Considering Leaving the Band

Disco Stu

Senior Member
I've just come off a very poor performance last night, and it has me thinking about leaving my band. There were some things that made it a bit challenging: I was playing an unfamiliar kit (from the previous band), and I accidentally cut my hand yesterday and had it all taped up. These things might have thrown my game off a little, but they were not the main problem.

What really affected my performance last night was the singer. This person is very domineering and can be difficult to work with. She has a habit yelling at the rest of us band members during performances. The first time it happened to me, she reeled around and yelled "You're too f-ing loud!" or some such thing. For the record, I have never been a "loud" drummer, especially compared to many of the drummers I've seen perform live. Nevertheless, the volume issue has been brought up often, so I have adjusted my levels accordingly.

But last night, after we finished the first song, she turned around and yelled, "Watch the tempo!" Now, this can be a valid complaint. But it wasn't just that she said it. It was how she said it: loudly and angrily. Plus, I have been practicing this song all week, so I know what the tempo is. IF the tempo was fast, it was not by much. Certainly not enough to warrant an outburst like that. To make matters worse, the acoustics of the room were such that everything was very LOUD. I was playing quite softly, especially compared to the drummers that performed before me (who were seriously wailing on their kits), but it still sounded loud. As a result of all this, I was totally on edge, which resulted in a poor performance, which resulted in embarrassment and no fun at all.

This is all the more frustrating because of something that happened about a year ago. I once had a group of friends at a show, and I asked for their input afterwards. One of them mentioned they would like see the singer engage the audience a little more. Pretty benign comment if you ask me, but I mentioned this to her in an email and she freaked out, and went into this tirade about how that's not how she performs and she's not going to be somebody she's not, etc. etc. In other words, she has no problem dictating how the rest of us perform, but she reacts with hostility to suggestions about her own performance.

I know you are only getting my side of the story, but I am seriously trying to make an honest assessment here. I guess I needed to vent more than anything, but I welcome your comments, especially if you think there is something I should be doing differently, or if you think I should still be able to play well under such circumstances.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
It sounds like you might be focusing on the negative at the moment. In any band situation, you have to make sure that the pros outweigh the cons. Otherwise, you're going to be miserable. You can write out a list (it helps to see it visually) with two columns: "pros" and "cons". It's not the number in each column that matters, but how heavily they weigh that side down. This should help you see through the haze of the last performance and get an overall view of whether you're happy or not in this group.

Sometimes, all it takes is one member to turn us off in a group. Why don't you see if anyone else in the group feels the same way about your singer. If so, maybe YOU'RE not the one that needs to leave for the health of the band...

It seems as though your singer probably has some issues. Have you tried tactfully discussing your concerns about her behavior with her? Maybe a simple, "I don't appreciate the way you talk to me during the gigs. It kills my mojo..." might be effective, but it sounds as though it might not.
 

Thunderhoof

Member
Couple questions. Do you make a living with this band? If so maybe you can just look at the dollars instead of the enjoyment aspect. Surely if you don't, if your good and solid, then there most likely is another band for you.

Based on the nasty attitude of the singer. If this project isn't too serious I would leave it. If its covers I would leave it.

If its an original act, with chance of a huge record deal, perhaps you should stay in it for awhile.

I play out and often, and never look at the monatary aspect, I drum because I like to entertain, and I like to have a good time doing it. If you too have the same idea about playing as I you'll probably want to move on...BUT!

One more question, is it fun to look at her ass all night? That could factor the decision a little bit.
 

rjvsmb

Senior Member
Hey Stu,

Sorry about the frustration.

I'm sure we are all going to tell you stuff that is pretty common sense and stuff you already know, but you asked.

First, is the band worth staying in? If so, make sure you address the issue with the singer face to face not via email, and if need be, include the band members. There may be some common ground with them.

The most you can do is discuss the situation with her about what happend, your feelings, and your expectation as well as listening to her and understanding where she's coming from.

If at that point you don't feel comfortable with your place in the band, then it's probably time to move on.

Remember, you're a musician to. You have to stand up and let her , and any band or band member, that know what the hell you're doing back there.

It's all a learning experience.

