Slacker on setup and breakdown

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jive1, Jun 26, 2003.

  1. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Looking to vent and get some advice. We have a guitar player in our band who is so friggin lazy. He comes to a show a half hour or less before downbeat. He never helps us set up the PA or lights. I'm lucky if the guy can set up his own vocal mic and mic up his amp, and maybe he might have one of his three guitars in tune. Then when we are supposed to begin our show, he complains that we are running late. I nearly clocked him on a couple of occasions when I was sweating profusely setting up my rig after the PA was set up and he complained about us running late. I am the sound guy for my band, and I took that role on voluntarily because I have more technical knowledge and experience. But it doesn't mean I am the only guy who does the setup and breakdown. Crap anyone can carry a PA speaker and set it on a stand. The drummer is relieved of this duty because his set takes enought effort haul in and set up. The other guys in the band help out when they can with or without asking.
    Then at the end of the night, he goes out into the bar and lollygags around. He doesn't try to get us paid, nor is he trying to meet any ladies. He just lollygags while we unplug cords and carry stuff to the car. He's in the bathroom or wandering around, generally being unuseful. Then after the PA is taken down he starts working on his rig. I don't think this guy would have any guilt if we carried out his rig for him. I have called him on it nicely and impolitely, and I get excuses in return. One of these days he's gonna get a punch in the mouth in return for his excuses.:D
    The guy is lazy, but, he is a phenomenal player. He also sings more than half the songs in our band. He is a somewhat nice guy, but he's lazy as hell. BTW he is healthy, no physical disabilities. I'm kinda lazy myself, but this guy makes me look like a immigrant working during the Industrial Revolution. It pisses me off because, laziness does not propel a band forward. It keeps you behind. I remind him that guitar players are a dime a dozen, but he still doesn't get it. When we are performing it sounds great, but when we are not I get pissed off at the guy for his laziness/selfishness.
    Thanks for letting me vent. Does anyone else go through this crap? Any advice from anyone? The band has steady work and I don't want to see it come to an end, but this dude's laziness is really starting to piss me off.
  2. wulf


    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    What do the rest of the folks in the band think? If they're as annoyed as you, then maybe it's time to have a band talk and for the the lazy guy to shape up or ship out.

    If they're pretty relaxed about the whole thing, then how about making time to try out for some other bands that are looking for bass players - see if you can find a crowd who fits your style more.

    What you want to avoid is getting so frustrated that you end up decking him at one of your shows. Even leaving aside the issues of physical assault and your local laws, it's not going to look very professional to the venue owners or the audience. Find a way to let the pressure off before it blows!

  3. babecker


    Mar 7, 2002
    Sykesville, MD
    Sometimes you gotta take the bad with the good...if you definitely want to keep in the band, that is. If you have made it clear that his lack of assistance is pissing you off and he continues to be an unhelpful nancy-boy, then it's time to whip his sally-ass, or at least give him the boot.
  4. GrooveSlave


    Mar 20, 2003
    Dallas, TX
    We had the same problem with one of our members. The sad part was that it translated to his playing as well. He just had no work ethic. CU. Next. Really.

    Obviously, this must be decided on a case by case basis.

    Maybe you should be paid more than the other members????

    Band drama. Without it, there could be no bands. ;) What a pain. I hate it.

    Jive1, I totally agree with your assessment about laziness holding a band back. It's a pain when you realize this and other members don't.
  5. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    Ohh, I only understand all too well. My singer AND drummer are like this. They help with nothing. The singer disappears right after the songs are done and always has a reason for NEVER helping with breakdown. If by chance the equipment gets loaded into the van NO ONE is there help unload the stuff. It has been well over a month since our last show and their gear is STILL in the van. Id be crazy to leave my stuff in there! The drummer does not use his own drum set and breaks stuff constantly! Once he breaks something he expects to use a piece of my set and of course feels no need to ask or put anything back. The guitarist uses my amp AND guitar. They (singer and drummer) both ended up missing a half hour before the show starts to self medicate (this is another issue all together) and do not arrive back at the venue until minutes before we are supposed to go on. These two guys CANNOT take constructive criticism for a damn either. About playing or the issues at hand here. They both throw temper tantrums, the guitarist is guilty of this as well. None of the members have any motivation, at all. Weve had the opportunity to record a CD for about $200 and have TWO labels sell our stuff yet they dont feel it needs to be done. To top it off the drummers dad OWNS the studio. None of them have ANY respect for themselves! Trust me, I could go on and on, I feel your pain.
  6. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Don't worry, I'll wait until we're in the parking lot and the cops are chasing down some tipsy driver leaving the club before I clock him ;) .
    Sometimes I think the guy is so pathetic, I should feel pity for him instead of anger.

