Lead Singer Disease (LSD)

This is written from the angle of a band with a lead singer. The singer may or may not play an instrument but usually they don’t.

One thing that has always surprised me is that the audience automatically thinks the singer controls and runs the band, I can tell you that this is not always the case BUT usually the audience thinks it is and, even worse, the singer often thinks so too.

The singer is the one who spends more time in front of the mirror than the other band members, although drummers come a close second and guitarists getting the right guitar strap height to make them look as rock and roll as possible should not be overlooked.

The singer often needs the band as much as the band needs the singer. Think David Lee Roth and Van Halen.

Also the sum is greater than the individuals i.e. Mick Jagger /Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones.

It’s a balance of people that makes a band work. Working as a unit is essential. If you change the balance of the band members then often things fall apart or don’t work as well as they could do. i.e. Red Hot Chilli Peppers need John Frusciante to complete the balance in their (musical) personalities.  (in my humble opinion)

If I’m playing with The Atlantics then Jim Skiathitis (we share guitar duties) and myself play the ‘melody’ on guitar that would usually be taken up by a singer. (In case you’re unaware The Atlantics are an instrumental band) Jim is John Lennon and I am Paul McCartney – to give you an idea on how it works – two lead voices.

When I do my solo work I choose band members that make me sound good. I’m the lead voice in that situation and need people who “get” what I’m doing. It has to be the correct balance of people for it to be at its best.

I have been fortunate to have worked with some great singers and front men that don’t have LSD but often the average singers are the worst culprits and also the most selfish band members.

Having said all this, guitarists, drummers, bass players, keyboard players, etc. often need that front person to make that connection with the audience that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to achieve.

I have been fortunate to have found a voice not as a singer, but on a guitar that enables me to perform without a ‘singer’ and it’s very liberating.

I’ll leave you with a quote: While playing in a jazzy band recently a woman from the audience calls out “play something with words so that we can dance