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At what point does a band become Family?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by unbasslichkeit, Feb 21, 2006.

  1. I'm punching out 'cos it's 5:00pm here in the Nation's Capitol, but I leave this open ended question to Talkbass. Looking forward to any replies.

    I will make my observations later, but I have to get to band practice tonight, where the lead guitar player drinks to g-d--n much and the other guitarist is working a night shift and is fried but still wants to practice because she is a workaholic having a midlife crisis and the drummer has issues with kids and ex-wives and will do anything to escape them and the bass player is tired all the time and hates his day job and besides that is just plain crazy AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA):help:
  2. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    For me, it was the day I joined the band. NICEST people I've ever had the pleasure of working with.

    Any one of us would do anything for each other, both band/music wise, or personal. It feels just like being in a family. We all care about each other as friends, and respect each other as musicians. No egos, and no problems...and what few problems that do come up, they are so minor and are dealt with openly and honestly.

    We are all professional regarding the music and band, but more importantly, we really care about each other and we'd all be best friends even if we weren't in the band together...yet none of us even knew each other before the band.

    Never experienced a band like this before. I feel very lucky to be playing with them...and they've said the same about me. And that is more a reflection on us as people, rather than about our talents.

    Too cool. :D

    Of course, not all families get along...but I lucked out BIG TIME. I've been in bands that felt like family...but the kind of family that fights all the time. Not cool.
  3. That is kind of like I feel where I'm at. And yet...when I walked in at 7:45 eveybody was real cool about it and asked me if the recent rehearsal time change to 7:30 was a tough time - which it was, since it only allowed me about 45 minutes home from work before having to go right back out again. And there was pizza on the way from down the street, which was grat beacuse I barely got lunch. So we do watch out for each other, even if a lot is not said up front.

    This is a lot more complicated question than I thought.:bag:
  4. I've found that a band being a "family" can have some very good and bad side effects. Over the past 4 years my band has been incredibly tight (friendship wise, musically too though ha ha), and it has made being in it an amazing experience, but caused some problems. Once the band becomes too personal in its early stages, I've found that (at least in my situation) people start getting a little too soft on each other. We became afraid to criticize each other, lost alot of drive and motivation, and just became very sloppy, because band time just turned into fun time. While playing music should be fun, I think that if you want to make a career out of it, you can't lose sight of the fact that you are essentially entrepeneurs trying to deliver a professional and competative product. I can't imagine being in a band with guys I wasnt good friends with, but sometimes being too good of friends can easily get in the way of serious business. I think that being close is essential for musical harmony, but sometimes you have to tie your hands with rules and people need to understand their purpose. This has turned into a rant, but in short, you can't have too many chiefs and not enough indians in an organization, and being a "family" can sometimes lend itself to being an organization of nothing but chiefs. Maybe that's just my experience.
  5. jwl


    Jan 25, 2005
    watch the movie "miracle" about the 1980 us olympic hockey team. this question is answered in full in this movie. this movie has nothing to do with music and everything to do with how to organize two or more people to arrive at a common goal. i have made it the blueprint for my own band. there is this line in the movie: head coach is talking to assistant coach. " i'm not looking for the best players, i'm looking for the right ones". you may not agree, but i think this is profound. peace, jeff
  6. I recently posted another thread about my situation, but I'll join in this one.

    Last night I found out that my band of three years is splitting up as our leadman is moving interstate. I feel incredibly sad about this because they are like brothers to me and we have grown so well together as a band. although we really have done so well around our town, for me its more about the fun and friendship we have together. The drummer and I are remaining here, and may think about starting something else, but we definitely won't be trying to replace our lead guy - it just wouldn't work.

    So, yes, they are like family to me. Sad days :crying:
  7. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    In our band...the drummer is more like the "father figure" if you will. He started the band, along with his wife (the keyboardist).

    He is, without question, the "leader" of the group...but he wants input from everyone. While we are family, it doesn't lead us to getting soft because we do critique each other...a lot. But it's always in a positive way.

    The key to being in a band that is more like a family is to still remain professional. We act in a professional manner while rehearsing. But before and after? It's like a family get-together. It's more like we all get together, share our day...BS a bit...but then it's down to business and we work our butts off. If something isn't right we discuss and work it out.

