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Distinguished SOTW Researcher
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So our band lost our guitar player a few weeks ago. Unprofessionally I might add - no notice with gigs in 3 days. Anyway, we hired a guy we knew could cover the gig, but didn't want to play long term. We invitied a few prospects out to sit in for a few tunes to check them out. I should add that we do primarily blues/R&B, but we do get some corporate gigs, weddings and other parties.

So the first guy comes out, has a style that's so so for our sound, and looks ok, meaning he doesn't stick out. Second guy sits in, and plays great, blends in sound-wise and plays great solos. Unfortunately the second guy has a definite "stoner" look about him that's downright frightening. We spoke to him about it after, and he wasn't offended but said that's pretty much how he is, take it or leave it.

So do you compromise sound for looks? The guy who doesn't want the gig is helping us out until we find someone, but prospects are pretty slim at the moment.
 

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Forum Contributor 2010, Distinguished SOTW Member
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How important is the visual dimension to what your band does? What kind of gigs do you play and how much does your clientele care about how the band looks? The obvious answer to your question would be: to hell with looks, it's the music that counts. But depending on the context, that answer might be naive. Not knowing more, it's hard to respond accurately.
 

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1) The guy plays "great, blends in sound-wise, and plays great solos."

2) "Prospects are pretty slim at the moment."

Putting these two facts together would lead me to using this guitar player, no matter how he looks. You say he has a "stoner look." Are you talking about a facial expression or how he dresses, or both? It it's a matter of dress, I'd suggest to him that he dress appropriately for the band (whatever that may be). Personally, I think blues musicians should dress well. That's an easy fix. It doesn't really matter how he looks otherwise, if he can play.
 

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Frank,

there is one more ingredient that to me is usually far more important to anything else, its that sort of intangible, how does he fit personality wise.
My gut reaction is that if he has the attitude "this is the way I am take it or leave it" that does not bode well.

just my buck 3 eighty.

I think George Thorogood said it once when they added Hank Carter to the Destroyers " I don't care if he played a rock, he's cool so he's in the band."
why 20 years later they fired him unceremoniously is another story.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2014
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I hate this kinda dilemma/looks vs. sound crap. [Yeah, tell me it's a fact of life. grrr]
 

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jazzbluescat said:
I hate this kinda dilemma/looks vs. sound crap. [Yeah, tell me it's a fact of life. grrr]

Agreed. Besides past a certain age we all look like crap, imo
Speaking of being past that certain age, have you noticed that older musicians in groups adopt the lets all dress in black mode for performance/ publicity shots.Maybe it looks "more professional ", it is slimming, or it is just plain easier to hide the stoner.
 

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Reedsplinter said:
We used to play a great game called "hide the stoner" when I was a kid. Oh, wait, no, that was Grandma.:shock:
never at a loss, always something to contribute.
 

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Use the good player. Get him a tux and scrub him up. If he doesn't work out attitude-wise or behavior-wise, you can always fire him, and nothing lost. You're just back where you started.

It's about the sound. Worry about looking good after you take care of sounding good.

Some patrons like bands that have an eccentric or two among their members. They think it's cool. Good thing, too. Otherwise, I'd never work.
 

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I have never, ever, had a band with all "normal," well-adjusted types. Don't know why, but that's the reality. Yeah, Al is right. Get the guy in some good threads, and let him play.......
 

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Hey fellas,

If you don't mind me intruding on the working pros' discussion...

Assuming I have a good mental image of it, I'm not sure the "stoner look" is all that detrimental: having a band of "stoners" sure didn't hurt John Belushi and Dan Ackroyd making some bucks playing blues and rock&roll!

This may be stating the obvious, but shouldn't the issue be whether the guy really is a serious drug user? I mean, looks aside, that kind of personal/professional habits that sometimes accompany that lifestyle can, depending on the kind of band you're trying to run, make even the best sideman more trouble than he or she is worth.

Rory
 

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Bill Mecca said:
Frank,

there is one more ingredient that to me is usually far more important to anything else, its that sort of intangible, how does he fit personality wise.
My gut reaction is that if he has the attitude "this is the way I am take it or leave it" that does not bode well.

just my buck 3 eighty.
This is an excellent point and I will second it---If he can't compromise on something as superficial as performance dress I'd be worried. A real "divo" can wreak havoc with your group. If you take him, make sure he understands that he's on probation and keep on looking!

And I'd also mind Rory's point about whether the "stoner" look is more than just a look.
Ruth
 

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Pardon me, but whats a stoner? Is it a Jagger wannabe? Or an old person? Or a morbid person? Or a tramp? I honestly dont know. Meanwhile, I look great and have a fantastic attitude but play like stink - can I go on your list of potentials? ;)
 

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Forum Contributor 2010, Distinguished SOTW Member
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You're my man; can you commute to Phoenix from England? You have to pay your own travel.:D

Stoner is a hippie/druggie type, a term generally applied to folks who smoke a lot of weed and adopt the concomitant lifestyle. Time was when in order to be a musician of a certain kind you HAD to look like a stoner whether you were one or not. Now it's kind of retro.

As to all of the above, for me it's still a matter of context. If I had a band that played a lot of wedding gigs, I'd want folks to look one way; if it was a bar band, there'd be a different dress code:D . So I don't have enough information to quite understand the dilemma posed here.
 

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Face Ache Mike said:
Pardon me, but whats a stoner? Is it a Jagger wannabe? Or an old person? Or a morbid person? Or a tramp? I honestly dont know.
This is a Stoner for my generation. Some in my circles consider me rather stoner-like.;)




Face Ache Mike said:
Meanwhile, I look great and have a fantastic attitude but play like stink - can I go on your list of potentials? ;)
Hey Mike, does your face ache?:? ;)
 

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AltoRuth said:
And I'd also mind Rory's point about whether the "stoner" look is more than just a look.
Ruth
Though it's entirely possible that everyone else in the band is also a stoner and just don't adopt the stereotypical look!:shock: :cool:

Musicians??!!! Nahhhh. . . . .
 

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We needed a fill in drummer a couple of years ago and the guy we got was pretty darn scraggly. One tooth... messy pony-tail... looks like he's about to die... On the other hand, he's on time, knows and gets along with the guys, is genuinely a musician (not just a drummer), is eager to learn and receive feedback and will work a wide variety of gigs. He's been our regular drummer since... and now has some dental college working on him... one tooth at a time.
 

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Reedsplinter said:
You're my man; can you commute to Phoenix from England? You have to pay your own travel.:D
Yes no problem but can I crash out at your place?

Reedsplinter said:
Stoner is a hippie/druggie type, a term generally applied to folks who smoke a lot of weed and adopt the concomitant lifestyle. Time was when in order to be a musician of a certain kind you HAD to look like a stoner whether you were one or not. Now it's kind of retro.
Gotcha :)


martysax said:
This is a Stoner for my generation. Some in my circles consider me rather stoner-like.;)



Hey Mike, does your face ache?:? ;)
Is the chainlink steering wheel optional?

Here`s one of my rides.. will it do?





and so I`m not accused of hijacking this very good thread. My opinion is that if he plays as you want him to play and he carries nothing contagious you ought to hire him - until something better comes along.
 
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