contribute outside of the actual music? Thoughts?
 #139756  by hippieguy1954
 Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:36 am
Oh this is a good one! Pandoras box eh? Well, unless you've been playin with the same folks for many years, it's a bitch!

A lot depends on age range too. A totally different thread.

Anyways, If you are talking ages between lets say 40's to 60's, then there is always someone who can't make it/show up for various reasons such as family commitments, unforeseen or forgotten plans, the grass that didn't get cut last week etc, etc. With 5 players, someone will not be able to show and then next time it could be a different player that can't make it. This can go on for weeks.
The only way around it is to find people who will consider the band right up there with family and that ain't easy to find. I haven't been able to find that.

So with that said, the way I do it is I always tell all my band members and other jam buddies that "if this isn't fun, then forget it".
There can't be any pressure or stress involved. It totally takes away from the music.
What has happened with this/my approach is that we get together on average about once every 3 weeks. Everyone is relaxed and very into it because they don't feel rushed, stressed or pressured and they are more prepared as a result. This all results in a great rehearsal/jam session that we continue to look forward to. That is what matters most!
 #139757  by strumminsix
 Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:47 am
Successful teams are successful teams be it bands or otherwise:
1) common goals
2) leader who serves
3) all participants are vocal and invested
4) reassess goals, direction, and commitment

Doing that varies by individual!
 #139758  by cripeowner
 Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:03 am
I have as close to a cohesive group as possible. Each one has there own job in the band that they are good at. One has the house we practice two work on vocal harmonies others work on music. I find when one falls behind we try to bring them up if they continue to falter you leave so much room in the music that they are left to hang out to dry. This way they see for themselves they need work. Because we all care about the music they or (me) usually dig deep and get to work.
 #139759  by aiq
 Tue Jun 10, 2014 12:48 pm
I have led my trio for the last several years.

Be a benevolent dictator. Basically listen to everyone but have last refusal.

Form the artistic vision and stick to your guns.

Lead by example as in insist on good effort and commitment but make sure you are practicing, etc.

Give someone time to grow into the thing but don't suffer a problem too long. As Betts says its a shame when someone is trying but not fitting. Cruel to be kind. At my age I don't have years and years to wait for something to gel that may never gel.

Be loyal to those who are loyal to you.

If it is not enjoyable make a change.

Remember the two universal band rules:
1. As time goes on there will be personnel changes.
2. One day, this band will break up.

Lots of stuff on the evil innerwebz., too.
 #139760  by James-T
 Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:11 pm
Lead by example - like by being positive, solution driven (no problems just solutions)

Expect personal changes - shit does happen

Not every player will be available for every gig (as folks age)
..... all things said that I agree to.

most importantly for me at least - learned from Weir on the Dead's longevity - have a good sense of humour. Laughter ignites smiles which just makes everything that much more fun.

Smile on stage...that's something that can't be taught but makes a big difference to bandmates and the audience.

People pick up on body language, and I find with music and musicians - its like a team sport without a lot of talking, but you can still communicate.

Look to learn from everyone around you. The guys/ gals you least expect to have something important to say can always surprise you with new and important knowledge.

Music is a gift - treat it like one. It will be good to you. Appreciate it and treat it well. It might not be there tomorrow for you.


 #139762  by Charlie
 Tue Jun 10, 2014 3:31 pm
If you are putting the band together you need to be clear about what the band's goals are from the start and try and find people who identify with those goals, are committed and whose musicianship is of the appropriate standard.

Be very careful about getting friends into the band unless you are absolutely sure of their musicianship skills. If six months down the track it becomes apparent that they can't cut it you may have to fire them (sometimes this will be an ultimatum to the band leader from the rest of the band members). In the past I have lost friendships over this.

Ensure that all band members understand how funds will be distributed from the start. If for example the band decides to put gig money into a recording but one band member insists on being paid fully on the night, this will create tension in the band.

If you are using professional players, the best way to keep the band together is to keep it in work, which means that you, your manager or someone in the band has to be good at hustling for gigs.