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#68948 - 04/07/10 06:24 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: jazzmammal]
Danny C. Offline
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Registered: 03/18/04
Posts: 6480
Loc: South Louisiana
Bob,

That is a very good point, playing a gig single of course the music is the biggest part of the gig but it helps if you can interact in a favorable way with your audience. With this said humorous stories (not loooong ones) but short (one or two liners) to the point stories sprinkled in-between tunes is very helpful. I really honed this skill while waiting for realtracks to load, but since BIAB 2010 the stories have to be even quicker. But that is a good thing!

Later,
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#68949 - 04/08/10 08:28 AM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Danny C.]
Notes Norton Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4430
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
When Leilani and I met, we were playing in different bands. We were each others groupies for a while.

After my band broke up, Leilani and I joined a keyboardist putting together a 5 piece band. It worked well for a while, but the money kept diminishing as new, large 'per drink' taxes made the lounge scene less profitable for the owners.

We lost our drummer and did auditions for a new drummer. This took a couple of not-for-profit weeks. We finally settled on a girl who had a small set, kept great time, put in tasty fills, didn't overplay and could sing a little. We spent two more weeks teaching her our material.

Then we went to play our first gig. It was in a country club, and the audience was so large, they folded up the removable wall between the dining room and the lounge -- and they put us in the lounge.

The new drummer was a member of some very restrictive Christian sect, and said that God wouldn't forgive her if she played in a bar. I asked her where did she think we were going to play? I also told her that God would have to forgive me for homicide if she didn't play tonight.

The next day I bought a primitive keyboard workstation and started making backing tracks for Leilani and I. Sure, the performance isn't as spontaneous as playing in a live band, but the money is better and we don't have to worry about personnel problems. Leilani and I have the same work ethics, we enjoy each others company, and we enjoy playing music together.

As the technology improved, we ditched the workstation, bought a computer, sequencing program, eventually BiaB, and many sound modules. As my skills got better, the backing tracks got better. And although they are excellent now, I'm still learning how to make them even better. After all, if we sound better and if we run our stage act better than the next duo, we will get more work and be able to charge more per gig. There is more to learn about music than a lifetime has time for. It's one of the things I like about music, each bit that you learn opens the door to something new to learn, and that keeps it fresh and interesting.

We've done cruise ships, 5 star hotels, country clubs, yacht clubs, restaurants, lounges, private parties, condominiums, and so on.

Although I use BiaB to make some of my tracks, I don't use BiaB live on stage. (1) When we have a dancing crowd, I like to go from song to song with absolutely no delay (2) I like to have real intros and endings instead of what BiaB provides (3) I like to add song specific licks to the songs (4) I like to tweak the good BiaB output and make it a top-notch sequence (5) I often like to manipulate the instruments (6) I like to mix and match instruments from a half dozen synth modules and 2 samplers to get the absolute best sound on each instrument for the particular song I may be working on.

Complete details on how I make my backing tracks and how I use them on stage can be read here: http://www.nortonmusic.com/backing_tracks.html

Feel free to link to that page if you want.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
_________________________
Bob "Notes" Norton smile Norton Music
http://www.nortonmusic.com

100% MIDI Super-Styles recorded by live, pro, studio musicians for a live groove
& Fake Disks for MIDI and/or RealTracks

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#68950 - 04/08/10 12:41 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Danny C.]
GDaddy Offline
Expert

Registered: 11/06/08
Posts: 897
Loc: Homosassa , Florida
Danny:

Exactly...
That's why I don't do Show-Lounge, Senior Eldercare or Dance gigs.

With BIAB Real Band and some additional hardware real-sounding samplers or synths.we have a totally new "intimate" presentation!

That's why the new BIAB REAL INSTRUMENT BACKUPS ARE SUCH A GREAT LEAP FORWARD, BOTH FOR THE SOLO/DUO IMPROVISING MUSICIAN/SINGER

THE"TIFFANY-KINDS OF VERY REAL SOUNDING ACCOMPANYMENT AVAILABLE TODAY THROUGH MUSIC MERCHANTS LIKE PG MUSIC, GIVE
SOLO/DUO CATS THE WHEREWITHAL TO SOUND AS GOOD AS IT WILL LIKELY GET..... AND, PERSONALLY, AT THE SAME TIME, BE MORE LAID-BACK AND HAPPY CATS! IT'S ALL SO COOL DOWN THE "REAL ROAD"!!

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Korg...Karma,Triton Classic, PA-80, M-1+
AkaiSampler-S5000, Roland.. X5080 Rack/G-1000 Arranger
Various Guitars/Basses Amps Pedals Rec.Equip.


