Sunday, April 15, 2012

Thinking about a new band... Thoughts?

Here's the gist of a ridiculous post I'm about to put up on the Washington, DC metro area Craigslist:
"Hello Washington DC area musicians...

I'm fairly new to the city, and don't know the scene that well, but I want to put together a new band. Here's the thing though... I have a bunch of things that I'd really like to do and because I don't know the scene here that well yet, I'd like to gauge people's skills & reactions. I'll tell you a little about myself and then if you're interested, read on.

About me: I work professionally as a video/media producer and a composer, and I have two music degrees - both in composition - from good schools. I haven't played regularly in a proper band in a couple years, so I will openly admit that I am out of practice. However, I did work professionally as a performer for several years in the midwest, as well as New York City, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon. I'm a trained percussionist, but primarily a jazz/pop vibraphone player and a drummer. I started playing in local punk & ska bands in High School, but I've played/run pop groups, funk bands and most notably, jazz quartets, and while living in Los Angeles, I spent a year coaching and managing show bands, pop-cover bands and other acts working on cruise ships around the world. I then worked in LA as a music editor and mixing engineer for a music software company.

So... I am, and have been, a professional musician for a while, so I hope that those who respond to this post are people who are comparably serious about music. However, here's where I'm going to lose all the good players in DC...

I'm not a career performer, and I've got no aspirations of getting a record deal or spending my life on stage. I want to create a band that is very good, but also one that is mostly for fun. Ideally we'd be seeking paid gigs, of course, but I'm nearly 30 and am building a good career making films and scoring them, so I've got no interest in doing 9 months of the year on the road. But I do want to play some music as well, but I don't want it to be some amateur hour garage band and I have a few different concepts that I'd like to get people's feedback on. So here's what I'm thinking about:
  1. Funk/pop project - covering a mixed range of classics from funk and R&B, soul, and rock, i.e. Booker T & the MGs, Stevie Wonder... even Red Hot Chili Peppers and modern soul Ideally the instrumentation would be drums (me), bass, guitar, organ, vocalist and a tenor saxophonist or potentially a small horn section. Reasonably high-energy, prepped stage show, etc. An example of something *like* this that I did a rehearsal for but never had time to really do in Los Angeles would be here: The Chicken (I'm playing drums... also disclaimer: this is a first-rehearsal recording, so I'd just met most of these guys and it's definitely not perfect).
  2. Rockabilly/Surf Rock project - Drums (me), (upright?) bass, rhythm/lead guitars, and organ/farfisa... Guitar or organ player as frontman, conceivably. This one I've wanted to do for a long time, and almost made it happen in LA but the one decent surf guitar guy I knew moved before we could make it work. I think this is pretty self-explanatory, but the twist is I'd like to re-do some pop songs with sort of a surf rock/rockabilly flair. Imagine Dick Dale or the Ventures playing Don't Stop Me Now by Queen.
  3. Jazz quartet - Vibraphone (me), bass, drums + preferably flute, but maybe trombone. I did this for about 3 years though, and while I do absolutely love playing vibraphone, this one is less interesting to me cause it's familiar territory. That said, my taste is more towards brazillian jazz (bossas & sambas), fusion, bluesy cool jazz & some bebop. One example: Manha de Carnival ...also, one of my compositions: Desolation
  4. Vibraphone/Guitar driven pop band - This one would be interesting. I played for a while in an alternative rock/funky jam band as a vibraphonist. Just four guys... Drums, bass, guitar & vibes. It was a really interesting sound and I think I'd have really enjoyed it if the other dudes weren't stoned all the time.

SO... DC Craigslist Musician Community!! Help me out here :)

Do you guys have any interest in these kinds of projects? Can the scene support a couple gigs a month for bands like the ones I am describing? Which seems the most intriguing? Would any professional caliber musicians be interested in getting together some Saturday or Sunday afternoon and renting out a rehearsal space and putting in a little sweat equity to get some gigs? This will be mostly for fun, but it could also be good.

If this helps, another upside is... again, I'm a professional media producer (which also includes photography) and I'm pretty competent with music post-production/recording (and know some incredibly talented LA-based composers & mastering engineers, etc.), so there is a potential of doing some higher quality recordings some of the material if it's good.

What say you all?


What say you all?

Anyone within my Facebook network who are locals have some heretofore underutilized music performance skills they'd like to come out of the closet about? My goal here is just to spend a few days a month doing this once it's something that I know can be good.

I'm not going to do anything that isn't good... Just sayin'.

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