Leaving bands

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I left my band the other day and while I'm still processing it all I was surprised to see there isn't much on this topic floating around. I thought it would be cool and helpful for those of us who have left or been fired to share our experiences but also to reflect. If no one cares that's cool, I would like to type this out for myself.

Anyway here's my version of events if you care to read.

11 months ago I took on the job knowing that there wasn't a great deal of talent at play, I thought it would be a good experience (and it was), but over time I realized the guys weren't really improving or very musical. There were alot of wrong notes, in the wrong key, bad singing, bad time feel etc and whether I remained there rested on convenience, friendship with the band members, the opportunity to practice and play gigs and record, things like that. Some of those things began to fall away. I told them that they should practice at home more often. One said he didn't want to practice and compared sitting in a room playing by himself to 'masturbating', to give you some insight. To some extent I felt I could carry them with great drums and drum parts but it only goes so far.

The band leader took the whole 'band' thing very seriously and he was quite relentless with advertising, facebook, networking etc etc, none of which I felt really meant anything until the band was worth listening to (which we weren't). I kept it to myself but I found all of this a bit annoying and I thought he was myopic. He would suss out bands that were playing with us and rubbish them all, when in reality most of the bands were loads better than us.

We conducted all of our band discussions over facebook in groups chats and it always had a power struggle vibe to it. And I felt that my opinion was the first victim.. I don't know if it was because I was so much younger than the other guys or if they just think I'm stupid but I felt like they were both walking over me at times. And all I ever did was say positive and helpful things!

The band leader rubbished my taste in music and proudly displayed his 'stuck in the past' repoitoire of bands and maybe expected me to admire him for his great taste and follow suit. The other guy always knocked back gigs. He said he didn't want to play too often because it would dilute our non-existent fan base. Really I think he was just lazy. I wanted to get out and play as much as possible so that we could improve but you can guess who won that battle.

It one point I threatened to leave if some things didn't improve, but they talked me into staying. But nothing improved.

We went in for a recording session. They both played terribly and didn't listen to my drumming or any of my advice or feedback (and I give it sparingly), and when the band leader showed me how unimportant my schedule was to him, I made up my mind.

I went to the last practice wondering whether I was going to stay quiet or speak my mind. I thought I'd sit in one more session and see if I could fake it. I couldn't. At the end they asked me what was wrong and I basically spilled the beans.. I was totally polite. Before I could say much (and I didn't really want to get into a big discussion and point the finger) the band leader gave some very harsh commentary on me and my life. He said I was a loser, I was going nowhere, what was I going to do? etc. I had sensed that he was critical of me but this was a bit shocking, and I'm hurt. It's always interesting to hear what someone has to say when you fight/break up. It was enough for me to know I had made the right move.

The other guy, who was probably the worst offender to the band was very polite and told me to keep an open mind about returning, not to slam the door on the way out type thing. They tried to reason with me for a while but I just kept saying that I'd weighed it up carefully and they weren't going to change my mind.

At the end of the day I felt that I was probably the stronger part of the band and I was being taken for granted. If I'm going to be kicked around I might as well be kicked around by better musicians lol.

That is a very condensed version of events and I've left out lots of things but today I feel good, and I'm happy to put that experience behind me. I am in a couple of other projects. I know not to expect fame and fortune, I do all of this for enjoyment and to meet people and I'm not going to give up.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Yep, it's an all too familiar scenario mate. I can relate and I'm sure a bunch of others will too. It certainly has an eerie ring of familiarity to it.

Sometimes you've just gotta bugger off and tread your own path in order to progress.

There's good guys to play with out there mate. I know it because I've been lucky enough to hook up with them on more than one occasion. It may be a test to find them.....but by god, does it make you appreciate them when they come along. Keep looking. They'll rear their heads.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I think the real lesson is to not get involved with people you dont respect. It sounds like you knew from the beginning that the band wasn't going anywhere, but you stayed on anyway. The relationship was doomed from the beginning. Hopefully you can find some musicians that are at your level to play with. You will get much more satisfaction and likely be less disappointed by their behaviour.
 

Razbo

Member
It almost never goes well, whether quitting of "firing". I've been fired, have quit, and have done the firing. I find if people are honest, and facing up to whatever issue it is, it goes a lot better, or at least as well as it can. I am pretty amicable with everyone I've ever played with. I personally feel in music it is not good to burn bridges.

Everybody has their on thing going on in their heads, and it does not necessarily mean anyone is 'bad people'. The one thing I have found, the longer the deed remains undone, the worse it will be when it happens.
 

Zickos

Gold Member
I've been in a few bands where it just wasn't a good fit (for either party). Sometimes I moved on and sometimes I was moved on. Either way it was the best thing in the long run. One band I felt was so bad that I couldn't see how they could ever play another gig. Guess what? They are still gigging without me.
 

