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So my band is breaking up


Eric Jx

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I've been in this 80's tribute act now for 5 years. There has been some internal debate about direction for a few months now and, despite my best efforts to try to bring the two sides together, things imploded about a week ago, forcing me to cancel a gig planned for 9/3.

 

The band was original formed based on the drummer's vision. He wanted a band that played a wide variety of 80s music, wore costumes, held trivia contests between sets, etc... Essential he wanted something like what our fellow forumite Dan Duran has with his band. Everybody in the band initially agreed to that direction. But after a while the bass player and singer rebelled against the customes. In our singer's words "I'm a 36 year old mother. I don't want to dress like a 18 year old slut from 1984". This became a constant source of friction. (My take was I didn't MIND wearing 80s clothes, but my focus was on just playing music). Then, over the last few months, it became a real chore to get everyone to agree on new song choices. As a consequence, we really weren't adding new material. That lead to gigs that became repetitious. To break the new song stalemate, the bass player, singer, and guitarist decided it was time to start opening up our setlist to songs from other decades. The drummer resisted, but listened to the arguments and promised he'd give it some thought. After a few weeks of him thinking it over, others in the band started getting impatient, and words were exchanged, things escalated and thing blew up.

 

I know that this happens all the time, and maybe isn't worth a forum post, but I put a lot into this band and am upset about it's demise.

 

 

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I know that this happens all the time, and maybe isn't worth a forum post, but I put a lot into this band and am upset about it's demise.

 

And for this reason alone, it is worthwhile.

 

From my experience, every band has a beginning... and an end.

 

Take what you've learned and move on.

 

:cool:

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Lesson learned: Make sure everyone is on the same page regarding the vision for the band up front.
This happened to my band. We had the same vision initially, but it changed over time for different members. That tore the band apart.

 

Eric, what Noah said. It sucks, but these things happen. Just remember this great quote.

 

No way to keep a band together. Bands come and go. You gotta keep on playin', no matter with who. - Del Paxton

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Sounds like my old band, which was also an 80s band. We were around before my current band and the band was split on the outfits. We didn't do them at first even though a couple of us really wanted to. Then my current band came out doing the outfits, 80s videos on TVs on stage, the whole thing, and immediately was getting gigs we had been trying to get for a few years. So then my band decided to dress up, except a couple band members really weren't into it and wouldn't always do it. Nothing looks more ridiculous than 2 band members dressed 80s and 3 wearing jeans and a t-shirt. We also had different ideas on how much we wanted to play. The guitar player got ticked one night and said he was going to quit. I got online looking for guitar players and instead found That 80s Band looking for a keyboard player. The rest is history. The old band is still together but the only original member is the guitar player and they do variety (not just 80s) and play a couple gigs a month at pretty much one place.

 

There was opposition early in this band to wigs, etc, but the original BL ruled with an iron fist. Now we're successful enough that nobody questions it.

 

In my opinion, SO many bands have a lot of 80s music in their lists, that unless you do ALL 80s and really make it a tribute band, you're no different than the other 300 cover bands in town. Just my $.02

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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5 years is a pretty successful run, if you ask me. Count your blessings and move on. Bands are born to break up.

 

Noah

 

Yeah, 5 years is a nice run.

 

It still hurts when they end, though. My advice? Take a little time to mourn this one. Then take a little more to really thing about what YOU want to do next. When you are clear about that, find your next thing.

 

--Dave

Make my funk the P-funk.

I wants to get funked up.

 

My Funk/Jam originals project: http://www.thefunkery.com/

 

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Just a thought: who "owns" the band name and is it worth anything? Any chance of graving a like-minded band member or two, keeping the name, re-vamping with ome fresh blood, and carrying the torch?

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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This happened to my band.

 

I've had it happen to at least two bands, one marriage, and another long-term relationship. ;) What can you say, stuff happens. Here's hoping you move on to bigger and better things.

Right? People change. It's okay to disagree with each other and go your separate ways. Be good to each other.

 

The above suggestions are good. Those that agree on the vision can continue with some work finding replacements.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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... In our singer's words "I'm a 36 year old mother. I don't want to dress like a 18 year old slut from 1984"...

