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I quit my band tonight.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by JB Lars, Aug 23, 2007.

  1. JB Lars

    JB Lars

    May 24, 2000
    Chicago Suburbs
    It wasn't too hard a decision, but I thought the tale might elicit some sighs of recognition from TB.

    I haven't played in a band since 1993. In the interim, I played one gig with a punk band, and jammed for about three minutes with another. Literally three minutes, it was during their rehearsal, and I sat in while the real bassist went for a beer and a piss. That was seven years ago.

    I started getting the itch again about a year ago, and got a rig together. My Traynor Mono Block B / G-K Backline 410 and brand new Squier VM TB answered an ad for a 70's album rock band. My kinda stuff. Emails were exchanged, a set of songs was offered up for me to learn, and a date set.

    The material didn't exactly set me on fire (Born To Be Wild, Paranoid, Tush, et cetera), but since this was a brand-new group, I thought perhaps these were the building block songs. You know, the ones that everyone calls when feeling each other out for vibe. Besides, there was some Zeppelin in the list that I'd never learned because JPJ intimidates me. So I happily got to woodshedding.

    Got to the first rehearsal and after introductions and caveats all around concerning how rusty we all were, we started into "Tush". Bad juju immediately. The drummer's shuffle was like the intro to "We Will Rock You". Zero groove. "Paranoid" didn't go so bad. Drummer (who is also the founder/leader) asks for a count-in to "Good Times, Bad Times", which I found really odd for obvious reasons.

    All the same, I was happy just to be playing with other people again, and it was going okay. What's more, I found out in a hurry that I'm still fairly good. Really, it was like riding a bike, much to my surprise and delight. Then the first "incident" happened.

    One of the songs on the list is "Day Tripper". Great, I like that song just fine. But the rest of the list was pretty firmly in a harder-rocking way, leaving the Fab Four sticking out like a sore thumb. Have you considered, I asked the drummer, Cheap Trick's arrangement of the song to bring it in line thematically with the rest of the material? Let me tell you friends, the guy freaked OUT. BAD. Just completely lost his ****. I hadn't even known him an hour at this point. Once he settled down, he explained that in his three previous outfits, he'd been pushing for a Beatles arrangement of a Beatles song, and was stonewalled every time. Fair enough. We'll find other material to segue into and out of that one.

    Talking later about the things we all liked, the guitarist brought up The Police, and asked what I thought of "Message In A Bottle". Drummer snarks that he doesn't know why we're even discussing this again, as he's already refused to play it, claiming he simply cannot play ska. Somehow, I believe him. Nevertheless, that's two freak-outs inside of two hours. I shoulda known (and prob'ly did) right then. It doesn't get any better when he reveals he's never heard of Uriah Heep and doesn't know the Allmans' "One Way Out".

    Next rehearsal, I ask around to see what everyone thought of our repertoire. Were we passionate about this stuff, or were they the building blocks I'd assumed? Drummer gets pissy. I let it go. He mentions "Day Tripper", and I say that it's important to him, so we're doing it. He seems genuinely moved. We all start talking about Beatles songs, and I mention that I love Beatles songs so much, that I even love the Sgt. Pepper's movie. I also admit to flat-out loving the Bee Gees. "Bee Gees? They did that one great record, right? Animal Noises?" Sigh. No, that's Beach Boys. Pet Sounds. The new songs for the week go with some trouble, and it turns out that drummer doesn't have the records. He watches performances on YouTube, then goes downstairs and plays what he remembers.

    I'd made reference CDs for everyone with the first nine songs of our set on them. After rehearsal is over, I'm talking about the next reference CD, and what would everyone like to try out? Drummer stews for a while, then explodes that we're gonna play the 15 songs he picked out. Period. "I started this band so that…" Oh snap. He went there. He played the 'it's MY band' card. I calmly explain that nobody's trying to preempt him, but of the 15, there's only 6 left. It doesn't surprise me that such simple arithmetic eludes him, as he's increasingly having trouble counting to four. At any rate, six songs is a waste of a CD, we've already learned nine, and I'm looking into next month. I don't wanna be caught flat-footed and stagnate for a month. Everyone joins in in salving his bruised ego.

