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Senior Member
Username: glocke

Post Number: 998
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 4:32 am:   Edit Post

Last night I was playing with a local group of players (another Dead band) that I get together with fairly regularly...It was an outdoor gig, and these guys have a tendency to stand there and audibly count off every single song.

I personally think it looks rather stupid, and have been pushing them to start off at least some of the songs without verbal cues, such as the guitar player just playing the riff, or the drummer giving a cue with his sticks, etc...I tried this last night..we finished one song and I started in with the next one, right away a song that actually starts off with a bass riff (Greatest Story), but these guys were having none of that and had me stop and count off and THAN start the song over....

Another thing I've noticed also is that I've seen a lot of people counting off passages inside of songs...there's one guy I know that I can even see his lips moving as he is counting off the passages...For a lot of this music I'm really not counting at all, at least not on a conscious level, I've got the song and lyrics playing in my head, but as far as actually standing there and going 1-2-3-4 in the middle of a song, thats something I am not aware of doing. Not saying anything is wrong with doing that...
Senior Member
Username: slawie

Post Number: 629
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 5:36 am:   Edit Post

There's two songs I count.
Walking on the moon and
Take Five.
Really cannot help it. I have to count while I'm playing
Senior Member
Username: pauldo

Post Number: 1156
Registered: 6-2006
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 6:21 am:   Edit Post

I always count . . . you know, Count Bassy! :-D

Nine times out of ten my head, foot, shoulders, etc. will be bopping to the beat during passages within songs.
The swing band I play in, the leader ALWAYS counts off the songs, I immediately lock into her 'groove' and go from there.

I believe there is nothing wrong with counting off a song . . . I do believe there are issues if they stop a song that you started so they could count it off. :-/ not very professional.

Good musicians can start a song off at the wrong tempo and by listening can easily adjust to the correct tempo. That said, it is sometimes fun to play a song at an 'abnormal' tempo. It can be inspiring and bring new life to the same old song.
Senior Member
Username: glocke

Post Number: 999
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 6:29 am:   Edit Post

Jazz I can understand....I've played in swing orchestras also and it was the same deal...the band leader always counted..

But what I am talking about isn't jazz...its rock...jam based rock at that...I dunno...I just feel that for this type of music people should be able to pick up on musical cues and play off of those.
Intermediate Member
Username: murray

Post Number: 163
Registered: 7-2007
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 9:18 am:   Edit Post

I much prefer a count-in. At least everyone starts from the same point and I think it can apply to rock as well as anything else. One of the bands I play in is an Appalachian Dance Group and our count-in is done by the fiddle striking the same chord in a da-diddy-da-diddy-da-diddy-da (forgive the simplistic style but you will know what I mean). Even the 'once to yourself' approach in Morris Dancing gives the dancers a chance to feel the tempo and the Squire (leader) can give us a chance to adjust if we have started too fast before they commence dancing. These are, in their own way, count-ins. I think it very risky in any type of music to just 'bowl in all together' without any idea of what tempo is required. Having said that, folk sessions I have played in do just that and so I often listen for a regular number of bars to pick it up. I too did the swing band stuff with proper count-ins and that was good. When I am playing rock/blues/pop stuff, I quite like the drummer tapping four or whatever on sticks. Just slightly off thread to finish - how many times have you come across a vocalist guesting (usually from the pub audience!) who, when asked, hasn't got a clue what key they usually sing the song in? Glynn
Senior Member
Username: gtrguy

Post Number: 748
Registered: 9-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 10:09 am:   Edit Post

Bands, like people, have habits, and it is extremly hard to break most of them.

Some habits can drive a person nuts after a while. I am in a band that has the habit of always wanting to learn 3 - 4 new songs for each new gig and it drive me crazy. They also want to take a mini-break after each song we perform, despite gigging for 10 years. Even a 1 - 2 minutes after every song adds up to 30 - 45 minutes wasted during an average gig.

