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My new band is snubbing me.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Dorado Pulido, May 21, 2020.

  1. Late last year I was asked to join a band by some acquaintances. These guys are very connected and well known in the music industry here. The lead guitarist is a Grammy nominated writer and writes for Billboard top 100 artists. The other guys ghost write some very popular rock artists albums. The singer actually asked me to join several of his projects but I told him I only had time for the one. I'm the youngest, least experienced guy (though I'm mid 30s and very experienced).

    Fast forward several months, we rehearse, things sound great. I always make sure to be on time, polite, professional and know the songs before rehearsal. Only one snag might be guitar guy asks me to improv some cover songs he pulls out during practice and I can't figure them out right away *shrug*
    We do one gig at the Whisky and it went really well! They praise my performance but seem less than enthused with the gig as it isn't exactly up to the big standards they are used to... okay, no big deal.

    The holidays come, everyone kinda takes a break, I see them at bars and tell them I'm excited to keep going forward, to please let me know when we can get back together. They assure me we will. Then this Covid-19 crisis has everyone on lockdown. I see them posting about getting together on social media to write and record new material for our band. I message them all saying "I would love to get together to work on the music, let me know when and I'll be there!" they say... "Oh yeah of course, we will let you know"

    .... another month, nothing. Now they are posting pictures of just the 4 of them talking about "the new album" I haven't even heard any of the new music yet. So I text them separately along the lines of, "Hey it would be great to get together with everyone and I'm ready to work on new music" they say "For sure, we need to do a photoshoot with everyone"... yet still... nothing and they keep posting updates.

    So at this point, am I just a guy who is there to play bass or am I an actual member of the band? They never gave me any tabs or music in the first place, just pointed me to the albums online which I learned by ear. I was instructed to "just keep the low end tight". Do they really not care about the bass or like, it's not at all important? I'm not being paid, but would just kinda like to know where I stand.

    Sorry I'm just really bummed and have no one to express it too. At this point contacting them again would be nagging so idk. Feels like a adolescent relationship "so are we a couple or...? " F*&$%!
  2. acid bass

    acid bass Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2010
    Sorry to be a downer, but it sounds like they've moved on from you and aren't ready to say it. Maybe they'll tell you why, maybe they won't. It's a bit of the nature of the beast, try not to dwell on it too much; you'll drive yourself crazy overthinking it. There's lots of talented groups in your neck of the woods, you should be able to land another spot once this whole quarantine thing lifts.
  3. biguglyman


    Jul 27, 2017
    Rochester, NY
    Sounds like you're just the current "hired gun" bassist and not really a contributing member, and they don't take the bass parts very seriously. Eventually when they're all done writing the music and getting it where they want it, they'll either call you or they won't. I'm sort of in a similar situation with a keyboard player I know. He writes all the music and gets basic scratch tracks recorded, then calls me in to basically be his "left hand". Personally, I don't have a problem with it, and he does pay me (a little) so I'm not complaining. Guess you gotta decide if you're willing to be the "hired gun" even though without pay the "hired" part is kinda bogus...
  4. It sounds to me like you did nothing wrong, but they prefer someone more at their skill level, and they are ghosting you, rather than letting you know.
  5. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    To be honest, I wouldn't place too much weight on anything that is being said/done - or not said/done - right now. Everybody's a bit out of sorts with the COVID debacle and most of us are pretty clueless about how the future of live music. Some can not be motivated to work "just because" and others are just downright afraid to have any contact with anyone.

    It sounds like you're working with some very experienced and talented people for whom a lot of the excitement of this game may have worn off. You're still relatively in puppy dog mode where this adventure is still fresh - they just may not be as anxious as you to get things rolling again. I'd probably back off a little until it becomes clear when you'll be able to gig again.

    That said, based on your description of events, it does seem like you're a hired gun to them and not really band member. They may have a person who handles the bass lines for recording, but can't commit to live events, so they need someone to fill the bill - they don't seem to be too locked down to a specific line.

    Obviously, there's not a lot going on anywhere right now musically, but I'd probably be keeping my eyes out for other opportunities to explore. If something presents itself as being a valid option, then you can reach out again and let them know that you have other options to explore - are you in or out? Don't make it a threat, just let them know that you aren't going to waste your life away pining for them to call you. They're probably professional enough to be square with you at that point.
  6. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    I've stopped running after people. Huge loss of energy.

    Move on. They should grow a pair and just tell you they have gone in another direction for the bass.

    Sux, but that's the music "bizz".

    (I quit cover bands cuz of the "bizz"crap a long time ago)
    Seanto, jamro217, teh-slb and 6 others like this.
  7. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Give it time and don't sweat it. The situation is really out of your control.

    If these guys are as pro and connected as you say they are then they should have dozens of options if not more, right? You are gigging with them so that's a positive. I am sure they could have had many other players audition. You are doing it for free and for the experience. Hopefully they act as pro as you say they are and give you an answer either way. The Covid 19 situation is unique.

    You don't what the outcome will be obviously and either do any of us. This is your call, be patient and be ready.
  8. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    Small story.

    A singer songwriter I was playing with for about a year decided to disappear for an entire year. Awol!!

    We did mostly half original half cover gigs. Small pay.

    He comes back from nowhere, with a completely new band. Pouuufff magic!!!
    New recording contract. Plus big budget to record his first album.

    All this after getting complete radio silence for a year.

    How's that for a backstabber???
    Welcome to the bizz. $$ first

    Fortunately not all musicians are like that.
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
  9. acid bass

    acid bass Supporting Member

    Apr 2, 2010
    Not to make light of your situation, but this story along with your username made me think if this scene from That Thing You Do.

