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Problem Band members ... Whats your approach?


MaFunk

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Just wanted opinions on how to best handle this situation...

 

Heads up:

 

Our band has been together for 7/8 years and has had a few line-up changes along the way. 2/3 years ago the bass player and drummer left us (our decision) as they had a severe personality clash that appeared to be unworkable.

 

The new drummer has stayed with us since which is great and has injected new life into our band.

The new bass player didnt work out so we ended up having the old guy back again... We were happy to do this as he is a great player, but tension is again rising between him and the rest of the band.... :cry:

 

Ex.1 He is bluntly refusing to accept a sixth band member (Great Jazz sax guy) stating "I want to be in 5 piece not a 6 piece band". The rest of the band want this guy - he adds nicely to our sound.

 

Ex.2 He is a kinda JAck of all trades guy playing firstly Bass, but also drums and a little guitar.. (he is also one of the busiest PA/Soundmen in the area). He spent 25% of our 2hr practise time last week telling the drummer how he thinks the drum line should play etc.. going into great detail, not I add for the benefit of the band or our drummer.... but seemingly just because he likes to find a medium for what he has learnt or is studying.

 

We do love this guy to bits although he can be very difficult - Many decent gigs have had to be cancelled due to his other commitments with PA's or other bands.

 

The thing that makes it most difficult is that he is a kinda shy guy, with not the best social skills going for him - he appears hurt and upset when challenged by anyone on any level..

 

ANYWAY.. rant over :o

 

But seriously... not only are some of you guys experienced musicians, i value your input as you have had many more years of 'life experience' than myself...(No offence :thu: ) Whats the best approach here?

WHAT IS HIP?
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Originally posted by MaFunk:

 

But seriously... not only are some of you guys experienced musicians, i value your input as you have had many more years of 'life experience' than myself...(No offence :thu: )

In other words, this is a nice way of telling us that we're OLD FARTS? :rolleyes::D

 

Two things going on here:

 

1. You like this guy, although he's got some problems interacting with the other guys in the band.

 

2. He can't make all the gigs because of his busy schedule.

 

---------------

 

I would focus on the 2nd item - the fact that he can't make it to the gigs and you've had to cancel many good ones. That's taking money out of everyone's pocket.

 

You could replace him. But you've fired him, then you hired him back. So you've got a pretty good idea of what the band sounds like without him.

 

Therefore, I suggest you have a meeting that includes everyone in the band and consider hiring an understudy. If this guy can't make a gig, have the understudy fill in.

 

Doing it this way has 3 benefits:

 

1. You get buy-in from the rest of the bandmembers.

 

2. You're not cutting all ties with the bass player and he should understand that you're doing him a favor by bringing this understudy up to speed with your repertoire.

 

3. He can educate and train the understudy. Since he obviously likes to "find a medium for what he has learnt or is studying", the understudy can be his medium.

 

In summary, it comes down to opportunity cost. If you're turning down good-paying gigs, this defeats a primary purpose of being together as a band - to make money.

 

Some people use that income to buy beer, while others use it to pay the mortgage. For many, taking money out of their pockets is serious business. Therefore, whatever you decide, it should not be taken lightly.

 

The alternative is to start over with a new bass player - and after rereading your post, this may not be a bad alternative after all.

 

Also, the band should decide if it's in their best interest to add the sax guy. If there's not a specific band leader making these decisions, then you all need to ask yourselves if adding the sax, and sounding better, will get you more gigs and/or better paying gigs. Again, this is another money decision... or should be. Therefore, it's important.

 

If all the band members must take a cut in pay by adding the sax player, it may not be worth it. Plus, adding this guy (and his playing schedule) complicates matters regarding the availability of your band for gigs.

 

MaFunk - one more thing.

 

I notice that you have a child in your arms in your avatar picture. From experience I will tell you that playing music in a band can be fun and making money from it is a good thing. But sooner or later you may find that it's even more rewarding to be there for your child instead of travelling weekends to play gigs. Therefore, making money is going to become that much more important.

 

The issues you listed certainly involve income potential and opportunities lost. If you cancel gigs because the bass player can't make it, you've lost money. If you lose gigs that you could have had if your lineup included that great sax player, you've lost money.