Take care buddy,
rjvsmb
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Couple questions. Do you make a living with this band? If so maybe you can just look at the dollars instead of the enjoyment aspect. Surely if you don't, if your good and solid, then there most likely is another band for you.
There's also something to be said about at least tolerating what you do for a living, let alone enjoying the wonderful thing that music is! I would rather work the dreaded day job than have my full-time gig be something that I absolutely abhor doing. But, it all goes on the "pro and con" list I was talking about...
 

Disco Stu

Senior Member
Thanks for your responses so far.

caddywumpus: Yes, I am definitely focusing on the negative right now. There are positives: the other band members are great, I am gigging on a fairly regular basis, making ok money, and it's not much work for me other than showing up for gigs and rehearsals.

Thunderhoof: No, I don't make a living with this band. Yes, it is a cover band. I'm definitely agreeing on your thinking regarding these aspects. Anyway, I have been wishing for a band situation where more creativity is involved.

rjvsmb: I do plan on bringing up my grievances at the next rehearsal on Tuesday, in front of the whole band so they all know my reasoning if/when I do leave the band.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I don't have much input, other than I've played with female singers who were like that.

Most bands I've been in fell apart due to the singers ego. They don't call it LSD for nothing.
 

Muckster

Platinum Member
You need to talk to this girl about her antics. If you can't get this resolved and the rest of he band feels the same way, start looking for another singer
 

Chazz

Senior Member
You need to talk to this girl about her antics. If you can't get this resolved and the rest of he band feels the same way, start looking for another singer

I Agree with Muckster, if you and the rest of the band members are
cool & get along with no problems... have a meeting and discuss finding
a new singer or change her Evil Ways...

Best
 

Anne Beeche

Senior Member
God, I feel bad for you. See if you can make amends with the vocalist first before you take your leave. If you have the rest of the band on your side, then you can replace her with someone more cooperative, and you won't have to leave.
 

Disco Stu

Senior Member
Thanks for the support y'all. Maybe I should have mentioned that the singer is married to the keyboard player, and they started the band. So, there would be no ousting of the singer. Anyway, I wouldn't be too disappointed if I wasn't playing with this band any longer. Aside from the personal issues, I do feel like I'm in a creative rut doing nothing but covers. And while I like most of the music we play, it's not my passion.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You could use this opportunity to hone your professionalism. Correct all critiques, ask the keyboard player to gently persuade his wife to critique OFF stage, and smile and be the most professional musician you can be. Everybody knows when someone is an ass and it goes a long way in showing others your professionalism if you know how to work around that issue. Singers are notorious for being prima donnas, and they really rely on us drummers to make them look good. It's hard to do your best for an unappreciative witch, but if you are able to do it with a smile, you will go far. I'd say don't let her get to you, sometimes you have to treat them like children, (without them realizing it of course) it's like, "let the baby have her way".

It's either that or leave. You're not going to let this person get the better of you now are you?
 

Vipercussionist

Silver Member
I've just come off a very poor performance last night, and it has me thinking about leaving my band. There were some things that made it a bit challenging: I was playing an unfamiliar kit (from the previous band), and I accidentally cut my hand yesterday and had it all taped up. These things might have thrown my game off a little, but they were not the main problem.

What really affected my performance last night was the singer. This person is very domineering and can be difficult to work with. She has a habit yelling at the rest of us band members during performances. The first time it happened to me, she reeled around and yelled "You're too f-ing loud!" or some such thing. For the record, I have never been a "loud" drummer, especially compared to many of the drummers I've seen perform live. Nevertheless, the volume issue has been brought up often, so I have adjusted my levels accordingly.

But last night, after we finished the first song, she turned around and yelled, "Watch the tempo!" Now, this can be a valid complaint. But it wasn't just that she said it. It was how she said it: loudly and angrily. Plus, I have been practicing this song all week, so I know what the tempo is. IF the tempo was fast, it was not by much. Certainly not enough to warrant an outburst like that. To make matters worse, the acoustics of the room were such that everything was very LOUD. I was playing quite softly, especially compared to the drummers that performed before me (who were seriously wailing on their kits), but it still sounded loud. As a result of all this, I was totally on edge, which resulted in a poor performance, which resulted in embarrassment and no fun at all.

This is all the more frustrating because of something that happened about a year ago. I once had a group of friends at a show, and I asked for their input afterwards. One of them mentioned they would like see the singer engage the audience a little more. Pretty benign comment if you ask me, but I mentioned this to her in an email and she freaked out, and went into this tirade about how that's not how she performs and she's not going to be somebody she's not, etc. etc. In other words, she has no problem dictating how the rest of us perform, but she reacts with hostility to suggestions about her own performance.

