Guide The Band To Your Vision

Singer with backing band
Musicians can give you everything they’ve got once they’ve caught your ideas -says legendary producer Fred Mollin

If you don’t have a backup band that you know well, then you face the discomfort of starting over again with new musicians.

Yet, you can solve many issues before you even meet for the first time. Get a CD or digital file of all your songs to the band way in advance of meeting — along with chord charts.

Let them listen, learn and immerse themselves in your material so that they come to the first rehearsal knowing it well.

Gentle or Harsh?

When you’re rehearsing, you may find that things happen that don’t sound right — that aren’t fitting into your vision for the song.

It’s important that you solve this right away. It could be that you say to the drummer, “Could you use your brushes in this section?” Or to the bass player, “Could we try going to the root on that bar?”

You can’t say: “Hey man, you’re screwing up!” A prick or a bitch never gets much attention.

Take a more gentle approach: “There may be a wrong note there — can you double check for me?”

Putting together a backing band can be hard. Not many of us are as lucky as Bono – he formed U2 and found his wife in the same week. They are all still together.

—Tomas Nevergreen, leading European singer-songwriter

The most important thing is to be kind and constructive, communicating that you really want to solve these challenges.

If you find it difficult to relate musical ideas, then consider taking the stress off yourself: bring someone along with you who can act as a musical director.

Or, you may find it helpful to think of yourself as a director starting with a new cast. Be the type of director who is involving, caring and appreciative.

When you’re like that, those around you will become more involved and give you everything they’ve got.

Written By
Fred Mollin is a veteran record producer, film and TV composer, musical director and songwriter, producing albums for such legends as Jimmy Webb, Kris Kristofferson, America and Johnny Mathis. He composes for film and television (Paramount’s Friday The 13th movies and many TV series) and has been Vice President of A&R for Walt Disney Records in California www.fredmollin.com