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Band drama. Can I please have opinions?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Dave W, Dec 7, 2011.

  1. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Here's an interesting situation that came to a head yesterday, and has come up more than a few times in the past with my band.

    Some background: I'm the type of person who is always early and does exactly what I say. My drummer has no concept of time (not musical timing, real time). He is always late, starts practice 30 minutes late religiously, etc.

    I live in NY. The band is based in CT, 60 miles from my house going the direct way. I am lucky enough to have a flexible job and multiple offices I can work out of. I would prefer to come to Manhattan every day, but I will go to our CT office on band practice days so I can actually play. There is no way I'd make it otherwise. This office is 47 miles from my house, and the drummers house is another 25 miles from there, then back home is 60 miles.
    Round trip for me, door to door: 132 miles. Cost: $20

    I never find out if we're having practice or not until the day of, usually a few hours before. So I must commit to driving out of my way, possibly for nothing. We practice once a week, but it usually ends up 2-3 times a month as somebody always ends up cancelling. Usually the guitarists know well in advance when they can't make it, but the drummer is the only one that talks to all of us. We're all friends by association, I've never personally hung out with either of them outside of a band environment. He never contacts me directly either, I'm always the one that asks if we're having practice.

    So yesterday, I send him a text asking if we're playing tonight. I've already driven to CT, packed up my equipment into the car, and I'm ready to play. This is 4 hours before we're supposed to get together.
    Drummer: No, I don't think we're jamming tonight.
    Me: Any reason why not?
    Drummer: I promised someone I would give them a hand with something tonight.

    Translation: I'm working on my friends car with him

    Me: Is there any way cancellations can be talked about before the day of practice?
    Drummer: Sorry it doesn't meet your standards, but I told you as soon as I found out my friend.
    Me: A simple weekly email, text, or phone call between us is all I'm asking for, so people don't go out of their way for nothing.

    Then he goes into calling me self centered for only caring about myself. It got pretty heated after that, because he's the most self centered person I know. All I want is a simple courtesy of him understanding that I don't want to waste time, money, wear and tear on my car, etc. My other bands all have emails chains about availabilities, and everyone understands that once a time is set, it's pretty much set in stone as we all have personal lives. Of course, if there is an emergency, by all means cancel practice...but this was not the case.

    It came out that he made these important plans the same day as practice. Knowing that a friends of mine are coming over, and made a commitment, if I were in his shoes I would have told this friend asking for help that I was busy tonight...how about tomorrow?

    Am I out of line here?

    This isn't the first time, and it certainly won't be the last. I've pretty much made my decision on what I'm going to do, but I want to make sure I'm not being a total self centered jerk first.
  2. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    No, I would not put up with that at all.
  3. Woofer


    Sep 24, 2008
    I think you're well within your rights to be ticked off. Sounds like quittin' time to me.
  4. kubickixfactor


    Mar 31, 2007
    I don't think you're the one being unreasonable - sounds like it's time to find another band with the same level of commitment that you have.
  5. AltGrendel

    AltGrendel Squire Jag SS fan.

    May 21, 2009
    Mid-Atlantic USA.
  6. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    In general, a band has a harder time finding a good bass player than a good bass player has finding a band. You've got the leverage. Try to stay on good terms with the guitarist, but tell them you're leaving.

  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Honestly, I don't know how you lasted this long! That's one heck of a commute for rehearsals! You think dude would be more considerate! I would have been done after the first couple times it happened if not just the first time!
  8. tdub0199


    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga.
    You have every right to be pissed.... I wouldn't put up with it....
  9. makkE


    Jan 19, 2010
    Normandie, France
    " a simple weekly email, text, or phone call between us is all I'm asking for, so people don't go out of their way for nothing."

    You're not at all being self centered, this is pretty much mandatory, especially if one member changes his workday AND commutes such a long drive as you do. Your drummer has no way to be call you "self centered".

    In my band, I have the longest drive to do, so we have a rule that cancellations must be done at least the night before so I don't waste gas for nothing..
  10. baskruit


    Oct 21, 2010
    Bail out. In a team you need team players and the drummer definitely isn't. I repeat: Bail out.
  11. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I'm glad to see I'm not crazy.

    I am in another band that does. We're all on the same page, so it's great. We've gigged and made more money in the last 2 months than this band has done in 6 years.

    Neither of the guitarists are that great, but yeah I don;t want to leave on bad terms between anyone.

