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Problematic band member

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by B Sus, Mar 30, 2009.

  1. B Sus

    B Sus

    Mar 24, 2009
    Angleton, TX
    I've played in plenty of bands before, and never have I encountered someone as bad as this.

    A little back story...I joined this band about 7 months ago when a friend of mine who I have played with in bands before posted a "bassist needed" bulletin. I shot him a message saying I was interested, and he almost instantly got back to me saying I was in.

    Recently, our drummer (18 year old drum major still in high school) came into some money. Literally as soon as he got it, everything was about "you guys need to buy new/better gear, cases, and cables. we also need to spend $600 on professional artwork for our first release, then another $1800 on pressing it."

    I'm a music major in college taking 18 hours worth of classes and lessons. I also work for the music department doing clerical work and running errands. I have just enough free time to get 10 hours a week, which pays my bills and gets me back and forth to school, and practice once a week. I dont have money readily available to upgrade (nor do I particularly have the desire to right now) or to drop on pressings and artwork.

    I tried to approach him with a slightly less expensive company to press the album, which would save about $150. He argued with me to no end that the company he was recommended was the absolute best thing in the world we could ever do, and finally decided to pull rank and ask me who was paying for it. Strike 1.

    He also tries to do alot of the booking, and has employed the "management" help of some very closed minded, elitist people that I do not care for in the least. I told him that I was against the idea from the time it was brought up, but he went ahead and did it anyways, because no one else stood up and openly opposed.

    We have two gigs in the same town two nights in a row. One has been booked for months, the other was recently confirmed, without my approval. When asked about it, he tried to push the blame onto the promoter, saying that we never gave a confirmation, that the promoter assumed we were down and put us on the flier.

    The venue has had a poor turnout to every gig I've played or attended (0-20 people) It is also a benefit show for the venue, so we will have to drive 140 miles round trip, in our full size 1987 school bus (9-10 MPG Diesel) with no guarantee. We are supposed to headline, which means the odds of anyone actually staying around is pretty slim. We will most likely LOSE money by playing this gig.

    It turns out, that he actually lied to me, and confirmed the show before confirming with everyone else. I'm not the only one who does not really want to play. When I approached him ,he suggested that maybe I should do all the booking with an implied "since you obviously know better" tone. Strike 2.

    I heavily contemplated quitting the band last night because of this. I briefly discussed it with the friend in the band, and he sort of convinced me to let it slide. If he tries to "pull rank" one more time, I am definitely out.

    tl;dr - Drummer is original member "richboy" who has tried to pull rank on me several times, and lied to me.

    Does anyone have any advice as to how I may get drummer to be less of a dick, or at least how to get him to see things from a broke musician who doesnt like playing to an empty room's viewpoint?

    p.s. drummers in our area are virtually nonexistent. Replacing him is not an option :(
  2. Adam Bomb

    Adam Bomb

    Mar 26, 2008
    Bezerkely, CA

    If you figure out how to do *that*, you will make a million dollars, and then you get to be the one trying to push people around with money.

    It's not that I didn't read the "replacing him is not an option" part. But you're not going to change him. I mean, you can grind it out, the slow, painful way, and hate going to rehearsal and dislike gigs, and yell at your GF, and get a tic etc. Your call. I'm just struck by how often people forget that being in a band is supposed to be fun. And most of us do it basically for free, after expenses, and if you aren't happy you can simply leave. Band leaders forget that all the time. But also, amazingly, band members forget it too.

    You asked. Lock horns with him, don't let him bother you, or step. That's all I got.

    --Bomb :bassist:
  3. B Sus

    B Sus

    Mar 24, 2009
    Angleton, TX
    I more or less figured that was going to be the only way, but I really enjoy playing with the band, because they are literally the most talented musicians (of the genre) within a 45 mile radius. I dont want to have to deal with the rest of us who are more experienced playing crappy gigs and losing/wasting money just so he can learn the hard way.
  4. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Why don't the other band members step up? Whose "band" is it anyways?

    The drummer doesn't have a clue. Just because you have some money doesn't give you an extra dose of logic. Why does he think because he has money, he can run the band?

    You guys need to have a band meeting(w/o) him to discuss the whole "band" thing. As long as the drummer is allowed to push people around, he'll do it.

    Seems to me you should be focusing on school more than the train wreck that's happening in front of you, especially gigs that are costing you time and money.

