How to decline an offer to join a band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by gordon5377, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. gordon5377


    Mar 15, 2009
    I am currently playing with a band and we have about 35 songs and we are trying to get booked to play out live. In the past month or two we have had some setbacks: either someone has been sick or someone had to work late, etc, etc. Plus, the local clubs are fairly tough to get into. They have their regular bands and don't want to take a chance on an unknown band. We just can't seem to get it all together and get a booking. Needless to say this has left us frustrated.

    So, the other day I get a call from another band. They are one of the bands that are playing out in the local clubs I mentioned above. Their bass player is leaving and they want me. I auditioned with them and musically they were a good band. I also got along pretty well with everyone, except their lead singer. It seems he considers himself a Brian Johnson (lead singer for AC-DC) type (he even wears the same kind of hat). Problem is, he can't sing. He doesn't sing. He screams the lyrics. That and the fact that, even at a simple practice, he is jumping around doing all these moves, dancing around, and making these weird facial expressions...really annoying.

    Anyway, they have asked me to join and I think I would if it were not for the lead singer. I would really like to tell them this, but since I am the 'new guy' and they are an established band I don't want to sound like a prima donna or a know-it-all.

    Should I tell it like it is or simply tell them something else and avoid the conflict??
  2. LowBSix

    LowBSix Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    818 ~ 805 ~ L.A.
    Endorsing Artist: GHS Strings
    Do your best to keep both bands going. If you're gonna get paid, work.

    IMHE: I've learned I don't need to judge others. We all need to practice/rehearse somewhere and there's no other way to reach performance level than performing...

    What annoys you today, may be what fans want and could end up being a good thing.

    When someone is bothering me, I've gotta look at myself with the same amount of scrutiny as I do that person. I've learned to put down the microscope and pick up a mirror...

    Keep playing with as many people as you can...
  3. I might try to gig with both, or politely decline the offer, but I would certainly not tell the band that made you the offer that you don't like their singer. Nothing good would come of that.
  4. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    If your in this because you like gigging, I would go with the gigging band.

    To bad about the singer, our singer has a stage act too, but she doesn't employ it at rehearsals.

  5. jgroh

    jgroh Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    Like others said, if you are in it to gig, then gig. You dont have to deal with the singer too much if you dont want to. Think about how many people might irritate you at a regular do your job and deal with it.

    If you are in it for fun and the hang, then thats a different story and where the personalities come more into play.
  6. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are.

    IME, people won't change just because you point out a behavior that you're uncomfortable with.

    They're the gigging band looking for a bass player, not a manager, vocal coach or therapist.

    If you join the band, I suggest you NOT say anything about anything, ever. If you speak up now, you're the new guy. If you say something later, one may ask: why did you join the band in the first place if you had such serious concerns about the vocalist?

    If you want to gig, join.. Otherwise, politely pass.
  7. Bassist4Eris

    Bassist4Eris Frat-Pack Sympathizer

    Aug 11, 2012
    Upstate NY, USA
    I appear to be in the minority here, but if the singer is a deal-breaker for you, you should say so. So what if they think you're a prima donna? It sounds to me like you don't want to be in this band if this guy's going to be the singer, so you really have nothing to lose. On the other hand, it sounds like you'd love to join this band if only they'd fire the singer. I can guarantee that outcome won't happen if you just keep your mouth shut. Put it out there (politely) and they'll have to either decide to keep their singer and pass on you, or vice versa. If he's that bad, there will probably be other band members with reservations about him too.
  8. goldenglory18


    Nov 30, 2009
    Los Angeles
    Your Mom.
    I thought this was worth repeating......

