Feed me your Opinions, Talkbass

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by RickenCliff, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. RickenCliff


    Aug 6, 2012
    St. Louis
    Oh band drama!

    I've recently ran into some troubles with my band, not really sure how or if I should go about continuing, but anywho....

    I've been a part of this band for years, although I'm not a founding member, I'm the only sturdy bass player who's been a part of the project. Over the course of this past year, taken up singing lead vocals. Out of all the bands I've been a part of, this would easily be the one I've put the most time and effort into.

    We're a power-trio. Guitarist, drummer, and myself. For the past half a year or so, the guitarist and I have been at a creative standstill. Both of us having our own reasons. The guitar player has riffs and ideas o' plenty, but when it comes to figuring out some of the ideas I bring to the table, I find time and time again that he doesn't want to commit to learning them. He's not the greatest with rhythm and timing, I've tried to be patient but it isn't a matter of me teaching the riffs. It's a matter of him taking the time to practice and develop his skills in his own freetime. It's frustrating. He knows he isn't tight with rhythm, he's said it to the band on multiple occasions, but we never saw any change.

    So I got discouraged from us writing together, I held my ideas back knowing I'd have to simplify them or change them all together. I started jamming with some other people. The guitar player got mad and called me out on it, so I told him how I felt about the situation.......

    I've wanted to talk to him about improving his skills for a while now. He's a talented guy, comes up with some great ideas and had drive to push the band forward, but if he could just apply himself a little more he, and all of us, could be doing so much more. Trying to find a good way to tell him this without stepping on him was a challenge. I didn't want to p*** him off and lose him a friend, but at the same time I couldn't keep standing silently while my ideas are never brought to fruition. As many of you know however, criticism is never taken lightly....We talked, and like I had dreaded, he got mad and decided to pull all of his stuff out of my practice space. He's quitting music all together it seems.

    (A little history)
    This band has been through a number of lineup changes. Our original singer also player rhythm guitar, we went separate ways with him after he couldn't put down the bottle and the pills. Our original drummer fizzled out on music and sold all of his gear. After the original vocalist, we brought in a new front man, he ended up passing away in a car accident last summer. The guitarist and I linked up about a year ago and found a new drummer to get the wheels turning again. We started out strong, but the situation steadily declined as you've read above.


    With pretty much all of the original members being 'done with music all together' I'm left the only one from that group still wanting to go on and play. Although no, I was not a founding member, the material we've developed and continued to play through the years are some of which I've had a pretty decent impact on.

    Would it be wrong of me to find new musicians to continue keeping the music alive? If the guitar player wanted to quit and start a new band with the songs I could understand being wrong, but with him quitting music, what's going to happen to all that? All that effort that we had put into these songs over the years? All fading away to nothing? I feel like he wouldn't want to see his role replaced (who does?) and it feels like a d*** move, but if I don't keep those originals alive, no one else will.

    What do you think TB?
  2. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    There are legal issues associated with playing other people's original music, unless there is a copyright agreement in place.

    However if the dollars are small, the music largely unknown, etcetera, you can probably get away with playing it -- but then you have to decide how you will feel about yourself if you go performing other people's music without their permission. It sounds like you had few gigs, and not much pay, which is a possible reason the guy wasn't committed. But that is another story. The point is, with no money involved, people might threaten to sue but it wouldn't likely go anywhere if there is no money in it. Lawyers are pretty discriminating about that. They won't take on cases where there's no damages or money at stake, as there is no financial incentive for any potential claimants to pay the legal fees.

    But going forward, you can play your own music with another band -- I personally would let the collaborative stuff go if you weren't the main contributor, get with some new guys, and write new stuff. If money is not your motive, then I would convince the cats to put the music under a Creative Commons LIcense 4.0 International Attribution Share-Alike license. This says anyone can perform it, even for money, provided they credit you when they do and share the music under the same license terms. Others can also adapt it and alter it if they want. Then when musicians leave, you can legally perform their music with no royalties or legal hassles. Do the same with your own music....if this is a kind of hobby with no commercial ambitions for you or the other musicians personally. Pitch as a way of making your music accessible to others and get your name out there -- and possibly get follow on work maybe....

    Here is the wording and how to apply the license to music:

    Choose a License

    Select "Yes", "Yes provided others share alike", as your two options to see the license that pops up.

    There are other licenses, but this one is the most widely used -- experiment with the options at the Choose a License link above.

    Good luck...
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  3. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Nothing wrong with playing in multiple bands. But if you want to keep in this band, then whatever music is there, leave there. Whatever music you play in another band, don't play in this band.