    That's where I would draw the line. IMO, time to move on. The drummer won't change until his money is gone. Then he'll go back to being a broke jackass.
  5. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    You're a music major and drummers are non existent? Not saying you're lying, but that just sounds wack. There's gotta be a few drummers floating around there somewhere.

    I agree with what Adam said, I seriously doubt you're going to change him. The best way to deal with arrogant band members like that is to not jam with them. Their reputation usually gets around and then eventually nobody wants to jam with them. This in turn sometimes causes them to look inward and facilitate a change.
  6. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    If he's throwing his money around to get is own way then let him do it... If he wants the expensive pressing company, then tell him to make up the difference. If he wants flashy equipment, tell him to pay for it - use it, and give it back to him when you quit the band. If he wants to book gigs that aren't going to break even without consulting ask him to make up the guarentee. Make it clear you're not borrowing the money, and that his spending is only to pay for the one thing HE wants, so there's no comeback.

    If he wants to play rich-kid then take advantage. If he wants to act flash then he has to pretend that the cash isn't a big deal to him, so he can't use it to preasure you afterwards - "hey - I bought you that $2000 bass, do as I say!", "yeah, but it's only $2000, I'm thinking I should really have something better". At some point he'll snap (or run out of cash!), at which point you have to give the toys back so he can sell them to pay off the debt he's run up being a jerk, but it'll be more fun while it lastsw.

    It's supprisingly common - people come into a little money and blow it very quickly. I know couple of people it's happened to. They weren't jerks about it, but they came into more cash than they'd ever seen (a couple of years wages in one cheque), and were out spending it before it cleared. Within a couple of month they were back to their broke selves.
  7. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Who's the bandleader? That's who you want to go to with this issue, get the leader to pull him in line.

    If he is the leader, you'll have to choose to put up with him or walk.

    If this is one of those "democratic" bands, haha... I'm in one of those. It sucks. Try to build some support for your position with everyone else, and out-vote him.

    Yeah he has a point, even though he's being a dick. I mean, whenever I'm not happy with a bandleader's decision, I have to stop and realize all the extra work he's doing that I don't want to do. It's a "put up or shut up" situation, at least in my mind.

    Not to say you should put up with him, just come up with a way to counter his point. Like what IanStephenson said, hit him with "I just don't have the cash to do what you want to do, simple as that." Better yet, recruit other band members to your viewpoints then hit him as a group...

    Good luck!
  8. +1, I agree. Being in a band feels good. But you are also in school and should be focusing on that. Bands and drummers will come and go throughout your whole life. Once you're done school and making the big bucks, you'll have cash to spend on sick equipment and you'll be older, wiser and more mature. You could easily find a band with like-minded individuals who won't "power trip" like this drummer.

    I've quit amazing bands with great musicians for all kinds of various reasons; drug problems, reliability problems, EGO problems.

    You shouldn't let the fact that he's the only drummer around get you stuck into a position you are unhappy with.
  9. set up boundaries and don't let him push you around. If you don't want to play that show then just don't play it. Rally the other troops around you and set up some ground rules at practice- everyone must approve shows prior to confirmation with the club would be a good start.
  10. MEKer

    MEKer Supporting member

    May 30, 2006
    I'd been gone the first thing on this. The immaturity will, I think, outlast your trying to outlast IT in the hopes it'll all work and you'll have a cool band. Another clue is that since the attitude came out pretty big just cuz he came into some $ (as I understand the post) that means the "asinineness" is bone deep. No chance for 3 strikes with me-game over.
  11. B Sus

    B Sus

    Mar 24, 2009
    Angleton, TX
    Its not really any one persons band, its more or less the democratic situation, with the one "corrupt" member going behind backs to get what he wants.

    I'm a music major at a community college in a very conservative area. There are only about 10-12 music majors, and none play drums. Mostly voice and guitar (although guitar majors usually drop like flies between semesters). There is also one flute, and one tuba major.

    There are drummers, but they are all beginners who can do nothing but poorly keep time. We play "progressive" metal with some southern influence.

    I would do all of the booking in a heartbeat if I didnt have school to worry about. I do a little bit of the booking, and ironically, the shows I book usually have the best turnouts....

    I do this in pretty much every argument we have. Usually, in the end he ends up rewording what I first said to make it sound like he came up with it. I call him out every time, and he blows it off like nothing ever happened.

    2 of the other members are on my side about the booking thing, and I will be bringing it up at our next practice. The only reason they arent more outspoken is because we all want the band to succeed, but we cant do that without the drummer. They've been putting up with it for longer than I have, and I totally commend them for being so passive about it for so long. I just cant bring myself to let him have his way.

