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How important is age in a band?
Old 16th July 2015
  #1
How important is age in a band?

My roommate's a pro drummer, I'm a singer/sw/guitar and bass player, both in our 30's.

I just joined this band playing bass, a couple weeks after he did, it's 2 guys, the singer/sw is 24, and the lead guitar player I reckon is about 50. They've written about 7 songs and have been playing together for about a year.

So now my roommate and I are playing modern rock with them. They're both good, and it's going well. But I do wonder how much of a problem the older dude's age might be. I feel bad but with how competitive things are, I can't help but wonder if the image would hold us back.

Playing-wise, he is good but he does something a lot of lead guitar players seem to do, which is put themselves before the song, soloing over everything, using lots of delays and not really letting the silence exist in the songs.

Since we've only been playing a month or so, I'm not beating the singer over the head with my opinion, since they've written these songs and we're doing them. But I wonder if it's a sooner-better-than-later situation, if there's going to be a change, might be a lot less drama if we don't yet have an album etc.

What would you guys do?
If he served the songs better, would you keep him in?
Do you think it's a big pitfall having a 50 yr old in your rock band?
Or is it kind of cool? Thanks.
Old 16th July 2015
  #2
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ksandvik's Avatar
 

What kind of music, if music is more important than image it should be fine. If you are going for the image-conscious market (i.e young girls), you need to do auditions checking the face/body first and just ignore any musicianship and use backing tracks/musicians.
Old 16th July 2015
  #3
I'd be more worried about over-playing than over-age for the most part. That said, for some markets/audiences, one man's over-playing is another's main attraction.

With regard to age issues, as ksandvik notes, the marketing-and-hype-driven youth-pop market puts such a high premium on visuals and youth that it's a whole different thing. Your 24 year old singer is probably long in the tooth for that market.
Old 16th July 2015
  #4
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ksandvik's Avatar
 

Yes, to clarify my point, overplaying has as close to zero relationship with age. You could have a 12-year old guitar player that plays 1,200 notes a minute with a 1/16 repeat delay on full feedback. Or an old guitar player that plays a chord a minute.
Old 16th July 2015
  #5
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Over-playing leads and over-indulgent effects' use isn't because of the dude's age, it's his musical maturity that is in question. It's called "taste", and there are tons of guitar players from his generation who knew when to hold back and when to cut loose.
Try to find out who is fave guitarists are, maybe you can draw a correlation between the "hero's" style and what you're looking for in a "team effort" for the band. Otherwise...
Old 16th July 2015 | Show parent
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksandvik View Post
Yes, to clarify my point, overplaying has as close to zero relationship with age. You could have a 12-year old guitar player that plays 1,200 notes a minute with a 1/16 repeat delay on full feedback. Or an old guitar player that plays a chord a minute.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Moonbaby View Post
Over-playing leads and over-indulgent effects' use isn't because of the dude's age, it's his musical maturity that is in question. It's called "taste", and there are tons of guitar players from his generation who knew when to hold back and when to cut loose.
Try to find out who is fave guitarists are, maybe you can draw a correlation between the "hero's" style and what you're looking for in a "team effort" for the band. Otherwise...
Absolutely, on the age-overplaying disconnect. Age and maturation may certainly play a part in changing personal style -- but not everyone ages or matures the same.


I'm old. (Think Beatles song old. )

I'm a much better player than I was 30 years ago (when I was old, but less old ) but sometime in the mid-late 90s I decided that I needed to concentrate on what I was playing instead of how fast I was playing or how tricky it was... I began forcing myself to play slow and feel what I was playing, only moving to the next note when I felt it. A very radical change for me. (And that led to ditching the effects I'd often stacked on my sound, too.) Not for everybody and not for every type of music, but a big plus for my playing, I think. (And, yo, when you finally do bust into a slashing 32nd note burst, it sounds really fast! )
Old 16th July 2015
  #7
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matt thomas's Avatar
One of the top artist managers in the business told me that age is not really relevant anymore, at least not like it used to be.

Then again, it depends who your target market is, and what they are going to think of it.

The other side of the coin is, if a (good) hard rock band were the members were all over 80 came out, they would kick ass.

Matt
Old 16th July 2015
  #8
Right on; yeah definitely not the "teen pop" market, lol. I would say more the Breaking Benjamin / Three Days Grace market.

My friend goes "yeah but the fact is you don't want an old guy at the after party," haha.
Old 16th July 2015
  #9
Of course the music is more important than the after party, although in some bands that's arguable.
Old 17th July 2015 | Show parent
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1AlaskanAssassin View Post
Right on; yeah definitely not the "teen pop" market, lol. I would say more the Breaking Benjamin / Three Days Grace market.

My friend goes "yeah but the fact is you don't want an old guy at the after party," haha.
The cool guys show up, blow on out to better things.

