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OT: Personal Conflicts with Band Members


J. Dan

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Some of you know some of the situation I'm going through personally and with the band, but I haven't really discussed personal issues WITH the band. It's kind of ironic that I used to talk about how professional we were and had absolutely not band drama - everyone did there jobs... but I guess sooner or later every band runs into this.

 

First a generic rundown of the band... 2 members are original (I'm not one of them), and I don't think the band would be the same without them. They have always been laid back, background from a business and band dynamics aspect - show up and play. If you saw my other recent thread, they are the other two who will now be sharing responsibilities with me - they approached me concerned about my wellbeing and offered to help. One of the other band members was in the band before me, not an original member, and has sort of been a loose cannon since day one. He's burned bridges and probably cost us gigs due to his attitude and mouth. He's a solid player, and I actually personally like him. If could get him to keep his mouth shut, he'd be great. He and I generally have a blow-out a couple times a year, and then all is well. He's difficult, but an asset, but still probably the only one who has cost us gigs.

 

The most recent member is very good socially - promotes the band, talks to people, etc, but is probably the weakest player. For a while the "loose cannon" guy was really lobbying to get him kicked out, and the band was entertaining the idea. The guy he replaced REALLY wanted back, and we all really liked him. I pretty much argued that he's not so bad that he's costing gigs - nobody probably knows but us - and he has other assets, and it's his primary income. It's a business and it's not fair to take away somebody's income because you like somebody better.

 

Now here's the tricky part. I don't really want to air a lot of my personal stuff on the web. But he and I have some issues outside the band. We've functioned by just pretending they don't exist at gigs, to the point where we'll have a drink, be friendly, etc. But really, it would be better for me personally if he was out of the picture. The same was true when I lobbied to keep him. But it's gotten so bad that it's difficult for me to pretend anymore. The completely false things I know he says about me (outside the band), and his unwillingness to improve the situation make me wish I would have just got rid of him when I could.

 

So, here's the question: ethically, morally, however you want to judge it, at what point to personal issues dictate such a decision?

 

I understand this is very difficult to debate without knowing the details, I just don't want to air my dirty laundry on the web. However, if you must know, PM me. I'm comfortable telling any of you guys what's going on as long as you PROMISE not to post details anywhere that's publicly accessible.

 

EDIT: BTW, the "loose cannon" and guy I'm having personal issues with BOTH want each other out of the band. So the other 3 of us could pretty much kick out either or both if we wanted. And their GF's are friends... weird soap opera sort of thing. Personally I think their GF's have been the worst thing for the band.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Band drama is so hard to cope with after a long time of just dealing with it. I have my own experiences and hope to just move past it all by starting a new group or joining up wih something that is already in existence. It sounds like you have similar issues and it may be a good time to refurbish the band or let it die down and then start something new.
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Band drama is so hard to cope with after a long time of just dealing with it. I have my own experiences and hope to just move past it all by starting a new group or joining up wih something that is already in existence. It sounds like you have similar issues and it may be a good time to refurbish the band or let it die down and then start something new.

 

We're the highest paid band in our region (2 other band make the same). The economy and local scene as it is, no other bands will reach this level for the foreseeable future. We have a name and are kind of grandfathered in on price. I really need the money. Not feasible for me to move on. However, everybody wants to be in this band, so we have options.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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How do the issues you have with Weakest Player affect you? Do you find yourself thinking about them when you should be thinking about other things? Just trying to gauge how much psychological baggage this causes you to carry around.

 

I've been in situations where I was carrying around a lot of baggage due to issues with someone else in the band. Usually, it isn't until the situation resolves (I leave or they do) that I fully grasp how much it was affecting me, not just in my band activities, but even infiltrating the rest of my life. I usually let these situations persist and fester far longer than I should.

 

Another question would be whether you've attempted to get everything out on the table with diz guy?

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Personal issues outside the band are not generally reason enough to fire a member unless it's spilling onto the stage and affecting band performance. In bands I've been in that have been structured like yours (no leader/sidemen) guys have been fired if they're constantly fighting with everyone else, for musical incompatibilities, or the more usual drug/alcohol/reliability problems - but not a personal problem offstage with another member.

