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Any bands out there damaged beyond repair?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by podiumboy, Jan 13, 2012.


  1. I really love our band, I love all our originals, I love the covers we play, I love the comradery/brotherhood feeling of the practices, I love the gigs we play (good or bad, we always seem to have a great time and make great memories). Over the past couple years, however, things have really fallen apart. We haven't even played a gig since Thanksgiving Eve 2009! I'll break it down for you:

    Lead singer- The main root of the problem. Went through some depressing times in his life a few years ago, was a huge alcoholic (I mean that both ways... bloated up to 300+ lbs). He's over it now, cut his drinking down, lost a bunch of weight, and seems to be trying to make good decisions in his life again. That last gig, the rhythm guitarist and I ended up singing on half or more of the songs, because the singer was so drunk and out of it, and couldn't remember lyrics. Really pissed us all off, but I'm over it and would play with him again. And I know he is more than willing to play again, but other members of the band still hold a grudge against him. This guy also wrote most of our originals, so playing those without him would be difficult, or at least not right.

    Lead guitarist- The most non-confrontational member of the band, who would probably rather just stay at home and record music on garage band at this point.

    Rhythm guitarist- Has a strong alliance with the drummer, and would rather we just ditch our singer and have this rhythm guitarist be our lead singer. However, IMO, this guy is not a very good singer, and though he's written several songs, they're very boring and lifeless. They are also opposed to the idea of getting a new lead singer, because they don't think we need one (false).

    Drummer- Aside from the aforementioned issues, this guy is incredibly flakey and forgetful. He'll forget about practices (which were usually at HIS HOUSE), back out of things at the last minute (due to the women in his life, usually). Also very "showy", always has to have his drum solo. Thinks everything lead & rhythm guitarist do is gold, thinks everything the singer does is ****, just because of the stigma that he now has against this guy.

    All along, we've continued jamming without the lead singer, but it never really went anywhere. No gig in over 2 years. I keep saying we need to bring back the old singer, get a new lead singer, (and possibly a keyboard player if we want to seriously start playing out again), but the rest of the band don't agree with me. I really feel like if we were to all get back together, we'd recapture the magic and get back on our feet. But, I can't even seem to get everybody together.

    Sorry this was so long. Any advice would be appreciated, as well as sharing your similar stories!
     
  2. There is one member description conspicuously missing:

    Bass Player-

    And please don't forget to include the little tidbits of psychological insight on him as well. ;)
     
  3. Also I forgot to mention, whenever the keyboard player possibility is brought up, the drummer, backed by the rhythm guitarist, suggest that his WIFE plays keyboards. However, she can't play without music in front of her, which would mean that we would have to play album version perfect versions of all our covers, which is not something we've ever done.
     
  4. Bass Player- Practically perfect in everyway! ;)

    Just kidding. I feel like my role has always been that of a mediator within the band. I've always been the ambassador of the lead singer to the rest of the guys. I suppose that has always made me the bodyguard of the band as an entity, and possibly even the leader (puppetmaster, perhaps) to a certain extent. Maybe I need to just let go, stop pressuring everybody, and either do what they want to do or quit. I can't imagine quitting, was in this band for nearly 10 years. But maybe that's what I need to do. Really, thanks for making me look inwardly for a moment.
     
  5. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    WI
    If the last gig was 2009, how can it still be a band?
     
  6. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Yup: Van Halen.
     
  7. LiquidMidnight

    LiquidMidnight

    Dec 25, 2000
    +1

    Personally, unless the band was writing AND RECORDING some sweet original stuff, I wouldn't stick around in a nongigging band for over two years.