Plus, BIAB 2015 and Sonar Platinum 2015 Upgrade from Cakewalk's Sonar X-3

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#68951 - 04/08/10 12:45 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Notes Norton]
Gary Curran Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/07/02
Posts: 10059
Loc: Poulsbo, Wa 98370
Bob,
"You can play music for yourself ... you can play music for other musicians ... or you can play music for the general public ... in either case, if you are good enough, you will get the audience you asked for."

Maybe that's why I don't like to play any more, *I* can't stand listening to myself. LOL!

Gary
_________________________
Music touches everyone, and everyone can touch music, if they wish.

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#68952 - 04/08/10 02:02 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: jazzmammal]
jeffgee Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 11/17/03
Posts: 244
Loc: Washington State
Quote:

The bar paid him $100 and he collected about $225 in tips because he was laughing and joking with the people playing "stump the band" and nobody could. I watched the whole gig and he never took one break. I had no idea he was that good as a single.

That's what it takes.

Bob


...That is an inspiring story Bob. I love reading stuff like that . Thanks...there are aspects of the business that can be disheartening a lot of the time and its stories like this that keep my spirits up....thanks again.....Jeff
_________________________
...........Jeff......

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#68953 - 04/08/10 02:33 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Danny C.]
Joe Gordon Offline
Journeyman

Registered: 12/21/02
Posts: 491
Loc: Galston, East Ayrshire, Scotla...
Danny, Bob Norton & others emphasise the importance of 'entertaining'......something I have always tried to do in whatever 'genre' I was trying to play. BUT.....I was 'depping' on banjo, on a Trad Jazz gig some time ago,.... in band I had never worked with before. It was a noisey crowd & the band leader (trumpeter) was annoyed. At the interval. ......In an effort to cheer him up, I said, "I know they're a bit noisey....but they seem to be enjoying themselves!" He replied....."They're not here to enjoy themselves....they're here to be listen to JAZZ!"
I retreated back behind my banjo! Regards, Joe G.
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www.joegordonandsallylogan.co.uk

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#68954 - 04/08/10 02:47 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Joe Gordon]
Gary Curran Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/07/02
Posts: 10059
Loc: Poulsbo, Wa 98370
Ooooooooooooooo Joe,
Someone was apparently taking themselves WWWWWWWWWWWAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyy too seriously.

That's why I always liked to go to the local bars and watch the bands that were having fun with the customers. They may not have been as polished and technically adept as some of the big name bands, but they had fun with their music and with their audience.

If Jeff can have fun with this audience (and with his prospective employers) then he should have good gigs on a ship. I mean, that's why people take cruises...to have fun.

Gary
_________________________
Music touches everyone, and everyone can touch music, if they wish.

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#68955 - 04/08/10 03:17 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Joe Gordon]
jazzmammal Offline
Veteran

Registered: 06/08/05
Posts: 6531
Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
Quote:

He replied....."They're not here to enjoy themselves....they're here to be listen to JAZZ!"
I retreated back behind my banjo! Regards, Joe G.




Yeah, this kind of attitude can be a problem. I know a bunch of jazz cats like that. I totally understand where they're coming from but it won't help them on a commercial gig unless it was specifically booked as a jazz gig. An example of that is a restaurant I play once or twice a month. It's already a thumping, rockin, urban disco at 10PM on the weekends and because of complaints from city council they specifically hire us to keep it down and just play jazz from 7 to 10 even if some in the crowd want to rock out. We can get a little loose with some jazz/rock for the last half hour or so but that's it. The pure jazz players we bring in love it.

Bob
_________________________
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#68956 - 04/08/10 03:35 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: jazzmammal]
Edward Buckley Offline
Expert

Registered: 03/27/06
Posts: 812
Loc: Guadalajara, Mexico
Hi Ed,
I never wanted your gig. I've seen how some of the musicians act on the cruise ships.
We played in the lounge --- and yes we played more sets than the orchestra musicians --- but we play music because we love to play music. So we considered that a bonus.

Bob, you are SO right. Between having to babysit the musicians, making sure all the music, monitors, dancers, soundman, were ready for the shows everynight, I eventually became so stressed out that I had a BIG drinking problem, I stopped practicing, the show music was usually so cheesy that I started to hate the music, then my instruments, etc. A few contracts as sideman fixed most of those issues for me, except for the fact that I had to take a big cut in Pay and living conditions.

Yes, your first job is always to entertain. If you can't look like you are enjoying what you do, the audience will pick up on it. Usually if you look onstage at a showband, the guys aren't smiling or moving, they look like zombies just looking forward to the end. If you go to the Lounge bands, they do look like they are having fun. I never noticed it until after I got out of Showbands.

