Real Band Dilemma....

SquadLeader

Gold Member
So I'm in an absolutely belting band. I really like the music. And the last thing I want to do is walk out on the band. I think it would devastate me. It's the last band I'll likely ever be in, and definitely the best I have ever been in.

But, we hardly ever play any gigs. Our bass player is a policeman and is at the mercy of shift patterns. I have asked them at least 10 times this year if they are available for a gig on a set day and the pattern always goes "yes", "yes", "no...I'm on nights".

By the end of this year we will have done 7 gigs. We could have done at least triple that. We've had to turn down decent festivals, paid gigs, all sorts. And it's almost always down to this one guy.

I'm now in a position of complete confusion. I don't want to leave this band. I don't particularly want to put to the other two guys the idea of getting a new bass player because I'd feel duplicitous. Rather than crap on this guy, I'd rather walk myself. But I don't want to do that.

The guys seem happier recording albums...which I think is a total waste of time. And when we do gig they seem happier to do support slots for larger bands. I think a lot of this is ego driven. I'd rather do good gigs, in front of people in pubs and smaller live music venues. I've come to the point where, for a whole host of reaons, I really quite despise these support slots.

I'm about to call a band meeting and explain my feelings on the subject. I want to make it clear that no-one is to blame for this. Shifts are shifts. Work is work and must come first. But this band is not fulfilling my requirements any more as things stand.

I think I want to lay out my requirements for 2015 as follows:

No support slots (I will explain why to them).

One rehearsal per month (the guys want to rehearse once per week...and it's totally pointless and a complete waste of money in the position we find ourselves at the moment).

If they want to learn a new song, they come to rehearsal with it prepped and ready to go. I want the MP3 sending to me in advance and I will learn the drum part at home. We waste so much time in rehearsals messing around with "what note now...what chord now....how shall we arrange this"...it drives me nuts. They have all week to learn these parts and the best they can ever come up with is "I've been busy". Whereas I practice/learn every evening almost without fail.

No recording...I spunked a lot of money this year on the band's album. It was completely pointless because every time we get offered a gig on the back of the album, we have to turn it down. I simply can't see the point. And I don't even like the album (but I don't intend to tell them that). It sounds like a totally different band to the one I play in. A real disappointment to me.

Others will book gigs....and let me know when they are. I will almost ALWAYS slot in to a gig. I've never turned one down. I've turned my life on occasion upside down to accommodate the band. I want others to start doing the same. But, the frustration of me being offered a particular date and having to decline is really getting on top of me.

If the band don't like this...I'll walk. I'm just getting a bit too old and tired to be doing something which is irritating me so much that I struggle to sleep some nights.

If anyone on here can give ANY advice whatsoever on this I would be humbled. I'm finding this to be a very difficult position I find myself in.
 

Satch

Junior Member
Tough situation. Why one rehearsal a month? do you pay for space?
I kind of have a similar situation. it comes down to commitment. if the guy says yes once, he needs to revolve his other stuff around that and not back out all of the time. don't kick him out or leave, just let him know this is how it has to be. I try to book gigs and its difficult to say yes without knowing what the other guys are up to on those dates, let alone having them decide after the booking that they cant make it.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Tough situation. Why one rehearsal a month? do you pay for space?
I kind of have a similar situation. it comes down to commitment. if the guy says yes once, he needs to revolve his other stuff around that and not back out all of the time. don't kick him out or leave, just let him know this is how it has to be. I try to book gigs and its difficult to say yes without knowing what the other guys are up to on those dates, let alone having them decide after the booking that they cant make it.
Basically I'm tired of rehearsing. Each rehearsal costs us around £25 apiece. I think they see it as a 'social' event. I don't. We're not particularly 'close' as friends in reality. I just can't see the point of doing 40+ rehearsals a year, for 7 gigs. If you think this is me being a complete arse, just tell me.