    Zing. :D

    A few years ago, the last singer in my band had his third marriage fall apart. That's a tough thing. However, instead of doing the right thing, he turned to the bottle. The guy became seriously manic and unreliable. Got falling down drunk at shows on more than one occasion. He creeped out a lot of girls at gigs while he tried to get laid. Finally, after a benefit gig we did, he went to a club down the street and got hammered. He slammed into a semi on his way home and walked away with a few scratches. His day gig was a reporter for a local newspaper. Due to the DUI he got, he lost his job because of the paper's insurance for people who travel for work. He had to come up with creative ways to get to gigs, since he lost his license for a while. He ended up dating a psycho chick. He continued to drink, despite what should have been a life-changing event. The guy's judgment became clouded and ended up causing the other members of the band having to run damage control with club owners, managers, etc. for stupid stuff he did. He has a serious identity and self-esteem problem - came to music in his early 30s, not because he has a love of music, but because he wanted to live out a rock star fantasy. He even got the initials of our band and his first initial tattooed on the back of his neck, because his identity was so wrapped up in being in a band.

    Recently, we finally split ways with this singer, and found a cat who doesn't have any of that baggage, has a great presence, and probably twice the vocal chops.

    My point: I'm all for helping your friends out and building people up, but you can only help people who help themselves. There comes a time when people's personal demons start affecting the band, and in those times, it's best to cut them loose. As much as I love The Doors, I'd never want to have a professional relationship with Jim Morrison. I think it's time to cut your losses with a band that hasn't gigged in over two years, has a singer who's a loose cannon (the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior), and bandmates who aren't on the same page.

    Ergo, yes, the band may be damanged beyond repair. A bad singer can truly ruin a band. If the rythmn player truly can't sing, then I'd try a last ditch effort to get the right frontperson; if not, I'd bail.
     
  8. @Liquid Midnight, you're correct: sometimes you can only help people out and make excuses for them for so long. Glad you guys found a new and better singer!

    I'm afraid that I'm just going to have to jump ship. No gigs in 2 years, yes, but we all still get together as friends frequently, occasionally jam together, and talk about how we'd like to get the band back to regular activity again. The lead guitarist agrees with me that the rhythm guitarist should not be the singer, but is too passive to ever state his opinion.

    I've played with this band since we were all 18-19 years old, 10 years ago when we first started. I've never been in another band, and I've kind of based my playing style around playing with the rest of the guys. We started out writing our originals in a barn together. We made the journey from youth to adulthood together. I suppose I just miss having the outlet. I have no rock star dreams of any kind.

    I suppose the search must begin to join a new band.
     
  9. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    WI
    I have my own definition of being in a band, However, I have learned from TB that being in a band means different things to different people. A band at the local level that has not played in 3 years is not a band, by my definition.
     
  10. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Ok blue, you've said it twice now. We get it. We see you.......now go play.

    There's no reason why you can't continue to occasionally jam with your friends while searching out a more active band. I still occasionally get together with some of my bandmates from my first high school band (over 20 years ago) and jam. I also play in a "neighbor band", but neither keep me from my more active gigging band.
     
  11. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Minneapolis
    You can scroll past peoples' posts, you know.

    No need to be dismissive.
     
  12. James L

    James L

    Jul 24, 2011
    I'd find a new band. It's not hard for bassists to find gigs and good musicians.
     
  13. Ric5

    Ric5 Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 29, 2008
    Colorado
    I convert 4 string Rickenbackers to 5 string basses.
    Any bands out there damaged beyond repair?

    Are there any bands that aren't?
     
  14. Flyingfrets

    Flyingfrets

    Dec 25, 2011
    My previous professional full-time band was primarily a recording situation (5 cd releases over 7 years with decent sales), but the final 2 years, we gigged pretty heavily.

    Never played with a band before where everybody meshed so well that playing was just intuitive.

    No vocalist to worry about flaking out since it was an instrumental group (fusion...or at least well blended rock /jazz).

    6 years in, our bass player (I was playing lead at the time) decided that there were racial issues (not in the band, but with some of our promoters, and he was pissed that we continued to accept work from them). If we'd truly believed there were anything to his allegations, we would NOT have taken work from them, but it really appeared to be an issue in his head, not in reality.

    Never the less, he bugged out at the end of 2005, went home to Jamaica & I haven't heard from, or seen him since.