Who you really don't want to be is the old guy who hangs around the afterparty until just a few drunk girls are left.
Old 17th July 2015 | Show parent
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by matt thomas View Post
One of the top artist managers in the business told me that age is not really relevant anymore, at least not like it used to be.
I'm honestly surprised.
I think if you have an edge in another regard, age might be irrelevant. Like if you are a Seasick Steve type artist, or a Susan Boyle.
If you are only as good as your contemporaries though, the better looking, younger ones might have an edge over you.
I don't think image only impacts the teeny band market. It's like Hollywood and television, there is still a pressure to look good in most areas of entertainment.
Old 17th July 2015 | Show parent
  #12
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ksandvik's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I'm honestly surprised.
I think if you have an edge in another regard, age might be irrelevant. Like if you are a Seasick Steve type artist, or a Susan Boyle.
If you are only as good as your contemporaries though, the better looking, younger ones might have an edge over you.
I don't think image only impacts the teeny band market. It's like Hollywood and television, there is still a pressure to look good in most areas of entertainment.
I think it's really the market that dictates this, for example in alt rock the looks are not that important and that's a huge market share of purchased music just now.

But yes in J-POP, boy bands, female hip hop singers (unfortunately) and similar markets.
Old 17th July 2015 | Show parent
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by ksandvik View Post
I think it's really the market that dictates this, for example in alt rock the looks are not that important and that's a huge market share of purchased music just now.
Not AS important, but still important.
People still have an image in Alt-Rock.
Most Alt-Rock bands look like Alt-Rock bands. Why? Because they are influenced by everyone around them in that tribe.
Culture is tribalistic, and I just don't think the Alt-Rock crowd would flock to see a new band of over 40's wearing business suits.
Legacy artists? Sure, people still want to see The Cure, Nick Cave, New Order etc...
Old 17th July 2015 | Show parent
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Not AS important, but still important.
People still have an image in Alt-Rock.
Most Alt-Rock bands look like Alt-Rock bands. Why? Because they are influenced by everyone around them in that tribe.
Culture is tribalistic, and I just don't think the Alt-Rock crowd would flock to see a new band of over 40's wearing business suits.
Legacy artists? Sure, people still want to see The Cure, Nick Cave, New Order etc...
Sure, there are stereotypes. If I would be a 50+ alt rock band member, I would just loose weight and get some skinny black jeans and things would be fine, to please the stereotypers.
Old 17th July 2015 | Show parent
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Not AS important, but still important.
People still have an image in Alt-Rock.
Most Alt-Rock bands look like Alt-Rock bands. Why? Because they are influenced by everyone around them in that tribe.
Culture is tribalistic, and I just don't think the Alt-Rock crowd would flock to see a new band of over 40's wearing business suits.
Legacy artists? Sure, people still want to see The Cure, Nick Cave, New Order etc...
I think chrisso (who I certainly have not always agreed with [and don't even normally see his posts]) has some very solid points here.

People aren't inflexible, but they are creatures of their particular culture.

I think a lot of times even we sophisticates can be a lot more narrow/culturally skeptical than we may realize, particularly when something strikes us as 'inauthentic' in a genre we identify with. Just as an aging, overweight, image-challenged artist is going to have a hard time cracking the teen/secretary pop market, a pretty boy in 'too-perfect' genre fashion is going to run into some skepticism in the artier/more serious genres.
Old 17th July 2015
  #16
For the record, I'm over 50, have a resume in the Alt-Rock genre and would not consider myself suitable for a band of 25 years olds.
Plenty of good 25 year old musicians out there.
Old 18th July 2015
  #17
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I'm curious, how do the songs sound without you and your roommate? It may have been necessary for the lead guitarist to overplay in order to maintain the energy. A number of years ago Nelly Furtado and Steve Vai played "I'm Like A Bird" as a duet at the Grammy's. Steve Vai had to play a lot of notes to keep the song interesting while remaining the accompanist. If there was a full band involved it would have been overkill.
Perhaps the situation was similar before you and your roommate arrived. That is why I asked how the songs sound when its just the two other guys playing. I realize it might seem like a weird comparison but it Youtube may prove otherwise.
Old 18th July 2015
  #18
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Temple of Light's Avatar
 

