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How do I break bad news to our singer?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by HugheJapackage, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Ok so my band started out as a 6 piece we formed just to play a talent show a couple years back and ended up becoming a real band. About a month after our first real show our lead vocalist left with only 3 weeks before another one so our guitarist took over singing. It was supposed to be only until we could find a real singer, well I guess he liked the attention and decided to become singer. Problem is, he's not very good. People like our music but we've always been told to find a new singer, and whenever the guys bring it up, he pitches a fit.

    Do you guys have any advice on how to handle it? He's an excellent guitarist and we want him to stay in the band, just not as a singer.
  2. PBass101


    Jul 3, 2008
    Give him an ultimatum. You don't owe his temper tantrums or immaturity any patience.

    Nothing worse than a bad singer. There is a local blues band with great horn and guitar players, but the singer ruins it because he just sucks.

    My band's guitar player sings lead, and has only recently started showing signs of improvement, and thank God - I was ready to quit.
  3. Eublet


    Jul 28, 2006
    Be sensitive and appeal to his sense of logic, realizing that it is currently shrouded inside his ego. This will be a tough nut to crack.
  4. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Do you actually have a new singer lined up? If not, do you at least have plans to start auditioning singers after you break the news to him?

    The bottom line is that it doesn't really matter how you tell him. He'll either take it well or take it badly and there's not much you can do to influence which of those two it is.

    You just need to make sure everyone else in the band is on the same page and then get together and tell him flat out that you value him as a guitar player but that his singing is holding you back.

    After that, the ball's in his court. I guess the only real thing for you to decide as a band is whether getting a better vocalist is worth possibly losing him as a guitarist. If the answer is yes, then have the meeting.
  5. jgroh


    Sep 14, 2007
    No way around being direct and just dealing with his response. Try to be as polite and complimentary as possible (like, dont go saying that people think you suck...try to make it sound like he is an excellent guitarist but to get to the next step, you need a powerful vocalist etc etc) If he pitches a fit, tell him that you are all prepared to move on without him, so he either stays on as guitarist and maybe bg vocals, or hes on his own.
  6. Well I was waiting to put out a want add for a singer until after I tell him. Should I start looking for people now?
  7. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    Your first statement is the correct way to proceed. A very bad outcome of placing the ad first is that your current vocalist/guitarist will see the ad BEFORE you talk to him about it. That would be very bad. It would prove to the guitarist that you have no class and also that you don't care about him or his future in the band.

    The #1 most important thing is that everyone else in the band agrees with you and will back you up when you tell him. If you don't have those ducks in a row, you can't just go about imposing your own will.

    You may lose him as a guitarist. Be prepared for that possibility - you may be placing ads for a singer and a guitarist.

    Other than that - just be as nice as you can be, and make sure no one else is a waffler - "well, if he works on his singing maybe we can wait for a while..." NONE OF THAT!
  8. Has he heard himself sing? If not, maybe record the next practice and play it for him.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Record a LIVE show. I sing lead on a few things. I will try something live ONCE. Then I listen ro the recording of that performance. I then have to put my ego in my pocket and decide if what I'm doing helps the band. But a practice recording won't do it (IMO). There are lots of things that sound better in the "lab" conditions of practice than they do live. The point is, let HIM hear the recording. If he STILL doesn't get that he sucks, then his ear isn't as GOOD as his ego is BIG. Best of luck.
  10. thanks for the advice guys
  11. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    iagree.gif 1000% It is about making good music and the fans have spoken.
  12. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    I'd go about this a different way.

    Hire a producer to come in and critique the sound for improvement.

    Have a paid 3rd party do this.

    Chances are everyone needs to be fixed..
  13. Vakmere


    Sep 6, 2007
  14. hmmm, interesting idea, I'll try that
  15. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Tell him that you really miss his awesome guitar playing. Now that he's having to sing, it's such a shame he can't devote his full attention to guitar, and you feel you either have to replace him as a guitarist, or as a singer, but can't imagine finding a guitarist as great as he is...
  16. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    why can't you just be honest with him instead of hiring a third party producer to come in. seems like a sh1tty thing to do to one of your mates. a third party has spoken, the crowd. dont wuss out
  17. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches

    Aug 21, 2006
    Denver, CO
    Which is all fine and good until he says, "Fine . . . I'll just be the singer". ;)

    That's my thought too. Now if you were getting ready to record and seriously wanted some constructive criticism of the whole band, that's one thing. But to try and get an outside party in to help you kick this guy off vocals just seems really passive aggressive to me.

    I still say you just have to be straight up and tell him and be prepared to deal with his response either way. My question about being ready to audition singers was part of that thought process. If this guy up and quits when you break the news, are prepared to do what you need to do to keep going?

    Break the news and deal with the fallout. But be honest about it.
  18. Giving him an ultimatum or letting him hear a live recording may not work.

    We got rid of our guitarist last october (still doesn't talk to us... )

    We knew if we sacked him it would kill him... so to speak...

    Anyway, we did loads of live recordings... he thought he was the balls man, (he was shockin... ) so your singer might think the same...

    As for an ultimatum, might think you are all against him and it WILL go badly.

    From what we went through... Tell the singer a little white lie (not on your own but with the whole band, everyone has to have the voice heard, your a band, not a solo artist)

    "A lot of people think your better just playin guitar, i/we think we should try it so you can concentrate on what your doin, and get someone else in who has the right voice for it deal with the singin..."

    or, "we dont think your voice is quite right... i/we think we should try someone with the right voice..."

    Whatever you do... Don't make him feel like your telling him he's ****.

    Unless he is, then just sack him...:bag:
  19. RedLeg

    RedLeg Supporting Member

    Jan 24, 2009
    Kaiserslautern, Germany
    Nov Shmoz Ka Pop?
    if he can not take it, he is an ego with feet and not needed anyway. no is saying be mean about it, just honest
  20. nortonrider


    Nov 20, 2007

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