    As I'm packing up, he apologizes but stands firm. If we don't pick a set and stick to it, we'll never leave the basement, he claims. Which is true, but not the point I was making. He tells me how good we have it, that his brother has to play "867-5309" every night, and what a drag that is. Thing is, I LOVE that song, so… try again. In the car home, I decide I've attended my last rehearsal with this guy. I'm bummed because the guitarist and I are on the same page, and of a similar skill and situation in that we both have careers. We aren't looking for this to be a part-time job, we're looking to have a ball.

    True to my word, I make the reference CDs for everyone, and head off to this week's get-together. I tell the guitarist what's up when he notices I'm sans bass. He understands, and respects my decision. Drummer, however…

    At first he's all calm about it, like he gets it. As the seconds tick away, however, he gets increasingly (and visibly) upset. "You woulda had your pick of songs eventually!" Not the point, bro. I'd given it some thought, and he's right. He DID start the band. And he has every right to pursue his muse without me peeing in his Wheaties over what I feel is a boring set. I tell him so, and wish him luck. "Really, I'd just be getting in your way. We have very different ideas about band identity, and I should step aside rather than waste your time." He asks what I'd be playing were it up to me. I tell him that I have a taste for slightly more obscure material. Hits, but lesser-known ones. At this point, he just gets snotty. "Oh, so material that the audience won't have a clue about 70% of the time? Yeah, that's cool." Right about here, guitarist kindly intervenes and asks if I need help with my rig. Drummer pointedly does not offer to help. As I'm leaving, my last sight of him is one where he's pacing, visibly shaking with rage.

    So, I know I can still play. That's good. And I found out that even in my 30s, there's band drama. Not so good. Either way, I've got new confidence going forward, looking for cats who see it my way.
  2. WarriorJoe7

    WarriorJoe7 Banned

    Mar 12, 2004
    Syracuse, NY
    good job. you handled it well. the drummer seems like a typical singer LOL. Nah I just think anyone who plays the "its my band" card usually has this attitude, though they might not be so explosive.

  3. The_D

    The_D Well, thats like your opinion. Man...

    Mar 20, 2004
    Fife, Scotland
    Sounds like an ass to me. Good job in getting out and keeping your cool throughout.

    If you want another gig you will get one. There is always a band looking for a bass player ;)
  4. Nice post. I think you handled it wonderfully. I'm also in my 30's, and have a career... so music to me has to be FUN. Save the drama for your mama!
  5. darkside 88

    darkside 88

    Feb 23, 2005
    Bay Area, CA

    That's terrible.

    I mean, I've heard plenty of stories like this about guitarists and singers, but I'd expect a drummer to be more grounded and sensible.

    I guess he was in a few bands with aforementioned pushy singers and guitarists, so he started his own so he could be the bully.
  6. shannons


    May 29, 2007
    W. Seattle, WA
    Endorsing artist: Ampeg
    Well, there's nothing wrong with standing your ground. You sound like you tried your best to be diplomatic. Besides, who wants to deal with a guy like that?
  7. Did you get the guitarist's phone number? It sounds like he was right on the same page as you and it wont be too long before he bails too. Call him and ask if he's interested in starting up something more on your page and ask him for HIS input and see if you can enjoy something without the drummer. Even if you guys get together and do an acoustic set or something, or look for a drummer together. Tons of options there.
  8. figuredbass

    figuredbass Supporting Member

    Jul 11, 2007
    NYC vicinity
    Excellent decision, and it's great you didn't waste time making it. You'll find another band with a leader who's a decent person and not a head case. And they'll be happy to have you.
  9. LOL, that's a classic line right there. :p

    Sounds like he lacks the people skills necessary to be a part of a band. You don't respond to every conflict by throwing a tantrum -- most people learn that by about age 4. :eyebrow:

    Better luck next time.
  10. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    you've probably read my recent thread, I can feel your pain bro. you did the right thing. now, get right back out there.
  11. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    I run a band where we all have careers outside of music. If iti isn't fun, bet out. We solicited everone's ideas for songs. I then made up my ideal setlist from it and we spent an hour and a half tweaking it to everyone's liking.

    Everyone knows I'm the leader of the band. Even democracies have presidents, but I believe bands should be run as democracies. This guy is over the top.
  12. HOLY 5th GRADE!! He whipped out the "It's my blah blah...." card!! That's classic!!! ROTFL!!!!:D

    Did he follow that up with "I'm taking my ball and going home!" :spit: LOL!!!!

    I've NEVER been in a band situation where someone responded with such immaturity!!

