Did We Handle This OK?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by CBgaragebassist, Feb 18, 2010.

  1. In my P&W band our vocalist really isn't up to par and we've asked him to try to improve but he hasn't. He has no pitch control, no idea of tempo, and can't harmonize. Anyway, we've been planning to have a talk with him about and have him focus on his rhythm playing and my drummer has been agitated because he's been holding in the talk for about a month and we planned to do it after we play our last shows for February. Anyhoozel, the vocalist kinda forced the talk yesterday and essentially we told him:
    • We want you to play and not sing as much.
    • We want to focus things more around our other vocalist.
    • We've had people who've seen our shows or heard our recordings say that we need to focus more around the other singer and get you off the mic.
    • We're by no means trying to kick you out.
    Anyway, all he says is 'Ok, i guess i won't sing anymore' and walks off and says nothing to us the rest of the night. Anyway, a guy from another band calls our drummer and says we handled it completely wrong and that when we mentioned the audience's opinion it really hurt him. That kinda confused the rest of us, seeing that as musicians our goal is to serve the audience(mostly God, but we still have a responsibility to the audience). That set our drummer off and he was saying things like, 'Fine, i'm wrong. I'll just quit.' Our drummer is essentially the core of our band when it comes to songwriting and booking shows. Plus he's the perfect fit for my playing.

    Sorry for the long post and excessive use of the word 'anyway', i wanted to vent and wanted to know what TBers think of how we handled this.
  2. Joey3313


    Nov 28, 2003
    Sounds like everyone in your band needs thicker skin. Constructive criticism breeds improvement.

    Did you handle it wrong? No clue, I don't know your singer, his personality or how insecure he is about his playing.
  3. Hayseed


    Feb 18, 2010
    What else could you have done except kick him out?

    I don't see how you could have done it any better. These are never easy things to do.
  4. cb56


    Jul 2, 2000
    IMO, this should have been handled one on one. The Leader of the P/W team with the vocalist, so it didn't appear to be everybody ganging up on him and him being embarassed. But what you said to him was correct.
    Maybe P/W leader can have a meeting with him one on one and smooth things over.
  5. we want/need to get better as a unit(right?)

    i'd pull the group together and talk,ya'll started out down your path somehow i see no reason to blow it up when with a group effort and you'd be better,makes sense to me anyway:confused:
  6. Bootzilla


    May 4, 2009
    If you wouldn't have told him about the audience you would have gotten the same effect without hurting his ego so much. It's more subtle that way but maybe it's good for him to know the truth. As long as everything turns out fine you did a good job.
  7. First, we don't have a specific leader. All the decisions are made as a group. We all agreed to have the talk beforehand. And like i said, he forced him to have the talk because he noticed that the drummer was getting bothered and made him tell it.
  8. We just wanted to say that the audience is noticing it and it's not just us having a problem with him.
  9. M0ses


    Sep 11, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Look, the fact is, people don't like to be told that they're not good.

    What can you do????
  10. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    If he's serious about being a paid performer he damn well better care what the audience thinks. If your audiences are seeing him as the weak link, that should be incentive for him to make changes necessary for the good of the group. If he's too sensitive or selfish to do that, you need to part company.
  11. Rob Martinez

    Rob Martinez

    Sep 14, 2005
    Why is someone with so many musical challenges singing in your band?

    Even more disturbing, why is the drummer writing the songs???:p
  12. You shouldn't have mentioned the crowd at all.

    Would you like it if your bandmates told you that the crowd wanted your eq to look like a smiley face? No, because as a musician, you job is to focus on the music. If you needed to talk to him about something regarding the music, then say it. But don't wimp out and blame the crowd by telling him "even they want the other guy to sing."
  13. DaveyDeathKill


    Dec 28, 2009
    It sounds like you handled it alright, but like everybody else is saying, mentioning the audience probably hurt his ego a bit. When my band finally found a singer, we had to get our rythem guitarist off the mic, and he took it pretty well, his playing improved too.
  14. I'd say there's a difference between my tone and his inability to stay in the correct tempo and the correct key. As i explained, the whole purpose of the audience opinion is that he doesn't think that we just have a problem with him. I refer you to jaywa's post.
  15. I agree with this.

    That said, it really is difficult to tell someone that 'it just aint happening'. I think you did a good job. You just need to lay down the facts man.
  16. You could always do like I did once. I had joined a band that had a regular, weekend house gig at a local club. The "leader" (it was his gig) sang and played acoustic guitar, but not that great.

    The other band members wanted him out but were too timid to fire him, so I took him aside one day and said,"Look, you're really too good for the rest of us, so we're gonna give you a chance to expand yourself and go in your own direction. Oh, by the way, we're gonna stay here and play this gig but you be sure to let us know where you'll be playing so we can come see you."

    After it was over he told me "Thanks man" (with a peculiar look in his eyes) ;)
  17. Rob Martinez

    Rob Martinez

    Sep 14, 2005
    So you stole the gig from under him? Did the local club have a problem with him? This just sounds a little sleazy.
  18. Just a few thoughts:

    1) When you open a can of worms like this, you cannot control other people's reactions. You must realize that he might flip out and quit. For real. If you cannot deal with the potential consequences, then you should not open the can.

    2) You can never control the other guy's reaction means that any way you get the goal is OK. You wanted him off the mic, you planned how to get him off the mic, you did your best to protect his feelings, and you got him off the mic. Mission accomplished.

    3) A -real- measure of a musician is what the audience thinks. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it's still the truth. I don't think there's anything wrong with telling him about the feedback from the audience -BUT- read point 2), then point 1). If you deliver harsh news, don't be shocked that he's upset by it. If you can't handle that, then you better stay out of it.

    4) If he's a friend, and you care about his feelings, I would always go with "let's help you improve" rather than "let's take this job away from you." It represents a subtle change in your goals - the band will get better through his improvement VS. the band will be better without his singing. It shows that you have confidence that he can improve, that he can handle a challenge, and that you value his contribution (even if it isn't perfect). However, see point 1). You may still crush his ego, and there's nothing you can do to eliminate that possibility.

    Lastly, it sounds like your drummer made a serious effort to "do the right thing" in achieving the goals, and was criticized for it. It doesn't sound like he deserved the criticism. It's HARD to know the right thing to do in situations like these, and it's EASY to look back in hindsight and criticize.

    Good luck
  19. No, I fired him!!.....but in a nice way. The club was fine with it because we replaced him with someone who was ten times better and had more drawing power.

    Nothing sleazy IMO. This was a group of pro musicians. People get hired. People get fired.
  20. No offense, and this is all off topic anyway, but based on your first post, I also thought that you 1) joined a band, 2) booted the band "leader", and 3) took his gig.