Sorry, I explained the planning part badly. He doesn't change his mind. It's just it's ALWAYS him who can't do a gig. So it goes:
Me: "Possible gig for ...... can we do it" ?
Singer: "I'm in"
Guitar: "I can"
Bass: I'm on nights. Sorry.
I'm not exaggerating when I say I have secured at least a dozen gigs this year. The band have managed one of those.
I've recently turned down a big paid one near Christmas. Two of the guys (bass and guitar) are on nights and haven't kept any holidays aside for this potential.
They sort of care about the band...but don't seemingly care about gigging.

The really difficult part...it's not him being an arsehole, or awkward. It's just his job. And the job comes first. I accept that. But, I'm in a band and because of him and his job, this band can hardly ever do gigs. And that's the fact of the matter.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
Get a backup bass player.
I'm giving serious thought to this as an option but it wouldn't fly.

This guy would throw his dummy out if I made the suggestion. He'd take this as a personal attack.

He can become very touchy and on occasion I've had to tell him to calm down and discuss a particular matter like an adult.

It was a discussion about song naming....we'd agreed our songs on our album would be written by 'the band'...on the album they turned out written by him and the singer. I challenged them. He responded with the old "I didn't realise it was going to be like this. If it is I may as well leave the band". He's a bit like this.

I don't want to be the one who propagates the disintegration of the band...although I accept I may need to (or walk out myself)
 

Satch

Junior Member
Basically I'm tired of rehearsing. Each rehearsal costs us around £25 apiece. I think they see it as a 'social' event. I don't. We're not particularly 'close' as friends in reality. I just can't see the point of doing 40+ rehearsals a year, for 7 gigs. If you think this is me being a complete arse, just tell me.

Sorry, I explained the planning part badly. He doesn't change his mind. It's just it's ALWAYS him who can't do a gig. So it goes:
Me: "Possible gig for ...... can we do it" ?
Singer: "I'm in"
Guitar: "I can"
Bass: I'm on nights. Sorry.
I'm not exaggerating when I say I have secured at least a dozen gigs this year. The band have managed one of those.
I've recently turned down a big paid one near Christmas. Two of the guys (bass and guitar) are on nights and haven't kept any holidays aside for this potential.
They sort of care about the band...but don't seemingly care about gigging.

The really difficult part...it's not him being an arsehole, or awkward. It's just his job. And the job comes first. I accept that. But, I'm in a band and because of him and his job, this band can hardly ever do gigs. And that's the fact of the matter.
I get the rehearsal thing, even more so if you are paying for it. I keep pushing ours along when they start to bs or we seem to be wasting time by not doing new stuff. I agree on coming prepared. usually if the guys do their homework, rehearsal can be just a one take and done type deal on a new song.

the job thing is a real tough one. we turned down a fiil in Halloween gig that I was excited to get the call on, but our guitar player is flying out on business that day..it killed me to say no like we were the ones cancelling, not the original band.

this is a tough situation!! no east answer that will please everyone either at least not one I can think of. your actually not being a jerk but just trying to do what a band is supposed to do...GIG!
 

drum4fun27302

Gold Member
It looks like (to me) you are disconnected from the band.

They like to rehearse once a week and be more of a social thing and hangout /unprepared as opposed to the more business-like approach you have (less often and prepared/got your sh*t done at home ).

You want to gig more often and they want to record.
It looks like different views.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
this is a tough situation!! no east answer that will please everyone either at least not one I can think of. your actually not being a jerk but just trying to do what a band is supposed to do...GIG!
Nah, you're right.

My better half tells me the ONLY solution is to ask him to leave. It's the last thing I want to do. It will turn into a 'him or me' scenario. I'd almost rather walk myself and leave them to it than allow that to happen.

Equally, I'll struggle to even sound out the other guys in the band on the subject because I'm not one for band politics, nor one for going behind someone's back. But this may be a circumstance whereby, to get the answers I need, I have to actually sound the guys out on the issue.

