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my band's falling apart

Discussion in 'Bass Humor & Gig Stories [BG]' started by Whitebread, Nov 9, 2000.

  1. Whitebread


    Jun 26, 2000
    Good gracious, this sure does suck. About a week ago our rhythm guitarist quit to join a ska band which he had been practicing with for a little while. This was okay because our singer is better at playing guitar anyways, so it was no big deal. We thought it was kind of funny though that he would join a ska band, with how much he tries to be punk.

    Matt, the singer/guitarist, and I just kind of shrugged it off and figured we would be fine. We told our drummer Jordan, and he gave his usual opinionless nod. Now it seems that he is quitting too, because he doesn't want to play punk anymore. I guess he wants to play heavy metal or some crap like that now. But it seems that he will just be joining another punk band that is just starting out. So now he will still be playing punk, but just with people who don't know how to put on their guitars.

    I'm not sure of my point in posting this, it just has me irritated. I don't know what me and matt should do with the band, there isn't exactely a surplus of drummers around. Well maybe if we wait jordan will eventually come back.

    Sorry for wasting your time.
  2. let me get this straight
    you still have a singer, a drummer, and you play bass
    i don't think guitar players are hard to come by.
    if he was a freind i guess its a bummer that you may have lost a freind, but maybe you guys should regroup and see if there is another path you all want to go down, or maybe whip out your albums of famous power trios.
    been down the same road many years back, found a replacement a couple of weeks later and enjoyed myself more
    good luck

    ps. sorry i just read your post again, i guess the drummer might be hitting the road, well if he stays cool, but understand you have bass and vocals the two main parts of a band that are always in the wanted ads. guitar players and drummers breed like wild fire i am sure you will be able to find replacements if you want to
    again good luck, and keep us all up to date of the news

    [Edited by gruffpuppy on 11-09-2000 at 10:23 PM]
  3. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    White bread,

    Is this your first band? It took me a few bands to get over breakup anxieties.

    Things I've learned:

    -- Three things keep band together: music, money, socializing (friendship) and you need TWO of the three to keep the band going. People will leave otherwise.

    -- Sometimes one member leaving will be the "last straw" for one or more other members. Bands are most vulnerable when changing lineups. I have been in a few that actually broke up while auditioning new members.

    -- Musicians often don't know what they really want or can't articulate it. Your drummer may still like playing punk just not with YOU.

    -- Don't let your identity get too tied up with the band. Bands come and go, if you stick with music you will play in many, many bands over the course of your life. I can't even remember all the bands I've played in over the last twenty years. I'm still here and still playing and my current bands are the best I've been in yet.
  4. Whitebread


    Jun 26, 2000
    Well, it seems that we were supposed to play a show tonight. It's pretty funny because the girl that was putting on the show called matt at about 4:30 today asking where we were. Matt told her that terry and jordan had left, but it seems she already knew that. Matt told me that she was yelling at him saying we had a commitment, although she had figured things out with terry. When she called him yelled at him because there was THREE people waiting for us to play. She hadn't sent out flyers or anything, and we just figured the show was cancelled.

    It also seems that Jordan is already thinking about rejoining the band. Well I don't think he had it thought out when he quit, he's just not the thinking type. Today he was talking about a "reunion", which I'm pretty sure means he wants back in but isn't sure yet.

    Whatever, maybe jordan will return or we'll get a new drummer. Or we can get acoustic guitars and become a folk duo.
  5. JWC

    JWC Banned

    Oct 4, 2000
    Yeah, you can't let the band be your identity. It is too late for me I am afraid. Most of my old friends I had years ago are no longer my friends. My friends now, generally, are fellow area musicians and people I meet at gigs. The radio station people here only know me as a band member. So does the local music magazine I write a column for. You got to know who you are and that you are just as important whether you play in a band or not. Kind of hard to make yourself beieve isn't it. I don't beleive it yet.
  6. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    My personal experience with bands is that it is extremely difficult to find a group of musicians allof whom have the same musical vision, taste, commitment, dedication, drive, motivation and willingness to sacrifice for the good of the band.

    Also, bands often develop a two against two or three against one or similar splits that create a dynamic which causes one or two to leave at the same time or alignments when there are disagreements and loyalties within loyalties, etc.

    That is why I particularly admire bands like Aerosmith and the Rolling Stones, Kiss and Rush who have been together year after year, when even mega-successes such as Guns N' Roses break up, often with great acrimony.

    It requires tremendous drive to keep a band going without personnel changes over a long period of time. Actually the odds against it are pretty high, in fact.

    So, I have come to believe if you love to play a certain style of music, you need to have the drive and dedication to keep YOUR band going as your band, playing your music your way, but accept that while the music stays the same, the people playing it may change rather regularly and recruiting good musicians, replacing them or trying to keep them will be as essential a part of your job as working out the songs you play. It has to be YOU, because it is the one with the most desire who keeps the band going.

