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How to help someone with criticism

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by JN8642, Aug 5, 2017.

  1. JN8642


    Aug 19, 2015
    Hey everyone,

    I recently started a band with two old friends and two newer friends. We've all been hanging out for awhile before starting the band and have always had a great time together.

    4 out of the 5 of us are huge black metal and doom fans so we decided to start playing together and brought in the 5th guy on 2nd guitar even though he doesn't know the genre because he wanted to and because he's a who we want around.

    We all loved the first song we wrote but when we we're getting to the end of writing the 2nd song the 5th guy added a part that was very out of left field and didn't fit and when we tried changing it he got incredibly defensive because he liked what he wrote. He's been going through a lot of crappy personal issues since we started the band and I know that's a huge part of it.

    The 4 of us are all good with criticism because we know it isn't personal and that it's for the betterment of the song(We all want to write the best music we can). 5th guy said that he doesn't like the critical spotlight on him and that if we want him to change something just tell him and move on(When we tried to do that the past two weeks we might've been too nice and overly considerate of his feelings that it made him uncomfortable).

    Last night me and the other guitarist talked and are thinking maybe we should just listen to him and suggest a change to him and move on. The other guitarist almost doesn't want to do it anymore because of 5th guys' reactions to criticism. I'm trying to transfer schools for the spring semester too right now and won't be a part of the band for forever and I really really want them to continue without me when I move away and want to do what I can to make that happen.

    But before I write twelve paragraphs explaining every little detail, how can we as a group help him be ok with criticism? What would you suggest we do if we do what he suggested and just tell him to try something else and that backfires?

    Thank you all in advance!
  2. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Change "criticism" to "brainstorming".:cool:

    Just like writing a book with four other people, there will be a lot if give and take.

    If a part, by majority vote, doesn't fit, put it aside and maybe use it later. :woot:

    If one of the creators is not happy with this arrangement and wants to be a dictator, maybe he can go home and rule his own domain. Just not wherever the band is. :thumbsup:

    Just sayin'.:D
    12BitSlab likes this.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Supporting Member

    ^ = great idea!

    good luck! :thumbsup:

    and maybe talk about how "brainstorming" during writing doesn't mean that any idea is "bad," just because it isn't used in the final draft. maybe discuss how some ideas fit some tunes better than others and the only way to 'settle' on content is by majority, or whatever 'rule(s)' all of you decide. my main point = decide what the process should be and go forward.
    Stumbo likes this.
  4. JN8642


    Aug 19, 2015
    We actually haven't been using that word oddly enough lol. Oddly enough the word "brainstorm" was used a few times as well as other ways of getting him to be ok with trying other things. Majority vote still had him in a bad mood last night so the drummer suggested to him that they save that part for another song or that they use it in their main band that they're in together.
    Stumbo likes this.
  5. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    Since the drummer works with him in another band, is that how he acts there when he doesn't get his way?

    Keeping on being in a "mood" is part if bullying and a sign of immaturity.

    Trying to appease his emotional immaturity wii be seen as a sign of weakness on your part and will create future problems for the group.
  6. JN8642


    Aug 19, 2015
    I know he quit that band once for a day cause of an argument with one of their members not liking his singing(I should mention the project he's in with me is the first band he's played guitar for and was not the singer). Other than that I think they're all basically acquaintances minus him and the drummer who are best friends.

    He does have anger issues I learned.

    I'm hoping a lot of it just involves building musical chemistry and him getting more acquainted with the genre. The other 4 of us are all familiar with the style and work well together.

    Thinking about it, the song with the out of left field part is also his first attempt at writing the core of a song in this genre, the other song was mostly written by the other guitarist and myself.

    I hear you on the appeasing part, I'm just not sure on other positive ways to handle it. The other band I'm a part of(No one from this band is in it) it was basically "take the criticism or get" until we found people that could take criticism but I know we can't do that in this band since we all started out as friends. The other guitarist, vocalist, and myself were all in other bands together in the past so we're used to brainstorming and constantly changing each others parts.
  7. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Honestly the fact that he isn't familiar with metal is going to be a problem. Because all his ideas are going to be shot down...they don't fit the genre! But he does need to work with the group if he wants to stay in the band. That might mean taking a backseat to the writing process and just playing. Sometimes you can't teach people this and their egos always get the best of them.

    I've learned to be strategic about my battles in bands because when you have 5 people throwing around ideas, your's are not always going to be taken seriously. I take more of a shut up and play approach and will gladly let other people take the reigns most of the time. I just have to decide if i can live with their decisions and that is just part of having good band chemistry. I speak up when something is detrimental or have a good idea, but don't take it too hard if it doesn't stick(most of the time it doesn't!).

