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Long post, but I'm having a problem, please help.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by CaptainHueso, Jan 27, 2006.


  1. Alright, this may get long, but here it is. I've been playing the bass for a little over 4 years, and have been playing in only one band during that time. The frontman plays rhythm guitar and sings lead, as well as writes 99.9% of the material we perform. I love his writing and can't imagine separating from the music he writes. When we started the band it was he and I, and a drummer friend of ours from high school. Over the course of a few years we worked up around 25 to 30 performable original songs, and probably 5 to 10 good covers that we like (we usually only do 1 or 2 per show). We ended up hiring a lead guitar player, and over 2 years the position has changed people 3 times, and the current guy has been with us the longest, at a year and 3 months. Well, our drummer recently moved away to another city which is 2 hours away, and our lead guitar player is in rehab right now (long story, he's not even a substance abuser, just a little crazy). The frontman and I didn't like either of these things, because we've been playing with these guys for so long, that we perform and write music like clockwork. We all know exactly what we all want to hear on each part, and for the most part things have been moving seamlessly and beautifully.

    I always heard stories about people having trouble working with band members and practices and gigs always being a chore, but that was rarely ever the case with us, but now things have suddenly changed after 4 years of greatness. Our drummer has no vehicle and is too busy with school, partying, and his girlfriend to make any effort to come practice or even play shows. He's already turned town 4 or 5 gigs since he's been gone at the beginning of this month!

    We decided that since he's becoming increasingly difficult to work with that we would start trying out other drummers. He's still got 3 years of school left to go (music major, took 2 years off after his sophomore year), and it's only going to get rougher for his schedule, so it looks like it isnt going to work. It's also difficult to find a drummer who can click with us like he did, after extensive training and years of playing in the band. The new guy shows promise but it just won't be the same.

    Now today we get a call from our lead guitar player in rehab and he tells us he isnt coming back (decided to stay in the city he's in, 4 hours away), but will see if he can get rides here for shows (he has no car). We agree on how ridiculous this idea is, and while he said he doesnt want to be out of the band, if he doesnt come back it obviously won't work.

    So now in the course of one month, we've gone from a well oiled machine, pumping out new music pretty quickly, getting better and better, and on the right track for what we believe to be success, to now back where we started 4 years ago without a drummer and a guitar player.

    How do we recover from something like that, especially in a town with limited resources as far as good funk/progressive musicians go? We realize it may be a blessing in disguise, but we just took a huge leap backward, and that is so discouraging. We realize also that the music that we're used to hearing is going to have to change. You can't have half the band change and expect it to sound the same. Do any of you have any advice on how to make this kind of difficult transition work? We're pretty bummed about it, but have no plans of quitting, but what are we to do!

    The worst part is that these guys are our best friends, so it's not like firing just anybody. This isnt just going to result in us severing a musical relationship, but personal relationships, becuase they don't think they should be out of the band. They both think that we should just wait for them while they do their thing, and only gig once or twice a year or something (not willing to put any effort into what we're doing, just waiting for success to be handed to them). They're going to see it as us betraying them. Any advice on how to do that painlessly?

    This post sounds mostly like venting, but if any of you have been in a similar situation, please offer some advice or something. Sorry for the length, thanks to those of you who actually read it. If anybody's interested, here's our band's myspace page to see what we sound like: www.myspace.com/bulletproofbrown. Cheers guys!
     
  2. fretlessrock

    fretlessrock Supporting Member

    Aug 8, 2002
    Corrupticut
    I've been in similar situations... My advice is to focus on recording demo material and keep working on it. If you and the songwriter are serious about it then you need to continue to be the core, and have the material as nailed down as you can have it. That way you have fully fleshed out demo material for the new guys to learn from. If you want reliable sidemen, then you need to do the legwork to set them up. A relaible cat is not going to show up and see no demo material and say: sure I'll spend months of you trying to teach me the material, unpaid, so we can gig...

    If these guys are good friends then they should see that you are doing what you have to.
     
  3. Right on man. We've actually got two studio demos, and scratch recordings of all of our other original songs for audition purposes. Is a good policy to put up advertisements, and when you find people, to give them a demo of our stuff, some time to work on it and then just set up an audition? What is the best way to try out new guys, because we've got the demo taken care of. Thanks for the reply.
     
  4. Sounds like the two guys are being pretty unfair...it sounds like they want you to basically put the band on hold while they do whatever they want with their lives.

    You need to make them understand that if they can't commit to the band (which is understandable if they live 2-4 hours away) you will start to find replacements. Wish them the best and make them understand there are no hard feelings, but it's unrealistic for you to put the band on hold while they do whatever they want.
     
  5. Tingly

    Tingly

    Jul 16, 2005
    Yonkers, NY
    I listened to you on MySpace, and you guys are really good. But I don't think the whole crazy arrangement you described above is going to work. Surely you know that creating high quality music takes time and effort. Worse yet, I have no advice. Sorry.
     