Bottom line.....If you go out as a Solo or lounge act, you can have fun because you are playing the music you enjoy. You get a lot of instant feedback from your audience. If you go out in a Showband, you are much more likely to NOT enjoy yourself. In this case, you have to have the attitude "I took the gig knowing it wasn't going to be the Basie band, so I need to concentrate, focus and be as musical as possible". IF you can do that, you are better off than 90% of the musicians I've known on ships. I've known very few who became better musicians on ships, largely because of the easy access to Drink, Drugs, Video Games, etc. In fact, I remember a good friend saying to me once in the Crewbar after a show...."You know, I stopped practicing 3 months ago, I hate music now, but I'm really going to impress my friends at home with my drinking chops"............

How sad is that?

Ed

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#68957 - 04/08/10 09:22 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Danny C.]
raymb1 Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 05/24/05
Posts: 2539
Loc: Sterling, Va
I found that if one played well and played most of the requests, there was no need to tell bad jokes and mindlessly chatter. I made great tips every night as a solo. The first night I had a tip jar on the piano which filled up very quickly and the hotel director told me to remove the jar. People started putting tips on the piano anyway then the director said get the money off the piano right away. Passengers had to tip everyone else on the ship, why not the musicians? I tried to make the gig more like a concert than just playing tune after tune like muzak. There were small groups who had to incorporate jokes and chatter into their routines because the music wasn't that good. I feel that joke telling should be left to the professional comedians. There was a very good reggae group on the ship and they hardly ever said a word to the customers, yet people had a lot of fun with that group. The group was a big draw. The better the musicians were, the more they were appreciated by the passengers. Later, Ray


Edited by raymb1 (04/08/10 09:25 PM)
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#68958 - 04/09/10 05:54 AM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: raymb1]
John Conley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 8333
Loc: London, Ontario, Canada
I've played an accordion in a canoe and no one tipped.

My best boat gig was at a summer camp, I played the accordion and an older guy played the violin, it was early 60's. We had two guys rowing and we were towing a raft with a bonfire on it on ropes. It was moonless, very dark, and we came along shore very slowing. Kumbya metinks, but my memory fades. I do remember hating that place due to the millions of sandflies, it was in Northern Quebec. Blackflies and mosquitos ok, but hold the horseflies and sandflies. The latter are invisible, almost.
_________________________
John Conley
Musica est vita

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#68959 - 04/09/10 05:27 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: John Conley]
Gary Curran Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/07/02
Posts: 10059
Loc: Poulsbo, Wa 98370
John,
This was summer camp when you were 13 and your Mom made you go? The violinist was the less than stellar looking young lady who had the goofy smile and didn't understand your corny jokes...and the last time you saw her was 25 years ago, and she was a stunning beauty?

Gary
_________________________
Music touches everyone, and everyone can touch music, if they wish.

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#68960 - 04/09/10 08:04 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Gary Curran]
John Conley Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/28/03
Posts: 8333
Loc: London, Ontario, Canada
Nope the violinist was a 50 year old baptist missionary, the camp was a french baptist camp, and I was there to dig latrines. I learned a lot about french girls, spent the rest of the summer working at the site for Expo in Montreal, and spent the next 3 summers there.....but I changed girls. Gee it was the 60's. Ministers daughters...say no more...wild women.

Lots of 12 sting guitar sitting on Mont Royal watching the sun come up...with a french girl wanting to ..never mind.
_________________________
John Conley
Musica est vita

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#68961 - 04/10/10 09:40 AM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: John Conley]
Notes Norton Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4430
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
If I'm playing for a dancing crowd, I do not talk on the mic much. I watch the crowd, call the song I think is most appropriate to keep them on the dance floor, and go from song to song with zero delay (even 3 seconds is enough for some people to start leaving the dance floor, and once they start, it's difficult to get them to turn around). I'll do all the talking after they get tired of dancing fast and before a slow song, because in the adult market, that will always get them on the dance floor. My job for a dancing crowd is to get them to dance as much as I can and to have a great time. That's what they came for.

I have another gig were there is no dance floor. The crowd comes to listen. I talk a lot on the mic there, get them to sing along, tell corny jokes, stories about the songwriters or artists, anecdotes about my own personal experiences as a musician, and anything else I can think of to involve and entertain the audience any way I can.

I never forget that my job is to please the audience. I'll do whatever I can to do just that (to the best of my ability).

I also remember people's requests (much as a bartender knows what they drink). And when the people come in, I'll wait until they get settled and get their drinks served, and then I'll mix in their request when appropriate and send it out to them. It makes them feel special (and they are special).

