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Band members

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Twobass, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. Twobass


    Aug 12, 2009
    The band that I'm in has two members who rarely practice with the band. They do show up to play the shows that we have, 1 guy for the most part knows what he's doing even without practicing with the band much. The other guy is hit or miss at the shows and yes the band has talked about getting both of them to practice more with the band. Also when these guys play a show that's what they do theyBa play and leave, no helping with setting up breaking down etc..

    Does anyone have experience with a situation like this? If so what did you do? I just don't consider them fulltime "band members".
  2. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Talk to them? Either they're on the bus or off the bus. Make that clear if you don't like sidemen, especially to the guy faking his way through.

    How are the chances of replacing the latter one? Is he playing anything hard to come by?
  3. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    tough to know the situation without knowing more ... if it has been this way since the beginning or something newly developing .. what do the two play? are they readily replaceable or is the whole show contingent upon what they do? are you guys kids or in your 60's (nothing in profile)? ... how often do you get together for 'practice'? how often do you gig? if this has been a long time running deal, with no learning new tunes, and you are playing fairly regular, practice (rehearsal) might be a bit much ... if you are still in the formative stages, learning tunes, etc, that is a whole different scenario ...

    One group I play with we are all in our 60's+, play about 4-5 times a year, doing old 50's/60's stuff mostly, and if we get together once, maybe twice if running through new material a couple weeks before the show it is more than enough ... we have one guitarist that has played with the group for 20 years, he lives in Arkansas (we are in MN), and he shows up for a gig and catches up quick ...

    Another group I am in, drummer and I are pretty much recent hires after guitar duo just cut a CD and were just signed with a label ... we practice together weekly, are learning new music and a few covers regularly ... rehearsals are mandatory, time is of the essence ...

    totally depends on your scenario ...
  4. Twobass


    Aug 12, 2009
    The guy who knows what he's doing plays sax and the other guy is a percussionist. Everyone in the band is 40's 50's. We practice once a week and play out a few times a month. This band has been around for about 3 years.
  5. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    In every band I have ever been in everyone makes it to practice and to gigs. Otherwise, you are not really a band. Either they are in or they are out. There is no "in between".
  6. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    I'd be cool with augmenting the band with freelancers. And no unpaid rehearsals and just loading in your own gear comes with that territory. But the usual expectations that come with freelancing cut both ways.

    Guy #2 (the percussionist who doesn't know your songbook): why are you paying him to screw up your sets?

    Guy #1 (sax player): If the band would be better for having a regular (rehearsing) band member in his place, you can leave it to him decide whether he'd like to be a regular member of the band or a sub. But (like any decent freelancer) he can bring it at gigs without rehearsing, and he doesn't want to rehearse.

    If you decide you'd rather have a regular band mate, you don't owe Guy #1 the spot; however, you should keep the relationship friendly and professional if you decide to go with someone who's willing to rehearse. It's never a bad thing to have the phone number of a talented sub who knows your songbook.
  7. Twobass


    Aug 12, 2009
    That makes sense to me.
  8. NeverIsNow


    Jun 25, 2013
    If practices can carry on without them, then I really question their importance in the band.
  9. keep the sax player and fire/replace the percussionist
  10. tjh

    tjh Supporting Member

    Mar 22, 2006
    I dont know the complexity of your tunes, or the extent of your stage show, but if your sets are down after 3 years, and not learning a lot of new material, 4 -5 practices a month for 3 shows a month could possibly be a bit of a strain for someone in their 40's if they have a lot of family type things going on ... unless this is top drawing stage show type act with a lot of potential ... perhaps a compromise with EVERYBODY in the band to a couple practices each month, correlated how ever is agreed upon around the gigs ... if you dont play that week, rehearse ... etc

    ... with regards to them helping schelp gear, who owns the sound system, lights (if there), transports everything, etc? ... If he/they do not want to help with any of it, whoever owns it and does the work should be getting monetary compensation from the gig take for their investment and effort ... if he/they want to walk in/out just to play, they pay ...

