Moral dilemma

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't actually have this dilemma presently, but I am considering adding it to my life.

My dance card as far as gigs go has been pretty sparse this last year, my own doing, leaving a band I was in for 8 years. No regrets.

Now, my old bandleader wants me back, plus, last night I auditioned for a new group of guys I never met before who have a classic rock band, plus I still have a blues band I play with. So all of a sudden, my music cup is getting full again. But I don't want to commit to just one band. I want to be hired on a first come/first serve basis.

After the audition last night, which went swimmingly, they asked me about my situation. I could feel the downer in the room when I said I'm freelance and have to work on a first come first serve basis. They want a "committed to one band drummer". Who wouldn't? They all are. He did allude to saying at the end that maybe they will need 2 guys. They are auditioning another guy next week, so I'll know more then. They may go with him if he can commit, and they like him.

So the dilemma part...in the future if this happens again...being asked to describe my situation....what if I left out the freelance part and just said I'd love to drum for your band?

I mean if I am busy with family stuff for instance on a night they want to book....that's par for the course in band scheduling logistics. They only want to work twice a month. My blues band works not more than that. My old band averages twice a month. There are bound to be overlap dates. My blues band is cool with using subs. If my old band leader isn't cool with it, I won't play in that band, except for the 5 dates I committed to this year. I would love to tell the rock band that yea lets do it. But I was completely honest with them. Did I shoot myself in the foot?

Of course I know full well that I wouldn't be completely forthcoming about describing my situation, if I conveniently decided to not mention my other bands in the future, but is this within the realm of an OK thing to do morally?

I'd like to hear your thoughts on the subject.
 

KarlCrafton

Platinum Member
I get wanting to play in different things, but, you'll be better off, and happier if you let everyone know up front.
Almost everyone I play with is also in other groups that play gigs. We just see if everyone is available, and if not, no big deal.
 

trickg

Silver Member
I think that you were right to be honest, even if it means that you won't get the gig in the end.

For what it's worth, I've also juggled multiple bands. At one point, I was committed to 4 groups - the praise band, which I drummed for every week, the National Guard band, the upscale wedding band, and a swing big band. Sometimes I was able to juggle everything, but many times there were conflicts where I had to choose which group I was going to honor.

I've found over the years, mainly because I don't depend on the money I earn as a musician for my living expenses, that it's easier to only have 1 or 2 projects and actually commit to those than to try to freelance around. I'll work more if I freelance around, but that's not always a benefit because it adds a lot of stress in my life.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Of course I know full well that I wouldn't be completely forthcoming about describing my situation, if I conveniently decided to not mention my other bands in the future, but is this within the realm of an OK thing to do morally?
Morally? Yes, without question. They've been honest with you. Treat others as you would be treated: i.e. with maturity and honesty.

Beyond the morality of it all, omitting parts of the truth could really come back in a bad way. If word ever got out (and it probably would because most musicians gossip uncontrollably), not only would things go south with one band, but other bands and musicians could then become suspicious of your character.

If you've been above-board with them, they may come ask you to fill in, further down the road, after they've exhausted other options. And if not, one of those band members may have another group, or refer you to another group. You need to lay down the foundation of yourself as trustworthy.

I'm presently working this way with one band, among several. Yes, they still want a fully committed drummer. And I want my bills paid. So I do my best to be prepared and not slow down their trajectory, and, a year in, they're still calling me.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
So is it presently a gigging band and did they mention how often they gig? My experience on Bandmix Is some "dedicated bands" don't hardly practice and hardly gig, other practice a lot but still hardly gig, and others do both a lot. I think you're correct to be up front but I'd qualify you can meet their needs -cause you're a pro. Playing some jazz gigs the brass guys would play our gig then have two others planned for same evening. People get around when there's a need. I can see you doing the same Larry.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I'm in 3 full-time bands and a few occasional subbing situations in addition to my primary gig with Al. All of the bands understand that I may have other commitments, and they have a regular sub or two (or three) but I'm always first call. Happily, there aren't too many conflicts. Honesty is always the best policy. I've seen people get kicked out of bands for not being up-front about their situation, where if they'd been honest, they would have remained first-call or at least been kept in the rotation as a sub. You should let the prospective band know that there shouldn't be too many conflicts, if that's indeed the case. If it looks like making even a part-time commitment is a problem, then don't do it. If it looks like the reunion will produce a lot of work, you may want to consider backing off with the other bands.

Good luck, more work is better than less work!

