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Need to vent a bit: unreasonable bandmate reaction to personal good news?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by TimBosby, Aug 23, 2012.

  1. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Hey everyone,

    So my wife and I work for a pretty good-sized, well-known company that I would prefer not to name. We're both in our early 30s and have been at the company several years, where we've done well. We each have pretty good paying "senior" level non-management jobs - which is to say we've gone about as high as you can go without having to go into middle management (which neither of us really want to do :D) We like our jobs (for the most part - it's still work) and have both been recognized for good performance on numerous occasions. We're comfortable with our lives and, while not by any means well-off, are able to live the way we want to and buy the things we want (which mainly consists of bass gear for me, clothes for her, and vacations for both of us :))

    Today my wife and I both found that we won a major national company recognition. We were each selected as winners out of a pool of nominees - the whole selection process takes about a year and they pick maybe 50 people out of several thousand who work there. As a result, we are both going to Chicago at the end of September for a weekend-long gala event, complete with free airfare, two nights a very expensive downtown Chicago hotel, several meals provided (including the awards banquet), open bar, a cash stipend, etc., etc. Each of us also gets to bring a guest who will enjoy the same perks - which is even cooler because we have family in Chicago and nearby southeastern Wisconsin (where we are both originally from.)

    Naturally, this is good news. I do not wish for it to sound like I am bragging in any way - especially in this terrible economy where I am just happy to have a job. But it is a very big honor that I feel is well deserved because I bust my butt at work and try to do as good a job as humanly possible while simultaneously avoiding the usual office politics, gossip, and general workplace drama. My wife is the same way (though she's an even harder worker than I am, sometimes to the point of absurdity. :meh:)

    The trouble is, the date of the event was not revealed until today. And it's only a month away. No big deal, my wife and I do not have children, pets, or really any huge commitments outside of our jobs and each other. The one commitment I have is music. I play in an original (aka "unpaid") band that happens to have a show on the Friday of the event. Friday is the most crucial day of the the weekend-long event because that's when the awards banquet/gala is. They are giving us Friday off without it counting as paid time off so that we can fly into Chicago and attend the ceremony/banquet. They are paying for our hotel on Friday night and Saturday night, and then our flight out on Sunday. It is a very generous award and I am absolutely thrilled to have been selected.

    The show my band has scheduled that Friday has been scheduled for a month or two. I am serious about my band and would only cancel a show with a good reason. Nobody who won the recognition at work knew the date, or even the approximate date, until this morning. Within minutes of hearing the good news, I texted all three of my bandmates and told them. There is literally nothing I could have done to warn or inform them sooner, and nothing I can do (other than skip the event, which I would NOT do) to make the show. The band's show is not a big deal - it's at a dive local venue that is actually someone's apartment with a stage and bar installed. It's a fun place but is in a crummy crime-ridden part of town. Not my favorite place to play, but I agreed to do it because I like playing live and it's a fun way to spend a Friday evening - and I had absolutely nothing else going on that I knew of until this morning. The show is a little under a month out - and now I win this award. I tell my bandmates my good news, but that it means I cannot play the show, and a little while later I get a response from one of them that reads: "That is super f***ed up as far as I'm concerned." I've been playing with these guys for about 7-8 months and never had a dispute or even what I would call an argument of any significance. They are a great group of guys and I've never been in a band with a more consistent or dedicated practice schedule - we've had almost zero practice cancellations in that many months of playing together - which is amazing. We have fun, get along, hang out, drink whiskey - all-around good times.

    So I was very disappointed to receive this reaction. We then texted back and forth for a while and I explained how they were the first to know, that I only just found out, that there was no way to know when it was going to be, that it's a big deal, etc. etc. He eventually calmed down a bit but was still upset and told me they would find a fill-in bass player for the show. I said that's fine. He then softened a bit and told me "I know that whoever fills in could never make us sound the way we sound with you." Which was a nice compliment after a somewhat heated exchange. But then I was told they would not need me at practice until the 24th of September, which is the Monday after the show we are missing. Which, accounting for the fact that we practice twice a week, and that I will be gone on vacation the week of Labor Day, means that there will be six practices (that I normally would have been at) that I am now somehow shut out from. They said it's because they need to find a fill-in and get him up to speed. Which I understand, but it seems unreasonable to make me miss almost a whole month of practice (and believe me, I actually ENJOY practice which is not something I can say for all the past bands I've been in) just to get a fill-in ready for a show of questionable importance. He also told me, emphatically, "We don't cancel shows, we're playing this one in some for or other" (which apparently also means they don't re-schedule shows upon learning of a conflict a month in advance? - which, call me crazy, seems a bit unreasonable.) The kicker is, we have our CD release party on October 20th at what is arguably the best venue in town - on a Saturday night. I booked it for them. So now we're going to miss 6 practices in September with a big important CD release upcoming, all because they refuse to entertain other possible options to a fill in bass player which I would see as:

    1) Cancel our involvement in the show. It happens all the time and a month's notice with a legitimate conflict is reasonable.
    2) Cancel our involvement in the show and re-schedule it for another date.
    3) Play it as a three piece with one of the guitar players playing bass.
    4) Play it as a three piece with both guitar players but one of them using an octave pedal or similar device to add a little extra low end.
    5) Play it acoustic with two acoustic guitars and maybe some hand percussion.

