New band problems...
So, one of my oldest and best friends gives me a call about three months back about forming a band. He's been away from bands for some 20 years. I've not picked up a drumstick for about 8.
I've considerably more experience of him in playing in bands. I've never considered myself particularly clever on drums but I keep a good beat, have good stamina and a professional attitude.
My pal has got his old bass player (whose good) and a mate of his fancies singing and can crack a tune.
So, because I'm so awfully out of practice I go for an electronic drum kit...I can practice at home, take it to rehearsals (10 mins to strip down...yay)...alls good.
First rehearsal....the singer brings his wife along....hmmm thinks I. Bad. She spends the entire of our first rehearsal videoing, taking photoes, etc. etc. Strange.
Second rehearsal, two weeks later...just the band this time but the singer cannot remember any of the lyrics....now, we're playing a mix of covers and trying to learn some originals. The covers are not exactly ten minute Yes covers from their Tale of Topographic Oceans album, they're songs like Blitzkrieg Bop, EMI, I Wanna Be Your Dog. So, not exactly lyrically demanding nor particularly heavily worded.
At this stage I'm a little concerned....we've got a couple of lads on guitars who are clearly putting in some hard time learning new tunes, tightening up on covers, etc. I personally, after 8 years away from drums, am having to do so serious practicing....at least two hours every night without fail since getting the kit. The speed and consistency is almost back...really struggling with stamina and finger/arm pain, but I'm getting there slowly but surely.
The singer has one job to do....to learn the lyrics....and he's not done so yet.
So, we meet again for third rehearsal last night...and this is 6 weeks from first meeting....he STILL is reading some of the lyrics from a songsheet...he hasn't yet learnt the lyrics....I find this absolutely fucking unbelievable but I don't want to rock the boat on this just yet....
Worse though...he's brought his wife along again...and this time he occasionally gets her up on stage to sing along to one of the songs with him....now, at this point I'm wondering WTF is going on...and I know the bass guitarist is to because we keep passing the occasional glance at each other to say so.
I have a couple of other problems with the guy...I hate his image. He dons a stupid hat, and wears a sort of raincoat like the Stone Roses...a band who he's very much in to...he also tries to sing like them....but we're playing punk and rock covers/originals...and I hate it. I fear that when we play live, as eventually will happen, that people are going to think we're a bunch of dick heads because our lead singer is....I'd rather him just do what the rest of the band do...be ourselves, wear normal clothes...we're in our 40s...just playing for fun...so let's just play.
In amongst all of the above he does this really bizarre stuff....this is a rehearsal and he'll get up and say something like "this is the last song we're gonna play here tonight" (repeat...this is a rehearsal).....and when we end the song he'll say "thank you very much" (during a rehearsal) like some kind of demented, twisted Elvis.
He's not a particularly good singer either...but the other fellers seem happy enough with him so I'm happy to give him time....this is the first band he has ever sung/played/been in so I have some sympathy for the nerves thing,
So what do I do about this....I've thought of sounding the other guys out but I'm not really a 'going behind someones back' person (airing all my grievances out on an internet messageboard is about as clandestine as I can do).
Or do I tackle them after one of the rehearsals and have a sort of 'let's clear the air and discuss anything troubling us' session...
I've always been very self critical...I know I make mistakes....and I am absolutely the first to say "sorry" if I do cock up...but what I can't tolerate is laziness...I'm breaking my balls to 'catch up', to be the best I can possibly be and I'm seeing a singer who hasn't learnt simple lyrics to simple songs after 6 weeks and it's beginning grinding my gears.
They spoke quite genuinely last night about doing a gig next week and I had to step in and say "stop...WE ARE NOT READY"....back in the day I would have ripped that gig apart but I'm darned if I'm going on a stage with a singer holding a page of A4 lyrics...not a chance.
So...how would people tackle this....I need advice.
Do I suck it up and just roll with things for the time being (I am enjoying playing, and the feeling of being in a band again after a while out) or do I go to the band and say...
1) no wifes/girlfriends/friends at rehearsals...
2) ditch the daft image. We aren't an Oasis tribute act
3) LEARN YOUR GOD DAMNED LYRICS
4) Concentrate on singing and learning the songs at this stage instead of showmanship.
5) Stop trying to run when we are only on the toddling along stage.
Or do I walk out (I'm tempted to) and find another band. The last thing I want is aggro or upset. I'd hate to hurt any of the guys, the singer included's feelings...I think I'd rather walk away mutely than lose some good friends. And they are good friends.
I lost my bag at Newport Pagnell.....