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Have you been in a band with someone you really dislike?


DJ-Wood

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Hello,

 

How many of you have been in a band with someone you don't like?

 

My situation is this: I've been working with a drummer for the past year now. We get on well, we groove really well together, and we were in a band together until recently (Singer and Guitarist left to do other things, leaving us looking to form a new group.)

 

We played with lots of different people, nothing spectacular really happened, and then Drummer met Bloke. Bloke is a highly talented guitarist, who also plays keyboards bass and drums to a very high standard. He is a very good song writer, and has a lot of studio and live experience. We've started writing together and we both agree that we've really connected musically.

 

The problem is that socially, I find him obnoxious and offensive, and he's rude to my friends.

 

I don't know whether to tolerate it for the sake of the (very good) music, or walk away and look for the 'ideal' group. Drummer definitely wants to work with me and Bloke.

 

Help!

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What a combination: good music with an arsehole.

How serious is the band? Is music your career or just on the side?

I think if it was a serious project with a future it might worthwhile putting up with his behaviour. But if it's not, tell him he's a dick and move on.

Life really is to short to deal with crap like this, and you don't want to lose the support of your mates.

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If you try to stick it out with a jerk in the band, it won't be long before the whole thing blows up and you'll be back where you started. In my experience, at least.

 

No question, I'd much rather have the hard-working nice guy than the a-hole genius in my band.

All your bass are belong to us!
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Run away now.

 

Best case scenario: You guys get signed, and his rude and obnoxious behavior tanks your chances (or he pulls a Cobain).

 

Worst case scenario: 6-12 months of your life you won't be able to get back until you realize he has alienated all of your friends and ruined your motivation to play.

 

Life is too short.

"For instance" is not proof.

 

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My situation contains two people whome I absolutely despise.

 

It's a money trap for me and turned my love into a job no different then any other job you do where you co-workers are jerks.

 

I would suggest to you that you not make my mistake. Sooner or later a band jerk will steal your love of music from you and leave you with nothing.

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I agree with bikertrash - NOTHING is worth killing your love of music. And nothing can kill the love like working with a jerk.

 

I'd suggest you guys have a frank talk with "bloke" and tell him your concerns, in a nice way. Maybe he just doesn't realize he's being an ass, and sometimes people turn out to be different over time than when you first meet them. But too often I find that my first instincts about people are correct, and if that's the case, and a few months down the road he's still being an ass, I'd cut my losses. Things that are just mildly annoying now often turn into major problems when you're on the road or in the studio for hours and weeks together.

 

My band just celebrated 3 years together yesterday. The guys I work with are not only very talented but have become my dearest friends as well. Before I found them, I was determined not to commit to another band until I found people with the talent, the musical chemistry AND the good personal relations. It was a long road before I found them, but it's certainly been a wonderful 3 years. I say, in life you get what you settle for.

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I was in a band where the manager/keyboard player constantly pissed off the various sound men we hired (and he tended to hire bad sound men over and over because they were cheap), repeatedly crashed and burned on the keys in live performances, and fired solid members of the band while bringing in less-reliable and less talented (and less friendly) musicians to add "variety" to the sound.

 

By the grace of God I found another band that gave me enough of a reason to dump that lame act and the money that it provided. In retrospect, I shouldn't have waited as long as I did (I was in that band for 2 months, which was about 7 weeks longer than I should have been).

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Playing with jerks requires lots of money for me to put up with it.

 

Huge buttloads of money.

Ben said it all.

 

If you're not making any kind of serious cash with the douche-bag, move on. You'll be happier in the long run.

 

Making great cash helps to ease the annoyance of playing with someone unpleasant. But you have to remember that the cash will never replace the joy of playing with people you like.

 

I'd always rather play with people I LOVE -- even if they're not amazing musicians. Being able to enjoy my bandmates means more to me than having every note be perfect every time.

 

Of course, this really depends on the kind of band you're trying to create... if you're just gonna learn songs and then only get together to play shows or do sessions, it might not matter as much for you to be buds. But if you are forming a band that will write together and spend a lot of time in the same space, I really don't see any point in spending that time with someone you really don't like.

\m/

Erik

"To fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists of breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting."

--Sun Tzu

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In my first "real" band, we had a drummer with a real Axl Rose complex: he was very talented and attractive (or so I was told by our female fans) but he also usually refused to practice because "we'd played that song good enough at the show last week." He would also put up a stink if we played at small venues. Being that he was in high school at the time (my having been in college for several years at the time), small venues were all we could play.

