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my attitude is tanking...


dcr

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I originally posted this on "For the Band," but I thought I'd post it here too since I know so many of you & you know me.

 

This is a bit hard for me to post, since for some time I've considered my attitude to be one of by best assets. But the truth is that I think my attitude is starting to suffer lately.

 

I'm the guy who's often the first one set up, the first one torn down, the one who knows the chart & arrangement first, etc., you get the picture. At first, I started developing these habits because I was insecure as a player; I wanted to have it together so that people wouldn't just boot me, & so that I could focus all my anxiety on just playing right. Eventually I gained some confidence, & I kept these habits because I thought it made me a better band member (and I think it does). But now, I'm starting to fear that I keep these habits so that I can feel superior to others.

 

It really sucks to say that. But now I find myself getting pissed when I know my parts, & other people show up not having the chords worked out (on songs they picked out & have been listening to for 2 months! :mad: see, it's happening already!), when I'm set up & still waiting for other people to finish dragging in the door, when I know the arrangements & others are dropping or adding measures, etc. I know the stuff & yet there I am spending hours stopping & starting because they don't. Of course, it's reasonable to say that people should show up, set up, & play in a more serious fashion. They should. It's "only" rehearsal, but for crying out loud, do your homework & come ready to rehearse. OK, I can rant about that all day, but that's precisely the problem. I can't afford that rant. That's life, & I've got to control how I react. Right now, it's not about what they should be doing differently; it's about what I should be doing differently in how I respond. I'm worried about ME just taking it all too seriously. We're not pros; we have day jobs, & for some of us the hours are very long. I want to stop being annoyed (at people who are my best friends, btw). I believe in what we're doing & I don't want to spoil it. I want to be encouraging, helpful, & energetic. I want to be efficient, but I don't want to get pissed about inefficiency. I don't blow up, but I do simmer.

 

HELP! I need some pointers. Have any of you been there? How can I revive my 'tude?

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Preaching to the choir!

Not only do I show up with hours of practice under my belt, I also do all the art work, our web site (up soon!), and lately all of our attempted booking (tonight The Webster Underground was going to give us a gig, but my drummer is going to be in FLA. :mad::cry: )!

It sucks when everyone is not on the same page (the RIGHT page)!

"Start listening to music!".

-Jeremy C

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Originally posted by dcr:

We're not pros; we have day jobs, & for some of us the hours are very long.

i've found that that's a reason to be more prepared. i don't want to rehearse for two hours and only cover six songs. i want to know that if i practice the arrangement enough, i can either choose to be more productive or get out of there quickly.

 

i find that my band where i play drums is very frustrating. we practice twice a week for about an hour and a half each, and we still have a ten song set list. and they wanted to kick me out of the band for not being enthusiastic about practicing that much.

 

in my other band, where i play bass, we practice for about two hours once a week, and we have a setlist of over thirty songs. it's a totally different, and far more gratifying atmosphere.

 

robb.

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dcr, it's call a work ethic. It is a rare find indeed. It's what separates the pro's from the children (most of the times). In a couple of years, it's what gets you a gig with a real band instead of a bunch of garage wannabes who aspire to greatness, but are unwilling to put in the time, the sweat, the DNA, etc. to acheive the next level.

 

It's ok to feel superior as long as you don't point it out.

 

Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn

 

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HELP! I need some pointers. Have any of you been there? How can I revive my 'tude?
If you're the first person to set up, just use the extra time you have to catch up with the other people (or maybe only the one other person who is also ready). This might require arranging for that person to be on time (give them a call).

You set up, tune etc. and then put down your bass and just hang out. The others in the band may get the message that you've finished set-up before them, but if they don't you still get a chance to hang out with one of your buds.

 

If you're the only person who knows the arrangements yell 'em out during the song!

