Learning more songs @ 80% or fewer at 95%

danondrums

Well-known member
2 of my 3 bands are like this...everything is planned out and runs the same. My OCD loves this way of doing it. I am never uncomfortable in those gigs and can give 100% to each song...we even plan audibles for if time gets cut short, or the rare, rare occasion where we get to do an encore...we even go so far as to visit the club before hand to plan where load in, set up, storage, parking etc are if we can. Given what i do at my job, I am a logistics and "crowd control" kind of guy...I want everything to run as smooth as possible

My other band knows about 120 songs, and never runs with a set list...the leader just calls em out. I am always super stressed about those gigs...BUT...they are teaching me to be adaptable, and the test of keeping on my toes is awesome.
I’m with you 100% on this. There’s a reason why pro gigs have set lists and the group plays the same set/songs for 200+ nights in a year. Everyone plays better like this.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
i have gotten used to it now, but the first 6 months of gigging was nuts...it also didn't help - in that time frame - that I was brand new at learning half of those songs, and brand new at playing the genre old school country/jump blues etc) and was not at all familiar with 90% of the artists we were doing
Don't get me wrong, if its a "build-a-band" thing, a group thrown together to cover a gig, or something fun like that, I'm cool with throwing them out, and making a night of it. Like you said, so long as I know the songs, or have a chance at knowing the songs. Done that often, and it can be fun, and laid back. In my regular groups, I'd far prefer knowing the order and trying to keep the pace up, and things as professional as possible.
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
There are two songs I specifically played at a slower rate while I was getting the rhythms down and programming the muscle memory: 1) Don't Stop Believin' by Journey (played open handed), and 2) Ain't Nobody by Rufus & Chaka Khan (dang you J.R. Robinson!)

I actually recorded the songs onto a tape deck that has a variable play back feature and slowed it down that way. Audacity and other programs can do the same thing but sometimes you get the electronic echo artifacts and it makes it difficult to tell what's going on, especially when the drums aren't that pronounced in the recording to begin with.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
I’m with you 100% on this. There’s a reason why pro gigs have set lists and the group plays the same set/songs for 200+ nights in a year. Everyone plays better like this.
I played a show with Man-O-War like 20 years ago. While they were performing, I manned the merch table. They had a girl at their merch table who knew their show 100%. She named every song that was next, and reiterated their between song talking verbatim BEFORE they would say it. She said everything is planned out, there is no deviation in their show whatsoever. Their performance was phenomenal because of this.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I played a show with Man-O-War like 20 years ago. While they were performing, I manned the merch table. They had a girl at their merch table who knew their show 100%. She named every song that was next, and reiterated their between song talking verbatim BEFORE they would say it. She said everything is planned out, there is no deviation in their show whatsoever. Their performance was phenomenal because of this.
the only thing we don't plan is the banter between songs. That is always reactive to the crowd at individual shows...
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
95% for sure.

In decades of gigs, I can’t recall a single time that another musician complained that I played the song *too much* like the original.

The key is to realize when the beat or fill or hi-hat lift or whatever is responding to something in the music. When you understand the *why*, the memorization part is much easier, and you don’t waste time memorizing a ton of random fills and beats.
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
I played a show with Man-O-War like 20 years ago. While they were performing, I manned the merch table. They had a girl at their merch table who knew their show 100%. She named every song that was next, and reiterated their between song talking verbatim BEFORE they would say it. She said everything is planned out, there is no deviation in their show whatsoever. Their performance was phenomenal because of this.
Manowar, I missed a gig in 1982/3 ish because ironically I had a migraine!
Rectified it about 6 years ago when I travelled to Leeds to see them, unfortunately their monitor mix wasn’t great that night which affected the bands enthusiasm, still good though.