 

Where are the legacy members on this guy? If you are the primary one to force him out (and he's as well liked as you say) you will not come out of this looking good. Word will get out as to who fired him. It always does.

 

Edit: And whatever personal issues you have with him will almost certainly be leaked to your fans as soon as he's replaced. Nothing spreads faster than band gossip. Hope you're prepared for that.

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Confront both of them seperately. The loose canon dude is a simpler case. If his mouth costs you guys gigs, and he gets away with it, it will get worse. I would set down a zero tolerence. One more time, he's done, end of story. He needs to understand that firmly. That's biz- he doesn't like it, there are others who want his gig.

 

The guy with the loose mouth should be given the opportunity to explain himself. You should let him know how it's affecting you. Get it out & deal with it. How that conversation pans out will dictate your next move.

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Personal issues aside, the guy that is costing the band gigs - the whole band (including the weakest player) needs to talk to him ONCE - straighten up, shut up, or (as Picker said in the LowDown) promote him to customer. Absolute zero tolerance, there won't be another warning - screw up once more - you're gone. That's just business. After your post on how much the original guys are willing to help share some of the load you've carried in the past, I can't even imagine that they wouldn't be willing to go along with that.

 

The "weakest player" - I am probably the weakest player in the primary band that I am in - and I know it. But - I make myself valuable to the group, figure out ways within my playing ability to improve the overall sound of the group, and strictly do not get involved in personal issues, likes and dislikes. Besides, I am getting better (although not as quickly as I would like).

 

The picture I see from your posting is that this player does the same. I don't see a problem there - I would far rather have the "weaker player" than to have a prima donna. As you say, he hasn't cost the band gigs, the vast majority of your fans are unaware of the issue.

 

Both of their girlfriends should not be any part of the discussion, unless one of them gets to the point of causing enough problems that it is necessary to have an attitude adjustment.

 

In my primary job field, I have been in charge of as many as 125 people. One thing I found out very early was: When I found it necessary to replace someone for inferior performance, attitude issues, whatever; in spite of all the pre-hiring checks that HR or myself could do, in spite of all the pre-hiring interviews - there was still the fact that there was about a 40% chance that the replacement would have other issues that made them no better a fit than the guy I had terminated.

 

In all the postings I've seen from you over the past several years, you've taken the high road - just continue to do that, it WILL pay off over time. As much as possible, keep personal feelings out, judge the issues, and the band will be strengthened. Yes, there will probably be whining, gossip, and lies spread around - that happens. But, in the long run, you will be strenghtened.

 

Leave the group and form another band? - does not compute.

 

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Here's my take on the rumor guy- who seems to be the new weaker player, if I read it right.

 

It's been said that a rumor is like lightning- we hate it when it strikes us, but it's awesome to watch it's power.

 

I'm gathering that you believe this guy said stuff outside the band but unless you have solid proof or a very trustworthy source, treat it as a rumor. But ask him outright about it. He may deny it, it may be a misunderstanding, but have that conversation. It doesn't have to be an "Hey jerk why you talking crap about me" thing, just a 'hey man, I'm hearing.... and I was wondering if you knew anything about that?'

 

Just remember, people are almost always looking out for #1, so if you are hearing this same thing from one person in particular, don't rule out ulterior motives. Not to be sexist, but you mentioned these guys have girlfriends who are friends, and way too many girls love to gossip, usually about things they have no business talking about.

 

So if you get to the bottom of it and the new guy is engaging in this childish behavior, he'd have to go. Yeah you hate to see a guy lose his income but he has no one but himself to blame. You set out to hire a musician, not a drama king.

 

As far as the 'loose cannon', some personalities are centered around speaking their mind, perhaps to a fault. Have a 'come to Jesus' meeting with this guy and just let him know that he needs to get a reign on his mouth and attitude. Tell him you appreciate his willingness to let everyone know where they stand and speaking his mind, but there has to be some tact behind it. It's a matter of professionalism and self-discipline. Make sure he understands that if it continues, there will be consequences.

 

Everyone has their issues. We'd all like the band mates that were great to get on with all the time and could play like nobody's business, but the fact remains we are human and musicians, and we all have our own quirks that drive someone else nuts.