A man is not usually called upon to have an opinion of his own talents at all; he can very well go on improving them to the best of his ability without deciding on his own precise niche in the temple of Fame. -- C.S.Lewis
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Sounds like it's time to have a band meeting and sort out what it is you guys are all looking for out of this experience. There is nothing more frustrating than putting time into a band so you can be prepared for gigs/rehearsals and one/several other band members do not. I leave bands when this starts happening and becomes chronic. I do not like having my time wasted and neither should you.

 

Just yelling at people during rehearsal isn't going to solve anything. You guys need to have a sit down, and you need to bring up this stuff. If they don't agree that something is wrong, or that you are taking things "too seriously"; it's time to find a new band, my friend.

 

I left that big 9-piece funk/soul horn band because of similar problems. Several band members who shall go nameless were notoriously unprepared for rehearsals... and they were the ones that would harp on everyone else the most if someone else actually didn't work on something. Nice. We discussed it several times and it never got better. I saw them play about 6 months ago and all the "problem" sections of songs were still problems; all the same mistakes were there and a host of new mistakes were all over the place. So glad I'm not a part of that nonsense anymore.

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Originally posted by dcr:

But now I find myself getting pissed when I know my parts, & other people show up not having the chords worked out (on songs they picked out & have been listening to for 2 months! :mad: see, it's happening already!)

hehe this part particular hit home with me. my cover band doesn't even really deserve to be called a cover band. when i brought this up to the band, they all agreed we needed to shape up, and the guitarist suggested we learn 'megalomaniac' by incubus. okay, not really my style, but it's an improvement, right?

 

too bad the next practice me and the drummer were the only ones who knew the tune.

is it just me, or is there some more gravity?
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dear dcr:

understand the point from where you view. my last band had different, but equally frustrating probs in attitude, to the point that i once brought a plastic bag full of eggshells that i tossed on the floor, ready to tread, as an intro to the discussion that ensued.

the hint was taken, we laughed, and we had a good talk. nothing was solved, but points of view were clarified, feelings weren't hurt, and relationships weren't damaged.

sometimes you cain't fix whut be broke, but the tension can be relieved, which is important when good friends are involved, and can't hurt when broaching a tough subject.

as far as yer need to fix yer attitude, some would say music uber alles, so damn the torpedoes. some would side on friendship, which might bugger the musicianship. pick what side of the fence is yours and act accordingly.

dunno if this helps, but there you go...

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I can't tell you how many times I've been in the same situation over the last 30 years. It doesn't matter what level the band is at either, although major slackers tend to get dumped rather quickly at the higher end when money and reputation are on the line...

 

I'm even experiencing it to some degree in my current project. We have one member (There's always one, isn't there?) who is generally 10 minutes late for everything, is prepared for new material only about half the time and tends to be a bit of a slacker during setup/tear down. I learned to deal with situations like this by remembering that this is a band . We work off each other's strengths and weaknesses. What he adds to the band makes up for his shortcomings.

 

I wouldn't say it's that you have an attitude problem. It's that you expect the same dedication from others that you exhibit. That's not always a realistic expectation. If it's worth putting up with for the music, you do it. If not, you move on.

 

JMHO...good luck! :thu:

Later..................
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I'm usually there and set up first, I'm always on time for rehearsals and soundchecks, I practice run the entire band's rep the night before nearly every gig by myself, and I'm now the band's soundman and have to set up all the mics and the the FOH and monitor mixes, since our second guitarist left the band. (We do our own sound from the stage at our regular house band gig)

 

But I guess the big difference for me is the fact that all the other guys in the band are always very well prepared and have an excellent work ethic, aswell.

 

But like Jeremy said...

 

Being prepared and having a good work ethic has it's own rewards. I find much more satisfaction in it than I do frustration.

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Originally posted by 61Pbass:

I wouldn't say it's that you have an attitude problem. It's that you expect the same dedication from others that you exhibit. That's not always a realistic expectation. If it's worth putting up with for the music, you do it. If not, you move on.

 

JMHO...good luck! :thu:

I agree!

 

It is really hard for me to be quiet about people not being prepared. I think this is why they call me little prick or little nazi. I have very little patience for slackers. I'm not a great musician but I am always prepared.

