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Dear Abby -Should I quit my gig?


LX88

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I am not sure how much support I can expect from this forum after some of my (occasionally)outspoken posts. but I want to run this by some of you.

 

Last night I was playing a gig and the bass player was playing a solo, to which I was attempting to play (what I intended to be) a tasteful accompaniment.

 

During all of this this the bandleader abruptly yelled at me to "BRING IT DOWN !!!" and so I basically stopped playing for a couple bars. I then heard this guy yell at me "I didn't mean to stop playing - ASSHOLE!!!".

 

Well , needless to say the rest of the night was basically toast, even though I am expected to sing 3/4 of the tunes .... many of them unrehearsed requests. That in itself can be quite a challenge... to be spot on with no prior preparation.

 

I just about walked OFF of the gig after this outburst but to be honest, I needed the money too badly.

 

Plus I think that whatever happens, it would probably have been worse to walk out and cause a scene so I hung in there even though I hated every second of being on the stage with someone who would attempt to humiliate me publically.

 

What I really need to do is take a leap of faith, get out of this scene and look for another gig. The fact is though that paying gigs are scarce in my neck of the woods.

 

Plus I am at the point where I don't think that I can look this fool in the eye that I work for anymore. Among other things, to say that he drinks and smokes pot "a bit" would be an understatement. Just try to communicate rationally with THAT.

 

I am just curious how many of you have had to endure this kind of crap and how you dealt with it.

 

 

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It sounds like a failure to communicate.

I think he was asking you to turn the volume down a little because you were stepping on the solo. You seemed to have interpreted him to mean you were playing too much. You stopped playing (an over compensation to either meaning) and he thought you were being a deliberate asshole by "showing him" and not playing.

 

Maybe the first step is telling him maybe you mis-understood his request.

 

 

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What JMcS said, though obviously the bandleader has issues. It's up to you if you want to keep playing with him while you find another gig, or move on now and take your chances.

"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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First. There is NEVER a reason for that kind of outburst on the bandstand from anyone. It's unprofessional. As opposed to yelling, the universal "sign" to bring it down is simply a flat hand, palm down moving in a downward motion is more than sufficient to communicate "bring it down.".

 

Second. His second comment only serves to amplify his unprofessionalism, so he's just an unprofessional ass. Not much that can be said about that, especially while "in the moment."

 

Your instincts to stay and finish the gig, despite the urge to "walk off" were the correct ones (maybe for the wrong reasons, as needing the money should come second to you behaving professionally), but you did and it was the right thing to do.

 

Personally, I would have talked to him at the break and told him in no uncertain terms that his behavior was unacceptable and don't believe it was necessary for him to resort to such an unprofessional method of getting his point across.

 

Now, the 2nd part of what I'd tell him depends on just HOW BADLY you need that gig. If you truly can't afford to make good on a threat to leave if he repeats his behavior, then maybe you shouldn't make the idle threat that "IF there was another such outburst, you WOULD leave the bandstand and be gone."

 

That would be up to you based on your situation.

 

At the minimum, I'd be looking for a replacement gig, ASAFP.

 

Never personally had "that" experience but have worked with some people in the past that I just won't work with anymore, as they're attitude and overall approach to working with people sucks.

 

Sorry to hear about that and good luck, man!

Yamaha C7 Grand, My Hammonds: '57 B3, '54 C2, '42 BC, '40 D, '05 XK3 Pro System, Kawai MP9000, Fender Rhodes Mk I 73, Yamaha CP33, Motif ES6, Nord Electro 2, Minimoog Voyager & Model D, Korg MS10
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...the bandleader abruptly yelled at me to "BRING IT DOWN !!!" and so I basically stopped playing for a couple bars. I then heard this guy yell at me "I didn't mean to stop playing - ASSHOLE!!!".

I'd have walked out then and there...

 

Misunderstanding his request is one thing. but being told off on stage for all to see and hear is a big no no where I'm from.

A real bandleader would never yell on stage during a show! If he can't get the message across to you during the song in a polite manner, he may choose talk to you after the set, or better yet, after the show. I know how it feels to be railroaded in the middle of a show; it disrupts your concentration for the remainder and that's not good for anyone.

 

Let him know how you feel...or just leave the band (tell your other bandmates how you feel, obviously). Life is short; there's no sense in being a victim of that kind of onstage atmosphere.

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I would have told him to fuck off and then walked out mid-set. Sometimes it's better to be broke. We get enough disrespect from the general public and from clubowners/party planners/whomever. We don't need it from our fellow musicians too....
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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I would have a talk with him when he's sober. Being that you have to sing most of the songs, you have the advantage. If you DID walk out, how were they going to finish the gig? If this is a weekly gig, and they couldn't finish the night, it would be THEIR gig that would be lost.

 

That bandleader may not know your financial situation. When you go talk to him, let him know that if he has another outburst like that at a gig and he starts yelling, you will walk off the stage.

 

In the mean time, start looking for another gig.

