How do you turn down an offer to join a band?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by rabid_granny, Dec 16, 2002.

  1. I'm auditioning for bands. I've found a band that plays music that I enjoy and I like being with these people in general.

    However, I don't like the drummer's style. I like the drummer as a person but he always plays the same beat (regardless of the song) and doesn't understand music theory.

    The music we play is fairly simple stuff (think Ramones' Pet Cemetery) but I think it could be drastically improved if he could pick up on what the other band members are playing.

    I haven't committed to the band (they know I'm still hunting) but they think I'm going to stay. I'd like to stay but I think the bassist should be tight with the drummer and I don't think that's going to happen.

    I'm the outsider so I'm in no position to say "fire the drummer." Nor would I want to. (Well, maybe I do.) However, the drummer is significantly older than the rest of us (he's in his 50's probably), is missing his front teeth and is usually totally drunk and stoned during practice. (Yeah, well the guitarists are usually a bit stoned too but they can still play and sing :eek: ) But I think it's a case of teaching an old dog new tricks / changing his entire style of playing drums.

    Anyways, my current course of action is the stick with the band and try to "shape" the drummer into what I want through subtle suggestions.

    However, I like to plan ahead. Suggestions?
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Trying to change the direction of someone who's sitting still can be pretty frustrating. Also, presuming the band has been together for a while, the evidence is that the guitarists are either happy with the way the drummer works or have been ineffective at getting him to change.

    What other opportunities do you have coming up at the moment? Could you just jam with these guys once every couple of months instead of 'joining the band'?

    It's your call. Personally, I'd only consider doing it on a 'hired gun' basis - ie. that it would earn enough income to support other musical ventures without demanding too much time.

  3. Brooks


    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Been there, done that, didn't work, even though in my case drummer was never drunk/stoned. He is not going to change, so all you have to do is ask yourself if you are willing to live with it.

    If the answer is no, you have two options. Tell the rest of the guys what you think, or say Thank You but no thank you, and walk out.
  4. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    There's always two reasons for a decision; a plausible one and the real one. If you don't want to hurt their feelings/burn your bridges, then think of a reason (without lying) examples are too much travelling, need more time with family, work, etc another band have given you an offer etc.
  5. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    It's impossible to change someone who is happy in their rut. If he WANTED to expand, that would be one thing, but otherwise I think you'd be better off doing what CS suggests.
  6. lildrgn


    Jul 11, 2000
    Seattle, WA
    Geez, if the lame duck drummer wasn't enough of a FLASHING NEON SIGN saying STAY AWAY, I'd think the other two guys (drunk/stoned) would have you running for the hills.

    Re-read your post and ask yourself, "Self, do I really want to be part of this trainwreck???"

    Good luck!
  7. Yeah, but's not a trainwreck. It's just a really bad drummer... :rolleyes: The guitarists I have no problem with...

    They have some catchy original material and they've given me free rein over the basslines (I can be as simple or complex as I want) so it's hypocritical for me to demand something from another band member.

    We're not doing this for money but to just gig and have fun. We don't have any plans yet but we found out we were hoping to do the same music contests around town.

  8. Personally, I would keep shopping...
  9. Marcus Johnson

    Marcus Johnson

    Nov 28, 2001
    "No, thank you, Sirs and/or Madams".
  10. Alyn


    Dec 19, 2002
    I say tell em you're not shure, it looks promising but you're not shure and say you wanna have a few rehersals with them and maybe a gig before you comit, that what we did with a drummer we tried a while ago but it didn't work out in the end, drummers are a pain in the posteria though, everyone knows that.
  11. Well, I have played with them twice. The current drummer is not their original drummer, not sure what happened to the original guy. Spontaneous combustion?

    So far, I've received about a dozen inquiries and auditioned for three bands. I'm still waiting to set up times for the other groups.

    Unfortunately, I do other things as well so I can't be in more than one band at a time, unless the other band is really really casual. I need my downtime too.

