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Should I just take a step back?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jonas_24112, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    My current band is a 4-piece variety cover band that just started gigging in October. 3 of us sing and lead vocals are split between songs evenly which gives us a pretty good variety of songs. Our drummer is front man for another band and we all agreed booking around his bands gigs was not a problem since they only played about once a month. It has been my understanding since we began that the direction of the band was to play a variety of danceable songs that people pay to hear and book paying gigs at a minimum of 2 per month, but more if we can.

    Since we began, we have played or booked 9 paying gigs. 7 of those gigs have been booked by me. I did our Facebook and Reverbnation pages and recently put together a kick butt promo pack with business card, one pager info sheet, and demo cd complete with basic cd artwork.

    Without getting into all the gobbledygook, I'll try to make this short.

    Our drummers other band broke up. He wants to bring in his old drummer (also his son) and he would then become our front man and sing the majority of song selections. The new possible drummer can only play every other weekend due to personal issues. We agreed it would be a good move for our band musically, but new drummer would have to free up all of his weekends as it would be too difficult to manage our booking schedule around his personal issues. Tell him to come to the next practice and we would talk.

    At last nights practice it was obvious from the beginning that the decision to add new drummer to our band had already been made by lead guitar and current drummer/new front man and we would book around his schedule. By the end of practice it was concrete.

    When I gave my opinion that the "new drummer":
    1. Didn't really act like he wanted to play with us (no excitement and stayed on cell phone texting during audition, plus told us several times how we should play the song, though it was our own adapted arrangement).

    2. We were seriously going to limit our ability to book gigs because of his schedule.

    I was told by lead guitar that he knows I'm "ambitious", but we aren't booking that many gigs and we need to stay local for now anyway..........

    The kicker is they had no opinion on the promo packs and lead guitar was pissed his contact info wasn't on it. AND a new venue I dropped first the promo pack off to on Monday, just now called me and wants to talk booking a gig!!!

    So, I'm pissed. I see where I stand now with this band. I feel like I should just take a step back and quit the promotion and booking stuff and see if one of the others is going to step up. Thanks for letting me vent.

    What would you do?:bawl:
  2. CrashCarlisle


    Sep 13, 2011
    I don't think any new member should be forced onto the band if one member objects. That's bad juju.
  3. stflbn


    May 10, 2007
    Sounds like the new Front man and his drummer son are bouncing to whatever band is showing the most promise, and injecting their preferences on that band.

    Which to me reeks of 'their needs and approach are not working'.

  4. steve_rolfeca

    steve_rolfeca Supporting Member

    The tricky part, is that you're already built up some promotional momentum, and there are paying gigs on the line. I'm guessing that if you step back, the promotional activity will falter, especially since they seem to be thinking about refusing gigs that fall on the drummer's "off" weekends.

    Maybe you could talk to them about that issue directly. If you could go to the band with a booking offer from the club that just called you back, and it happened to fall on a weekend that the new drummer isn't available, it might help to focus the discussion...

    Another thought- any chance that the old drummer would be willing to go back behind the kit for gigs that fell on those weekends?
  5. cableguy


    Jun 4, 2009
    North Bend, WA
    It sounds like you have your ducks in a row so to speak in regards to the booking and promotion. It also sounds like the decision on a new member was made without you. Maybe you should lay back and let the others handle the booking and promo stuff. Sounds like you guys may be on different wavelengths when it comes to band direction. Play the gigs, be professional, but also start looking to join or form a new band. When and if your new group starts gigging either A) give them a little notice so they may find a new bassist or B) tell them they can work around you new bands schedule.
  6. IMO a working coverband should have a vetted sub for every position so the band can keep gigging whether Mr. Drummerpants can make it or not.. besides, drummers are a dime a dozen.. If he can't make it, that's his problem.. you all will keep working and can employ someone in the brotherhood to fill in..

    As for the disrespect shown you on the promotion front.. IMO it is when people's contributions are taken for granted that resentment builds. There's two ways to approach this..

    1) take a break and let them do the legwork for booking and promotion instead.. spend the down-time looking for another situation to concentrate your talents..

    2) take a cut for every booking.. 10% is being generous to the band. Based on their bad juju, I'd say 15% is a better rate for your mental health..

    Best of luck,
  7. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    Update: So, the new venue called me and left a message, PLUS another person from a private gig I did not book called me to see if we could change the date of the gig because they had to move to a different location.

    I texted lead guitar and current drummer about both contacts and asked what they wanted me to do. Guess what.......crickets.........no answer, no text back, nothing.

    My imagination is getting the best of me and I'm starting to think "no communication + don't book anymore gigs= I'm getting the axe"

    I'm thinking there's going to be one heck of a long conversation coming up next practice.......keep ya posted!!
  8. Your instincts may be on target - may not.

    Deal directly with the things you can control. Text them, email them (keep them all short, sweet and to the point - no editorializing) - and call them. Leave voice-mails for the ones who don't answer. Follow the same instructions as with emails and texts - short, sweet and to the point - no editorializing.

    Include in these communications a date that you need an answer - and what sort of answer you need - "I need a yes or no on this gig and a yes or no on that by this day"

    After all of that it's out of your hands. No matter how much you want to be able to make them respond or behave you can't. If they don't respond you can conclude one thing for certain - they don't have what it takes to be in a responsible band. Why, how, or if you work just *this much* harder or said *these words* - will change that.