MaryO

Platinum Member
Thanks for posting. Just what I needed since the BF and I are currently looking for new people to play with and will probably be leaving our current band in the next few weeks. Like your situation, the lead singer/guitarist can't play a song without totally bastardizing it (and not well) and he thinks he's wonderful. I, too, would rather be kicked around by better musicians than play with someone who is only bringing my playing down. Not that I'm saying I'm great, just the opposite, I need a situation I can actually learn something in and this one is not doing that. I've always heard that if you want to do something well, be the stupidest person in the room and surround yourself with smarter and more talented people than yourself (and, of course, be able to admit that that is the case!). Unfortunately, that's not how it is for me right now and it sounds as if you were in the same situation.

Anyways, glad you are out of a situation that was not working for you. On to bigger and better things! :) Good Luck!
 

boltzmann's brain

Senior Member
good topic. every band is different, of course, and every outcome is, too, but there are definitely patterns. the ones who don't believe in individual practice piss me off in particular. i am old, and have probably played in thousands of bands (seriously), and i was very fortunate to spend the majority of my career in southern california, playing with talented musicians who took what we were doing seriously. now, i live in an isolated area, replete with "musicians" who want to have meetings, and smoke pot, and talk about business. hey, guys, guess what? WE SUCK! there is no one way to quit, as every situation is different, of course. diplomacy is always good. i try not to burn bridges. the important thing in my experience has been to keep my emotions out of it (not easy).
 

FoolInTheRain

Senior Member
Thankfully, I've only had to do this type of thing once in my life. I had just completely lost interest and, frankly, didn't want to be in a cliche punk rock band. It just wasn't me and I was tired of pretending it was. It was hard, because at the time I hated to walk away from a musical project.

I was possing and moaning to my best friend about it and he said something that still sticks with me to this day..."Dude, life is too short to waste your time doing things that don't make you happy". Hearing this was exactly what I needed to hear to be able to just tell the guys that I wouldn't be continuing with the band. A few pissy text messages from the singer and it was done.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
Sounds like you did the right thing for you.
They already talked you into staying once, and you did, but now you're the looser?

You're on to better things(!), so don't let that "leader" take up any more time in your head.
Have fun!
 

toddmc

Gold Member
Good on you for having the guts to go to one last practice and tell them you were leaving to their faces.
After all you'd been through with this mob I would have just sent a text...
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
hey, guys, guess what? WE SUCK!
This made me laugh because I don't know how many times I wanted to just come out and say it.

Thanks for the replies everyone, it's funny how I still need to play out the situation in my head and voice it to someone despite how ridiculous this situation was for me. I'm almost waiting for them to make some lame remark so that I can launch a tirade and show them how right I am but I have done that before and it didn't make any difference. I went down to the studio and collected my drums, left their key and any of their possessions that I had in my bag. Weird feeling.
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
My approach has always been - no matter what - to never burn a bridge... Most local circles are small so you never know what the future holds as far as playing opportunities. As much as you may think at the current state, you'd never want to play with this person / these people again, things down the line can change. People change, some may get significantly better and / or play differently than they do at the moment. You just never know.

Leaving on good terms will not ruin your reputation as well.
 

groove1

Silver Member
Ditto's on "never burning a bridge". Be a pro at the way you conduct the business end of
things along with the way you approach playing. It's a very small, interconnected world we
live and play music in.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
Because of my former career in the military, I've had many an opportunity to leave bands. That was never an issue, because either I was upfront about my shelf life in my current location, or the band was mostly military folks to begin with.

I've only ever had three weird band departures, although one was more of a professional decision than leaving a band.

The one I'm referring to was supposed to be an "all-star" performance of local musicians to play at a neighbor's birthday party. The "band" turned out to be about 15 people, including horns, keyboards, percussion and about 5 guitarists. When, after two hours of "rehearsal", we hadn't even managed to work our way through one song (and there was clearly nobody in a leadership role), I told the person who invited me that I wasn't going to continue with the project. Never heard from them again.

When I left the military and moved to my current town, I was simultaneously working for an originals singer/songwriter and rehearsing with a cover band. While I was out playing gigs and making money with the originals band, the cover band's leader kept insisting that we needed more rehearsals before booking any gigs (even though our execution and musicianship was in fact as tight as the band I was gigging with). When summer came around, and the originals band started to book gigs heavily, the cover band leader confronted me (with the other two members looking on uneasily) and told me to make a decision, them or the other band. To my then-unemployed way of thinking, that was an easy decision. The next band that that fellow was in did quite well until he reportedly made some more demands of his bandmates and that also burned down.

The originals band that I was in was noted for a very high caliber of musicianship, involving many of the top players from around the area. Over time, they all left due to frustration with the leader until I was the "old guy", with all of a year under my belt. I was then phased out, in a sort of passive-aggressive way, by being "one of two drummers" for a show and then not informed of the next booking. It was probably for the best, however. This guy and I do cross paths frequently, without any drama, and he's been dealing with some really heavy stuff as of late. In any case, he was a bandleader and I was a sideman, and he went another direction... happens often.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
I kept it to myself but I found all of this a bit annoying and I thought he was myopic.