 

There may be others here who disagree, but if you guys are rehearsing all the time, but gigging sporadically because of the bass player's schedule, it's going to get old fast.

 

You asked for opinions. That's mine. I'm sure that there are other folks here who have ideas that are just as good, or better.

 

Good luck. :thu:

 

Tom

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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This type of thing does not lend itself to a "one size fits all" solution.

 

Has he been made aware that some of his antics are putting people off? Perhaps he's oblivious, and thinks that his enthusiasm for micro-managing the drum parts is a shared enthusiasm.

 

As for adding the sax player: Is it a money problem, in that he doesn't want to split the proceeds six ways? I'm one who thinks a good sax player can add TONS to the sound of a band. But many folks feel that a sax player just waits around to play leads, but otherwise just watches while everyone else does all the work. (Horn sections are a different story.) Maybe offering the reed-man a flat-fee rather than a full-share would bring peace. Or is it one of those irrational things, like "I refuse to play Queen songs," or "no chicks in the band?"

 

I'd be careful about the "understudy" idea. Some folks would interpret such a move as an impending dismissal, "and they had the nerve to ask me to train my replacement!"

"If more of us valued food, cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world." - J. R. R. Tolkien
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You asked for opinions. That's mine. I'm sure that there are other folks here who have ideas that are just as good, or better. quoted by Gas in da car

 

 

Pretty good advise , that experience really shines through ;)

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Tom did a good job focusing on the other issues, so I will tackle the sax player one...

 

>Ex.1 He is bluntly refusing to accept a sixth

>band member (Great Jazz sax guy) stating "I

>want to be in 5 piece not a 6 piece band". The

>rest of the band want this guy - he adds nicely

>to our sound.

 

For what it's worth, I don't find this statement 'being difficult'. I have been in this situation before, and have quit a band that added members that I didn't agree with. However, never without giving it a chance.

 

You should find out what it is that he doesn't like about it. Is it the paycut or the new sound? If it is purely the paycut, do some research and see if your area will allow you to ask for more money as a six piece with a sax player.

 

In the end, you have a few choices:

- kick the bass player out and hire the sax player. Find a new bass player, or learn how to play left handed bass ;)

- Hire the sax player even though the bass player doesn't like it.

- Keep the bass player and don't hire the sax player.

- Kick everyone else out and go solo :D

 

Here is another food for thought - being that he is the busiest sound guy in the area, he likely has a lot of contacts for gigs. You may want to weigh that heavily before doing anything rash.

I'm just saying', everyone that confuses correlation with causation eventually ends up dead.
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Music should be fun but there is also a business aspect too i.e. time & money.

 

Once it becomes a headache or chore moreso than an opportunity for like-minded muscians to make money, it is wrong.

 

Deal with personnel issues swiftly. Keep your rolodex of musicians up to date.

 

Either the bass player wants to play or not. His tutoring the drummer is unnecessary and irrelevant.

 

The understudy is a good idea but I can't help but to think this cat could get on his/her nerves too.

 

Add personnel to the band only if the majority is in agreement, their contribution enhances the overall sound and potential profitability of the band.

 

Change is hard in general. Hiring and firing people is not the easiest task especially when it comes to friendship and/or continuity.

 

Communication is the key. Have a meeting in order to discuss the situation and deal with it. Good luck. :cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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The bass players has cost you:

1.) your old drummer

2.) he's working on your current drummer

3.) a sax player

4.) many decent gigs

5.) some sleepless nights (I suspect)

 

Being a good musician doesn't automatically make you a good band mate.

 

In my opinion, guys like this are poison to a band and you have to get rid of him to save the band.

Everybody's got to believe in something. I believe I'll have another beer. W. C. Fields
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Thanks for your input guys..

 

Tom - you do make a lot of sense, but bear in mind we all do have dayjobs so the financial issue has never really been a deal-breaker as such when dealing with the more inter-personal issues that can rear their ugly heads.. :evil:

 

Im not one to ever look a gift-gig in the mouth on the other hand and the extra cash comes in very useful!

