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Fuzrock 06-07-2010 05:25 PM

Decisions Decisions
I have a big decision to make. Iíve been in my current cover band for a couple of years. Weíve had the same singer, rhythm guitarist, drummer (me) and bass player the whole time. We seem to go through lead guitarists, though. Itís kind of a struggle because it seems like weíre always starting over every time we break in a new guy.

This last time we hit the jackpot as far as talent goes. This lead player is more than just a guitarist that can play solos. He is a lead player that adds all of missing pieces that we never knew we were missing before. The only issue is that our singer doesnít like him and decided that he is someone he wonít work with.

Bear with me for a minutes here while I try to explain. The first strike was when the new guy, weíll call him Tom, sent us an e-mail with a list of changes that he would like to make and things heíd like to try. He did so after a lengthy discussion I had with him regarding our bandís lack of success. The others, without realizing Iíd had this discussion with him, took offense to the email. Once I explained to everyone where Tom was coming from, they understood and we moved on.

The next strike occurred when we all got together for a meeting. We discussed songs and upcoming gigs. Everything was looking up and then Tom asked us an unusual question. He asked if our wives/girlfriends would tell his girlfriend if he showed up to a gig with another woman. We were all a little surprised by this but our singer completely appalled.
We all came to the conclusion that guys in bands often do this sort of thing, though maybe not so premeditated.

So we rehearsed a few times and did our first show together. It went really well I thought. Then our singer comes up to me freaking out. He said that one of his friends was in the bathroom at the same time Tom was in there. He paid Tom a compliment and Tom brushed it off saying that he doesnít take compliments very well. Then Tom pointed to another bandís poster which was advertising an upcoming show and said ďbut those guys suck!Ē Then he pulled the poster off the wall and threw it in the trash. I wasnít very happy about this. Thatís not how I would behave. I wasnít there, though. I donít know how it went down. I had planned to address the situation with him.

Before we could even rehearse again, another thing happened. Our singer, who happens to be gay, booked us at a bar that happens to be gay. This bar usually doesnít have bands but they wanted us for this outdoor summer bash that they were putting together. Tom replies to the email asking if we usually play gay bars. Our singer replies saying that we never have before and then asked if he had any issues with that. Tom replied to that asking if there were going to any women there and then saying that it doesnít sound like that much fun playing to a bunch of guys. Thatís the point when our singer gave us the ultimatum. Itís either him or me, he told us. So we fired Tom, the best lead guitar player we have had. Weíre back to spinning our wheels and getting nowhere fast.

The singer and I have become pretty good friends and I have always been good friends with our rhythm guitarist. My wife gets along with the singerís boyfriend and the rhythm guitarists girlfriend. We even get together outside of the band for backyard barbeques and stuff like that. That is what makes this next part difficult.

Tom has contacted me about starting a band with him. He has already found a really good singer. They both have great ideas about what it takes to be a successful cover band. Iím thinking very seriously about dropping my current band and starting a new one with theses guys. The musicianship would be head and shoulders above the band Iím currently in. Iím so conflicted right now. Any help would be appreciated. Let me know if Iím leaving anything out. Iíll be happy to fill in the gaps.

keep it simple 06-07-2010 05:57 PM

Re: Decisions Decisions
Oooo, that's a killer situation. May I ask, do you play purely for pleasure and the band vibe, or are you more tuned to success?

That answer aside, I think this Tom guy sounds like a bit of a jerk. I get the impression he'd be difficult to work with and lacks social graces. Any band member who is prepared to use the band as a vehicle for his infidelity is going to be a problem.

My gut feeling is, if you really feel you need to progress, and your current band isn't doing it for you, then leave, but don't jump in with Tom's crew. That would really burn bridges and rub your band mates noses in it. On the other hand, if you're enjoying the crack and don't have strong ambition, stay around, at least for a while.

If this Tom is good, and he thinks you're good enough to step up a notch or two, then he's not the only one who'll notice that. Good things come to those that wait.

Remember, "Every silver lining has a cloud"!