    ... not sure what the percussion pool is like in your area, but the way you are describing this guy not showing, AND not coming through as expected come showtime, man, there are other folk out there that would love to have a gig that is playing 3+ times a month in this day in age ...

    generally, the more integral to the 'package' the person creating issues is, the more it can be overlooked ... only you and the rest of your group can decide on each others expendability ... but, the longer you put up with it, the more acceptable/expected it becomes ...

  11. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    If my band played "a few times a month" there's no way in hell I'd attend weekly rehearsals. Once a month would be more than enough ... and that just to add new stuff to the repertoire to be practiced individually and played next rehearsal.

    It sounds to me like you guys are looking for different things from a band and have different expectations.
  12. +100%.

    OP: Unless you're preparing for a big time major $$$ making tour - why does the band need to rehearse so dang much? Rehearsing every week for 3 years is ridicules.
  13. Twobass


    Aug 12, 2009
    I agree it's way too much, I haven't been in the band that long I've been in about 8 months. We have some band members who have trouble focusing and remembering songs.

    Thinking about it now we don't really play out that much maybe once a month or twice at the most. I'm thinking about leaving the band soon.
  14. Oh okay, yeah that's what I thought might be the problem. Personally, I hate that and its one of my pet peeves (and they always mess up live too) - so, I'd already be gone. Good luck.
  15. BassCliff


    May 17, 2012
    So. Cal.

    Every situations is different. Usually people like this are "side men" and not really band members. They should be paid accordingly, i.e. less than the regular members who do more work. We also rehearse once a month just to work in new material. Practice on your own time to learn/refresh your material.

    There's no need to leave the band. But it sounds like you have time to play in other bands. Good luck.

    Thank you for your indulgenc,

  16. Itzayana


    Aug 15, 2012
    Oakland Ca
    Just pay them 25% less.
  17. iriegnome

    iriegnome Bassstar style Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2001
    Kenosha, WI 53140
    I have the same issue with one of my drummers. I have spoken up to the rest of the band. FIRE THEM!! Get them the hell out of the band. But, since I am 1 vote of 6 (5 without the one drummer). I really hate stepping onto stage with this person. He cannot play at the level the other 5 of us are and he never practices. It is crazy that he is still in our band. I feel your pain on this issue
  18. Marginal Tom

    Marginal Tom

    Apr 28, 2010
    O'Fallon, IL
    Most competent sax players are sidemen and play with several bands. I doubt that you could find one who would come to practices for 1-3 gigs per month. His pay should reflect his value to the band, not how much or how little he does before or after gigs.

    I'd recommend looking for a new percussionist who's either more dedicated to the band or more competent, hopefully both.
  19. NWB


    Apr 30, 2008
    Kirkland, WA
    It appears that these two are de facto hired guns rather than real band members.

    It kind of makes thing easier to look at it this way because they are essentially hired for each gig and should be paid as hired guns rather than band members.

    Another advantage is that you can choose to not hire the sub-par percussionist for your gigs. Direct that money to someone else who knows what they're doing.
  20. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    A lot of bands made up of "40s and 50s" guys are as much a "poker night" as they are a band. (I'm 42 by the way so I'm not putting anyone down.) Some guys WANT to get together once a week. Some guys simply can't. You have a mostly casual band based on the way you describe it. The percussionist would have to tighten up or go period. But that's because he is (as you described him) "hit or miss". The real player on sax is up to the rest of you guys. If he plays his parts well, and gets there on time, I would keep him. He might not have as much time as you guys to commit. (I have NO desire to EVER practice once a week..... EVER.) Bands have worked with me before when I have my kids on Sunday morning (wife working) and want to get home before 4 a.m. They let me throw my stuff in my truck and roll. It's a nice thing to do. Maybe your guys have other commitments that are (brace yourself) MORE important than the band. But that's no reason to get rid of a guy who is a good hang and a good player. Are there sax players all over your area? If not, just keep trucking how you have been. But, again, the guy who is "hit or miss" would have to tighten up or go, but not because of setting up or showing up to practice, but because of the quality of his product on stage. If he can tighten up on his own time, that's fine too.

    The short version is that it is up to the rest of you as to whether or not you can live with it. But I am not one of these "all or nothing" guys when it comes to a part-time band. Lighten up people. It really isn't that serious.