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Dealing with a member who says inappropriate things.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Depth_Charge, Sep 14, 2008.

  1. A member of our band has been pulled up a few times for what I and other members consider to be "off" incidents over the mic. A few examples include:

    Saying "I doubt there's anyone with this problem" as we are about to play Like A Virgin - at a corporate (read workplace) function.

    "There's some seriously good looking players here tonight"

    and having an intimate chat with a group of 3 girls, over the mic, while everyone else in the room can hear. Just things like how are you, having a good time etc, but only to that group. Not sure if thats really an issue. I thought it weird though given he ignored 200+ other people to do it.

    The guy sings a couple of lead songs, and does backup for the rest. I have told him to pull his head in but he hasn't and thinks it's not a problem. I don't want to push the issue too hard, but I don't want him offending people either, or worse having us slapped with a harrassment issue.

    Is it fair to pull him off "mic duties" until he gets it? Noone can replace his singing currently, so we'd be down to one lead who already whines about vocal strength and uses him to split sets for her to rest up, and one backup singer (until I get up to speed on backup vox which is a couple months away I guess). We'd need to drop 6 or so popular male-led songs until he is back on again.

    Advice appreciated.
  2. scootron

    scootron Supporting Member

    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    You gotta get him to shut up between songs. Explain that it is for the good of the band. Explain that when he talks, he talks for the band, and the band is not behind what he is saying, so it has to stop. We had the same problem. That is what we did.

    We gave the guy one other option...shut up or lose the gig.
  3. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    This is one of those instances where it is helpful if there is an established pecking order in the band, or even a clearly-named leader. That way you can do things like some of the classic hardass bandleaders have done in the past such as docking the member's pay by a certain amount for each infraction, or saying "one more f-up and you're out". People need consequences, especially if they are people who have shown they can't self regulate.
  4. Vynns

    Vynns Guest

    May 5, 2008
    Meh, I don't know, none of the things you've mentioned seem "inappropriate" to me. I mean, you're a rockband, right? It's almost likt it's your job to behave like that :p. Anyhoo, As much as I think this behavior gives your band character as it were, it's not my band, so if you and your bandmates have a problem with it, you should let him know. I personally just happen to think it's not that big of a problem.
  5. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Hillsdale, Portland
    Harrassment is a legal term, unevenly applied and a major point for the corporate interests. IMO, you would never, ever be considered for legal action. That being said, what is the nature of "inappropriate" mike use.

    I agree with Vynns. Sounds like this person is a little immature, i.e. tendency to be "look at me, I'm talking on a microphone on stage" type. I don't know if addressing the legal aspects will be of much help. Tell him to "Shut the F**K up". He'll understand that.
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    +1. I'd try to take as objective a look at what he's saying as I could. There is a good chance here that you guys might just be being a little uptight about something that really isn't as big an issue as you think. I can't tell you how many times the dumbass stuff that's been said in a band I've been in worked in our favor.

    Also, the tension it causes to try and control one guys actions creates a bad vibe for the whole band. But if you guys are upset, then the tension is there anyway. :) I don't have any answers here. Get group therapy.
  7. Mojo-Man


    Feb 11, 2003

    I played with a drummer like that.
    He even went as far as to talk during guitar solo.

    He thought it enhanced the gig.
    And put up a stink,when we asked him to shut up.

    We had to let him go.
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    You can either take a long-term approach, to recruit someone who will be ideal for your band - in terms of talent & skill as well as professional conduct. Or you can take a short-term, "patch it up as we go along", "make do" approach, attempting to modify the behavior of someone who apparently doesn't want to be modified.

    It's been my experience that, as difficult as it can be to go with Option #1, when you get there, all the sacrifice and frustration will prove to have been worthwhile. And if you go with Option #2, you'll find the problem(s) are never entirely resolved. Because something else will eventually rear its ugly head. Then something else. And then something else again...

    Someone who simply doesn't "get it" isn't going to suddenly start getting it - no matter what you say or how many times you say it... :eyebrow:

  9. tlwaps


    Feb 13, 2006
    I had a gui**** like that. He'd throw water on the crowd and call them "a bunch of pussies" because they (meaning the whole 10 people in the crowd with the sound guy and bar tender included) aren't giving him the response he wants. Finally we told him that it wasn't cool for him to keep doing that and he stopped for about half a show, then his super sized ego took over and it was all down hill. Bottom line is for us, nobody wanted to do shows with us as well as nobody wanted to book us because of him. If he felt we weren't getting paid enough he'd go up and start arguing and threatening the promoter for more money. Glad I quit that band.
  10. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    I'd generally advocate a "No BS" policy, which is anything else which is remotely inappropriate going forward, that would be the end of it. Some things are ok to be patient with. This, IMO, is not one of them.
  11. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Obviously the guy thinks he's the "front man" for the group. He sings lead/backup on all your songs and as far as that is concerned, gives him the "right" to say whatever he feels like saying. He thinks he's being cool. Or he thinks he's funny. Or both, especially attempting to pickup some chicks over the PA. How unprofessional. Obviously immature.

