Drama in bands

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by PauFerro, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    Wanted to ask you something. Over the years I've seen more drama in bands than in any other area of my life. Not in my work, not compared to my community service work, not even in my family. But in bands -- they seem drama prone. i think its due to a number of tings -- one there is a heavy dependence on each other due to each person having their own discrete instrument. This can cause tension. Another is the amount of work they are for small pay...interpersonal problems tend to be harder to take in those situations. Also, its not l.ike being on a committee - if someone doesn't get along or quits a committe, the committee might pick up the slack for a while but its less of an adjustment than when you lose a band member. Someone quits in your band, or tries to fire you, it's a traumatic experience given all the work you've invested in each other.

    Have you experienced the same thing? Or have things ticked along largely smoothly in the bands you are in?
  2. LowBC

    LowBC Commercial User

    Nov 17, 2008
    Builder, chief cook and bottle washer: www.MavourneenStrings.com / store manager at Music Go Round (Denver)
    Well, the problem seems to be that bands attract musicians. And they tend to be a sketchy lot.

    If you're in a position to start the band and be the boss, you can eliminate a lot of that drama via choice of personnel.

    good luck!

    p.s. I totally get it - I've tolerated behavior from drummers that would get a typical accountant deported!
  3. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Ego. When one's livelihood is not dependent on a band it's easy to throw a hissy-fit and spark the drama. In the workplace people know that if they act like an ass, they'll be out out on their ass. There is little drama in working professional bands, pit orchestras, symphonies and the like. No, I've not had problems ... we're all grown-ups in our band ... and I either didn't join or quickly left bands that weren't.
  4. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Beat me to the punch... :meh:

    When there's relatively little at stake, people who are naturally drama-prone anyway will generally feel at liberty to act out - with relative impunity. Maybe they see it as one of the few "perks" of an otherwise unrewarding gig. Who knows?

    But the greater the stakes, usually the fewer the tantrums and mind games. Scale it up to the level of international relations, and you can understand why diplomats function within such an extensive system of protocols. It's all designed to minimize the potential effect of gratuitous drama - which at that level could provoke a war. :eek:

  5. Ha, Ambassador's wife dinks Foreign Secretary, WWIII starts next week.
  6. IPYF


    Mar 31, 2011
    The key term here 'little at stake' might just be perfect. You encounter the most drama in acts that are sitting in that insipid 'food danger zone' of music, where at least some members of the band are trying to make a fledgling or un-viable act a big deal or profitable, and as such are giving the band more emotional credence than it's actually worth. We've all had many of these I'm sure.

    I reckon being in a successful paid band with direct, rigid job-like accountability sounds like my idea of heaven.

    Conversely I would be interested to see if it's possible to have a 'nothing at stake' style band with people who just want to jam for fun with no delusions of grandeur involved. I imagine that it would be hard for a band of this type to become a soap opera without someone having to admit that they are actually wanting more serious from the experience. Then I suppose apathy could easily become a factor...
  7. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Musicians are asked to go out there and entertain people. And they are supposed to leave their egos at home. And there is nothing more entertaining than a stage full of people with no ego.

    Oh wait...

    Just about EVERYTHING is more more entertaining than a stage full of people with no ego.
  8. sm49341


    May 12, 2013
    As for the professional band (like a pit orchestra) not having drama, well, they are all reading off a score. There was no drama in high school orchestra either. In these entertainment bands we all have or whatever you call them, we all have our musical interpretation. There is so much pride at stake. tensions can be high.
  9. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    Nonsense. A good entertainer can convey any personality on stage while leaving their ego at home. It's called "the art of illusion."

    I had the great honor to play a jazz trio gig with one of the greatest, if not the greatest funk drummer of all time. When I think of funk, I think of ego. But he was incredibly warm and supportive, though he towered over me in terms of his abilities and accomplishments. Also, a kick-ass jazz drummer.

    I've experienced minimal band drama. Perhaps one reason is that jazz players are mostly replaceable, meaning that the flakes and jerks can be quickly weeded out. And we get a chance to play with multiple bands, which I think counteracts the "familiarity breeds contempt" problem with cohesive bands.

    But also, I think that the way for a band to avoid being ruled by egos, is to be ruled by the music. The band that I play in right now has 19 members. Most have music degrees. If you show up for rehearsal with an ego and insufficient chops, the music will humble you.

    A possibility for the OP is to raise the level of the music itself to chase away the drama. "Music can calm the savage beast." I don't think this idea is restricted to jazz.
  10. hsech

    hsech I'm not old, I'm just seasoned. Gold Supporting Member

    Jun 27, 2012
    Central Iowa
    What? Drama in bands? That's crazy talk. I've never heard of such a thing.
  11. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    You jazz guys crack me up with some of your ideas.

  12. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Uh huh... :rolleyes:

    Maybe you think entertainment is all about ego & drama. But I think that's precisely what's wrong with it. I say that ego & drama just gets in the way of creating good music. But maybe that wouldn't matter - if you're not as focused on the music as you think you are... :eyebrow:


  13. Ha ha ha... some of the funniest drama I've heard involved local orchestra members ... the bass player that left the first-chair violinist for a flautist – a FLAUTIST! :oops: :smug: Too long to tell the whole story here. So many other orchestra-drama stories my friends had (they were in said orchestra). Even my junior-high stage band had drama – saxophones/flutes/clarinets vs Trombones & Tubas, not to mention the lone bassoon...

    Any creative endeavour is fraught with drama.
  14. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I live in a major music city. There are a few thousand of the most talented players you'll ever meet here, all competing for a few hundred gigs. If someone develops an attitude a suitable replacement is just a phone call away.this keeps most people in check. There are exceptions though. Usually it happens about 6 months into someone's first major artist gig, just when they start to feel pretty secure.

    One guy I know got himself fired from a gig with a pretty big name... Got drunk and cussed out the artist after a show over something a crew member did. Fired on the spot, left at the bus station. Humbled him up something fierce.

    This is the same guy who I saw get picked up by the throat and pinned against the bus by a crew guy on the last day of a tour. Being cocky, smarting off. You think he might have learned...
  15. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    +1 to most of the above.

    From reading on TB about all the drama people face, I've been fairly lucky. Most of my experiences have "ticked along smoothly." The worst was between a member and another member's wife. Large quantities of alcohol were used to magnify the explosions....
  16. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    Drama has ruled in a lot of the bands I have been in.
    The worst case being couples, husband & wife, boyfriend & girlfriend.
    Chick singer.
    Once in a while you get a break.
  17. Garyth

    Garyth Now What ..?

    Sep 9, 2013
    Punta Gorda Florida
    Unfortunately (fortunately?) everyone's answer it right simply because each group of people bring their own to the environment from easy going to complete disaster. Up to you whether you can handle the mix, if not then get out. If it's you, then you might find yourself put out.

    I've been around a lot of bands (family full of musicians) and I've seen groups musically tight and great performance but watch out backstage you don't want to be caught in the middle.

    as always, just my personal observation.
  18. my band is the lowest drama density in my life.
  19. marko138


    May 24, 2013
    Perry County PA
    I'll fix that tonight.
  20. by yelling at dave?