Take over or walk away

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by James Flowers, Oct 4, 2022.

  1. James Flowers

    James Flowers

    May 3, 2020
    So I was asked to join a group putting together a cover band for one of the larger, best known ... lets call it pop rock/metal bands. No problem, I like the music. Showed up with several songs by that band already practiced. Found the guys (all of whom are much younger than myself) that were forming the band to be a mixed bag. Not bashing talent, I am not the star by ay means, but desire. Certain members seem to really have no desire to put in the work needed to reach the stated goal.

    So after 3 practices/rehearsals I seem to be faced with a dilemma. I can take over the band, likely lose one member and have to replace, or I can walk away. Leaning towards walking away, some fights just aren't worth it.

    I know that others here have faced the same situation. What did you do and why?
  2. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    Have a conversation, either individually or collectively, on the topic of 'what's your plan to get where you want to be?'
    Any response that includes the words 'eventually' or 'hopefully' indicate a magical belief system.
    If the majority of the players like things the way they are, you haven't joined a band, you've joined a club.
    If all but one agree that the same player is holding them back, probably you can move forward and no takeover power play is required, just guidance.
    It seems from my armchair that it's not the right project for someone, and you just need to find out who.
  3. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member


    what i do:
    once i commit, i generally try to make things 'better'.

    why: i see no alternative, i'm not afraid of a 'project', i usually end up getting more money and satisfaction because it's better.

    the results: i've been 'elected' BL in a few, 'promoted' to "wise" in most, and fired from a couple.

    among other things, it sounds like this situation is a test of your "desire." i would say this: if you are not equipped (experienced enough) to retool the band, inspire those remaining, and otherwise make it better = walk away!

    good luck with your decision(s)! :thumbsup:
    Mk90, five7, Bass Man Dan and 11 others like this.
  4. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Is there a BL now? I'll assume the person who asked you to join is the putative band leader, but that might not be the case. Is that person one of the problem people? What is that person's take on it? What is everyone else's take on it? If there is a BL, can you "take over" without blowing everything up?

    If there is no real BL, go ahead and make your move to lead. It'll either work or not.

    In either case, the dead weight will keep y'all from accomplishing much, so the status quo would be a no go for me.
    mikewalker and SoCal80s like this.
  5. James Flowers

    James Flowers

    May 3, 2020
    So, the current "Band Leader" is the problem child. He is also the lead singer. He is just one of those people who wants the brass ring but is not willing to put in the effort to get it. The lead guitarist and drummer are his friends (I am the odd man out as I don't know any of them socially) but they are realizing he is not going to invest in making the band a success.

    Thanks everyone for their thoughts.
    mikewalker likes this.
  6. rutrho


    Mar 29, 2014
    San Jose, CA
    I'd be out of there, myself. For reasons other posters have far more eloquently stated.
    Aqualung60, DrayMiles, sotua and 6 others like this.
  7. Polfuste


    Sep 10, 2010
    South France
    Band meeting with subject: band objective and how to reach it. If not compatible with your goals & expectations, move.
  8. LBS-bass

    LBS-bass Guest

    Nov 22, 2017
    If it's not your band, you can't just take over :).

    What you can do is ask more questions about how they intend to meet their goals, and gently offer thoughts about how that might work. They might just need a nudge, or some gentle guidance. How they react to that will give you some good insights.

    But if a new member came into a band I was in and tried to start running things? I'd immediately have them on notice-- in my own head, if not outright. It's usually better to sit back and observe the dynamics between members, and then suggest things quietly. People will either pick up on your vision or they won't. If they don't, you'll be fighting them the whole way no matter who's technically in charge.
  9. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Inactive

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    You're already pretty much convinced that you're walking away. So you have nothing to lose by going for it and trying to salvage the band one time.
  10. Seems to me, you don't want to talk about it.
  11. Pocket Dave

    Pocket Dave

    Aug 5, 2022
    Dallas, Tx
    Since the current BL is one of the principal offenders, I'd walk.

    Plus, if you have to call band meetings to fix things this early in the relationship - and really, it's not even a relationship yet, well, I'm guessing your time would be better spent elsewhere.

    Though be sure to get the contact info of those who appear to be willing to put in the work in case you decide to put something together with the right people, and without overtly throwing their friend(s) under the bus, let them know why you're bowing out.

    And on a more personal note, I love taking more bass jobs lately over guitar, because bassists don't usually drive the damn bus, and can adapt a more peace & acceptance approach to life - assuming they're able to work with a full deck of skilled and responsible players.
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2022
  12. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    It all depends on how much you want the gig. If the talent (and gig potential) is there, I wouldn't be walking away.
  13. 3Liter


    Feb 26, 2015
    Bass Harbor, ME

    It's a social club.
  14. ArtechnikA

    ArtechnikA I endorsed a check once...

    Feb 24, 2013
    Like others have said, this is probably a 'him or me' moment.

    Is the current singer good at that job?
    Is he doing the BL duties because he really wants to, or grudgingly because no one else would?
    Maybe he's ready to step back and let someone else drive the bus.
    Maybe the project is ready for new leadership and the other people are ready to be supporting characters in their story.
    But if the vocals suck -and- the guy's a slacker, the project is doomed with him in it.
    You gotta communicate with people because further speculation is pointless.

    'What's your plan to commercial viability?' is one of those questions i ask in the first conversation, frankly...
    Bill Whitehurst likes this.
  15. AncientNoob

    AncientNoob Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2021
    Rural Oregon
    You just turn your pretty head and walk away?
    frnjplayer, Beej, rumblesaust and 6 others like this.
  16. chazolson

    chazolson Guest

    Jan 8, 2013
    If you are John, Paul or George, and you just have to replace Pete Best with Ringo, stay.

    Otherwise …
    rickwebb and mikewalker like this.
  17. This is a key position for any band and critical to get right for a tribute style band. It's probably easier to start from scratch with a new singer and poach any remaining members from this band when it collapses than try to take over this one if a working band is your goal.
    Pocket Dave likes this.
  18. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Walk away. Been there, done that!
  19. 51PRI


    Aug 7, 2014
    It seems to me that a talk with the other two members, without the BL, might gain you the info you need to make a decision as to what to do. Do they want to put in the work to make it work? How do they feel about booting their friend out of the band? Can he change?

    That's probably the sensible option for a person who is "the odd man out" in a band of friends in which the band leader is the slacker.
    Pocket Dave likes this.
  20. dbsfgyd1


    Jun 11, 2012
    Mascoutah, IL
    I would walk. I can’t deal with the unmotivated doggin’ on the gig. I have very little leadership skills so taking over the band would not happen with me.
    Jimmy P. and Element Zero like this.