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Friends of the band shouldn't be band members (long rant)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jive1, Nov 24, 2004.

  1. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    The drummer decided one day to have his friend join the band. This guy sat in with the band for a couple of songs every now and then, but one day he came in to sit in at the beginning of a show and never got off the stage. He was made a member of the band without any input or approval of the other members.

    There's many reasons why I'm pissed about this.
    1. No input from anyone else. An additional member affects everyone else in terms of pay, stage space, musical space, etc. and no-one was consulted.
    2. The guy isn't that good. Actually he stinks. He plays guitar and sings, but not very well. His vocals are ok if you're into a guy that sings like Elvis and Roy Orbison. I'm not into that style. He sings on key, but does not know when to come in. When he sings, it's always a potential train-wreck because if comes in a few beats late it throws things off (and he does it often). Sometimes, the drummer actually starts the verse of a song so he can cue the singer. Yes, like a guide track. And no, he's not hot like Ashlee Simpson. When he sings harmony, he sings the melody line and not the harmony.
    He also plays guitar, but he's not up to snuff by any means. He'll play in the wrong key and be oblivious to it. For example we play "Jumping Jack Flash" in A. He's playing it in B, and when I tell him it's in A, I get a deer-in-the-headlights look while continues playing a B chord. He asks me how to play "Sunshine of your love" and I tell him to begin on the D, and tell him the notes to play and once again I get a confused look. I tell him 10th fret and the guy is counting frets. I can't even explain a simple riff to the guy. His playing is off time and off key, and we don't let the volume ever go up on his rig. It's a shame because the guy has been playing for years and owns an expensive PRS and Marshall Amp and can't play the guitar. Why do people buy expensive gear that still makes em sound crappy instead of investing in lessons, books, etc. that will make a crappy instrument sound awesome? Anyway, the guitar is basically just something he holds in his hands so he doesn't look completely useless when he's not singing. Also the material that he sings is just too square for me (i.e. "Bad moon Risin", "Bye Bye Love"). It neither fun for me to play or listen to.
    The kicker that's hilarious is that he's talking about doing corporates and events with him since he has some business connections. Connections or not, nobody is gonna pay thousands for a band that is a trainwreck waiting to happen.
    3. We're already a 5 piece band and don't need another player. We don't play stages big enough for 6 people. And it's not like I don't have everybody in my way in some of the places anyway. I don't want want to split the money from a gig with additional player. We already have a guitar, keyboard, and harmonica player. I don't see how another midrange instrument will help. We have three compentent singers, so we didn't need another vocalist. The drummer or I can cover his range easily.
    4. This just adds to the stupid band politics. I don't need my musical life to turn into a Dilbert comic. I know life isn't fair, and the music world is definitely not a mertiocracy. I auditioned for this band, this guy didn't. I bought equipment and worked on the PA for this band, this guy didn't. I rehearsed with this band to develop a show, and this guy didn't. I learned and practiced for years to get good at my craft this guy didn't. And this guys gets a cut of my pay, while not adding anything? That's BS!
    5. The baddest part is that I actually like the guy. I like his family, his wife, etc. I have alot of respect for his character and values. He's just not a pro-caliber player. He's a beginner level player and I'm just not into that. He doesn't add to the band. But now we're in a situation where the guys all excited and stuff and now it doesn't look there's a way to resolve this without feelings being hurt.

    Anyway, with the way things have been going with this band, I think it's time for me to go. I hate to leave a working band, but 2 years is plenty long to deal with all the other band issues and this one is the straw that broke the camel's back. I guess when the music diminishes, all the other reasons for putting up with crap diminish as well. I don't want my reputation to diminish as the band dies down. I'll let the ship sink without me.

    If any of y'all know a working band that needs a bassist in the DC/VA/MD area, let me know. Until then, I'll have to be content with my Jazz Quartet and playing at church on Saturday nights.
  2. cosmodrome

    cosmodrome Registered User

    Apr 30, 2004
    ****town, Netherlands
    I suggest you mention all this to your drummer.
  3. TVD