 

Enjoying playing and being able to PLAY what we enjoy is more important to us, and to me the addition of Sax is welcome as i am currently having to laydown Hammond,Bari sax and horn section in a split scenario with 2 boards on tunes like "what is hip" etc.. aaargh..

 

I can do it, but id rather not. ;)

 

It seems communication is indeed key ProfD, I just need to speak my/our mind in the most effective yet sensitive way.

 

 

Thanks guys

WHAT IS HIP?
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Personally, I hate laying down parts for other instruments except piano, B3 and rhodes. Just say no! I think imitating instruments sounds bad usually and makes playing a chore not a pleasure. But that's just my take on it. I would quit using synth parts for saxophone immediately. Just do not use the parts period. If the band wants saxophone parts, then hire the saxophone player. I would have a 'come to Jesus' meeting with the bass player. I agree with BlueJC, the guy seems like a pain, but just get everything out on the table. It just sounds like he is reminding you why he left the last time. Ever met anyone who married the same woman twice?
"Forget it, Jake. It's Chinatown."
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Hmmm....so in in your eyes the guy has a "history of personality clashes" within your band. "Bluntly refuses to accept" a direction that all the other band members want to head in. ..and is a "know-it-all" to boot?

 

It's been my experience that trying to live with this sort of distraction in a band simply kills any and all synergy in a very short period of time. The obligatory "we love him to bits" comment followed by the apologies for his social skills and the statement that he appears hurt and upset when challenged by anyone on any level - suggests that you and your bandmates are already learning to stay out of his way simply to avoid conflict.

 

Were it me - I'd part ways with the guy and put my energy into finding the "right" guy for the gig. Life is too short to be miserable in something that I do for the fun! Living with a troubled bandmate is like walking with a rock in your shoe - it's a constant annoyance that soon makes any forward motion painful. Better to remove the rock as soon as you realize it's there.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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We let our drummer go who didn't fit with us musically nor as far as his approach to the band. He is a good guy, and we agreed it wasn't working and to part ways. It actually went quite smoothly, I guess because he understood why it wasn't working on either side. Since he has another band, that also made it easier.

 

My advice, FWIW, don't challenge your bass player, discuss with him the way you see things vs. the way he sees things. Be calm and rational, not emotional, and see how it goes. The way I see it, you have to give people a chance when they don't know what they're doing is a problem. Once they know it's a problem yet they continue, then you have to deal with it more drastically. For instance, if a band member gets the band a gig on his own, thinks he was doing the band a favor by finding it, booking it, etc., but the band didn't even know, well, he was trying to do a good thing and blew it, but now should know better. Do it again though and he's in trouble. I'm sure your bass player thinks he's helping by telling the drummer what to do.

 

However, we all know people that no matter how much you tell them something, it never gets through. Then you have to decide if it's worth it.

 

So, in our search for a new drummer, our singer posted this great ad and it included this.

 

"If you have emotional problems or are needy, please do not respond. We have already met our baggage quota, and dont really need any more. If you want to make a career of this, we will disappoint you. If you want to drive this operation into the ground, not have any fun, and create thick tension in a room, Im sure theres another band better suited for you."

 

We're doing this band for fun, and that's a big criteria for any new member. :D

"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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My opinion on this:

 

1) He doesn't want the sax guy because of the pay cut. Often band members say they don't care about the money, but it's been my experience that 75% of the time they DO care about the money (I would be in the 25% who couldn't care less about the money).

 

2) If I were in your band, I'd want a very good reason why this sax player were necessary. 6 members makes it all the more difficult to book gigs, and it's just one more personality to deal with. I prefer a 4-piece myself.

 

3) The rest of you want the sax player, so one man one vote. The sax player is in. You can find another bass player.

 

4) Since the bass player has caused other problems (GIG CANCELLATIONS!!), and now this stink over the addition of another player, boot him. Gig cancellations due to emergencies ONLY. Not due to other committments. Fire him.

Steve (Stevie Ray)

"Do the chickens have large talons?"

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Find out where his loyalty lies. If he says anything except that your band is the first priority, boot him. He's costing you money, and more importantly, reputation.

