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How do you communicate with a frontman?

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by T-bone Ted, Mar 14, 2018.

  1. T-bone Ted

    T-bone Ted TDPRI Member

    Feb 28, 2018
    Louisville, Ky
    Just asking this question for a friend btw.
    So this frontman can sing well and he writes good lyrics. On the other hand, he brings his girlfriend to every practice, will not sing any cover songs, shows up to gigs in pants that look like a family of three moved out of, rarely combs his hair, rarely ever hangs with other band members at any time (see gorlfriend), doesn't talk to audience much or try to engage them, plays multiple instruments but does not play any instrument at gigs and doesn't help with load-in or out.

    How does one approach a frontman and discuss these 'little things' without offending him? Frontman also tends to think he knows most everything.

    Please advise and I will take a seat and notes while you share.

  2. Mjark

    Mjark Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

    Feb 14, 2011
    Annapolis, MD
    Text him, "You're fired."
    OneHenry, Fiesta Red, Matt G and 32 others like this.

  3. muscmp

    muscmp Tele-Holic

    Jul 1, 2008
    since you said you wanted to communicate, do so. probably best with the other members of the band and in person. if that person doesn't agree, then you would need to start auditioning a new member to fill that slot.

    play music!

  4. Manual Slim

    Manual Slim Tele-Holic

    Mar 21, 2017
    He might benefit from feeling offended.
    Fiesta Red, Durtdog, Guran and 8 others like this.

  5. NJ Deadhead

    NJ Deadhead Tele-Meister

    Jan 25, 2017
    Greenville, SC
    Spot on. Life is too short to put up with that crap. I don't play in bands with a "frontman". For me, a band has to be greater than the sum of all its parts...everyone plays a big role in the sound, there is no room for anyone's bs.
    AAT65 and T-bone Ted like this.

  6. jondanger

    jondanger Friend of Leo's

    Jan 27, 2011
    Charm City, MD
    It sounds like there are some definite strengths. I would start with those. Whoever gets along with him best could have the conversation one on one so he doesn’t feel ganged up on.

    “Steve, we love the lyrics you write, and your voice is killer, but there are some things we need a little help with.”

    Prioritize the most important concerns. Don’t bring more bad stuff than good stuff. If the good stuff is that he sings well and the lyrics are solid, the concerns could be helping with load out and establishing stage clothes that work.

    Sounds like some of the other stuff is things your friend(s) themselves could do differently. I sing most of the songs usually but I hate talking to the audience. The bass player feels comfortable doing that so I let him talk to the audience while I tune/capo/whatever. Maybe there is another band member that could take over that responsibility.

    This situation seems workable if your friends can be flexible.
    Fiesta Red, MitchMiami, dswo and 5 others like this.

  7. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Friend of Leo's

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Where to start?????
    You say he writes good lyrics?...who writes the music?
    He brings girlfriend to practice? (Yoko?) Does she interfere? Does anyone else attend?
    No covers?...does he know Beatles and Stones played covers? Where are you guys playing that you don't do covers? Do you have four hours worth of originals? Are they THAT good?
    If he has the kind of attitude you imply, you can't say anything without offending.....that's the epitome of a "prima donna".....I would choose not to play with him.

  8. Jakedog

    Jakedog Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

    Mar 26, 2003
    The North Coast
    Talk to him straight up about it. You don't have to be confrontational, but be firm that things are points to be addressed.

    1. Make sure the rest of the band is on board, and present, or you'll look like a dick.

    2. Just because they say they're on board, doesn't mean they'll back you in the moment. Be prepared to look like a dick.

    3. Be honest with yourself. Are you bellyaching? Are these things you're prepared to leave the band over? If not, what purpose does bringing them up really serve?

    4. If they are that important to you (they would be to me) be prepared to walk if you get shut down over it.

    5. Sounds like he's got some growing up to do. If his lyrics and voice are really that great, it might be worth working on these issues with him, if he's willing to work. If he's not, well... no sense in beating your head against the wall.

    6. If it's really a "band", who's the leader? How do they feel about it?

    7. Be prepared to compromise and take these issues one step at a time. Don't expect a 180 overnight.
    Fiesta Red, Matt G, src9000 and 12 others like this.

  9. TheGoodTexan

    TheGoodTexan Doctor of Teleocity

    Apr 28, 2003
    Nashville, TN
    You just gave the very definition of a front man/lead singer. This is who they are. You won’t change him. Either put up with him, or fire him. The next front man will be similar.

    Frontman = primadonna
    Guitarist = show off
    Drummer = funny
    Keyboard = nerd
    Bass player = dumb
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2018
    Geo, DougF, joe_cpwe and 3 others like this.

