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Personality, Ego problems.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by thefruitfarmer, Apr 2, 2014.

  1. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    How important is it getting the right mix of personalities in a band ?

    Is it just that if everyone performs well then that is enough? So long as they turn up on time and play what they need to then why would there need to be any more?

    I have always found it a lot better if the band gels as a group of people, with everyone taking responsibility and everyone relaxed and comfortable enough for some more intuitive communication to take place....

    ...very hard to get this going if there is control freak in the band, or just someone with an ego problem ( might have drink/drugs issue, or just be very self absorbed )....people like that will put their own agenda before that of the band, usually using the thing as vehicle to draw attention to themselves.

    It is a paradox, an oxymoron, as a lot of people play music in the first place partly motivated because they want attention (myself included, I do enjoy the ego boost when a woman compliments my playing or good looks ;-) )but when this goes too far it just becomes destructive....it is far more a compiment for me when someone says the band sounds great.

    I am the MD in this band I am in. Just got a new guitarist and no-one has a serious ego problem so I want to make the most of this situation. I want to get the band to the point where everyone is thinking about how to get the whole thing sounding better, and where we can get some real (as opposed to faux) intuition going on between the players......hoping to have a chance now that the big egos are out of the picture....what I have found is that some people are more "feel" players rather than "mechanical" and only some personalities can really do the "feel" thing, with some who will pose as doing the "feel" thing but cannot really do it.

    Hard to pin down I know...

    Any thoughts, anyone?
  2. Klonk


    Apr 28, 2011
    Interesting subject. I live in Norway, and play in 3-4 different bands, ranging from old school country/western to blues and rock, mostly covers.

    In my latest project, started by a work colleague of mine, we are a group of very similar people with regards to education, life situation in general, and outlook on life. My colleague, the band leader, wanted it this way because he has experienced in the past that good bands have broken up mostly because of non-music related issues, typically personality mix being bad, ego problems, or having members in your band who doesn't have their life in some form of order, i.e. not owning your own gear, being unemplyed and therefore always asking to be picked up and driven to the rehearsal, etc.

    This time, we are a six-man band, and everyone is between 35 and 40 years old, have kids and families, and we have the same view that this band is for fun, playing this and this kinda music, and the types of jobs we might get, and not least the boundaries for this band, what can we hope to achieve, and what is impossible _by definition_ for this band? By the last I mean stuff like how often we can get together and rehearse, and how this will have impact on each and everyone's home rehearsal schedule, and also how many gigs it is realistic for us to aim for.

    In summary: this latest band project has made me very aware that similar background, similar life situation is paramount. Come to think of it, a lot of bands I've been in the last years have broken up because of personal issues and too mixed personalities.
  3. nukes_da_bass

    nukes_da_bass Banned

    Feb 19, 2006
    west suburban boston
    You have 3 to 7 business partners and the busier the band the more you have to put up with each others body odor and dick jokes. Better friggin get along and like each other or some of those long road trips to out of town gigs are gonna suck!
  4. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    One problem I have had is just finding people who are available to do it, able to transport themselves, maintain their kit. Similar background and shared motivation helps a great deal.

    Everyone really needs to be on the same page regarding what they want from the band and what they are prepared to put it.

    I suppose what I am really on about here is that some individuals will just always eventually wreck a band. Often seems to be the same kind of personality, posing rather than being kind of thing. They may be a good player and will usually say all the right things. The big "give" though is when they cannot jam, all they have is a lick library but they cannot adapt on the fly....at some point it becomes obvious they play with their mind rather than emotion....
  5. MTBK


    Sep 11, 2013
    I just had a band member leave last night with his main reason being that he always felt like the odd one out amongst a group of friends. He was an awkward guy in the first place. We went out of our way to get to know him and do non-band related things. But he only came out the first time we invited, and left fairly quickly.

    He did play with his mind (and with his formal music education) rather than with any type of swagger or balls. Now that you mentioned the jamming thing. It was fairly true with him. Any time we jammed he would never dive in and see what happens on the spot. He would wait and join in a calculated manner already knowing what he's going to try to play. His social awkwardness seemed to translate into musical awkwardness too because I doubt he felt very relaxed. His playing was very stiff lately.

