Bummed, had to cancel a commitment

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
So last night I get asked to sub on Saturday. I was unbooked so I accepted.
Today I get a text from my (only) band... that there was a cancellation in our best room for Saturday and can we do the gig. This is only the first time this has happened in this room since I started playing there in 2011. Dilemma. I really, really dislike when I make a commitment then have to go back on my word. It just feels so wrong. But it was the lesser of the 2 evils, and I have a much larger responsibility to my main band. Don my bandleader would have had a cow if I turned him down to play the other gig with a "rival" band. He's always insecure about losing our best room (unfounded IMO but not in his mind) It's kind of like "family" commitments trump everything else. And it's not like I can say, "hey just so you know I took a gig for Saturday and I had to cancel it so we could do this last minute gig". That's a waste of breath.

It was a tough choice, but I had to cancel the sub gig. I feel terrible, because I am.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Larry, I wish your bandleader wasn't such a good musician. Because then you wouldn't feel like you needed to put up with his ridiculous antics and god complex.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
Hey! Get your head out of the oven! (They're usually electric nowadays anyway.)

It happens sometimes. And keep in mind there are scores of musicians who cancel gigs left and right, sometimes for the dumbest reasons imaginable. (I had a guitarist cancel a gig not too long ago because he wanted to go to a party. Seriously.)

Ya gotta look at the long-term batting average: if this was something you did often, without regard to either band's inconveniences or hardships, THEN you'd be a terrible person.

Doing it once, in a series of one thousand or so, makes you human.

'You are forgiven.' - Pete Townshend
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Larry, I wish your bandleader wasn't such a good musician. Because then you wouldn't feel like you needed to put up with his ridiculous antics and god complex.
To be fair, I can't say he's ridiculous for trying to fill a cancellation in our most favorite room. If I turned him down, the band wouldn't work. The sub band will find a blues drummer, but filling my spot in my band is much harder, this room we do very arranged stuff, it's not a room we play blues in. It's just bad timing. Even if he wasn't all that musically, it is my only band and I feel a responsibility to it. He hires me about 50 times a year, the sub guy doesn't. As much as I abhor going back on my word, it's what I have to do for my "family".

At least I don't have to suffer in silence anymore because you guys are my people. Which I'm super grateful for.
 

Les Ismore

Platinum Member
What's a commitment? The lesson here may be that in the future when you say "yes" to a sub band, include the stipulation if your main band picks up a last min gig you're doing it, as in your commitment is with your main band. As long as they (the sub band) know your main band is your commitment it shouldn't be a problem, but sub band in need may (probably will) look elsewhere for a committed drummer to ease their worries.

This is a dreaded scenario with gigging musicians, double booking, but in Larry's case it wasn't his fault. Any pro musician would understand this situation and not have a problem with it. What can be done to ease it other than the mentioned above is suggest a sub drummer for sub band in need.

Had Larry been booked with his main band and somehow forgot, didn't note it etc. then said "Yes" to a sub band creating a double booking, that'd be his fault, but even that's an easy out with the main commitment (main band) card.
 

spleeeeen

Platinum Member
I hate it when that happens. You did what I would have (and have) done and I reckon your reputation won't take a hit as you're handling it responsibly and respectfully. The other band has plenty of time to find another sub and you've demonstrated your loyalty to your primary employer.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
What's a commitment? The lesson here may be that in the future when you say "yes" to a sub band, include the stipulation if your main band picks up a last min gig you're doing it, as in your commitment is with your main band. As long as they (the sub band) know your main band is your commitment it shouldn't be a problem, but sub band in need may (probably will) look elsewhere for a committed drummer to ease their worries.

This is a dreaded scenario with gigging musicians, double booking, but in Larry's case it wasn't his fault. Any pro musician would understand this situation and not have a problem with it. What can be done to ease it other than the mentioned above is suggest a sub drummer for sub band in need.

Had Larry been booked with his main band and somehow forgot, didn't note it etc. then said "Yes" to a sub band creating a double booking, that'd be his fault, but even that's an easy out with the main commitment (main band) card.
Thanks man, made me feel better.

I hate it when that happens. You did what I would have (and have) done and I reckon your reputation won't take a hit as you're handling it responsibly and respectfully. The other band has plenty of time to find another sub and you've demonstrated your loyalty to your primary employer.
I only did this one time before, with another guy, and I never got called back after that. We are still friends, but I kind of burned that bridge. I don't blame him, being a bandleader is a thankless trying job.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
I can see why you did it, but I always go by "first come, first served". It just keeps things fair. I've had people get pretty upset that I couldn't play with them because I had something else booked, but it's the only way to not look like you're playing favorites...