 

Sorry it's been such a mess lately for you. Hang in there, and do the right thing.

 

"Political language... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind"- George Orwell
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In some bands some members are part of certain organized groups of people, while others are not, or want to becaome such, etc.

 

I imagine, for the sake of example, if personal conflict include membership of the maffia, or (in europe) a subversive political group like e.g. Neo-Nazism, that the "personal" sid eof the argument cannot be resolved by normal group or human rules of conduct, because the real reasons could be stronger and different than simple personal dislike or disagreement.

 

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I tried to talk to the guy last weekend, that's what prompted this. He refuses to make any effort to resolve the issues. And I know exactly the things he says. Just last night I heard a new one... something I absolutely did not say, that he said I said during our conversation last weekend. Just stirring things up for me.

 

As for the GF's, yeah, I could deal with them except that they partially dictate who can and can't come to our gigs. There are several groups of previous fans that they don't want at gigs, so the 2 we are discussing have let them know they aren't welcome. I have a big problem with that.

 

Has it affected performance? No, other than the fact that I don't like playing in the band anymore. I'm a professional, so I can suck it up and act like I'm having fun and put on a good show, but sometimes I hate playing... especially when the subject GF's are there. When I look around the room, I have to mentally skip over them like they aren't there or else I can't pretend and put on a show.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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Dan my post was written under the assumption that the member you want replaced the most for personal reasons is the good promoter/weakest player, not the loose cannon. Is that correct? After re-reading your post and others' responses, now I'm not sure.

 

If I'm wrong and the player you want out most is the loose cannon, then you have a valid excuse for termination because he's adversely affecting your business.

 

If it's the other guy that's another story. Replacing the good promoter/socialbug for purely personal reasons could be difficult without fan consequences, and in addition you could also be cast as the bad guy. This is based on past experience from bands I've been in.

 

 

 

 

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As for the GF's, yeah, I could deal with them except that they partially dictate who can and can't come to our gigs. There are several groups of previous fans that they don't want at gigs, so the 2 we are discussing have let them know they aren't welcome. I have a big problem with that.

 

Has it affected performance? No, other than the fact that I don't like playing in the band anymore. I'm a professional, so I can suck it up and act like I'm having fun and put on a good show, but sometimes I hate playing... especially when the subject GF's are there. When I look around the room, I have to mentally skip over them like they aren't there or else I can't pretend and put on a show.

GF's and wives shouldn't be at 99% of all gigs. Once or twice a year, maybe, but regularly? No way. If you're getting paid it's a JOB people.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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Re: "loose cannon" - I probably would say to him ... and no, I don't know him, LOL - "within the band, when we're by ourselves, you can say what you think... no problem. But please think twice about what you say to outsiders... sometimes you offend people and cost us gigs. I know you don't mean to..."

Re: "weakest member" - if you think he's a good player in some ways, that needs to improve in others, why not invite him over sometime to "polish up" some things. Not as in, "you suck", just "let's take this to a higher level." Sometimes that's all it takes... a little instruction.

That's been my frustration in church bands... that the "one on one" time is very hard to come by... so solvable problems DON'T GET SOLVED...

Re: "mafia and neo-Nazis" so far as I know, this hasn't come up yet... knock on wood!

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As for the GF's, yeah, I could deal with them except that they partially dictate who can and can't come to our gigs. There are several groups of previous fans that they don't want at gigs, so the 2 we are discussing have let them know they aren't welcome. I have a big problem with that.

OK this is crossing a big line. Girlfriends should never dictate anything to the band. That's ridiculous. Kick them both out.

 

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GF's and wives shouldn't be at 99% of all gigs. Once or twice a year, maybe, but regularly? No way. If you're getting paid it's a JOB people.

 

I am NOT being sarcastic, but what is your secret to telling a wife/gf to stay home and not starting a fight of the century?

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I was talking about the guy who is the weak player. Actually, to be more accurate, I think part of the problem is that he doesn't put a lot of effort into really learning/practicing the songs, because he doesn't like them. The thing about a band like this is that you get people that hate the music who want to be in the band for the money - that's him. Sucks for me, because I really like this stuff and it's what I want to do, and I have to deal with crap from somebody who doesn't even like it.

