Singer is out of control

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by aksnitd, Feb 13, 2018.

  1. aksnitd


    Dec 11, 2008
    Bit of background.

    I've been in this band for a little over two years now. When I joined, they had a few songs written but they ended up discarding all but one of them. In the time since then, they wrote another five with me contributing. The way it works is the guitarist composes the music and the singer writes the lyrics. I fit in between, contributing a couple of riffs and an additional verse or chorus or middle eight to the words.

    Unfortunately, the three of us aren't on the same page when it comes to crucial decisions. The guitarist and I want to record our songs as high quality home demos and release them. Both of us also work quickly and aren't particularly fond of making too many changes to our songs. If something sounds good, it's enough for us. We don't feel the need to iterate endlessly in the hope that "something better" may come up. On the other hand, the singer comes with a number of hangups from his previous band. They did a release of their home demos that was not well done and they even made up the artwork just a couple of hours before the release. Nothing was recorded or mixed properly so the end result was bad. Because of this, the singer has insisted that the only way he'll agree to a release is if we go into a studio, do proper recordings, and get it mixed and mastered by pros.

    Obviously, this will cost a lot of money. One of the issues is that so far, we are lacking a drummer and keys player so we haven't even played live since I joined. The demos have been done with the help of drum programming and me playing keys. Hence there has been no income from the band. We'd have to invest our own money from our day jobs. Not just that, he has refused to even play cover gigs to make money because he's afraid we'd be branded as a cover band. He's also taken ages to complete the lyrics. In fact, the guitarist and I were done around six months ago and have mostly spent the interim waiting for him to get done. This didn't stop him from asking us to endlessly rework parts in the songs. Both of us are burnt out on the whole process and I for one have sworn that I will never contribute any of my ideas to the band again. It also doesn't help that neither the guitarist nor I like arguments and since the singer is pushy, he usually wins by default. As the guitarist likes to say, he enjoys a one-third majority.

    The guitarist and I agreed that this cannot go on and since the two of us enjoy working together, we are planning to move forward. All was fine and dandy till yesterday when the guitarist was speaking to a potential singer who refused to perform our songs because she felt it was unfair to the current singer. He called me up and told me he felt what we were doing was morally wrong. I told him outright that the best case scenario was that the singer would agree to release our home demos and then we'd go our separate ways because I could not work with him any more. I made it very clear that I was going to quit. It was just a matter of time. The fact of the matter is I'm so mad right now that I have half a mind to dump the guitarist as well and strike out on my own.

    We have had extensive discussions between the two of us on how to handle the situation. The way I see it, he and I composed all the music so it is only fair for us to perform it considering we created it. The lyrics don't belong to us completely so I feel it is fair to perform the songs with the same music but changing the lyrics. What do you guys think? I am sure that I won't be staying in the band for much longer but is it worth it to try convincing the guitarist to join me? He's definitely worth keeping around. His main problem is that he cares too much what other people think which is why this sudden change of heart came about.
  2. derrico1

    derrico1 Supporting Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Charlottesville, VA
    If the singer's not letting you be productive, he's an anchor. Currently, you can't gig, and you can't record. It's a lot like you and the guitarist don't have a singer, except because you have a not-functional guy clogging the spot, you're neither filling the vocals chair nor learning how to sing and write lyrics yourselves.

    But here's the bigger problem: Even if you were perfectly happy with this project, it sounds like you should be looking for additional people to play with. As a bassist, you'll open opportunities if you're constantly playing in as wide a range of settings as you can, with as many good players as you can.
    StarCrazy likes this.
  3. DirtDog


    Jun 7, 2002
    The Deep North
    Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Hang onto the guitarist!!!!

    Dump the singer and thier lyrics and start fresh either on your own or with another collaborator/lyricist. The singer/lyricist you have right now has no say on what happens with your musical compositions.

    Agreed with @derrico1 about getting other band members on board.
    pcake and portpc like this.
  4. It can be hard to do, but yeah, cut the dead weight an move forward. 2 years is a ridiculously long time to only have 6 songs and no gigs. He's holding you back.
    StarCrazy and Ekulati like this.
  5. aksnitd


    Dec 11, 2008
    Thanks guys. I was feeling pretty ok about moving on and dumping the singer's parts. The joke in all this is that like I said, I cowrote the lyrics with him so they aren't all his. And the guitarist and I both sing so really, we have all our bases covered if we move on. I have written lyrics to songs in the past so it's not like we'd be stuck without the singer. Really, I just need to talk the guitarist out of the pointless guilt trip he's on. I can't completely blame him for feeling this way though. They've known each other for four years and roomed together for all that time as well so I can see why he's uncomfortable in taking an action that might feel like backstabbing his friend for him.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2018
  6. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    any of you have experience doing demo recordings?
  7. aksnitd


    Dec 11, 2008
    Yeah, I do. Those demo recordings the two of us talked about releasing? All done by him and me :)
  8. The potential singer mentioned sounds promising if they can in fact sing, Not wanting to perform anothers' work is commendable.
    My two cents is try composing new material with the guitarist & this new singer & see where it goes?..

    Your current vocalist seems to be aggressively avoiding success, being "pushy" and insisting you spend your own money when you don't have a proper band is a bit pointless..
    swamp_bass likes this.
  9. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    since it's difficult for you to just leave the project (you've put in a lot of time and effort!): you might get some 'return on investment' if you follow your own thinking on this:
    the music belongs to the two of you!
    good plan!
    do it!
    then put your thinking out there, to him...and put it to him often/consistently! be persuasive!!!

    good luck with this project and with any resolutions you are seeking! :thumbsup:
  10. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member

    You should check on what the copyright law is in your country, as I see you're not in the US. In American law, any song you wrote would be considered a composition as a whole, and all people who substantially contributed to it would be considered co-owners of the copyright in it. So if you wrote a section of the song (like a middle eight), you are a joint owner of the whole song - not just of your middle eight. The singer writing the lyrics makes him also a co-owner of the whole song, not just of his lyrics.

    In American law, furthermore, ANY co-owner of a song has the right to record or perform it (or license others to do so) independently of the other co-owners. He DOES still owe them their share in any royalties from doing so, but he doesn't need their permission.

    If the laws are similar where you are, then you and the guitarist are perfectly justified to take the material you wrote with this singer and record them or perform them as you wish. If you make any money, pay the singer a royalty. The singer could likewise go perform them with a different band if he wanted, without your permission, but owing you a royalty.

    However, I have discovered on past TB threads that the laws do vary from country to country and what I said above may not apply to you. In some countries, for instance, you need the permission of all co-owners to use a creative work. So you want to find out what the law is where you are.
  11. TheSlug


    Feb 7, 2015
    Bergen, Norway
    I know it's kind of an old thread, and maybe you figured it all out, but I am somewhat like your guitarist.
    The best you can do is to make sure you are standing your ground, and that he feels like he is on board with you, like you are a team, and he wont be left behind when you're looking for someone new.
    He's going to be loyal to you if you project that.