If you find out the answer to modifing band bad habits, let me know!
Senior Member
Username: lbpesq

Post Number: 5749
Registered: 7-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 10:51 am:   Edit Post

Gregory, I feel your pain. I've been in similar situations. The worst is when the band leader insists in counting off, and giving mid-song cues ON MIC! I've begged for it to be at least off mic. The band may need to hear the count, but is it really necessary for the audience to hear it too? In both my Dead band and my non-Dead band we mix it up - some are counted by the drummer, some by someone else, some somebody comps and the others join in. Variety is the spice of life. Another related pet peeve is endings. I've played with people where every ending is the prototypical "everyone make noise in the same ending chord for thirty seconds while the lead guitar goes nuts" rock ending. It's fun sometimes, but mixing it up with more arranged endings is more interesting, at least for me. Of course, on the other hand, since I'm doing this for fun rather than to pay the bills, I'm willing to put up with a lot of stuff I would say something about if it was my profession.

Bill, tgo
Senior Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 1012
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 1:15 pm:   Edit Post

The situation soaks in irony. If you were only doing a 1-2 GD tunes a set, then it's bearable, but one of the traits of the band 'firing on all cylinders' is the segues from one tune to the next, and the fun of trying to do it often as possible. If they don't get THAT, then what's the point?!?
Senior Member
Username: pace

Post Number: 1014
Registered: 4-2004
Posted on Sunday, May 18, 2014 - 5:43 pm:   Edit Post

FWIW, the last band I was in, we'd get ourselves in trouble if we took too long between songs and there was inevitable banter (ie: 'this next tune is brown eyed girl... so all you blue eyed girls, turn around, bend over and show us your brown eye too!!'...) ... There was an off color joke for every song, so you'd better keep the set moving!....
Senior Member
Username: peoplechipper

Post Number: 413
Registered: 2-2009
Posted on Thursday, May 22, 2014 - 10:53 pm:   Edit Post

In my band we mix it up; some songs start with my bass line, some start with a drummer count in; one starts with him counting like he's down syndrome (he usually looks that way in photos while playing, so we went with it...we're an equal opportunity band...) and one where I count in with heavy breathing,ending in a rather harsh 'hhhunnhhh!!!''s good to mix it up...Tony...I noticed the other day that I am now a senior member; thanks and I'm honored to be that...
Senior Member
Username: edwin

Post Number: 1773
Registered: 5-2002
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2014 - 3:32 pm:   Edit Post

All of the above. Sometimes things need to be counted in and sometimes we should just hear it.

Hopefully when the count off happens, everyone know what song it is!

My pet peeve is always having to have everything completely dissolve before going into the next tune when the songs are supposed to be jammed together. I use the tape editing analogy: a crossfade vs. a butt splice. I guess the hardest part is getting the drummer to be confident in transitioning the grooves.
Senior Member
Username: sonicus

Post Number: 3401
Registered: 5-2009
Posted on Sunday, May 25, 2014 - 4:53 pm:   Edit Post

Edwin , YES and Yes ! ( if we are talking Dead Jam style)
Edwin wrote ;
"My pet peeve is always having to have everything completely dissolve before going into the next tune when the songs are supposed to be jammed together. I use the tape editing analogy: a crossfade vs. a butt splice. I guess the hardest part is getting the drummer to be confident in transitioning the grooves."

And Wolf wrote : " DITTO " Keep the third eye open and the magic alive !
Senior Member
Username: hieronymous

Post Number: 1366
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, May 28, 2014 - 7:02 pm:   Edit Post

We opened for a reggae band in the '90s - I forget what they were called but the bassist & drummer were these young guys from Japan, while the keyboardist & guitarist looked like grizzled Rastafarians. The keyboardist/singer would do a kind of rap but instead of just coming in, the bassist and drummer would kind of look at each other - the drummer would then do a four click and they would hit this awesome groove, but I could see the keyboardist and guitarist looking bemused - would have been much cooler if the click happened under the rap or something so that they could just hit it.

I would have trouble with the situation as described - sometimes you just have to lose control and go where the music takes you!

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