Thank you,

Craig S. Leyh

CraigLeyh@Buffalo.com

WWW.FrameBand.com

 

"Lucky 7"

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Relax.

 

Don't sweat the small stuff.

 

Treat yourself to new experiences regularly - learn new tunes, jam with new people, study new techniques, play along with new records, etc. - to keep your perspective fresh.

 

Realize that you can do something that many people can only dream about and make a pledge to appreciate that and enjoy the heck out of it as often as possible.

 

Watch those girlies dance!

The Black Knight always triumphs!

 

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I relate in huge ways. Like mentioned above. There's always someone who's slacking more than others. Or sometimes, the whole band just doesn't have it together. That's a combined fault. And it feels like crap to be a part of it. Bit of a joke. I always showed up 15 min early to rehearsal. Most of the times, I would skip eating because I only had time to drive strait from work. Then I'd show up and the whole band would pile in over a period of 30 min. So I decided screw that, I'll bring food in and eat there until people show. Then when people are late you wanna give them a fair chance to warm up. For us downbeat is at 8pm. But we typically don't start playing until 8:30 or later. Turns a 2 hour rehearsal until much less.

My band has played musical members. One drummer replaced and one guitarist left to weed out his love for another style. The funny thing is, the guitarist who was over our style of music for months was still the most dedicated. I guess there are alot of respect issues in addition to showing how much you want things to go well. Though I have no solution for you because I'm looking for my own. I am told to not worry so much about a praticular member at times and wait for something really bad to happen. Personally, the band members are very cool. No drugs, no irate jackasses. When it comes down to it, none of us here on this board of loads of $ to quit our day jobs and live in band mode full time. So when it comes down to it, the only thing many of us have is our song writing and playing out put. So when I decide that the playing is not atan output I wanna be a part of....bye bye.. I express, when it comes down to it, it's my decision what type of players i wanna work with. If I decide I can't work with people who arn't on the same page, even if I know I'm a bit anal because I like to enjoy the music I set out to play as opposed to always learning it, then that's the way it'll have to be. I would visualize myself leaving before firiing anyone. And this band I love VERY MUCH, I put it together. I sing as well as play bass. I do all the business. Sound familiar? But when it comes down to it, I'm the odd man out. Good Luck.

Mike Bear

 

Artisan-Vocals/Bass

Instructor

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I know exactly what you mean dcr, and I can say I share your attitude. I can give one example: There was supposed to be a jazz concert on the 22nd, and I was so excited to be playing for my friends at a hotel that night. Of course, we still haven't got our parts all down, so we had to tie the loose ends on wednesday. Anyway, when I get there, you know what? We had the drummer, one horn, me and the teacher, everyone else was gone because it was a half day, (though jazz was still on). It really got me mad that these people don't show up and dedicate themselves to it. My friends say I am way to dedicated, but I think it's ok, people should learn their parts. I completely feel for ya here, I know what it is like. Luckily, we were able to pull together the concert band today... hopefully it will stick for the trip next week.
Life like jazz is best improvised
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I know EXACTLY what you mean...I'm the same way. It has always been an issue with me and was a problem with my last band. However, I just got involved in a new projest and remarkably, the other guys are just like me. While I might be one of the lucky ones, I think that eventually you find other musicians that are at your level, have a similar work ethic, understand what it takes to be in a gigging band, and have great attitudes. Sometimes it takes not being in a band for a while so that you can leave those who don't share your attitude so that you can go out and find people who do.
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if you are alwasy the first for these things, then when you are done, you should help out the rest of the band with their setups and whatnot :thu:

"I'm thinkin' we should let bump answer this one...

Prepare to don Nomex!"