    To me, he's creating a bad impression of your band for the people hiring you, especially the corporate gigs. He's showing no respect for the group.

    Working out the in-between song comments is just about as important as the songs themselves, especially for the image of the band.

    Seems to me that a band meeting is in order to determine what is and is not acceptable to say between songs. Even to the point of writing down lines, jokes, comments, making band announcements, etc. Everyone vote on it and go from there. If he's out voted, too bad. He's part of a band. You're not his backup band.

    Imagine if everyone with a microphone said stuff like he did!

    If he threatens to quit over this, then you and the rest of the band know where you stand as far as he's concerned.
  12. Wow guys, so much great info! Thanks. I'll try to answer as briefly and accurately as possible.

    I've done that. He thinks it's not a problem, even when we showed him the lead female singer recovering the Virgin line with "Well, that's rude, so moving on here's a Madonna song" as I play the intro on video tape, he thought it was OK.

    Tried that to. Am currently struggling with a few members actually. I made the mistake of trying to have a democracy. But I recruited all the members. This guy and I were in another band together and at the start of this one, we did confide in each other on the band building tactics and decisions, so I know he thinks he is right up there with me on the band leadership.

    Of course, when I asked him "Who will you send the lawyer with a legal band issue to", he said me. In my eyes, that makes it my band :)

    Wow. That would probably take more cahonas (sp?) than I (currently) have in my leadership toolkit. I've only just now started putting my foot down 9 months down the track. It's working, but I ain't feeling good about doing it yet. These threads help.

    I was worried I was being uptight too but the reaction from people in the crowd tells me different.

    Are you intimate with Australia's harrassment laws? An employee can be done for coming onto another employee outside of work, outside of a work function, just in a bar or something. A band employed by a corporate entity is kind of expected to follow some general guidelines regarding behaviour. On a pub rock gig where there is sexual tension dripping I could honestly care less if the crowd responds well.

    Thanks for this pearl of wisdom. With my current leadership skills I think it's best I continue opting for option 2 for now and actively build my skills. I believe he could get up there as he is a good player. Obviously, I should grow a set before considering myself a true band leader :)

    I might do that. I am introducing some basic rules we keep breaking, myself including.

    Well, some of the songs. He is more guitarist than front man, and I am desperately failing at bringing my vocals up to speed to get behind the mic and do some backup/banter.

    I've tried that to. I even had "banter" written between quads of songs, with notes on what to banter about. The front people thought it a silly idea to rehearse banter and communicate when. I've seen many acts do it for many reasons, mainly tuning or instrument breaks but still, I'm sure it goes on.


    Guys, I really appreciate the feedback here. It's become clear in the last couple of weeks that I have been letting these guys walk over me on a number of issues, and recently I have put my foot down with a series of "this is how it will be" email on some issues. My usual approach used to be "what does everyone think".

    I actually got a compliment after those emails from this guy that it's the first bit of strong leadership he's seen from me, so with any luck if I can approach it respectfully he will appreciate my leadership on this banter issue as well.

    Thanks again, you guys rock!!
  13. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    If you break your own rules then what the point of trying to be the "leader"?

    It's not a democracy, it's more like pre-school w/o the teacher.

    I suggest taking a close look at the following TB thread and get what you need out of there: http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=429034
  14. I meant I break general band rules, like no audible tuning or turning up a smidge AFTER soundcheck etc. I wouldn't be dumb enough to ram my "band running" rules down other peoples throat only to give them the opportunity to call me a hyprocrit. I'm not that stupid, or disrespectful towards other people.

    That is the same analogy my wife used to decribe the last few weeks as well :)

    Checking it now, thanks.
  15. To me, I would think while those comments might be slightly over the top, I wouldn't call them over the line, either. I would just talk to him and ask him to cut back on his comments a bit. He might just be getting caught up "in the moment" and have no idea what he's actually doing.
  16. I'm working with a dude who was in a band with a singer who had foot in mouth syndrome all the time. There was a nice paying gig at a good club. The owner basically told her just to avoid mentioning their gigs at other clubs. To get his goat, she kept telling people to go to the website to see when the next gig was, but she couldn't tell ya where.... She also got drunk one night and said, "whoah, the drinks are expensive here." They had 8 gigs lined up at about $250 a person per night. After she said those things on the 2nd gig, the owner told them NOT to come back.
  17. Tell him the music talks and he needs to STFU.

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