    We concluded that above all else if we bring a 5th member in the future, they have to fit personally before we even look at their potential musical contribution. We've gone through loads of guitarists. Sure most of them can play great, but it's always personality, logistics and other non-music issues that make or break them.
  6. I think everyone who plays or wants to play with a band needs to ask themselves a few questions. Do you want to play covers or originals, or a combination of the two. Where do you want to play/work. Do you want to play with others just for fun as hobby with no intentions of gigging, or do you want be in a band just like the first but that gigs maybe once every month or two, or do you want to be in a working weekend warrior band that gigs every weekend, or are you a fulltime pro working musician, or some other kind of combination. The answers to these types of questions will also help answer what environment you'll put yourself in and what you can expect with/from your band mates.
  7. bigsnaketex


    Dec 29, 2011
    Down South
    One thing I've found in all the bands I've ever been in is that it either "works" or it "doesn't".

    There is room for lots of stuff on the stage, even big personalities. . . but when the music gets compromised for that then there is a problem and everyone in the band knows exactly when that happens.

    There are some amazing musicians in my area that I'd love to play with - but not in MY band because I know the baggage they haul around with them. I know in advance that it will not work out for very long due to their nature. So I avoid those and we hop on stage at each other's gigs and have fun for a few songs only.

    It's a delicate mix and only you and your band mates will know if it's "right" or not.
  8. teleharmonium


    Dec 2, 2003
    Most of us don't have the option of choosing exactly who we want to be in our bands so we have to prioritize.

    I don't enjoy spending time with chronically flaky or annoying people, but if they have musical competence, restraint, and taste, I will make that tradeoff. I wish that was the only tradeoff I had to make.

    I'm firmly in the camp of seeing the purpose of the band as making good music. Having fun is a secondary consideration. I like fun, fun is fun, it's definitely on the list, it's just not my primary purpose.

    Usually if I am musically compatible with someone (particularly if they are not the overplaying self absorbed egomaniac type) then I also get along with them well personally too, and they have reasonably good personal hygiene. There have been exceptions.

    I've been doing this stuff for a long time and I am good at ignoring things that aren't relevant or important to the task at hand. It comes from a very natural, honest inner place of me not giving a ****. I don't have to respond in kind or take the bait from people just because their broken personality makes them constantly want to have some kind of weird dynamic or tension playing out, focusing attention on them.
  9. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    Fitting well together certainly helps, but is not essential. In my present band we have three that get along famously, and a 4th (female vocals/sax/guitar) who is an oddball. We pack all amps, drums, and PA before she has her acoustic in its case. But it works on stage, so we put up with it.
  10. People are all different. The differences - a new or different approach, or a different way of looking at something - are sometimes the spark a group of musicians needs. I work with a lot of different groups of players. I get along well with most I work with, but I'm not a best buddy with any of them. We're professional, and we respect each other. 90% of the time, I have a great time playing.

    If ego translates into drive, striving to be the best, then it's not a bad thing.
  11. Joe is spot-on. There is no "right" answer, it really depends on the situtation.

    I am in a typical weekend warrior cover band. We play 2-4 shows a month, typically. The truth is we're not getting rich doing what we do, so our wants/needs/desires from each other are different than someone who's playing professionally full-time, or maybe under contract. In my situation, there needs to be a level of enjoyment and the ability to get along at least reasonably, and have fun. This means we don't have to be BFF's, but we need to get along and at least tolerate each other. Luckily we actually get along fairly well. We have virtually no contact with each other outside our band "relationship", but when we get together we have a decent time. Our guitar player has a HUGE EGO, but he's also a very nice guy, and part of how he plays and performs relies on that ego. What's even more important than this is that we all have to share the same goals, expectations, and "vision", so to speak. We have to be on the same page musically and with our dedication. That's why we get along, we all expect the same of each other as we do ourselves, for the most part. So, in our situation, personality and ego are a huge part of what makes/breaks a band like mine. Again, we're not "friends", but having compatible personalities in our working environment has been the key to keeping us together and satisfied with what we do. Because it's really a glorified hobby that we get paid (a small amount) to do.

