Bandmate Question

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by saustindavis, Dec 31, 2012.

  1. I need some unbiased opinions on what to do in this situation:

    A good friend of mine was living with us last year and we started a band together. We've written some really great stuff, but certain things have gotten me thinking that it might be time to replace him. He would have raised several 'red flags' if he wasn't a friend, but I overlooked them at the time...

    First, he doesn't own any gear. He lived with us for about 6 months because he was staying at a shelter, and while he was homeless another 'friend' sold all of his stuff. I have enough to cover him, but it doesn't look he will be able to change this in the near future because he's had a hard time staying employed in the past. I don't mind this except he can't do much writing on his own because of it.

    Second, he doesn't have transportation or a licence which makes for several complications, as many of you can imagine.

    Third, his personal life is so hectic that it often interferes with practice. It also leads to him asking for money from time to time. When it happens it's usually because we can't get a hold of him.

    What makes this so complicated is that he's such a good friend. HELP!
  2. Axtman

    Axtman Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2008
    Seattle, Washington
    You can keep him as a friend but just not a band member.
  3. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    My first question is why can't your friend hold a day job? Booze, drugs, bad additude, poor mental health, etc?
    How I would treat him as a band member would depend on the answer to the above.
  4. Well, my experience is that when you mix money and friendship, you should be prepared to lose one or the other.

    In all seriousness, you have to make a personal decision on how much you value the friendship and how far you are going to let it go affecting your life, too. I was in a similar situation once and over time I was unable to maintain the friendship due to feeling taken advantage of.

    Personally, I'm all for helping out a friend when they are in need. But once I see that they are just taking, taking, and taking but doing little to help themselves, I become frustrated and choose to end the relationship, whether it be at work, in a band, or with friends. I'm not a cold person, but I've worked too hard to be dragged into someone's quagmire. Your efforts would probably be best directed at helping him stabilize his life rather than enabling him to continue floundering. The best friends I ever had were the ones who gave me the boot in the rear that I needed, when I needed it.
  5. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    If he's a friend, skip any energy on music, and put it into helping him get his **** together first.
  6. This.

    I've been homeless, but never jobless. Now this fellow may have a legitimate reason for the things that are going on, but allowing him to take advantage of you is not going to help. Some effort is required on his part.

    As they say "One seeks advice when he knows the answer to his question, but doesn't like it." It sounds to me like you know what the answer is without too much input from TB. Is he a five finger friend? If so help him. If not, well I think you know the answer.
  7. Gougedeye

    Gougedeye Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2008
    Central Washington
    This is a recipe for disaster. This guy needs to be responsible for himself, not you and first on his list should be finding a job. Revisit the band when he is more stable.
  8. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I have had to deal with similar situations with family members. I hate to say it but the best thing to do is to send him packing. It doesn't sound like he is a "good friend". If he can't hold a job, is always asking for rides and borrowing money he is basically avoiding taking responsibility for himself because there is always someone there to do it for him. If someone has always worked hard and has fallen on hard times, it's fine to help them out for a while but there comes a point that it becomes nothing more than being taken advantage of. Let him know that he has to get himself together if he wants to continue being your friend. You can't spend your life baby sitting him. At some point we all have to grow up.
  9. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    all of the above.
    the situation will not get better without some serious change occuring...most likely due to the facts about this guy that you are not sharing.
  10. audioglenn


    Jul 14, 2012
    I agree with all of the above statements. I've seen this same situation many times before, and none of them ended pretty. I've got to tell you that you should get a leash on the equipment you've lent him because that is usually the first thing to disappear with some sort of "fish" story being told to you.
  11. TBrett


    Nov 3, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
  12. It's my opinion that this entire situation hinges on what his personal problems are.

    I had a band a few years back, with a guitar player who sounds very similar to your guy. He was living in a shelter, so I brought him in to live with my girlfriend and I for about three months (I eventually had to kick him out... once I found him an apartment to move into... which his mother paid for), he never had a job that I ever knew of, never had a car—if I wanted him at the gig, I had to pick him up and drop him off afterwards. He was always short of cash but was never without his bag of weed. He was also incredibly talented, but it seemed that I could never do enough for him, it was almost like dealing with a child sometimes. As long as I was willing to do everything for him, everything was fine. But he could just never get his s**t together.