 

He would also change his parts on the fly onstage, making locking-in virtually impossible.

 

Needless to say, that year and a half was a true pain in the ass.

 

Unless you are being paid to perform with someone like that (think corporate gig), and I do mean being paid as opposed to just making money, run away. Arseholes won't change...

...think funky thoughts... :freak:
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The old devil's advocate here.

 

I'm not talking about joining a band with a screwed-up individual who will mess everything up. I'm talking about playing paid gigs on stage, because that's what my experience is. The last time I "joined a band" was in the '70s, since that time I get "hired for gigs."

 

I've played many, many gigs with people who I didn't particularly like...or particularly dislike. They just are people with whom I would never choose to socialize with. Of course I have some relatives that I would never choose to socialize with either but I don't have much choice about that.

 

But I play with pro players who are there because they can do the job. Some of them may be uncivilized louts who I don't invite over to the house, but they can do the job.

 

I don't play music with my closest friend because he can't do the job. Many years ago I stopped doing gigs with him because I would rather be friends with him than ever play music with him...and if we kept playing music together, I knew that eventually I would hate him.

 

And amazingly enough some of these people I have done gigs with who if I had first met them by chance not in a musical context, I would manage to avoid them the next time I saw them on the street, have become close friends over the years. Playing music has enabled me to come in contact with a wide variety of people and enabled me to learn how to know them and relate to them.

 

One dear departed friend in particular comes to mind. Most people considered him extremely uncouth despite his keyboard and singing talent. And when he got arrested for selling drugs and sentenced to two years in prison, it turned out that I was the only musician who went to visit him there. After he got out, we would do anything for each other, and I still miss him after his early death of a heart attack at age 40. R.I.P. Chris Kovacs.

 

I have found that if you have good musical communication with someone (and it can be someone you don't care for), eventually you will develop the human relationship.

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tell the drummer you want the dick gone. a good bass player is much harder to come by than a good songwriter.

 

i've played in many bands a lot longer than i should have because of a good drummer. when there's a dick involved it NEVER works out.

Eeeeeehhhhhhhhh.
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Originally posted by jeremyc:

I don't play music with my closest friend because he can't do the job.

Know THAT feeling ... When I picked up bass, my best friend decided to pick up the guitar. I taught him his first couple of chords and a song or two (some Nirvana stuff I remembered) and told him to practise on chord changes by learning songs.

 

Needless to say he never bothered with full songs, and two years down the road he's still "working on his own compositions" etc. Okay so he's improved, but he'll never cut it in a band situation.

 

And he doesn't take it too seriously either IMHO because when I asked him to propose some songs for a possible set list (he's been making plans for a band that -of course- features me as the bass player and lead singer) he came up with Jimi Hendrix ...

 

So no, I'd never play with him. Unless he really changes his attitude. And I don't think I could last with arseholes in a band either, no matter how good the music is ...

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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The last time this happened to me was in a band that I had joined as a paying gig.

In that case, I treated it as such-a job where I'd show up on time, do what was to be done, be quickly social, and get out.

When the payments stopped, so did I.

The music was average anyway.

 

I tend to agree with the general opinion thus far-It's usually better to play when you are in a group that is happy and comfortable together.

Unless you think you could work out a Lennon/McCartney creative differences sort of thing. Doesn't always work...

Either way, best of luck to you.

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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IMHO... if this were a paying gig, and you needed him to do it, it might be worth putting up with him and when you got off work, you don't have to socialize with him. Like Jeremy said, getting hired to do a gig is a lot different than forming a band. In the latter case, if this guy has that extreme a case of cranial rectosis, send him down the road. Guitar players that are just as good and are civilized aren't that hard to find. ;)

 

Rock on.....

 

Tommy

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I would have to say don't do it. I was in a band with someone who I neither liked or disliked. We just had different views on the direction the band should go. I should have left the first month, but I stayed a year. Good players, no other options, etc.

 

I think I would be in a better situation gig wise right now if I would have left. I really like playing so I stayed. I believe I am paying for that decesion now. Oh well. Live and learn.

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Oooo. Another one of those "If a bass fell in the woods and no one was around to hear it, does it make a sound" philisophical threads.

 

Lemme (no pun intended) take a crack. If you are Jeremy and actually do this for a living (or a substaintial part of reportable income), you play with the talent and tolerate it, but don't bring it home to your mother.

