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Bandmate Cancelled Gig

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by harshplucker, Oct 9, 2012.

  1. harshplucker


    Oct 9, 2012
    Hi All,

    I'm hoping to get some advice...

    My band has a big gig tonight- opening up for a nationally touring band signed to a major label with lots of press exposure at a very popular local venue. Tickets are selling fast, and there will be a large crowd tonight. We are super pumped. We will get paid, but most likely the money will go back into the band, or to cover the bar tab if it's that kind of night.

    The lead guitar player in my band texted me earlier today that he is sick and can't make the show (as if we are able to just jump on stage with out him!). No other explanation was given. My entire band is aware that this gig is a great opportunity for us to get some exposure, so it was shocking how flippant and evasive his messages were. When I highlighted that the booking agent probably won't invite us to play the venue again (our favorite venue and the best sound in town), his response was apathetic at best.

    The band has been together for 3 years, and we've had to cancel just a few shows in the past, but they were cancelled well in advance. I totally understand that things happen, people get sick, gigs get cancelled. But right now I'm furious over his lack of care in this situation.

    First of all, don't text just a few syllables for why you are pulling out of the gig the day of. Send a well thought-out email with specifics (the same well-thought out email I had to turn around and send to the booking agent). Second, let us know how sick you are...flu? slight head cold? emergency surgery? We would feel better about canceling if we knew the whole story. Third, why am I the only one being notified? So now I get to deliver the bad news to the rest of the band, the booking agent, and the two dozen friends who were planning to come out to the show.

    I'm frustrated, and I feel like I don't wanna work with this guy any more, even though he's very talented and compromises a major part of our sound and songwriting. We also just recently got a potential booking for one of the best clubs in NYC (I've been trying to get us in there for years, and they finally called me back), but I'm hesitant to move this any further.

    Ok, I'm ranting. Just frustrated. Any advice?
  2. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    A legitimate gripe on your part, not a rant in my opinion. Short of a hospital room visit, I can't see him missing this gig, especially at short notice. Give him the benefit of the doubt until you find out what's going on. If it's not 100% legit and avoidable I'd say some kickage to the curb might be in order.
  3. This^^^^
  4. Lo-E


    Dec 19, 2009
    Brooklyn, NY
    Agreed. First offense? Gotta give him the benefit of the doubt until you know the whole story.
  5. Not yet

    Not yet

    Mar 26, 2012
    My guitar player did the same exact thing an hour before a gig (far less high profile), "I'm sick" w a frown face :(

    Wanted to go to his house and set fire to his guitars. Not a career for me and since he gets alot of the gigs which I don't have the time I put up with it. If it was a career thing it would be me or him. Personally the non-professionalism of not living up to a commitment makes me nutjob crazy

    May want to start quietly lookin for a replacement, specially if this continues and this is a more than just playin out for fun. Bad sign of things to come
  6. MrM


    Dec 18, 2010
    SF Bay Area
    Very frustrating but at this point I think you have to give him the benefit of the doubt. If he's sick as a dog he probably didn't feel like typing out a long explanation of his situation... and he probably felt you would trust him enough to realize it must be serious for him to have to cancel.
  7. ^srsly!

    Tell him to fit himself with a couple of leak-proof garbage bags for underpants and get some tight fitting rubberbands to secure the openings. :scowl:
  8. Bert Slide

    Bert Slide

    May 16, 2012
    Louisville KY
    Sounds like stage fright to me. He's afraid of something. Success maybe? I'd be worried about more than his health. He's sabotaging this opportunity for some reason that he probably can't even grasp.
  9. If he's not delerious with fever he should be doing the show. I'm not much of a drug taker myself but an opportunity like yours I would be popping cold pills or whatever needed to get through. Grab some bandmates and get over to his place, pick him up and do the show!
  10. Had a drummer do this four hours before a gig (I hurt my back) - we had no choice but to go on without him. After our first song to a packed house (an original song by the way) dude from the audience comes up and says "are all your songs like that" - "pretty much" is our singers reply. Turns out this guy is on the Vans Warp Tour and is their to see his brothers band opening up for us. Dude goes out to his car, get's a drum set and we played the best set - crowd went wild
  11. levis76

    levis76 Seconds from getting ba...

    Apr 14, 2007
    Metro Detroit

    I was in a 4 piece and the guitar player decided to back out of a show due to a personal problem with one of the other bands playing that night. We 'borrowed' a guitar player from another one of the bands who knew our songs well enuff. I showed him the chord progressions before each song and it turned out to be a decent show. We found a new guitar player a week later. They grow on trees, literally.
  12. Richland123


    Apr 17, 2009
    I have played lots of shows sick and injured. Unless he is in the hospital or dead, he should either make the attempt to play or have sufficient reason not to play.
  13. monti2889


    Jul 19, 2012
    I think jason (the old bass player from metallica) said it best..."this is not a job you can call in sick to."
    It's something I've taken to heart, to the point of my bandmates kicking me offstage cause I was so sick, I could barely stand, and that's just a cover band, that I do for fun.
    So, I tend to agree with a lot of other posts...anything short of a hospital stay, or a death (family or otherwise), would be grounds for a serious discussion.
  14. Maybe he wants to get fired?
  15. wideload


    Apr 15, 2004
    I've played gigs with a puke bucket behind my amp. I've played with diarrhea, migraine, and a sliced to the bone (just before the gig) left middle finger. I'm sick? Please...
  16. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    That's what I was thinking. The way the OP describes it sounds pretty passive aggressive to me.
  17. ShoeManiac


    Jan 19, 2006
    New Jersey
    My band was all set to do a three date swing through the northeast this past spring. We played the first date in NYC, which was local for us. But we also learned that our band leader was on some pretty serious pain meds in order to get through that show. After that, we were on standby to see if we were still going to be playing our other two dates for that weekend.

    Honestly, the communication was minimal. But it was clear that the bandleader was in no condition to get on the road to play 2 out of town dates. First the saturday gig got cancelled. And the next morning the sunday night gig got cancelled. The band leader was trying to see if MAYBE they could gut it out, but it wasn't meant to be.

    Where did that leave the act I play with? If a medical emergency pops up, sometimes you're not going to be privy to all of the details. Some people can be prickly about letting you know their medical info. The band members eventually got a satisfactory explanation after the fact. But sometimes dealing with the details of medical care is more important than keeping band members in the loop.

    After the fact, we made good with the bookers at both venues. I spoke with one personally, and he was totally understanding. And the other venue just had us back last weekend.

    Now, is this situation comparable to what happened in the OP's band? I have no idea. But clearly, there are circumstances where a medical emergency may pop up which are cause for people to cancel gigs.
  18. joebingo


    Aug 23, 2006
    London, UK
    This. I've had to be that guy recently. My initial contact was "can't do the show, I'm really unwell". When I wasn't dosed up on tramadol, I was able to then ring and say "I've slipped a disc in my lower back"

    Give him the benefit of the doubt, until you find out that he had a runny nose. Then throw the book at him.
  19. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    This was my first thought as well.
  20. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    I can only compare these scenarios to my own band experience.

    The band has never cancelled a gig in 5 years, if were sick and it has happenned. Remember this old saying "The Show Must Go On"In other words we play even when we are sick and there have been times when I did not know how I was going to make it through the night.

    Sounds like it's time for a "heart to heart" talk with this guy.

    How do the other members feel?