    Jul 14, 2004
    Quit your complaining! lol jk Actually i'd be super pissed just like you. That's totally screwed up. A few questions, who's band is this? The drummers? How do the other band members feel about this situation? What really gets me here is a guy getting a cut of the money, but the whole thing comes off like the drummer has alot of nerve or something. I mean why dosen't the drummer just split his money with this new interloper and you guys still get the same pay? Of course, that still dosen't address the issue of the guy not being a pro. You're right, there's probably no way to approach this now without feelings being hurt, but it's not your fault. It's ridiculous to expect you and the other members to just grin and go along with this. Sounds like time for a serious band meeting to me, and it sounds like you are already prepared to leave, which gives you leverage in the meeting. Trent
  4. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I'm interested in this story as well. Who's band is it? Is the drummer of pro caliber? If so, can he not know that the dude sucks? I would definitely be pissed! If I didn't have any say in the matter, then it would be goodbye for me! I'll bet they'll have a hard time replacing you! Honestly, the drummer should have spoken to the band members first! Doesn't matter whether he's the leader or not. That's a good way to alienate your band members and cause them to quit. Keep us posted. This is interesting.
  5. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    Of course, if he's the drummer's brother-in-law, all other arguments are moot! :D

    I know how you feel to a point, but I can also see how his side is going to shake out... I recently auditioned and secured a position in a 5 piece - moving to six piece - country band. During the audition, I asked all of the pay questions, such as 'Is everyone cool with another split' and was answered affirmatively each time. I would be taking over bass while the leader, (mediocre but adequate on bass), would be switching back to acoustic guitar... After quitting both of the other bands that I was in, I received a call from the leader saying that the other guys had flopped and were not wanting to take a pay cut... Basically, I could play for a pittance, though I was every bit as accomplished as anyone else... meh, I've told this story enough...

    My point is that now said guy probably feels a part of the band and any discussion otherwise at this point may look like sour grapes... Tough to cut once gigs have been played, though some talking should happen... sooner rather than later to avoid even more bruised egos. If you do decide to talk it out, be straight up about the reasons... respectful but thruthful, which, based upon other of your posts that I've read, should not be a problem... One of the reasons I was even looking for a band to replace the ones that I was playing with was due to bad drumming... I wish that I had mentioned it at the time as I'm now getting calls from the drummer trying to put something else together... Oh what a tangled web we weave...

  6. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    To answer your questions, the drummer was the band leader. The harmonica player started the band, and the drummer sort of took over the band leader responsibilities like bookings, etc. Lately, he's had some personal issues dealing with his divorce and he made the harmonica player the contact for the booking agent. He screwed him in that deal, but that's a different story. The drummer also blew off a studio date which royally pissed off our guitar player who was footing the bill. We went on without the drummer, with me playing the drums. Then later they want to do another studio date, using gig money for it. Also in the deal was recording with the new member. I called BS on that one, simply because I don't need to sacrifice a weekend day or gig money because someone blew off a previously arranged date. And I am definitely not getting involved with recording with an amateur. Can you imagine how much studio time and money will be wasted by a guy who has never been in the studio before who can't really play their instrument? Nuff said.

    He's a good drummer, and even better vocalist. He's probably the best harmony vocalist I ever worked with, and a solid drummer to boot. I can't see why he would get an amateur in there unless he thought he had some business connections or something. They're both business execs, so there could be some type of industry politicing here. I dunno. Maybe the drummer wants to load the wagon with people in his "camp" or something. Maybe they think that this guy will provide a good draw since his friends and co-workers show up and support him when he used to sit in on a few songs for us. But, novelty wears off and relying on friends and co-workers for draw doesn't work for the long run. I don't know lately, because as a guy who was really rational and responsible, he's doing some real stupid things. But really, there are other issues in this band like a lazy difficult guitar player with a lazy attitude, and a harmonica player who just randomly wails away on whatever notes, a booking agent who has gone sour on us, etc..

    It really is time for me to leave. I don't want this stuff to impact me any more than it does. But, I do plan on letting people know my thoughts after my last gig (new year's eve) in person. No band meeting needed, sometimes things just need to die peacefully than lingering on life support. I'll still try to salvage friendships and whatever goodwill that's left, but I had my fun. I'll miss the extra cash though.
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Yeah, unfortunately, I agree that it's time for you to move on. I'm going through some similar band crap as well and I'm fulfilling the last three gigs we have for this year and then I'm off into the sunset.
  8. Next time he shows up to a rehearsal or gig, just give him the same deer in the headlights look and ask, "Dude, I love you to death, but what are you doing here? You're not in the f%$^*&ng band."

    This will do 3 things:
    1. Remind him that he's your friend.
    2. Broach the subject in a definitive way (you don't want him in the band, he's not in the band, and he's imposing by showing up.)
    3. Let you know where you stand with the band. If they're saying, "Hey Jive1, relax." Then you know it's time to bounce. Maybe the other 4 guys in the band are just as frustrated but can't bring themselves to blurt it out.