    After about a year and a half of this he accused me of ripping the band off—despite the fact that I was the one getting all of the gigs, I put together and duplicated the demos (this was in the time of tape), I put together the posters and did virtually all of the leg work to get our product out to where it needed to be to get us work—and I split EVERYTHING that we got paid four ways. This accusal really cut to the bone, and I'd just had it with these guys. So I broke up the band and went off on my own.

    I bumped into him a couple of years ago, and didn't even recognize him, he'd put on a ton of weight and he was just dressed in really odd clothes that didn't quite fit. It turned out that he had some pretty serious psychological problems that landed him in a series of mental hospitals and even a couple of locked down psycho wards. He's now living in a group home and he's got someone who administers his medication to him every day. He actually asked me if I wanted to put the band back together... I politely declined.

    Now, I have no clue if your friend has the same kind of problems that my ex-guitar player had (has), he certainly has quite a few similar traits, but you may have to face up to the fact that you can't really help this person. Just keep your eyes open and try and maintain your perspective (I know I completely lost my perspective while trying to deal with him, because being so close, you can't really see what's going on).
  13. Thanks for all of the responses so far. I want to say that my friendship with him isn't based on his ability to keep a job, and he has borrowed money from time to time, but only $20-40 and he has always paid it back (sometimes at double the loan in food stamps...). He's not into drugs, and while he drinks more alcohol than me I wouldn't hesitate to say that he is NOT an alcoholic. He doesn't have any of my gear, it all stays with me. I just provide it at practices and shows. I don't think there are any psychological issues, but then again I'm no expert. I do tend to feel like band daddy when it comes to taking care of everything. I have to arrange his rides, call other bandmates for him, arrange studio time and gigs, etc. We recently replaced two members who have it more together that the others that left, so I feel confident that they will be able to share the load with me. I have started to put up some boundaries regarding what we can and can't do in terms of helping, and he has responded well to them, but I still feel so torn as to whether I should have that talk (about him staying in the band) with him.
  14. 1954bassman


    Jun 7, 2004
    Hickory, NC
    Sounds like you are helping your friend, and your tone sems to indicate you like him. So my question is, how serious is this band? If your friend is a hinderence to the goals of the band, then politely let him go, and then sek a replacement. If your band in more of a hobby or release activity, then go with the idea of having fun with friends.
  15. This is really helpful. We are semi-serious, by which I mean that I don't plan on making a career out of it but I want to be more than just a hobbyist. I want to play some decent venues and make a little money off it, but I have a full-time job that pays the bills. Honestly, what I'd love to do is play 12-15 major shows a year in the surrounding area and market our stuff to films, commercials, etc. (since we're instrumental...).

    I just wish he would be more reliable and not always need my gear. He does have an acoustic guitar, and an electric without pickups. I've considered buying him pickups for both so that he can at least have something. Would that be reasonable, or am I crazy? He is probably my closest friend (I might say 'best friend' but I feel weird about using that phrase as an adult...), so I want to be there for him and we have fun making music together, but this question has been nagging me for the last few months.
  16. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    This, unfortunately, is often not the case, and OP, you need to be prepared for that possibility. Getting kicked out of a band, for whatever reason, can hurt nearly as much as getting dumped by a lover.

    The part that's getting skipped here, and seems to get skipped a lot, is the part where you talk to him about your feelings and see what kind of compromises can be worked out. If you guys are truly good friends, you should be able to have an honest conversation with him about these things.
  17. I was talking to my wife about the situation and she is frustrated at how much we've helped him over the last year and a half, and almost none of it has paid off. I asked her what she thought and she was reluctant to offer her opinion, which probably means she thinks we should let him go. I'm not convinced that we would still be friends if I gave him the boot from the band. How would you receive it if I told you: "After thinking about it a lot we need to find someone that is more reliable and can share part of the responsibilities of the band. I cherish our friendship, but it's just not working out."
  18. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    sounds like you're in a great spot not to trust him and let him play a few guitars when he comes around.

    how could you book a gig or studio time?
  19. I take he's no longer living with you... does that also mean that he has a job...?

    What are his priorities? Appears that he has none related to the band.

    Ask him!
  20. Megazap63


    Apr 12, 2009
    London, UK
    Forgive me for being blunt, but in your situation I'd be questioning whether or not I would want to have this guy as either a bandmate or friend. In my view, people shouldn't be CONSTANTLY and COMPLETELY reliant on friends or others for support, direction, financial assistance or anything else.

    Sounds like you've helped him out enough in the past in order to help him be able to take charge of his own situation and become more self-reliant. Is it possible he now feels that your dedicated support is normal and to be expected without question?