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Ethics of holding on to a player "for now"...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Eilif, Oct 18, 2019.

  1. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    I'm curious about what you all think of this hypothetical situation.

    You've got a player in the band who feels like -and is treated as- a full member. However, it is clear that if the band is going to take the next step (could be bigger gigs, corporate events, whatever the next step is...) for reasons that are obvious to most of the band (player's maturity, chops, whatever...) they just aren't going to cut it. However in the mean time this member fills a musical role, works for whatever the band can pay and shows up regularly.

    What's the ethics of holding onto that player "'for now" knowing they will eventually have to be booted?
    Ellery, Oddly and PlatoFunFactory like this.
  2. Slade N

    Slade N

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    its the same for any player and any job, band or day job in a right to work state or whatever they name it. you can leave or be let go at any time. that player may be just doing it for now because it’s convenient.

    sure its not the up front thing to do but it is reality. it sucks to be let go, it sucks to have a member (in good standing that you actually want in the band) leave
    dbsfgyd1, rickwebb, gebass6 and 4 others like this.
  3. Does said player know they're not ready for the next step?
  4. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    Are you working with this player to encourage whatever traits you feel they lack? Or are you just keeping them in the dark?
    Is the player really so clueless that s/he doesn't fit in with the rest of the band ?
    If the player left tomorrow, who would you replace them with? If you already have a name in mind, what are you doing to make that happen sooner rather than later?
    Mili, Joebone, quindecima and 9 others like this.
  5. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    Maybe you could gently mention the band is looking to take it to the next level and he might want to consider upping his game to better fit the direction the band expects to be going back in the near future?

    That puts the ball squarely in his court.

    If it’s important enough to him he’ll improve.
  6. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2017
    This is kind of what we've done with one player in our band who is probably the weakest link. I think he's trying; he didn't do too badly at our last gig, and I noted that he brought charts, which he normally doesn't do. I don't know if, ultimately, it's going to ever get that much better, but he's a founding member and I feel like he needs as much opportunity to improve as we can give him.
  7. okcrum

    okcrum in your chest

    Oct 5, 2009
    Verde Valley, AZ
    RIP Dark Horse strings
    Hopefully you're not talking about the BL.
    Nashrakh and RBrownBass like this.
  8. Or to the 40 year old with two teenagers in the band with the 20 somethings who are going on the road for the summer? What do they say and when?
  9. 40Hz

    40Hz Supporting Member

    :thumbsup: That’s the truly ethical way to handle it. Give the person the opportunity to fix things.
  10. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Just don't lie to them. I joined a band, was told they had issues and parted ways with their former bassist. I turned down two good bands to take this slot. Turns out the bassist just had to go on a trip, and I was the placeholder til he got back. Totally screwed me.
  11. Instead of making this guy a "dead man walking", maybe make it known to all what you see as the future. Either this guy is self aware enough to see the obvious or you might have to draw a picture with crayons.

    As far as the ethics, he's not Mr. Right....he's Mr. Right Now. Sound familiar?
  12. Samatza


    Apr 15, 2019
    Honesty is best. Give the guy a chance to get up to speed.
    If the guy makes the effort it’s all good, if not at least he knows what’s coming.
  13. “Dear Talkbass,
    I’m in a band where I’m pretty clearly the weakest link, but I’m having fun and getting paid. What should I do?”

    “Enjoy playing with better musicians and learn all you can.”

    “Enjoy it while it lasts.”

    “Fire the drummer.”
  14. SpazzTheBassist


    Jun 20, 2006
    Cross that particular bridge when you get to it
  15. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia living la vida loca Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    Show business is cutthroat. You don't make it to the next level dragging dead weight. Nothing wrong with using fill-in players, but you should be straight with them. I have an old friend who got cut from a band when they were verging on the next level. He was hurt about it, but I think deep down he knew he was fakin it a little to much of the time to keep up with the others.
    ObsessiveArcher, IamGroot and dkelley like this.
  16. Llewellen

    Llewellen Guest

    Dec 23, 2016
    If the guy is serious about the band he should already, just naturally, be trying hard to be his best. Some people could try harder than everyone else in the band combined and if they don't have "it" they may not be able ever to progress sufficiently.

    I think you don't have to do or say anything at the moment, except just don't be deliberately dishonest or misleading or leading on. If/when the time comes you will have to tell him kindly that he's being replaced. Not pleasant to have to do it but sometimes that's what progress demands. I've had to do it in bands and in straight gigs.
  17. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Nothing wrong with it at all.... IF.....

    Right now you take that player aside and say "We are working on some bigger gigs. If you don't tighten up, the rest of the jerkweasels in this band will boot you out."

    Yes, the only ethical thing to do is throw the rest of the band under the bus.
  18. Huw Phillips

    Huw Phillips Life is like TV if the channel sucks change it Supporting Member

    Jan 4, 2019
    This sounds like one of those situations where speaking to the person concerned would have happened 10 years ago, where now people hide behind cell phones and emails, talk to the guy he is human, sounds like a rough deal to me, I wish HIM all the best
    Troy Eggen and oZZma like this.
  19. TheReceder


    Jul 12, 2010
    I'm in bands that have had things happen that make it clear I need view it as a business and that at any time I could be replaced.

    My "advice" make a choice if you want to view it as a business, or a bunch of friends... and be ready to be treated the same way you may treat outgoing members.
    SoCal80s, J-Mags and Huw Phillips like this.
  20. There's so many possibilities for the''whatever'' that a proper reply isn't possible.
    Mugre likes this.

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