 

Some people just don't get it that a big chunk of performing is acting, whether you're in a Broadway musical, an all-Prokofiev piano recital, or a local 80s band. I'm imagining Renée Fleming telling her agent now:

 

"I'm a 52 year old mother. I don't want to dress like a 20 year old courtesan dying of tuberculosis in 1700s Paris."

 

I agree with the others above. If you want to do an 80s act, post wherever singer/actors frequent, make sure everybody gets it about the 80s vibe, and you'll be gigging again in no time.

 

Larry.

 

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Bands don't work as a democracy. Never have.

 

Zeppelin wasn't a democracy, it was a JimmyPage dictatorship.

 

Phish is not a democracy: it's Trey calling the shots.

 

Miles Davis/Chick/Herbie/Coltrane/Zawinul/Shorter/Cannonball/Horace/Keith Jarrett/John McLaughlin/Scofield/Mike Stern/Ron Carter/Marcus Miller/Elvin Jones/Tony Williams/Billy Cobham/Jack DeJohnette were all in a band under one leader: Miles Davis (and yes, they all became band leaders after).

 

Rolling Stones have 2: Jagger/Richards, but I suspect as much as Keef protests, its Micks way.

 

Beatles had 2sometimes.

 

If you liked the repertoire and the drummer, tell the drummer to hire the replacements. Or do it yourself and you be the leader.

 

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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Tony speaks the truth.

 

Personally I don't like the boss's job. It sucks. I have not wanted to run a band since 1989. I don't like being a bad guy.

 

The best bands I have played in have always been the ones where I know who the boss is. I know the boss's wants and what his expectations are. It makes it a whole lot easier for everybody to bring their A game and be prepared follow the game plan if there is only one headcoach.

 

It's business.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Bands don't work as a democracy. Never have.

It's hard to know what goes on behind the scened, but at least the bands where everyone has equal billing might be more likely to be more democratic. Whether they "work" is open to debate. ;-) Like CSN and sometimes Y, or ELP.

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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Bands don't work as a democracy. Never have.

It's hard to know what goes on behind the scened, but at least the bands where everyone has equal billing might be more likely to be more democratic. Whether they "work" is open to debate. ;-) Like CSN and sometimes Y, or ELP.

 

Need proof? Look at your examples.

Those bands break up on a regular basis.

 

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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Need proof? Look at your examples.

Those bands break up on a regular basis.

As do bands with dictators. ;-) Though I guess then the dictator at least always has the option of just replacing people. See King Crimson. Though whether Court of the Crimson King, Red, and Thrak were all done by the same band is open to interpretation! Of course, a band could also address disagreements with fisticuffs, a la The Who...

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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.... Of course, a band could also address disagreements with fisticuffs, a la The Who...

 

...or Skynyrd. At least when Ronnie was still alive. :laugh:

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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"... a 20 year old courtesan dying of tuberculosis in 1700s Paris."

 

 

"Got Mr Joe Green on the phone from Europe again. What'll I tell him?"

 

"Tell him we still don't want his script."

 

"He says it's a musical."

 

"The answer's still no. Tell him we need kiddie stuff. Something with lots of songs and a pricess and lions and dwarves and smurfs and shit. Or spider people. Where's that Sweeney Todd script ... here, listen to this ...I Will Survive ... Weren't you the one that tried to bake me in a pie, did you think I'd crumble ... they'll be dancing in the aisles to that, handbags on the floor"

I'm the piano player "off of" Borrowed Books.
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Sucks when it happens, but 5 years is a great run.

 

In my experience, a clear band leader generally offers more positive than negative...it's that temptation to become dictator that starts to chap fellow band members.

 

Bands with clear leaders also break-up on a regular basis...I think it is equally possible (and a good idea)to at least have a division of labor within any band...booking, "musical director", song picker...one person doing all of these things flames out as often as a bandocracy.

 

That being said, I've also been in bands that become flat-out lazy when there is no leader.

 

So yeah, I don't think there is an exact formula.

Steinway L, Yamaha Motif XS-8, NE3 73, Casio PX-5S, iPad, EV ZLX 12-P ZZ(x2), bunch of PA stuff.
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Bands don't work as a democracy. Never have.

Second.

 

I refuse to play in bands that don't have a leader; and don't play long with bands who's leader is inept or merely the "senior" member.

