If "Coxswain" is the perfect metaphor, what is the best less silly sounding metaphor?

I’m putting together a new music project for which I am the songwriter and head of the project but I am not performing as part of the project. In the music circles I run in, pretty much everyone is mostly locked into a singer-songwriter model- so, it takes a little explaining on my part to really communicate what I’m doing with this new project.

I can handle the detailed description of my role, but I also am trying to put together a humorous short-hand explanation.

As the guy directing all the other participants, I am the . . .
Whip Cracker (Guy cracking the whip)? Too harsh and unpleasant sounding.

It struck me that “Coxswain” is nearly the perfect metaphor to use.
The only problem, the only problem, with “Coxswain” is that it is too silly a word and provokes inappropriate giggling.
So, if “Coxswain” is the perfect metaphor, what is the next best metaphor?

Boat rowing yeller guy. Rolls right off the tongue.


You are the Organ-grinder. (The others are the monkeys)


You are the Engine-driver (They are the oily rags)

Sheepdog is great for people who have a real understanding of what sheep dogs do. I don’t know how fully appreciated a reference it is for us city-folk. Still, it’s one I hadn’t thought of on my own- and it’s pretty good.
Hmmmm, I like organ-grinder. Bonus for the musical imagery.

“I’m the fifth wheel. The steering wheel.”

You’re dealing with getting artistic types to all do something?


The Whip.

As in the Conservative Party’s Whip in the House of Commons ensured that all the Conservative Members of Parliament were present to vote for the money bill.

From the movie Airplane!: “It’s his ship now, his command. He’s in charge. He’s the boss, head man, top dog, big cheese, …”

Well, you’re directing a bunch of musicians, but not actually playing or singing yourself?

Seems like ‘conductor’ is a pretty apt description. That, or ‘producer’ if you want to go less classical.

“I drive the fire truck.”
“I’m the plumber: keep shit moving in the right direction.”
“I’m the herd dog.”

Bell cow?
Lead dog?
Ring Master?

From a music recording terminology standpoint, how are you not The Producer? The person who takes the musicians and organizes them with the intent to record them?

If you are discussing someone in a band who manages things on stage - calling out tricky changes, catching mistakes and getting back on track, etc. - that is a role I usually play in my bands with many/most of our songs, and we refer to it as a Field General

I’m guessing “invigilator” isn’t quite right, and that “hortator” is right out.

I say stick with coxswain. Let the immature losers have their giggles.


Producer and Conductor describe specific duties that I myself am not undertaking. But, they’d both be too specific for the purposes of this thread anyway. I don’t have any problem actually giving a descriptive explanation of my role- what I’m looking for is a shorthand humorous metaphor.

As such, I think I agree with Knorf:

So, in the shorthand I describe myself as:

bienville: songwriter, coxswain, bean counter

That brings a tear to my eye!