    Obviously this guy doesn't want to do the things to allow him to work on your music. I would leave it at - we aren't going to work on my compositions in this band, and I want an outlet to do so.
  4. RickenCliff


    Aug 6, 2012
    St. Louis
    It hasn't always been like this, back when we had our second vocalist (probably the strongest point of our lineup history) all four of us were inputting creatively. All four of us could bring something to the table and together we would hash it out. The guitar player did bring a good amount of his own material to the table, but I feel like we each brought our own zest to songs coming from all members.

    When we reformed as a 3-piece, things just didn't jive the same way. The new drummer was pretty distant, no input from him, so it was just the guitarist and I trying to write. It was a little easier to sway towards someone's ideas when there were 4 of us writing. Now with two of us, it seems it's my way or his way. Sure, I could jive and jam on his ideas, but what's the point if I have no way to input myself?

    I'd feel a little stronger on getting his permission if he were still playing music, off trying to start another band, but he's not. He's selling off nearly every piece of gear he owns and has sworn off from playing with other musicians all together. He claims music just makes him miserable. I understand he was a founding member of the band, but if he's just going to throw it all away and forget about it, what difference does his permission make? To me, it's a waste of my time and effort, along with the previous band members, to let this all just fade away to nothing.
  5. sean_on_bass

    sean_on_bass Supporting Member

    Dec 29, 2005
    You are a free agent. You should never be in a group that makes you feel like you can't play with other people if you have the time. Playing with other musicians is absolutely what you should be doing! In fact, you should never stop playing with new people.

    Now your guitarist. Quitting music over a single project is crazy. I say let him. He is being a complete drama queen about the whole thing. Obviously he lacks the maturity, emotionally and musically, to be in a band. I wouldn't want to play with someone that fragile and, apparently, uncommitted to playing music in general. You can talk to him about continuing to play his songs, or simply write your own since you said you have ideas. Also try to consider if those original songs are even worth keeping and fighting for.
    Cheez likes this.
  6. theduke1

    theduke1 Supporting Member

    Dec 22, 2010
    Sussex WI
    It sounds to me as if the is an “Originals” project and of that I have no experience.
    I have only played in cover bands
    So get a signed release from any and all members about using the music and you should be in the clear
    That’s all I got
  7. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Springtown, Texas
    If the guitarist quit and the drummer doesn't want to play anymore (I'm not sure if that is what you said or your were talking about the original drummer), then you have 4 options:
    1. Join another band
    2. Quit playing out
    3. Start a new band with no reference to the old band
    4. Find musicians to replace the those who left and keep the band going under the same name.
    I would analyze option 4 first. If you have a following and venues that will hire you based on the band name or established relationships, that would be my preferred way to go.
    If you choose either 3 or 4, hire a mediocre drummer you don't like very much and fire him before the first gig. It's just good karma.
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  8. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    I don't get all the angst and hand wringing. It sounds like your project has been dying for a while. Most bands run their course and you move on; based on your post, it's long past that time. A guitarist that doesn't have rhythm and timing is NOT a good guitarist, particularly for a three piece band. Go find someone that can actually play.
    foolforthecity, fhm555, whero and 8 others like this.
  9. Gasman

    Gasman Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    South Carolina
    I’ve been in the other side. I was the principal songwriter for a band years ago. Never went anywhere, then I took a break from music altogether. Flash forward a year or so, and I get a text from the old drummer that he and guitarist were in a new band and would I like to see them. I was a bit surprised when they started playing my songs (albeit with different lyrics and a slightly different arrangement on a few), but I was actually happy for them and secretly proud that stuff I had written but no longer played was considered good enough to continue playing in my absence.

    Point is, if the other guys are ok with it, then I don’t see a problem. If they say it’s not cool then I wouldn’t. Unlikely there will be any legal or financial risk, but bad blood leads to bad reputations, deserved or not
    Quinn Roberts likes this.
  10. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone.

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    That must go over well. :rollno:

    Take your songs and ideas and move on. It may take some time, but find some people that actually want to play.
    Roccafella and SactoBass like this.
  11. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Apprently none of this work has been registered for copyright, so there's no official ownership. Any song you made a major contribution to (be honest with yourself on that), you have as much right to use as anyone. It would be good to inform all of the others who contributed to those songs what you plan to do, and hopefully get their blessing, but permission is not needed.

    Find some good players and songwriters to work with so you can lay this older stuff to rest eventually.
  12. TNCreature

    TNCreature Jinkies! Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2010
    Philadelphia Burbs
    What HE Said 100%
    lfmn16 and SactoBass like this.
  13. Droopy_TX


    Jul 17, 2016
    This. If you are a co-writer, you retain the rights to perform the work.