    I don't know, maybe I'm in the wrong here, but I was really amped up and excited this morning about being selected for this big company honor - and the fact that my wife won too and EACH of us get to bring a guest makes it even better. And now I feel guilty because it's going to put my band in a bind for what I would consider a low profile, low-attendance, probably unpaid show in a somewhat seedy part of town that would really amount to little more than a "live practice."

    Sorry to vent, just needed to get some fellow bass-playin' perspective :D :help: :bassist:
  2. First off, you should still be very proud of your accomplishment. 99.8% of musicians pay the bills through something other than music; myself included. (BTW, I made up that statistic to make a point). So excelling at your day job is awesome for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that it probably means you can continue to do music as a hobby that you can continue to enjoy.

    On the topic of the gig... If the rest of the band feels the gig is important AND you're a 4 piece/plugged in band, then a sub isn't a bad option in my eyes. You know your tunes well enough to know if 6 practices are really needed to get a sub up to speed. For originals, it doesn't sound all that unreasonable to me. Might be a different story for standards or real book stuff I guess. Guitar players are a strange breed so trying to be logical with them probably won't work. Getting them to do a show in a format other than what they envision as the "right" way might be a futile argument.
  3. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Heh heh. Our songs are pretty simple. I would even say very simple, for the most part. It would take 2-3 practices, tops, to get a competent bass player up to speed, provided said-competent bass player was able to work on them at home.

    I think the real issue with having 6 practices is not the fill-in bass player, but the drummer, who has been a "problem child" (non-stop tempo issues... :meh:) for months - years even... so they are trying to practice more to keep up his chops, especially with a different bassist....

    Honestly I wish they'd just re-book it. I'd play it, but this is one of those low-profile just-for-fun shows that could really be whenever. I heard one of the other bands even dropped off the bill last week, before I even knew about my conflict. The venue hosts live music a lot, so we could drop off the bill and fill a spot on another bill, another weekend.
  4. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Congratulations to you and your wife! Enjoy your well-deserved reward! :hyper:

    I cannot believe the reaction of your one bandmate. That is just outrageous that he would respond that way and can't see how important this is to you and how irrelevant that gig is to your band's success.

    I'll have to take exception to your description of them as "great guys." Maybe the rest are, and maybe the one guy is the rest of the time, but THIS time he is an a$$.

    This is the kind of thing that decent people take in stride and work around, because they're decent people, they respect you, and want good things to happen to you. Not sure what's up with this one guy but if I were you I'd not be very happy with him. What, they can't reschedule a dive gig for you? Geeez!! :rollno:

    If the gig were a big deal and you wanted off to go fishing, it would be a little different. If you were backing a big name and truly would put them in a bind, it would be different. But IMO you are not wrong and should not feel guilty. You're not putting your band in a bind... they're putting you on the hot seat for no good reason. I'm not going to jump on the "quit" button (we on TB are often accused of jumping to "quit" or "fire him" too easily). But this would probably make me question how committed I wanted to feel towards these guys.

    I really hope you can enjoy your trip without this casting a cloud over it. Good luck!!
  5. Hi . First of all Congrats on the award to you and your wife. Being acknowledged at work is just like getting loud applause when on stage. It feels good to know you are appreciated and doing a good gig. I would think getting a sub would be the best way to go. That being said, it should also mean you are involved in the rehearsals. Because just being there when you can to help the sub and keeping the band vibe going will make the situation roll smoother. Another reason for being there is to pick up and contribute to any changes or variations in arrangements of the songs. Don't be left out in the cold ...intentional or not. Take the award...enjoy yourself...how many times are we as people praised by our peers and superiors? MV
  6. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Thanks guys. Well, I think he felt bad about his initial reaction and relented a bit when I got a little more detailed about 1) how big a deal this is and 2) how I really had no way of giving any sort of advanced notice or warning. Plus it's hard to "converse" via text message, especially while at work when I'm busy, so I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

    The other thing that I should probably mention is that this particular bandmate is not at all a "corporate" guy. He works jobs to pay bills but as far as I know doesn't really dig the whole corporate America thing, which is fine. So a big fancy company gala that is important to me may be outside the realm of his perspective. I've been in bands with lots of different types of people. Some are "all about the band, f*** The Man - it's about the MUSIC." Others are busy corporate stiffs with wives and careers and families who don't have much time for music. Myself, I try to fall somewhere in the middle. I try to be responsible AND rock 'n roll. My tattoos are only quarter-sleeves so I can still wear short sleeves the the office...hahah... I work hard for the Man so I can use my money to buy cool gear and get great tone in dive bars where tone doesn't even matter...
    It's a difficult balance sometimes ;)

  7. craig.p


    Sep 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    My cut at it is this. If you commit to do a show, you must do it.