    For context, Wolfman is the bass player
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I'm going to be in the "don't sweat it" corner.

    First of all, when you say "they" do this or that on social media, who is "they?" Do you mean an official band page is making these statements? Or is this coming from all the various other members, like there's a conversation going on that you're not included in? Are they posting CURRENT pictures of the four of them gathering and you weren't invited, or are they recycling OLD pictures from before you joined? If it's the former answer to either question, I suspect that all it really means is that they're trying to keep a presence online so that fans keep them in mind and stay excited. It doesn't have anything to do with you.

    Beyond that, try not to give too much importance to social media. Different people use it different ways. Some people are all over it, others lurk. When it's the only way you have to connect to people, it's easy to over-interpret silences and non-responsiveness from them, but it may just be that it's not how they communicate or relate.

    Of course, with all that in mind, it still may well be you are the hired gun, and you'll need to decide if that fits your goals or not. The guys in Rush kept on calling Neil Peart "the new guy" (in jest, of course) till the day he died. Guys like Pino Palladino or Lee Sklar have had amazing careers as hired guns playing with all kinds of artists. But if you have goals that this group isn't fulfilling, look for another group.

    And, of course, it may well be that they simply AREN'T really working on anything as a group until stay-home orders are over. I haven't had a band rehearsal since the weekend before St. Pat's.
  11. Killing Floor

    Killing Floor Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2020
    Austin, TX
    Yep, like @Aceman said. Maybe you could expect an adult response. But musicians....
    Aceman, Dorado Pulido and janesaid like this.
  12. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    If it turns out, that you part ways, do it professionally. Don't get all in their faces about it or burn the bridge. Thanks them for the opportunity and let them know that you hope to cross paths again. I'd give a lot to have musicians with the credentials you presented as personal allies. Just because this project isn't working, doesn't mean they don't know someone who needs you or that they may not need you again.
  13. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    They are the artists writing the album, you are an add on. Don’t sweat it. Do the gig if they call.
  14. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    Damn straight if the "chic" is a playboy centerfold. :D

    The OP wants the gig or at least it appears that way. You don't know what the situation is or do I. So you are recommending that he dumps the opportunity? I politely disagree. It's not like their some shlock legion band playing crappy covers like brown eyed girl. It's his call. We all have a choices. You can wake up everyday and be stressed out or angry or you can choose to be more positive. I learned a long time ago which works for me especially with situations I have NO control over. YMMV.
  15. WardEarth

    WardEarth Supporting Member

    Feb 18, 2010
    Anchormanville, CA
    How long have they played together? How long have you played with them?
  16. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Supporting Member

    People are constantly misinterpreting other people, imparting nefarious intentions that aren't there and otherwise assuming the worst when they probably don't have to. I go through this myself at times. Sometimes there are genuine misunderstandings where someone believes something should be a certain way and it doesn't go that way because people didn't really understand your perspective, and if you just ask, sometimes you can just fix what's wrong. Most people are not deliberately mean.

    I tend to agree with hrodbert here in that it's likely just an effort to keep something in front of their friends and fans while we're on this hiatus. If you haven't been part of the songwriting prior to this, they probably feel they have it all under control and if all you've done is learn pre-written parts for live shows, maybe that's all they need and they never really expected that you might be a creative contributor.

    You can and should ask them if you can expect to be involved moving forward, but depending on how needy you sound you might anticipate that they'll feel like you've gone all Greg Reeves on them and they might not appreciate you wanting a bigger slice of the project than was originally intended. So I'd be cautious about how I put that question, and make sure you're not showing resentment. You just need clarification, and they should be willing to give you a straight-up answer.

    If you don't know who Greg Reeves is, you should look that up. He was the hired-gun bassist for CSN&Y and was fired because he decided he wanted more musical input than they intended him to have and he was pretty adamant about wanting to be full member of the group. He was also very young. What could have been a ticket to a lot of great session work for him was pretty much ruined by his insistence on taking what was never offered to him. I'm not saying you're doing that, only that it runs the risk of being interpreted that way.

    I hope that it all works out for you guys.
  17. I’m going with the “chill” response.
    Nobody’s going anywhere right now so there’s time to let things gel.
    Something I’ve learned in all business is don’t get a chip on you shoulder and don’t burn bridges.
    These sound like good contacts that could be useful in the future for direct work or references for other work.
    Don’t let them abuse you but don’t blow them off either.
    If another good opportunity comes up you may want to take it but keep all your work on the positive so you can keep it on your resume if needed.
    teh-slb and janesaid like this.
  18. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Supporting Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Jacksonville, Fl
    I certainly would not sweat it. Just do your thing and don’t spook em’/burn any bridges. It may just be that the bass is a utility to them, and not a part of their active writing process and as such it’ll (you’ll) be activated when required. I’ll add this as well, at a certain level it’s not how great of a player you are, but rather how good of a hang you are. Just be cool, it’ll be awesome if they come calling after the ‘rona abates, but if not then at least you got some valuable experience.
    Last edited: May 22, 2020
    mrcbass and five7 like this.
  19. arbiterusa


    Sep 24, 2015
    San Diego, CA
    Sounds like neither one. Move on.
    janesaid likes this.
  20. Treebeard


    Jun 5, 2016
    Cary, NC
    Bear Light Symphony, TimepeaceNC Band
    Find some new groups and then play whatever if they call. Stop bringing it up at the bar tho. Dont wanna sound desperate. They are now 'in the rotation'.
    janesaid likes this.

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