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Been taken for a ride...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Hobobob, Aug 4, 2012.

  1. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    I apologize beforehand for the long post...

    I've been in a band since January. Good music, good players. We started after the singer's previous band became too busy with another project and couldn't continue with this one. So another drummer and I get a call and we agree to join (band named after the singer, so no need to get a new name I guess.) Singer can't find a guitarist, so the drummer and I offer up the name of someone we know (who ends up in the band after a short time). We take off, playing gigs, writing songs, all that good stuff, and it all seems like a great fit.

    Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. I find out (via facebook postings) that the singer is using the other band to play shows again - playing a lot of the songs my band helped him write. Same band name, same setlist. I should have raised a ruckus then, but it was explained to me that the few shows played up to that point were booked by the other band's other project, and our singer was just helping them fulfill an obligation. Ok, well, I guess i can live with that. Strike One.

    A short time after that, I notice that a video recorded at this other band's show is being posted often on the band facebook page (which the singer has control over). This seems rather curious to me, seeing that the video that was recorded of my band hasn't made nearly the rotation that this other video has, and 1. We're supposed to be the main band and 2. I professionally believe (as do most people who I talk to that have compared the videos) that my band is much tighter and a much better representation of the band's sound. Once again, I let it slide thinking that the singer is just doing what he needs to promote his brand. Strike Two.

    Here's where it all becomes painfully obvious, and I begin to feel like a fool. About a week ago, my drummer notices that our gig calendar runs out after this week. Very suspicious, given the fact that we always had at least something on the calendar before. Then I see on the facebook page that the band is playing an opening gig at a pretty large club for a pretty decent headliner. But, it sure isn't MY band. The other band, who was just supposed to "fulfill obligations," is now officially getting the bigger gigs. After nearly 8 months of helping this guy write songs, being an unofficial music-director sort of figure (cuz this guy often had trouble arranging his music or getting the musicians to play what he heard in his head - not to mention me being constantly aware of things like dynamics, tempo, feel, etc.), helping everyone shlep their gear around, driving all around 2 different counties, often taking time off from work to play gigs, and doing it all FOR FREE (yeah, I never got paid once for a gig, even though I know for a fact that there was a decent tip jar at at least one gig), I - along with the rest of my band - are being dumped. The only reason I did all of this for free was that I fully believed I, and my other bandmates, were full members of this band, with a full stake in this band's success or failure. I was never once lead to believe that I was merely a hired gun. If I had, I would have negotiated my compensation beforehand. I guess I just learned the valuable lesson of getting EVERYTHING in writing, no matter what the circumstances. I'm not sure if I'm looking for advice, or just venting....

    Here's the best part, BTW: the last thing said to me, after our last gig: "Well folks, I guess the summer tour's over!"
    ...? Dude didnt even have the cajones to fire us straight up. When i got home after the gig, i noticed that he changed the band members on the facebook page to the other band. I believe i'll be sending him an email asking him exactly what he meant by the phrase "summer tour's over" and why im no longer on the band facebook page. He's going to have to tell me the truth, whether he likes it or not. That's all I really want, to be honest - the truth.

    P.S. I was purposely vague on many points. As unprofessional as this situation seems to me, the last thing i want to do is drag anyone's name through the mud. Please don't ask me to reveal any details i have omitted (including and ESPECIALLY names), and please don't post any of the omitted details in this thread if you know what they are (you damn stalkers!) As i said, i don't wish to defame anyone. I just need to get this off my chest.
  2. Peace Cee

    Peace Cee

    Feb 9, 2011
    People are self-centered, especially and unfortunately, musicians. The idea of attention and recognition can sometimes lead people to step on toes, screw people over, and leave a path of destruction. Moreover, the mere idea or promise of this "adoration" may make them unconsciously ambitious, in the worst way. This may not be any consolation, but one day this will come back on him. His actions are merely a prelude; Pride goeth before the fall. Keep playing music for the right reasons, and in the end, you will enjoy the "privilege" of being chosen to for this path. Oh, and next time sign a band agreement.
  3. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    Thanks Cee, this is all stuff i've been telling myself as well. I think a good part of the problem was that the gigs that the other band had booked were at big venues with a lot of people, whereas the gigs he booked for us were often festival type gigs with people just walking by all day. Even if our band sounded better, the other band still played to more people and therefore got more audience reaction. It's also funny to me that I originally took the gig in order to give him a hand, since he's a couple years younger than me but I believed he had potential. I wanted to help him expand and mature his talents... See how well that worked?
  4. taliesin


    Nov 12, 2007
    Toronto, ON
    You do have in writing somewhere who gets songwriting credits for the stuff you've written, right?

    Please say yes.
  5. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    Boy, that sucks. What makes it worse is he knows he screwing you guys and won't even man up. The singer sounds like he's a pathetic weasel with a slimeball character.
  6. The singer fired the band?