    No matter what.

    (Unless you're in a hospital bed and don't have the strength to swing your legs over the side of the bed, put your clothes on, and check yourself out. But you're not.)

    Your word is your honor, no matter the circumstances, no matter the inconvenience to you.

    I think the question now is how do you express your appreciation to the company for the recognition, in lieu of being there. Maybe you can tell them to send the money they'd have spent on you to their favorite charity.
  8. ACalbass


    Dec 16, 2011
    Ok,this is another of the same situation:
    Have to play the Utica Arts and Music Festival the week my son is getting married.
    My band have the opportunity to play every single day from Thursday to Sunday,in more than one venue.
    But as I have to host the rehearsal dinner on Friday,I can only play Thursday (in two venues),and drive 6 hours to come back.
    Again,there are moments where you have to set your priorities.
    You preferable must do it BEFORE things happen,so none of this debate occur.
    Set priorities,communicate them to the other guys,and you follow those priorities.
  9. knigel


    Apr 20, 2009
    Hopedale, MA
    I'm the Squier of Fenderbirds
    Congrats on the award!

    I had a guitarist who would take every little hiccup way too seriously, just like that. It would send him into a complete tailspin, and it was a lot of Woe is Me stuff. Meh, get over it.

    This is a once in a lifetime event (okay, maybe you are really good at your job an it will happen again!), so accept the accolades and have a great time!
  10. LexD


    Aug 17, 2011
    Bay Area, CA
    Endorsing Artist: D'Ambrosio Guitars
    Sounds to me like your anti-establishment bandmate there is a touch jealous of your success.
  11. Yeah, club owners never cancel on bands when a better offer comes along...
  12. Corbeau


    Dec 14, 2011
    Sending another congrats on your award!

    I think for original bands, life commitments > band gigs. Unless the band is someone's main way of earning a living, other commitments should take precedence because the band is more of a serious hobby than anything else. Your guitarist seems to not understand that, and for him to rain on your parade is pretty petty.
  13. I might go as far as saying this is pretty much always the case for most of us. Well said sir!
  14. kesslari

    kesslari Groovin' with the Big Dogs Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 21, 2007
    Santa Cruz Mtns, California
    Lark in the Morning Instructional Videos; Audix Microphones
    That is awesome news. Sounds like you have your priorities clear.
    Some people will not understand. That's their call, that's all.
  15. JWP


    Aug 19, 2012
    Congrats to you and your wife. That you are this concerned about your band says something about the kind of person you are. Enjoy the trip ...it will be one you and your wife will always remember. You simply cannot miss out on this opportunity. The band will live to play another day. No reason not to get a fill in and no reason you cannot participate in the rehearsals to help get the stand in up to speed. Who knows...by standing back and listening...you could actually pick up a few things...
  16. packhowitzer

    packhowitzer 155mm of pure destruction

    Apr 20, 2011
    I cannot count the number of times some factor beyond my control has taken a dump in my face and screwed my band out of a gig. I can count on one finger the number of times it was my fault. I think everybody deserves a mulligan once in their life. this one is yours. mine was the birth of my daughter. gigs will come and go- so will bands for that matter. you sound like your commitment to the band is extremely high. go to Chicago. have the time of your life. come back and prepare for your CD release party. if the songs are as easy as you say, you guys will be ready.
    Rock on!
  17. "Gee thanks Boss, sorry I can't make that presentation, my band is opening for Springsteen".
  18. bassbully

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

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    Really? Wow! Tell the band to get over it and they can either find a replacement or cancel. Judging from the gig and venue it's no loss.

    Look this is your career and your wife's it pays your bills, if the band can do this then I would say play the gig but we know that's not the case. Sometimes life gets in the way folks ...you owe them nothing...good luck and congrats.
  19. Bass_Band


    Aug 2, 2012
    Congrats on that awards; to you and your wife!

    Once in a lifetime success recognition vs a standard gig. There's no double thinking. I would be a little mad about that as a member of your band because you're not going to make it for the gig but success of a band member is my success too. Give him some time to swallow the pill (he cannot be that selfish)... back off a little and express your guilt emotion.

    I red the thread and I'm fully agree with velascorp; do not accept to be put aside because of your success. It's bad to associate your success with a rejection. You feel guilty and you'll do anything to help the fill-in bassist, keep contact with the band you like, keeping track of the arrangement, evolution etc...

    Good luck with that and congrats again! :bassist:
  20. TimBosby

    TimBosby Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 19, 2004
    Omaha, NE, USA
    Thanks everyone for the encouragement and congratulations, I really love Talkbass :D

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