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Help dealing with bandmate's relatives.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jp58, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. jp58


    Dec 9, 2009
    I've finally made my way into a stable band situation with a drummer and guitarist/singer. I've been friends wit both guys for a while and everything fits together pretty well. We play at least once a week, and at least for me, it hasn't become a chore yet. For the most part we've been doing covers, but both myself and the guitarist write lyrics and he writes melodies.

    Now on to the problem. The guitarist's father has a degree from a college with a well known music school. He's been in bands, worked on records both as a studio pianist and mixing, manages a band, and helped work on a few gold and a platinum album. At first, I thought it would be great to have someone that has a lot of knowledge of the "biz around, but lately he's been watching jams/practices much more closely and hawking over us.

    The last few time we were supposed to play, the guitarist had just finished a song and asked me if I could have something ready by the time I got to his place. That was a whopping half hour before I needed to leave to be there, so I threw together a simple root line with a chromatic lead in and a single fill. Nothing too complicated, but just a simple serviceable play along to feel it out.

    When I got there, we all took a minute to noodle, tune, warm up, fetch drinks, etc. We decided to try and work that song out while we were waiting on the drummer. We got about halfway through it when his father, who I guess was in the garage watching (I didn't see him and he didn't help us set up like he normally does) stops us and asks me "what the !@#$ I think I'm doing?" When I start to tell him that I'd only had the chords and an audio file for a half hour, he cuts me off and tells me that he could have come up with a similar line if he'd had a bass laying around the house and that I should be talented enough to come up with better lines if we ever plan on making it in HIS business.

    Now, at this point, I was heated, so I went home for the day. I've been here most of the night trying to piece together how in the world I want to deal with this situation. I could understand if we were a bunch of teenage boys (or the Jackson 5 or Beach Boys) but I'm I'm in my 20's as is the guitarist who is a senior in college.


    Friend's/bandmate's father is in the music "biz" and has starting sitting in on practices and making snide comments about my and the drummer's play. I got ticked off and went home early. I need help handling the situation like an adult, because today I felt like cussing him instead of packing up and leaving for the day.
  2. fdeck

    fdeck Supporting Member Commercial User

    Mar 20, 2004
    Madison WI
    HPF Technology LLC
    This is between the guitarist and his dad. The guitarist has to grow up and cut the apron strings.

    Real musicians don't cut one another down. If the dad is a mildly abusive person, he will deny that he's misbehaving, or lay a guilt trip on you for complaining. Abusive people are good at covering their tracks. This may be a chance to get some experience dealing with an abusive person.

    I wonder if recording the practices would help.
  3. NOAH_FX


    Aug 12, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    Easy PZ

    Dear gui****s Dad

    "Please stop trying to live vicariously through your son, it's not his/bands fault you had no talent and you dream died. This isn't your band, you have no say, so STFU and GTFO, thanks for the advice and all, but no one cares what you think old man."

    Don't take **** from people, especially when your trying to practice and work on something, how are you supposed to do that with this dude tearing you down cause he's "In the Biz".
  4. tdub0199


    Mar 4, 2010
    Atlanta, Ga.
    If Dad wants to run the show.... I think the band is Doomed.....
  5. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    IME this kind of thing isn't going to change significantly. The son probably isn't going to suddenly do a 180 and ask dad to step off.
    Could you practice somewhere else where dad isn't around?
  6. NOT


    Jul 15, 2011
    Singers Mom: Your bass guitar is pretty low.

    Me:.....It's not that low....

    Singers Mom:....It's low....

    Me: ...Oh...
  7. Either:

    (a) - Talk to your guitarist about toning is dad down, because you're grown men and he has no right to speak to you that way

    (b) - find a new place to practice where he is not in attendance

    (c) - take matters into your own hands, go nose to nose with him and tell him to bugger off. in 90% of cases when you face off with a bully they tuck tail and run. This may precipitate (b) but that's not necessarily a bad thing.

    (d) - realize that you're in a cover band and that unless you have solid plans of releasing new material in the next 12-18 months, you should move on.

    If your guitarist is allowing his daddy to act like the big man on campus, your band will fail. Overbearing parents are notorious for offending the REAL players in the industry, and ruin chances for bands with talent and potential.
  8. NOAH_FX


    Aug 12, 2010
    Ottawa, Canada
    Its really hard for a Son in most cases to stand up to their father... It just is, however that dosent mean this guy has to take his crap too.

