Losing Your Job To Injury

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by HamOnTheCob, Apr 12, 2017.

  1. Not looking for advice, just making conversation.

    In sports, there's a well-known unwritten rule that you don't lose your job to injury. If you're the starting quarterback, for instance, and the backup plays better than you in your absence, you still get your job back when you recover.

    Has anyone here dealt with that sort of scenario in a band?

    I've previously documented some issues with our drummer being sub-par. He doesn't practice, and he hasn't gotten better during the two years I've been in the band. I've talked to him repeatedly and tried to get him to work on the issue, but no dice. He recently had a back issue that required surgery, and we got a fill-in for a couple shows we have coming up so we don't have to cancel them. We had our first rehearsal with the fill-in last week, and though he was completely new to the genre and unfamiliar with any of the music on our set list, he was better than our regular drummer from the first song. Better tempo, better feel, more seamless transitions and fills, etc. Last night we had our second rehearsal and he was even night and day better than he was last week, and I feel confident assuming he'll be even better next rehearsal.

    As sure as we have always been that drumming was a major weakness in our band, it's even more painfully evident now that we have something for comparison and the gap between the two can be measured in light years. The entire band is of the mind that we cannot go back. The near future will be interesting, to say the least.

    Again, I'm not looking for advice, just making conversation and wondering if anyone else has dealt with anything like this, and if so, how did you handle it?

  2. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    As someone who played drums for many years before picking up a bass, I'm more sensitive to this issue than most bass players.

    I once became the replacement bass player in a band where the long-time drummer was what I'll term "adequate." Decent timing, but devoid of skill beyond rudiments, and no real desire to improve his craft. Did one gig with a sub drummer (not a medical issue but rather a legitimate family scheduling thing) and immediately noticed a night-and-day improvement in the band's groove. The consensus among the other band members was that while the original drummer was hardly ideal, his punctuality, reliability and knack for booking the occasional decent gig had earned him tenure.
    HamOnTheCob likes this.
  3. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    The quarterback does not always get his job back.

    If I already spoke to the guy like you have: " I've previously documented some issues with our drummer being sub-par. He doesn't practice, and he hasn't gotten better during the two years I've been in the band." Then he would lose the job whether he had an injury or not.
    Tbone76, bolophonic and HamOnTheCob like this.
  4. hondo4life

    hondo4life Guest

    Feb 29, 2016
    I worry about this - not for a band, but for my job job. My job is all about physical labor and dexterity, but I keep hurting myself. My hip collapsed spontaneously and I couldn't even walk for two days. Luckily, it happened on a Saturday, and I was back on my feet enough by Monday that I could work. If anything happens so I can't work for a long period of time, I could definitely lose my job. The work needs to get done, and they will find someone else to do it. Maybe I need AFLAC or something.
  5. Hmm, you might want to tell that to Drew Bledsoe and Tony Romo!
    HamOnTheCob and Kevnn4 like this.
  6. The saying is entirely true, but equally meaningless. Just because you don't lose your job for being injured, it doesn't automatically follow that you can't lose it while you're injured.
  7. I've been working at my current company since 2007, but before that I got hired on with a supplemental insurance company as a field agent/case manager. We did house calls, mostly to try to upgrade the policies of people who already had some form of incident where they made use of some sort of supplemental coverage (AFLAC is just one company that offers this). Nothing will convince you to have supplemental insurance like hearing real people tell their stories about how they would've lost their house, or car, or hobby, etc, if they didn't have this coverage when they got hurt. I have it, and I don't even do anything remotely close to physical labor. But you never know! Highly recommend it, and depending who you go through, the premium is pretty affordable.

    LoL I'm not saying no one ever breaks this rule, and it's "unwritten" for a reason, but plenty of teams observe it, and plenty of stellar backup quarterbacks have gone on to be starters for other teams after losing their job to the original starter, even when the backup's performance was clearly superior, much to the ire of loads of fans (whether a reasonable reaction to the decision or not).

