Am I the jerk?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by DJS, Jul 19, 2021.

  1. DJS


    Feb 10, 2010
    Bonham, TX
    The band I've been in for 9 years, once more of a hobby, now more serious, has been an increasingly challenging obligation. BL and I are the only original members, and since BL has retired, he's recruited some better musicians and set some lofty, sometimes unrealistic goals. He's gotten us some great gigs, the new members are inspiring and good people. We're practicing more, longer hours, all good things in theory. But he’s just nonstop.

    I sensed this shift earlier in the year and scaled back (all but dropped) my other passion, cycling, (after training all winter for the season) thinking it might be ok to focus more on music for the time being given the situation with the band. One can't do it all. Plus, TBH, the cycling can be restarted again.

    Well, life happens. I've had a busy year with my almost adult children, traveling to help them move out of town, solve more complex life problems, etc. Recently we decided to sell our house. So it's been a mad scramble getting that ready. Throughout it all, it’s still been possible to practice and keep up with band obligations.

    BL booked a questionable out of town show (4 hour drive, not a great venue, $300 split 8 ways) this coming Saturday. It’s killing me to lose a Saturday for this, but fine, part of the deal with being in a band, we weren’t too busy when booked, plus it’s for charity.

    We’ve been talking about recording for 2 months. I get informed yesterday that recording starts the Sunday after this out of town show. All day. I was surprised, and it seems so was the drummer. We had talked about recording “that week” and “on the same days we practice” but never locked down a time. It’s possible, verbally or non-verbally, some loose agreement was made to record that day, but I have no recollection of it. Nonetheless, recording was apparently scheduled without so much as a “Hey – you good with recording all day Sunday after that out of town Saturday show?” I’ve been pretty clear about being maxxed out with the upcoming move, which starts a few days after.

    I can’t do it. I can’t lose a whole weekend, with a moving truck coming 3 days after, and declined. Well, recording hinged on getting drums and bass down first, then the rest of the week for others. (It’s not a studio, but BL’s house with a recording engineer.) BL says “he might have to be a d!ck” about this and get a sub or “he might have to be a d!ck” to everyone else and reschedule. That was fine with me - do what's best for the band. Then silence. The band slack is normally chatty, but is now quiet. Who knows what’s being said now offline. Simultaneously, I feel like I’ve let them down, and also this was quite unreasonable. Any thoughts?
  2. theduke1


    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    When a project stops being fun
  3. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    The only way this is justified is if this band is on a definitive upward trajectory where not striking the match now would seriously stifle that momentum. But i highly doubt this is actually the case. All i can say is that if this were me, i could not commit to this project because the effort level sounds really high for little payoff. Also, no way in hell i am driving 4 hours to a charity gig to be paid less than gas money.
  4. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    That scheduling was madness from the get-go.
    I don't think I've ever had a rehearsal the week after a big show, and certainly not the day after. Nutso.
    ( I think you made the right choice on cycling vs band tho - one will carry you into your retirement years, and one - well, probably not... ) but that's me...
    I expect you're not the only one balking at the next-day recording, which I'd expect to be a disaster anyway...
    Maybe the BL is getting a lot more pushback than he was expecting.
    It's easy for me to say, but - Don't stress, do what you have to, family first, and if the BL can't cope, that's probably no longer the project for you anyway. BTDT...
  5. BL retired, has too much time on his hands coupled with delusions of grandeur, and is putting unrealistic expectations on people. He needs to find another hobby to fill the time. None of this is on you.
  6. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    OP, reread what you wrote here and tell us why anybody would stick with an outfit like this. $37.50 for eight hours of driving, never mind playing. Your BL must be a hell of a salesman.
  7. DJS


    Feb 10, 2010
    Bonham, TX
    So the biggest show we'll ever play to date is in mid September. We need music for it. That's the justification, and it's probably a reasonable one. But it seems like between now and then, it would be possible to finish. One of the reasons for rushing drums and bass, is a lot of the band is on vacation that following week.
  8. 4SG


    Mar 6, 2014
    No, you're not being a jerk. Yes, the scheduling is unrealistic and oppressive. But you and the BL have been together for 9 YEARS. Missing from the post is the part where you sat down with your bandmate of nearly a decade and had a calm discussion about his overzealousness. If you make that effort and get the wrong answer then you'll know for sure who the jerk is.