  9. LowBSix

    LowBSix Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2008
    818 ~ 805 ~ L.A.
    Endorsing Artist: GHS Strings
    :rollno: .... this is how groups break up.... opinions and politics... I say if you wanna work; zip it. :bag:
  10. Hells bells, if you don't like their singer don't play with them. But telling the other band you would play with them if it wasn't for the singer is some seriously rude juju. They will know well enough their singer isn't great but hey, he's got a gig and you don't.
  11. jefkritz


    Oct 20, 2007
    iowa city, IA
    I just found the talkbass buddha! :)

    at least you know he's not boring on stage. the best way to develop / hone a stage presence is to do it during practice. how else will you learn to move around while playing or do entertaining banter if not by doing it during practice?

    if he annoys you that much, don't join. but i say kudos to him for going for it, even during practice.

    and don't tell them you don't like his style. bad form.
  12. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings
    I won't play in a band that has a bad singer or musicians who do not play well and have declined offers as a result. I usually tell them that while I like what they play, I don't think we are a good fit for each other. Let them make the assumption as to why. Trust me, if you join them, you wil eventually regret it. The fact that you have doubts should tell you all you need to know.
  13. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    The problem with them thinking you are a prima donna is that it may close the door to other opportunities down the road. Maybe the singer leaves and they need a bass player again, or maybe somebody leaves the band and starts another band that needs a bass player. And they don't want to work with someone they think may be a prima donna. Think long term.


    Seriously, how do you see this turning out? Do you think they will say, "Hey we're working steady, but you don't like the singer so we'll kick him out, hire you and then go through all the hassle of trying to find another singer?"
  14. Flyingfrets


    Dec 25, 2011
    'Bout a dozen years ago, I played in a power trio. They guitarist was phenomenal on guitar...but had the WORST voice I'd EVER heard (I'm serious, his own dog cried when he sang).

    I thought his voice sucked. The drummer thought his voice sucked. Hell, EVERYBODY who ever heard the demos thought his voice sucked. The only person oblivious to how bad he was, was, you guessed it...him.

    I stayed with the gig because the music was excellent and the playing was tight. I enjoyed myself.

    He eventually bailed to go back to some heavy metal outfit he played with in the '80s. I thought he showed remarkably good sense in hiring another vocalist...until I heard the guy he hired. He made our old guitar player/vocalist sound like Pavarotti. How anybody that good on guitar could be so tone deaf about vocals always escaped me.

    Anyway, I gotta throw another vote into the "they're gigging, you're not" camp. If you wanna work, take the spot and zip the lip. I'd probably keep it zipped even if you don't take the gig. Nothing to be gained by spilling your guts.
  15. socialleper

    socialleper Bringer of doom and top shelf beer Supporting Member

    May 31, 2009
    Canyon Country, CA
    The music world is one the operates almost exclusively on word of mouth or reputation. Never feel obligated to do something you aren't interested in. At the same time, don't bad mouth other musicians because you never know where your going to be or who you are going to meet.
    Just tell them that you appreciate the offer but that you have a conflict. Answer it the same way you would if it was a call back from a job interview that you didn't like. Don't say "No, your company sucks @$$ and pays slave wages." Just say you received another offer.
  16. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Stewartsville, NJ
    As long as you don't think it will make YOU look bad, do it. As stated above "word of mouth or reputation.........". I have played with Great Bands that helped me look good too. On the flip side I have been dragged thru the mud with a couple too. JM2C
  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
    Tell them you like what they're doing, but don't feel a personal connection. They're sure to ask what you mean and, at that point, you can politely tell them, "That lead singer guy acts like a complete dork. I can't stand all those stupid antics and facial contortions he does. Who does he think he is, Brian Johnson? That, and he can't sing worth a Schick[SUP]®[/SUP]. Aside from that, I think we'd get along great."
  18. bassfran

    bassfran Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses
  19. tmdazed


    Sep 29, 2012
    yeah , I am seeing a lot of guys just itching to gig here, just tell em you are just not feeling it , but do not burn the bridge, things change in band dynamics and the only thing constant is change , hold out for a fit that feels right, don't just jump at every offer thrown your way , and don't try take on a project just because they gig , the gigs will come.
  20. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    +1 Exactly, when your the new guy in a gigging band your brought in to play bass, not to bring in ideas or opinions on the singer.

    Gigging band offers don't come as fast or as easy as "jam with friends gig 6 times a year bands."