Quitting the band without losing friends

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by CindyB, Jan 16, 2009.

  1. The cover band that I've been in for the last three years is starting to feel very stale to me and I'm thinking that it's time for me to move on. The drummer and the guitarist/singer are great guys who are like brothers to me - they're just not particularly committed to moving the band forward (or to practicing at home apparently). I'd like to leave this situation, but I want to do it in a way that doesn't involve a big screaming match ending in "Oh yeah? Well f*** you!!" I know I need to talk to the guys, but should I pin this on the musical problems or just play the "fickle woman in search of something different" card? Also, should I try to connect them with a new bass player? I've fallen into roll of "den mother" in the band (which is part of what I want to get away from) and finding my own replacement seems like more of the same, but I really don't want to leave them high and dry. They're good guys and they've been great to me.

    Cindy (moving on to better things)
  2. Cindy-
    When I 'move on', I always tell them that I'm still available to substitute while everyone gets resettled. You might not want to take on the finders role for their new bass player.
    And things will be different with them when you're not bandmates. It just will.
  3. denhou1974


    Mar 6, 2008
    Do not connect them with another bassist. That could turn out bad.

    Sit down with them in person and tell them that you are quitting. Offer to fill-in until they find a replacement. If they want to know why then tell them what you've posted here (it's time to move on). Don't discuss it in email or individually with any of the members. Bands don't last forever but you might end up playing with some of the members in the future. Leave on good terms and don't argue or point fingers.
  4. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    The drummer in my last band was my best friend for a number of years. Though to tell you the truth, near the end of our tenure we were more distant, mostly because he was seeing someone. He quit when they decided to sell his drumkit to pay off some debt so they could move into a new apartment. Everything was on good terms, he sat me down and laid it all out for me. We're definitely still friends, but the move put some distance between us and we dont see each other very often. Though he is playing bass in a band and I'll be going to his show tomorrow.

    Ive also had a split that was less than amicable from a previous band. I was p/o'd at the way he handled the quitting, via myspace comment on our bands site (not even my personal site, the guy was trying to be Black Francis or something). I got over it in a few months and we were still friends, until he had to be a major jerk and send some unnecessary insults about my wife and son my way. That friendship ended real quick.

    Just thought Id share...
  5. john_g

    john_g Supporting Member

    Sep 14, 2007
    When I was younger, I worried about stuff like this and held onto situations much longer than I should have. Now that I am older, if I am not happy, I will tell the band members why (which I did not long about a singer we had) and if it doesnt rectify the situation, I would walk. Dont ever apologize or feel bad for doing something that is best for you. You are not killing their hamster after all! =)
  6. That's probably good advice. My concern is that they will just quit altogether if they don't have a bassist. That would be too bad because playing is about the only fun these guys have right now. Of course, that's their right but it would be a real shame if that happened.

    I worry that this would just enable them put off the inevitable. The key word here being "enable" which has been way too big a part of my role in the band. :rollno:

    Some psychology grad student could do a really interesting study on the dynamics of this band. :meh:

  7. 60HzRumble


    Mar 31, 2002
    Harrisburg, PA
    I'm in the process of quitting - I gave them my notice and a date that would be my final gig with them. I just need more time with my family, and that's what I told them. No hard feelings, just tell them the truth - if they don't like it, there's not much you can do about it.
  8. A sit down is a must, but the root issue is why you feel stagnant. Other musicians may also feel like you do and are afraid to face it. I have been in bands where the simple uttering of "guys, are you starting to feel stagnant, also?" led to moving the whole band forward.

    My suggestion is to begin a talk from there. try to find something that will relight your fire. If nothing can be done, then say you want to move on. Offer to stay with them until they have found a new bassist and offer to help him get up to speed. And offer to sub if they need it
  9. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    Then offer to fill-in, but only for a set amount of time. Basically the same as giving two weeks notice at work. You'll have to decide what is a reasonable amount of time based on how hard you think it will be to find a bassist in your area.
  10. StyleOverShow

    StyleOverShow Still Playing After All These Years Gold Supporting Member

    May 3, 2008
    Sounds like you are on the right path, out the door. Be prepared for the consequences as the little pangs of 2nd guessing will show up soon. It may take time to find another band or bands to work in that are as committed as you. I would find that other band first and then leave this one. It may not be the final move but the transition will be easier.