    Thanks for all of the advice, and I'd love to hear more peoples viewpoints on this.
  12. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Wow. It's really that bad.

    This is one of those rare people who basically will do whatever they want, say whatever they want, whether it's true or not, with no regard for others. You really can't reason with them because, as you said, they will constantly change the facts and the rules, rewrite history, alter your words and actions when portraying them to others... anything and everything is used by them for their ends. You can't win, unless you have some way to force them----

    Here's an idea on how to do that; you say there are no other drummers. Are there also no other bassists? He may feel you're equally crucial to him, if he thinks you're leaving. Sometimes the bassist has enough power alone to sway a band (you may be surprised).

    Are there no other guitarists? (Wait... scratch that one) err.. no other irreplaceable band members? Get a group together and threaten to disband if he doesn't straighten up.

    A lot of times these people are paper tigers; they're bluffing (sometimes). If you call their bluff (quit the band) sometimes they will relent. What do you have to lose? Either he gets his head out of his a$$ and asks you back, or you leave a band run by a jerk. Either way, you end up with a lot less grief.

    P.S. I do not commend your bandmates for being passive with him. Uh, can you say "enabler"? They should be standing with you and demanding this guy do the right thing. I can't stand it when bandmembers put up with crap for no good reason. It really irks me... it shoulders the one guy with all the burden of calling out the BS.... grrrrr
  13. B Sus

    B Sus

    Mar 24, 2009
    Angleton, TX
    ChrisB2, I didnt mean to sound like I support their decision to not stand up, and I can definitely agree with their reasons not to. I just meant that they have the physical capacity to take in that much crap without exploding. :p
  14. tlwaps


    Feb 13, 2006
    I had a guitarist like that in my last band. He was a spoiled brat who doesn't work and his parents give him everything. He thought he knew everything about the music business since he was a business major in college for a semester but he didn't know squat. He would always book gigs without us knowing it (he wasn't allowed to do it either) and then at the last minute say we have a show the next day and it was usually at the same place with the same bands. He said we would get paid $500 yet nobody ever saw any money. Needless to say he's been blacklisted in my area, nobody will jam with him at all because they all know he has a biga** ego and is a theif.

    My advice, either leave or convince everybody to kick him out. You're to old for high school drama and cry baby attitudes.
  15. Stumbo

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

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo

    Define success? You think things will be easier with this guy if the bands starts getting gigs and making money? I mean, he already has money and how did that work out? What will fame do to him?

    He's immature and has very low self-esteem.

    Band's are supposed to be fun. He's taking himself way too seriously.

    Knowing what you know now, if you stay with the group and keep making excuses for the guy or not saying anything at all, all you guys will get what you deserve. :bassist: Going down the same road and expecting to arrive at a different location is one definition of insanity.

    Good luck.
  16. B Sus

    B Sus

    Mar 24, 2009
    Angleton, TX
    I mean survive more than succeed. I could care less about money and fame, as could the rest of the band (drummer excluded)

    Sure we'll send out press kits and all that good stuff to labels, but we're (excluding drummer) more worried about going and having a good time with our music. Yes, having money matters, but if I go on tour, and do nothing but barely break even, I'll be perfectly happy with my experience.

    Drummer, on the other hand, wants to make it big and make a bunch of money and have every little fangirl know our name. Not into it...

    Hopefully things will stay bearable until I've toured some more and have met a bunch of new people and have had some more good times. If not, stuff happens. Theres always my dream to start a rag-tag punk band and live wherever my bus happens to be parked that day with my friends.
  17. Skarekrough


    Aug 7, 2006
    I keep one of these around just in case drummers start to get mouthy. It won't replace them, but it is enough to let them know that it's there and ready to finish out the run of booked gigs whenever we need it to.

  18. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    Literally LOL :D

    Good luck with your situation.
  19. sevenyearsdown

    sevenyearsdown Supporting Member

    Jan 29, 2008
    Sanborn, NY
    If it's not fun, then why bother.

    The other thing is, if someone is lying to you - why don't you call them out on it. Being dishonest has nothing to do with being a musician, or being professional. It sounds like it is going to come to some sort of head sooner than later anyway. Why waste time?
  20. B Sus

    B Sus

    Mar 24, 2009
    Angleton, TX
    I did call him out. It wasnt in person, so I was more or less ignored, but I'm making a point to bring it up at practice.

    Skarekrough, I lold hard.

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