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Name drama...Oh boy

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by KoalaOnBass, Feb 17, 2020.

  1. KoalaOnBass


    Feb 18, 2016
    So, my ex-bandmates and I are currently involved in a heated debate, and I'd like to get some perspective to make sure I'm not the crazy one here. I'm sorry this is so long.

    We were an amateur, 5-piece garage band with one single and a modest fb following. In September, after months of tension and arguments about the direction of the band, our rhythm guitarist quit and took the singer with him to start a new band more to their liking. By that point, morale and relationships were so low that the remaining 3 members decided to call it a day as well not long after.

    The guitarist and singer who quit now have a new band, they're playing some of our old songs (which is fine, as the ones they took were mostly written by the guitarist), as well as writing new ones. But now, the guitarist has decided he wants the new band to have our old band's name and basically continue as the same band (the singer acts neutral, but she clearly wants it too). He doesn't feel like he should ask anyone's permission either and is unwilling to even meet up to talk about it.

    Me and the drummer think this is preposterous, given that the two of them LEFT the original band and should therefore have no right to the name. The other guitarist doesn't care either way. We would be willing to let them have the name if they asked for it as a favor, but the fact they feel entitled to it is infuriating and makes no sense to me.

    Another reason this is so irritating is because the reason everything fell apart in the first place was because of the rhythm guitarist trying to force his vision of the band on everyone else incessantly, which caused a lot of bad blood when others wouldn't go along with it. Even though we were explicitly all equal members and a democracy from the start, somewhere along the way the guitarist started thinking of himself as the band leader (without anyone else's consent) and as the only one "trying to make things happen". The whole name thing symbolizes his belief that he, himself, IS the band perfectly, which makes it that much more annoying.

    What do you guys think about all of this? I know we can't actually stop him from using the name if he wants it, but I feel like we are right on principle for not wanting him to have it.

    TL;DR - guitarist and singer leave band, the band breaks up soon after, now the two of them want to use our old band's name for their new band.
    Mr Cheese, DJ Bebop and fhm555 like this.
  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once... Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 24, 2013
    A) You're probably right.
    B) Just let it go; life's too short.

    You're right, you can't stop them from doing what they want. You can only decide how to deal with it. You can be angry and bitter forever or you can let it go now and move on. Stuff happens, people are jerks, and if you let it eat you up with resentment it will mess up your attitude forever. You say you'd give them the name "if they asked nicely" so you already know what the right thing to do is...

    Related practical issue: who controls the FB page? If it's you, you can delete the content and keep the name from being used again. If it's not you, there's _really_ nothing you can do about it. You can go on a PR rampage and talk sh!t about those other guys - but you'll just come off looking petty.

    David Gilmour and Roger Waters played this game, it didn't change much although probably a lot of lawyers made a pile of money.

    C) This is why "serious" bands make partnership agreements.
    jeffbrown, RSBBass, Yonni and 32 others like this.
  3. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    What are you gonna win by keeping the name to you?

    move on, and wish them luck with his new band.
  4. Shalto


    Aug 23, 2019
    Hope this doesn't come off as disrespectful but here goes. I think....it probably doesn't matter much.

    I suspect the reason you don't want the Rhythm Guitarist to get the name is mainly because that way he "won" and a little bit because you don't want to be erased from history. Here are some things to consider:

    1. Any feeling of frustration that he "won" will fade in time. Probably less than a month. Forgiveness is good. Really good. Vital even. Anytime you spent being grumpy....that mental energy could be put toward doing something cool.

    2. Unless it was an amazing name (and most of those were taken decades ago) or had a huge following he's not won much really.

    3. Being erased from history as much won't matter when you realise that you'll always have your single, and after a few years in the woodshed you won't care if nobody knows you were in that band because you are *much* better now (possibly to the extent you don't even want people to hear the younger you playing).

    4. You can never really enjoy anything you hold too tight. Let it go. Just start a new project. A better one.
  5. reverendboom


    Dec 10, 2019
    Sonora CA
    Let it go.
  6. Joe Nerve

    Joe Nerve Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2000
    New York City
    Endorsing artist: Musicman basses
    That says a lot...

    Feeling the way you do is understandable, but I agree with what everyone else here said. You'll be much better off figuring out a way to bless them on their way, with the old band name.