    Good luck - richard
  11. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    I've quit a few heavily-involved projects. I reach that critical point then I finally pick up the phone and make the awkward call and the sky seems much bluer afterward.

    I give them lots and lots of notice and leeway. I'll be good for everything that's currently on the calendar, maybe more if they're working hard to book stuff. BUT if said dates help entice a good replacement, let 'em have 'em! (That's a lot of consideration, but this is a small scene - players not so plentiful.)

    I'm very good friends with all the outfits I've left (except one - should have quit that sooner).

    If you're still feeling bad for their sake, just remember: if they're lost without you, you're lost with them.
  12. Unfortunately, we've had that conversation more than a few times. There's always lots of upbeat promises and hugs all around, but within a week or two we're back in the hole.

    That's probably the best plan.

  13. Eilif

    Eilif Holding it down in K-Town. Supporting Member

    Oct 1, 2001
    Sounds like you're on the right track. Kudos to you for realizing their not going to change and that it's time to move on.

    +1 definately set a time line. I told my last band I'd stick with them and help them find someone new. 6 months later, and they still hadn't found someone. They finally let me go and then broke up 3 gigs later. It wasn't a bad situation, but I definately should have not let it drag on so long.

    Even if you killed their hampster, you could still be friends. As a child I killed my friend's hampster by running him over with a bicycle (long story, but it was unintentional). Now, a decade after high school, we're not super close, but I hang out with him much more often than anyone else from my childhood.

    Lesson is: (kind of a stretch but...)you have to get out, but there's no reason it has to be on bad terms.
  14. This is EXACTLY the kind of input I come here for!!! Thank you for that!! :D

    I think my current plan is to talk to the guys at our next practice (if I can't get together with them sooner) and explain that this is about me, not them and offer to fill in for a month or until they find a new bassist. If the band implodes because of it, then it was going to implode anyway.

    There is another band forming that wants me to play so I won't be hanging around second guessing myself. (At least not too much.) Hopefully the old band will pull it together around a new bassist and make it the band they want to have.

    Thanks to all for your very useful input!! :)

  15. Hi, Cindy.

    Clearly You want something more than the guys in the band are aiming for. And You already have another band in sight. That all sounds very good.

    What doidn't sound nearly as good was to tell them: "It's about me, not them..." we guys immediately draw a certain conclusion from that line, perhaps we hear it too often ;).

    If I was in a similar situation I would try to find a replacement, I think that's a cecent thing to do as bassplayers are generally friends with eachother.

    All the bands will always have members with different goals, that's the reason bands rarely stay together very long.

  16. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Your not happy. That's ultimatly going to make the band unhappy. You're going to loose a lot more friends by hanging around doing something you don't want to do. Simply tell them that you feel it's time for you to move on, as you're not enjoying it any more. Let them set a schedule for your replacement, and work with them to keep them moving forwards. Offer to be available if they need you.

    Our guitarist quit last year. We knew he wasn't happy. When he finally said he wanted to go it was great, and we were all able to move forwards. There were SOME personal issues going on at the time, but once he left they all fell away. We're happy, I assume he's happy. Moving on it the best thing.

  17. alexnw


    Feb 1, 2008

    That's some pretty heavy stuff right there....

    Rings true of my current situation.

    Thanks Jefenator.
  18. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    I think offering to fill in until they find a new bassist is a bad idea. IMO you need to set a definite date otherwise things can drag on as they think you have changed your mind about leaving.

    I would just be straight with them about what you want to do in an non accusatory way and move on. Feelings may be hurt but they'll get over it and things will be cool and if they don't they aren't your friends.
  19. No, I mean one month period. Unless they find a new bassist before then (or decide they don't want me around). I'm not going to hang around until they figure out the meaning of life. That's what I've been doing for the last year! However, it may be that offering to fill in at all is a bad idea. There aren't any gigs pending and it's going to be pretty uncomfortable hanging around if they decide to be pissed about it. Who knows. I think that the overall tone of the next meeting will make it pretty clear which decision is best. :meh:

  20. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize! Supporting Member

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    If there are no gigs, then just quit. Easier to make a clean break than drag it out.
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