    Heck, I probably would've laughed in his face after hearing that!!!

    Anyhoot, you handled the whole deal like a true pro!

    Better luck on your next band!:bassist:
  13. I agree with the others that it might be worth it staying in touch with the guitarist. I bet this "band" doesn't last too much longer given the drummer's attitude.
  14. BillMason

    BillMason Supporting Member

    Mar 6, 2007
    I can't say anything that hasn't been said already, but felt I had to chime in and also voice my congrats on the way you handled that situation!! Very well done. I also agree that you and the guitar player should hook up.

    I've been doing a duo thing with a guitar player who sings and it's been going great - although we just aded a drummer and another guitar player, and now we all seem mired in agreeing on a set list. :( The original guitar player wants to do stuff that is well suited for a duo, and the rest of us wanna rock. :bassist: Not so much fun now... I've been thinking of taking the original guitar player back to a duo and splitting off the second guitar player and the drummer to form a completely different band, and doing both gigs simultaneously. It might work out, just not sure how I would handle making that separation without hurting anyone's feelings.
  15. johnvice


    Sep 7, 2004
    If anyone has two temper tantrums within the first two hours I know them; that's it.
  16. Yeah, that guy really sounds like a spoiled turd.

    It was said farther up that he probably just wanted the chance to be the bully after being bullied around.
    All the more reason not to be a jerk, I suppose.
  17. Good for you for not hanging around with that type of behaviour. I would have gotten out of there, too.

    In my experience (I'm 47, been playing bass/singing lead since about 1974), I've encountered this situation a a variety of levels a few times. Only one was about as bad as yours, and I left that one pretty fast, too.

    One of the easiest band situations I've ever been in was when I was working full-time in an office day gig. I was playing in two bands. One was a blues band that hosted a regular blues jam on Tuesday nights, and maybe did a big party or casual about once or twice a month. I was playing guitar in that band, and the singer was the focus (good blues front guy with a lot of charisma). That was a really easy, fun and low pressure gig. I was also with a variety band that did a lot of "animal circuit" (Eagles, Moose, Elks, VFW's) places. I was strictly a hired hand, and was told that from the start, so there was never any confusion of my role. If I didn't like that, I didn't have to take it. I loved it. The leader called the tunes, what keys we did them in, the arrangements - everything. As a guy who had a very stressful day gig, this was great. I just showed up, set up, played, got paid very good money, and worked about 3-4 nights a week with him for 10 years. You can do the math, but that's a LOT of groceries and tanks of gas.


    Now that I'm a full-time musician though, having creative control is what I want (and now have time for). The trio I'm in is a complete democracy, and it's been working wonderfully for about 4+ years. Life is good...

  18. Silas Martinez

    Silas Martinez

    Jan 17, 2007
    Denver, CO
    Bummer about the band - too bad about the dumber. I've been lucky to work with some really good drummers. My bad card has be gui****s.

    That being said, the poster above who said you should stay in contact with the guitarist is right - if he was any good, well, *good* guitarists are relatively rare, and compatible goods ones are pretty valuable.

    I quit a band recently - fortunately, it was low/no drama. Then I hooked up with a couple of guys that I played with about a year ago who wanted to put together a project that sounded interesting to me. Well, thats now going pretty good, except for a snafu with that guitarist, which should probably be a subject for another thread.
  19. Vanceman


    Feb 14, 2007
    So. Cal.
    Were we in the same band?

    I just quit a side project that was being run by the drummer. 5 months and only 8 playable songs. I hated the set list, which was constantly changing depending on which side of the bed the drummer woke up on. He didn't pull the "this is my band", but suggestions were not well received, he was sometimes impossible to talk to, and he did throw several hissy fits. He's 44 years old, so this behaviour is not just for 30 somethings and 4th graders.

    First, the singer/2nd guitarist quit after he had enough. Did so by email. Drummer was pissed that singer didn't have the balls to call him on the phone. I made sure I quit by email also just to drive home a point. I know it's not the most upstanding thing to do, but I don't want to hurt the drummers feelings with the truth. The lead guitarist know exactly how I feel.
  20. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    "Animal Noises"...Oooooooh myyyyyyy goodness.

    Ignorant *and* bad-tempered...you sure don't need that! Sounds like you did the right thing! Maybe when that guitarist gets tired of him, the two of you can find a good drummer who isn't a jerk and get something going!


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