I’ve done both, and so far, the Individual Artist approach is the winner.
The band approach is very romantic and sounds like fun – to people who haven’t been through the band grinder. I was in a 6-piece band that lasted about three years. We had 19 people come and go in that time period. Band members quit or were asked to leave for a variety of reasons.
We rehearsed a lot, borrowed money to buy a sound system and played very sporadically. Our lack of gigs was partially due to the high turnover of personnel. We couldn’t play without a singer/drummer/bassist or whomever we didn’t have that month. This contributed to the death spiral of every dollar we made going to pay for the sound equipment. This lasted until the band fell apart for the LAST time and everyone moved away, leaving me with the equipment and the remaining debt.
Years later, enter Gregorian Rock. It’s just my virtual band and me. This way it’s not a democracy and every single decision doesn’t have to go through a band meeting and a vote. If a virtual band member doesn’t want to be involved anymore, there is no drama and I find another solution. The solution could be to find a new musician, or play the part myself, or let the sequencer do it. I use all three approaches with very little drama.
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