quitting a band

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by hernameisrio, Nov 8, 2011.

  1. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    So not only am I rapidly outgrowing the punk/garage band I'm playing with, but now it seems it's leading me down the road to some bad habits, like playing way too hard and hurting my left hand and my shoulder. Booo. Tonight sucked and I felt like I couldn't even get into what I was playing, like suddenly none of it felt right. It was unbelievably frustrating; I was shocked at how distracted and out-of-sorts I felt. I've decided that I should quit sooner rather than later, as I have a habit of sticking it out with things for longer than I should. The thing is, I hate quitting stuff and I hate feeling like I'm letting people down. We've only played one show together, but already I'm just feeling like it's going to be an uphill battle that I don't want to participate in...for the styles I want to play and the goals I've set for myself as a musician, this band is holding me back.

    I don't want to dump this whole thing on them all of a sudden and I feel like it'll make me look bad. But I also don't want to make up a total lie just to get out of this, because that's dishonest and at this point, I feel like I've become friends with these guys as well. So I'm just going to tell them at least part of the truth, which is that I have a lot of other things going on which are taking priority for me, and that it's too much of a stretch to commit to them at this point. I don't think it's really worth going into the details of my frustrations...if I've already made my decision, what good will that do me?

    To a degree, there's a part of me that will always wonder what I missed. In the past, the answer has been, "Not much of anything," but you never know...anyway, stay tuned...
  2. muzair


    Nov 2, 2009

    For what it's worth, I think you are totally within your rights as a musician to say 'You know what? I'm not really into playing this music. I'm not having fun and I don't want to do it anymore'. Make it clear that it's got nothing to do with how you get on with the other guys in the band or anything like that, just that you aren't enjoying yourself musically. It may be awkward with the guys at first, but in the long run you'll thank yourself for it and it'll all work out...

    It's kinda like getting out of a relationship you KNOW isn't working for you, but you keep sticking at it anyway! Why do we that to ourselves?

    Our musical lives are too short to be spent playing music we don't want to play. Once you realise you aren't enjoying something musically, get out of there, or you end up like those millions of guys bitching about the fact that they have to do 5 wedding gigs to every 1 jazz gig (or insert equivalent style).

    Over the last 3 or 4 years or so, I've gradually stopped doing gigs that I don't want to do... What's happened is that I've ended up making a living playing with people that I really like on a personal and musical level, and I enjoy playing more than ever!

    So go right ahead and quit your band, if you think it's the right thing for you to do!
  3. Have you thought about spicing up the bass a bit?

    You say you've outgrown it, yet still fall into the habit of playing too hard and hurting yourself?

    I always just find the "the band is holding me back" thing to be a bit iffy. I can crack out some jazz and funk in my spare time, yet often in the bands I play it ends up being mainly 4 chord/root stuff (granted, with a lot of fills :p ). Playing simpler stuff doesn't hold me back, it just makes it easier in that one situation :)

    However, like muzair, I tend to play with people who I was already friends with, so I'm not just there for the music.

    If you are just bored with the music, then by all means, heck, for any other reason too, nothing forcing you to stay with them.

    I would bring it up with them, never know, a few other members may feel the same, may change the direction of the band?
  4. +1!! This worked for me when I was in a similar situation. But as Mohawk said, if you feel leaving is the only option left, by all means follow your gut. I would certainly have a conversation with them first, though.

    Good luck!
  5. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    The main consideration when leaving a band is to make sure there is enough time to transition to the new person, but this applies ONLY IF you have gigs booked. From your initial post, it doesn't sound like this band is gigging. You don't have to share the whole, entire truth with them, just the part about having a lot of other things going on which are taking priority is reason enough.

    Some of the other band members may not be gracious about it, but that's their problem, not yours. The ones who value your friendship will continue being your friends after you leave.