Really though I'd rather tackle it up front with them all....and basically go for 'band lite' rather than 'no band at all'.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
It looks like (to me) you are disconnected from the band.

They like to rehearse once a week and be more of a social thing and hangout /unprepared as opposed to the more business-like approach you have (less often and prepared/got your sh*t done at home ).

You want to gig more often and they want to record.
It looks like different views.
Agreed. But it's even more complicated. Because we don't actually 'get on' outside of the band. Not in the sense that we argue or disagree, but really other than myself and the guitarist, we don't socialise at all.

It's rehearse...couple of beers after...that's it until next rehearsal.

I wouldn't really call them friends as such.

And when we DO play we're really pretty good. As tight as a nut and almost always go down really well where we play. So, WHEN we do a gig it's usually so good that I come away thinking "what was I thinking, walking out on THIS".

Then, a couple of weeks later, I'm tearing my hair out again.

I think the phrase may be 'papering over the cracks'.

Grrr....I dunno....
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
It's a sore one. I think it's time for a frank but reasoned discussion with the rest of the band.

In all honesty, if I lived up your way I'd be offering my services as a back-up bass player.

In these kinds of situations, it might help if you all had an online calendar to check when you're all available. It would make the communication more open at least. I have a few friends in multiple bands and they have a Google calendar for each band where they block off when they're not available. That might be something to consider but I know with the Police some shifts are given at relatively short notice - especially if there are manpower issues in the force.

It sounds as though you're really motivated to try and keep this going and you're coming from a place of caring rather than one of anger. Frustration is understandable. If you call a band meeting then write down your grievances before you go in and make your points short, concise and try to suggest solutions rather than just presenting problems.

Not easy but it needs to be chewed over by everyone and if one member is frustrated, it can ruin the band dynamic.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Agreed with the backup bassist, and to discuss with the rest of the band. If the current guy gets upset and walks, then problem solved. If he agrees, then peace is kept.

I'm in several bands, and when I'm touring with Al, I know they have subs for me. They also welcome me back when I return, and don't give me grief about taking off to work with someone else. But if any of them felt it was in their best interest to have someone playing full-time, I'd understand and cheerfully step aside. In one case, that happened, and I became the occasional sub.

Basically, if someone's holding the band back, it needs to be fixed.

Bermuda
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
Do the other guys want to gig more? It sounds like you need to sit down with those guys and have a real discussion about what THEY want. If they dont want to gig, your ultimatum is going to fall on deaf ears. If they come out and say that seven gigs a year is plenty and they just want to record, then you need to find another band.

Communication is the key. You cant come in guns blazing only to find that nobody has your back. Get together over a beer and work shit out. If it cant be solved over a beer, it cant be solved.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
This guy would throw his dummy out if I made the suggestion. He'd take this as a personal attack.

He can become very touchy and on occasion I've had to tell him to calm down and discuss a particular matter like an adult.
[Sarcasm]Sounds like a great candidate for being a law enforcement professional. It's always best when they are short-tempered children with power complexes. The public really benefits when they hire guys like that to enforce rules.[/Sarcasm]
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Do the other guys want to gig more? It sounds like you need to sit down with those guys and have a real discussion about what THEY want. If they dont want to gig, your ultimatum is going to fall on deaf ears.
Agreed, although even a band that doesn't want to gig more still might want to play once a month. I'm in a few such bands, and it works for all involved. We know when we're working, nobody wants to work more, or less.

Communication is the key. You cant come in guns blazing only to find that nobody has your back.
Agreed there too, diplomacy and conference are important in human matters like these, especially with sensitive 'artists'. You don't need to outsmart or corner them, just be honest and discuss. The truth is, there are plenty of musicians willing to be in bands. If you come in too uppity, there might be a replacement for you!

The squeaky wheel gets the grease. But be careful, sometimes it simply gets replaced with a new, quiet, smooth spinning wheel that doesn't create friction.

