When is a good time to quit a band?


Silver Member
I've jammed three times with a band, and it seems that things seem to go further downhill at every jam.

I first jammed with the bassist and one guitarist and it was a decent first session. "We can work on this," I thought.

The next session we got a second guitarist and a vocalist. Vocalist turns up without knowing any of the songs. Guitarist knew the songs, but did not bother playing note-for-note solos of the covers we were doing, just noodling up and down the fretboard without even stopping at parts where he's not supposed to be playing.

On Sunday, we had our third jam. Vocalist didn't come and as soon as we started, it was a train wreck. Nobody knew what was going on, we had to stop and start each song several times.

By the end of the two-hour jam, things had improved, but it was still just a mess. I was not happy at all.

The big plus point of this band is that the guys are all chilled out, we get along well and they are keen to play. They are really inexperienced, so I have let the performance issues slide so far.

The downside is that I don't want to spend months trying to play good music only to realise in the end that the music isn't coming together because obviously nobody is practising. I'm tempted to tell them to get their stuff together, but I also don't want to burn any bridges.

I'm just wondering how much time to give this project.

If anyone is interested, here is a video of the jam. We played three songs - Metallica's Whiplash, Slayer's Black Magic and Death's Zombie Ritual. The video doesn't show anything, but the recording was pretty good for an ipad amid loud guitar amps and stuff. Drumkit was a Pearl Forum.



Platinum Member
Other than bands when I was in back in high school, shortly after the invention of music, I have only been in two bands, and I'm still in both of them, so take this whence it comes.

1. A good time is when you're not enjoying being in the band.

2. A good guide to when it's time to quit is when you know that sooner or later it will unravel. (This one borrowed from when I was a dating person, but it seems applicable.)

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
If the quality control is inconsistent, feel free to bail at any time. It's their loss, not yours. It doesn't sound like you guys are working so any time is really good because you're not leaving them in a lurch to have to find anyone soon.

If it was a working situation, it could be a different thing, but even then, if you're completely unhappy, staying just makes it worse anyway.

If it's handled professionally and is talked about, I see no problems with just leaving.


Senior Member
I’ve got a similar thing going on with my band too. I’m not completely happy with progress but the guys are talking about getting gigs soon (very soon). Also, I’m not convinced our vocalised is good enough!

So I’m starting to think about quitting, but don’t know whether or not to persevere, do the first gig and see what happens. Or quit before any gigs, and give them a chance to get another drummer.

On the other hand, I've never gigged so maybe I just treat it as experience, even if it doesn't go well.

Before I joined they had some problems finding a drummer and I feel a bit like I’d be setting them back a few months if I left now! Aaah….. what to do?!!


Pioneer Member
When you start questionning your involvement, it is time to make a list of pros and cons.

The other thing is I've heard you refer to them as jam sessions. Is anyone in the band organizing the rehearsal, "we need to nail these 5 songs next time we get together" or is it a come in, let's say "hey do you know this song" then just jam.

Vocalist would not be asked to come back, not knowing any of the material first practice then not showing up. Bye Bye.

All depends on how much time you want to put into it. I value my time and if something is not feeling productive or showing possibilities of going somewhere and that's what you want time to find another band. Great that you all get along but in the end if they aren't the quality of musician you want to play with then time to move on

Someone's Dad

Senior Member
R_M, I think you need to be clearer as a band about what you’re trying to achieve in these sessions. Is it a jam, is it practice, or is it rehearsal? I don’t think I’d expect a guitarist to be playing “note-for-note” solos in a jam session.

Sit down and talk about it together. Don’t bottle up frustration.

Not my kind of music, but I listened to your video. It is messy, but it didn’t sound like it couldn’t be fixed. Are you happy with your performance? I’m not suggesting you shouldn’t be, but I think there is room for all of you to grow and improve together.


Platinum Member
What are the goals?

Are you looking to jam, have fun, and make music/friends?

Or are you looking for gigs, tours, making money?

Or is it a bit of both?

With me, I like to jam, record, play gigs, hang with my friends, laugh, and do what I love.

I did jam with a few guys who were of a less skill level for a while, but I was OK with it because it was fun. When the gigs started happening more often, and they didn't practice as much as me, it became an issue.

I feel members should all put in the same effort, show up on time (or give a heads up) , and be open minded to other ideas. People will improve if the effort is there.

If you are thinking about quitting, TBH it is close to that time. Maybe give it a few weeks or jams and see how you feel. It's like having a girlfriend in your younger years. You don't want to break up, but you know you should.

I find if there is arguing and drama sometimes it is hard to push past it also.

After being in MANY bands over the years I aim to make music with my friends first. This is something I enjoy and love. I have a day job. If we can make a few dollars and sell some CD's it is just a bonus.

Before a rash decision, I would tell em how you feel in a nice way. I did speak to a band once saying they need to practice or I would have to part ways. I practice EVERY day. They understood why it was an issue for me. Just be honest and nice about it.. If you don't you are going to regret not saying something and nothing will ever change. You won't burn bridges if you are civil. If you don't say something the stress can build and you may get very angry and have a blow up too.