 

The "senior member" of my band left about a month ago, citing seething anger towards the guitar player, who did what he (the sr. member) never did: provide us a direction and push us to accomplish goals. He felt, being the senior member, that the guitarist took over the band. Maybe he did, but all that points to is that the self-proclaimed "leader" had no clear direction in mind other than an implied "let's be a hodge-podge classic rock cover band" idea, when none of the rest of us wanted that (if only because there's a hundred of those in town).

 

We're still rebuilding -- the guy who left was our drummer and singer -- but we're swiftly getting back on track. One of the reasons I trust the guitarist's leadership is that he doesn't want to be the leader, but sort-of has to be.

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Band leadership was discussed in this thread, and I think Moonglow nailed it.

 

....There is such a thing as organizational psychology. When a band is set up as a sole proprietor with sub-contractors it can breed the feeling within the band that it's "Jason's band" and the rest of them are his at-will employees, who are free to come and go more or less as at-will employees please.....

Okay, Im hooked. Ive often thought about how organizational psychology plays out in a band context, as it relates to variables including decision making, autonomy, leadership, etc.

 

Seems to me that Jason may be the emergent, if not implicit leader. There are many models of leadership styles, but Ive always liked the (albeit somewhat dated) one below. Basically, the model sets forth two dimensions:

 

1. Autocratic-Democratic - representing the extent to which leaders permit subordinates to take part in decisions.

 

2. Permissive-Directive - representing the extent to which the leader directs the activities of subordinates and tells them how to carry out their jobs.

 

The two dimensions can interact in the following manner:

 

The Directive Autocrat makes decisions unilaterally, and closely supervises the activities of subordinates.

 

The Permissive Autocrat makes decisions unilaterally, but allows subordinates considerable latitude in carrying out assigned tasks.

 

The Directive Democrat makes decisions participatively but closely supervises the activities of subordinates.

 

The Permissive Democrat makes decisions participatively and allows subordinates considerable latitude in carrying out their tasks.

 

The key task is to match the leadership style to the needs of the organization, and to change as organizational needs shift and evolve. For example, the Directive Autocrat style has been found effective when the leader has an inexperienced or under-qualified staff.

 

I suspect if Jason is able to move toward the Permissive Democrat style, this would moderate perceptions of the group being perceived as Jasons band. Providing open books regarding the bands financial status may facilitate this approach and develop trust, concurrently.

I think that in the OP's case, there were at least two groups who could not come to an agreement. Even if the band leader had said, "you do it my way," the others would have said, "we're hitting the highway." No amount of dictatorship would have helped.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Very perceptive.

 

I wouldn't say that a stronger band leader would have saved the band, but in retrospect, I think running the band as a democracy created a lot of problems.

 

For instance, my biggest complaint the last few months is our difficulty adding new material. We gave everybody a voice in what songs should be added and also gave everybody veto rights. That system works for a while, but in the end, it started to take forever to arrive at a consensus.

 

Not I want to dictate what is done, but sometimes you have to say "fuck getting everybody on board, this is what we're going to do".

 

 

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I'll cast another vote in support of the dictatorship approach. The band I'm in now has been together some 14 years or so. I've been in it the whole time (except for a 2 year break about midterm). It is far and away the most succesful band I've been in, and although the music is mostly fairly simpleton singer / songwriter material, the musicianship - not chops, but playing together as a band- is the highest of any band I've been in. Why? 1 person's vision. Everyone likes that person, loves her voice & loves her songs, so we all get on board to figure out how to support her vision.

 

It's her business, her name, her success, but also her headaches, zillion phone calls & other crap to deal with. I show up, play, leave & wait for a check in the mail. No ego battles, no arguments over material, what rooms to play, etc. Works for me.

 

 

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It's her business, her name, her success, but also her headaches, zillion phone calls & other crap to deal with. I show up, play, leave & wait for a check in the mail. No ego battles, no arguments over material, what rooms to play, etc. Works for me.

 

Sometimes it's nice to be the sideman.

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Yeah, definitely. The band I've been playing the most with is the one guy's vision, and he always deals with the band members, including usually three singers. :facepalm: I will show up for rehearsal not knowing or surprised to see who is playing.

 

Has there been drama due to some of the players? Yep, but deep down, I'm not worried about it. In fact, that gives me a good perspective because then I have some distance from it instead of being emotionally involved.

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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