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Heavy is the heart of the man who carries the axe.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Kronos, Jun 24, 2007.

  1. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    I haven't been on here in a while, frankly because I've been given a tough task that has killed my inspiration to play, let alone look at anything bass related.

    I've been selected to fire my drummer.

    Here's a little back story:

    A few months back, we got a new guitarist (an old friend of mine, and a damn good guitarist) to add to the band. Once he came into the band, we started writing stuff that was way better than before. Problem is, our drummer doesn't seem to be able to keep up. Normally, it wouldn't be a problem to kick someone out of the band due to their inability, but there are things withstanding that make it hard.

    1) He's a hard worker.

    2) He does a ton of other stuff for the band.

    3) He's become a good friend to all of us, me especially. He's had me over his home, fed me, and let me spend many a night on his sofa.

    4) He came up with the band name, logo, and found the guy to do our website.

    Now, there are some negatives, otherwise there would be no consideration of getting rid of him. For instance:

    1) He has no internal timing (but he's working on it)

    2) He says he can't work with a metronome, it makes him worse.

    3) He refuses all outside help.

    4) He doesn't look at anything as a challenge, but he looks at things as impossible. (this is my biggest gripe).

    Recently, I had a sit down with him to kinda give him a notice that things were going down if they didn't improve. I got kinda harsh because I was a bit buzzed (I couldn't tell him sober, it'd break his heart). Since then he's told the other guys he's felt ostracized. I can't look him in the face half the time knowing what I've got to do.

    Oh, and by the way, if you're wondering why I'm the guy who's got to do it, here's the reasons...The first guy that got kicked out of the band, Ken (our main guitarist and co founder) kicked out our singer who was his best friend. So, he doesn't want to do it again. I can't blame him. Joe (our newest guitarist) says he doesn't feel right doing it because he's the new guy in the band and doesn't feel that it's his place to kick out an older member. Mark (our singer) would flat out be rude about it (he's the one most disappointed in Matt). So, that leaves me.

    It also doesn't help that life has been raining sh*t on Matt for the past couple of months. He's been struggling with cash, and his live in girlfriend lost her job. Then, as recent as last week, she calls me to tell me that she may have cervical cancer. Kicking him out of the band would be the last thing he needs.

    What do you guys think and suggest?
  2. Longshot...

    Could he manage the band rather than play in it?

    Sorry for the issue, though. That is a tough place.
  3. I was in a situation similar to this.
    What we told him was that he's a good guy and it was nothing personal, but he has way to many things going on that he needs to focus on before the band, and that you need someone that is going to be able to give it 100%.
    Our old drummer understood where we were coming from, and it was all smooth...
    But you absolutley cannot compromise the music.
  4. TeeMartin


    Jul 18, 2006
    Just get him Guitar Pro
  5. RWP


    Jul 1, 2006
    It's never easy to tell someone they aren't working out. To me it really depends on where you are trying to go as a band. If you just having fun, then having friends in the band is to me more important than having the best musicians you can find. But if your intent is to really go places you have to treat the band like a business. In business letting people go is never easy but has to be done from time to time. I also like the idea about giving him other duties in the band, sound or what ever he would be good at.
  6. Smallmouth_Bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    Couldn't the whole band let him go rather than you (or just one person) doing it? It would sound more like a band decision than a personal one that way.
  7. TheJimster


    Feb 21, 2006
    Pensacola, FL
    Wow Lou.

    Had no idea Centralia was struggling so much. Well, as said before, its never easy to have to kick someone out of anything really. You just have to tell him flat out: what the problem is, why you're doing it, and what the resolution will be from doing what you're doing.

    I heard Matt's a really nice guy, maybe you could give him something alternate to do with the band instead of having him play, he could manage or still do websites and what not. Everything has to change at one point or another.

    Again, sorry about the situation Lou. Hope things fro Centralia go over well, and send my best wishes to Matt.

  8. MarkMyWordsXx


    May 17, 2006
    that would be cool because you could say it in a way thats not like firing him, but more like promoting him

    we have a policy that if someone gets replaced the new member kicks out the old member, hasnt happened yet since the old players leave before the new ones get there but you get the idea
  9. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Thanks for the ideas, guys...

    As far as having him as a manager...we've thought about it and we're going to offer that to him...but I know him. He won't want to manage. He'd rather be part of the band or not at all.

    In regards to all of us firing him, we've thought about that as well, and he'd feel like we were ganging up on him. (as you can tell, he's a bit sensitive).

    And yes, we're going places. We've been invited down to Richmond, Virginia, to record in the Slave Pit. We want to take advantage of the good price we were quoted, and we know that the main issue would be Matt. The last time we recorded, we were recording 3 songs, and it took him all day to record his drum tracks. Thank god we weren't paying hourly. It took a lot of cutting and pasting to get his parts on the recording to sound right. He doesn't take pressure well. Hence, sometimes he'd perform poorly live. Speeding things up, missing parts, cutting parts short...

    I hate talking like this about him, but it's to let you know that we are serious about this, and something has to be done. That's why I gave him the sit down a couple of weeks ago instead of just firing him on the spot. It just sucks that he's such a good guy and has devoted so much to the band. I just wish it was more in the department of playing. I've given him videos to help him out, but he doesn't practice with his free time at home to get better. Even during the sit down he told me himself that he knows he's the weakest link in the band and that we'd be better with a better drummer (which made it even harder for me to say anything-he already knows).

    Jimmy...please don't go repeating any of this online. I wouldn't want Matt to get this from a third party.