    And you WILL end up playing in another project with one or more of these people sometime in the future. It might be 30 years from now, but it will happen. It always does. (I speak as an old musician who has been at this for 40 years now.)
  6. NKUSigEp


    Jun 6, 2006
    Bright, IN
    Sounds like you've hit a wall. Some new gear usually clears that right up!
  7. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Mohawk, I know what you mean and I have tried spicing it up but it still doesn't really make me feel better. I know this because I tried some different, more "advanced" stuff in my *other* post-punk/new wave project and they loved it and were happy to work around it in a way that made the songs a lot tighter and better. But these guys just can't seem to give me room to do that, whether it's their abilities or their expectations. I'm not trying to blame the band or their skill level for my unhappiness necessarily, it's more that well, put it this way...I play with a lot of people and I feel great when I play with everybody but them. So it really does seem like them and not me, whether it's an issue of skill level or just creative differences. As for relationships, ha ha, let's just say I have a tendency to do the same thing there too, to the point where it's been incredibly destructive on my life and my sense of self...as someone who was once described by a friend as "fiercely loyal" and is notorious for sticking it out for way too long, I'm starting to feel like maybe it's time to listen to my gut instincts a little bit sooner, no matter how awkward it feels to have the conversation. I think part of it is that I've always just wanted to get along with everybody and I absolutely hate confrontation.
  8. yeah, it seems like the only thing you can do is to be upfront about how you're not enjoying your part in the band.
    If you really feel bad about wanting to leave the best you could do is offer to stick around while they find a replacement, maybe even help by asking around to see if anyone else is interested in joining.
    But like someone above said, if you're not gigging regularly I don't really see how you're obligated to stick around, ESPECIALLY if you're playing in other projects that you actually enjoy.
  9. Unfortunately, life throws situations to us and we sometimes have to leave them if they're no longer doing any good. It may sound a bit selfish, but I'd say you should leave them, as long as you have tried your best to give your opinion about the music direction of the band and it has fallen in deaf ears. Mostly for your own good. And the bandmates may actually benefit from it by finding someone more "down their level", so to speak.

    I'm usually the same in that I rather try to keep relationships alive and avoid confrontation. Then I came across this site that talked about good reasons to "burn bridges", and that it can actually be a good thing to just cut relationships with some people. Especially those that are doing you damage.
  10. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Hey do you have the link to that site? Sounds like a good read...I haven't talked to the band yet, I'm putting it off :-/
  11. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Retired Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    Tell them now. You're not doing them any favors by prolonging the inevitable. Keep it simple.

    "Guys. My musical tastes are changing, and I'm ultimately going to hold you back because I'm just not into the music any more. I've got to move on. Sorry."
  12. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Do it in person (vs e-mail or text or whatever), and don't make it personal.

    It doesn't sound like you have any ill will towards your bandmates so make sure your explanation can't be interpreted that way. Also try not to word it such that it sounds like you're saying you've "outgrown" their musical style or anything where it could come off like you're saying you've gotten "too good" for them.

    In other words, the sentence Munji has above is perfect.
  13. Something as simple as "I'm not enjoying myself" is all you need.
  14. baskruit


    Oct 21, 2010
    After three years I told my band yesterday that I'm leaving. On a personal level the best bunch of people ever. Musically but even moreso professionally there was a lot to be desired and it showed on stage. It has frustrated me for well over a year, was about to leave a year ago but I gave them another chance because it seemed that it would get better. It didn't.

    There are still 4 gigs scheduled and I'll do them if they won't have a replacement yet. The worst thing is that in the future I won't see them nearly as much as I do now. But underachieving (at least as I see it) like we do just frustrates the hell out of me. I want to feel proud about everything I do, especially making music. So leaving is sad but 100% the best thing I can do right now.
  15. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    I hear ya. It gets old being the most accomplished (or at least, the most "pro"-minded) member of the band. The biggest reason I left my last band was that they just weren't progressing in really any aspect of their existence, which resulted in their crowds (and bookings) starting to decline, and it just wore me out being the guy that was constantly "pushing" them (to no success) and setting the example. At the point where I was drinking heavily just to get through the shows and was physically and emotionally wiped out at the end of the night, I knew it was time to get out.

