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Interesting Band Dilemma

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by vegaas, Nov 16, 2004.

  1. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    I am looking for your opinions on this guys because I really am not sure what to do.

    I play in a metal band called aShadeBelow. One of my best friends, Todd (who I have been friends with for 20 years and we stared playing in a band together when we were 15) plays in another metal band called Shallow Ground. The two bands have played shows together in the past. Shallow Ground has been around longer than my band. The guys in my band are a bit jealous at times of Shallow Ground because they currently have a larger following and play all around Wisconsin and Illinios.

    Here is the problem, Todd just approached me to at the very least fill in for a few shows for their bass player, and then asked if I would be interested in being permenant if things continue on the path they are on.

    I have agreed to fill in for a few shows, because he is my best friend, however; I have a feeling this is not going to go over well with my band. If the offer was made to go permanent, well I would love to be in band with my friend again, its been years since we have been in a band together, but I would never abandon my current band. If anything I would be in both bands. Again, I dont think this would go over well with my current band.

    Here are my questions to you.

    a) Do you see anything wrong with me filling in?
    b) Do you see anything wrong with me being in both bands?
    c) If my band has a problem with this, who do my allegiances belong to, my band or my best friend?

    Thanks for any input,
  2. Hey Vegaas!

    First, being in a band, unless contractually stipulated, is not like being in a mutually monogamous relationship. As long as it doesn't interfere with your current band, they really shouldn't have too much to say about it. Filling in is no problem. The guys may have issues with becoming a permanent member of the other band, but as long as it doesn't interfere... Then comes the issue of booking concurrent dates... I've always said that the first booked show gets priority, unless it's a special occasion.

    As far as who do your loyalties go with... Your call man...
  3. adam on bass

    adam on bass Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2002
    New Braunfels, Texas
    Endorsing Artist: Spector, GK, EMG and D'Addario
    Do what makes you happy. I just went through the same thing. I quit one band and joined another, then I figured I made a mistake now I am back with the previous band.

    Follow your heart. Sounds like a song.
  4. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    You have a feeling this isn't going to go over well with your other band? Are you guys in high school or something? It's a band, not a marriage. You aren't going home to your wife and saying, "Honey, our neighbor is looking fine today.. what would you think if I just slept over there tonight?" This is more along the lines of working at McDonalds and getting offered a second job at Taco Bell.

    The idea of having an allegience to the band or the friend isn't the way you should consider it but if you do, you should always put your friends first. You will always have opportunities to play music, but true friends are a lot harder to come by. If the Shade Below cats get mad at you because you are pulling double duty, you need to examine whether they are mad because they're worried they might lose their bass player or whether it's because you are ditching them as friends. In either case, it's not worth putting up with. Don't let that be a factor in your decision. IMO you're doing them a favor by even considering sticking with them rather than jumping ship for the other group entirely.

    The way I see it, there is only one real problem with you being in two bands, and that's the time problem. You either have to play more gigs together or one of the bands is going to suffer ever Friday or Saturday night. On the other hand, there are several benefits to you being in two bands, not limited to the following:
    1) The band with the small crowd will benefit from playing more often with the band with the larger crowd. If both bands are good, the crowd will benefit as well.
    2) You will benefit as a musician because you will be playing twice as much and the bands will be different so you'll have more chances to bring ideas to the table and experiment with things.
    3) If the bands pay (as opposed to having a group savings or something) you will make more and be able to afford better gear.
    4) If one of the bands is short a member for a gig, your relationship with both bands will make it easy to fill that slot on short notice, especially if you are all playing together a lot.
    5) Eventually both bands will break up. I hate to be morbid, but it happens. When it does, you are in a prime spot to get into whatever new projects spring up. You are also in a prime spot to bring other musicians from the bands together to form something better.
    6) Sharing amps/vans/PAs is a lot easier when you have a "brother band".

    Firkin is right. Do what makes you happy, not what makes everyone else happy. Follow your heart. It knows where it's going. :)
  5. spc


    Apr 10, 2004
    South of Boston
    It sounds like with these two bands in particular it might be rough doing double duty. You could try it for a while, see how it goes, but you may have to decide on one or the other. Good luck.
  6. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    Good post.

    As long as you can work out the scheduling, this will only be a good thing.
  7. I'm guessing the styles are pretty similar, so I may be way off base. Maybe to avoid double booking you can bring the primary band along to some of your shows with your friend. They can't be upset if you're getting them regular shows with a band that's doing well. You just have to pull double duty, and everyone wins (except your shoulder.) :)
  8. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    a) Nope, go ahead and fill in.

    b) If the bands are in direct competition for gigs, well maybe it's a problem. What will you do if there are scheduling conflicts? Do you have the time to devote to both (especially rehearsals)?

    c) Your allegiance goes to the band which is the best for YOU, not just today but 6 months from now, a year from now, 5 years from now.
  9. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    The fact that this would bother them is a problem. I know musicians that play with everyone, all over the country. I know guys in bands that treat the band as a cult. You will only grow more playing with other people. A member of the band I am in has that "cult" mantality, he is in for a rude awakening, because I am branching out! Try it out, fill in and then go from there. The question is do you really want to play with close minded musicians? That's an oxymoron in itself.
  10. TVD