-social critic

"When I install my cannons, I'm totally going to blast their asses back to the 16th century; Black Beard style"

-bumpcity

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oh man i know how you feel. i have been in a band for about 2 years now. our singer is the one thing that drags us down. we have tried threats, ultimatums, and flattery to have him improve.we have offered to pay for singing lessons. it seems as if he only practices when we are there to make him. it has been two years now and i think he has still failed to get a song right(originals or covers). he would rather sit on his couch in his BVDs watching DVDs. we have tried to replace him but we can't find anyone who is as good or better than him( he is not very good himself). the rest of the band does all the work. setting up the p.a. at shows and sometimes mic checking his mic. we write all the music and most of the words to our songs. i know i should get out but the rest of the band are the greatest group of musicians that i have worked with. so i am stuck until we can replace him or learn to deal with his short comings. to top it off his lazy attitude is rubbing off on me. i don't practice as i should . i know this yet i still don't care.
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I used to be you. I put up with it too long. I should have quit earlier, but it was my only outlet for playing and I didn't want to give it up.

 

I am glad it's over. Less stress and I have other things (house buying and wedding) to deal with right now. It sucks not playing, but I hope something will come up one of these days.

 

Unfortunatly, I stayed long enough to cause damage. I no longer get calls to fill in here and there. Not that I ever got tons of them before, but now it's zero. I believe my association with some people has damaged my reputation to a degree that I may never get back on anyone's call list.

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I can relate. When I switched to bass from guitar I carried on playing with the same standard of musician I'd played with before. I definitely felt insecure because I was a lot less confident about my bass playing than my guitar playing. I compensated for this by working very, very hard. If the band made a tape full of tunes that were "possibles" I usually learned every tune way in advance, even though we'd only end up playing 30% of them.

 

These habits have continued - I'd never turn up to a rehearsal without having learned my parts thoroughly. If the band has a lay-off between gigs I will spend time before the gig playing along with the original recordings, to remind myself of parts and reduce any risk of mistakes.

 

On top of which I organise, cajole, handle the money, make the cds for new material. If there's a problem I email everyone and co-ordinate working out solutions. If we need a new member it is usually me who calls round contacts and approaches prospective candidates.

 

I've played with people who in varying degrees are reluctant to rehearse, turn up with parts unlearned, refuse to get involved in any of the tedious admin, refuse to play gigs they don't like the look of, prioritise trivia ahead of the band, get drunk on stage, are rude to other band members etc, etc.

 

(Examples: one guy said he could make a rehearsal, subject to confirmation everyone could do it. In the day or two that it took for everyone to confirm he made other arrangements, saying he was entitled to do that as it hadn't been formally confirmed. We later found out the other arrangement was a visit to the cinema with his wife to see a film that he could have seen at any time during a 3 week period.

 

OR: in my last band we agreed to do Jamiroquai's "Love Phoolosophy" at short notice and while I was very busy at work. I started learning the part at midnight the night before the rehearsal, and stayed up until I had it nailed, about 3.30. I turned up at the rehearsal to find we couldn't play the song because the guitar player had been too lazy even to pick up a cd that had been made for him.)

 

If you are a pro working with other pros then (as no doubt Jeremy and others will confirm) you won't put up with this. It is your livelihood and you don't have time for buffoons. If you are a semi-pro in a small town with a taste for playing non-mainstream projects you will either tolerate it to some extent or rarely play. There just aren't enough decent players around, and if you insist on every band member having great enthusiasm and attitude you probably won't find enough musicians to form a band, unless you are interested in the mainly-for-money chart or wedding band scene, which I'm not. (No flames, please, I'm NOT knocking those bands, I just think I spend enough of my life doing not-especially-enjoyable things to make money without spending my weekends playing weddings and company dances).

 

In my circumstances I can't afford the luxury of blanket principles, I take each case as it comes. I will tolerate a certain amount of people freeloading on my energy and commitment if I think their contribution is positive overall - if someone is a good musician, gets their act together on actual gigs I might keep quiet about them turning up to rehearse unprepared occasionally. Others go too far over the line and you have to confront them or in extreme cases kick them out (thankfully that hasn't happened for a long time, because I deeply, deeply hate it when things come to that).