I know you are only getting my side of the story, but I am seriously trying to make an honest assessment here. I guess I needed to vent more than anything, but I welcome your comments, especially if you think there is something I should be doing differently, or if you think I should still be able to play well under such circumstances.
It's very unprofessional of her to reprimand on the stage. WICKED bush league!!!

Had that same issue with a band I was in. But I waited 'till we were done with a show one evening and all packed up to voice my concern. I told him I would kick his ass if he EVER yelled at me again on stage, for ANY reason. I further explained that he could tell me ANYTHING before or after the gig and I would react positively to it and see about correcting his PERCEIVED problem. He threatened to dissolve the band as my punishment. However after I laid into him and headed home the REST of the band had their turn at voicing the same concern. Needless to say, he realized the error of his ways and corrected them.

He called later that night, apologized for being a dick and literally never yelled at a gig again. We would kid about it on a bad night and I'd say, "You can yell at me if it'll make you feel better" and we'd BOTH have a good laugh and it would ease the tension for the moment.

Unless yelling is somehow part of the legitimate show, it's NEVER to be done on stage, EVER.

That's so RANK AMATEUR it's just not even funny.

Any musician should be approachable for any real issue presented in a civil fashion at a correct time, but a raving lunatic gets no respect from me!!!!
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
Thanks for your responses so far.

caddywumpus: Yes, I am definitely focusing on the negative right now. There are positives: the other band members are great, I am gigging on a fairly regular basis, making ok money, and it's not much work for me other than showing up for gigs and rehearsals.
If you like the other band members maybe you should consider asking them how they feel about this singer as well, given the circumstances i think it's probably best for all involved if you ditch her and get a new one. But if that doesn't work out then the next best option is definetly just to walk away, you'll find a band you really like eventually. I remember i always used to tell the drummer in a band once to play LOUDER! :p

And VP is right, shouting to band members on stage is just stupid, i did it a couple of times but that was in a youth club playing to about 15 chavs who are usually there on a friday night anyway. When you're talking about a proper club it just makes the band look really bad and the club owner will no doubt be less inclined to want to have you on their stage again.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Caddy's got it covered. It all comes down to the fact that the world is going to criticize, be unfair,and be a bitch.

Always. Till kingdom come.

The trick is to take all of that and learn from it and make it work for you. Not many offer constructive criticism..to make it constructive is your job.

good luck.
 
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jonescrusher

Pioneer Member
Given that you're neither in the band for financial nor musical reasons you retain the upper hand. Start looking for something new, choose your moment and then up and leave in spectacular style ;) I half joke - it comes down to how much you respect the other band members. I've always found that difficult when I start despising a particular ego - is it fair to stitch up the other guys?
If you don't record yourself, start doing so. Then it's possible to check the validity of the singer's claims, and you can show to her your concerns.
 

SGT_Drummer

Senior Member
i have experienced some of the exact same problems in several of the bands i have been in, here is what i would do.

first off, don't approach anything alone. talked with the other band members privately, they may be able to chang your mind before you make an a$$ out of yourself in front of everyone. or more realisticly, you'll find that you are not the only one that feels that way. the other members may not even realize how much things bother them until you bring it up to them.

second, you mentioned that you want more creativity, so gtfo of a cover band. you've obviously done shows, you have those intial jitters out and you feel comfortable playing in front of people. now it's time to move on. but keeping in mind what i said at first, don't move on alone. if the other members are really good then ask them to start another band with you. regardless, start looking around for other people you respect as musician's or have said to yourself "hey, i would love to jam with that guy" and begin the recruiting process because you are going to have some holes to fill. word of mouth can really work wonders to. as in that guy that keeps saying his cousin's best friends boyfriend is a really good singer. well, go check him out and see what he's got.

but quite honestly i don't see any future musically or creatively in the position you are in right now, so gtfo and do (as the earlier comment said) Spectacularly!! make a scene, let it be known what that band just lost, and make sure everyone thinks that it doesn't bother you in the least. keep you cool though. you'll just look like a loser if you blow up on the witch.

regardless of what you do, i hope everything works out for ya.
 
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