Should I Quit Band Due to Constant Critiques By Singer?

fpmr96a

Member
I'm trying to decide whether or not it's time to quit one of the bands I'm in. I formed the band about 1 year ago but members have come and gone in that time (mostly female singers).

They are a very talented group, and mostly nice, but the recent singer has toured and recorded in NYC and it's reflected in her attitude. I recruited her and my guard was up, but her awesome sound persuaded me.

My problem is that she constantly critiques my playing, which I'm very open to, but she uses ridiculous descriptions of how she'd prefer I play something. She uses terms like "rat tat tat" and "do kind of a hip hop reggae groove" or refers to a "shuffle" without really understanding how each is played. The bass player has chimed in a few times, as he kisses her a$$ and is trying to please her.

I'm in a second band, and constructive criticism is conveyed on occasion but communicated accurately and used. (I think)

I'm not sure whether to just quit or confront her on this. I think that after confronting, things will be awkward, so I've hesitated. I formed the band, recruited most members and we rehearse at my house. But, it's not fun any longer. My apprehension is that the singers originals are excellent and this may be the best band I've ever played in. My other band is very good (and gigging) but the music is not as advanced or as good a fit for my style.

One part of me wonders if she just doesn't like my playing style and it will never work with her. If that's true, I should just walk away now and allow them the chance to find a different drummer. I have a few other options to play with other bands.

Thanks ....
 

rebonn

Senior Member
If they are her songs, are good songs and the players are good, go with the criticism. The only question I would have is does she have some other person in mind that she would rather have playing drums. If not, everything can be OK. I play with a guitar player that is unable to convey any type of critique. He's like, after I do this 10 times you do da da bap bap boom. He has no knowledge of how things are counted or any understanding of beats, measures, bars, bridges or a chorus. Luckily the bass player does.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
My problem is that she constantly critiques my playing, which I'm very open to, but she uses ridiculous descriptions of how she'd prefer I play something.
I've always thought that bands are like relationships, and that in order to have a good relationship, there needs to be chemistry and compatibility. It's hard to manufacture chemistry, but compatibility can be worked on - and maybe that's what needs to be done here.

If you are, as you say, open to her criticism, see if she is open to working on developing a way for the two of you to communicate, particularly if her criticisms are constructive.
 

rebonn

Senior Member
Is the criticism really constant? That's a problem somewhere. But if it's not fun only a very small percentage of the time, learn to cope with the small percentage. If the percentage is bigger, that's a different story. Most bands have quirks. I wouldn't stand for constant criticism and would bring it up.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I'm trying to decide whether or not it's time to quit one of the bands I'm in. I formed the band about 1 year ago but members have come and gone in that time (mostly female singers).

They are a very talented group, and mostly nice, but the recent singer has toured and recorded in NYC and it's reflected in her attitude. I recruited her and my guard was up, but her awesome sound persuaded me.

My problem is that she constantly critiques my playing, which I'm very open to, but she uses ridiculous descriptions of how she'd prefer I play something. She uses terms like "rat tat tat" and "do kind of a hip hop reggae groove" or refers to a "shuffle" without really understanding how each is played. The bass player has chimed in a few times, as he kisses her a$$ and is trying to please her.

I'm in a second band, and constructive criticism is conveyed on occasion but communicated accurately and used. (I think)

I'm not sure whether to just quit or confront her on this. I think that after confronting, things will be awkward, so I've hesitated. I formed the band, recruited most members and we rehearse at my house. But, it's not fun any longer. My apprehension is that the singers originals are excellent and this may be the best band I've ever played in. My other band is very good (and gigging) but the music is not as advanced or as good a fit for my style.

One part of me wonders if she just doesn't like my playing style and it will never work with her. If that's true, I should just walk away now and allow them the chance to find a different drummer. I have a few other options to play with other bands.

