Author: Campbell, Bruce

Help Wanted Ads for Bands
Unless you’re in a big time act, there are jobs within your band that go way beyond the instrument(s) you play and the part(s) you sing. Maybe YOUR band needs to fill some of these positions.

The mix of personalities in any band can lead to some pretty heated disagreements. These issues can simmer and tear a band apart unless someone can assume the role of peacemaker/diplomat. Duties include having a sharp sense of humor that knows just the right remark to crack everybody up when things get too tense. Duties may also include organizing some sort of intervention: “Dude, we all concerned that your yodeling just isn’t on key, and we want you to stop it.”

Band Scribe
Ideas can fly pretty fast and furious during rehearsals and band meetings, and if nobody writes down what was decided, you’ll have to repeat the same brainstorming week after week. Duties include taking notes of song arrangements, keys, etc. The Scribe’s notes will settle once and for all what key you decided to do a song in, or if the breaks were full verse, split, or just turnarounds.

Booking Agent
Duties: Ferreting out gigs for the band, and making sure they’re not too far, the backstage spread is good, and the pay is good. Most bands have one or two people that tend to find gigs for the band, but often, this job falls on one person. If they’re not finding the gigs you want, then you may need to consult the Band Diplomat for an intervention: “Dude, your gigs SUCK!”

Social Secretary
This is a vital function. Duties: In a band of amateurs, somebody has to handle checking with the band members to verify availability for proposed gigs, and also handle making sure every band member is reminded of upcoming gigs, where they are, and how to dress.,

Music Historian
Duty: Listen to bluegrass exclusively, and believe if it ain’t bluegrass it ain’t – well, you know. This would probably just be the A&R person if you have a record deal. There’s always somebody in the band who listens to nothing but bluegrass constantly, and provides a healthy influx of relatively unknown songs by the Masters. It’s a great feeling when someone says “Hey that’s a great song – who wrote it?”, and your answer is “Oh, it’s just an old Bill Monroe tune I found on an old record.”

Musical Visionary
Duty: Be able to bring a bluegrass perspective to a wide range of musical styles. This person provides a healthy counterpoint to the Music Historian, suggesting more progressive arrangements or tune selection. When, the Musical Visionary and the Music Historian clash, refer to the Band Peacemaker/Diplomat

Band Gearhead
Duties include: Owning a lot of cool gear, and having a clue how to use it. This is a very useful person to have in the band, and sometimes more than one member fills this need. These are the folks who have PA Systems, lots of mics, cables, DI Boxes, Tuners, instrument stands, etc., because they enjoy playing with all that stuff. They tend to have more than they can personally use, so they will say things like “You know, I have this Ultrasonic Side-Address Large-Diaphram Condensor mic that would really make your fiddle sound good!”, and of course you’ll take them up on it! Sometimes, these folks even know how to hunt down and kill feedback frequencies.

There are other jobs, such as Band Doctor, Band Driver and Band Art Director. I guess I’ll have to dip into those job descriptions in another column..
Posted:  7/26/2006

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