 

Sometimes you do have to ask "am I getting enough out of this to justify the amount I'm putting in?" but you also need to be careful that you are seeing the big picture - there have definitely been occasions in the past when I've let things get to me to the point where I've quit projects only to regret later that I've killed something I was enjoying for reasons that don't seem such a big deal with the benefit of hindsight. But other times I've left something reluctantly and later thought, "why did I stick with that so long?". You just have to make your best judgement in each particular case.

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As most have said, I understand and have had to deal with this.

 

I think I see three sides to this based on my experience.

 

1. It's OK to leave. If you decide not to, keep that thought in your back pocket (not to use as a threat, but as an escape valve). There are other opportunities out there, and they can turn out to be casual (like jams) or serious or both! You already have the work ethic to go after them. And the personality and outgoing approach to meet everyone in a music store and see what they are doing.

 

2. It's OK to have the "meeting" and state your case. Others may agree with you - even the slackers. They may welcome a boot in the butt. Be clear about what you want, and be happy if they agree with you and make most of the changes. The worst that happens is that they declare their #1 goal is to irritate you - then see my item 1. We have a keys guy that we haven't figured out yet. He might be all over learning new material and playing live. Then he can't get a free night for 2 months.

 

3. Step back. I'm so tempted to say "be more philosophical" (oops - I just did). Look at where this fits into your life. Maybe you are comfortable with these folks as people. Maybe you need to some extra-curricular stuff (jams, or start a coffee house gig with one person, or join another band!). I'm not saying you won't take on the work you are doing now. I'm saying that you can let the band exist at a lowest-common-denominator level - it'll never be you at that level, but maybe it's OK if the thing never gets below a low level garage band. The thing is that only you can let that happen. Only you can let these guys irritate you. And if they do that effectively, see #1.

 

Most of all, realize that the work you put in is for you more than for the band or anyone else. You can scale back a bit, but mostly it's how you are built. So remember that if the band doesn't appreciate or respond to what you provide, that's OK. You aren't doing it for them - you're doing it for you.

 

Hope it gets better one way or another.

 

Tom

www.stoneflyrocks.com

Acoustic Color

 

Be practical as well as generous in your ideals. Keep your eyes on the stars and keep your feet on the ground. - Theodore Roosevelt

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I want to thank everyone for the posts they made here. It helped enormously, both to get support and to get some recommendations. I've read & re-read them all, & thought about it quite a bit.

 

We had another practice last night. It went pretty well. There did come a point at which I started hearing, "Let's try this one, but I'm not sure I know it" & that kind of thing. I won't say I went off, but I was frustrated & people knew it, so we talked about it. My point was that we've had all the material for over two months now (with less time than that before the first gig), & the deal was that people were to learn the stuff so that we could maximize group practice time, of which he have precious little. (I was not alone in thinking that this was the deal, & that people need to make time to know the stuff.) But what came out is that the fellow who's struggling the most said that his work schedule--which does keep him traveling most weeks--is really getting in the way of his learning the stuff, so he feels he has little choice but to learn it in group practice or just not learn it.

 

We could argue about whether time has been used as effectively as it could, notwithstanding schedules. We could speculate about whether time has been wasted because other people who prepare can be viewed as a safety net. But there's no point to any of that, now. (And anyway I'd probably only exaggerate how bad things really are.) What I decided was that I'm still behind the project all the way, and so if fortune forces us to make a new deal--we learn as we go now--in order to be able to pull the project off, then so be it. And, just like that, I was actually OK with the way things are. New deal, & I can live with it. What's more, we kept practicing, and got through twice as much material in half the time as last week. So I'm pretty happy, I guess. (Of course, I still wish we could've had the original deal, or failing that, some better up-frontness about the need for a new one.)

 

I'm happy because it seems like people might be pulling their own weight more than it might have seemed (we did get through a good number of songs, after all), and because I was able to step back from the situation, size up my priorities & my circumstances, & make the decision I could best live with. And for the latter, I'm sure I'm very much indebted to everyone who posted such good advice here. Thank you.

 

And special thanks to SW, who had to hear about all this yet again in PM's! :rolleyes::thu:

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