    Now I'm in a band where all the members are much more equal in terms of ability, they all have the same drive to make the band "work" and we get along on top of it. It is so much better, and the gigs don't take nearly as much out of me as they used to.
  16. klejst


    Oct 5, 2010
    I have been in my share of bands and musical projects and have had days where I left practice or a gig and I was excited of what we were going to next and then had days when I felt like I was wasting my time and wanted to do something else. Now I know when you are in a group with others you cannot see eye to eye on everything and also you all may have to make some changes and sacrifices for the better of the band as a whole. But you should never let anything hold you back from what you truly want to do. Indeed if you are not happy you should not try force yourself to try to be, you should really look at doing something else. You can still be good friends with your former band mates, unless they are going to be bitter about it or have a falling out. Also another alternative is to start or join another group and still stay in this band if commitment and time are no issue. One thing I also know that you mentioned was the "what if's." You cannot think about them, it can eat you up inside. Just my two cents.
  17. Stumbo

    Stumbo Guest

    Feb 11, 2008
    I think this thing about hating confrontation is one thing that may be affecting your interpretation of the situation (and possibly in your non-band life as well).

    I had to learn that having a discussion and allowing everyone to exercise their right of free speech is not a confrontation. No point in getting defensive when others disagree with you or when you disagree with them.

    It's just a discussion. Learning to remain calm when having a discussion is an important skill to have.

    Now, if people start to argue, raise their voices and attempt to use fear and intimidation to get their way, and attempt to confront me in that manner, it's my right to walk away.

    You may or may not agree or like what every one says, but that's life. You have to take a position, be able to explain it and stand by it. And be able to move on your own, even if no one agrees with you.

    For me, I was always the one who adapted to the situation instead of figuring out what I really wanted and working towards that.

    For me, once I was able to get over this "confrontation" phobia, life was much easier and there was a lot less tension as I gained confidence in dealing with others in a more sophisticated verbal manner rather than getting tongue tied and not be able to express myself.

    My advice is to explain your situation to your bandmates and maybe they can "give you room" to do your thing and maybe they can't . At least give them the option.

    As far as the "bad habits" you're picking up, that's all on you. Take responsibility for your actions. Don't blame them for "playing too hard" or "hurting your left hand". Make corrections based on what you need.

    You can always leave.

    Good luck.
  18. help them find your replacement
  19. jaywa


    May 5, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Good call. I did that in the last band I left. I wasn't successful, but I did attempt to hook the BL up with 2 or 3 guys I knew would be good for the gig and I know he appreciated it a lot. We're still on good terms and in fact we've been out to see each other's shows a couple of times since I left.
  20. hernameisrio


    Sep 27, 2011
    Berkeley, CA
    Well, I told the guitarist at rehearsal last week that I was having a hard time hearing myself and he turned down a bit. The action on my new bass is considerably lower than my Ibanez and it seems my brief phase of playing way too hard, has gone away! Between being able to hear myself a little better AND not having to push as hard in the first place, I feel a lot better off now...no fatigue in my wrist and I feel more at ease when I play. So that's cool. Hope it lasts, and I think it will. As for the band, we have a gig on the 28th which I think I should commit to; might as well, it's only in a couple of weeks and it's not gonna kill me...the irony is that at first I thought I wouldn't be able to do the gig (before I'd thought about quitting, I mean) due to being out of town and getting into LaGuardia at 7 pm. Thankfully, we don't go on til 11, so it'll still be somewhat of a scramble, but I should make it there in time.

    I don't know how the gig's gonna go, but either way, afterwards, I'll talk to them and tell them what's going on. It's also possible that I will be playing in this other project and having to drop them before next month...in which case I will give the punk band my "two weeks' notice" on Monday and offer to do the gig until they find a replacement (and yes, I will ask around).

    I'm not intending to sound whiny or like I'm blaming them for personal problems or my own bad habits/stubbornness. I'm just one of those people who prefers to get along with others and keep life relatively painless, no matter how much of a non-conformist I might seem like. It's not that I don't want to stand up for myself, I just don't like hurting peoples' feelings or feeling like I've made a bad impression. Especially in New York City where the music industry is such a small world, I have to deal with this in a way that won't bite me in the *** later.

    Anyway. Thanks guys, I'll keep you posted if you're truly interested! :p
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