Band dynamics and life

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by slobake, Dec 23, 2014.

  1. slobake

    slobake resident ... something

    Most of us who play bass know about dynamics in a band situation. When everyone is paying attention and working together things flow well and the music sounds sweet. It requires listening to each other and knowing your role in the band. That role is fluid and can change from moment to moment. Mostly I am there to hold down the foundation and make others sound good. When the band is tight and I see people in the audience shaking it I am happy because I am doing my job well.
    There are moments when I need to take the lead and drive a song and other times when I need to step back a play quiet accents. Both are rewarding.
    What about life? Isn't it kind of like that? If we all listen to each other and work together well things can be sweet. If everyone is talking at once and no one is listening things can get messy. If there are people who insist that things always go there way it can get ugly.
    The flip side of that is someone who never takes responsibility for anything. They almost always let others carry the song, er I mean responsibility and can wear you out as much as people with control issues. Both can leave me drained.
    There are times when I need to take leadership and not shy away from it and other times I need to step back and submit to someone else. I don't always do a good job of this. I am seldom someone who always needs to be in charge but I can be the guy who never participates and lets everyone else carry the load. But I am getting better. Just like a band there is room and even a need for all kinds of people in this world and it is good to know who we are and what our part should be.
    What about you? Are you a quiet leader, a bossy pain in the pathoucky or a energy vampire who lets everyone else carry the load? Or something in between. Probably none of us do this right all the time or even often. I'm guessing that most of us are an ever changing combination of these things. What do you think?
  2. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown

    Feb 16, 2011
    I was talking politics with a good friend the other day. We are polar opposites in our views but are able to discuss issues without it devolving into a snarkfest.

    One of the things we both agree is wrong with politics (and pretty much everything else these days), is everyone is talking but no one is listening.
  3. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I find myself being a mixture of those characters, as needed for the situation.

    hrodbert696 likes this.
  4. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    I think a band situation is a kind of microcosm of life where your dynamics with other people are out there, plain to see. In life in general, it's a lot easier to, for instance, be passive or "opt out" of interacting with someone and often nobody notices or seems much affected by it. In a band, if you're passive, if you're not pulling your weight, if you're being domineering or controlling, or whatever, then everybody is affected by it and everyone can feel what's going on much more clearly. Likewise if you're supporting, if you're finding your role, if you're helping each other shine, that's really clear too. Everything comes out in sharper focus.
    MJ5150 likes this.
  5. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008

    Another thing to consider is that, just like with bands, a person can choose to quit one social circle and join another. It's important to find out what kinds of people help you to be the best you you can be.
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  6. slobake

    slobake resident ... something

    Good posts. Band dynamics can also help me discover my own issues.
    There are two of us in the band that always show up early and set everything up. No one has asked us to do it, probably just our nature. Of course at this point people expect us to do this and take it for granted. Several weeks ago our drummer made a nasty comment because I used the wrong quarter inch cords for his electronic drums. They was nothing wrong with the cords they are just weren't the cords he prefers. At the time I thought "Screw you, then get your lazy ass out of bed and set up your own damn drums." The whole thing says as much about me as it does about him. After thinking, praying about it I had a calm talk with him a week later. I still drag out his amp and equipment but I let him hook everything up now per our agreement. I think that is a healthy response on my part and not a knee jerk reaction.
    There was a time when my reaction would have been anything from telling him to go f himself and/or quitting the band to just being resentful and fuming. All over a small comment like that.:rollno: I can't afford to poison myself with resentment anymore. I have also gone through a period where I let loose and reacted with anger to things like this. That was better than the fuming and resentment at least I got it out of my system. Somehow my marriage survived that period. I listened to a lot of angry punk music at high volumes that seemed to help.
    ShredderMaximus likes this.
  7. INTP


    Nov 28, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    Fire the drummer; rage quit.
    slobake likes this.
  8. slobake

    slobake resident ... something

    Nah, it's too much fun to stick around and harass him. Isn't that what drummers are for?
  9. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator Gold Supporting Member

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    Good topic. In music, I try first and foremost to be a facilitator for whatever the situation calls for. If someone is saying something compelling and providing a clear and compelling direction, I'll get behind that and do my best to give it horsepower. If no one is leading, I'll automatically drive the bus until someone else decides to steer. If there's any weirdness regarding time or time feel from anyone other than the soloist/singer in a jazz setting, I'll take the lead because I'm very particular about time and groove and if I believe the groove needs to be somewhere other than where it is, I'll simply put it there and let the drummer either climb aboard or convince me otherwise.

    In life, I try to do the same. I have to say that it's easier to do in music - probably because I'm very confident in my skill set and experience in that area - but relationships are relationships and the roles constantly change. Those who don't adapt and roll with those changes have less fulfilling relationships than those who do, IMO. As always, EEMWCB. :)