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Old 05-03-2010, 01:51 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default One-man band/full band comparisons.

Hi there,

Just wondering how many out there may have had the experience of both playing in a full band but also doing the soloist thing.

Ok, I started off playing in bands way back at high school when all the guitar players eventually find each other and from that beginning various bands are started. In my case we had seven guys who all had guitars but only three of us could play well enough to start a band. We then realized we would need a drummer and bass. I ended getting a bass for my next birthday along with an old Marshall combo which I always had a problem with. The two big valves were mounted upside down and would fall out usually. I made a 'bra' on a spring to hold them in, worked fine.One of the guys who couldn't play guitar too well became the drummer and eventually ended up with Nick Kershaw and then All About Eve and later, Del Amitri.

After several versions of these school bands we got pretty good by the age of 18 and were playing local bars and pubs once a week or more sometimes. We were called Femme Fatale, (it was glam rock times...).

I then played bass in my dad's jazz band on and off for the next 20 years as well as having my own reggae band called Daktari and played in another one called Red Snapper. When I moved from Lancashire to the west coast of Scotland I soon met up with a lot of the local musicians but none of them were that into reggae which I was dead keen by that time. So, I started playing on my own in bars and restaurants, anywhere that would pay for some live music.

At this point I developed my own sound. I guess this came from one guy trying to play reggae music with one guitar and no backing tracks. After living in Scotland for nine years We then moved over to Georgia here in the States. By this time, technology had moved on and I discovered looping which is a great tool for the one man performer. Also, I use a Digitech harmoniser gadget which again, is good to give a solo set up a little more variation.

I have now been doing this for around eight years and more recently been getting into some home recording.

Ok, there is one side of me that really misses playing in a band, especially the jazz thing where all the musicians actually listen to each other and play off each other all the time. To get round this I join in on local jam sessions and that takes the place of being in a band.

What I love about the one man set up is the freedom to do whatever I like. I know from years of playing in bands that it's real hard to get a bunch of folks playing together without every practice session turning into a mass argument. There's always gonna be a compromise which is sometimes good but often not so good. Now I can be selfish and play whatever I feel like playing. This means I have a real odd-ball mixture of stuff. It varies from reggae, African, a little blues, some blue grass picking, even a few reggae Elvis songs...

Now, I'm pretty sure I would find it hard to be part of a band because I've got so used to making all the desicions, what to play, where to play, who to play to, etc,etc...

I'm loving it and I was hoping to hear from any others who may have gone through a similar experience.

Cheers, Gordon.
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Old 05-13-2010, 08:26 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Wow ! I thought there must be some musicians who check in here who may have played in loads of bands or even just one band then decided to have a go at the solo thing.

I was just after other folk's experience if anyone as tried this.

Anybody ? ? ?
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Old 05-13-2010, 06:54 PM   #3 (permalink)
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i'm on the verge but haven't taken the leap into solo land yet. i found the passive aggressive communication breakdowns of the 'band' situations i was part of in the past to be far too draining. there's only one other musician from my past that i'd still trust implicitly when it comes to playing together. all the others had other agendas and refused to act on them during the other 6 nights of the week and try to shoehorn it into what i wanted to do (yeah i was controlling, then again i was the only one who actually invested in gear...)

wait you were in RED SNAPPER?!?!?!! like these guys???

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Old 05-14-2010, 12:18 PM   #4 (permalink)
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No, that's a different Red Snapper. That Red Snapper formed in 1993 and were more London based. Our Red Snapper was based In the north part of England about seven years before that and we did more dub reggae stuff.

I still have my hat embroidered with the name.

I still play a lot of reggae nowadays in my solo set up. That's where the looper is a great tool. I do some live looping but most is pre-prepared and I can then sing and solo along to it.

I love the freedom of going alone. If I have an absolute crap night, at least I know it's just down to me and I can't blame anyone else.

Likewise, if I have a great night,(not had one of them for a while, ha,ha), again, it's just down to me and possibly the amount of alcohol consumed by the audience...

Good luck if you decide to go for it. By the way, I can recommend the Bose L1 set up for solo gigs. Unless you play in a huge room I have found it to be a great piece of sound equipment.

Gordon.
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Old 05-14-2010, 02:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Daktari View Post
No, that's a different Red Snapper. That Red Snapper formed in 1993 and were more London based. Our Red Snapper was based In the north part of England about seven years before that and we did more dub reggae stuff.

I still have my hat embroidered with the name.

I still play a lot of reggae nowadays in my solo set up. That's where the looper is a great tool. I do some live looping but most is pre-prepared and I can then sing and solo along to it.

I love the freedom of going alone. If I have an absolute crap night, at least I know it's just down to me and I can't blame anyone else.

Likewise, if I have a great night,(not had one of them for a while, ha,ha), again, it's just down to me and possibly the amount of alcohol consumed by the audience...

Good luck if you decide to go for it. By the way, I can recommend the Bose L1 set up for solo gigs. Unless you play in a huge room I have found it to be a great piece of sound equipment.

Gordon.
well, that settles that in regards to the bands hehe. does your RS have any clips online?

my old man and cousin have both owned one of those Bose setups, both loved it. myself i'm still on the fence in regards to samplers and loopers, i'm really not huge on performing for a bar crowd either. for me, going 'solo' would be more of a production oriented basement recording studio kind of thing.

speaking of loopers have you ever checked out dubfx? he's a street performer who specializes in looped music.
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Old 05-15-2010, 11:54 AM   #6 (permalink)
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If you haven't seen Keller Williams solo, DO IT. There are many videos of him on YouTube. He plays all of his own instruments and loops them to create amazing sounds and songs. Check it!
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