    Your right in the fact that 9/10 when you stare guys like this down, they back off. Than they want to be your buddy and just move on to the next easy target they can find...
  9. Josiah668


    May 11, 2011
    Worcester, MA
    Why don't you just tell him to mind his business? You can do it in a pleasant way.
  10. This is true. It took until I was in my early 20's to finally stand my ground with my old man. It was a pivotal moment because it changed our relationship for the better. I know it doesn't always go that way, though.
  11. BobWestbrook

    BobWestbrook Mr.

    Mar 13, 2006
    Philly suburb
    I suggest the high road. Thank him for his advice, and leave it at that. He does merit some respect just because he is your guitarist's dad.

    But even if he wasn't, responding harshly doesn't get you anything. In any professional endeavor, you have to deal with difficult people who overstep their bounds.

    If you want to be a professional group, then act with a professional demeanor, regardless of whether others do.

    But if he keeps interfering, of course let him know in a firm, respectful manner that the band will make their own musical decisions.
  12. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    Find another place to practice sans Dad.
  13. As a dad I know how easy it is to force your way into your kid's dreams thinking you're only helping, when the best thing to do is butt out and shut up. If they need something, they'll ask. You need to talk it over with your bandmates. Start with how you respect his knowledge and abilities (Give a dog a good name and he'll have to live up to it), but this is your band and you need space to learn and grow.

    If he persists, show him this thread.
  14. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales
    Interesting sides to this.

    The father's criticism is probably spot on, if you take the emotion out of it. Its worthy of listening to and working at improving.

    However, if he is going to be an arsewipe bully, he does need to be reminded of his place. I'm not exactly sure how you would do this in his case. If he has all the creds you say then he could be an extremely powerful ally. If he is just some studio shlub (yes, there are some great ones who have played on gold and platinum records but by and large will always be faceless, nameless and in some cases not worth knowing) then he might not be able to do more then get you studio ready.

    Funny, I am curious why he said if there was a bass lying around he would have come up with a better line. KEYBOARDISTS USE THEIR LEFT HAND FOR BASS LINES! I will sometimes come up with lines on the keys then move them over to my bass. If this guy can't use his keyboard to come up with them, then I'd wonder how talented he really is. This to me is put up or shut up. He listens, and then criticizes you. He could have just run over to his keyboard and showed you a better line or idea.

    Sounds like you are not in a band, you are your friends backing band, at least in his eyes. This is a no win situation.

    To deal with him professionally, just keep being polite and thanking him for his advice and playing only the stuff you want to play in the way you want to play it. Only two things can happen. 1-He will get frustrated and stop coming to practice. or 2-He will get frustrated and have your guitarist kick you out of the band. Both are good, as if its number one you win. If its number two, you don't want to be in a band where a dad has power to say if you are in it or not, anyway.
  15. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Its hard, yes, but also necessary for a guy to stand up to his old man and make his place in the world. It happened with me and my pops a week before my 18th birthday. We got in a nasty fistfight that was the end all be all of him tearing me down. Ever since we've gotten along just great. The guitarist/singer here could step up to his father, but it might honestly be a situation better dealt with between the OP and his friends dad.
  16. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    I'd just find another rehearsal space. Dads not in the band, right? That or tell him of piss off.
  17. jp58


    Dec 9, 2009
    That is, unfortunately, the best place to practice for us. It was a garage that hid father had rebuilt to basically be a practice/recording area.The father is involved with a band that plays regularly in Nashville, and has played at BB's and the Opry this summer, so his house is the place that they also meet up to play. Plenty of space, outlets, some soundproofing/dampening, etc. It's a really nice place to play, and I enjoy playing with them a lot.

    I'm not sure why he's started hanging around more and more when we play. I'm over there all the time, and I'd be more than receptive to anything he, or anyone he plays with, can do to help. I've not been playing seriously for a long period of time, and there's always something new to learn.

    The part that bothers me is that it was just negative, nothing constructive there. I frequently stay around when they rehearse, and I'm always around their bassist "taking notes" so to speak. He's left handed, so we struggle to communicate sometimes, but he's always been more than helpful. At first, the father was the same way. I learned a good bit of musical theory through him and combined with music apprec. at college, I learned how to read music and some other goodies.

    I think he records the practices and the like, but I don't ever ask for the recordings unless something feels off, or we're working on something new, or I've changed my tone or technique up some. I figure the best thing to do would be to just ask for the recordings more often.
  18. spaz21387


    Feb 25, 2008
    Portland oregon
    kick him in the nuts and say yeah you like that? I came up with that all on my own...
  19. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    sounds like you should write a sound-track for the BS. everytime he shows up start playing the same song. when he leaves, play something different. (use random notes where appropriate)
  20. That's gold!