It’s time to start off the new year by thinking about your song list. Paul and Dave have a lot to say about song selection, mostly because they’ve both made a ton of mistakes in this regard, both about songs and the process of selecting them. Learn what they’ve learned so that you can avoid these pitfalls.

But first, your two favorite weekend warriors take a breath to talk about Neil Peart, drummer for Rush who recently passed away. They each have their own connections and stories to share, both in remembrance, and as inspiration for moving forward. Neil was certainly a man who was dedicated to his crafts, and that’s one lesson Paul and Dave are happy to take as inspiration. After all, Gig Gab is but one of their crafts, and the goal is for everyone to learn and take something away from it all. Press play and enjoy!

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Sean Kabanuk · January 20, 2020 at 8:00 pm EST

First off, I love the podcast – thank you for the consistent, qualify effort you guys put in each week! I always feel like part of the conversation, even though it’s just you two.

On to the subject of picking songs:

For many of us, part of the satisfaction of being in a band is the energy and effort that each member contributes to the cause. In my band, we all contribute songs for the set list, which gives us a chance to learn about each other and to feel equally invested in the product that we’re putting on stage. In our case, the band is a side project for people with families and careers, so having a high level of personal engagement is critical to our existence. However, we are a working band, so we do have to counter this with some guidelines that support our business goals. They are:

You should pick a song you like.
It should be a song people can dance too.
It should be a song people recognize.
If we aren’t feeling it after a few rehearsals, we take a vote on keeping it or shelving it.

This is also a great exercise in compromise and maintaining a pro attitude, because you’ll inevitably have to bring the rock and roll to a song that you don’t like very well.

The drawback to this approach, is that as your catalog grows, it may suffer from a lack of curation. When this happens, we try to identify areas of the set that need help and throw those into the selection guidelines.

I can see how a band as large as the House Rockers might need a bit more overt leadership in this type of thing, but for a 4 or 5 person band, who’s already chosen to play together based on common tastes, crafting a set list together can be very successful.

Thanks again guys,
-Sean (keyboard player in British Columbia)

    Dave · January 21, 2020 at 9:08 am EST

    Oh, great insights, Sean! Thanks for this. Yeah, we’ll include this in an upcoming episode, for sure. You’re totally right about seeing the “big picture” here.

    And great website, too. Folks, check out for an example of how to put together your website and a promo video.

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