Drummer quit! We didn’t even have to fire him!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by The Bass Clef, Nov 23, 2022 at 2:01 PM.

  1. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef is modulating in time. Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    Long essay warning…
    Completely out of the blue, our drummer for the last 2+ years in my cover band quit at our last gig as we were loading out. It was a fun show, packed house, pretty typical bar band pay ($500 for 3 hours, + ~$200 in tips split 4 ways). I personally don’t think that’s too bad for a hole in the wall bar for a few hours of work (they also schedule us once a month all year long, so that’s really nice to not to have to book every single gig there individually). It’s far from the most money I’ve ever made, but for ~4 hours of work including setup and tear down, that’s still over $40/hr each after tips to do what we love to do. It’s also 15-20 min. from home for all of us. I’ll take that all day. But the drummer, very sternly, said he doesn’t want to play any more gigs under $1000 from now on. Not sure what triggered him that night, because it was a really fun show for the rest of us, and he’s never showed us any signs of being even slightly frustrated before then.

    Keep in mind, I get ALL of the gigs and he’s never gotten a gig in his entire life (but of course he’s expecting me or anyone but himself to fulfill his desire for these consistent higher paying gigs). In the late spring-early fall season, I get us summer concert/festivals, private and corporate parties, weddings, etc… and we make several times more $$ for those types of gigs. But I tried to explain to him that if you aren’t willing to play the $500 gigs, then you don’t get to play the $2500 gigs either - that’s how it works around here. And if we’re not playing bars right now, then we’re not playing at all because it’s the off season. Bars are about all we got for the next 5 months (except for an upcoming private Christmas party for $1200, which of course he specifically said he still wants to play with us, lol). I did make sure there wasn’t some other issue at play here, and he confirmed that he likes playing with all of us, and it was only about money. This guy is 100% going to sit on his couch every night we play out in the future, and he’ll be making $0, but I digress. He might land himself in another band sooner or later, but it’s going to be the same thing with them too. It’s not like he’s auditioning for Metallica next week, and he’s not ultra talented or anything (not to mention he’s very neurotic and got difficult to work with the more we got to know him).

    This guy was not our 1st drummer, and he needed A LOT of work to get him to the level that the rest of the band is at. We started with him during the thick of the lockdown, and that was the only way he could have ever even been a part of this band, since we had to work so hard getting him up to speed for 4 or 5 months until things started to open up and we were even ready to play our first show. In a normal year, I wouldn’t have ever even bothered with someone of his experience level, but with everything shut down, we figured we might as well see what we can do with him because it’s pretty slim pickins around here for good drummers. I personally put in tons of my own time training him, teaching him about rhythm and music in general, and taking him from a total “green apple”, to the pretty competent musician he is now. I know that’s a write-off for me, but does tick me off a little that apparently now his britches have gotten so big, he thinks he deserves nothing but great high-paying gigs (that someone else hands him on a silver platter), without having to play any of the small bar gigs. And no acknowledgment of our efforts at all, but whatever.

    Anyway, we found a replacement drummer and I already know after 2 sessions that he will improve our sound more than what was possible with the old drummer. But we all still feel a little backstabbed after all the time and effort we put into him. “Spoiled brat” is what comes to mind. Oh well, sometimes a set back turns into a leap forward in the end. And we are definitely playing that $1200 xmas party with the new guy. Have a Happy Thanksgiving talkbass!
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2022 at 10:29 AM
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  2. RattleSnack


    Sep 22, 2011
    Sorry to read this. As far as money goes, my philosophy has always been: if the pay is good enough for everyone in the band, I will not be the one to complain.
    On the other hand, he may have some kind of financial problem that's pressing him? Who knows.
    In the end, it doesn't matter, he took himself out of the game. Glad that you could find replacement quickly.
    fdeck, DJ Bebop, Ggaa and 4 others like this.
  3. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. It sounds to me like you are already better off. Kudos!
    DJ Bebop and The Bass Clef like this.
  4. getrhythm


    Nov 2, 2015
    New Jersey
    If he didn’t bail, I’d have told him I’d play all the $1000+ gigs he could book.
    Good riddance.
  5. Egg250


    Jan 10, 2022
    I was hoping there was a happy ending.
    DJ Bebop, 31HZ, DeepHz and 2 others like this.
  6. bherman

    bherman Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 30, 2009
    Grand Junction, CO
    Sounds like a good guy to be rid of, not a team player. Glad that you found a quick and happy ending. Onward!

    PS. I'll be surprised if he doesn't get pissed off about being cut out of the private party gig (that he had nothing to do with securing).
  7. hbarcat

    hbarcat Supporting Member

    Aug 24, 2006
    Rochelle, Illinois
    I'm not willing to say that he's doing anything inherently wrong by wanting to make more money for himself and quitting your band to find better paying prospects somewhere else. Business is business.

    But I will say that I think he's deluding himself if he believes that he'll be able to actually achieve his goal of making more money by playing covers in the local bar gig scene just by changing bands. The higher paid corporate and party gigs go to musicians of a higher caliber and from what you're saying it sounds like he's got barely mediocre talent and won't be able to get those gigs.

    I know that I'd love to be paid 2x - 3x what I'm used to getting in my rock cover bands, but that just ain't happening.
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2022 at 8:30 AM
  8. JuanB


    Feb 20, 2010
    Sounds like y’all have it good with the gigs! The old drummer will learn real quick that it’s a harsh world out there. I wish you nothing but smooth sailing with the new drummer!
    denton57, jimmydean, DJ Bebop and 2 others like this.
  9. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Glad you found a worthy replacement.
  10. Isn't it amazing how easy it is for the guy NOT booking the gigs to complaint about how much they pay?
  11. Topkat13

    Topkat13 Supporting Member

    Feb 5, 2004
    I made it to the part about him sitting on the couch and making $0. What if he has a recliner?
    DJ Bebop, The Bass Clef and covermego like this.
  12. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    Wife. Or maybe super-long band emails?

    HUGE mistake. Invoice him $75/ hr lessons fee.

    Keep calm & groove-on!
    DJ Bebop, The Bass Clef and SoCal80s like this.
  13. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    He violated your right to fire the drummer!?! I’d tell him to pack up for the Christmas gig and fire him by text the morning of.
  14. He's able to do a set up and tear-down in less than 30 minutes? That's either a very small kit or he's racing his butt off to get it done in that amount of time.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  15. J Wilson

    J Wilson

    Apr 22, 2022
    An Undisclosed Location
    Sometimes a cat is utterly determined to shoot himself in the foot and won't be happy until he's walking around in a boot and crutches, and they always buy their own revolver and ammo.

    He did you a favor.
    DJ Bebop and The Bass Clef like this.
  16. Brian I’ve got to make it to one of your gigs next time you’re in my neck of the woods. :bassist:
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  17. The Bass Clef

    The Bass Clef is modulating in time. Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 17, 2010
    Southern California
    I would not be surprised either!

    No, about 30 min to load in and set up his kit (he doesn’t really help much with the PA or anything), 3 hours of playing, 30 min to tear down and load out.

    Would love to make it to one of your gigs as well!
    DJ Bebop and Mastermold like this.
  18. JimmyM

    JimmyM Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I love a happy ending!
  19. The family and I were just in Lake Arrowhead for the weekend, I hope you know how lucky you are to live up there! I'll keep an eye out for your gig schedule!
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  20. Joebone

    Joebone Supporting Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    California Republic
    All's well that ends well, although your investment in his improvement bites the wax tadpole
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