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Bands and friends - again (long rant)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by hammer2748, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. hammer2748


    Feb 22, 2002
    Hartford, CT
    I know this is a little old, it's been done a million times but I had to air this.

    Well, you have friends, and then there's friends, real friends, the kind where business decisions get sticky, difficult to make for concern over the friendship. Stuck in the middle between 2 groups of friends over a developing situation in a local cover band. The band's been together for a good number of years. We had profitable years and more recently a very lean last 15 months. Notwithstanding a similar situation that took place 2 years ago, this one is a bit of a re-run, so I won't cover both, just the more recent one. Previous situation involved sound men. This more recent situation involves the drummer:

    Original drummer (whom I've worked with for about 12 years in various projects including this one) took a walk a couple months ago. Enter new drummer after 6 weeks of auditions (a guy I know and jam with on the side from work). The audition went great, the spark was there, etc. Problem is, that seems to be it. It's been a real grind since 10/01/04 thru now, no real spark or kick in the band. Rehearsals are just floundering, no feel for what we normally do blindfolded. The 2 guitarists (brothers) approched me last night with concerns that this isn't working. To some degree I agreed to the point I was going to approach them with the same concern. However the guitarists are pointing to the drummer. I sort of feel the same way but the guy is good enough. It's just that there seems to be a lack of "chemistry" more than anything else......at the same time, 1 of the 2 brothers metioned friends from another band which "looked like is going to break up" may become available and that the opportunity to merge those individuals may be on a very near horizon if we cut this drummer loose. As I said earlier, I've been down this same road 2 years ago and it left a very bad taste in my mouth. I swore I wouldn't do this again.
    As far as work goes, our calender is clear right now. Could we have done better with someone else on drums? Probably. Can he eventually fit the bill? Maybe. Can I come to work and look him in the eye if we cut him loose at this point in time? I don't think so as right along we've all been telling the guy, "great job", "you're coming along great", you know, all the things to keep the guy interested and confident. He also went out and tooled up electronically for the PA with sub-mixer, mikes, cables, stands, etc.. at our request (this is what you need to get to sit down with us)Though I know if the merger happens as proposed, it would be a good business move, but I'm not sure I want to spend the emotional capital. I'm thinking of falling on my sword and moving on. Just don't want to do anything rash.
    Would love to hear anyone else's take on this. Bottom line: Good for business to cut the guy cold, get back to work quickly as the merger would involve plug-and-play talent. The cost being another friend who's been led to believe things were working well and all of sudden tell him it's not. I just get the feeling that the move is more about opportunity then anything else. Maybe I'm just getting too old for instability of this business. I just want to have fun making music. Thanks.

  2. I think you guys are being a bit harsh on the drummer. If the 'lack of chemistry' is about not getting along socially, then I can understand that. But if it's just musical chemistry you're talking about, then I think he should be givien more time, and instructions on specific things that you guys would want him to do. 2 months is not that long and may be he just needs some more musical input/feedback from the band.

    Is the gig income going to be the bread & butter for you and the two guitarists? If so, then do what you have to, but if not, I say give the drummer a bit more time.
  3. hammer2748


    Feb 22, 2002
    Hartford, CT
    The issue is strictly about the feel with the music. The drummer's a great guy, really has worked hard to gear up for the rehearsals. He has learned a lot of the stuff (covers) as written. But when it comes to the "feel", he's just not getting it and I think that it's easy for us to short-change the guy on that aspect as the previous drummer and I have been together for 12 years.

    As for being "harsh" on the guy, I kinda feel the same. Just smells like a skunk under the porch. As near the end of my original post, I can't help feeling that the brothers are just being opportunistic to make something fit that they want, which is really where my dilemma comes in. I know in my heart, if I stay for the merger, the drummer is going to feel that he didn't get a fair shot, and rightly so. I am a believer that a committment runs both ways in these circumstances. We're not a touring band that needs a plug-and-play guy.

    As for income.....this is just a local act playing local mid-level clubs (500 to 800 per night depending on the venue, averaging 3 or 4 shows a month when we're working steady. Definitely not enough for me to feel like I'm selling my soul for this gig.

    Thanks for the input.
  4. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    [Homer Simpson Voice] Yes, that's quite a pickle [/Homer Simpson Voice]

    Seriously though.....

    As bassists, we pay close attention to locking into the groove with a drummer. Let me tell you that I can't ever recall playing with a drummer (in a new band or sitting in) where we just automatically "clicked". It was always a process that took a few shows/rehearsals to work out. We had to feel each other out and build the "drummer/bassist" relationship.

    As far as this cat from work - I really couldn't tell. From the sounds of things, he seems competent to fill the position. The problem is with "chemistry". I've always found chemistry with other players when they are good at thier instruments; especially if we're talking a strictly cover situation.

    I would be more concerned with the lack of gigs. Nothing would make me jet from a project quicker than not playing enough. Whether ever decision you make, I know that it will be the right one. Just remember what your priorities are and you'll be alright. :)
  5. bluemonk


    Dec 17, 2002
    Maybe it would be better if you and the guitarists agreed to let the drummer in on your concerns without say YOU'RE OUT. Give him more time, but with sort of a deadline, like another three weeks or month. Then, if you decide against him, he'll see it coming. Also, he might ask more questions or give more effort if he realizes he's not getting it right.