    So unless you want to be their band mommy - a role I have played and believe me, you need to love the band AND feel respected (at least) and loved (at best) by them, or it's not worth it.

    I don't know how old you guys are - and that does matter a little, but only a little - the bottom line is pretty simple. A band needs to be reliable and be able to communicate on a pretty high level in order to be successful on any level. Sub-texts, attitudes, ego trips, divas, players who always seem to have one other, more important thing - all of these things only make being in a band a drag. While a band can be a business, it should (IMO) be rewarding and fun.

    Otherwise - if you are willing to take on the role of band mommy - and the band is one you love and loves you back, then yes, you need to take a breath and relax a bit. Things will either work out or they won't - but if you are digging what you're doing while you're doing it, that's what counts.
  9. DBCrocky


    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    It sounds like the root problem is that you have different goals for the band than the other members. They want a band so they can hang out with friends and jam and play a local gig every once in a while, but you want to be in a working band.
  10. Marko 1

    Marko 1

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio

    What happened to the bass player from that band?

    I’m wondering if the other band really “broke up” at all.
  11. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Start taking a cut for your promotion work. Book as many gigs as possible and if the kid can't make it, then dad plays drums and you do a show the "old" way. Rinse. Repeat.
  12. my take on this:

    them - "hey guys check me out i'm in a band woo yeah i pluck strings and bang things with sticks wooooo bring on the chicks"

    you - "i am a dedicated musician and want to play music and you guys are being some shady dbags"

    am i missing anything? babysitting sucks :(
  13. bluewine

    bluewine Inactive

    Sep 4, 2008
    This scenario also brings back the problems that occur when band members are in more than one band or have other conflicts.

    It's an easy fix for me. I'm old school, I only play in one band and will not join a band where any members are in other bands or anything that would conflict with paying gigs.
  14. funkinbottom

    funkinbottom Supporting Member

    Apr 23, 2006
    Northern CA.
    Same kind of scenario has happened to me too many times early in my 35 years + of playing. So now I just book the gigs. If the guys don't want to do them, do it with someone else. Much easier to get players for a gig already booked than the other way around.
  15. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    The other bass player is actually a good friend of mine. Including that band, he was in a total of 3 bands. That's part of the reason they broke up, because he was getting a lot more bookings with his other two bands. I was actually going to be doing some sub work for him in that band. Between the drummer only able to play 2 gigs a month, the bass player booked with two other bands, and the singer playing drums for my band which has started booking a bunch of gigs, the band leader called it quits.

    I'm actually thinking they feel bad for the old band leader (he played guitar) and might be thinking about bringing him in and replace me on bass. But it could be my imagination as the singer acts like he's mad at him for closing out the band.
  16. jonas_24112


    Jul 11, 2011
    OP here....just wanted to finish the story.

    I had a sit down with the band and asked for clarification on direction for the band and where we will go as a 5 piece.

    All agreed we will play 2 weekends per month and work around the drummers schedule for the next 9 months to give him time to work out his personal issues and give the band time to create a following, work on the show, tighten up etc. If drummer does not have it worked out by then, he will go on notice and we will begin to look for another drummer. The drummer is fine with this.

    The band is happy about the promotion I've done, but is just not good at showing appreciation. I will continue to promote the band as I have, but limit the bookings for that period of time to between 6 and 8 venues locally to create a 2-3 month rotation between them. Private parties/gigs will be booked as they come and dependent upon payout. Once the 9 month period is over, we will look to expand to bigger venues and new markets. (As an aside, the venue we played Saturday night which they weren't too sure about ended up being a very good night for us. The smiles on the other members faces were priceless, and I didn't have to say, "told you so!!")

    Lead singer will sing about 60-70% of material with the rest falling to me and lead guitar. All new material will be chosen by all members, not just the singer.

    For gigs we can't refuse (meaning high amount of guaranteed $$$) that fall on the drummers off weekend, we will play as a 4-piece.

    Now that I have some direction that all have agreed to, I'm happy to go this route. I just hope it stays this way. Wish us luck!!!
  17. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    one problem i can possibly see with this situation now is, basically you will be two different groups, one with a front man, one with 3 equal singers. what happens if you book a gig and they expect the 5 piece band and get the 4 or vice versa? not saying theres anything wrong with the group in either way, but say someone books you because they liked A but instead got B and are not happy about it. will your promo packs represent the variations in the group? will that be made clear to someone booking you before they book you?

    playing with a guy and his son though..... i dont know, just make sure you dont end up like michael anthony!
  18. When the drummer is not available you will "play as a four piece" - without a drummer?

    Is that right? Man... If I booked you and you showed sans drummer, I'd be pretty peeved - especially if you are saying these gig are "high amount of guaranteed $$$" - I find it very hard to believe a venue would be OK with you showing up 'un-plugged'.

    If I am misreading this concept, please clarify. But simply showing up with some sort of band is not always OK. That band better be able to deliver 3 to 4 hours of entertainment that people expect. Not everyone is a fan of 'unplugged' - me for one.
  19. Savage_Dreams


    Jan 8, 2007
    when they play as a four piece the singer will go back to drums.
  20. Febs

    Febs Supporting Member

    May 7, 2007
    Philadelphia, PA
    I'm reading it as their drummer moved from being drummer to being front man, while his son took over on the kit. For the gigs where the son is unavailable, they will play as a 4 piece with the father back on drums.

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