Thanks ....
I think if you formed the band, and are considered a de facto "leader", then yo could fire her. Bands aren't just about playing great music, it's about being with people you like to be around. Because as many pros have said, you spend a lot more time together than when you're on the bandstand. Imagine if you were on tour and you were together 24/7, but only played for 90 minutes a day. Getting along goes much farther than brilliant musicianship.

If you are not the de facto leader, then maybe you can bow out amicably and just tell the truth - you don't think you can provide what she wants.

I say do what you need to do. IT's not like there aren't a lot of talented people out there. In fact, there are talented people everywhere. Finding the ones you can live with is a whole 'nother can o' worms! Go be happy - life is too short.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
I think if you formed the band, and are considered a de facto "leader", then yo could fire her. Bands aren't just about playing great music, it's about being with people you like to be around. Because as many pros have said, you spend a lot more time together than when you're on the bandstand. Imagine if you were on tour and you were together 24/7, but only played for 90 minutes a day. Getting along goes much farther than brilliant musicianship.
Yeah! You started the band - kick HER out!

If the other guys in the band want to join her, so what? You were already contemplating leaving.
 

Masheanhed

Senior Member
A band I more or less started brought in a female singer about 18 months into it. She had decent looks, a good voice, and was good with a crowd. She was also a Leann Rimes wannabe (she claimed to have backed up Carrie Underwood before her American Idol days) and saw herself as potential AI material. The bass player and I ended up quitting over her dramatics while the others glued their lips to her butt.

Five years later they were still slogging it out in the same bars playing to the same half dozen old drunks after she made two failed attempts to audition for American Idol. Now she's a bloated waitress with a bad complexion singing karaoke. Karma is good sometimes.
 

fpmr96a

Member
The only question I would have is does she have some other person in mind that she would rather have playing drums.
She's mentioned that her best friend is a drummer and played in a band with her in the past. She does constantly refer to how "the other drummer played it."

When I met her, she mentioned that she and a drummer (same one) were trying to put a band together, so it's very likely that this is about replacing me with her friend. Not sure how to verify that, other than asking her point blank, but that would leave things in a awkward state either way. Maybe best for me to just walk away and concentrate on other projects.
 

fpmr96a

Member
A band I more or less started brought in a female singer about 18 months into it. She had decent looks, a good voice, and was good with a crowd. She was also a Leann Rimes wannabe (she claimed to have backed up Carrie Underwood before her American Idol days) and saw herself as potential AI material. The bass player and I ended up quitting over her dramatics while the others glued their lips to her butt.

Five years later they were still slogging it out in the same bars playing to the same half dozen old drunks after she made two failed attempts to audition for American Idol. Now she's a bloated waitress with a bad complexion singing karaoke. Karma is good sometimes.
Sounds very similar to my situation. She's good but had her chance at the bigger time 15 years and that didn't work out.

If not for her dramatics and attitude, I'd definitely stay, but the juice ain't worth the squeeze ...
 

fpmr96a

Member
Yeah! You started the band - kick HER out!

If the other guys in the band want to join her, so what? You were already contemplating leaving.
That's certainly one option I'm considering. However, since I'm in another good band and being recruited by 2 others now, I'm thinking it's not worth all the trouble.
 

fpmr96a

Member
I think if you formed the band, and are considered a de facto "leader", then yo could fire her. Bands aren't just about playing great music, it's about being with people you like to be around. Because as many pros have said, you spend a lot more time together than when you're on the bandstand. Imagine if you were on tour and you were together 24/7, but only played for 90 minutes a day. Getting along goes much farther than brilliant musicianship.

If you are not the de facto leader, then maybe you can bow out amicably and just tell the truth - you don't think you can provide what she wants.

I say do what you need to do. IT's not like there aren't a lot of talented people out there. In fact, there are talented people everywhere. Finding the ones you can live with is a whole 'nother can o' worms! Go be happy - life is too short.
I was the leader until she showed up. In theory, I could fire her but I'm not sure where the loyalties are with the others.

Now, we've actually renamed the band to have her name in front - which was the beginning of the end for me.
 

Juniper

Gold Member
If she's new my suggestion is to try and get to know her a little better, if you haven't already.