 

If he says that his first priority is your band, remind him that that means every potential booking conflict, your band wins. No More Cancellations.

 

I did the double band thing for a while, and damn near lost both due to conflicts. I finally had to make a decision which band to go with. I'm glad I made the right choice.

"In the beginning, Adam had the blues, 'cause he was lonesome.

So God helped him and created woman.

 

Now everybody's got the blues."

 

Willie Dixon

 

 

 

 

 

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Partial Quote by MaFunk:

------------------------

He spent 25% of our 2hr practise time last week telling the drummer how he thinks the drum line should play etc.. going into great detail, not I add for the benefit of the band or our drummer.... but seemingly just because he likes to find a medium for what he has learnt or is studying.

------------------------

If I were your drummer, I'd tell him to play bass and mind his own business. I don't know if your bass player is a better drummer than the one you have, but I know if I was in a band with him, I'd tell him he's taking up 25% of practice time with unsolicited BS. You have to clamp down on him. You're already losing gigs because of him, if it were me, I'd be looking for another bass player. :o

 

Issues like these was the reason I starting playing solo and "Fired the band". I've had peace and quiet ever since.

 

 

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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Who is the leader of this operation? Is this a band where nobody has the final say and the collective always rules? It's hard to think that that is the case, but if it is it might be difficult to get executive stuff done like axing a member. Usually in musical groups you have one guy who has the final word or influential opinion. Either way I would try to convince whoever the leader is that this bass player shouldn't be in the band. You say the new drummer has injected new life into the band, so you are obviously all psyched about him and his playing. But the new old bass player seems to want to alienate him by showing him some grooves? I'd find another bass player to act as the main bass player, and use the current one as a sub only. That way he is still invovled with the band and you don't cut ties or hate each other; he is simply 'one of the guys you use'.

Kawai C-60 Grand Piano : Hammond A-100 : Hammond SK2 : Yamaha CP4 : Yamaha Montage 7 : Moog Sub 37

 

My latest album: Funky organ, huge horn section

https://bobbycressey.bandcamp.com/album/cali-native

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I've sort of skimmed the thread, so I might have missed something, but:

 

I would ask yourself: why do you put up with the guy? It sounds like there must be some reason, but you haven't really said what it is. Would a good replacement be hard to find? Does he offer something else besides bass playing, like, does he do your sound or something? Is it you don't want to offend him cause he's a personal friend?

 

Once you get a good handle on this question, then it'll be easier to proceed. You'll be able to weigh your options better.

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all of the above Floyd unfortunately..

 

We talked calmly about it with him at praccy last night and things appear to have smoothed over. He even begrudgingly suggested that a bridgey section of a song we are writing could be filled with a sax solo!

 

He now understands that the majority rules in these situations and no love was lost on the way. This will be 'nipped in the bud' if it happens in the future im sure..

 

Thanks guys for your posts... they did help me to approach this situation calmly and effectively.

 

Mafunk

WHAT IS HIP?
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Originally posted by MaFunk:

 

Thanks guys for your posts... they did help me to approach this situation calmly and effectively.

 

Mafunk

And, in all seriousness, that's exactly what I hoped was going to happen.

 

You received quite a few opinions. There may not have been ONE of them that exactly met your needs. But if there were tidbits of goodness in a few of them that helped you through this, then I'd say we earned our keep.

 

Sheep rule. :thu::)

 

Is There Gas in the Car? :cool:

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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reading this makes me happy that I am mostly doing duo work these days.

 

I just left a band because of the 80 songs in our book only one was mine - meaning I picked it - and it was Moon Dance - I am so sick of that song - everything else I'd suggest was not the direction that the band wanted to go in - so I bailed - I didn't want to be a hired gun - not for the crummy club date money we were making.

 

So, for me, there is a big difference between a band where every one has a say and one where you're there to back up the singer and the lead guitarist.

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It's late here ...

 

This has been mentioned in this thread and I feel it needed to be repeated - there should be one person in charge who runs rehearsals and who makes the important decisions, period. That one person can be the bad guy, the fall guy, the guy who makes all the unpopular decisions.

