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Getting rid of bad vocalist

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BassSeven, Apr 17, 2003.

  1. About 1 or 2 months ago my band piced up this vocalist. We were in a hurry to get a singer, because the battle of the bands was coming up. My drummer knew this kid who had been in the school choir, etc. so we thought he could sing. First practice he really sucked :spit: , but I figured this was expected, though I had my doubts. He started getting better, but was frequently 1/2 step off of the correct pitch for songs. Anyways, we thought he would be good in time for performance :) ... wrong :( , another mistake, he never sang lead before in front of people. anyways,.. we played Seek & Destroy by metallica, and I swear he was 2 whole pitches off or something, and he was a little off on other songs. So the point is, :meh:

    How do I ask him to leave without making him hate the rest of the band? :confused:
    He's not a bad guy, I just don't think he will work with our band.
  2. print out this post. give it to him. it's honest and exactly how you feel; that's exactly what you should give him.
  3. 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
    "Thanks for fillin' in, bud. See ya around."
  4. There's several approaches

    1) start "forgetting" to tell him about practices, eventually he'll figure it out, maybe. Meanwhile start auditioning other singers. (pretty lame but doesn't take much guts)

    2) tell him "hey man, we're going in different musical directions, so unfortunately we need to look for another singer" but neglect to tell him he needs to improve...(kinda chicken-s**t in a way, but it won't bruise his ego)

    3) next practice, lose your temper, point-blank tell him he sucks and tell him to take a hike. Gets it over quickly, though not painlessly.

    4) tape a rehearsal, with him singing. Then invite him out to lunch. Play a few of the bad spots for him and say, "hey, we were hoping it'd work out but we think we're at different points along in our musical development" or some BS like that. Politely suggest some voice lessons. Then tell him "let's keep in touch, maybe one day in the future we can work together again" Oh and then stick him with the lunch tab..JUST KIDDING!

    None of these approaches is ideal, well theoretically #4 might help him work harder.

    Good luck.
  5. I could just say what I wrote to his face, so I wouldn't be cheap...

    Either way my band will start auditioning singers soon...
  6. cjgallen


    Oct 19, 2001
    We recently gave our "singer" the boot. Me, the guitarists, and drummer went to his house and told him to his face. The only problem is, the other guys were trying to be nice about it, and I just wanted to tell him he sucked hard.

    My guitarist actually said "It's not you, it's us." :rolleyes: I wanted to slap him for saying that. And they just kept spilling out crap about "artistic differences" when the fact of the matter was...he sucked...really bad :meh:

    And being nice to him did absolutely NOTHING because now he's going around talking smack about us. (wow what a shock :eek: :rolleyes: )

    Cut the crap and tell him the truth.
  7. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    And suck isn't one of them:D
  8. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    Having to let go a band member who does not meet the criteria the rest of the band sees as desirable for the band is something that happens sooner or later in nearly every band.

    And that criteria could be anything from inadequate vocal or instrumental skills, to appearance to attitude to age or any other chracteristic.

    Here's what I think. It doesn't do any good to try not to hurt the person's feelings. They will be hurt. It also is counterproductive to sneak around, invite others to audition, "forget" to mention rehearsals, etc. Sooner or later, the person in question will find out or begin to suspect and that can be a painful experience, too.

    Maybe the best way is for one member of the band to represent the others, sit down with the person and say right out, not cruely or arrogantly, but diplomatically as possible that the band is looking for someone else. There will be anger and resentment on the part of the "fired" person. Know that ahead of time. Be humble. Say you are sorry, but it just isn't working out.

    If they ask why, explain diplomatically. In this case, "Your vocal style is not right for the type of music we play." Don't dig yourself into a hole, however, with lengthy explanations. The simpler and shorter you make it, the better.

    It makes us uncomfortable to hurt someone who is trying hard, is motivated, but is inadequate for the band's needs. But the only other alternative is to have a band member who is a handicap. Do what you have to do. Get it over with and move on.
  9. 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
    Nyuk nyuk nyuk.
  10. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Did you record the gig? If not, I'd definitely suggest recording a practise. Listen back to it together and talk about what works and what doesn't.

    If your singer's intonation is frequently off then that either needs work or you need a new singer.

    However, be fair. You're not just listening for flaws in the singer's performance. Are the rest of you consistently hitting the right notes, at the right time, with the right feel? Intonation shouldn't be a problem (all you have to do is put your finger at the right fret, right ;) ) but those other areas, and whether the instruments mesh together for the overall sound, might bear examining.

    The upshot of this is that you demonstrate that you are a band who care about achieving high musical standards all round, not just a clique of instrument-wearers. If the vocalist is clearly not up to the standards the rest of you are setting then he may still hate you but at least you were scrupulously fair. If you also find other problems with the performance, then you could all decide what homework you need to do before repeating the experiment.

    You may also realise that certain keys and styles suit the singer's voice. Again, it might seem fairer to experiment a bit with, for example, changing the key of some songs rather than giving up on them too soon.

    After all, do you have a queue of other singers lined up who would definitely be much better?

  11. Or you guys can sound really good together by playing all your songs off a 1/2 step.
  12. Bob Clayton

    Bob Clayton Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Aug 14, 2001
    Philly Suburbs