Maybe head out for some drinks, go watch some music together...etc as it sounds like a clash in personalities. You may find a mutual ground and things may improve and all the 'other drummer' stuff may be nipped in the bud.

If this isn't an option and you've got to know her already then maybe just speak to her about how her approch bothers you in a calm manner.

I'd personally do the first suggestion myself as a starting point, at least you can know you tried to improve things on a personal level.
 
D

drumming sort of person

Guest
If she's consistently unsatisfied with your playing, you probably need to part ways. If you like her music and really want to make it sound great and please her, then you need to really try to figure out what she likes, and what may be missing in your playing. It may even be something about the way your drums sound.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
If it's bothering you, talk to her face to face...maybe not in front of everyone else and let her know how you are feeling and see how it goes! Sometimes, great things happen when people talk to each other in honesty.

If you started the band, you have the right to kick her out. The others may still want to play with her, so while on paper it may appear that you are firing her, it won't look like this in reality. It will look like you got fired. I don't know if this matters to you or not.

You could always quit, but tell everyone else that if they find another lead singer at some point, you'll think about coming back.

Best of luck!
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Now, we've actually renamed the band to have her name in front - which was the beginning of the end for me.
An old story, just ask The Supremes!

If the band is no longer fun, and the anxiety level is rising, and you aren't getting a bunch of money to look the other way, then it sounds like its time to leave.

Bermuda
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
This is one of those things where other people's advice will only take you so far, because you have to make the move that's right for you.

From where I'm sitting, I'd be inclined to part ways with her, whether that means you fire her or you leave (if you started the band, I'd guess it's the former, but I'm not entirely sure of the band dynamic here).

There really are too many talented people out there to suffer with those you don't click with.

I think there is a special art to interpreting what other musicians want from us sometimes. Even great musicians who don't play the drums can struggle to convey what they want in drummer terms. I've gotten pretty good at figuring out what they are looking for, but it can be tricky. Asking lots of questions and trying to get examples of songs that have what they're looking for helps.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
An old story, just ask The Supremes!

If the band is no longer fun, and the anxiety level is rising, and you aren't getting a bunch of money to look the other way, then it sounds like its time to leave.

Bermuda

This made me think about a time when I saw something on VH1 when some retro act starting touring again. Basically, the word on the street was they were getting paid enough to pretend like they like each other. :)

I'll bet there's more than one band out there like this.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I realize this falls under the "may work for one person but not another" umbrella, but I think it's appropriate to speak up when you're being given confusing or unclear directions. Not in a confrontational way, but to communicate that the terms you're hearing are telling you something specific that doesn't seem to match what is expected.

I did a recording session for a really talented multi-instrumentalist and songwriter a few years ago. He was trying to tell me how to play this bridge. It was a heavily-arranged rock piece with acoustic and electric guitars at a modest tempo with a syncopated, 8th-note groove. But when the artist tried to tell me how to play the drums during the bridge, he said, "when we get to this part, we're swinging."

I played a couple bars of swing—think Art Blakey—and just said, "See, what that means to me is this, and I'm pretty sure that's not what you want. I'm thinking you mean the drums are very driving and steady here." Which did turn out to be what he wanted.

It's a fine line. I'm supportive, but I'm not taking any sh**. If you tell me to do something using terms that have an accepted definition and I do them, I have no problem adjusting and figuring out that you meant something else. But I'm not going to be treated like I'm just not getting it when it's the other person who's confused.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
It sounds like you're suffering from having to play in another's shadow.

Even if you do quit, I would still give it a try (just for your own practice) and ask to buy her something liquid and in the nicest way possible, tell her everything you told us.

People like what they are used to and she can't let go of the other person's playing. I get that. But you are not the other person. Would she like it if you kept asking her to sing like the other girl? Maybe that will open her eyes. Tell her you don't know what she means when she tells you what she wants. You want to provide it but you can't decipher it. A recording would work much better.

This is all for your benefit, handling delicate situations, not hers.
 
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