    @ RWP- You're right. We have to treat this like a business. We have opportunities to go places...and he definitely would hold us back. I just wish he'd be able to learn faster than what he is (he has shown some improvement-but it's still not enough).
  10. RWP


    Jul 1, 2006
    I expect the 'talk' will go better than you think. He knows. Good luck down in Richmond! :hyper:
  11. the_fonz


    Nov 27, 2006
    Kane, PA
    you're recording at the Slave Pit?
    you sir, are a god

    in response to the topic, kill him
  12. TheJimster


    Feb 21, 2006
    Pensacola, FL
    No worries Lou. I know this is strictly your buisness. I'm not gonna spout off.
  13. Sneckumhaw


    Apr 26, 2006
    That's so far from funny it's not even funny.
  14. the_fonz


    Nov 27, 2006
    Kane, PA
    who's trying to be funny?
  15. Sneckumhaw


    Apr 26, 2006
    Stop being a jerk, Fonzarelli.
  16. Just my two cents, but if he isn't interested in becoming better at drumming/music then he doesnt sound like a musician thats going to help you 'advance' anytime soon.

    I don't know him, and therefore I don't really have any right to comment on him, but I think you should work more on getting him inspired in music again - to me it sounds like its lost all fun for him. I think the best bet would to find him a decent percussion teacher and try everything possible to get him pumped/inspired/motivated again.

    Does he get lessons from a teacher or is he just messing about with drumming? Has he shown any interests in playing other instruments? maybe you could swap him over to a new instrument and get a new drummer too... (although it sounds like you don't have much time get him working on learning another instrument.)
  17. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    Part of my day gig responsibility is terminating employment. It helps to think of it this way:

    You have a job that needs to get done.

    It's HIS job to get it done. HIS responsibility.

    It's his job to loose, you'd like him to be the guy but, at the end of they day no excuses. The job needs to be done.

    If he's not going to make the required effort, he's in effect quitting the job not getting fired.

    Ask him what he expects you to do if he's not even going to try.

    You gave him the heads up. The outcome is on him.

    I just fired a guy who's been my friend for over 20 years. I spent over a year trying to teach him the gig but he just wasn't suited to it. Everyone isn't good at everything, no big deal. It is difficult but it needs to be done and you'll be off the hook for the next one.
  18. anderbass


    Dec 20, 2005
    Phoenix. Az.
    I feel your pain and know your in a really tough spot right now.
    The last time I was in your situation, I just couldn't fire my long term friend/band-mate. We ended up having the whole band break up for a few months, and afterwards reformed with his replacement.
    (I don't think this was a good decision, and don't think you should take that route)

    I think I'd start it out by (tactfully but truthfully) telling him that you really hate to have to do this, but you were elected (by the rest of the band) to let him know that while they all like him on a personal basis, they all feel, that they just have to get a drummer that is more suited to the music the band is currently doing.
    You can sugar-coat it some, but I wouldn't go into much detail unless he asked why.

    You never know, he might just end up being relieved of the pressure of being the bands weak link.

    (If absolutely necessary) you could tactfully go into more detail about his short-comings and remind him of what he already said about himself and the band (Quoted below)

    Good luck...:)
  19. Pennydreadful

    Pennydreadful Goin out West

    Jun 13, 2005
    Arlington, Texas
    Chances are he knows this is coming. I wouldn't sugarcoat it, but, obviously, don't be rude either. Just be honest about the whole situation. Like I said, it sounds like he has a feeling this is gonna happen, and if you're up front with folks, most of them are pretty understanding.
  20. Kronos


    Dec 28, 2005
    Philadelphia, PA
    Believe me, we've tried everything.

    I've given him DVD's, tips, sent him to websites...but as the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink.

    As far as him being pumped...he was totally excited about recording. But, he seems to have this stigma (mind you, he never said this but he acts like it) that practice is practice and home is home. He doesn't do anything at home drum wise. And, it's not like he has to worry about making noise and disturbing the neighbors. He has an electronic drum set. A really nice $3000 roland drum kit. I spent a half hour on it by myself just going through the myriad sounds on it. He says it doesn't feel right, so he doesn't practice on it. I mentioned to him once "What would you do if there was a show where we were booked to play with a backline?" and he said that he wouldn't be able to play the show unless it was his kit. Granted, for the type of music we play, very rarely if ever do you get a show where the backline is part of the deal, so we don't have to worry about that as much.

    Anyway, I digress.


    You're right. This is a business. It was something that was discussed in the rules when we joined. We didn't want this to be just for fun, we all wanted this to go somewhere. We wanted fun to be a part of it, but not the gist. He knows that. And, I did tell him on more than one occasion (even at the sit down) that I really don't want to play with another drummer. I just wished that he would've looked at the new material as the gauntlet being thrown down, and stepping up to the challenge. We wanted some syncopated polyrhythms in our songs (nothing too technical), and he just flat out said he couldn't do that instead of trying, working on it at home, and coming in with it down (which is what the rest of us have been doing).

    Anyway, I don't want to bash the guy. I love him like a brother. But, this is a business. When I tell him, I won't give him reasons on why unless he asks. That way it doesn't crush him. I will tell him that it's the hardest decision that I've ever been a part of, and none of us really wanted this to happen, but we have no choice.

    I just don't want to do it until we find out for sure if his old lady's got cervical cancer. If she does, then we'll let him go after he knows. If she doesn't, all the better. Then he won't have all of that on his mind. She finds out July 3.
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