We conducted all of our band discussions over facebook in groups chats and it always had a power struggle vibe to it. And I felt that my opinion was the first victim.
Two warning signs were right there. Firstly, We all keep things to ourselves with new people but eventually once you get to know 'the band members', like in 6 months or so, its time to let them know you too. Let it out.

I know its generational, but a lot of e-discussion of band matters, facebooking, and so on can get misconstrued and misinterpreted. (look at all the misunderstandings that happen on DW?! lol). Still nothing like in person contact.

As for the bassist who compares self-practice of his bass parts to masturbation, maybe all he was doing was masturbating anyway.

All in all, sounds like you made a great move and look forward to the road ahead. It is hard to find the exact fit, but cherish when you get it.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Well I've gone and done it again. Left a prog band that I had been in since May 2013.

It's alot simpler this time. The bass player was really rude to me, didn't respect or tolerate that I had a different personality to his and he dealt with it by showing up to my place every week and having as little to do with me as possible. He'd clown around with the guitarist all practice and completely ignore me (they are long time friends), and when he did speak to me he was pretty patronizing, felt like he was putting a show on for the other guy, not actually interested in me or what I had to say.

So, the last 3 days I felt like quitting and was dreading another band practice with this guy and I thought bugger it, messaged the guitarist to let him know, he's a totally cool guy and a good player that's what makes this sad. He said he could see what was going on and was pleading with me to get in touch with the bass player and explain how I felt but I really didn't see any point. I don't give people 2nd chances anymore.

I know I'm not perfect but it's just sad how crap people can be.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Aye, its a bugger. I had to sack a singer once, and it was toe curling as he did not take it well. He was a poor singer but a nice bloke.

I got sacked by a band I had formed with three of my best mates!! Ha, the bass player was the main instigator and assured the other guys he knew a better musician singer, and that he could run the band better than me. I was mortified but just had to walk away. 25 years later the other two guys apologised, when we had a reunion, and said from that moment the band went nowhere, Was I smug? well, just a little,

I left a really good originals band back in 82 because my then wife was sick of all the time I spent at rehersals and gigs. They struggled to get another drummer that played my parts the way they wanted, no I am not a great drummer, just quirky. They split 4 months later. I should have left the wife instead, oh for the gift of hindsight.
 
M

Mike_In_KC

Guest
One said he didn't want to practice and compared sitting in a room playing by himself to 'masturbating'.
Uh what is so bad about masturbating? I like the comparison I just don't see it being negative. I can totally see how practicing by oneself can be compared to "roughing up the suspect". It is fun, I am by myself and I don't need my wife. Nothing against the Mrs. mind ya....

MM
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Aye, its a bugger. I had to sack a singer once, and it was toe curling as he did not take it well. He was a poor singer but a nice bloke.

I got sacked by a band I had formed with three of my best mates!! Ha, the bass player was the main instigator and assured the other guys he knew a better musician singer, and that he could run the band better than me. I was mortified but just had to walk away. 25 years later the other two guys apologised, when we had a reunion, and said from that moment the band went nowhere, Was I smug? well, just a little,

I left a really good originals band back in 82 because my then wife was sick of all the time I spent at rehersals and gigs. They struggled to get another drummer that played my parts the way they wanted, no I am not a great drummer, just quirky. They split 4 months later. I should have left the wife instead, oh for the gift of hindsight.
I was in a crap covers band a few years back and they held me responsible for a really crap gig....I was partly responsible....about 1/5th responsible. There were 5 in the band.

I was quite angry then when I'd calmed thought that I hadn't been enjoying it in the band for a whole host of reason and realised I had little to be grumpy about.

The only thing that annoyed me is that I'd considered them friends.

I spoke to a couple of the guys a couple of months later. The band had broken up within weeks of me leaving and they "never wanted to sack me anyway"....hmmm....could have spoken up.

I haven't spoken to a single one of those people ever again since then and never will. I take this kind of stuff pretty hard, and pretty personally and I bear a hefty grudge.
 

Cymbalise

Senior Member
I was in a crap covers band a few years back and they held me responsible for a really crap gig....I was partly responsible....about 1/5th responsible. There were 5 in the band.

I was quite angry then when I'd calmed thought that I hadn't been enjoying it in the band for a whole host of reason and realised I had little to be grumpy about.

The only thing that annoyed me is that I'd considered them friends.

I spoke to a couple of the guys a couple of months later. The band had broken up within weeks of me leaving and they "never wanted to sack me anyway"....hmmm....could have spoken up.

I haven't spoken to a single one of those people ever again since then and never will. I take this kind of stuff pretty hard, and pretty personally and I bear a hefty grudge.
This song was written for you then...particularly from the 03:00 mark!

http://youtu.be/A3YsCQrk4Ig
 
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