    Jul 14, 2004
    Why does it always seem like the bass player is the guy in the band who cares the most, and cares the most about what others think? I know i've been guilty of the same thing. I do see problems with this situation. I sense some of the "cult" mantality others touched on in this thread, and there's not a doubt in my mind there will be, not might be, but WILL be some scheduling problems. Also, if your current band is somewhat jealous of this band, then no doubt this other band is doing the gigs your current band wants. That has problems written all over it from where i sit. I think really, that you need to look out for #1 a bit here. A chance to play again with your best friend in a band with a larger following and plays a bigger area? Sounds like a no brainer to me. I mean of course give your current band proper notice, but you need to do what's in your best interest too instead of trying to make everyone happy. I'm not sure you even can in this case. Sure your current band might be pissed at you for it, but my question is, what do you really want to do? If you really want to play for both bands, go for it, but there will be some headaches for sure you'll have to deal with out of it. Trent
  11. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    It think it just goes with the bass player mentality of supporting the other players.

    I got cured of worrying about everybody else once I started playing in bands with professionals and noticed how many outside gigs they took in order to keep their calendars full.

    Now I do the same, I have a band that is my #1 priority but anything else that comes my way that doesn't interfere with #1 is fair game.
  12. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
  13. Nick man

    Nick man

    Apr 7, 2002
    Tampa Bay
    I already shared my opinion, now Ill share my experience.

    Im in a 4 piece punk band right now. My guitarist and drummer both play in other bands.

    My guitarist plays in 2 other punk bands that are kinda part of the family. When we have a show we try to book the other punk bands on the same night so we draw a bigger crowd and help each other out. Our drummer plays in a ska band and a blues band. We've also played shows with his ska band and its helped get *a lot* of people to our shows. Scheduling is a bit difficult, but manageable and never really a problem as long as everyone understands the meaning of the word compromise. A nice bonus is that when someone breaks a string or cant find a cable, there is another musician in the crowd with gear who knows and trusts you and is willing to help out. Ive actually arranged something with the bassist of one of the other bands so that next time we play together, I bring the head, and he brings the cab so we both get to carry less, and sound better.

    Really, there is no reason a reasonable person would have a problem with this. If you guys are the same style, it will only help.
  14. cosmodrome

    cosmodrome Registered User

    Apr 30, 2004
    ****town, Netherlands

    freedom! the guys from my band play in different bands too sometimes. why not? it will make you a better musician, broaden your horizon and all that. don't understand why they wouldn't let you do it except for jealousy or something.
  15. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    The way to grow as a musician is to gig often, play with as many different musicians as you can and as often as you can; play as many different styles as you can; its better to be playing than in the audience watching.

    I'd rather have a regular pick-up jazz or blues gig on a weeknight than sit at home and veg in front of the TV. Its musically productive.
  16. Okay, here's something you need to know: people can be in more than one band, and people in those bands need to realize that you can be in more than one band! Dude, as soon as you get to the pro musicians, there all over there in different bands with different people.
  17. vegaas


    Nov 6, 2001
    OK, well I am defintely filling in.

    What I think you guys dont understand is what I consider jealousy and perceived rivalry by my band, between the two bands. The guys in my band are good guys, but they are always bringing up my friends band. Like most bands, the guys in my band think that we are better and I can tell my friends bands success gets to them a little once in a while. As for me, I feel both bands have their strengths and weakness's.

    Under normal circumstances this wouldnt be a problem at all, but because of who the other band is, it may cause a problem.
  18. msquared


    Sep 19, 2004
    Kansas City
    I've been in your situation before and I understand it. It's not abnormal at all. Good call on filling in.
  19. LiquidMidnight


    Dec 25, 2000
    This is exactly what I was thinking. The truth is that you have to look out for yourself in this business. You have to do what is going to better your career. It's not always that cut and dry; it's possible to burn bridges, and it's possible to hurt feelings that you care about.

    People advocate the multi-band approach here quite often. As I have stated numerous times - it's one thing if you have an acoustic act or Jazz combo that plays on the side, but it's very difficult to be in two bands that reguarly gig on the weekend. If a player in my band started playing fulltime in another band, I would probaly consider looking for a replacement and then firing him/her. It's not because of being shelfish, but I won't/can't comprimise booking for the band because I have to schedule around someone's bookings with another band. Don't get me wrong; I think that freelancing is great. I'm "on call" for a few bands if they need a player to get them out of a pinch. I just think that playing full-time with two bands who book on the same schedule is a bad idea. Unless, of course, you really are a free-lancer; then it should be first come, first serve.
  20. 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
    Do the sub gigs, then assess whether you'd be better off in your existing band or the other one. The answer may become evident after you play in your friend's band. I played in two bands for two years. You have to make it clear to both bands which one has priority when a conflict comes up. It can work. It turns out that half of the old band is now in the new band.