    The fact that we are more like a family just means that while we may disagree on things, we respect and care about one another, so we all feel that any criticism has some merit.
  8. Justin V

    Justin V

    Dec 27, 2000
    Alameda, CA
    My band hasn't quite reached "family" status yet, but we're definately all damn good friends at this point (a little over 6 months in). It's nice playing with people who are friends AND act like professional musicians for once. My first two bands were the typical high school starting a "band" with friends and never really getting much done. This has been MUCH better in every way.
  9. when you all sleep togeather in the same van for days on end sharing clothes and tooth brushes.
  10. Eilif

    Eilif Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Interesting thread.
    I've been giving this some thought recently. My band hasn't, and might never be "family" but we are all good friends. We've been together 3 years, and I can honestly say that even if the band wasn't doing as well as it is, I would still want to keep it together just to keep the contact with the guys.

    If I ever look to the band to be my family out of escapism from my from my family. It will be time to quit the band and get counseling. Bands are great. But they aren't everything.
  11. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    or for months on end...

    Then you really know who your friends/family are.
  12. SteveC

    SteveC Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Family is not always good. Even bands where everyone gets along can be quite disfunctional.
  13. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Yeah, sometimes perhaps. But "getting along" is not my idea of family. I've been in bands where everyone gets along, yet something was still missing.

    People "get along" at a lot of workplaces...yet I'd hardly consider fellow employees "family".

    Like any family, there will be those that fight like cats and dogs...dysfunctional, if you will. And then there those that are close and are supportive of one another, even when not all might be in agreement.

    I think the key ingredients to a band being a family...and being a band that functions on a professional level, is respect, empathy/sympathy, trust and understanding. You want your bandmates to "cover your back" whether it be a personal matter, or musical. I know that because I trust my bandmates on a personal level, professionally I can count on them to "be there" if I lose my way on a song, forget a part, screw up in some way, etc. We care about one another. It reduces stress to nothing and it makes playing in a band nothing like work (even if you do work hard at it).

    That's not to say bands can't function on a professional level without being friends (or "family"), because obviously they do...but it sure does make the whole experience way more enjoyable and fulfilling if they are.
  14. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    In my bands, it always seems to be some time after the lead guitarist starts doing the girl singer. That's why it's forbidden, but still impossible to enforce.
  15. chaosMK


    May 26, 2005
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hi-fi into an old tube amp
    The moment that the band becomes your family is when you've broken up with your girlfriend because of the band.
  16. Robert TPB

    Robert TPB ThePerfectBass.com

    Dec 13, 2005
    Baton Rouge, LA
    My main project is with two brothers that I've known for 20 years. We've gone though life, death, marriage, births, and divorce together. There have been times when we were close and times when we wanted to kill each other. In my opinion, we about as "family" as you can get.
  17. FriscoBassAce


    Dec 29, 2004
    Frisco, Texas
    Independent Manufacturers Representative
    Dude! That's just gross! You can nab a toothbrush at the grocery store for .99! Or what about the old index finger???


    But seriously, this is a great thread! Group dynamics can and will change, given time and different situations. In my band, we are all getting along very well. We're a new band, and the only person I knew previously was one of the guitarists (Jeff), and I've only known him since last May. Our drummer came on board in October, the other guitarist in November, and our vocalist just started less than a month ago. So really, we're all still getting to know each other. But I would say we all get along well, and are quickly becoming family. I talk with Jeff almost everyday on the phone, and we've gone out with the wives before. We've done some other activities with the whole band before as well. It's kind of cool to go to dinner and then to a club to see some local competition every once in a while. It also provides an opportunity for wives, girlfriends or SO's to get to know each other, which, if you're married or in a serious relationship, is VERY important. I even had a New Year's Eve party and had everyone over....it was a blast!

    Now, my drummer told me something interesting the other day. He said this is the first band he's ever been in where the members were all friends and socialized. His other bands have been all about business relationships. I just smiled when I read that, because when Jeff and I started this band, that was one of our goals.

    There's danger sometimes if you don't treat everyone similarly. Envy is a terrible thing and I've been in bands where I've formed closer friendships with some members and other members would get jealous or feel excluded. For example, I won Ozzfest tickets on the radio last year. I only won two tickets. So since my wife wasn't interested in going, I invited Jeff. His son-in-law just happened to have been given a ticket and wound up meeting us there. The other guitarist in my previous band got so jealous that he wound up quitting the band the next day and told us that one of the reasons is because we went and didn't invite him! Funniest thing is, the guy is in his 40's....you would think a grown man would be mature enough to handle something like that. Looking back though, I should have said, "Hey! I'm going to Ozzfest....anyone else want to go?"