    Seriously, the other guys in the band are sick of this too. We all have busy lives, but this guy is single, no kids, own business and still he doesn't help out. Honestly, this guy has the least amount of commitments outside of the band. The other guys are there for load out even though they may have commitments in the following AM, sometimes real early. The keyboard player helps, but he needs prompting since this is his first pro band. He's lucky that this guitar player is in this band, or he might be suffering my wrath :D. This b*st@rd guitar player even tries to get one of us to take his amp at the end of gig, so he doesn't have to load out when he gets home or before a gig. We have railed him so bad on that, that he won't ask anymore. Even though he thinks were being the pr1cks for not help him out.
    He complains, but doesn't do anything about what he's complaining about. For example, on one gig, we were short an extension cord. He goes on and on about it while we are setting up our sound and rigs until I get pissed off and told him to go to the store to get them since he had all this time to b1tc4 about it. He went to the store, but I had to hear about his "generosity" after the gig and the following gig. The drummer works his ass off booking gigs, and the dude still tells us how we should be getting better gigs. Not only does he not help with set up or load out, but he does nil for promotion, booking, or the non-music stuff. Now, I know that being in a band doesn't mean equal division of labor nor do I expect it, but I think load-in/load out should be a whole-band team effort (until we can afford roadies). That's why I am so pissed about his laziness toward the no-fun job of load-out. Am I wrong for thinking this way?
    Last gripe, I promise. He bought the monitors, a power amp and mixer for the PA but some of the stuff was incompatible and we didn't have all the right cables. This required me to use creative enginerring to get it to work before the show (Talk about the sweat pouring). I was in a musical Dilbert comic. It was like this.
    Guitar player -"I got some cool upgrades for the PA system"
    Me - "Cool, I can't wait to check the stuff out at practice"
    GP - "It's in the car, I told the drummer to leave the old stuff so we can use the new stuff for this show"
    Me - :mad:
    I fought feedback for a 1/2 hour and "made" cables, while hearing him complain that we are repelling the clientele with the feedback. BTW, the stuff he bought was real heavy. Which I guess he didn't care about since he never carries jack$h!t anyway. The monitors have since been replaced, and the power amp will be soon. The drummer and I spent a fortune on cables to make the stuff work after that gig. And we have to hear about his generosity at every other gig.

    Sometimes I wish he was a crappy guitar player, or that our music sucked so we could can him or I could easily leave the band. But, we work steadily and sound good so that's why I am still in. I guess some band stress is better than playing in your bedroom alone or jamming in the garage with some rookies. I guess you can't always work with people that you respect and admire. I just figured that when I was in my thirties the players I jammed with would be more mature. Oh well, maybe in my forties :confused:

    Thanks all for letting me vent.
  7. bill h

    bill h

    Aug 31, 2002
    small town MN
    I know this is not the best way to go about this. Have the whole band sit down after the gig and just waite... when he gets back from whatever he does and starts to complain then let him have it and make him pick up most of the gear. It should only take one time of this.
  8. FretNoMore

    FretNoMore * Cooking with GAS *

    Jan 25, 2002
    The frozen north
    A guitar player in my previous band was very un-organized and the rest of us got really sick of it. One gig we played he once again didn't show up in time for packing the stuff. We loaded up the van but after one hour he still wasn't there. So we left without his gear. He shows up very late to the venue while we are setting up the PA, and aks "Where are my things?". We say "Sorry, we didn't know what gear you are using tonight so we didn't dare select any, it's back at the rehearsal place". So he had to jump in his car and go get it. He ran very late setting everything up, he barely made it in time for the gig. It soured the whole evening for us but it didn't happen again.