    Jason Oldsted
  7. Hey Whitebread,I know how it feels.I've been through at least a dozen bands.I've finally settled in the band I'm currently in.However,it wasn't without it's struggles.We've been through a myriad of guitarists and drummers.We are currently looking for a drummer.You would think after being together for five years we wouldn't have to deal with this any more.Well,that's how a musician's life is.There are very few professional bands that have maintained their original lineup for very long.There's no getting around it.The best thing you can do is to keep pursuing your vision and hopefully keep your friendships intact.I'm still learning that.I've heard that finding the right people,finding a name that the whole band likes, and keeping a band together are some of the hardest things to do.It seems to be never ending.I hope this isn't repetitive or depressing.
  8. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    Perhaps you guys can give me some advice..I've been playing with my band for almost 18 years. We all have wives, children and day jobs so this has been primarily a hobby but we've played at hundreds of gigs. Our lead guitar player has become increasingly disenchanted and finally told me that he does not want to play with our other guitar player anymore because he doesn't play very well. "He still plays blues with full unmuted bar chords!" This other guitar player hasn't improved much in the past two decades because he doesn't practice scales, arpeggios, etc. but instead jams with music that we have recorded and that he has sung lead on. He does have a very high opinion of himself as a musician but he is bad. However, he is a nice person and schedules all our rehearsals because our gear is at his house. The lead guitar player is ready to kill his friendship with the other guitar player. He has told me that he has stayed around this long because of friendship but after a disagreement about the last presidential election, has had enough. In the past month, this person has invited me to play with another drummer and guitar player who are very good musicians. We make beautiful music but I don't want to stop playing with the other guitar player because he is a friend. I like playing with all kinds of different musicians because I just love playing. I've told the lead guitar to just tell the other guy that he doesn't want to play anymore but I'm worried that someday he will see us playing out and have his feelings hurt. The "bad" guitar player is also having severe marital problems so the only positive thing in his life right now is music. We came together years ago as friends as we had all done the touring and club scene when we were younger. We all had small children but wanted a more structured music environment instead of just jamming. I feel funny that this has happened now. Sorry about the long post but I have heard great advice from you guys and hope that you can help me now.
  9. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    That is such a tough situation, it almost hurts to read about it because I can just imagine how awkward and uncomfortable you feel with divided loyalties. Bands can get to be like families or surrogate families, no kidding. When there is discension, it can be as traumatic as if it were in your very own family. Bands are a type of family with many of the same dynamics.

    I don't know how I'd handle it, but maybe the person closest to the errant guitarist could have a sitdown with him and lay things out as diplomatically and gently as possible. What has happened is that you folks have moved on and he hasn't. I know the timing just sucks because the dude is having divorce agonies at the very same time you are pulling out the music plug too, but let's face it...his level of musicianship is a product of decisions he has made. Maybe his marriage is also, if he approached it pretty much the same way.

    All he wants is simple jamming and I understand that. Perhaps he can find another group closer to his level. Music is like tennis or golf in a way. Really good players don't want to play tennis with beginners or intermediates, especially those who show no evidence of wanting to improve.
    Really good musicians are justified in feeling that playing with musicians at their level provides them with a more satisfying experience.

    But your situation is tough. There WILL be hard feelings, but maybe it is better to be open about the needs and wants of your group sooner rather than later and move on.

    Jason Oldsted
  10. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    This happened (except for the marital problems last year) with one of the founding members of a band I'm in. We fired him and that cost us his friendship. We had tried for about two years to get him to improve his playing but he wasn't getting better and he was holding the band back.

    It is a tough call to make: we had to choose the band over this guy's friendship. I will tell you that if the band had chosen NOT to fire him, I would have quit myself.
  11. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    Jason, you really hit the ball...the guitar player has made his decision to not practice and we've passed him by. It became more evident that as the rest of us got better, his playing was noticeably lacking. Even my wife began complaining about it. You mention that his attitude and actions could also be related to his impending divorce which is exactly what the lead guitar player has said. I've thought about talking to him about our concerns but have hesitated because it is an awkward time but I guess there is no good time for something like this. Your advice, coming from someone who is not emotionally involved, clears up some of this mud. Thank you!
  12. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    Brian, this is what the lead guitar player has said.
  13. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    hey, steve, i would say be honest and firm and talk to him. tell him what you've told us, tell him that if he is interested in the band continuing with you guys, he needs to improve along the lines that you have specified.

    would you guys be willing to still play with this guy if he started working on his playing? what would it take for you guys to want to continue playing with this guy? you should talk to your lead guitarist and find out what he thinks, and then confront the guy with this info.

    if you talk to this guy straight, and tell him where you guys are, and listen to what he has to say in response, you'll probably go a long way towards preserving the friendships that you guys have. i mean, if he is a friend, he will surely be able to be made to see the situation from the point of view that you and the lead guitarist share and be honest with you based on that.

    good luck, this kind of thing is never easy.
  14. Steve S

    Steve S

    Jul 26, 2000
    John, you guys have been very helpful. I forwarded the comments to the lead guitar player and will wait to see what he has to say. The drummer also feels awkward about this because he has been friends with the other guitar player since junior high (25 years ago).

    I hoped that his playing would improve but his lack of practice is very evident. I will try to find the right time to talk to him without trying to crush his spirit.

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