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Newer member not feeling "included"?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by ElectraPhoenix, May 28, 2011.

  1. Ok. So, my main band has been a band for about 2 1/4 years. We were a four piece up until a few months ago, when we added another member. We just met him this school year, whereas the original 4 members (me and three other guys) have been friends for a long time, even before we formed a band. I jammed with the new guy a few times back in the winter, and then someone else the band who also knew him suggested we add him, and since I already knew how good he was, we let him in. He's really talented, and a really cool guy. But I think he doesn't feel "included" in our band yet; today, we had about a 2 hour practice, and then we decided we'd go hang out and walk around town (we do that pretty often after practices). He did the same thing that he's done several other times: tell us he has homework or something, or not even give us a straight answer, and then leave and go home. I have a feeling that he doesn't feel like a full member of the band. We treat him and consider him a full member but I don't think he feels that way, because we (the "original" band) are all really close. What can we do to really make him feel like he's a full member? He's super cool and a great guy, we just need some way to get him to feel really included.
  2. Billnc


    Aug 6, 2009
    Charlotte NC
    IMO hanging out with you practicing for two hours would be enough with you. Perhaps he does feel included and has my personality type. I rarely hang with my fellow musicians from any band. I'm even friends with many, but there is a life outside the band. All of my bandmates also get a lot of my free time, learning all the parts etc. away from the bands.
    Gigs, dinners on the road, road time together, the occasional phone call is quite enough.
  3. Ok, I see what you're saying. Maybe it's just weird to me because the rest of us are really good friends and hang out all the time outside the band; we just happen to be in a band also.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    Song Surgeon slow downer. https://tinyurl.com/y5dcuqjg
    He's an acquaintance, not a friend. You an your friends of many years started a band.

    He has no history with you so I would not expect him to hang with you.

    He's got a life outside the band like most of us do. His is just not connected to you other than music. I wouldn't worry about it if the music is going well.

    You can't "force" someone to be like you. Whatever he does with his time outside of the band is really none of your business. If you keep putting pressure on him to hang with you, I suspect the opposite will happen. He'll leave.

    I suggest you and your friends not create drama where none need be created.
  5. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    Perhaps he has a social phobia. I do. Those seem like totally normal things I would say If I was trying to avoid a situation that might make me feel uncomfortable. It takes a considerable amount of sucking it up and "just going" all the while talking back to what I call "automatic negative thoughts" just to go out and have fun some days. Other days not so much, I feel normal.
  6. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    I'll reply first and read the other replies later. Who says he wants to do more than just play music with you guys? First band I was in, was composed of friends. Most of the other bands since are total strangers, and I only ever see / saw them during rehearsal. In my current gig there is one guy I really get along with and we talked about grabbing a few beers together. Other than that, usually I don't socialize all that much with band members.
  7. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    There are bands where everyone is great buddies with each other and bands where you play music, enjoy it, and then go back to the rest of your life. Sounds like this guy sees things as the second category.
  8. duff beer

    duff beer

    Dec 2, 2007
    I think you are making a big deal out this for nothing. You guys have been friends for years, so you can't expect a new band member to become an instant friend right away. I've been playing with the same drummer and guitar player (both very good friends) for 25+ years now, and 2 years ago we added a keyboard player. He was (and still is) the "new guy", but has gradually become friends with us as we have all got to know each other. But when he first joined the band, we only saw him a rehearsals.
  9. JohnMCA72


    Feb 4, 2009
    At some point in your career, being in a band will become much like any other job in many ways. The people in your band will become your co-workers. Some of them you'll socialize with outside of work, others you won't. Every sort of personal interaction you might find at a job, you'll find in bands - and more.
  10. funkinbottom

    funkinbottom Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Northern CA.
    ^ that
  11. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    Maybe a welcome wagon loaded with a bottle of single malt and a really big breasted hooker nicknamed ElectroLux Lucy??

    Just kidding of course.

    I'd say don't stir the pot if there is no reason to stir it. Offer to include him in extracurricular activities, but don't push it beyond the offer, and fer cristsakes don't read anything negative into his preference for not wanting to hang with a group of long time, obviously tight group of friends where he night feel like a fifth wheel, or obligated to take on the role of loyal sidekick until he's included as a full member of the core group. Assume he's being honest about needing to do other things and just be happy the music is better with him on board.

