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Dealing with the bandleader...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Winemule, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. Winemule

    Winemule Guest

    Feb 27, 2005
    I play for a guy who is a terrific singer, good intuitive guitarist, and amazing at getting a crowd to go where he wants to take them. He has personality plus, he's warm, he's generous...and he has no more idea about how to run a band than the Man in the Moon. His backing group has been a revolving door for years. He can attract good players, but he can't keep them, because sooner or later he screws them over money.

    He's not evil. He's not even a bad person. He's a working musician with a wife and a house and most of the time he's broke. Because he lives hand-to-mouth, he can't see past that next $100 he can skim.

    He's also his own worst enemy, because he insists on paying anybody who sits in with him. Well, there's only one pot, and if it gets split an extra way, then somebody's share has to go down. Where he got this idea I don't know. I think it is an aspect of his being a real charmer: He wants everybody to like him, and he'll promise everybody diamonds just to make them smile. Then, of course, he never delivers.

    I'm thinking about giving him a serious talking-to. I think he has to quit booking himself and get some professional representation. I think he needs somebody who can tell him that if he can't pay his players what he promises, he's always going to end up the loser.

    Telling me to walk away will not be helpful. I mean, I will if I must, but I really think he's got big talent that he's frittering away with penny-ante nonsense. I'd like to find a way to get him on the straight and narrow.

    If any of you have been in this situation and have anything constructive to say, I'd sure appreciate hearing it.
  2. xshawnxearthx


    Aug 23, 2004
    new jersey
    if i was working for a dude who dicked me over for money. regardless of how nice or how good a musician he was. he would be paying up in one way shape or form.
  3. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    How about this: To make him more business minded and savvy, convince to get players' agreements. If he balks at what he agreed to in the beginning, it'll teach him a very valuble lesson, especially if there could be legal repercussions.
  4. DaftCat


    Jul 26, 2004
    Medicine Hat

    Talk is cheap. I could care less how savvy or smooth the talker is.
  5. Kronde


    Feb 1, 2005
    Charlotte, NC
    I agree with the previous posts entirely. I just extricated myself from a similar situation. Great musician, great singer, great guy, bad band leader. I would have the conversation with this singer/guitarist about your issues and lay down the law. Tell this person exactly what you want in order to stay in the band. To me this is a self respect issue... If the changes occur, great, if not, chalk one up to experience. My .02 is that you will be out of this situation sooner rather than later.
  6. leanne


    May 29, 2002
    Rochester, NY
    I'm just curious, is he taking a booking percentage off the top?

    Since you seem to have some hope about the situation, I think the rest of the band should definitely talk to him about it before taking off. Can't hurt, I guess, especially if he's maybe not deliberately out to cheat people. If he wants to shell out cash to other people, then maybe next time he'll take it out of his own pay if he thinks the rest of the band will walk or something the next time he screws them on their pay...

    (btw i'm no professional or anything, just have no desire to get screwed of course)
  7. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    One Word

  8. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Why do people insist on always talking to the idiot singers to arrange everything. Contracts or booking agents would take the controll away from him.
  9. Winemule

    Winemule Guest

    Feb 27, 2005
    Thank you. Contracts are the answer. Sign here, agree to this, and everybody goes away happy. Or if not happy, at least not feeling cheated.
  10. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Well, if he can't take care of finances, maybe someone else should. Maybe the one who complains about it on public forums :meh:
  11. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    Contracts, at this level, are bull in my opinion. Doesn't mean anyone is going to act any different. Just means they're going to get even more angry when things don't go the way they were agreed to, and there might be legal battles taking up more time and money, and taking things to a whole new level. If the guy can't pay his musicians, then he can't pay his musicians. I don't think the threat of going to court is going to make him suddenly produce more cash.

    How about talking to him about becoming a little more honest with people and paying the musicians a percentage of what he takes in rather than making promises he can't keep. His people pleasing seems to be the problem, and I wouldn't be so quick as to chalk it up to him being a really nice guy. Seems he's manipulating people into playing with him. I play with a lot of different people in a lot of different paying situations, and I've walked away from a lot of paying situations where I was getting screwed by people like this. What makes things not work is dishonesty. What makes things work is honesty. In the bands I work with now for money communication is wide open and things flow well. We get into crap sometimes, but we always seem to work it out because we communicate well.
  12. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    It's always easier to adjust your sails than it is to change the winds.
  13. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    I have to agree with the usual voice of Talkbass reason - Joe. With the amount of money that is on the line, you would probaly spend more cash on enforcing the contract than the actual money that is lost. Reputation is everything in this business, so it's only a matter of time when no one will work with the guy again. In any given music scene, there is a finite pool of musicians (and an even more finite pool of A list musicians). After he's gone through them all he's going to have to have a re-evaulation.
  14. Sundogue


    Apr 26, 2001
    Wausau, WI
    Invite him over to your place and then the two of you sit down and watch the movie "Ray".

    Then have the conversation with him.
  15. Winemule

    Winemule Guest

    Feb 27, 2005
    I hear you, but I really don't want to be in charge anymore. I did that for a long time, and frankly, I'm sick of being Mr. Business Head. I just want to play bass.
  16. Winemule

    Winemule Guest

    Feb 27, 2005
    You are perhaps suggesting that I am breaching a confidence or airing dirty laundry? That's unkind of you.

    Actually, I think we're gonna be okay. He got a manager yesterday. Finally.
  17. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    A contract would IMO/IME reduce the chances of getting ****ed over. If it doesn't reduce that chance then you at least have legal recourses that you can use to make sure you get paid. As far as it taking up your money, you might not have to pay upfront for court costs and things of that nature. I've been lucky and never had to go. But if should should have to and subsequently win in small claims court he'll have to not only pay you but also incur all legal fees incurred.