Firing a Bandmember

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by biergott, Mar 19, 2004.

  1. biergott

    biergott DuBistEineKartoffelnsalad kopf

    Feb 7, 2002
    Orange County, Ca
    Man, I hate doing this...

    Our band has made the decision to fire our drummer.

    He was never was a technically excellent drummer, as a matter of fact, he can't play with a click. Her relies on me for the tempo. (Yes, I did join this band after leaving my last one and knew what I was getting into....but hey, I wanted to play)

    Lately (last 6 months) he has not been practicing, and the band gave him several ultimatums which he seemed to ignore.

    Last Friday at practice I confronted him and let him know what everyone thought and how close he was to getting fired. He was obviously bummed, acknowledged he is the weak link and holding us back....but it doesn't seem to a lit a spark under his a@@.

    The bummer is, he was a founding member, and me and the vocalist joined. Also he has become my best friend.

    Unfortunately, the vocalist is confrontational so he voted himself out of doing the firing. The guitarist is good friends with the drummer, and just moved in with him, so he is out...

    So....that leaves me to fire my best friend. This sucks.

    Are bass players the only people in bands that have to do the crappy work? Seems like we're always the responsible ones...

    Any suggestions on how I can fire the drummer but keep my friend?

    Kind of a rhetorical question...I don't really expect an answer. But maybe some of your similar stories will help.

    Thanks for listening,
  2. It sounds like a lose/lose/lose situation for everyone involved. Did you already have "the talk" with him? Does he know what everyone's thinking?

    There's no nice way of doing it, spread the blame (not just "the singer decided..."). The best way is to have everyone there. It sucks, I've been on both ends. I didn't speak to a guy that I considered my best friend for the better part of 9 years.
  3. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    To me it seems the whole band should fire him at a meeting. If one member told me I was getting the axe I would think it was lame that the other members couldnt voice there opinion in person. The person getting fired need to know why (in a polite way) and its up to him/her to build upon that for their next band.
  4. hateater

    hateater snatch canadian cream

    May 4, 2001
    Eugene, OR
    I have kicked out 2 different members from bands and it was always a last straw kind of thing... you know what I am talking about.

    Just tell him this (I have been told this before): I feel that you are a great musician, and you will grow to be even greater. However, you do not fit the needs of this band, so I have to let you go.

    Even if it is total BS, it is a nice way of telling him to move on.
  5. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    Tell him you've reached the point of diminishing returns, and let him figure it out for himself. "You're saying you don't want to play with me anymore? You're asking me to leave?" Then lock it in, don't blow it by vacillating. "Yeah, sorry. You're a cool guy, but we're going to need to find another drummer."
  6. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    1. Tell him in person, NOT over the phone or an email. He still deserves your respect.

    2. Be professional and to the point. Don't grovel or make excuses, don't engage in argument if he tries to talk you out of it. Just simply say the decision has been made, and nothing is going to change that.

    3. He'll be bummed, possibly upset. If he's a friend, he'll get over it in a few weeks and still be your friend. Just ride out the storm. Treating him with respect and NOT arguing back if he gets emotional will help preserve the re-start of the friendship later.
  7. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
  8. Take him out to Denny's...

    Good luck dude.
  9. justBrian


    Apr 19, 2002
    Kansas City, MO
    I'm the "hatchet man" in our band. I've fired a harmonica/sax/keys player, 2 lead guitarists, and one drummer. I agree with most of what's been said above with one caveat: be honest. Review the facts with him-- the several warings, the not practicing. Remind him of hte bands goals and how he is not contributing by not doing his share etc. Give him his cut and wish him luck. In my experience, it's always better to be up-front and honest, and make a clean break.
    Any help?
  10. if he is your best friend, rather than you cop the poop, group meeting is the best opition.
  11. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Today I have to tell our new guitar player he's out. He's only come to two rehearsals but 3 out of 4 of us think he's not skilled enough for our needs. It sucks because he is friends and roommates with our singer, who still wants him in the band. But majority rules and someone has to do the dirty work.
  12. thwackless


