Dealing with band egos

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by shirojiro, Feb 3, 2002.

  1. shirojiro


    Jan 24, 2001
    San Francisco
    I've been playing bass in various bands for over 15 yrs now, and I'm currently dealing with the most egotistical jerk I could imagine. Our lead singer/guitar player literally thinks that he is "perfect" and never makes a mistake, and that the drummer and I constantly make errors.

    I just can't fathom this kind of thinking. In my day job, I'm a physician. I would label his thinking as delusional.

    The funny thing is, outside of gigs, he's really pretty pleasant. He gets all wound up about gigs though, and if it's not the way he wants to hear it in his head, then he has a fit.

    This even happens on cover tunes. He thinks he knows the tunes better than everyone, and insists on correcting everyone. Sometimes he's right, often he's not, but my point is - who really cares? I challenge the average joe to distinguish a minor variation in the bass line or drum line in the vast majority of poular music. I really don't think that most people will hear it unless it's something crucial to the tune.

    Sigh. It's getting to the point where it's no fun anymore.

  2. maybe you and the drummer should talk to him or drop him and move on.
  3. ARA punk

    ARA punk

    Jul 11, 2001
    USA, Shelby, NC
    In the guitarist defense alot of people dont care whether or not the average listener can tell the difference, if you can hear a difference and like it better another way then that is how it should be done.

    Now, people like that out to be solo artist (which i hate) or with a bunch of other people who feel the same way. Have you guys tried correcting him when he messes up? ALot of times that is the only way we can get through to our fiddler is by correcting her the same way she corrects us.

    Good luck
  4. ldiezman


    Jul 11, 2001
    My old band pianist had a huge ego. When I brought My friend Who just happens to be a jazz guitar major in to play on a song I had written, The piano jerk got mad.. He was just jealous b/c he wanted all the attention.. but he can't sing for crap and his piano skills are fairly limited.. he was decent... but he tried to hard.. and well.. When I got more attention than he did... he hated it.... that is just because I didn't try to solo over every song like he did.. But when I did solo it was clear that I was soloing and it ususally sounded pretty good.. Well.. I dropped that kat and I'm now in a band with my jazz guitar buddy ;).
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Having an ego, in the sense that you are proud of what you do, is a good thing. Otherwise, you shouldn't be charging money for playing.

    But, IME, over-inflated egos are just as destructive as drugs/booze can be in a band. Selfishness always seems to accompany an aggrandized opinion of oneself and a band needs members who are willing to sacrifice for the good of the whole band.

    Whenever it's not fun anymore, it's always time to either get rid of the problem or start looking for a new gig (unless putting up with it will enable you to another gig you really want).

    My suspicion is that mega-egos like Ted Nugent and Ritchie Blackmore went through so many personnel changes and Malmsteen never stayed on with a successful band is because they are legends in their own minds.
  6. In the end, I guess, this guy's ego will destroy the band. There'll doubless be a showdown because one or more of you will be so hacked off that you'll explode after he's gone one step too far.

    I could see myself telling him to buckle down to some proper work or p*** off and find someone else to play music with.

    I think it'll probably end up like that.

  7. Let him go!!!If it's taking the fun out your band time then you must nip this in the bud.Explain to your guitarist why he's being terminated.If he can't or won't change his attitude,then...good-bye!!!Playing music should be an enjoyable experience,plus life is too short to endure some ego maniac's bull doodie!!!
  8. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Make it clear that if he doesn't go, you will!

    Having been in a few bands with similar singers/guitar players (surprise surprise!), I can say with certainty that the frustration level is only going to get higher, until one day it is off the scale.

    When you associate with these types, you're being frustrated in more than one way: If people see this idiot acting like an idiot, they may wrongfully assume that everyone in the band is an idiot, which can hurt your band's chances as well as yours personally.

    Get rid of him ASAP would be my suggestion!:eek:
  9. Dean_CustomJazz

    Dean_CustomJazz Guest

    Jan 23, 2002
    i had a guitarist, total baby. wanted the band all to himself. all solos, never could play any one elses songs but his. Couldnt be louder than him, couldnt have any bass solo, or even a line that stood out. what did we do?


    as drastic as it may seem, the problem seeks a solution. this is it.
  10. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Well, Dean, maybe he's happy - he can play solos, solo, all he wants to now. :D
  11. BlacksHole


    Mar 22, 2000
    Rockville, MD
    If I read your original post correctly, it sounds like you are in a cover band (with some originals) that really strives to sound as much like whichever copy of the recording you have. One of the problems I've experienced with this approach is that you all may not be working from the same version. A prime example of this is when you are learning Allman Bros. tunes as they tended to record different versions. I find people like the one you are describing too difficult to work with. Sure, it can be nice to work with someone who has such intimate knowledge of the details of a lot of songs, but I don't like to be "lorded over" and I play for the enjoyment of playing, and it doesn't sound like much fun to work with this guy. I'd talk to him about the problem, but I'd be prepared to can him immediately too.
  12. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta / Macon (sigh)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    AMEN!! I had this problem when one of my bands was doing a cover of "Them Changes". The drummer, myself, and the lead singer learned the "Fillmore East Sessions" with Jimi, Billy Cox, and Buddy Miles, but the keyboardist and lead guitarist learned another one. As for the egomaniacal guitarist, I also had to deal with that, but in this case he felt that he was the ONLY one in the band worth watching. The rhythym guitarist and I also played in an acid jazz/soul type band on the side, and "Mr. I am the lord of all I survey" walked in and checked us out. It was a great show, and he made the sarcastic comment, "Gee, it must be me, because you guys don't seem to enjoy our band as much as you enjoy this one." :rolleyes: I told him that it was him, and looked at the guitarist, and the guitarist proceeded to rip him. It got UGLY! Afterwards, he gave us some speech about having low self esteem and no confidence from a bad childhood, so he tried to ride us to make up for. It turned into a tearful apology, which was even worse, because I don't do "scenes". In the end, he turned out to be a great guy and a great musician/songwriter.
  13. ZuluFunk

    ZuluFunk Supporting Member

    Apr 14, 2001
    Not to simplify things...but:


    We have the same problems. Our guitarist wrote nearly all of our tunes as solos. He can change them however he wants when playing alone, but it screws us up when he does that in the group setting. It makes it hard to do covers because he wants the same freedom to change timing and phrasing. Instead of being consistant, we have to adjust to the changes he throws in (both the guitar and the vocals). If we can't anticipate this then we're wrong. The drummer and I see each other at work (we make vaccines - and I'd still call this delusional). The two of us talk about this all the time.

    Eventually, we explained it to him. Honestly, he had no preception that it would cause us to lose the feel when he decides to improvise. He doesn't rehearse covers at all. He just learns the chords and goes with what he remembers. We decided we are going to get away from doing covers eventually. Then we can focus on the originals we have (25+/-) and do them in a way that maximizes his ability to express himself and keeps the band sounding tight.

    Long story short, we would not have had a chance to work something out if we hadn't confronted the issue. Otherwise, it's all assumptions.

    We also used to glare at each other whenever one of us made a mistake. That is now supposed to be prohibited since it detracts from our presentation. We can laugh about it, and bring it up during break.

    Look - A small percentage of the audience is even paying attention at most times. A smaller percentage of them has the ability to recognize that what they heard was a mistake. A smaller percentage of them even cares.

    The rest are all TB'ers. Those are all you have to worry about!!!
  14. embellisher

    embellisher Holy Ghost filled Bass Player Staff Member Supporting Member

    Amen to that one!:D:D:D