    Just my opinion.
  9. Had a similar deal in my band... Not to overdo the details, but a marginal guitarist at best, with no vocal skills at all. Late to practices all the time, but is one of my drummer's best friends.

    Problem with this situation is that he was one of the first guys in the band. After we added a lead singer and a much much better guitarist, he was a fifth wheel but we were stuck with him because he was grandfathered in. I'm the band leader but it would have been much more trouble than its worth to sh*tcan him. That is the trouble with adding untalented friends to bands.


    On to your situation... My guess is that that the drummer thinks this guy can get you more corporate party gigs, which we both know are some of the better paying gigs. If he can, could he be worked with? Can't you have a candid conversation with the drummer about your concerns before you leave? It seems like you would make waves by leaving anyway, so you might as well see if you can't do something about it before trying to find another band.

    Just my two cents, but like you said, if thats the final straw and you aren't happy with the situation, maybe its best to move on.
  10. Folmeister

    Folmeister Knowledge is Good - Emile Faber Supporting Member

    May 7, 2003
    Tomball, Texas
    I have a similar situation, but the brown-stain in my group is the sound tech. He does a crappy job and claims a full share of the take. The problem is that he is a great friend of the band-leader. I am not leaving and have convinced the others that we don't need him for anything smaller than the Enormodome. I win!
  11. TVD


    Jul 14, 2004
    Does the drummer, or anyone else in the band, know of your unhappiness in this situation? It just takes alot of gall to add a member without consulting the rest of the band. Like you said, sounds like this band has some serious issues anyhow. It almost sounds like you're about the only one with a professional attitude, and i know that can be tough to deal with. A good bass player can get a gig, they are in demand. Trent
  12. Sounds like the only option although having a band meeting is another
    The quicker you do this the less time you have b....hit on your mind nothing more annoys you when something is on your mind but I've been where you're at so hopefully you would resolve your issues so that you can move on playing music without distractions on your mind

    Peace dude
  13. rllefebv


    Oct 17, 2000
    Newberg, Oregon
    One thing about SMASH's posts... They always break an 'issue' down to the bare roots and attack a problem in a straightforward manner... There's your course of action, right there :)

  14. Slater

    Slater Leave that thing alone. Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I was in a 4-piece band for a while (I was playing lead guitar in this band), then it became a 5-piece. It was a similar situation - talentless friend of the bandleader (coincidentally the drummer). I just spoke to the bandleader one-on-one and told him, "You can add all the people to the band that you want, but I didn't agree to a pay cut". The next gig we were a four piece again. I think the bandleader was trying to replace me (after I stood my ground with him), and I don't think the other guys in the band were happy with the politics, and the band eventually fizzled.
  15. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    Yeah Jive, I think you are making the right decision by walking. It always sucks to quit a successful band no matter how bad the situation has gotten. Still, you have a reputation to maintain, and I've learned that there's always another band down the road.

    I've seen mediocre musos with bands. I'm a big believer in streamlining a band. I've seen groups that feature a mediocre lead guitarist and then two strictly ameteur rythm players to pick up the slack. Personally, I'd rather have one or two kick-ass players instead. I also don't think I would ever be in/join a band any larger than five piece unless I could be guaranteed a good cut of pay at the end of the night.
  16. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Thanks for the comments and support. At this moment, my mind is made up to move on.

    The drummer may think that this new guy can help us get corporate gigs, but the problem is that the product has to be worth the price. It's one thing to fart out a song in a club full of drunks, but it's a completely different thing when you trainwreck a tune for a frazzled bride and family that took out a second mortgage for a wedding or playing with mediocre talent when some corporation is trying to schmooze and improve it's image. The last thing I need is to be associated with a band that plays a $2000 gig and trainwrecks a couple of songs. As many of us know, getting gigs and keeping gigs are two different things.

    The other guys in the band are pissed off about this situation too, but I'm choosing to move on. I'm not going to let negative attitudes or situations get in the way of making music. Plus, I have options.

    Anyway, I'll state my reasons as well as constructive criticism when it's time to go. Hopefully everyone knows what the deal is, and I can leave with a free conscience and a minimum of bad blood.
  17. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    been there, done that. good luck jive. i'm sure you'll get another gig fairly quickly. i am definitly of the opinion that you have to give the drummer a gentle reaming out for incredibly unprofessional and stupid behavior. The talentless guy seems more innocent and naive (i'm giving him the benifit of the doubt).
  18. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Good luck with your new gig.
  19. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    I think your major problem is that you think Ashlee Simpson is hot.

  20. Hmmm.

    Some people belong on a stage. Some people belong in the audience.

    I hope to God I'm never in the wrong place.