Bermuda
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Brent and Jon bring up good points....immediate gratification with future risks, or honesty and preserve character. I'll opt for the latter. What I need is a great sub that I train and dispatch, to save the other bands the hassle. I just take all the gigs. THAT would be ideal. I wish I were twins.

Art, they have no gigs on the books, but I am confident that they can get them. If I could do these 3 bands I wouldn't feel the need for anything else.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
I'm brutally honest. It's harder sometimes in the beginning, but always easier in the end.

Plus, your former bandleader is an ***hole. F*** that guy. I'd be EXTRA honest with that motherf***er just to have a chance to let him know that I'm playing a gig with someone else instead of him.
 

Channing

Member
There’s no way I would hide something like that. Reputation is everything in this business and I wouldn’t want to tarnish mine by being anything less than transparent, especially about something I know could affect their decision to choose me as their drummer. My musical community is pretty small and everyone knows everyone else anyway, and pretty much everyone is involved in multiple projects. In my main band right now the singer is in 4 bands, plus a vocal ensemble I am also in, the guitarist and bassist are both in another band together with a different drummer and singer, and I’m in another band plus the vocal ensemble. We still manage to gig once or twice a month and practice about twice a week together. That’s just kind of how it’s done, everyone’s trying to play as much as they can and it’s understood. When considering adding a member, the question isn’t “how many other projects are you involved in?” Because that’s completely irrelevant. All anyone cares about is if you can make the level of commitment required for the particular project at hand, whatever that happens to be.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
I'm sure it ain't like you auditioned for the Rolling Stones. Be honest and all will work out. Hey!!! Why not tell the band you like most to diversify and play some other stuff? 1966, my band started as a blues band and gradually incorporated rock and that morphed into blending of the two.
 

TMe

Senior Member
I wonder. Who would have more scheduling conflicts, a drummer with a few different projects, are a guy who only plays in one band but has a full time job, wife kids... Some of those guys can be hard to pin down. (Says the guy whose band has only been practicing twice a month lately because of scheduling problems.)
 

paradiddle pete

Platinum Member
Hey! you are a smart guy , do what feels right for you. you don't need my advice or anyone elses. The more gigs I've done the more I realise if it's not fun don't bother. you don't have to rack up gig numbers just to feel relevant.
 

donzo74

Junior Member
I think you have done the correct thing by being up front with everyone. I have had this discussion with all of the groups I play with and there hasn't been much stress. Some band leaders can't deal with people in their group playing in other groups and that is their choice. I just don't work like that and don't want to work in just one group. When you like many styles of music, enjoy a little variety and like playing and networking with other musicians, it's only natural that you'll find yourself in a few groups. I'm in two bands in town that I'm the primary drummer for, plus church. Then I get calls to sub for some other bands that have regular drummers that just have conflicts on certain dates. Sometimes there are scheduling conflicts between the groups, but it's rare. In the end though, you've got to have your integrity and your reputation so honesty and the Golden Rule apply.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The only real issue is gig conflicts. If they can manage to book 2 months out...I am usually never booked out past a month. I will have to mention this. It could be a solution.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
It's good to be honest. But OTOH, if you don't really know what's happening in the future - how could you say for sure that you'd be busy playing with someone else? I honestly say that whoever gets to me first on my calendar gets me, and surprisingly, the guys in the Devo band are like that (we have a calendar where we all put in our dates we're not available, and they book accordingly). And usually, this isn't a problem because things get booked and we just keep them. I do not agree to one gig, and then cancel on it if I get an offer for a higher-paying gig, that's just not cool. But if the calendar isn't full in the future, then you can commit. If the committed band doesn't book anything before you do, who's to blame for that?

I guess this is a tough call.
 

BonsaiMagpie

Junior Member
Honesty is the best thing in terms of your reputation and your state of mind. Chances are, at some point in the future you'll cross paths with these guys again, and they'll remember you as a straight shooter. It could lead to more work or good friends in the future.
I knew some liars once. Don't much care if I see them again.
 

Channing

Member
I wonder. Who would have more scheduling conflicts, a drummer with a few different projects, are a guy who only plays in one band but has a full time job, wife kids... Some of those guys can be hard to pin down. (Says the guy whose band has only been practicing twice a month lately because of scheduling problems.)
Probably the person with full time job and a family. I know a drummer like this and he doesn't even practice drums at all outside of once a week rehearsal with his band. Not sure how he learns all the songs without practicing at all. But the guitarist is thinking of replacing him because it's so hard to schedule gigs because he's never available.

Personally I've never played in a band with anyone who has kids. I think that lifestyle would be pretty incompatible with a lot of bands.
 
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