Divas and drunks..
Recently joined a new band, already lots of gigs lined up. Original music, four piece: drums, bass, acoustic guitar w/overdrive, that kinda thing. Problem: lead guitar/vox is a bit of an ex-addict and drinks excessively and turns into a bit of a demon.
Problem? Beautiful songs, lots of social connections, good band chemistry..
We have lost out harmony vox last night because the lead went ballistic on a soundman. It was a small club, a very late show, no one in the audience but it's a known club and I'm cozy with the owner (as is the lead) whom we know from previous projects and a recording studio he operates in Seoul..
Rehearsals always go well, and when he falls apart, it's not missing the parts, it's like an emotional meltdown.
So, how much do you put up with, how many time to you forgive? When he holds it together, it's great, and the band already as wide support. But if and when it falls apart, that time and effort is wasted, right? I mean, it's all a learning experience, but we've been together a month and last night was strike 2. (Previous incident of making a huge fuss over pulling out of a gig at the last minute, and I mean less than 24 hours to go, because the owner of the venue backed out of another show promoted by a concert promoter for whom the lead now works.. yes, there are some potential conflicts of interest.)
Sometimes madness and a bit of diva makes a legend - but the other 90% of the time, it's hell with no payout.
We're an originals band and don't do this for the money, but for the creative expression.
Get out of it and find something better. You are already at strike two...... On the flip side, maybe seeing "strike three" in person might fully convince you to get out. Could be the story of a lifetime.
Start looking for another band in the mean time.
Bands have become renowned by destroying the venues they play at... A long time ago, but still. Just saying. Could be fun even if the music doesn't go anywhere :p
Sounds like you got another Jim Morrison. Hey the Doors put up with a lot of crap just to get those sometimes magical nights.
Before doing that, what about having a sit-down, earnest talk with the guitarist when he's sober. Lay down some ground rules like, no drinking at practice or gigs. Maybe let him know that he's got three strikes and he needs to shape up or he'll be replaced. If he can't do that, then this stuff will surely happen over and over again and he needs to be replaced.
Does he write many of the songs? How replaceable is he? Those are things to consider and weigh before just stating to fire him or find a new band.
"Does he write many of the songs? How replaceable is he? Those are things to consider and weigh before just stating to fire him or find a new band."
The songs are his - his melodies, his lyrics. One or two songs carried over from a previous project that seems to be haunting him like a bad ex: his old lead guitarist had just done a gig we dropped by to checkout and ended up starting a guerrilla set (with soundman's ok), said lead guitarist went onstage and mashed all the levels to hell. I can't see this being a good association.
"Bands have become renowned by destroying the venues they play at... A long time ago, but still. Just saying. Could be fun even if the music doesn't go anywhere.."
"Sounds like you got another Jim Morrison. Hey the Doors put up with a lot of crap just to get those sometimes magical nights."
Word on both counts. I just want that magic that happens are rehearsal to be onstage. But.. being as he plays an acoustic, and yet suffers as many do from the 'louder is more better!' syndrome, the levels are f@ckt.
"Can I use this? it should be on a billboard for every band to see I agree either he goes or I would leave before his reputation starts to encroach on yours."
It's yours! And yes, this was a concern with the first show he nearly canceled to shore up loyalty with the production company he works for - but we prevented it, though not before making hell with another promoter, one that's far friendlier to smaller, local talent (the company he works for does int'l "indie" style rock shows, tickets in the 40-70 dollar range, sometimes cheaper).. the relief there was I talked it over with that local label and it was all, "Hey, don't worry about it, we know (singer's name) well, we know how to talk him down, calm him down, etc.".. But yeah, there is a concern we'd be mud if he really screwed the pooch.
We're calling everything dry from now on as a condition. I've never had to do that before because it's honestly never been a problem. Once about 4 year back, in another band, we decided to cut off drinking before shows because we just weren't tight enough, but no one was blacking out drunk even in that case.
Eh... he knows it's his 2nd strike. It's not so much firing him as leaving the project, we'd probably just do our own thing which is a shame. The material's good, we have a 30~ minute set down pretty solid. (That's all most bands get in Seoul, so it's an EP or more of songs..)
What a waste.
I feel for you and I'm usually with the fire him or move on crowd but I realize it's not that easy and I don't know how the band scene is in Seoul?. It seems that most talented people are always conflicted but I guess that's what makes them who they are?
If you had a recorded couple of albums with him or have sunk $20,000 into a big PA system with him, that would be something to consider. (Wouldn't that be about ₩10,000,000? I'm not sure.) I think you said that you recently joined the band, so that's all factors to consider, too.
Lastly what are your goals? Are you trying to be the next global superstar, or just the best in your local scene? If you're really not intending to be a national/international act, then I'd say ditch him for sure. If your trying to be a regional act or bigger where you're living off your income as a musician, this guy better be supremely good.
I have been in a multitude of band setups from cover to original and the one thing I couldn't stand was the diva syndrome that some could develop and that was when it was time for me to go. Just sayin :) but true :D
I don't put up with it. Music should be fun. I would not have fun playing with someone who has these issues. I would find another band.
Some of the best "Vocalists" ive worked with were emotionally unstable but i think that is part of the reason they are so good. I hated having the fate of the band resting on the shoulder of an unstable primary link and trying to keep him sober before headlining performances. If they are really that good and the "problem" is something you can think can be dealt with then stick with it, if not you are holding a ticking time bomb, enjoy the ride.
Statistically speaking, you probably don't have a genius on your hands, just an unstable person. Unlike mjac28, I am usually NOT in the "fire him" camp. But two strikes in one month? This is NOT going to get better, trust me.
If he is a very good musician and song-writer, I'd probably stick with a bit longer. Maybe get the band together and have a chat with him. It's very easy to say "just fire him", and I agree if he's just a guitarist/vocalist. Good song-writers, however, are like gold - I would be willing to put up with a lot of crap from anyone who can write great songs, since that's something very few people can do (me included).
Most of us have been in this situation, and I guess it just comes down whether or not you think he's worth all the drama. Sometimes you have pay a price to put up with serious talent. Is he a serious talent? That's what you have to decide.
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