A couple times, I've kept lower paying or less prestigious gigs, just because I had booked it with them.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Larry, the solution is groupware.

You have a google calendar, you put your availability on it, person booking the gigs checks the linked calendar(s) before making a commitment.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I can see why you did it, but I always go by "first come, first served". It just keeps things fair. I've had people get pretty upset that I couldn't play with them because I had something else booked, but it's the only way to not look like you're playing favorites...

A couple times, I've kept lower paying or less prestigious gigs, just because I had booked it with them.
I try to be like this too. But I just can't do this to my band. It was a hard decision, someone was gonna get hosed. I thought I was safe booking the sub gig. I figured, what's the chances my main band will get a gig in 3 days?

Answer, 100% lol. 1st world problems. Oh well it's done now.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
You did exactly the right thing. I would have done the same.

If I lived closer, I'd tell you to feed the sub gig leader my number. ;-)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You did exactly the right thing. I would have done the same.

If I lived closer, I'd tell you to feed the sub gig leader my number. ;-)
And I would have passed it on to him. That's a nice thought, thanks Bob.

So the sub guy offered me 3 nights in a row, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. I told him Sunday was out right in the beginning (My wife and I are renewing our vows at a big party at my house) but that I could do Saturday and Monday. Then I had to bail on Saturday, but I told him I could still do Monday. He texted me yesterday and told me that he has Monday covered. So my reputation took a hit. It was a tough call and I had to make a tough choice but if I had to, I'd do it again.

I'll probably never stop feeling bad about going back on my word. It was a tough call. And I couldn't lie to sub guy. I had to tell him that I was playing for my own band, which pissed him off. He did have first dibbs. Oh well.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
He texted me yesterday and told me that he has Monday covered. So my reputation took a hit. It was a tough call and I had to make a tough choice but if I had to, I'd do it again.
I think they'll understand in the long run. I run into these situations a fair amount, and someone always walks away bruised (usually me haha). Usually people are upset because they are worried about putting together their show and not having it sound bad. Give it a few weeks, and they might be calling you again, like this never happened. He'll realize that your loyalty is with your main band, and that's your priority.
 

STXBob

Gold Member
It was a tough call and I had to make a tough choice but if I had to, I'd do it again.

I'll probably never stop feeling bad about going back on my word. It was a tough call. And I couldn't lie to sub guy. I had to tell him that I was playing for my own band, which pissed him off. He did have first dibs. Oh well.
That right there is why you get calls in the first place: Integrity. Frankly, integrity plays a larger role in who I play with than chops. I'd rather play with a sensitive musician who knows how to commit - congrats on renewing your vows, speaking of which ;-) - than a chops-meister who's a social Speshul Snowflake.
 

FreDrummer

Silver Member
Larry, the solution is groupware.

You have a google calendar, you put your availability on it, person booking the gigs checks the linked calendar(s) before making a commitment.
This was my first thought, as well. A simple google calender would work, but our band uses an app called BandHelper (no affiliation other than I use the product). There is an annual subscription fee, But it has has calenders, song lists, set lists, financials, stage maps, etc. as soon as you got the sub-gig, you could go on the calender and post, for that date, "Larry unavailable," and this may have avoided your primary bandleader accepting the gig. Only you would know if he is nosey enough to question why you were unavailable.

It can also be helpful for long-term planning, i.e. you post your unavailabilities well in advance so there will be no surprises (like a gig on your anniversary😀).
 

DrumDoug

Senior Member
I had a situation this weekend where I had to find a sub for my country band because my blues band already had a gig. Thursday night the venue where the blues band was playing calls to cancel the gig because they accidentally double booked. I didn't feel right calling the sub at the last minute to cancel his gig. He turned down other gigs to sub me. So I sat at home this weekend gigless.
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I used to feel bad about this stuff too. And then I just stopped caring for some reason. I know it's bad, and it hardly ever happens to me, but in the land of the local musician scene, nobody really cares if you back out on a gig for another one. People have their reasons, and everybody in a band situation, or an artistic endeavor are so busy looking at themselves that they hardly ever notice what anybody else is doing anyway. It's only music, right? Do what makes you feel good.
 

Mendozart

Platinum Member
I'm with Les on this one. When taking the sub gig, specify that if your main band has a last minute change, that you are obligated to them. I do this, and the same situation happened to me before. I felt bad, but the stipulation was in place.
 
Top