    Thanks for the replies, guys!
  8. The regular drummer is punctual, and as far as being able to count on him to show up to rehearsals or shows, or count on him to handle something non-music-related or something, he's reliable in that way, but when I think of "reliable", I also consider things like, "Can I rely on him to practice? Can I rely on him to be prepared? Can I rely on him to get me from intro to outro with some sort of consistent tempo? Can I rely on him to recognize and remediate his issues on stage?" and when I ask those questions, the answer to each of them is "No."

    He has countless great qualities, and we all like him a lot. We're all friends outside the band, so it's not a situation where we can't stand him and just want rid of him, but those factors are the only reason we've stuck with him this long. I feel like you can only give someone so many hints, and then downright direct confrontations, before the leash runs out. And that's what we have here, unfortunately.

    I hope he'll step down from drums and shift to a managerial/booking agent role. We want him around. But we want what's best for the band, and by extension, the music.

    bassplayer2014 likes this.
  9. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    I remember you had a post about your drummer sometime back...guess nothing has changed. I don't know what to really tell you except a drummer is the heart of the band and a bad one can make your night really difficult. I have been blessed for the most part to have always played with good drummers.
    If the rest of your band noticed the sub was better then you are all fooling yourselves over the issue here. Talk to your bandmates. Glad to see you guys are still out and playing. I'm into the modern country thing now with a covers band and staying pretty busy...lots of fun.
    HamOnTheCob and Jimmy4string like this.
  10. Yeah man a drummer is key -doubly frustrating if you are playing bass and trying to deal with it.
    Our drummer is ALWAYS late to practice. Just something we have come to accept. *shrugs*
    These drummers man -what do ya do. I hope your friend\drummer gets well soon.
    HamOnTheCob likes this.
  11. It's been a while since we talked! I still haven't gotten my act together and called the venues up around your neck of the woods! I will soon though.
  12. bassplayer2014

    bassplayer2014 Inactive

    Jun 7, 2014
    From my perspective your drummer is choosing to do all these counter-productive things. It's not your choice to replace him. He is choosing to be replaced by not purposefully meeting his drumming obligations.

    At 56 years old myself I have a very short "let him go" fuse.

    You either chose to be part of the band by doing your part or you choose not to be part of the band by not doing your job. Allowing him to continue with his less than satisfactory performance is enabling him to choose to continue doing sub standard drumming.

    If the fill in drummer rocks and you all groove better with the fill in just politely and professionally tell the old drummer the truth, your services are no longer needed, we have another better fit drummer and move on.
    Renaissance, HamOnTheCob and EdO. like this.
  13. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    We are looking down you way as well.
    HamOnTheCob likes this.
  14. Tell that to Wally Pipp. Sounds like you may have found your Lou Gherig

    Band members can be replaced at any time, and there is always a better player out there for any position in a band. The decision to replace band members is not always based on ability but if the band has already been discussing replacing, and is in agreement on replacing the drummer this may be the perfect time to do so.
    bolophonic and HamOnTheCob like this.
  15. Pumpkin


    May 19, 2016
    Washington, DC
    Don't forget Alex Smith!
  16. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Unless the band is paying your mortgage, I agree that an injury, unless it negatively impacts the band, should not be a reason for someone to lose a spot.

    But here, it sounds like the drummer, when healthy, wasn't cutting the mustard, and wasn't trying to improve. Independent of the injury, there was reason to look for solutions.

    I am in a band that is taking a month off for one person. But he has a reason to need the time off, is a killer player, and a great person.
    HamOnTheCob likes this.
  17. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    are you sure you have the option?
    A lot of sub players might shy away from taking a gig like that. I know I would.
    HamOnTheCob likes this.
  18. It's all but a done deal. As stated originally, this isn't a thread about "What should I do?", it was just a general conversation asking what other people would do or have done in similar scenarios.
  19. Steve


    Aug 10, 2001
    I think I just did. :)
    Typically, I would not run at anyone else's gig and I damnsure wouldn't run at a permanent spot from a sub gig. That is an outstanding way to stop the phone from ringing
    HamOnTheCob likes this.
  20. I was more referring to your question about whether or not I'm sure I have that option. No harm intended at all. Thank you for joining the conversation, my man!