 

Committees might seem fair and democratic but I've learned (at least in music) you really need one person in charge who knows what he is doing.

No guitarists were harmed during the making of this message.

 

In general, harmonic complexity is inversely proportional to the ratio between chording and non-chording instruments.

 

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I gotta respectfully disagree with you on that one Dave! What every band needs is LEADERSHIP - not simply one person in charge. Leadership can come from a single person - or can be shared (i.e., there's the guy who leads rehearsals, then there's the guy who leads the bands marketing efforts, and possible another guy who leads the band in terms of sound engineering). Real leaders have a way of pointing a band in a direction - and have the ability to get the rest of the band to willingly follow.

 

Each band has to figure out what will work best for them - with all members "buying into" whatever leadership arrangement they come up with. Those bands that can find an arrangement that works for them are typically the successful ones. The ones that can't are usually doomed - regardless of how talented the individual musicians are.

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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Most bands I was in had ONE leader. However, in one group I was in, we use to split the duties of musical director (usually the LEADER) and the marketing portion of running the band. I was in a group that had a great piano player, who was also the musical director AND leader. But our bass player got the gigs, did the bookings, etc. He was the salesman type, and it worked.

 

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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We've got a hybrid leadership arrangement as well. To a large degree we're "band by committee" in terms of strategic issues (i.e., what sort of gigs we want to target, general playlist direction, wardrobe (to the extent that we pay attention to it...), etc.) Our guitar player and sax player tend to drive the rehearsals - with everybody else reasonably content to follow them. I own 95% of the PA and all the lights - but happily follow our drummer's lead in terms of running it! The guitar player and I share the marketing chores - with everybody else pitching in when the opportunity arises. The couple of times that it was necessary to have the "difficult conversation" of pointing somebody towards the door - I've stepped up to be the "official" deliverer of the decision. The guitar player and I pretty much share the task of shaping the group agenda at any point in time - with help from pretty much everybody.

 

We seem to avoid the typical "art-eest" disagreements about playlist by adopting an attitude that we'll try anything...and then decide whether or not a tune stays AFTER we've given it a stab. Rather than argue about a given tune should be added to the playlist - we give it a try first. Typically it only takes a few minutes of practice to come to a unanimous conclusion as to whether or not it's going to be a good fit for us.

 

Like I said - every band has to figure out what works for them - and this works for us. I can't imagine though being a long term part of any group with single "appointed" decision maker. Feeling like it's "MY" band is a key part of my satisfaction - and not a feeling I'd get by being told how the railroad is gonna run.

 

The SpaceNorman :freak:

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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It's on the guitar forum right now. Nutshell is, this guy threatened to quit, so we decided to let him loose. Now he's slandering us all over the internet and hijacking copywritten material to promote his "new" band, which doesn't actually exist yet - he (maybe) has a bassist, but no other members - he's making a concerted (but doomed to fail) effort at snatching the other guitarist and drummer from my band.

 

Basically it's a whole lot of ugly drama that would be a lot uglier if, for example, he was well-connected and well-respected in the local scene, which the guy being discussed here seems to be.

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Ah...I think I might have read some of that string. I'm pretty much of the opinion that anybody who "threatens" to quit needs to be shown the door - the Cleavon Little (of Blazing Saddles fame) approach of pointing a gun at one's own head as a negotiating technique simply doesn't work amongst grownups! Nor is badmouthing the folks you used to work with considered grownup behavior. While your former bandmate might be able to raise an eyebrow in your musical circle for a little while - if your band remains a functional unit and you continue to meet your performance obligations completely and professionally - slandering you will ultimately damage your former bandmate far greater in the long run.

 

I know that I for one avoiding getting mixed up with people who villify the folks they've worked with in the past since it's a near certainty that I'll be a former co-worker sometime in the future. (It's the whole belief that he'll be giving be giving me the same treatment he's giving them thing...)

 

Hijacking copywritten material (assuming it's not his copywrite) is in the end a legal issue with much larger ramifications. Fortunately, it something that can usually be readily addressed via the legal system (assuming the material is worth the cost of the battle).

 

The SpaceNorman :freak:

The SpaceNorman :freak:
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