 

 

As far as the loose cannon, other than the occasional incidents, I think he's salvageable. I think the band needs to have a policy that nobody says anything negative to anyone outside the band, period. If you have an issue, discuss it with the band, the band decides how to handle it, then a spokesperson for the band takes action. I've talked to the original 2 members about this and they agreed, but there's not yet been any kind of meeting or anything to discuss this and put it into action. That's the problem with not having one band leader.

Dan

 

Acoustic/Electric stringed instruments ranging from 4 to 230 strings, hammered, picked, fingered, slapped, and plucked. Analog and Digital Electronic instruments, reeds, and throat/mouth.

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GF's and wives shouldn't be at 99% of all gigs. Once or twice a year, maybe, but regularly? No way. If you're getting paid it's a JOB people.

 

I am NOT being sarcastic, but what is your secret to telling a wife/gf to stay home and not starting a fight of the century?

Well, I do have to admit that I'm fortunate in that my wife supports what I do, but doesn't really care for music all that much, particularly the stuff I generally play. Regardless, she understands that I'm working. Once you can get them to recognize the idea that music isn't all fun and games, that it's actually work, you're most of the way there. They probably wouldn't dig you hanging out at their job all day, and then when they get a break they have to entertain you. You shouldn't be bringing your home life to work, and when you flip the script like that they should at least begin to understand. If they're there to keep you away from other women, then you have deeper problems in your situation and they REALLY don't need to be at the gig because an ugly on-the-gig blowout is sure to happen at some point.
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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I think part of the problem is that he doesn't put a lot of effort into really learning/practicing the songs, because he doesn't like them. The thing about a band like this is that you get people that hate the music who want to be in the band for the money - that's him.

For a band like yours - a club/party band - actually liking the style of music you play is almost a prerequisite I would think. It has been in every band I've been in. We all have issues with specific songs of course but not the general direction.

 

I played in 80s bands back in the 80s so I love this stuff - cheese and all. But I know plenty of younger players who do too - along with material from their own generation.

 

I'm not sure how you ended up with a player who actually dislikes what you do, but that's probably another story beyond the scope of this discussion.

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hate the music who want to be in the band for the money - that's him.

 

I would cut him ear-to-ear. Gone-zo!

 

OT: I have a personal policy, a no bum policy if you will. I cant stand cover bands that have these low class types, jobless, no transportation, and just weird socially etc. If he's not the kind of guy you can bring back to the house and family, he's gone or im gone. I have strictly enforced this, and it has caused problems. I was seen a huge jerk over this.

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As for the GF's, yeah, I could deal with them except that they partially dictate who can and can't come to our gigs. There are several groups of previous fans that they don't want at gigs, so the 2 we are discussing have let them know they aren't welcome. I have a big problem with that.

 

..and well you should. This is completely unacceptable.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

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I've been reading about your band dramas for what seems like ages, LZ, and with all due respect (and I mean that, because I don't really know you outside of this constant drama), some questions that immediately come to my mind are:

 

1. How OLD are you guys? 14?

2. From another guy's point of view, perhaps YOU are the problem?

 

If I found out someone in a band or a group of friends/co-workers were talking about me, "lobbying" against me and using the disrespectful words about me that you use, I'd be long gone.

 

Salvageable? Weak link? Loose cannon? Sounds as if your protagonists have no balls to deal with you, and your control-freak attitude, other than passive-aggression.

 

Again, this just from the outside looking in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Has it affected performance? No, other than the fact that I don't like playing in the band anymore. I'm a professional, so I can suck it up and act like I'm having fun and put on a good show, but sometimes I hate playing... especially when the subject GF's are there. When I look around the room, I have to mentally skip over them like they aren't there or else I can't pretend and put on a show.

 

Due to this situation, you're at the point where you hate playing in the band. If you don't think this issue can be resolved, I think you should get together with the other 2 leading members of the band and discuss a way forward. Be honest about your motivations. They may agree that he has to go.

 

 

You'll be cast as the bad guy. So what? It's ok to be the bad guy.