Masheanhed 06-07-2010 06:14 PM

Re: Decisions Decisions
I've always said that I'd rather play with people that may not be the greatest musicians but were great to get along with than super musicians that came with some strange baggage. We all have quirks, just depends on how much you want to put up with them.

I think KIS hit it on the head when he asked "do you play purely for pleasure and the band vibe, or are you more tuned to success?". This Tom sounds like he has showed his @$$ a few times in a short amount of time. What would he be like for the long haul?

Fuzrock 06-07-2010 07:41 PM

Re: Decisions Decisions
I guess that's all part of the decision I have to make. I often feel like I'm the most solid member of our group. I do most of the booking, make all of the posters, take care of the website, line up production and deal with the money at the end of each night. Part of all that might be the control freak that lurks deep inside of me but no one ever offers to pick up any of that slack.
All the guys in the band are fun to be around but aren't what you would call professional level musicians. They all have their shining moments but each make their fair share of mistakes. The singer forgets lyrics, the bass player misses key changes too often, the rhythm guitarist plays sloppy in general. I'm not trying to bash them because I really like them all but I'm going through this "grass is looking greener over there" phase. I've always said the same thing as you Masheanhed, "I'd rather play with people that may not be the greatest musicians but were great to get along with than super musicians that came with some strange baggage." I'm starting to think a little differently. There are other bands in town getting better paying gigs than us and their drummers are no better than me. The difference is the other players are more solid in those bands. They don't make silly mistakes. Some of these guys are real dicks but they are playing to packed houses all the time.
This Tom guy does sound like a problem child to a certain extent but he has a lot of experience and a drive to get things done. I wonder if I want success a little more than the other guys in the current group. We are all in our 30's and 40's. Maybe I need to talk with them about what I want out of this thing.

A-customs 06-07-2010 07:44 PM

Re: Decisions Decisions
That is a tough one fuzrock......Tp play with a guy that is a killer player,but someone you really want to hang out with.......I think if it where me id go with the new band,if as you say its way better than where you at now..........But it is a tough one

DrumEatDrum 06-07-2010 09:49 PM

Re: Decisions Decisions

Tom seems like a jerk, and I'd be hesitant to join a band with him. If he's willing to cheat on his girl, how can you expect him to be loyal to you as his drummer?

But I can also see the appeal of how he can help take you to the next level.

The problem is playing with fire, you may find yourself the next hottest thing, and you may get burned, and quite possibly a combination of the two.

caddywumpus 06-07-2010 10:21 PM

Re: Decisions Decisions
I work with a few people that I don't want to spend time with outside of the band. I wouldn't necessarily agree with or condone some of the choices they make, either. But, in the bands that we're in, they have the dedication, drive, and talent needed to pull their weight in the group. I have no qualms about them, and we get along fine. Sometimes heads butt and sometimes egos come into play, but I've got to step back and realize that I'm not perfect, either.

On the flip side of this, I just quit working with another singer/songwriter who was making some very bad choices, and they impacted a couple of my friends. He has a bad reputation, and if you merely mention his name to some people, they go off on the guy. Now, he's really talented and writes really good songs, but when it comes to my own reputation and being affiliated with that guy, I'd rather not.

It depends on your goals with the group(s). If your current line up that you're buddy-buddy with is working, then GREAT! Stick with it, 'cause it sounds like a good time and worthwhile. If the new group seems to have direction and drive and knowledge about how to be successful, then I'd probably give them a test drive to see if they really can be successful. If there's going to be any friction amongst your current group with you working with "Tom", then I'd give it some serious consideration, and if you think that you really want to pursue it, you'll need to have a talk with them about it so it doesn't pop up at a later time that you've been working with that "such and such an expletive" for the past 5 months, which would bite you and your relationships in the butt.

Also, you should figure out if any success with the new group would be negated by your association with "Tom". Not just in music circles, but does this guy have a bad rap with females? Bartenders? Other musicians/promoters/booking agents? Anyone? If so, you don't want that negative association attached to YOUR reputation.

In the end, I'd prioritize your current relationships over the chance at some success with the new group, but it might be possible to have both.

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