    Now, if I were a full-on pro, working regularly, I don't think personality or ego would be as important to me as full-on ability and professionalism/performance. It would be like any job, granted probably a fun job, but still a job. Some days would be good, some bad, some days you'd like your coworkers, others you'd like to strangle them. But in the end, you're being paid (hopefully well) to provide a service. If I were in this position and I did happen to get along well with my bandmates, I would consider it a plus but not necessary.

    Now this would be if I were talking about a cover band, contract job, or corporate type gig, maybe a wedding band. Something where you can learn your stuff, and just go do it. I've never been in an original band, really, so I can't comment on how I'd feel about that, but I have to imagine that I would at least have to somewhat like my bandmates, because the huge amount of time that goes into writing and arranging original music would mean I'd be spending a lot of time with them. If they were jerkwads I don't think I'd be giving my best effort.
  12. Gaolee

    Gaolee Outta my way! I'm caffeinated! Supporting Member

    It either works or it doesn't. I play in one band with a bunch of people who are all very similar. The other band has no logical reason to exist, from a personality and background standpoint. Who knows how long it will last, but it's a whole lot of fun for now. I would go so far as saying it's about the most fun I have had with music. It may implode at any time, since the four of us are as different as you can get, starting with age and working down through gender, background, and just about everything else.
  13. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    Maturity and an ability to communicate and listen effectively can overcome many personality issues.

    The problem is those abilities are practically superpowers among musical people.

    It only works if you ALL want the band more than wanting your way.
  14. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    I agree it totally depends on the individuals and their goals. Sometimes an egotistical is completely unbearable, other times it's just the price you pay to work with genuine talent. I think the most important thing is communication, to know what each person's goals are and what they will and won't put up with.
  15. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    All good stuff....

    Getting the band agenda agreed between everyone so there is a common purpose and bond going on is a more "non confrontational" way to deal with ego problems... and referring to that is something I have used when tempers have become frayed.

    With the new guitarist we are looking at one gig a month and maybe increase it later on as we get more rehearsed. I am not a dictatorial band leader, I am in MD role really, because I had to spend a lot of time coaching the previous guitarist, the new guy can teach me a few things, which is great. There is no obvious band leader as such, and I am always aware that I am in the position because the drummer and singer want me there so I have to keep everyone happy and wanting to be in the band.

    What I usually do, when the occasional argument or time wasting attention seeking conversation is brewing up is just to move things on to the next song on the list, getting everyone to play through the mistakes and get gig ready.

    I have had to make a few unpopular decisions, but everyone seems to recognise it is for the interest of the band as a whole, so any bruised egos have recovered within a few days.

    I suppose the way to deal with a control freak is just to tell them their place, and make sure everyone is clear what their role is. Quite difficult if they form the band in the first place but we are in the position of maybe inviting new players in so can set the rules.

    Really, I would like to not have the control freaks at all and not have to deal with continually weighing up their usefulness against their irritating nature.......

    We have had players turn up who derail the rehearsal and turn the focus onto them. It's not good for the band as a whole and some will successfully stay in the spotlight for hours, if you let them. Very difficult to confront them about this in the actual rehearsal itself and sometimes difficult to pin down in private too.....

    .......Once the control freak becomes established they can take over and convince everyone that they are essential whilst actually taking up time harvesting attention for themselves. Often impossible to bring this behaviour up as something for discussion, they just turn the discussion into another attention gathering session. They also start protracted arguments, confuse simple issues. It's all a game to them.

    When I talk about control freak here it is about a particular type of personality, rather than just someone getting annoyed and upset for a short while, some who is proper narcissistic and has the entire agenda of generating attention for themselves.

    Like I say, all good advice.

    When the next control freak turns up, hopefully the band will have bonded enough to not let them take over. I think that is the way, to involve everyone, then the control freak cannot reduce it to an argument between me and him/her....

    ...it is the endless (boring) discussions about what someone does for the band against how much of a problem they create. At the moment though the guys don't create more than minor problems, which are usually just frustrations that the music is not going as well as they would like. Then we talk about what we need to do.

    I would like to keep it this way to be honest.
  16. thefruitfarmer


    Feb 25, 2006
    Kent UK
    I like that