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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If you need the money then you also need your reputation as a dependable musician intact. That means don't walk out in the middle of a gig.

 

However, bring it up firmly afterwards and give him a chance to apologize.

 

If he won't or somehow thinks it's appropriate to speak to other musicians like that he can find someone else.

You want me to start this song too slow or too fast?

 

Forte7, Nord Stage 3, XK3c, OB-6, Arturia Collection, Mainstage, MotionSound KBR3D. A bunch of MusicMan Guitars, Line6 stuff

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If you need the money then you also need your reputation as a dependable musician intact. That means don't walk out in the middle of a gig.

 

However, bring it up firmly afterwards and give him a chance to apologize.

 

If he won't or somehow thinks it's appropriate to speak to other musicians like that he can find someone else.

The thing is, after the story of what happened gets out, his rep would be fine. Trust me ;)
A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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If you need the money then you also need your reputation as a dependable musician intact. That means don't walk out in the middle of a gig.

 

However, bring it up firmly afterwards and give him a chance to apologize.

 

If he won't or somehow thinks it's appropriate to speak to other musicians like that he can find someone else.

The thing is, after the story of what happened gets out, his rep would be fine. Trust me ;)

 

This!

 

I've experienced something similar years ago. AT the break, I simply quit the band, right then and there and packed up my one keyboard and amp, and left. The so called "leader" saw I was serious, and started begging me to stay. I told him no amount of begging or money is enough to keep me playing with his total unprofessionalism.

Word did get out, and most people said they were surprised this didn't happen before since the "leader" truly was an asshole, and unprofessional.

 

 

David

Gig Rig:Roland Fantom-08| Yamaha MODX+ 6 | MacBook Pro 14" M1| Mainstage

 

 

 

 

 

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If you're singing 3/4 of the songs, then it seems like they need you at least as much as you need them, maybe more. I would probably say to this guy "If something like that happens again, I'll unplug and quit on the spot. And by the way, the right thing to do would be to apologize." Give him a clearly defined boundary and let him know what the consequence will be.

 

When I have to deal with people like that on a regular basis, I try to reason that there's a reason why everyone who's in my life is in my life. Sometimes it's to remind me how not to be.

 

edit: on first reading your post, I thought you were saying that you sang all the songs in 3/4 time. That would make you even more indispensible . . .

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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It sounds like a failure to communicate.

I think he was asking you to turn the volume down a little because you were stepping on the solo. You seemed to have interpreted him to mean you were playing too much. You stopped playing (an over compensation to either meaning) and he thought you were being a deliberate asshole by "showing him" and not playing.

 

Maybe the first step is telling him maybe you mis-understood his request.

 

 

Word.

 

I have found dramatic exits rarely work and generally backfire.

 

Always time to speak your piece...after the job...if still necessary.

Steve Force,

Durham, North Carolina

--------

My Professional Websites

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Even this guy didn't pull that kind of $#!^ with his musicians onstage. He waited until afterwards (also see the Buddy Rich bus tapes linked previously).

 

Others are right. When you quit, I bet most people will be surprised you didn't quit sooner. That alone speaks volumes about your class and professionalism.

"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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by adan:

 

When I have to deal with people like that on a regular basis, I try to reason that there's a reason why everyone who's in my life is in my life. Sometimes it's to remind me how not to be.

 

The best reason is that he needs a serious attitude adjustment, and no less than $2500 worth of dental work. (After you punch him in the face) Be care not to hurt your hands. You can always give him a sharp chop to his Adam's Apple. While he's gasping for air, you have your choice where you want to hit him next.

 

The element of surprise is a good thing. :D

 

 

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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by adan:

 

When I have to deal with people like that on a regular basis, I try to reason that there's a reason why everyone who's in my life is in my life. Sometimes it's to remind me how not to be.

 

The best reason is that he needs a serious attitude adjustment, and no less than $2500 worth of dental work. (After you punch him in the face) Be care not to hurt your hands. You can always give him a sharp chop to his Adam's Apple. While he's gasping for air, you have your choice where you want to hit him next.

 

The element of surprise is a good thing. :D

 

 

 

Cheers,

 

 

 

Mike T.

 

Aren't you the guy who had a career as a one man band? As fine and respectable as that is, it's not a great credential for advising about band relationships.

 

But yes, there a number of different ways of approaching this.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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Several years ago, I was more or less forced to play an outdoor gig which smelled disaster miles away. During that gig, the main voltage was so bad that it ruined a couple of my instruments (a module and a stage mixer). I had to buy new ones right away, but the other band members didn't contribute a bit to the expense. I felt it wasn't right, I told them, and they agreed to give me back a part of my expenses, little by little, after each concert.

 

Well, after exactly one year, they had avoided carefully to speak of the matter again. They had *not* forgotten it, obviously. So I just said goodbye. I waited for a period without gigs to do so, so it would have been easier for them to find a replacement.

 

 

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Adan:

 

I was in bands for years before I went solo, so I have dealt with people like the band leader.

 

Also, I was only making a joke. Didn't you notice the BIG SMILE?