    As with every band extant, things change with time so as long as he carries his own water band-wise, enjoy it for what it is and let the rest take care of itself. Allow any bond that forms to occur naturally and it will be stronger and more lasting than if you try to lever him into a spot he's not comfortable with.
  12. It's more common than people realize for the new guy to feel unaccepted. If you really appreciate him, there's nothing wrong with some positive strokes. Let him know what a positive impact he's having on the band, and how you wish he could hang out on a social level more often.

    In addition, have you taken the necessary steps to "jump him in?" Is his name and picture publicly published on your websites? Do you have a bio section for all members? Is he allowed or encouraged to voice his opinion about creative and business related issues? Is he at least asked to attend all band meetings and functions in rehearsal space, studio, and stage? Is he made to feel comfortable expressing his feelings on creative decisions like song selection or wardrobe/stage issues? Does he like what you guys bring to the table? Has he ever made positive comments about your level of talent or professionalism?

    If you have all that and more in place, then new guy is just being reserved or he's very private, or possibly he's not happy with the direction or level of your band.

    All I know is, I'm strongly debating quitting a band who, after 8 months, does not outwardly recognize my strong contribution and does not seem to accept and include me in a lot of their functions. I feel like a long term sub, and I'm about to walk.

    Let new guy feel the love and include him in everything you do. You don't have to follow his every suggestion, but you do need to make him comfortable expressing himself around you and the band in all aspects.
  13. Yep, we've done all that. He's an administrator on our FB page, and he's listed on our pages as a member. Discussions in the band are among everyone and he participates. He is invited to everything band-related (and some things outside the band). We've played one of his original songs. He's made lots of positive comments about us, and we make positive comments to him. We even once said to him "we didn't realize how much we needed you until you joined the band."

    Hmm. That could be it. He's not nervous about singing on stage at all (he's one of our two lead singers!) but he seems to get pretty nervous inbetween songs, and he's not very good at talking on stage. It could be that he's still shy/nervous.

    I see what you guys are saying. I know he has a life outside of the band, and he's hasn't been good friends with us for a long time like the rest of us. Still, it's hard to shake the feeling (this isn't just me, the other members feel this way too) that he doesn't feel accepted. It's not even the not hanging out with us, but it really seems to us that he doesn't feel included or accepted yet. Anyone have any tips as to how to help him feel like he really is a member of the band?
  14. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Ummm, I just realized... have you asked him if he feels included? Or if there's anything that's bugging him? Have you just plain told him that you're glad he joined the band? Do you ask him what's going on in his life?
  15. It sounds like you've done everything you can to jump him in and make him feel not only accepted and appreciated, but also empowered. You might tell him point-blank, but actions speak louder than words and you guys have done your part. You might make him feel awkward by pressing the issue.

    He's probably just a little shy, since he's exhibited this on stage. Be glad you found such a valuable member, remind him of that ocassionally when the timing is right, enjoy the ride and hopefully he'll do the same.
  16. Audiophage


    Jan 9, 2005
    You can't expect the new member to be exactly the same as the old one. You both have to adapt towards eachother in order to achieve the right chemistry.
  17. Bioth


    Apr 20, 2009
    Liam and Noel of Oasis weren't the best friends either, but they still managed to make some good music :ninja:
  18. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    Maybe I missed it, but do you guys actually invite him to come join you? As in, "Hey xxx, why don't you come out with us tonight after practice. It'll be fun."
  19. Rudreax


    Jun 14, 2008
    New York, NY
    I see a lot of conjecture but little action. Just talk the the guy about it instead of trying to find little random signs and figure out half of a puzzle from it. I bet he'd appreciate conversation more than assumption.
  20. djero44


    Mar 3, 2009
    Paonia Colorado
    Um, yeah, just ask him about it. This doesn't seem like a super personal issue, and clear communication would be very helpful.

    Meanwhile no matter how it goes it will take time for him to really fit in the fold. He's new and you guys are tight. It sounds like he is an active and maybe even integral part of the band now, so you will keep spending time together, at rehearsals and shows and probably socially too, since that is how y'all hang. It would be weird to be traveling and playing shows with five people if one of them was really on the outside while all the others were close. I assume that is why you are wondering/concerned in the first place. If he does end up being a total loner, then the question is how (or if) this affects the band dynamics. Hopefully it won't become an issue.

    And again, as Rudreax wrote, talk to him.

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