    Last edited: Jul 19, 2021
  9. DJS


    Feb 10, 2010
    Bonham, TX
    Sentimental reasons, I guess.
  10. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Got it. Sounds like you are passionate about the group in some sense and are definitely not being a jerk for needing some time to handle things in your personal life. I will say that rushing the recording of an album for a show as soon as September seems like a tall order and a bit unrealistic. If this album weren't recorded, what would the real impact be? How would that hinder your big gig?
    Dynacord, M0ses and 31HZ like this.
  11. Gustopher


    Jul 30, 2018
    Doesn't sound like you are... just sounds like you are being responsible. I don't like to back out of things either, but short notice/bad planning gets a pass in my book. You can't make it and that's not your fault it's life and you choosing your priorities.
    M0ses and DJS like this.
  12. You're not being a jerk, but you need to be upfront about your availability. In my band we have a shared google calendar and anyone who needs to be somewhere else on a certain day can black it out and we don't plan anything for that day. You don't have to have a formal calendar, but if you would have told the guys, "hey, there's no way I can do anything on that Sunday" that would have been helpful.
    Max Bogosity, 31HZ, red_rhino and 2 others like this.
  13. DJS


    Feb 10, 2010
    Bonham, TX
    So we do have a calendar and I did not block that day off, but rehearsal was already on it. I also didn't really know the move timetable would be so aggressive. Sort of a gray area. I COULD be there, but it's terrible opportunity cost against being ready for my move. It's also uncool to do that after an all day commitment.
    JEDI BASS, 31HZ, HolmeBass and 2 others like this.
  14. DJS


    Feb 10, 2010
    Bonham, TX
    Yes, not great for quality. Not having a recording of our current sound would give us less to be remembered by. We still do have a CD from 4 years ago where over half the band is different.
    Seanto likes this.
  15. Shatnertoupee


    Jan 25, 2008
    One thing I've learned about being in bands is that the aspirations are never even close to reality. If you're splitting $300 among 8 people and traveling you'd be far better off playing for free locally. From what you've written it sounds like you're too far apart with these folks to come to a compromise. And I'll bet you a dollar when your band does this gig, your radius acceptable gigs for no money will now be a four hour drive
  16. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    Seems like you've been honest. That's what counts. If he wants to use another bassist, that's his call, but after showing a commitment to him for 9 years I'd think that he'd be the one that would be more respectful towards your situation. If they opt for someone else and can't accommodate your non band needs, I'd say they're the ones that are being less than respectful.

    Be prepared to leave unless you really love playing with them.
    TL23NC, SactoBass, DirtDog and 4 others like this.
  17. You're not being a jerk.

    The Slack Chat has no context. Perhaps your BL had a moment of self awarness and is re-evaluating how he is operating? This sounds out of character for you, he knows you and may scratch his head and his wife telling him "you need to back off boss man!"

    Pickup a telephone...
  18. Beej


    Feb 10, 2007
    Vancouver Island
    You're not the jerk by any reasonable definition. It was unreasonable to do that Saturday gig in the first place, and followed by an all-day session that was not confirmed? I think you can cancel the recording no problem and he still owes you an apology for putting you and the rest of the band in that position in the first place. :)
  19. dangevans

    dangevans Guest

    Mar 26, 2014
    The part where you have to drive 4 hours to do a show that you don't even cover gas for (charity or not) would make me quit immediately. Yeah, it's for charity, we are all warm and fuzzy doing these things, but could they possibly find someone more local to do basically a free gig? Plus, by not paying you anything, they must not have much confidence that they are going to raise any money for the charity, making it fishy at best.

    Run away. Fast.
  20. Jaycat


    Sep 8, 2018
    What's not to love?