 

Life's too short to be spending 2 nights a week on stage with a guy you can't stomach.

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As for the GF's, yeah, I could deal with them except that they partially dictate who can and can't come to our gigs. There are several groups of previous fans that they don't want at gigs, so the 2 we are discussing have let them know they aren't welcome. I have a big problem with that.

 

Has it affected performance? No, other than the fact that I don't like playing in the band anymore. I'm a professional, so I can suck it up and act like I'm having fun and put on a good show, but sometimes I hate playing... especially when the subject GF's are there. When I look around the room, I have to mentally skip over them like they aren't there or else I can't pretend and put on a show.

GF's and wives shouldn't be at 99% of all gigs. Once or twice a year, maybe, but regularly? No way. If you're getting paid it's a JOB people.
This is one case where I generally disagree with Kevin (hey, I gotta disagree with the man on *something* ;) ), but OTOH, it depends on the SO. My wife Lori is cool, doesn't cause any trouble, gets along, is helpful, etc., so she's no problem to have around at most/all of my gigs.

 

HOWEVER, these GFs that Dan describes are affecting business, just like the loose cannon. As has been said before, that's where the line gets drawn. I can't imagine someone telling my fans they weren't welcome at a show because someone's GF didn't like them. (If the fans were troublemakers that would be different.) If someone in my band had a SO that was doing that, I'd tell the band member to tell the SO to stop. If it's a problem for the band member and doesn't get resolved, goodbye.

 

Think about it. You have one member who actually counts on the band for income and you do as well, but you named at least three people who are negatively affecting that very income.

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The wives and girlfriends need to stay out of the business, and if they cant, the offending musician needs to either grow a pair, or be replaced. I take no drama from a woman Im not sleeping with, and I take as little drama as possible from the one that I am. But neither are going to screw with my ability to earn. And they all know that, even if they have to suffer my tongue to learn it.
Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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One way of dealing with a slanderer is to let them them hang themselves. Given enough time, people will figure out what they're all about, that you are who you are, and they are a slanderer.

 

So, if you're one of the busiest bands in the region, that must be because people are digging the music. It's hard to see how much difference the socializing aspect of it can make, be it the bandmembers, girlfriends, or whatever. For a band that draws 50, it probably matters alot. For a band that draws 300-400, it would seem like the popularity has more to do with the show than what goes on personally between the entourage and the audience. Not saying socializing doesn't matter, but I'm a little puzzled by how much weight you seem to give it.

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But to get back to the original post, for all the proclamation that your band is a drama-free successful organization, I have to agree with Drawback that there seems to be an awful lot of non-musical politics going on. Im not sure what kind of advice you expect to get from us here. If you are running the most successful coverband in St. Louis, and are going through personal trials, and handing over responsibilities to other band members and simultaneously contemplating dismissing weak members and loose cannons, I think I would close ranks, keep my mouth and internet connection shut, and do some serious evaluation about the big picture. You may find that your band members taking some of the responsibility off your hand is actually them taking it away from you and laying the groundwork for a coup. You are not forthcoming about the real personal problem with your bandmate (and I hope it has nothing to do with your pending divorce), why anyone else in the band tolerates the womens meddling, but I have to say it looks like you are sitting on a real hornets nest. There is a band in Chicago very much like your situation (in that they are likely the highest paid coverband in the tri-state area, they dont wear wigs and costumes and use backing material) who just staged such a coup and ousted the 3 original members who started the band. And we are talking $400+ a night per guy (substantially more in summer festival work which they do a lot of) with an 8gig a month roster. And dont forget that what you put out here is here for anyone with half a clue on how to google. Just sayin.
Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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I think Tony is on to something. The reason I asked if there is a "buck stops here" leader to your band is in my personal experience, 1) leaderless democracies seldom deal with inevitable drama appropriately and professionally, and 2) emotions descend into mob-rule ugliness very quickly.

 

With as much drama as you describe (and presuming you've only described the tip of the iceberg - I'm guessing you have more drama you don't care to share, and a great deal you don't even know about...yet), the band leader needs to make some difficult, unilateral, immediate decisions. And if you don't have one, well, I don't see things getting any better, ever.

..
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