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Tips On Band Formation

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Joined: 16 Mar 2007
Posts: 1917
Location: Auburn/Tuskegee, AL

PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 12:04 am    Post subject: Tips On Band Formation Reply with quote

Putting together a virtual band that lasts can be difficult. This is a collection of tips (mostly from beingmused, as he started the discussion) on forming a successful band. I’ve added in other people’s comments and suggestions as well as I have copied it here to the GH side of Scorehero, and have done my best to give credit to the person who suggested it without being too distracting. You can view the original thread on the Rock Band side here:

For those not familiar with RB & its players and bands, background on the 3 main contributors here:
Beingmused and I are members Interrobang, which has been going since June of 08 and with its current lineup since September of 08. We were the first band to reach a billion cumulative points, but not just for playing more songs than anyone else – at the time we reached that, we had cross-platform firsts on well over a third of all songs.
GuitarHailz is the vocalist for The Gavinners, currently the top Rock Band 2 band on 360.

Look Beyond The Numbers
Beingmused says The number one mistake people make is thinking that a band will be as good as the combined sum of its player's ranks. There's a lot of reasons why that is almost never the case. For one, ranks can be deceptive; at the top they tend to illustrate more how much one works on playing songs to path and squeezing...while being able to follow paths without missing on activation is an important skill, it doesn't necessarily translate into FB success. In other words, a 10th ranked guitarist isn't necessarily better than a 30th ranked one; when they're that close, you are best off playing with them to see how they actually fare.

GuitarHailz says This is very true. I want to add onto this and say that consistency is extremely important in band play. Taking myself as an example: I'm some terrible rank on RB2, I don't even bother trying to vocal squeeze anymore. But does that mean picking a high ranked vocalist over someone like me is a better idea? I can FC 90% of the songs every time. Squeezing ISN'T important in band play unless you're talking about some of the "easy" FBFCs.

Also, I feel like I should mention that it's pretty annoying that a vocals FGFC is a requirement for so many bands. Vocals are certainly the easiest instrument, but you're limiting yourself. I'd rather play with a consistent, reliable, friendly player with 70-80 FC's than a FGFC.

Checklist for Getting on the Same Page
Beingmused says Be super-clear when you're starting a band! Here's a list of all of the things you need to specify right from the get-go (but bands NEVER do):
1. Goal of the band (competitive play? leagues? dlc band? making videos? casual fun play? Dave Grohlolics Anonymous?)
2. How often per week you want to meet.
3. What times you are available, and timezones (if you want to meet more than twice a month, you MUST set a weekly schedule out in advance. Bands that play whenever everyone happens to be online never, ever work).
4. Whether you want to switch instruments around or stay confined to your roles
5. How long you want this to last
6. What DLC you possess (put this online somewhere and link to it, your wiki page if nowhere else), so that others can see what you have. Saying "I have 50 DLCs lolz" doesn't mean crap when we have hundreds available!
7. How are you handling pathing? If you are just a casual band, no need for it. If not, you'll need to establish that up-front.

Woozerkristen says Can you all connect to each other? I had a prior band for which the nail in the coffin after scheduling issues was an inability to connect to each other for a session. It took us a ridiculous amount of time to find out that was the case, would have been good to know in the first week instead of like a month later.

Also, a bit of insight from me based on my experience: unless you all already know what you are doing full-band wise (particularly pathing), it's much wiser to start off with the aim of being a casual band. You can be a superstar lineup but if no one knows how to path, you are going to get frustrated real fast with FBFCs that rank 5th and 6th or worse, and putting pressure on each other to FC stuff before you have gotten to know each other well can burn you out and turn you off to each other real fast. Play together for fun, get to know each other, feel out the other people's personalities, and then, if you are still working out, start looking to make it increasingly serious. Make sure it's a group decision. Periodically, my band will do a sort of checkpoint and make sure we are all in agreement about our goals and what we want to be doing with our time; we don't want to be re-grinding RB2 songs if only one person cares about our on-disk career score. Nor do we want to be just screwing around and putting up "meh" scores on DLC if people are really wanting to improve our standings in a certain category.

Character is More Important Than l33t Skill
Beingmused says Very few people seem to take this into consideration, but you're not going to meet and play on a regular basis if you don't get along! Moreover, some people are better at committing to things than others....if you have a choice between an amazing guitarist who can FC most tough solos, but who is flakey, and a decent, dependable, guitarist who will get gold stars but isn't blowing anyone away, take the dependable one every time!!!!! Looking good on paper means nothing, you have to actually do something, and doing something FB wise takes an incredible amount of organization.

Woozerkristen says Related to the character thing: a really honest self-reflection on the part of all members is not a bad idea. Are you the type who gets really frustrated with other people for messing up, or are you the type who's going to be making cracks about your own screwups but never getting pissed at other people? I could see a band where everyone is more the first type possibly working, but I think a lot of the time, unchecked, that first personality type thrown in with others who are more the second type is going to cause problems. It can't hurt to figure out if this is you or not, be upfront about it with your other band members, and decide where to go from there. If you think you can keep it in check, you may be good to go, but a type A personality with three type B personalities with everyone getting frustrated with each other is probably not going to lead to a long-lasting band, and for sure is going to mean a lot less fun for everyone involved.

GuitarHailz says 99% of every problem I've ever had with a band (even the successes) had to do with communication.

Possible bandmate wrote:

Yeah I'm free anytime just send me a message lets play. My schedule is flexible.

