Finally...why am i not happy?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by john_g, Jun 14, 2021.

  1. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    After 3 years of a revolving door of drummers and singers, we have finally put together a very talented cover band. New singer is a PR machine and knows all the contact people at venues and has got us a bunch of gigs set up already. Played our first and people were really complimentary. not all that happy. It was great to gig again after COVID and I look forward to the others on the schedule, but its starting to feel like we are becoming the singers backup band. Me and guitarist kept this going for almost 3 years and truth be told, him and I have had several disagreements over that time. He can be difficult at times to work with and Im not even sure how i got this far in a band with him. We get along most of the time but he has surgically attached his lips to the singer buttocks since he can get gigs and hes a good singer. Drummer is new to the cover band world so he generally goes along with consensus.

    I just see the singer slowly taking everything over with the guitarist in tow and Im not loving it. Im trying to be a team player so I have put in my opinions in a constructive way when I thought appropriate, but singer is a bit of a know it all when it comes to bands. Ive been playing and in bands longer than hes been alive and I dont agree with alot of his direction. I dont need or want to be in charge, but I have alot of experience to draw from, but its feeling like "singer knows best".

    I plan on playing the rest of the gigs for sure, but it just stinks that we have a great band but Im not happy. Anyone else experience this?
  2. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    Sounds pretty typical. IMHO one of the hardest things to deal with is a new person coming in and taking over leadership responsibilities. Over the years you have set up boundaries, and the new person is not going to be aware of, or respect those boundaries. Also it's not like all of those boundaries really make sense with the new person. New boundaries must be established, as you are dealing with significant change.

    Overall it sounds like the band is heading in a very positive direction. It's not really very realistic that you will like every change, but IMHO you are probably either going to have to learn to deal with it, or leave if you can't.

    An important idea that I think more people should grasp. Just because one person is right does not make the other person wrong. The idea here is the new vocalists ideas may be good, but totally inconsistent with what you want. That does not make the vocalist's ideas wrong. It also does not make your ideas wrong. But the band has to go in one direction or the other, and it sounds like the vocalist is really stepping up to moving the band in the direction he wants it to move in. People tend to naturally follow others with initiative and vision, and your vocalists seems to have both. It seems like what you are doing is primarily resisting the change.

    One thing that can make the transition easier is good communication. In the various business classes I have taken, preparing the organization for change is a very important step in the change management process. The singer may not even be aware that an organizational change is taking place...he's probably just going about business in the same way that he always has.

    If you want something done the old way, you need to have a good reason and to communicate this reason to the entire band in a way that will help them understand why the old way is better. But if you are not willing to step up and demonstrate the necessary leadership, then you probably need to just hold your tongue and get out of the way. For example, don't complain about the repertoire or gigs if you are not willing to lead in these areas. In other words you need to be willing to line up gigs where the repertoire you want to play is optimal. You also may need to function as music director in some capacity to develop the repertoire you want to play, and also you may need to sing lead vocals if the songs you want to do are out of the vocalist's wheelhouse. Simply telling the vocalists to line up a different type of gig and sing a different type of music is not demonstrating the necessary leadership. The vocalists will tend to do whatever comes most naturally to him.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  3. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    I had a similar thing happen.

    Aside from the new LS taking things over, he and I were constantly butting heads. Two stubborn guys vying for the power position Had something hinky done by the LS related to gig money and I expressed my displeasure. As a group we worked through it but that didn’t last more than a couple of months. The three of us quit and left the LS adrift, reformed under another name and recruited other talent that we managed a little more closely.

    Looking back on it, I could have saved myself several months of grief if I had just packed it in. On the other hand, waiting allowed me and the other two guys (drums and guitar) to make alternate arrangements and keep the ball rolling.

    The latter band was 10x better than the control freak LS former band.
    Mr_Moo, equill, murphy and 4 others like this.
  4. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I think that is true in this case...he was in a relatively popular cover band before and has said that he did all the work. His previous bandmates sounded lazy and just let him run with the ball. However, I have made it clear, in a polite and constructive manner, that I handle certain things (graphics/ads/marketing pieces/etc) because thats what I do for a living. He still can step on my toes at times. He is hinting at controlling the setlist...both songs and order. Im not cool with that. I just feel like Im going to be constantly butting heads with him. So I either just let go a bit and go along for the ride (which i have done in previous bands) or move on eventually.
    Mr_Moo, Ronzo and Wasnex like this.
  5. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    For a cover band, the setlist is often just a starting point. It's not unusual to read the room and go off in a different direction.

