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Got kicked out of my band on Labor Day, madder than a hornet this morning...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jamestown94west, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. jamestown94west

    jamestown94west

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    I joined a dance band back in May. This was my first time being in a real deal 4hr gig bar band. They had a keyboard player who was phenominally talented, guitar, drums, bass, and an incredible female lead singer. Three part harmonies, and the keyboard player could bust out some mean rhythm guitar when needed. The material was all old school r&b, funk, a little modern top 40, and anything else that would either get your toe tappin, your boots scootin or your belt buckle polished.

    They contacted me in May and needed a bassist. I jumped on board immediately. I was very excited about my first paying fulltime gig.

    In June they had me play one very high profile gig with them, that paid peanuts. They had two more very well paying gigs that month, but they said they had those gigs booked before I joined the band, and that their old bassist was going to play them. I thought this was weird, but I had just joined the band, so I tried to be understanding.

    At the end of June the keyboardist quit. We reformatted as a classic rock/top 40 act, as a four piece, and soldiered on.

    The two original members of the band (the guitarist was a new guy just like me), really wanted keys back in the band and wanted to go back to dance music. We made it all the way thru our bookings in July and August as a four piece.

    Two weeks ago the singer texts me. She's very unhappy with the set lists. Its music she can't sing very well, and its music she very much dislikes, and wants to go back to the dance music. I tell her I agree, but that I'll do whatever the band wants to do. I tell her I'm in 100% no matter what, but that my preference was the dance format, so it's ok if we go back to that.

    A few days later the band leader texts me and says that he's cancelled all of the bands gigs, and that the band is on hiatus until further notice. He's going to find a new keyboard player, and we're going back to the dance music. I tell him that's fine with me. I went ahead that day and went to pick up my amp from him. Ive been in enough bands to know better than to leave gear behind.

    While I was getting my amp, I talked to the band leader for awhile, in person. He wouldn't give me a straight answer about the future of the band. He really had me under the impression that the band was either done for good, or at least not going to play at all for the foreseeable future. I couldn't get any direct answers out of him about anything really. I chalked it up to him just not having time to get the bands affairs sorted out yet. It had only been a few hours between the time he text me, and the time I showed up at his house. I told him I wanted to stay in the band, and to let me know when rehearsals would start up again, and I would be there. Everything was amicable, I got no bad vibe at all from him, and I left.

    Two weeks pass, I don't hear a peep from the band. I get a text Labor Day morning from the band leader, saying he rehired the old keyboard player. But, the keyboard players conditions for joining the band were that I be fired in favor of rehiring the guy that I replaced, who quit and left the band hanging.

    I never responded to this text message. I pissed me off way beyond the point of being able to have a reasonable conversation. I've still not spoken to the band leader as of today. However, the singer got a hold of me this morning. She wanted to know why I unfriended her on Facebook. She didn't know I had been fired. No one had told her what happened with the band. She then proceeds to tell me that they have two gigs booked coming up, that I was never told about, and that they have to use their old bassist for.

    WHAT. THE. F***!

    their old bassist doesn't even own a bass. He has to have the band members pool together and provide him with all the equipment he needs to play. Then I get to thinking about it, I've had to sit out all the good paying gigs, and only got to play the crappy gigs. Then, I get kicked out unceremoniously, simply because the keyboard player, who has quit and come back several times, likes this other guy better?! Seriously.

    I'm ready to sell my basses and go back to doing solo acoustic gigs. At least then I'd be the only d***head in my band that I had to deal with.

    I never had any trouble like this before. I'm not a hot head, I don't have any ego issues. I'm a team player, I worked my butt off hard for that band. I got hired and a week later was doing 4hr bar gigs playing songs I'd never heard, let alone tried to play before. I worked on my vocals and went from not being able to sing and play bass, to being able to sing back up vocals in 6 weeks. I was even taking my bass to work, and practicing on my breaks. I was rehearsing on my own, every single day. I told them I was doing all this, because I wanted to make sure they knew I was 100% committed and working hard to be as good as I could be for them.

    Then, to make things even more frustrating, I started looking for a new gig this week. So far I've had one guy talk down to me, because he thinks my amplifier is too "cheap". He later decided he'd like for me to come audition, but wanted to make sure that I planned to upgrade my amp, and said I would have to play DI only until I got a better amp. Funny, I was playing lots of paid gigs with that amp before, and no one has ever even noticed, let alone complained. Always got paid the same. Had another guy turn me down because he thought I was too young, no other reason, just wanted someone older (I'm 32), and have had yet a third band leader hem and haw because I don't want to play just classic rock only. The 70's were great, but there's way too much good music out there to limit yourself to just the same old classic rock.