    Find some folks willing to constantly improve, play the old material you like, and write new material.
    And if you're still worried about copyright issues, pray that you make enough money with the original material to make it worth while to sue you.
    design likes this.
  14. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    If there is no money and not likely to be anything significant, drop the old band like a bad habit and start over with whatever you wrote in the original and whatever you write with the new band. As gravedigger mentioned, if you have a following you might want to try to get some fresh blood in the band and revive it, but barring that, cut it loose and move on. If you are the creative sort, motivated players should spark a fresh wave of new ideas and you will no doubt he happier with that than struggling with a sub par guitarist who wants to be a drama queen. If there is some of the collaborative stuff you want to carry forward, get his permission in writing and go on. He is after all quitting music so it shouldn't matter to him what happens to work he'll never use again. If he wants to get all pissy about signing it over, thank him for the memories and move on without it.
    Save the angst for daytime TV and start plowing fresh ground.
  15. I don't have a lot of experience with this kind of stuff. Well, I've been in plenty of bands that ran out of steam, or that had bad guitarists, but not where we didn't know what to do about individual members performing songs when the band broke up. So I'm just going to throw out a couple of comments...

    I doubt the guitarist is giving up music because of your talk, so don't worry about that. That may have been "the straw that broke the camel's back" but I'm guessing he already knew he wasn't good enough. We joke about awful singers who think they're great, but outside of narcisists (which counts for many singers anyway) and immature teenaged boys it's actually pretty rare for a musician to be out of their depth and just not know it. Maybe that's also part of the reason he didn't put much effort into learning your contributions - he already knew he wasn't going to get it.

    Collecting all his stuff from your practice space is no big deal either. If I was in a band that split up I'd want my gear back too. And if I was giving up music I'd still want it back so I could sell it. But it kind of sounds like the guitarist is being a bit childish about it. And that makes me think he'll make it awkward for you if he finds out you're playing any of the band's material in a future project.

    If it was substantially his, I wouldn't do it. If things with the new band progressed to the point where you want to record some music and one of the tracks is his, consult a lawyer first and maybe offer him a songwriting credit with an appropriate cut of the royalties.

    If it was something you both worked on more or less equally, I'd still peform it live. It's as much yours as anyone else's. And songs evolve, so in another year with another band, maybe the song 75% yours, 20% from the new guys and only 5% his. Maybe the first few times you play it live, say "I wrote this with a guy called Brian, who had some great songwriting ideas."

    If the song is substantially yours, go ahead and perform it with whoever you want.
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  16. Maynjo

    Maynjo Supporting Member

    Jan 28, 2014
    Jacksonville, NC
    Honestly, if you like the stuff you played in the songs you helped write, why not just take those parts to the other band and see what they can make out of it? Don't have them play the same guitar parts the other guy wrote, but make their own, mix and match parts, don't play it in the same order, etc. The stuff you wrote is yours.
  17. Semi-similar issue for me- the drummer of my recording outfit up and "decided" one day to just pack up his crap, grab his girlfriend and head out to the east cost! We stayed in touch for a while, submitting ideas back and forth (with the guitarist as well) via The Cloud.

    Then suddenly, without any warning (see a pattern here?), the drummer up and starts ranting on about our various convictions (religious, personal, etc) and that he doesn't want to have anything more to do with the band.

    Okay, guitarist and I have shared a few ideas over the last 5 years now (drummer "left" about 4 years ago, but really "checked out" about 3), but nothing has gelled since then. The guitarist says he'll send stuff or add bits here and there whenever I send something his way, but he never does; he's just too busy with his cover band thing and his own life...

    My solution- I've started writing and recording all my own stuff- bought Superior Drummer 2.0, got Reaper (a cheap licence!) installed on my laptop, and bought a Tascam UH7000 interface, along with a couple of mikes, DIs and other bits of recording "stuff".

    While I still occasionally "jam" or pick up a sub gig, I've really just decided to take it easy and get MY stuff onto "tape" while I can still play.

    Yes, it has limitations- I don't have a guitar around (play most the "guitar" stuff as fake guitar on bass- use alternate tuning, etc), and my vocals suck (have "shopped around" for a singer to just "work out" ideas, but no go so far).

    That's okay. By recording, my chops and timing have increased a billion time more than just "jamming" with a good enough attitude that most of the local "head in the clouds" musicians seem to have.

    Take some time off. Work on YOUR stuff for a while.
  18. 4dog


    Aug 18, 2012
    it takes about a year to really get to know someone,,and people can generally put on the good face for just that long ,then their true selves start to peek out at ya and you get to see the fun stuff....welcome to the fun stuff.
    Now ,you get to decide if you want to deal with the real person and not just the person you thought and or hoped he would be.1
  19. redwingxix


    Oct 21, 2015
    I think keeping the material to which you contributed would be perfectly acceptable, especially if no one else is doing anything with it.
  20. The band is the figurative hundred year old axe that's had ten new handles and two new heads. Have fun in your new band.
    DirtDog likes this.

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