Multiple Bands with Members in Common

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bwardmusic, Nov 8, 2013.


  1. bwardmusic

    bwardmusic

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    United States
    Some of you know I had to fire a band member this week.

    A year ago, I thought I was being smart by making my quartet (Band A) also scale down to a trio (Band B). This meant that when clients balked at my jazz quartet pricing, I would throw a trio at them at 3/4 the price. This worked out pretty well and got myself and anyone in both bands really busy and earning money. We also got the trio into venues the quartet couldn't fit due to space limitations.

    Problem is, the Quartet drummer didn't have the chops, so the trio had to import a drummer who is not in Band A. So, this meant the trio was Guitarist Band A/B, Bass Player Band A/B (me) and Drummer Band B only.

    When I let go Guitarist from Band A/B, this caused a ripple of discontent after a couple days from Drummer Band A. He accepted my decision, and even agreed it was mine to make, which is good. But after the decision settled on him for a couple days, he said that if he didn't know me as a friend he'd have quit the band given the songs we'll lose with changing personnel. Wrote this long email disagreeing and trying to persuade me to reverse the decision after he'd agreed it was my decision and that he's support me in it. He said he felt problems in Band B should not have any impact on Band A. (I told him I wasn't going back on my decision).

    This is the second time I've band members that are common to two bands in which I 'm involved. Both times, when there have been personnel problems with people that are in BOTH bands, the fall out is much greater than if the two bands are assembled with independent sets of musicians.

    Just curious if anyone has experienced this -- where you are in multiple bands with the same person...that relationship hits a bump, or the person quits, and the fallout threatens the health of both bands.

    I am thinking its best that if you have more than one band, that the musicians be totally independent and separate. This means that problems in one band don't hurt the other band. Also, if there is overlap in repertoire, it means you are grooming subs for each band you can plug in whenever necessary -- an added benefit.

    I am retooling my trio and am trying to figure out how to get the right configuration of people....
  2. Joe Louvar

    Joe Louvar

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2011
    Location:
    Santa Rosa, CA USA
    FWIW: Years ago I played a few gigs with two different bands at the same gig - was cool getting two paychecks and only setting up once.

    Anyway, good luck.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    It also means that when each band is working, the other band is sitting at home (or wherever). Since the members not working won't be getting a check, maybe there will some discontent because you're off with the other band earning some cash.

    How about you get bass sub and get all the gigs you can and have the sub fill in for which ever gig you choose not to play?

    That way everyone will be have a better cash flow. eek:

    You'll make more too because you can take the BL's fee for each band for each gig.

    Good luck.
  4. bwardmusic

    bwardmusic

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2008
    Location:
    United States
    I'm thinking of Band A continuing as is -- as a largely peer based band that I fund and retain ownership of major decisions like where to invest money, who is in the band, etcetera. In Band A, I will continue to let the guys drive the repertoire and run it like a fun thing, although I personally view it as a business.

    The second band (Band B), the trio, will be a purely pickup band focused on business. Staffed with good players who can just show up and play the songs that I indicate. I'll have a list of them. These guys can be involved in as many projects as they want (guys in Band A feel loyalty to just that band as it stands). But Band B is a pool of musicians on which I draw whenever I have a trio gig. They will be there for the money only, and not for the joy of playing songs they like etcetera or for creative expression.

    That way the one band isn't fretting about sitting at home while Band A is out working.

    And for the pickup band, I will have greater freedom to use my time effectively rather than all the collaboration that Band A takes. It has a valuable outcome in Band A, but its really time consuming....

    I don;t like to to sub myself out for my own gigs for some reason. Never have liked it. Every time I do, that bass player tries to take away my position in the band.

    I have used that to my advantage once -- I intentionally backed out of the bass chair for one gig because I was planning on quitting that group. But I didn't want to leave them hanging for future gigs. So, they found a sub bass player.

    he started calling them once every two weeks asking if they needed anything (ie, trying to take away my position in the band). When I quit, he slipped right into my place, knew half the songs, and then the band was on its way without me.

    So, I never sub myself out of my own gigs.
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  6. nojj

    nojj Guest

    Joined:
    May 20, 2013
    I have a drummer in common with 2 bands, (the most working ones)
    and a gtr player in common w/ 2 projects.

    No major issues thus far.
  7. SteveC

    SteveC

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2004
    Location:
    Grand Forks, North Dakota
    At one time I was playing with a keyboard guy and drummer in a jazz quartet, cover band, horn band and church group.
  8. eloann

    eloann Supporting Member

    Joined:
    May 14, 2012
    Location:
    Switzerland
    I used to drum in a half-original half-cover classic/hard rock band. The guitar player and I became really good friends and he would often guest with my "other" band at the time in which I handled bass and songwriting. We also have an ongoing thing with 2 buddies on keys and bass (I'm back on drums) plus sometimes guest singers playing 100% improvised gigs. Plus a few rehearsed "one-offs" (tribute to Radiohead with an opera singer comes to mind). We've been discussing a new grunge/metal project lately.

    Since we know each other so well things just click very easily. A look is all it takes to sort something that may require a 10-minute chat with other people. Never had any serious beef with the guy and I would hate for that to happen.

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