 

If you are like most of us, and you do this for a very miniscule part of reportable income and end up playing small venues, you can give up some talent and play with people you like. Hell, by the time happy hour is over, you all sound the same.

 

If you are like me, you play tiny venues for beer. It really doesn't matter anyway.

 

I normally charge for this sage advice. :thu:

 

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

 

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Flip Side of the coin:

 

I work with a keyboardist whom I get along with fairly well - decent guy, good sense of humor...

 

caveat - he has chops, but no ears. He hears nothing the band is doing...misses cues, can't remember arrangements/solo spots, is clueless about dynamics, has the busiest left hand I've ever worked with (steps all over my lines), plays at solo volume all night long. My ears were ringing all day Sunday after a Saturday gig.

 

Maybe worst of all - he claims to "not hear" the problems/issues. Case in point - we used to play "Green Onions" as a sound check type tune. Never get a sound check... so the singer would go out and listen for balance. So; "Green Onions" is not about chops (per se) - but balance and groove. At our 1st rehearsal, I mentioned that his 'right hand' (descending line) part was not right - he responded by saying "I don't hear that", even after I played it for him. End of conversation.

 

Whatever...

 

We keep him on because there is a dearth of good keyboardists who want to play on a fairly regular basis (We've been through 4, in 9 months).

 

Point is (sorry it took this long, but thanks for the rant) - It comes down to a matter of balance and necessity.

 

My gigs are covers, for the most part. A different ballgame altogether. Yours is about creativity and inspiration. Still - a good measure of balance and necessity need to be weighed.

 

In the end, you need to decide how much extraneous stuff you can put up with - and does it become detrimental to the efforts you put into the music? Balance - or the lack thereof.

 

When the music suffers, you will too. Doesn't matter who could play what, but what was played.

 

Jim

Jim

Confirmed RoscoeHead

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The point that Jeremy raised is a very important one. If you are in a band that is in the starving, beginning stage and you have to do a lot of the groundwork like getting in a van and driving hundreds of miles to play gigs for very little money, sleeping four or five guys in an Econo Lodge etc. all to further your particular or collective vision; it certainly would be a good idea to have people who have some sort of empathy since you'll be be placed in difficult situations a lot more often than pleasurable ones.

 

If on the other hand you are a more independent musician who works with a lot of different people, then empathy doesn't matter a whole lot because your mindset is different. You are there to do a good job, get paid, and get called back to do it again. All of this takes a more detached and diplomatic frame of mind with the big picture of what you want to do with your music and/or playing.

 

It depends on what you want to do with this group. If you want to stay with it and see a future you could always bring up the unpleasant aspects of this guy's behaviour to him and see if you all can get on the same page. If it is strong collective vision you all share, chances are all parties will be willing to make accomodations. If not, then you know there is no future in it. Good luck with it all.

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Minor amounts of tension in bands, especially bigger ones, are I think almost an inevitable part of the territory. Having said that my current band is about as good from that perspective as any I've been in. Not that there aren't problems: the main keys player wants to put in less time than the rest of us and we feel his attitude holds us back, and the guitarist's enthusiasm for the project waxes and wanes for personal reasons that are unrelated to the music. But fundamentally, I like both of these guys and don't find them unpleasant to be around.

 

The last band I was in before that had the archetypal egomaniac singer/frontman. He was very good at what he did, so we tolerated occasionally obnoxious behaviour. In its own terms it was a very good/popular band and nobody wanted to miss out on being part of it. Having said that, when the band went into slight decline (basically local audiences had heard us often enough that the law of diminishing returns started to operate) it broke up much more quickly than it would have if it had had a better personality mix. The singer's personality supplied enough downside that as soon as the upside began to diminish people decided they'd had enough. This wasn't a money thing (most of us had well paid day jobs) but it's a similar principle to the one identified by Ben, there has to be a lot of extra upside before you will put up with a dickhead.

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Originally posted by DJ-Wood:

The problem is that socially, I find him obnoxious and offensive, and he's rude to my friends.

Is he the same during practices, jams, gigs etc? If you get on well when you're doing music, then I don't see a big problem. Just because you're in a band with him doesn't necessarily mean that you have to socialise with him.

 

Alex

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And yes, I was in a band with a drummer that I didn't get on with, on either a social or musical level. Bearing in mind I can't recall not locking with a drummer, either before or since, I feel the problem was more at his end. He could neither swing (not jazz swing, just that subtle bounce that's a prerequisite of funk and disco) nor did he appreciate why he needed to.

 

I lasted three gigs and then quit my own band!

 

Alex

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