  6. Dkerwood

    Dkerwood

    Aug 5, 2005
    Midwest
    Welcome to my world. Seems like we can rarely get past the critical mass of 1 year with a musician. I finally had to train my sister to play bass to get a reliable bassist.

    We're coming up on one year with our current drummer, and we think he'll be able to stay for a while *fingers crossed*.

    Put up fliers, and see what comes out of it. Also use your network to help get the word out and see if you can't hook up with some new players.

    The key is to play with a few people and see what is important. Are you wanting to retain the exact same sound and feel? That is, do you want to find a drummer and guitarist that will "cover" your tunes? Or do you want to find a couple of guys who will play a part in the creative process? Either way is fine, but the second route will change the sound of your band... possibly significantly.

    It's likely that you'll want to fall somewhere in the middle, but you'll want to talk to your bandmate to see exactly what you want.

    As far as auditioning, I'd advise exactly what you suggested - give the candidate a demo cd, give him a week or two to learn the tunes, and try him out. Rinse and repeat. Don't rule out someone who's living a distance away. I had a drummer who drove 40 minutes to come practice. And he was glad to do it.

    Yes, it's a setback. I've had to relearn the same setlist a dozen times with different band members, but you do what you have to do. With luck, you'll be back up to speed in a few weeks, and back to full strength in a few months.

    Enjoy the process! You'll be meeting two new best friends! Look at it that way, and the whole thing will be a lot easier.
     
  7. 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
    You don't have to fire anybody ... they've already quit. It looks like you're in for a series of auditions. I'm auditioning people right now to try and reconstruct a couple of bands, and I've come to realize that patience will have to play a big part in the process (we've auditioned a few from the karaoke crowd). They need to hang with their drunken, tone-deaf friends for the validation they crave.
     
  8. buzzbass

    buzzbass Shoo Shoo Retarded Flu !

    Apr 23, 2003
    NJ
    " Sh*t Happens "
    F. Gump - 1975

    The only way to do this without hurt feelings is to dissolve the whole thing and start anew with different people. Sure it sucks that all that time and work will be thrown away, but it probably is the only way you can stay friends. Don't get down about it, it's part of being a musician. Remember what Forrest said (see quote above).
     
  9. SteveC

    SteveC Supporting Member

    Nov 12, 2004
    North Dakota
    Lots of posts lately on this or similar issues. It's really hard to get like-minded peolpe together at the same time with the same ideas and direction.

    See my post about the band heading in a different direction.
     
  10. Given what he described in the original post, I wouldn't see a reason for dissolving the whole band. TThe two guys just plum went and left the band. That is their choice. Basically, they've already quit the band without giving the courtesy of telling anyone. Either that, or they view the band as basically a non-serious plaything they can come back to whenever they feel is convenient for them, without regard to anyone else.
     
  11. Thanks for the replies fellas. This is all stuff that I kind of know, just wanted more opinions and it makes me feel better knowing that I'm not really out of line in my opinions. Sure they've been good friends, and are talented. But all in all, they don't understand that talent and good songs arent going to give you success, so they think they can just wait for us to hand it to them. It was mentioned earlier about the 1 year curse, and we've experienced that for sure. We started the band, and for a year had no 2nd guitar player, then we've been going through them on a yearly basis. Whenever that time rolls around these dudes flake out like clockwork. In the months of November-January, we're always replacing a guitar player. We've been practicing with a new drummer, and while he's a hell of alot easier to work with, he's a bit farther behind as far as music training goes (our old drummer has had 10+ years of professional drum training, and classical composition). It'll take some work but he'll be fine. We still haven't quite narrowed down what we want to do about guitar. Our frontman is considering hiring another rhythm player and having himself take over on lead responsibilities, which would be cool, but also take alot of work. We have a big music festival coming up at the beginning of march, so we've got a long way to go in a little bit of time. It's gonna take compromise on our sound either way. On most of our more popular tunes, we'd like to keep them as similar to the old way as possible, but we're also thinking about taking this opportunity to cut some older material and perhaps go foreward with some different musical ideas and new songs for a new band kind of. Anyhow thanks for the replies guys, I'll keep this board posted on the progress.
     
  12. basste

    basste

    Oct 8, 2003
    France
    I think they will easily understand the problem. The band and your music seems to be an important thing to grow up for you. And you can't lose your time in waiting for them. We only have one life...
    For the new bandmates, you should discuss in first, with candidates, about band goal, reharsal frequency, how you work and how you want continue working. And then try their playing if all this chapter is ok for all.
    Now, your songs and music will evolve with new bandmates. I think it is a thing you must admit if you want to create band in which anybody want to sincerely commit.
    If you want to keep your songs and music like they are now, you will have to hire guys just for playing. But you will not have a real "band" like you seems to want to have.
    Get up, stand up, you will find some cool guys around ;)