Having realistic expectations about your band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Ser Phalanges, Aug 18, 2017.

  1. I've been thinking a lot lately about my drummer. Specifically, how he speaks about our band. We are a band that has just started playing together about 6 months ago. We mostly play covers, your standard rock stuff and a few heavier things. Our drummer fancies himself the leader of the band even though nobody appointed him or anything. And when he talks about us playing live, he always throws around the word "famous".

    Now, I don't know what he pictures when he says he wants us to be famous. He talks about playing in the casinos and bars here like we're going to blow up and fly around the world playing shows for millions. I feel confident that's not going to happen. Everybody in the band is married with kids and we all work full time. There's also the fact that he's not the tightest drummer in the world and has trouble counting. I want my band members to be realistic about how far this is going to go. How can I bring this up? My guitar player has noticed too and may help me speak to him.

    I am in this band for fun, and nothing more. My drummer has booked shows without asking anybody else about it. I don't want to play a show when we're not ready and be embarrassed. This bothers me so much that I'm considering quitting over it. These guys are good friends and coworkers of mine and I want to continue to jam with them, but I need ideas about how to bring this up.
    hrodbert696 likes this.
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Don't quit....Ah...fire the drummer!

    Say this:

    "I am in this band for fun, and nothing more. To Drummer: don't book shows without asking anybody else about it. I don't want to play a show when we're not ready and be embarrassed. This bothers me so much that I'm considering quitting over it. You guys are good friends and coworkers of mine and I want to continue to jam."
  3. pcake

    pcake Supporting Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Los Angeleez
    if the drummer is a good friend of yours, why overthink it? just communicate. be honest and tell him you don't want to be famous, you do this for fun and that you like playing with him and the guitar player. that no one elected him the bandleader, and that the rest of you consider the band a democracy, and that the entire band needs to agree on when you're ready for gigs.

    btw, chances are he really knows he isn't going to be famous - he's just living out a fantasy.
    nixdad, garp, Seanto and 1 other person like this.
  4. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    I don't know why, but overzealous bandmates annoy the hell out of me. So i understand. At the same time, it sounds like he is just talk. I probably wouldn't rain on his parade until this sort of talk became action on his part. When you start hearing the things below, it might be time to shut him down:

    "Hey guys, i've just signed a contract with an agent for us..."

    "Guys, i just got us booked to open for a real pro touring band. We only have to sell 50 tickets to make it happen...can you imagine the exposure?"

    "Dudes, i just got a killer deal on some stage lights. Don't worry about paying me, i'll just use our next 10 gig proceeds to pay for it."

    "We are now going to play with paper bags on our heads. I think it will really set us apart and give us an edge over the other bands in the area. This will be our thing for awhile..we can drop it after the first few platinum albums."
    hondo4life and lokikallas like this.
  5. lokikallas

    lokikallas Supporting Member

    Aug 15, 2010
    los angeles
    This is where you lost me. The drummers main job is counting, so it sounds like you will never get past crappy bar band with him anyway.
    lfmn16 likes this.
  6. I don't know how to bring up that he's not as talented as he thinks he is and he needs to tighten up by a lot if I'm ever going to agree to play a show with him. This whole thought process feels mean spirited which is why I haven't said anything.
  7. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    An audio or video recording of a band rehearsal has a wonderful way of laying it all out there bare without being vindictive.
    hrodbert696, Oddly and pcake like this.
  8. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Remind him what you are getting paid for a gig, and where you are playing.

    hrodbert696 likes this.
  9. You arent ready for shows after 6 months?
    tfer and smogg like this.
  10. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    If it isn't a problem, just an annoyance then why beat down his day dreams? If you have to bring reality to him, well good luck after that...

    In regards to his troubles on his instrument, there are some good suggestions above, but this is deep water, still on top but a strong current beneath
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  11. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Drummer can't count = band is in my rear view mirror.
    lokikallas likes this.
  12. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    IMO if a "standard" cover band is not ready to play out after 6 months, then something is very wrong. Band mate books a gig, you all mark your calendars, go play the gig. What's the problem?
  13. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    First of all, it is not your job to make sure that his view of reality matches up with your view of reality. Some people are realists, some are dreamers. He sounds like the latter to me. So what. Let him have his dreams of being a famous rock star. You know it ain't likely to happen, so unless it actually does, you aren't the one who is going to have to cope with a change in perspective at some point.

    Don't go around hosing down other people's dreams. For some folks, a dream is the only thing they got.

    As for his skill, well we all sucked at one point. As long as he's playing he will be slowly improving. Whether or not you got time to wait for it, well, that's up to you.

    What makes me wonder about your OP is the last paragraph. It kinda sounds like you are afraid of the concept of his dream becoming a reality. There's something about him that is a threat to you at some level. Here you are tearing him up to strangers on the internet asking for advice on how to give him a reality check. And you are considering quitting if you don't get your way over it.

    I suspect that if your band doesn't go anywhere it's because some of you are not thinking and acting like a band.
  14. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg , Conquest Sound
    Some people just have delusions of grandeur. I have a friend who is the lead singer in an oldies band. They play a lot of stuff from the 1950s and 1960s. He is constantly posting about his band's latest "tour" but all he plays are local retirement homes, nursing homes and an occasional small outdoor show.

    You are never going to get famous by playing in a cover band. Sounds like your drummer needs a reality check. Especially if he isn't very good.
  15. Ross W. Lovell

    Ross W. Lovell

    Oct 31, 2015

    If only that worked!

    Recorded a band once where the drums were so loud it was comical.

    What was less comical was that he did not acknowledge how far out it was when he seriously asked about getting the drums "up in the mix" next time.
  16. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    His "dreams" are causing him to act on his own without checking with and on behalf of the other band members without their permission.


    IMO, he can take his dreams else ware if he's committing other members to gig contracts that he's not authorized for.
    FunkyD likes this.
  17. james condino

    james condino Spruce dork Supporting Member Commercial User

    Sep 30, 2007
    asheville, nc
    "It takes one hell of a drummer to sound better than no drummer at all..."
    Chet Baker
  18. FunkyD

    FunkyD Supporting Member

    Mar 16, 2011
    NJ, USA
    This would be the issue for me. You're not guilty of crushing a naive bandmate's delusions of grandeur when their fantasy has the potential for a negative impact on your reality.
  19. shows are good motivation when a band isn't ready. gets people to step it up to avoid a train wreck.

    I hated when band members talked about "making it". People are delusion. Let's see, the members never practiced,
    rarely available to gig, but would give you multiple 30 minute ear beatings about "world domination".
    Pretty sure to take over the world you need to gig more than 8 times per year.

    Plus when you listen bands that actually have made it, they complain they're not making much money.
    Seems common lately to see well known musicians with go fund me's to help with medical bills because they don't
    have health insurance. Doesn't sound like the road is paved with gold.

    But hey, we will be the one new band that doesn't have to sign a 360 deal. Maybe we can keep all of the money from tshirt sales. no thanks
    smogg likes this.
  20. Because of our drummer, no, we're not. Playing shows isn't all that important to me with this band.