    Nov 24, 2003
    Smithfield, RI
    Hey, most of the above remarks are on message- but the 'firing' thing is only an unfortunate event if it ruins your friendship!
    People find out where they belong in life as they go- an "out" of one thing doesn't have to mean an "out" in something else, even if the two things are associated. If you are doing music as a serious pursuit, then the band attitude is business, and that is its own realm. If he's your best friend, he'll end up allright with it, and not make it an awkward situation! (As long as you don't...!)
  13. Eric_J

    Eric_J Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2002
    Flower Mound, TX. USA
  14. Schwinn


    Dec 4, 2002
    Sarasota, FL
    Yeah, actually in our case, he seems to be ok with it, and maybe wants to do sound. Not too bad at all.
  15. I do agree that bassists get the firing job the most. in my case after many sit down warnings and talks I told the drummer we will not be contuining as a band due to the non existent practice situations caused by the drummer. I live in a small town and after many months picked up a new drummer and a new name. Its a shame to see an old band member\drummer get pissed after all that time like other creative musicians werent supposed to keep playing in bands....i guess he just thought in his own little mind that he was the reason we even bad for him. Bottom line is sometimes even firing a person doesnt get the point across.
  16. mybluespector


    Mar 22, 2004
    Joplin, Mo
    Since there is no good way of doing this i suggest murder! For real think about it if you waste the dude and feed him to pigs then you will never have to fire him or tell the other members what happend! Just do it and then show up to next practice and say you think he moved to brazil or somthing! :p
  17. It's a bad situation, but letting it go creates more serious problems in the long run. My band recently broke up - well, the drummer and I decided we were fed up with the bad attitude of the lead singer/guitarist and the guitarist who could never make it to practice, and who was a liability at shows because of it. But once the drummer and I just did it - told the other two that we were done, things started moving in a positive direction for us almost immediately. We hooked up with a guy who can actually sing, and plays respectable guitar (and his song writing is pretty good to boot). So don't let a bad situation sit - just face up to what you've got to do and do it. Don't make it any more personal than you have to.
  18. cosmodrome

    cosmodrome Registered User

    Apr 30, 2004
    ****town, Netherlands
    we just went to another rehearsal room and didn't tell her where it was. :D
  19. twilightcall


    May 27, 2004
    I had the same problem. I played with a drummer for years. The problem was he was always too loud and would cause us to lose gigs due to unpleasant volumes and unhappy customers. Plus, he wouldn't practice much and make up most of the drum beats/patterns. They would change from week to week. You could sit down and explain it to him but it didn't work. I even made the mistake of landing him a nice gig in a working band I was in and he bascially embarrassed me with his non-existent preparation. After 2 weeks they let him go. He was just plain lazy and thinks success will just show up on his door and get him out of bed. To be honest we really don't talk much anymore though. No matter what I do take it somewhat personally as we were friends first and anyone who has no respect for a friend when he is helping them out is someone I wouldn't want around anyway. Anyway, just thought I would share.
  20. I'm a drummer, I hope you don't mind me posting here, I just came to look for a bass player for our band and saw this thread and thought I might add a different perspective.

    I'm not a big fan of the group meeting thing, I think it's intimidating for the guy who's being fired, and there's virtually no chance of you coming out of that meeting and still being friends because he will perceive the "they're all against me and you're with them" syndrome. It only takes one guy to say something you don't entirely agree with and you'll be perceived to agree with it simply because he knows your objectives are the same.

    You're objective is to lose the drummer and keep the friend, so it's best to meet up with him, just you and him, and deliver the bad news first then follow it with encouraging/flattering news. That way he walks away he's left with the good bits ringing in his ears and so thinks you're a fair minded bloke.

    Also, refer to your previous conversation and get him to agree to stuff, like... "You know we spoke before about you're practicing problems/inconsistency etc etc... well it's not changed mate has it?".. that kind of thing.

    Hope this helps... And good luck!