Gold Member
I am back to gigging after a significant break.

I didn't realize how long it was going to take to find something that was a match and was productive.

So my advice is - if you Do love to play, maybe you want to uncover some other opportunities before leaving. However, you Do want to be careful of commitments that you then need to keep. But, this does not sound like a problem with this band since it sounds like there won't be gigs booked anytime soon.


Platinum Member
3 jams - one without rhythm guitarist, one without a vocalist.
That is not yet a 'band' in my view, so no bridges burned.
On the other hand, I'd maybe give it just one more try. Just one.

drumming sort of person

I'm not familiar with how those three tunes are supposed to sound, but just going by the video you posted, it all sounds like one long extended mess, with a slight variation in the tempo. I wouldn't have lasted 30 seconds playing that stuff, but for all I know, you guys are playing that music correctly.

I have no idea where you would find a venue to play that stuff live, but if that's the kind of thing you like, I'm sure you can find musicians who will devote the time and effort to keep you happy. Life is short. In my experience, you can tell pretty much immediately if people are up to the task.


Gold Member
Disagree. R_M suggested that these guys are inexperienced. Maybe they just need clearer guidance and set expectations based on agreed goals.
Glad you said that. I agree.

In my world, if I judged everyone after a coupla-few practices, I would never get to play out again.

I have been through quite a journey finding a productive situation. Immediate judgement works for the pro tour situation, where yeah immediately you can see if the person has the proper chops and work ethic. Cuz the show is Next Week. :)

But in the weekend warrior world, it takes time to size up a situation and give a bunch of players an opportunity to learn the material and come together. I wouldn't give any group of people a year, but I Would give them a few months before passing final judgement on the viability of a situation.

drumming sort of person

They had specific music that they had all agreed that they would be playing, yet he said it was a train wreck and sounded like a mess. When people don't care enough to prepare for rehearsal, there is no hope in the long run. I've experienced it many times.

There are very few musicians who understand what it takes to put something good (let alone great) together. If he's serious about his craft and making progress, he needs to find the right people. If he just wanted to play drums and screw around for a few hours every now and then, he wouldn't have posted the question in the first place.

There is no secret to success. Most people just aren't willing to do the work.


Silver Member
It’s a long time since I played very VERY fast Heavy Metal and it’s not an easy thing to pull off, especially in a first time “jam” situation.

My opinion is to drop the word “jam” and tell the other lads that if they fancy making a go of the band why don’t you agree on ONE song that you will all work on ahead of the next practice. I’m not au fait with the genre any more but if there’s a mid paced song (or at least not one flying at 100mph) make that your choice. One song, not ultra speedy, agreement to work on it ahead of meeting up, you’ll know after the next practice session (or the one after to give the benefit of the doubt to unexpected work commitments etc) if this is going in the direction you want.


Silver Member
There's a lot of good advice in this thread, but I'll toss one more thing in as food for thought:

Go with your gut.

I'll also relate an experience I had with a group and how I approached it when I decided to cut my losses.

A couple of years back, I was approached by a guy I know from doing church worship band stuff about coming in to replace a drummer who had stepped away. This was a side praise band project that wasn't connected to a church.

From the outset there were issues, and somehow (regardless of the fact that I was the only member who actually has made a living working as a musician) everything was my fault, particularly with tempo or song format and I heard things similar to the following:

"That's too slow - we play almost every song faster than the original."
"That's too fast - can you slow that down a bit?"
"We don't do that song like the original - we do it like this instead."

Complaint after complaint after complaint, regardless of the fact that they were completely inconsistent and unprepared themselves. (I know the drummer who stepped away. Suffice it to say, it was easy to see why he left.)

After dealing with this sort of thing for about 3 rehearsals, I cut my losses. I wasn't enjoying it, and especially not when I was getting blamed for their mediocre hackery. I simply stated that I was going to politely decline the opportunity to drum for their band because I didn't "feel like it was a good fit." I didn't go into it any further than that. I walked away from it on good terms, no bridges were burned, (I have worked with the one guy a few times since) and I'm pretty sure I avoided a lot of frustration.

If you aren't feeling it, don't try to force it. Find some guys who are going to be on the same page as you where the music is concerned. You'll be a lot happier about it in the end.


Silver Member
First of all, you should stop playing upside down. Too much blood rush to the head. You can now laugh.
When a group of musicians get together, there are going to be differences that need to be worked out. Especially after only 3 rehearsals. Can you imagine Jagger and Richards, or Lennon and McCartney (and they all had fueds!) calling it quits after 3 get togethers? You guys wouldn't even be in a band if it weren't for the likes of the Beatles first of all and the Stones secondly.
As for playing note for note. Is the bassist making sense and just adding his own "feel" to the song or is he so far outside your paradigm that he's throwing everyone off? Even if you're playing "covers", there's room for personal expression.
Bottom line is, playing in a band is work. It is NOT a glamorous lifestyle. As the Bellamy Brothers sang "It's a hard way to make an easy living."