Hey everyone. My name's Luke Hagerman. I've been lurking around here for the past four years or so. This is my first post NOTE: Italicized passages are not necessary for full understanding per-say. Real quick info: -18 years old (17 when hired) -Playing electric bass for nearly six years I'm just going to get right down to it. The issue that I'm currently having is seemingly simple, but I'm going to add LOTS of extra detail in hopes that it can aid in coming to a conclusion. There's so many elements to this story and so much history to the band that this post is probably going to be pretty unorganized, but just try to bear with me. Heregoes... In early September of last year, I got the bass spot in an 8 piece wedding band. The band is called *******. It's a very popular group in *********** **** and practically monopolizes the entire area. We play every Friday and Saturday. Fridays are bars and Saturdays are receptions. I mean, my calendar has bookings all the way into 2014. I don't know if this is a common thing with these kinds of groups, but I was kind of jarred by that. Anyway, the group is essentially a Top 40 band. We play everything from The Temptations to Outkast. Lots of Motown. Some Pop and Rock n Roll thrown in there too. When I got hired, I had two weeks to learn about 150 tunes. It was very short notice. I'm proud to say that I accomplished that feat and showed up to the first gig feeling pretty confident. It was a wedding reception, which are mostly 4 hour deals. I played the gig and thought I held my own for a 17 year old kid. This was the first real working band I had ever played in. I play bass in my high school jazz ensemble (grammy award winning music program) and I jam in local hot spots every now and then, but I had never been in a regularly performing band. I have played with a decent share of drummers and I would like to consider myself as a good musician. I can read and I have pretty damn good rhythm for not being a drummer. The drummer and bandleader, whose name is *****, sits me down after the performance and compliments me, telling me that I had "a lot of balls" to play in the band and that, for someone my age, he was very impressed. At this time I would like to note that the guys in the band have been doing this for nearly 20 years. The only changing positions have been keys and bass. Everyone else in the band has know each other for years. Here's the instrumentation: 2 singers 1 Saxophone 1 Trumpet 1 Keys 1 Guitar 1 Bass 1 Drums I should also mention that the band has gone through, give or take, EIGHT bassists in the past five years... So anyway, after ***** was done complimenting me, he proceeded to tell me that my playing that evening was "not the standard" of the band and that he would be expecting more from me as time went on. I had no problem with this, in fact, I was hoping that I would receive some critical feedback. Later the next day, he sent me an email with some specific things to work on within some of the songs. For example, "watch this transition", etc. So, time passed and I played gigs every weekend, sometimes not getting home until early in the morning when I had to drive 3 hours home from Columbus. About two months ago was when things started to really get weird. On a lot of the songs, especially the newer stuff that's more drum machine-esque, ***** will play with a click track or a metronome. But the click track isn't in an IEM or anything like that. The click track comes through his monitor which is directly between him and myself. Is this something that a lot of drummers do? I had never heard of anyone playing a click through their monitor during live performance. ***** says that his time "can't be wrong" since he's "playing with the metronome." My thought is, why doesn't he play with the musicians around him instead?? I'd like to go on record and say that the band doesn't use IEMs at all, and I really, REALLY feel like it would benefit from that investment. I haven't brought it up because I feel like I'm so young and it's not really my place to just go suggesting that we invest a couple thousand dollars into an IEM system. The main thing that I want to get across here is that ***** and I are not clicking at all. I'm willing to give just a little bit and say that perhaps some of the issue is that I'm inexperienced. But I've been playing for a solid 6 months now, and like I said, I have inherently good time/rhythm. I figure any nervousness or stage fright has worn off by now. However, I honestly believe that the problem is not just me. ***** refuses to believe that he is at fault in any way. This specific instance occurs on a lot of the tunes, but here's an example: When we play "Jungle Love", the groove is pretty simple. We play all of our covers basically verbatim to the record, so the bass line is not super complicated. Just the same thing over and over again. Well, when we play, ***** will yell (mid-song) to me that I'm "not in time". Then, if I don't fix whatever imaginary problem that he's perceiving to be there, he'll start slamming his kick drum in effort to emphasize where he thinks I'm playing out of time. Usually on Jungle Love, it's the beginning of the bass line phrase, on the "one" beat. If that doesn't work for him, he'll proceed to both yell and beat the hell out of his drumset. Sometimes I'm at the point where I'm helpless. Unless there's some other kind of "beat one" that I was never taught, I'm playing in the only place where I know "one" to be. I would like to take a second to say that I do know about playing around the groove. On Top and Behind the beat, etc. Just in case anyone might wonder. I have good knowledge of those concepts. My jazz ensemble director is also a gigging drummer in the area. This problem occurs on almost all of the songs we play. ***** will yell and swear at me. Sometimes I have to think that the audience can hear it. I have thick skin, but I don't want to be bitched at when I'm just trying to stay in the groove. ***** has sat me down after gigs and said things like: "When are you going to be honest with yourself and play like a rhythm section player?" or "Do you have any concept of groove?" He will constantly yell at me to "relax" during a song, but once I do that, I hear him beating the hell out of his kit again. The 8 bassists before me all quit or were fired by *****. I talk with the other guys in the band and they've seen other bass players go through this same thing. Every weekend, dealing with the scrutiny and unwarranted criticism. They say that no matter what I do, I'll never be "right" with *****. The other band mates do tell me fairly often how much they love playing off my bass lines and that I'm very solid. I make a conscious effort to absorb the entire band's sound when I play and hear it as a whole. I've found that helps a little bit. I've even recorded some of the bar gigs. Honestly, it sounds really solid. I'm even impressed with myself when I listen to the tapes... BOTTOM LINE: The money is so good for somebody my age, still in high school. I have more money than I know what to do with. I've gone so far as to spend some of it on clothes. And I don't even care about clothes! What the heck do I do? I've been waiting for the gig where ***** is finally satisfied, but to no avail... It's gotten to the point where I'm constantly checking myself, even when I'm not playing with the band, "am I in time?" It's ruining my confidence in my playing. Not to mention it's ruining my hearing as well-- ***** has asked me on more than one occasion to remove my ear protection because he feels that it inhibits my playing. I would love to tell him to shove it, but I just haven't been able to bring myself to do it. I just need some input. Am I crazy?