  10. boris bubbanov

    boris bubbanov Telefied Ad Free Member

    To the O.P.:

    Honestly. Is he getting worse? Or are ya'll just getting sick of his schtick?


    Who is the audience there to see? Has he got a "name" which pulls people through the door, somehow? Or do the people who pay the bills (the audience) just have a pattern of going out and seeing whomever they can? You know, drinks and dancing and just being out of the house, meeting people etc.

    I was talking to an old buddy, last month and we got to talking about Jimmy's and other venues on or near Oak, and I asked him some questions about artists/bands we'd seen there. And he told me "Bubba, I just go out to places - I really don't care who is playing, as long as it is good." If we could find enough patrons like this, you could fire that Frontman in a second.
    Jakedog and T-bone Ted like this.

  11. T-bone Ted

    T-bone Ted TDPRI Member

    Feb 28, 2018
    Louisville, Ky
    It took over two years for the band to find vocals! The fear is that he will not be receptive to our concerns/issues. Hard to find a good vocalist. Not sure how long it would take and not sure how long the rest of band would remain in place?

  12. Manual Slim

    Manual Slim Tele-Holic

    Mar 21, 2017
    Four hours of originals? Good lawd, that's a tall order. Must be an all-nighter thing. Three to four bands on a bill with sets around 40-60 minutes is what I'm used to.
    kelnet likes this.

  13. T-bone Ted

    T-bone Ted TDPRI Member

    Feb 28, 2018
    Louisville, Ky
    Bingo, you nailed it...we are tired of his schtick! The band's original music is starting to get noticed. We play rhythm & blues and his voice is certainly part of the equation.
    boris bubbanov likes this.

  14. tfarny

    tfarny Tele-Afflicted

    Sep 4, 2008
    Hudson Valley, NY
    Yeah, you got good advice for trying to sensibly deal with the guy from Jakedog and others. Good singers and lyricists are pretty dang hard to find in my limited experience, so it might be a situation of put up with it or get out. Worth trying a little bit of an intervention though. I'd start with encouraging him to contribute on guitar a bit - tell him how much better a certain song would be with a second guitar part. Then he has to help with load ins (what an arse)!
    Some of those items you might have to live with, others gentle persuasion could work, others might be deal breakers.
    T-bone Ted likes this.

  15. Skully

    Skully Doctor of Teleocity

    Jun 12, 2003
    Glamorous NoHo
    A little lesson in band dynamics from former Wall of Voodoo frontman Andy Prieboy. [ADULT LANGUAGE WARNING]


  16. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    The music is starting to get noticed, so now is the time to suggest some ways to increase the amount of success the band might enjoy. Call for a band meeting to discuss these things, and give everyone a chance to comment on things that need improving.

    Bring up the look of the band. Do some people need to dress better? Do you have a unified presentation?
    Are you all good-looking guys but you fail to connect with the women in the audience? That's a presentation issue, and he has the main responsibility in that area
    The singer in my band has a habit of turning to face the guitarist or keyboardist when either of us is doing a solo. However, at our last gig, the female bar manager told him that he needs to face the audience at all times and smile at them more often. "You're all good looking guys, but you're all connecting with each other and not looking at the audience."
    Does your band feel that socializing together will help the music? Make that a point of conversation, and let the singer know that you'd like to see more of him.
    Discuss the distribution of tasks, and mention that sharing the load-in and load-out is part of why everyone gets an equal share of the money (assuming that there's money being made).

    If your singer can't see the value in making the band experience better for everyone, then he's not worth the trouble.

  17. PigBoy

    PigBoy Tele-Meister

    Mar 17, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    I write a message on a brick.
    basher, aerhed, Jimmy Owen and 2 others like this.

  18. kelnet

    kelnet Telefied Ad Free Member

    Apr 17, 2008
    Port Moody, BC
    What kind of vocal range does this singer have? Is that why he'll be hard to replace? You can still do good rhythm and blues without Wilson Pickett.
    T-bone Ted likes this.

  19. Dennyf

    Dennyf Tele-Holic

    Feb 9, 2011
    Charlotte, NC
    4' length of 2x4 is a good attention-getting device. Lead with that.
    Jimmy Owen likes this.

  20. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Holic Gold Supporter

    Jul 5, 2010
    West Michigan
    I know, off topic but four hours of originals? I'd need to be familiar with your catalogue to hang in there for that. Not a criticism, honest question. To the OP, you guys must do something right. I'd keep that in mind but still approach your problem.

    As to the second part of the quote...another honest question (or observation). What's the deal with bands only wanting to play a set? I notice a lot of gigs like this especially with younger players. Ours are all 3-4 set gigs. Personally, I don't want to drive somewhere, even with minimal gear, and play 8-10 songs. Just something that escapes me.
    nojazzhere likes this.

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