    So, yea. I'm pretty frustrated right now. Don't beat me up too bad on here too, please. Just wanted to share my experience.
  2. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

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    Wow, yeah that’s a bummer and I have the feeling you were just being used by the BL - but FWIW, it’s probably best it ended because you don’t really want to be a band that hasn’t been upfront and honest with you about gigs do you? BTW: I’m trying to help you fine something positive here to work with, so you don’t feel so hurt.
  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

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    Band drama suks and the main reason I'm bailing on music...good luck to you thou.
  4. kai_ski

    kai_ski Supporting Member

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    bummer. I've been fired via text message before. Absolutely the coward's way out. And I think you're better off now than you were. Sounds like these guys were a little too full of themselves.
  5. goldenglory18

    goldenglory18 Supporting Member

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    Nah, this sounds like a surefire case of band leader abuse. They used you, and unfortunately you got emotionally attached. It's the worst part of being in the band atmosphere.

    As for the D-bag rashing on your gear selection...so long as you can play, it shouldn't matter. You aren't going to want to play with guys like that anyway...

    Keep your head up and keep on playing...
  6. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

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    Not to put too fine a point on it and in no way am I passing judgment on you, but based strictly on what you've written, is it possible it's your attitude that keeps getting you turned down?

    Getting turned down once or twice I could see it being beyond your control due to drama and/or flaky characters on the other side, but one guy asked you about upgrading your amp and you blew him off. Another band wanted to keep their set list in the 70's and you blew them off. Two opportunities to play that you killed by placing inflexible conditions on jobs you were asking for.

    You had an out on the upgrade request since it was put as somewhere down the line. This gave you the chance to get your foot in the door with your present rig, and would also give you a chance to change the mind(s) of your new band mates, or not. Either way it was a chance to play and you turned it down because you felt insulted that someone would question your choice of amps, even when given the opportunity to prove the skeptics wrong.

    Given your age and general lack of band experience, turning down a (potentially) paid learning experience because you considered the scope of the material to be too narrow screams attitude problem. Rookie band members need to work their way up the food chain and that involves doing jobs you may not be personally excited about but take anyway for the opportunity to increase your live playing skill set and musical resume.

    Again, not trying to judge, just suggesting based on the information you supplied that you may want to look in the mirror for the source of your problems in finding work in a band.
  7. bass geetarist

    bass geetarist Supporting Member

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    Sounds like you got some pretty unprofessional treatment from these guys. Don't waste more time with people who nitpick about your gear (that's your responsibility, no one else's) or don't want to play the music you want to play. There are lots of bands out there, as soon as you recognize a d-bag, say "thanks but no thanks" and move along. You sound like you're willing to make a big commitment to actually fulfilling your role as a bass player, find yourself a band that's worthy of that and settle for nothing less.
  8. eriky4003

    eriky4003

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    Playing bass and sing? Don't give up 'cause some band is going to need/want you. BTW, your gear list reads fine. Not sure why there was an issue unless you brought the Behringer combo and he doesn't like Behringer.
  9. HolmeBass

    HolmeBass

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    I realize it's tough not to get emotional about a band - but try to keep the emotion centered on the music. For instance, unfriending the lead singer was sort of an emotional response to the situation. You know you like playing the same music as she does, no reason to burn that bridge because the band leader and keyboard player didn't like your playing (or you?) enough to keep you around.

    Also, I would jump into that classic rock gig. Even though it's not your first choice, having gigs you'll get seen and keep the networking up. Unless you have some good jam sessions or some other way to network. No one says you can't quit the classic rock band when the time is right.
  10. RDUB

    RDUB Supporting Member

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    Sounds like a situation best left behind. They were never really on the level with you. I understand your feelings right now, but band changes and breakups are something you have to get used to as a working musician.

    Case in point: I'm 57 years old, and I've been playing for over 35 years. I mostly do hired gun type work, like theatre shows, backing local singers, etc., but I do have a couple of my own projects.

    I recently had an injury and could not play for about six weeks. I spoke to the band leader of a new band I was involved with and told him the news, and offered to resign if the timeline was too long. He assured me that it wasn't. I called him a few days ago to say I'm ready to start rehearsing again, and found out I've been replaced. Not a very graceful way for him to handle things, and yeah it really sucks, but there it is. I'll find another project.

    The same day, I found out that a band I've been a part of for many years is losing at least two key founding members. So now I have to decide whether I want to keep it going or move on... So I've had some really free time to work on my technique and reading! I'll soon chase down another project I want to be part of, or start my own.