 

Lighten up. None one should take me serious, I don't. ;)

 

 

Mike T.

Yamaha Motif ES8, Alesis Ion, Prophet 5 Rev 3.2, 1979 Rhodes Mark 1 Suitcase 73 Piano, Arp Odyssey Md III, Roland R-70 Drum Machine, Digitech Vocalist Live Pro. Roland Boss Chorus Ensemble CE-1.

 

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If a band leader did that to me I would be done with him or her once the gig was over, with one caveat: if I lived in an area with a stronger scene, and the economy was better, I would quit with little or no notice. The reality is that I have to keep working, but I'd start looking for another gig, right away.

Have never been called "Asshole" on stage.... Straight, or stoned - or whatever - your first time saying that to me is your last time. After the gig I would take the leader aside and explain proper stage communication (as suggested in prior posts), but regardless of the response, I'd still start looking for a new gig.

 

 

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I would of asked the bass player how he felt of my comping and how he felt of the situation. If the bass player is on the leader's side this of course makes no sense. If a band leader told me to quiet down; I would of done the same thing. Stop and regain my bearings and bring it back quietly. I think the band leader looks like the fool calling you an A-hole in front of people so not loosing your cool was the high ground. Now, if the bass player agrees with you, it should be easy to find the motivation to confront the leader.

 

At this point, for you to feel good coming to a gig, you're going to have to confront him or leave band. Stroke his ego, play the gig, send out some feelers on finding a better gig.

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First off - if the club owner HEARS the bandleader call someone out like that in front of the audience - the whole band is likely to lose the gig. (admittedly, if the gig is a biker bar or similar - that is less likely to happen.

 

So you need to be looking for another gig anyhow - there is definitely a trainwreck up ahead for this "leader."

 

I think you handled it the best way. You are a professional, and acted like one. Over the years, I've had a few customers of similar nature in my business. I finished the job that I had committed - and then "fired" the customer - told them that I would no longer do work for them. (Exactly WHEN to tell them depends somewhat on financial condition and the supply of other customers).

 

I do think you should make it clear that his behavior was unacceptable - but kicking his butt over it is not a proper course of action.

 

People in the audience saw an our-of-control idiot "leading" the band - and most of them didn't have a clue why.

 

A bass solo, huh? Since I also play bass, I've just gotta say it proves that even with an idiot, they get SOMETHINGS right.

:)

 

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I would have told him to fuck off and then walked out mid-set. Sometimes it's better to be broke. We get enough disrespect from the general public and from clubowners/party planners/whomever. We don't need it from our fellow musicians too....

 

This, because if he does it to you he will do it again to someone else, fuck him. By taking that type of abuse you are basically saying it's ok. for that person to berate you. Case in point I had a drummer in the Reggae band I play with in Buffalo tell me I was starting No Woman No Cry wrong. It starts with an organ pick up and the drummer did not know the song really so he said someone thing like "your always fuckin doing that" He said it on stage. I was so stunned so I did not know how to react because it caught me off guard. He apologized later on but it was too late the damage was done. I told me later he should not do that. I told myself it would never happen again if someone talked down to me onstage.

 

Luckily he moved to Atlanta so I never dealt with him again. Your self respect is better than any amount of money especially at an average gig. Musicians need to be knocked down a couple of notches especially the type of people the OP mentioned. You don't have to kick his ass but I would make sure he doesn't ever do it again. If I got in his face it would be more than worth it.

"Danny, ci manchi a tutti. La E-Street Band non e' la stessa senza di te. Riposa in pace, fratello"

 

 

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I have to say.... I really appreciate the feedback on this one. Thanks to everyone who has contributed whether we agree or disagree.

 

Its kind of hard to cut loose of one of your major income sources but its a choice that I will have to make. Allowing people to be abusive only means that they will do it again if they are allowed to get away this time.

 

 

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I have to say.... I really appreciate the feedback on this one. Thanks to everyone who has contributed whether we agree or disagree.

 

Its kind of hard to cut loose of one of your major income sources but its a choice that I will have to make. Allowing people to be abusive only means that they will do it again if they are allowed to get away this time.

 

 

Since you already bit your tongue and finished the gig, I would go ahead and take it the rest of the way, telling him under no uncertain circumstances that if he ever does that in the middle of a gig again, you will pack your shit and walk right then and there.

 

Play the leverage card. If he flips out, then fuck him, let him find another keys man that can also sing 1/3 of the songs.

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I actually had something similar happen to me some 30 years ago on my first road gig (wow, am I really that old?). I remember it like it was last night. We were doing "Boy From NYC" (Manhatten Transfer) and I threw in more than a few too many blues riffs. Band leader called me out after the tune, on mic. Musically, he was right, but his method was all wrong. After the gig, I told him that if he ever did that again, I would unplug on the spot & split.

 

Two good things came of the experience. I learned a good lesson about not tastelessly climbing all over the singers, and he never pulled an a-hole stunt like that again. And 30 years later, we are still very good friends.

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