Age not being a factor so much as the difference in ages between the players,
mixing boomers, x'er's, millennials, etc...might not go over very well, or get very far, in a professional context. Different tastes from different generations, different influences, different skill/maturity levels, etc...depends on the why of it all I suppose...
Old 18th July 2015 | Show parent
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Temple of Light View Post
Age not being a factor so much as the difference in ages between the players,
But the amount of artists/bands who first appear on the scene with an average age of 40 - is absolutely miniscule.
Popular music really is a young person's game. Once you have amassed some kind of fanbase, usually of similar aged followers, yes you can hold on to many as you grow older. Go to a McCartney show, or Fleetwood Mac. The vast majority of the audience are around the same age as the artist, although there are a smattering of younger attendees.
One Direction audience vs Fleetwood Mac audience = about 40 years difference.
Old 18th July 2015 | Show parent
  #20
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Temple of Light's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
But the amount of artists/bands who first appear on the scene with an average age of 40 - is absolutely miniscule.
Popular music really is a young person's game. Once you have amassed some kind of fanbase, usually of similar aged followers, yes you can hold on to many as you grow older. Go to a McCartney show, or Fleetwood Mac. The vast majority of the audience are around the same age as the artist, although there are a smattering of younger attendees.
One Direction audience vs Fleetwood Mac audience = about 40 years difference.
Whereas Age is being used here as a factor in a targeted market,
otherwise it is irrelevant, meaning if you are mixing art up between generations of players, it stands to reason the audiences would be multi generational as well...point being all musicians are striving to be heard by everybody...from all age groups...pop not being a limiting factor here.
Every musical genre has generational bias, and every generation
has it against the next following it.. and in many cases,
preceding it as well...I wont listen to 350 year old classical music,
just like millenials don't want to listen to the bebop and swing era's...
A bunch of boomers already going out of their way to impress millenials;
well it just ain't gonna happen, older guys and gals don't learn from the younger generations, we teach them...and genuine art, is not only timeless in it's appeal, but will stand the test of time...
Real artists don't care how old or young you are...
or whether or not you like their work,
only that you get a chance to listen to it...

Last edited by Temple of Light; 18th July 2015 at 10:27 AM..
Old 18th July 2015
  #21
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Theo Stobbe's Avatar
 

As long as young people talk like old ones, I won't play with them.
Old 18th July 2015 | Show parent
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theo Stobbe View Post
As long as young people talk like old ones, I won't play with them.
I'd rather talk with young people who talk like old people than old people who try to talk like young people.
Old 18th July 2015 | Show parent
  #23
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I'd be more worried about over-playing than over-age for the most part.
Maybe the overplaying is overcompensation. Guy's thinking, "Better show these kids that Grampaw can play." Might be worth a chat to tell him his skills aren't in question, just some of his choices.
Old 18th July 2015 | Show parent
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
Maybe the overplaying is overcompensation. Guy's thinking, "Better show these kids that Grampaw can play." Might be worth a chat to tell him his skills aren't in question, just some of his choices.
It's hard to imagine there's not a little of that, particularly if the guy's not confident in his position, with regard to non-musical considerations.

I have to say I always thought it was kind of interesting and cool when 'old guys' were in young, (small-p) progressive bands. I was particularly charmed by the father-son team in Spirit. Or Cream, for gosh sake! Ginger Baker is only a few years younger than my mom. Born in 1937. I didn't realize how old he was but I knew he'd been playing jazz in the 1950's.

Or Bob Quine -- the same age as Jack Bruce, actually! -- the late, brilliant, but jaggedly iconoclastic guitarist who could nonetheless fold himself into bland pop bands (Katrina & the Waves?!?) -- but when given a change, could be as outside as anyone in the punk era as he was in Richard Hell's Voidoids. That was some kind of guitar playing.

Old 18th July 2015 | Show parent
  #25
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Theo Stobbe's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
I'd rather talk with young people who talk like old people than old people who try to talk like young people.
You talk about talking.
I talk about playing.
(Maybe you're too old for this )
Old 19th July 2015 | Show parent
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Theo Stobbe View Post
You talk about talking.
I talk about playing.
(Maybe you're too old for this )
Definitely.
Old 21st July 2015
  #27
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drunami's Avatar
 

Whenever I see a group where I find age relevant, it seems to me like it's relevant because there's a disparity of taste. Sometimes you can get a group where everyone has wildly divergent influences and it meshes into something awesome. Other times, you get a jazz combo with a shred metal guitarist and it sounds horrible. Because taste is DEFINITELY tied to age in some way, that will sometimes be an issue.
Old 23rd July 2015
  #28
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Herb's Avatar
 

Reading your original post it says you and your room mate are both in your thirties. A lot of young people might think that's past it for starting a band.
Old 23rd July 2015
  #29
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@ 1AlaskanAssassin starting anything requires commitment, responsibilities and clear, realistic goals not set in stone.

@ Herb many young people lack the attention span to start a band much less practice in accordance with their role and/or roles in one.
Old 23rd July 2015 | Show parent
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boombapdame View Post
@ 1AlaskanAssassin starting anything requires commitment, responsibilities and clear, realistic goals not set in stone.

@ Herb many young people lack the attention span to start a band much less practice in accordance with their role and/or roles in one.
I feel you missed my point. I'm purely referring to the discrimination against somebody older for reasons of image when some people might consider being in your thirties too old to be "down with the kids."
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