    Near perfect situation 'cept the drummer sucks. Oh well, I'll post again if something pops up... :rolleyes:
  12. There's nothing better than the truth. Seriously, it's a good rule of thumb in almost any situation. First you have to decide if you really could stand being in this band with the drummer, which it sounds like the answer is no. If you aren't sure you could keep looking for other bands and wait for a better thing to come along, but the longer you wait the harder it will be to leave these guys.

    If I were you I would call one of the guitarists and just lay it out as it is. You don't have to 'demand' anything, but just tell them what you told us in so many words. As long as you don't say anything to the drummer you're not going to hurt anyone's feelings. The guitarists can deal with the drummer and make something up if they don't want to hurt his feelings.

    At that point they'll say one of three things:
    1) "Thanks for being honest, but we're really good friends with this guy and besides we like his drumming so good luck finding a band."
    2) "Dude, you know what, we're kind of fed up with the guy too. Tell you what, if you join the band we'll figure out a way to replace him." (I'm guessing on the "dude" part.)
    3) "F you."

    I doubt they'll say #3, but if they do you're better off without them anyway. But most likely it will be something like #1 or #2. Not only should they appreciate your honesty, but they should be grateful for it, you might just open their eyes to the situation and help them out.

    Good luck...
  13. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Huh? What could be worse for a bass player than being in a band with a drummer that sucks? Doesn't even beat a sharp stick in the eye, as at least that's over quickly!

    szvonek's post is right on the money. You can be honest without malice.
  14. We'll see. I promised myself that I'd keep looking until the end of January, at least. It's nice going out and meeting other musicians.

    I played with the band again on Sunday. I kept reminding them that I won't commit to anything right now and they seemed cool with that. They said they were surprised that I came back for a third time.

    The drummer just woke up from a nap so he wasn't drunk or stoned. He played much much better that tight. The band was tight and we didn't have any missed endings.

    In light of last Sunday, I've softened up a bit. I'll keep jamming with them to get a better assessment of the situation. That can't be bad, can it?
  15. Craig Garfinkel

    Craig Garfinkel

    Aug 25, 2000
    Hartford, CT
    Endorsing Artist: Sadowsky Guitars
    Well, this changes everything...all ya gotta do now is make sure the drummer naps right up until it's time to hit... :rolleyes:

    Here's what I see in my crystal ball. You're going to ignore all the advise you've solicited and join this band. You're going to find out rather quickly that the drummer's substance abuse problems are waaay worse than you have imagined. The train wreck, when it does happen, will be on a gig, not in rehearsal. You'll be so dejected that you'll put the bass away and start doin' the hang over at :eek: :eek: :eek: .

    Man, I hope I'm wrong about that last part. I'm not tryin' to lay negative vibes on ya man, just tryin' to impart a bit o' wisdom. Knock down those trees in front of you so you can see the forest!
  16. Yeah, I know I know...It was really bugging me when I wrote the original post but I've mellowed out since. I didn't want to waste anyone's time but I was looking for different perspectives. It sounds worse on paper than in real life. :rolleyes:
  17. 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
    Try this:

    No, no, bobo
    Bananapana fofo
    Fee fie momo,
  18. Could you send me this gentleman's mame, address, and phone number, so I could pass it along to my ex?

  19. Gabu


    Jan 2, 2001
    Woodland Hills, CA
    Assuming you continue to have good sessions you might join them conditionally.

    "Say, guys... I love playing with you. You have great material... It's just that, the drug use is going to be a problem. Can you agree not to use it when playing at least?"

    Or whatever...

    I wouldn't play in a band with drug users. No offense to my fellow talkbassers who are junkies ;) but the last thing I need is to go to my drummers place and find that he sold my rig to pay off his dealer. (or some such nonsense)
  20. P. Aaron

    P. Aaron Supporting Member

    ...a situation without a compelling reason. The drummer being in that band is an indication that the other musicians don't have a problem with it.
    If you have a problem with it, Don't Join!!

    Look for a gig where you have to get better to stay in the band. The last thing you want to do is have this anchor around your neck while the ship is going down.

    Go for a challenge, find something that causes you to have to raise YOUR standards.