I'm going to use this thread to vent a bit (I'll try to keep it short), but I'll also share some lessons that come with it.
Until recently I played in a band where everyone lived pretty far apart. Weekly rehearsals were out of the question, but we loved what we were doing and got together every once in a while to write, record and gig. This also means that in the time we're together, we're actually together for almost 24/7: we eat together, we have to sleep on sofas and have to share bedrooms. A lot of the time during the day is obviously filled with rehearsals.
The last time we were together, I was not so focused and brought some frustrations from outside the group into the rehearsals. Musically, I also don't click very well with the drummer: we hear grooves different and have different ideas on how the songs should evolve. This eventually led to the band having a talk with me where they said they would like to work with a different bassist next time. This was a slap in the face, because this is more than just a project for fun. We always have a good time together, but we also see a lot of potential in the music, everybody puts a lot of hard work and passion in it. We've also become good friends, so it was very painful for me to hear that they decided to go on without me. As painful as it was, we had an adult talk about and I just decided for myself that I would try to have a good time with them for the few days I had left with them. And I can honestly say that I have. Currently I'm handing over the last few things that were in my hands.
There's a few things to be learned from this that I'd like to share with you guys:
- This one is the most important one: the way you act has a huge influence on how your band members look at you. Maybe you play with a few friends, it's only a fun project with no big ambitions. It must be obvious that when you cause some bigger frustrations here (being dominant, teasing/bullying or being an ass in general, ...), you kill the only reason why you're together anyway: fun. There's no way this will end well. Or you play in a small band with bigger ambitions (my situation), where you start spending more time together and small things can easily turn into something bigger. When you already play in a bigger band, you most likely have more experience than me, so I'll leave that open.
The reason I talk about this one, is because I've seen it more often. I played in a band where one of the guys was turning into a real *******. Even though he was trying to get the band to the next level, his ideas would have destroyed more opportunities than it would have created and in the end we had more discussions than rehearsals (when someone disagreed with him, his counterargument was to repeat his first argument, only louder, so it was nothing minor anymore). Even though he was valuable as a musician, we kicked him out because it was unbearable to be with him for just a few hours every week.
This is just one example, so don't be that guy. Music is much more fun if everyone is fun to be with and it usually creates a more inspiring and productive environment too.
- Keep frustrations outside rehearsals. This was pointed out to me very well. One of the other band members had a stressful time too, but he managed to put that aside when we started rehearsal. I didn't. I probably won't be able to do it just like, it might take me some time to learn this, but now I'm aware of it. The least I can do is be more open about it from the beginning. This is also closely related to my first point.
- Don't take it personal. Like I said, we had an adult talk about it. They explained their reasoning, I explained that I already started to realize it and had a chance to explain why I acted like I did. There was some back and forth, some questions and answers, but never any harsh words or insults.
We're still good friends (and I hope we can remain friends for a long time). I'm handing over some stuff to them at the moment (I still have some files I have to hand over, I have some money from the band left, ...). Or in short again: be a professional/friend/adult about. It doesn't matter how you call it, but it's what's best for everyone involved.
I hope that for most of you, this is just news from captain obvious, but I also hope this might help a few people out there too.