I play for the people, and I get the audience I ask for. And while doing that, I'm enjoying myself and therefore playing for myself as well. It's the proverbial win-win attitude.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
_________________________
Bob "Notes" Norton smile Norton Music
http://www.nortonmusic.com

100% MIDI Super-Styles recorded by live, pro, studio musicians for a live groove
& Fake Disks for MIDI and/or RealTracks

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#68962 - 04/10/10 01:09 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Notes Norton]
jeffgee Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 11/17/03
Posts: 244
Loc: Washington State
Quote:

go from song to song with zero delay (even 3 seconds is enough for some people to start leaving the dance floor, and once they start, it's difficult to get them to turn around).
Insights and incites by Notes ♫


I agree that the delay between songs can empty the dance floor. Have you had any luck with playback songs using ptw and the jukebox feature? Ive been getting into that lately and it seems to do well to reduce dead time.
_________________________
...........Jeff......

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#68963 - 04/11/10 09:32 AM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: jeffgee]
Notes Norton Offline
Veteran

Registered: 07/06/00
Posts: 4430
Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Quote:

I agree that the delay between songs can empty the dance floor. Have you had any luck with playback songs using ptw and the jukebox feature? Ive been getting into that lately and it seems to do well to reduce dead time.




First of all, I don't use the jukebox feature, because I call the songs as the crowd needs them (or at least how I think the crowd needs them). I am not clairvoyant enough to know when they have had enough fast songs or when they might need a waltz, but I can usually tell by analyzing the faces and body language of the people on the dance floor.

I do not use BiaB on stage for 2 reasons (1) even without RTs, it takes too long to load the song, and it is nearly impossible to sync the beats of one song to the next and (2) personally, as good as BiaB's output is, I don't think it is good enough for stage play.

I can actually go from song to song without missing a beat (depending on the songs I select) with absolutely zero time between songs - much like a DJ mixes songs.

I want to sound better than all of my competition and that means adding song specific parts, and extensively editing the BiaB output - something that can only be done with MIDI styles.

Using BiaB" straight out of the box I can sound like a good band. After editing the tracks, adding some parts, subtracting some parts, and moving others around, changing instruments, adjusting volumes, putting in real intros/endings, adding crescendos, diminuendos, accelerandos, ritardandos, etc.and I can sound like an excellent band. I know it does take time to convert a good BiaB product to an excellent one, but I'm going to play those songs hundreds if not thousands of times and I want them to sound good for me to play sax/guitar/flute/synth/or/vocals on top of, and I want to sound better than my competition so I can ask for more money and get more work. It's the main reason why like most pros, I prefer MIDI to loops.

I have a page devoted to how I create and use my backing tracks here: http://www.nortonmusic.com/backing_tracks.html

I also use mp3 files, and bring 2 computers on stage. That way my backing tracks are pretty much fail-safe. If one computer goes, I can get by with another. (We actually have 3 computers, and the spare computer had everything needed in case either Leilani's or my computer crashes.)

My philosophy is that if I want to survive as a musician, I should do everything to the absolute best of my ability and simply offer a better sounding and more professional product than my competition. I'm approaching senior-citizendom and for most of my life I've made my living doing music and nothing but music. So it's obviously working.

There are those who will settle for less; Using BiaB straight out of the box, buying sequences, taking long breaks, missing the downbeat, using set lists instead of having a dialog with the audience, playing at inappropriate volume levels for the gig, not having the best stage presence, etc., etc., etc., and personally, I'm glad there are so many that do --- because I can come off with a better product, charge more per gig, and get more work than they do.

The way I figure it is: I am not an employer of the place were I gig. Instead I am a sub-contractor, a purveyor of entertainment. The restaurant/yacht club/country club/etc. chooses the food purveyor that does a better job than the competition, a private party chooses the best caterer, and they make other choices for getting the best they can for the budget they have.

I want to be much better than the competition so that it's worth it to pay a little bit more and I do my best to be just that. Of course, I'm limited by by personal talents, but I work on making the best of what either God or Darwin gave me.

Insights and incites by Notes ♫
_________________________
Bob "Notes" Norton smile Norton Music
http://www.nortonmusic.com

100% MIDI Super-Styles recorded by live, pro, studio musicians for a live groove
& Fake Disks for MIDI and/or RealTracks

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#68964 - 04/11/10 02:48 PM [Off-Topic] Re: cruise ship gigs [Re: Notes Norton]
jeffgee Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 11/17/03
Posts: 244
Loc: Washington State
Bob:
thanks for all of the pointers. I'm just coming out of the starting gate with my show and reading about the way you do it is very inspiring. Thanks again:)....Jeff
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...........Jeff......

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