    Forget that stuff! Move on and don't look back.

    If he hasn't explicitly fired the tight band, you 3 should fire him using clear and unmistakable language. Find another singer, learn how to get your own gigs.

    Don't waste another minute on this guy. Just move on.
  7. Corbeau


    Dec 14, 2011
    I also hope you can assert copyright to the songs. In Australia, we have something called APRA where, if you're a member, you can put down the songs you've written so you can claim some compensation and credit for the songs. If the other band is using your material, then you have every right to demand some compensation for it.
  8. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Wait ... you joined a band that is named for the lead singer and are surprised that he hires and fires whom he pleases when he pleases? Really? And copyright never crossed your mind as you helped write and arrange new songs?

    You may have been "taken for a ride" but I have a suspicion that you were never really sure where you going. Cut your losses, move on.
  9. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I can see warning signs in the opening post but in no way do I blame you for not picking up on them.

    In a nutshell, your band's role was "sub band." The intent all along might have been to discard it if the main band ever freed up again.

    Here's the lesson to take away from this: Whenever you have a good front person on board, it's usually all about the front person. If it's not that way from the start, then it often doesn't take that long for things to get to that point. Especially if the act is already artist-focused rather than band-focused from the beginning. Band management will do whatever it has to do to keep that person busy, with whatever band (or individual players) required to fit current logistics, AND it will always employ the best backing musicians available at the time. ("Band management" can be either a separate entity or the front person himself -- I've seen both.) If you're lucky, this will be made plain to you at the get-go so you can set your expectations realistically, and not over-invest in something with a limited life span and limited return to you personally. If you're not so lucky, sometimes only a hint or two is dropped during the initial negotiations, and you're expected to pick up on them. If you're really unlucky, the original intent is never revealed, and you're expected to keep your ear to the ground 24x7 for approaching steamrollers -- and to keep your options open.

    After a few years of dealing with front people and their management (whether or not it's the same person), you develop a better sense for these things and can pick up on them earlier.

    Anyway, sorry things didn't work out. But if you walked away with even one positive outcome, or even one lesson learned, it was probably worth it in the long run, I mean in the context of your career.
  10. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Why bother? You have the truth - you got screwed. If he's as big a dick as you say, he won't care anyway; you'll just come off like the girl who won't accept getting dumped.

    Tough break, there's really no way to protect yourself against a dick like this. Just remember that he can steal, but you can create.
  11. Hobobob

    Hobobob Don't feed the troll, folks.

    Jan 25, 2011
    Camarillo, CA
    Thank you all. You guys are all right - I did learn a lot about frontman-centric bands, and now I know what mistakes not to make in the future. And I really shouldn't drag this out, just take my lessons with me and go. I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a lot of fun playing over the last few months however. It's just recent events that have soured it. BTW: the drummer has expressed interest in starting a new project with me. I may just take his offer.
  12. Yep, you've been screwed. Sucks. Generally best to just walk away since a fight won't fix or change things.
  13. ShiftyShift


    Mar 12, 2012
    Something similar happened to me. After a while of trying civilly to get my credit, I decide to be the bigger man (which I was physically) and open a can of whoop ass. I wouldn't recommend this option, but it worked for me.
  14. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    That sux bro , run for your life.
  15. D.A.R.K.

    D.A.R.K. Supporting Member

    Aug 20, 2003
    To the op, think about it...
    due to a douche bag, you now have a tight trio that can write,
    and according to your reports, is a better band than the douche's new band.
    Losing this guy won't hurt you. Pick a name, audition singers if you want, and carry on with your band.
    If you want to get gigs quick I suggest a hot female singer.
  16. Yeah, your band has been screwed. In the grand scheme of musicians getting screwed, as unpleasant as it is for your band, your situation won't make any headlines.

    As far as getting the truth or firing him, he's done everything except say F U to your face.

    Find another singer and consider this a learning experience.
  17. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Learn the lesson, and if you ever meet a girl with herpes, send her to meet this guy.

    That's a JOKE!

    He will probably meet her all on his own.

    Karma's like that.
  18. Legally and morally I believe you have every right to use the material you cowrote. Have a hit.
  19. Mr L

    Mr L

    Jul 22, 2012
    Vancouver BC
    How about start a Facebook page of your new band with the guitar player, drummer, and new singer. Then tell the guy he's fired from the band. Do whatever you can to play the same show as him, just earlier. Then you play all his songs. Troll level = 9001
  20. jive1

    jive1 Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I agree with those who said start another band with the current members and the material you wrote. In the end, the best revenge is to live well.

    I read stuff like this, and it makes me reiterate one of the first things you do when you join a band - find out who owns the band. When you know who owns what, it makes it easier to guide your future decisions without getting screwed. If they say that you are a co-owner, I'd get a simple written agreement that spells out what is owned by who. If they say they own the band, and you're just a sideman, then you know up front what you are giving your time for.

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