Bermuda
 
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bigiainw

Gold Member
I'm really lucky. I'm in a band that has 4 members all with similar priorities. We all work and we all have families. Funnily enough a previous bass player was a cop and he had no difficulties in getting shift swaps so we could play. He was with us for 2 1/2 yrs and only left to play in another band with his wife and ex services mates. We do an average of about 20-25 gigs a year and they are generally booked in Jan-Mar from the start of the year so it's entirely predictable. There are kids, custody arrangements holidays and everything else that pertains to family lives when you are 40 something. The band rehearse more often than I do, with the chord learning stage done generally without me as it's mind numbing for a drummer- I probably go to half the rehearsals in the song learning phase as it's pointless me being there initially when they sort out the c's from the g's etc, and I have the heaviest family commitments with natural and foster kids and a pretty hectic job.

Point is that I think you've already answered your own question and you're currently half way out the door. If you need to play more and rehearse less, then the others either accept that and you find an additional outlet to satisfy you, or you walk completely and start again in another setting. Going on as you are will only breed resentment and hasten the end in any case.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I agree you need to talk to the other guys if they want to gig more.

Quite frankly, with all going on in my life, your band sounds like a dream to me. I've gigged plenty in my life. These days, I'd rather record, record record and play a handful of shows than gig all the time. I can give my kids and future grandkids recordings, I can't give them gigs at a bar.

And if I was in band that rehearsed once a week, and another member said "I want to go to once a month" I'd be tempted to replace that person rather than cut back on rehearsals.

To me, the best solution is simply find a 2nd band. If you have all this free time from not gigging, then fill it! Then you can still go back to your main love when they do have gigs.

It's pretty obvious to all of you this is a hobby band, and not your career, or main source of income, so I wouldn't stress out too much over the issues at hand.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Basically I'm tired of rehearsing. Each rehearsal costs us around £25 apiece. I think they see it as a 'social' event. I don't. We're not particularly 'close' as friends in reality. I just can't see the point of doing 40+ rehearsals a year, for 7 gigs. If you think this is me being a complete arse, just tell me.
I was in a band that rehearsed 5x more than we gigged. I had to quit it. The band eventually started to rot in my mind. It was moving backwards. Every other gig we had was a freebie. Rehearsals are over rated. The bandstand is where the real learning comes from.

I like it when my current band says learn such and such a song. Then we try it out at a gig with no prior run through. Very satisfying that we can just throw stuff together on the fly. Thinking on your feet is a skill you can't get at rehearsal.

Original bands need rehearsal, no doubt. Cover band members really should be able to do their job with no formal band rehearsal, because the song is in a completed state, and it's just a matter of learning the parts and the arrangement.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
I'm giving serious thought to this as an option but it wouldn't fly.

This guy would throw his dummy out if I made the suggestion. He'd take this as a personal attack.

He can become very touchy and on occasion I've had to tell him to calm down and discuss a particular matter like an adult.

It was a discussion about song naming....we'd agreed our songs on our album would be written by 'the band'...on the album they turned out written by him and the singer. I challenged them. He responded with the old "I didn't realise it was going to be like this. If it is I may as well leave the band". He's a bit like this.

I don't want to be the one who propagates the disintegration of the band...although I accept I may need to (or walk out myself)
You're not propagating any disintegration. Much to the contrary, you're suggesting a way to accommodate everyone through compromise.

You're making a very reasonable request (to play more gigs), and suggesting a very reasonable solution (get a sub bassist for the gigs your original bassist can't make). You and the rest of the band, assuming they agree, will need to make the original bass player feel involved and important, and let him know that he remains your first choice as a player.

More interesting questions: Why have the other members not already brought up the sub-bassist idea? Would they go along with it? Is everyone just afraid that the original bassist will lose his temper? Why does the original bassist feel that he has the right to block the group's efforts to play gigs?

You need to find out exactly where the other guys stand before you bring it up. If you don't have the support of the other guys, you risk damaging your relationship with everyone.
 
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