"Free anytime" doesn't exist. EVERYONE has work, school, or some other obligations. Don't relax when someone says this, because its not true. Demand that people are specific. What times are you free? Will you be willing to cancel something that comes up in favor of a previously scheduled band session? You have to get people to commit, otherwise it just falls apart. I know everyone's schedule isn't nailed down, but if you can find a day or two of the week that everyone is free and set a time for that to be the "band day" things will probably run more smoothly. Make it clear that if someone is consistently unreliable, they will be replaced (that being said, I would advise to wait a couple of sessions before posting scores. That way if someone doesn't seem to be a good fit you can pick someone else).

When initially picking a band mate, send them PM's/IMs/what have you and discuss the band stuff. Make a little mental note about how long it takes for them to respond. If they only log into ScoreHero once a week, this might not be the guy for you.

Deschain says I've been in about 4 (bands), and while 1 fell apart for legit reasons, the other 3 were all from 1 person just leaving or losing interest. It's very frustrating to put in the effort, sending PMs/messages/etc, finding the right player(s), coordinating a schedule (and all I really ask for is one solid two hour block a week), playing for about 30 songs, and then...nothing. At least now I know not to make a band page until we've finished 75% of the setlist.

Woozerkristen says Hailey's points about finding a consistent schedule from the start and people who are willing to say exactly when they are willing to get together is golden advice. Take, for example, my first band that NEVER HAD A SESSION despite 10 pages of thread here trying to get all of us online at once:

Being the type of person I am, any time I said I would be online and ready to play, I actually was, and I wasted hours and hours of my time that summer sitting around, watching different band members pop on, see that everyone wasn't online yet, and feel like they don't need to be the one to sit around and wait, so leave again. It was infuriating. Like Hailey says, if you ask for a specific time and they say "Oh, I'm always on, whenever," make them commit to a specific day and time or look for someone else if they won't do it.

And also, what Deschain is saying is good, too. It may sound mean on my part, but all-teenager bands don't seem to do as well as ones that are most or all "adults" (I use the term loosely ). If you look at the list of top bands, nearly all have at least one or two "grownups" in them. I have watched bands that were mostly teenagers turn down very talented adults just for being adults, but an adult presence to be a good influence and encourage responsibility can be key. Not to say an all-teenager band isn't going to work out, but someone is going to have to take charge or you will implode or fizzle out quickly. I suspect that this is why GH, having such a large percentage of its players being teenagers, has so few bands that stick together. Adults can be irresponsible, too, and teenagers can be responsible, but consider your odds.

Follow the Yellow 8x (Tigers and Lions and Pistons? Oh my)
Beingmused says If you want to be competitive, pathing is a must... The more pathers the better - good paths can take a LOT of time! There's a reason the top band at the moment has 3 people doing the dirty work.

Woozerkristen says While I am very familiar with the pathing tools available to Rock Band players and bands, I do not know what, if anything, has been set up to assist in GH pathing. If anyone can direct me to information on this so I can link it here, please do so.

Life Beyond the Meet-Up Thread
Beingmused says Audition people you haven't played with before, communicate back-channel (too many "will rock 4 food" threads have gotten messy and confusing because of mixed signals, poorly worded messages, etc.), and be nice. And when you do find your partners in plastic rock, there are often easier ways to communicate than the forums. Even if each and every one of you spends way too much of your time here (*cough*), email and instant messaging can be much more efficient means of communicating....besides, then you're free to talk trash about other bands. Like, x band smells bad, or y band has cooties, or z band got rejected by Shelly Anderson (ps, x, y, and z = Bread Michaels Band. (Actually, they're kind of the paragon of organization and efficient play)).

Kuznagi says Having some way to communicate (eg. IRC/MSN/AIM) is greatly beneficial to talk about what you want to change or to give out paths. I've found voice chat not as beneficial as I hoped but it depends on the person.

"Selling Yourself" as a Potential Band Member
Beingmused says "The David Byrne Syndrome" - As Deathbloom reminds us, while it is fine to show interest in multiple bands, if you're constantly just replying indiscriminately then people are less likely to want to play with you. Try and explain why THIS band is where you were destined to play in.

Blingdomepiece says if you want to join a band, POST YOUR SCORES. This seems so obvious but people don't do it. Also, unless you can FC 90% of the setlist, there is little point trying to join a band with people who can FC 90% of the setlist, because they probably aren't looking for you.

Miscellaneous Advice
Kuznagi says I think a thing to note is that there are also many diamonds in the rough for players who don't use scorehero. So this may not be your only source to find great players eg. Lycrios. Heck, I found usernameNA bored one evening playing random band quick play.

Feel free to discuss or add additional advice for inclusion in this guide below.
My BlogProfile for woozerkristen

Vocalist/Guitarist/Bassist for The PermaRockers | Vocalist/Bassist/Pather for Now-Retired Band Interrobang! | Interrobang! Full Band Vids/Solo Vox Vids on YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Solo Accomplishments Thread
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is exactly what I've been waiting for.

You pretty much hit the nail right on the head with this guide, I'm sure it will help a lot of others.
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View user's profile Wiki User Page Send private message PSN Name: RichardGHP

Joined: 01 Mar 2009
Posts: 156
Location: 43235 C-Bus, OH

PostPosted: Mon Sep 07, 2009 1:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

2 thumbs up

kristen you are officially my favorite mod, for real. that some good stuff because i cant my buddies irl to play consistently and it has been more than a bitch to organize a band through ScoreHero or even over Live
GH3>RB1. GHWT<RB2>TBRB. GHVH=GHM but GHSH>Both of them. Any word on the future of GH? What's coming next: GHSH2, GH:Band Game, what the fuck is going to happen?!?!?! lolz
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