To get back onto topic, every band I’ve been in since 2006 has “rehearsed” where the gaps are and while banter isn’t rehearsed we've known between which songs there will be more interaction. In my current band there are a couple of trigger statements which our singer “has” to say which mark the beginning of some songs.
Going back to my original Metal band in the 80s (the one that was so focussed on perfection that we neglected to gig as much as we should have) we did the whole Manowar thing. We were very self conscious in the rehearsal rooms that we sounded “up ourselves” as our singer spoke to an empty room with people outside no doubt sniggering, but when we did get onto the stage EVERYTHING was rehearsed and executed to a T. In fact it’s brought back a memory, I could barely hear the band during our first ever performance but it absolutely didn’t matter because all of us were so well drilled that we could have been in 5 different rooms and still played everything together at the right time. Oh how I wish I was as good now as I was back then!
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Manowar, I missed a gig in 1982/3 ish because ironically I had a migraine!
Rectified it about 6 years ago when I travelled to Leeds to see them, unfortunately their monitor mix wasn’t great that night which affected the bands enthusiasm, still good though.

To get back onto topic, every band I’ve been in since 2006 has “rehearsed” where the gaps are and while banter isn’t rehearsed we've known between which songs there will be more interaction. In my current band there are a couple of trigger statements which our singer “has” to say which mark the beginning of some songs.
Going back to my original Metal band in the 80s (the one that was so focussed on perfection that we neglected to gig as much as we should have) we did the whole Manowar thing. We were very self conscious in the rehearsal rooms that we sounded “up ourselves” as our singer spoke to an empty room with people outside no doubt sniggering, but when we did get onto the stage EVERYTHING was rehearsed and executed to a T. In fact it’s brought back a memory, I could barely hear the band during our first ever performance but it absolutely didn’t matter because all of us were so well drilled that we could have been in 5 different rooms and still played everything together at the right time. Oh how I wish I was as good now as I was back then!
what is it about metal bands? My current thrash metal band does the same thing... our singer will be "in character" even in rehearsal, some times doing banter with an imaginary audience. We have a blast at rehearsal, but are also "getting it done" from a performance and professionalism stand point.

Both my other non metal bands rehearse pretty half assed comparatively. Often times, the country/rockabilly band won't even finish songs. That band never writers a set list, and it seems like what we do at practice is spur of the moment. The metal band will text back and forth all week about what, and how to hit stuff during practice.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
what is it about metal bands?
Perhaps metalheads are more serious about their musical performance? Meaning that after all the hard work and hours and hours of self improvement on their relative instruments, nothing but perfection is acceptable.

We play differently. We think and act differently. Our music is different. I guess that transfers to practice as well.

We did the same things too. Practice always involved stage banter, lights, smoke, we had a bit of choreography for certain parts, blah blah blah.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
Depends on the song.

For example:

"Louie, Louie," "Mustang Sally," and "She Shook Me All Night Long," a solid 80% is good IMO.

However, if I'm supposed to learn "Roseanna," I'd be getting that as close to 100% as possible (if everyone else in the band is working to do the same thing).
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Depends on the song.

For example:

"Louie, Louie," "Mustang Sally," and "She Shook Me All Night Long," a solid 80% is good IMO.

However, if I'm supposed to learn "Roseanna," I'd be getting that as close to 100% as possible (if everyone else in the band is working to do the same thing).
agree...and SOOOOO weird that as I read this, Rosanna is playing in the background....
 

TMe

Senior Member
Do you think it's better to, stick with one song a long time, and try to learn said song as close to 100%, then to just move on, and start something else that seems interesting?
It depends where you are on the learning curve. The more songs you learn, the better you'll get at learning songs. Being able to learn songs quickly may be more valuable than learning any song 100%. Also, you'll figure out whether you want to be a note-for-note cover musician, or whether you'd rather rewrite drum parts so you can play songs in your own style.

If you're learning your own band's set, that's a whole other story. What separates some bands from the rest is their ability to play the same stuff over and over without getting bored. A lot of original bands never get anywhere because they're bored with their own songs by the time they pull them together.
 

Lee-Bro

Senior Member
I completely misunderstood the intent of this thread. I thought the OP was asking about slowing the song's playback to 80-95% while learning it on your own and then bringing it up to normal tempo as you became more comfortable. ha ha ha...
 
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