    In the big picture, 10 years from now (which will come much faster than you think :)), the band name will mean nothing. If you smile and wish them well, you'll be attracting more success your way, also. That's been my experience. Even at times I had to fake wishing people well.
  7. reverendboom


    Dec 10, 2019
    Sonora CA
    IME, it has been especially at the times I had to fake it.

    You do reap what you sow.
  8. bolophonic

    bolophonic Supporting Member

    Dec 10, 2009
    Durham, NC
    Unless it was the best name in the history of music, I wouldn’t spend any time worrying about any of this.
  9. kevindahl


    Aug 21, 2006
    Vancouver, BC
    I agree with most of the comments. Let it go. It's never a great situation to be in but you are lucky that the name is not a brand and is worthless. It would be a greater pain having to pay lawyers hundred thousands of dollars to argue who gets the name.
    KoalaOnBass likes this.
  10. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    The remaining band split up after they left. The RG and singer are still playing your old music. It sounds like they have more right to the name than the rest of you do.
  11. vvvmmm


    Dec 6, 2016
    If there's no $ to be made, leave it.

    If ya really need revenge, form a new unit, call yerselves "[Band] II, The New, Improved and Better Version".
    mikewalker likes this.
  12. A. You got fired but haven't realised it.
    B. Move on.
    C. Make better band.
  13. n1as


    Mar 29, 2013
    What I have to say may sound offensive. I'm sorry for that. I'm not trying to be, just trying to be clear in expressing my opinion.

    I have suffered through a similar painful situation in a band and I know it hurts. But, your old band amounted to little and I predict the new project will achieve the same fate. Most bands amount to little. They have small influence and survive for a limited time. All to say that it really doesn't matter. Or at least it matters only the the band members themselves. The audience really doesn't care.

    I understand the singer & guitarist's perspective. The sound of a band is mostly defined by melody & lyrics - i.e. the lead singer. If the same singer & guitarist are playing the same songs with a different rhythm section then most listeners would see it as the same band and be confused by the new name.

    Your old band doesn't exist any more. The name is owned by nobody. Other than a courtesy notice to the former members, there is no reason why the new band should not take the name and many reasons they should.

    In the grand scheme it really doesn't matter, even though it is awkward or even painful for you guys at the moment.
  14. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    You were already willing to walk away from the name.
  15. GBBSbassist

    GBBSbassist I actually play more guitar... Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2010
    Based on this, I think you know that it's a bit pointless to lose any sleep over it.

    Out of curiosity, was it at least a good band name?
    KoalaOnBass and teh-slb like this.
  16. Esteban Garcia

    Esteban Garcia bassist, arranger, chaat enthusiast Supporting Member

    Apr 11, 2018
    Portland, OR
    With all due respect, it sounds like you, the drummer and the other guitarist effectively got fired.

    That sucks big time, but... not much you can do about it but take the L and move on.

    Most music communities are pretty tight-knit (or incestuous, depending on how you want to frame it). Being magnanimous goes a long way IME. Support other bands, encourage the newbs, wish former band mates the best as you continue your own musical journey with new band mates.
  17. 4 Strings Good

    4 Strings Good

    Mar 6, 2014
    to deal with any kind of bs like that.
  18. hardtop

    hardtop Supporting Member

    I think you're right to be annoyed and angry. I totally would feel like you. This guitarist seems like a piece of work. You're no longer in a band with him and you are better off. Let him have the name and walk away, knowing you took the high road and be glad you're moving on to better things. F'em.
  19. rocu


    Jan 28, 2015
    Missoula, MT
    Start a new band with the same name. In fact , legally change your own name to be almost exactly the same as the guitarist. Make sure the new band is really bad. Be awful to bookers, bar tenders and sound people. Be so bad that no one will ever book a band with that name or a player with that name again. Then, you've won.

    If it's not worth going through all that trouble it's not worth doing anything about so let it go.

    If you do do it, keep us posted.

    Yonni, LowRenzo, Microbass and 11 others like this.
  20. lowfreqgeek


    Mar 15, 2010
    Tijeras, NM
    I don't mean to offend, but I think it's stupid, plain and simple.

    By your own admission, the rest of the band has disbanded and the guitarist (who wrote some of the material) and singer are the only 2 that are still trying to do something. Let them have the name, which they likely helped to build, and do your own thing. Just make sure you do it better than ever before.

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