    My writings here don't really help solve your solution because i don't know how to change a defensive musician other than to be as respectful and polite as possible when i express a differing opinion. If he respects any particular member of the group he might accept a tough love talk("dude, check your emotions and ego at the door, or this isn't going to work"), but i really can't be sure.
    Stumbo likes this.
  8. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    There's the real issue. He has LSD.(lead singer's disease). It's not fixable. No amount of talking with the guy will change anything. LSD is not rational.
  9. JN8642


    Aug 19, 2015
    Thank you for the advice, it does help honestly, I think I'll try giving him the back seat by maybe getting together with the other guitarist before hand and writing some more of the rhythmic skeletons of the next few songs with him which will let 5th guy play to us more and in turn hopefully write leads or harmony's that will fit the vein of the song more since the scale and rhythm has been pre-established.

    If that works then hopefully a few more songs in, he'll have a much better grasp.
  10. JN8642


    Aug 19, 2015
    Oh my lol
  11. Its a group effort, anything that the group cant agree on needs to be put aside. Ask him to make that part into a new song.
    bolophonic and JN8642 like this.
  12. beans-on-toast

    beans-on-toast Supporting Member

    Aug 7, 2008
    Some people have an ego that can work against the band. If he isn't a good fit, it isn't going to work. It could be down to stress, he is the new guy. He is contributing what he knows. That may not be what you are looking for.

    On the other hand, sometimes both sides have to compromise to make things work. If he writes a bit that doesn't compliment the song, try to use it in another piece. Work with him to flesh it out. Be open, you never know where it will take you.
    JN8642 likes this.
  13. ThinCrappyTone

    ThinCrappyTone Guest

    Oct 1, 2011
    least essential role + most difficult personality = ditch him
    bolophonic likes this.
  14. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Just keep being yourselves and let him be himself. His feelings are his own responsibility, not the rest of the band's.

    Some people just take a bit more time to mature. Consider his ideas with an open mind, Try to make them fit, but if they don't work, just say so.

    If he gets pissy about it, just ignore him and don't feed his need for attention. He might adapt and grow a thicker skin or he may quit. Let him. That's his choice.

    He might also escalate and start causing drama. Try to avoid mocking him for his immaturity, after all he is part of the band and on your side, but if his antics get to the level of band disruption, show him the door immediately.

    Almost every band has that one person who is a bit of a drama queen. A little bit of that isn't a big deal, but don't encourage or nurture it.
  15. JN8642


    Aug 19, 2015
    I hear you and thank you, I appreciate the input. It's annoying when your all 23-25 and you thought everyone was past all that and then there's the one guy that isn't. But then again my other band has a 30 and a 35 year old who are both pretty bad drama queens hahaha
  16. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    new guitar player: Who likes my new riff?
    band: 3 out of 2 do not like the new riff.

    conclusion: 3>2. new riff is not part of the new song. simple.
    JN8642 likes this.
  17. bolophonic


    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Seriously. I also would never start a metal band with someone who wasn't familiar with the music.
    pcake and ThinCrappyTone like this.
  18. And I

    And I Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2009
    Witchtown, MA
    This person doesn't seem like a good fit for your band. Ego + aggressive music × guy has anger issues = mounds of bullshyt, possibly violent.
    bolophonic likes this.
  19. Lobster11

    Lobster11 Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2006
    Williamsburg, VA
    It seems to me that the guy who was invited to join the band despite having no background in the genre should be approaching this with a great deal of humility: He should be eager to learn from you guys before trying to steer you in a different direction by imposing his own ideas.

    On the flip side, it would probably behoove the rest of you to be open to the idea that this guy's influence could be good thing. There are plenty of black metal and doom bands out there that you're competing with, and incorporating some of this guy's outside-the-genre ideas might help you create a unique sound that's all your own. If the parts he's writing just aren't very good that's one thing, but don't be too quick to dismiss them because they don't fit your preconceived notions of what you think you're "supposed to" sound like.
    JN8642 likes this.
  20. mambo4


    Jun 9, 2006

    He needs to be made aware of:
    • why he is there, that is the goal/mission/vision for the band (in clear simple terms)
    • how his behavior does or does not contribute to that goal
    • that it is possible for him to behave otherwise
    • what the expectation for his behavior is (again,in clear simple terms)
    • his remaining in the band is contingent on this change
    It's a conversation that has to be had diplomatically, with realistic consideration for how he will react.
    In the end it's going to be his choice to change or not, and thus weather to remain or not.

    I admire the OP for wanting to help this guy improve his attitude.
    Frankly I feel any 'rage quitting' should always be enforced as permanent.
    It's just not a level of maturity worth allowing in a band.
    And I and JN8642 like this.
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