    Bottom line? You've seen how others operate, and how negatively it affected you. Take the high road, try to be accountable and honest with those you deal with. And keep looking and promoting yourself.
  11. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN" Supporting Member

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    please have a seat over there... :bag:
  12. preside

    preside

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    If it's any consolation every member on this board over 30 has lived through something very similar, and it sucks. Hang in there, keep the bass, keep plugging ahead.
  13. JLY

    JLY Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    You were treated unfairly by the BL and I would not work with him again.
    But I would apologize to the singer and would not burn any bridges. Chalk this up as a learning experience.
    I would really consider the classic rock gig...an opportunity to gig, increase your chops and potentially play with some good people...plus it is a networking opportunity.

    Good luck!
  14. Tony Gray

    Tony Gray

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    I've been on both sides of this and it sucks.
    It impossible for any of us to know if the BL screwed you over, if it was your attitude, equipment, or your skill level.
    But I can tell you from experience you can be the victim, or use it to get better, and get a better gig.
    I would spend a few days being pissed about it, then move on. Best of luck to you.
  15. Ronbassman

    Ronbassman

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    If the singer was on your side, why not conspire with her and form another band without them? Pay them with the same coin.

    Nevermind, women take too personal being deleted from FB.
  16. BluesMan845

    BluesMan845

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    Musicians = Drama Queens, no way around it most of the time ;)
  17. edpal

    edpal Tick-tock, she's not just another pretty face! Gold Supporting Member

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    FMH55 raised a good basic point (I'm not calling it bad attitude) - you turned down 2 possibilities. I'm thinking if someone says "classic rock" you might want to check it out, as a person's idea of classic is different to different people. The common theory is anything over 25 years is classic. I'm 53, you are 32 - our definition of classic rock should be 21 years apart. You might have checked out the classic rock and found that they strayed up into the last 10 years. And going and playing would have soothed some of the burn from previous gig.

    "Amp knocker" - some BLs will kick a guys gear to see if you are motivated enough to at least say you will upgrade asap. I have a Peavy combo amp that people have chuckled at until I turned it on - it's just a Peavy shell that has been seriously re-loaded.:D

    Ok, you are frustrated, "maybe" blew an opportunity. We all do that. My practical suggestion would be don't drive yourself nuts trying to find another gig instantly. From what you tell us you did many things right with previous gig and maybe those other 2 really were non-runners.

    32 is too young....the only possible reason for someone feeling that might be they think you have other life responsibilities that might be a hassle for them. Such as wife, kids, job moves,etc. Or maybe they meant unseasoned. Only time and playing can change that.

    Really wishing you luck and again, your basic work ethic as a bandmate sounds fine. Keep on truckin :bassist:
  18. jamestown94west

    jamestown94west

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    The only gig I turned down was the 70s only gig, and I only asked if they were open to any other material. They said no, and I never told them I wouldn't play the gig, but they haven't called back either. I understand that's my fault.

    The rest of the people I've spoke with either turned me down, or in the case of the band leader who doesn't like my amp, I told that guy I would like to audition. I didn't turn that one down. Haven't heard back from him yet. I also told the guy who wanted an older bassist to call me if he doesn't find anyone else.
  19. edpal

    edpal Tick-tock, she's not just another pretty face! Gold Supporting Member

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    Ok, sounds like you have done all you can with those possibles. My experience has been if people don't call you back in 1 week or less it isn't happening. YMMV
  20. Dirk Rockbottom

    Dirk Rockbottom

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    Funny, must be something about Labor Day. I got fired on Labor Day last year. I answered an ad on a web site in February and the leader, who was the lead guitarist invited me for an audition. They were putting the band back together after losing their bassist and drummer. They hired me and we found a drummer. Then the female lead singer came back and wanted to sing with us. It all seemed perfect. We were all older (40 plus) and planned on gigging once or twice a month.

    The lead guitarist always seemed a little stand-of fish with me and didn't like me sharing the spotlight. He always told me to stand in the back next to the drummer. Our last gig at the end of August was in a real hole in the wall dive and I complained about it which I know he didn't like. But I played my ass off and the two vocalists often turned around and smiled at me when I played a nice run. The other guitarist even announced my name after one song. I think the lead guitarist was pissed. He even had me standing right behind the PA speaker so no one could see me!

    After the gig, the other guitarist messages me on FB saying "Great job, Dirk!"

    A week later, I posted a politically incorrect comment on FB and the next day, the other guitarist who had complimented me called to say that the band had decided to go with another bass player.

    I'm sure that the lead guitarist didn't like me getting the attention, did not share my political views, and didn't like me complaining about the crummy gig he got us. He didn't have the guts or class to fire me himself so he asked the other guitarist to do it. What a jerk.

    My advice is to try and get with a band of friends who share your same musical goals and interests. Being a hired gun is not always good. A lot of musicians have big egos and have rock star fantasies. Don't bother with them. Keep playing. You're probably good enough to get other gigs. It sounds like your band had a lot of crazy personality issues to me. Don't take it personally. I didn't.

    Dirk

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