I love this sight and am so thrilled that the original five are back together! I have a question (s) for Simon. I am in a local band and I am the lead singer/main lyric writer. Writing lyrics is very important to me, but I can not play an instrument to save my life. How do you go about presenting a “new song” to a band without music and how much control do you have over the musical input of everyone else? Also, what do you do to stay sane when everyone else is jamming or going off on musical tangents during the writing process (when crowds just make you feel lonely, lol) Good luck and keep the great lyrics and music coming! Jim
JIM, YOU GOT THE BEST TEACHER! Hi Jim,sounds to my like you’re facing a bit of a dilemma. Without the ability to play any instrument you are clearly limited with regards to song presentation, i.e. you either present lyrics solely or singing to them, you attempt to get the band to understand and play what’s in your head. This is difficult, frustrating and probably will take the song away from your original idea. This may not necessarily be a bad thing; good tunes often develop out of misunderstanding a sort of musical chinese whisper, you just have to be mentally agile enough and free enough from your own ego to make it work. The same goes for the ‘control’ issue; remember you are in a band – it’s not just about your ideas.
As for the ‘jamming’ situation – you have to be patient enough to wait until the music becomes something you feel inspired by and you can contribute to with a top line (melody). On the other hand it may not reach that stage. You will often feel excluded by jam sessions. To some extent the rest of that band will probably be aware of this, they may even do it all the more to prove a point to you – remember they have all taken up the discipline of an instrument, you haven’t. It is also possible that at some level there may be some resentment to the attention you receive as frontman. It must be said that jamming is very important part of the process especially for a new band. It teaches us to play together and inspire each other. Intrinsically, it is the most primitive and essential form of music as a band and we all do it.
My advice to you is pick up a guitar and start playing, even if it’s difficult you will be able to pick up the basics (Christ, if Madonna can do it…). You will suddenly find that songwriting becomes easier and you will begin to develop a much better relationship with youRfellow band members. Who knows they might even allow you join in the jam – one day. hope this helps. Whoosh. S