    When I ran a band years ago, I made the set lists and also called audibles. But it's not unusual for whoever is fronting the band to make the call. Also it's not unusual for various band member to make suggestions, but IMHO one person needs to have relatively clear authority over song selection and it's bad form for band members to argue over songs on the bandstand or take too long to move to the next piece because they can't make a decision.
  6. Wasnex


    Dec 25, 2011
    It takes a certain personality type to be a really good front person. Unfortunately this personality can be an inflexible leader who focuses primarily on satisfying their own needs and desires. It's possible for a lead singer to put on an incredible show, while simultaneously alienating the entire band. This type of personality can work really well in a corporate or pickup band where they are a hired gun and have no authority...but living with this type of personality long term can be very difficult as they tend to be narcissistic and overly confident in their own abilities.
    Mr_Moo, Amano, DrMole and 7 others like this.
  7. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Narcissist indeed. You hit the nail on the head!
    murphy and Wasnex like this.
  8. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    Sounds to me like you need to decide if you want to be in charge of a band or have a successful band. Since this guy came in and is leading the way now and things are going better than before and you don’t like it, maybe you would rather be in charge of something yourself. If you really just wanted it to be successful and play a lot of gigs, you wouldn’t be unhappy.
  9. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Well, yes and no. He knows alot of venue owners and is alot younger/no kids so he has the time to get out and network that the rest of us dont. He is a good singer, amazing at networking, but I wouldnt say he is leading the way. He is talking us up to people he knows which is great, but we were gigging prior to COVID with other, lesser singers. I think the others are more willing to go along for a ride than i am. But in some ways you are right, do I want to gig alot with little to no input or find a band where Im not going to be butting heads all the time.

    And, i admit, Im looking forward a little here based on how things have progressed. It may not end up being a total takeover, and or, we could work it out. Just, right now, im not as happy as I thought I would be.
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
    Mr_Moo, DJ Bebop and Gustopher like this.
  10. Gustopher

    Gustopher Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2018
    Also my comment was meant in no offense, just a totally outsiders opinion. Hope I didn’t come across rude!
    john_g and Helix like this.
  11. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Take a lesson from Barney. The longer you wait, the more unpleasant it will be.

    sonojono, DrMole, JRA and 3 others like this.
  12. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Can you fire the drummer to break the tension?
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Been there, done that. I got fired from a band "I" helped form. Started out being a democratic entity and slowly the singer and his wife (co-singer) took over.
    sonojono, DrMole, murphy and 2 others like this.
  14. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    While it may be a good band objectively, does it do anything for you artistically? I've left no drama/successful bands that got decent gigs, simply because the way the MUSIC was being handled wasn't my cup of tea. Had nothing to do with the business and personalities within the band. It's because my ultimate version of musical success in life is to create something unique with my own artistic thumbprint. Being a part of a well run band is great too, but doesn't always feed the ultimate goal.
    DrMole, murphy, Mk90 and 1 other person like this.
  15. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Lead singer gets you gigs, and does the P (what most people hate doing)? Relax and enjoy the ride. That kind of front person will give you what you need. The front person also has more of a role in picking songs, since he has to be able to sing them.

    At rehearsal, everyone has an equal voice. As long as that happens, relax (or hand me the gig).
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2021
  16. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    I was thinking bout that...and cancelling all the gigs last minute just to mess with them. Oh crap! I might get banned from TB for that kind of behavior!
    nbsipics and Killing Floor like this.
  17. Garret Wheeler

    Garret Wheeler

    Mar 1, 2016
    Classic case of "Lead Singer Disease" lol.

    If you're happy with the music and the gigs I'd just roll with it, especially if the pay is good. A good singer is probably the hardest musician to find. You could always start another band on the side if you're not happy creatively.
    El_Charro and murphy like this.
  18. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Being a good lead singer is like being a hot 23 year old chick. Way too many options that you dont need to do anything you dont want to. lol

    Pay is average...about $100 per man, sometimes a bit more. Bars, clubs, fire co's, etc...not MSG. Thats fine for sure, but, it will eventually come down to if Im having enough fun to put up with having little to no say in some things. It could very well work itself out down the road so Im not losing sleep or anything. At this moment in time, i thought I would be happier.
    El_Charro and Wasnex like this.
  19. Accept the roll that you “play” in this great band.
    The singer is supposed to be out front.
    Your bass foundation is what holds the singer up so they can be out front.
    The singer is the voice of the band, but you are the heartbeat. The “mouth” doesn’t move if the blood doesn’t flow!
    Wishing you nothing but success in your future.
    El_Charro, RocknRay, MDBass and 6 others like this.
  20. mike57


    Feb 12, 2009
    Our Fair City, MA
    I'm sorry but I must be missing something.

    This sounds like a great cover band gig. You show up, you play, you get paid (!), and you go home.

    If you want artistic satisfaction, then maybe you need to form your own band, sing the songs, and do all the work.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

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