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Firing our singer...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by misterk73, Jan 27, 2003.


  1. misterk73

    misterk73

    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    OK, so I've been playing with the same drummer, guitarist, and singer, for about a year now. We've written some good tunes, assembled a decent set of covers, and played out a few times without really seeking the gigs. So now we've all decided it's time to "take it to the next level," which, based on overhelmingly uniform feedback and our own intuition, means firing our poppy female singer and focusing on the instrumental and groove/jam-band aspects of what we do. I consider this girl to be a friend at this point, and she potentially brings a lot of value to the project -- on the business side, but not necessarily as a musician. How do we fire her without alienating her? I'd like to preserve the friendship (and contacts ). Is that even possible? Would it be offensive to say "We don't want you to sing, but how would you like to manage and book us"? I'm feeling really nervous about the whole thing, and we're planning to do the deed on Wednesday night, just before we inaugurate our new keyboard player. Any thoughts or ideas would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. Yep. Getting rid of any band member is tough. I've had to get rid of one myself. The person doesn't really even talk to me anymore. So, I would say you can not fire someone with out alienating them. Good luck...I was nervous too, but you just have to come out and say..."We've decided that we really don't want a lead singer."
     
  3. thrash_jazz

    thrash_jazz

    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    It depends on how mature they are. On average, though (especially when you consider that we are talking about a SINGER here) I'd say it is unlikely that there won't be hard feelings of some kind.
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Do you think she ought to go because she's actually not very good or because it's the instrumental jamming that is getting the best response?

    The two are not necessarily the same. Could you introduce a number of instrumentals to the set so that she's doing less, without actually loosing her altogether?

    If she resists the idea having any songs that don't feature her voice, then that gives good grounds for suggesting that you'll be better off without her. On the other hand, if she's cool with that, you'll be able to diversify what you do - still having a set for gigs where you need a singer but gradually building up your instrumental work.

    She may even enjoy it and naturally contribute either by moving into more of a management role or contributing to the instrumentals (eg. simple but effective percussion parts).

    Obviously there will be a lot of factors to consider, but you may have more options than 'keep her and be stuck in a rut' or 'fire her and make an enemy'.

    Wulf
     
  5. moley

    moley

    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    There must be fifty ways to fire your singer.
     
  6. Just kick her in the ass Jack
    Make a new band Stan
    Don't need to be coy Roy
    Just set yourself free
     
  7. misterk73

    misterk73

    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    It's a bit of both, actually. She's improving, as we all are, but she's also consistently flat and doesn't have a very powerful or versatile voice. We always get good feedback about the instrumental work, but rarely hear anything positive about her (many remain neutral out of politeness, but the vocal ones all say we MUST get rid of her). I do like many of her musical ideas, but the execution just isn't consistently there. The drummer and guitarist I'm with have almost nothing good to say about her at this point...

    Unfortunately, she does resist. When we first go into the instrumental bits, she dances a bit but inevitably starts looking bored and then starts staring down our guitarist to wrap things up. At our last show, mid-jam, the guitar player suggested she go get a beer. She said no. That was pretty much the last straw...
     
  8. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Okay - at least you've got some concrete things you can talk about. I'd still encourage thinking in terms of 'raising some concerns' and 'finding a way forward' rather than 'firing the singer'. The first two are open to possibilities but the last is ganging up on her - I prefer to stay away from that because I would hate it to happen to me.

    You may of course reach the same conclusion, an acrimonious parting of the ways, but at least you'll know that you tried to work things through.

    Wulf
     
  9. misterk73

    misterk73

    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    I agree to a certain extent. I'm the voice of moderation right now amongst the instrumentalists -- I'm hoping we can leave the door open for some nebulous side project to begin at some as-yet-undetermined date AFTER we've tried making music wihtout her for awhile. The other guys would be happy to never deal with her again, though. T-minus 16 hours until the moment of truth....

    Thanks for the feedback, all...
     
  10. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Have you got any recordings to use as evidence? I've been listening back to last night's rehearsal where we auditioned a couple of new singers. The one we're going to keep still sounds really good; in the cool light of day I can confirm my doubts about the intonation, timing and timbre of the other one.

    Hope it goes okay tonight,

    Shalom,

    Wulf
     
  11. misterk73

    misterk73

    Apr 11, 2002
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Well, we broke the news to her tonight. I feel kind of sick about the whole thing; however, after she left we had one of our best practice sessions EVER. She took the news well -- we chalked it up to stylistic differences and the need to move in a more instrumental direction -- but I don't think I'll be talking to her again for awhile. All told, the anticipation was worse than the actual "firing." Thank goodness we're all adults, with her being the most level-headed and mature of us all. Sigh. Woo-hoo! Sigh. Woo-hoo!
     
  12. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Glad you've got past that - the future is an open road, so go ride ;)

    Wulf