    I've worked with several of the other guys a number of times since, but NEVER under our old band name. It wouldn't have felt right because the 5 of us were that band, not 4 of us + someone else. Never played any of our originals after that either (though most of them were mine). Again, too much association with the past.

    Sure, I've felt bad about it many times. It was, for me, the ideal situation...at least up the the last year...then it just got uncomfortable & strange.

    This time out, I've distanced myself about as far as I can from that past. I'm playing bass in a Beatles cover band & loving evey minute of it. Love the music, the laid-back atmosphere and making decent money.

    Sometimes you've just got to let go & move on.
     
  15. travep

    travep

    Apr 16, 2010
    Austin, TX
    If you guys are only gigging every couple of years, that should give you plenty of time to join another band...possibly with the old singer if he is looking for something. Problem solved. If the original band doesn't like that, you haven't lost anything...they aren't doing anything. If they are friends as you said, you should still be included in the outings. If you aren't, it sounds like you might have a conversation with them about friends showing each other a little grace. To continue on seems like you are just living in the past. You know, I was really close to the friends I had in college. We don't do the same things together...it might kill us :) Some of those relationships changed and survived and others, unfortunately, did not. This is not uncommon. Do what's right for you & things should resolve themselves...just my 2 cents...

    Good luck
     
  16. You're all correct, whatever we are, it's not a BAND. I guess I don't want to let it go, but I have to. Last summer we booked a show on June 2nd, everyone seemed interested. Yet, we could never get the drummer to practice. So, the bar let's us reschedule to August 20th... same ****, never played the gig. So I scheduled us a gig for Thanksgiving Eve 2011 (same bar as the 2009 gig, our last one). For 6 years (04-09) in a row we did Thanksgiving Eve at that bar and it was always a hit. I figured that was a surefire way to get the band back together. And yet... the drummer and lead guitarist hemmed and hawwed around the issue, and before you know it, it's the week of and we haven't even practiced.

    I tried, but you're all right, time to move on. Thank you all for your advice. It's gonna be hard, but I need to say goodbye the way same of the others already have. The Rhythm guitarist and the singer still want to play, but the rhythm player refuses to play WITH the singer, and refuses to play WITHOUT the drummer, who just seems to refuse to play in general unless his wife has to work that night.

    Bunch of bitchy little girls, am I right? haha
     
  17. Also, the fact that we had to bail on the 2011 Thanksgiving Eve at that bar burned a bridge between that bar owner and our band, particularly myself, as he is a friend of my Dad. He was pissed, but he hired a DJ for less money and still had a packed house, so I'm sure he'll think twice before ever hiring any future band I'm in!
     
  18. Don't be too negative about that friend of your dad. What's important is to show up with a new band where no member is a slacker. Good luck.
     
  19. learning curve

    learning curve

    Mar 14, 2010
    Tribute to Classic Progressive rock Downing Grey is looking like it is done..., posted an ad in here for a new bassist BTW... we may be done as it has taken long enough the members are getting cranky. We were just about 90% ready with material. I had to cancel gig's as we had to make the horribly hard decision to let our bassist go. He was actually displaying psychotic behavior. And the band made the decision to let him go. We knew this might spell the end if we can;t replace this guy quickly. SO far it is taking to long to find someone who can play the Yes and the UK and all the difficult work this position requires and also backing harmony vocals. We have tried out some local guy's but so far no luck. we have another round of tryouts coming up but is we don;t find someone who can get into the grove of this thing and grab this position with gusto.... it looks like it is going to end.

    Sorry guy's its not always the lead vocalist or the lead guitarist or drummer who causes the problems. In our experience it has been the bass position each time.

    Great band too if I say so myself.

    Downing Grey - Firth of Fifth guitar solo (Genesis cover) - YouTube

    All you need is 5 guy's to think alike for a couple of months. The musicians it takes to do this band require talent that is usually well worked through the years with other musicians. I find most of the guy's who come are great mechanics, but very much on edge and waiting for the bomb to drop as this has been their experience. I think expecting it sometimes makes it manefest itself.

    ?

    nice forum BTW
     
  20. Milli Vanilli
     

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