    I don't know if any of this can be translated to your situation, but find a way to signal that the behaviour is no longer accepted.
  9. Try this,
    25% of the split in pay to set up.
    50% of the split in pay to play.
    25% of the split in pay to load out.

    Work out all the "what if's" between the band before you try it. Even if no one wants to do it you at least have the problem out in the open.
  10. Boplicity

    Boplicity Supporting Member

    It seems like nearly every band I ever played in regularly had at least one person who was "too good" to help with schlepping equipment and setting it up. Usually it was the singer who seems to think since they don't have an instrument, they aren't responsible to help anyone else.

    I always tried to be a good citzen and help out others if I finsihed first. Usually it was the drummer I helped, while the singer sat around or showed up late. I know drummers have the most time consuming set up, so I always tried to help out when I could.

    Band politics is the toughest thing about bands. Sometimes you have to decide between talent and bad personalities. What is more important, a team player or a really skilled musician/singer? The decision isn't often easy, especially if you feel as if you are being treated as a second class citizen of the band while the prima donna gets special consideration and treatment.
  11. Corbis

    Corbis Guest

    Feb 19, 2003
    Wamego KS
    One time my guitarist/singer didn't bring his effects, his tuner, cables, or his amp to a GIG.

    We terminated his postion.
  12. inazone


    Apr 20, 2003
    i like the split pay thing. make it worth your while. in my band the guys complain about having to drive so far for gigs (they are about 5-20 min from my house and i do the booking). i just tell them if they dont want to drive 45 min to an hour then maybe they should get some gigs.
  13. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    Great Advice! If I get some more $$ out of the deal then I guess my desire to punch the guy in the mouth will be reduced. He's a greedy enough b@$tard that he may actually contribute (after whining like a baby for a while). If he doesn't then, more bucks for me and the other schleppers in the band. The drummer is the money and booking guy, and he's as pissed as me about his slackness so, I think he'll be more than happy to help me enforce. I don't see any of the other members having too big of a problem with this since they are tired of schlepping gear while the guy gets a get out of jail free card.
    In the end, I think it will let the issue be clearly known and how it affects the output of the band, and makes clear what the members of the band are expected to contribute. We have a gig tonight, so I'll give the guy one last chance to get his act straight. If not, then sanctions will be placed and enforced. If he complains, he'll get a mouthful from me (hopefully it won't be a mouthful of my fist) ;)

    Thanks to everyone for their support!
  14. jondog


    Mar 14, 2002
    NYC metro area
    Yes, a percentage is good. My last band had a set fee for load in/out to keep the math simple. :) It works well if everyone is clear about it.

    You guys make me feel lucky, everybody helps in my current band. The singer is obsessed w/ rolling cables precisely so that they unloop on the 1st try, but other than that, loading goes smoothly.
  15. Tsal


    Jan 28, 2000
    Finland, EU
    Yep, the money thing works well. If he still wants to slack, atleast you get some compensations. Done a similar trick couple of times.
  16. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I like this. Also, who owns the PA? If you do, you could take 10% for PA rental, and the band can "work it off " by helping you load and unload it. I own our PA in both bands, and I've never charged the rest of the band to use it, but in both bands, the whole band helps load and unload. Keep in mind we're all in our 40's and 50's. A little maturity goes a long way.
  17. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    I'm the only guy in the band who isn't in his 40s or 50s. No offense, but, age doesn't equal maturity.
  18. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    I guess it just gets down to what you're willing to tolerate.
  19. cassanova


    Sep 4, 2000
    Im all for each member setting up and tearing down there own personal gear. When it comes to the p/a I prefer not to move the board itself, I cant afford to replace it if I accidentally drop it. But I will help gather/roll up chords and other miscellanious items that go with it.
  20. rumblethump

    rumblethump Supporting Member

    Mar 25, 2000
    Pioneer CA. 95666
    I have always considered my band as a team. I have had the same problems in the past and all the above advice is great. I would have the drummer/booker take him aside (one on one, this is important because with the whole band present he might feel he is being piled up on) and explain the team concept (everyone is responsible for load in/out, setup/teardown). Then ask him if he wants to remain team member. If not, guitarplayers are a dime a dozen and I wouldn't hesitate to tell him don't let the door hit you (where the good Lord split ya).