    Me and the drummer have been playing together for 16 years. We've been really good friends for a good chunk of that time as well, but over the last few years he's started to turn into a person that I just don't like any more.

    This band has been going for 6 years now. We haven't done anything for the past 4 though...no gigs, no recording. Only written a few songs. I had enough of that, so I joined up with another band that has the same goals as me and figured I could still do this since it's really not taking up any of my time other than the one full day a week.

    I was so pissed last night that I couldn't sleep. Getting into a fight with my wife doesn't leave me in that state.

    I don't understand why he doesn't understand that. He complains about being broke all the time. I'm not broke, but I don't like to waste time or money for nothing.
  12. Agreed. Especially if you have another band that's working out. Sometimes you just have to know when to cut your losses.

  13. Is it just me or do bassist always seem to be the most organized when it comes to band practice?
  14. bassophil


    Jan 17, 2009
    You're not out of line at all! Time to do something about it! I would propose to bring this issue up the next time the whole band is together.

    In my experience, and that is sad, the gas money you're spending for nothing is good point that even people with a very loose understanding of time and appointments get. F.e. ask if he or his car friend would like to pay for that wasted gas. Also make a point in the fact that your time is very precious to you and that, although you really like to keep on playing with them, you don't know if you can go on as long as he doesn't change in terms of reliability. Tell him that it is unfair that you have to be on hold (and yes, you HAVE to be because if all would act like that there wouldn't be any days for practice left) and he on the other hand can cancel a practice just for pleasure. Let him know that this imbalance in dedication is not working out for you. Everyone needs to pull on the same lever here! Of course everyone needs to cancel a practice once in a while, and in case his friend would not have been able to get to work the next day without his help on the car I could even understand a short term cancellation, but you sound like he is way too accustomed to not getting any negative feedback for his reliability.

    I bet the guitarists will understand your point and probably even support you, as I can't imagine them to be happy with these circumstances. Just make sure to stay reasonable (which should be easy as your points simply ARE reasonable) and friendly but firm about your point. As long as he is not totally used to bend people around his likings he should understand and start to change. Give him some time to change though. I don't know how old you guys are but the older you get the harder it is to shake off bad habits ;)

    Maybe you already guessed because of my "liberal" advices and not chiming in with the usual TB chant of "get outta there!", but I've been that a$$hole with the same habits in my band, so I know what you're talking about.
    If he won't get your point though or think it's unreasonable I will have to join the choir :p
  15. bassophil


    Jan 17, 2009
    nah, as stated above:D
  16. Baron Von Vik

    Baron Von Vik

    Jun 11, 2010
    Somewhere in Arizona
    Mojo FunkBasses
    Seems like it. My job sent me 150 miles away to another city for a month and a half right before a big show; I drove in for practice every Thursday afternoon and back (had to be at work at 5 am Friday) for a month, and the last two weeks every Monday and Thursday.

    Not counting the lead guitarist, because we practiced at his house, I was always the first one there. And the first set up, before the lead even plugged in a mic. Without fail. The keyboard player and drummer would show up a few minutes late, and the rhythm guitarist (Who lived on the same block) and his wife the backup singer would call in with some lame excuse as to why they'd be half an hour late or so. Or why they's have to leave early. That got really old, esp. since the they were friends with the lead and he'd always make some lame excuse for them.

    So, yeah. It might have something to do with maintaining the tempo/laying down the bottom line or whatever cliche' you like, but we're pretty dang reliable.

    (edit- except for bassophil, who would be politely asked to leave my band. If we didn't already have a bass player :) )
  17. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    I did that last time around. Nothing changed. Guitarist 1 was on the same page as me, guitarist 2 didn't seem to care. I'm fairly certain that both of them think that this is just the way a band functions, as this is their first.

  18. tdub0199


    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga.
    I seem to think so with every band I have been in.... and for some reason the drummer is usually the least organized.....
  19. More often than not, although the bulk of my early spots in bands were from the last bassist going to jail and/or falling off the face of the earth.

    Drummers: Unorganized

    Guitarists: Hot tempered

    Singers: Uber flaky.

  20. slaps76


    Jul 10, 2008
    Medford, MA
    Having someone cancel practice hours beforehand on a consistent basis would piss me off to no end, nevermind throwing in a 60 mile commute on top of that. That's blatant disrespect for your time.

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