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The Guitarist

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jeffbrown, Dec 7, 2012.

  1. My lead guitar(d)/singer got a birthday present from his wife of a session for our band at a recording studio. Very cool, right? :hyper:

    We rehearsed carefully, went, and laid down six tunes. It went well. :)

    The guitarist got all the digital files and brought them back to his house, and mixed a CD, which sounds pretty good, if I do say so. :bassist:

    That said, there are a few things - not many! - that could be changed to clean it up and have an even better product. None of the other band members have any extensive experience in editing, audio, or any sort of production, pre- or post. I do. I have volunteered to do this, on my own time. What's not to like?

    The problem is this: I have asked him several times, politely, to give me a copy of the files so I can work on them. I didn't say the product was poor, or that he did a crappy job putting it together (with his limited experience - which I did NOT say!), just that I'd like to see if I might play with them and see if I could perhaps polish them up a bit. He acknowledges that there ARE parts that could use some massaging. As yet, he won't relinquish them.

    He wrote most of the songs we did. That is, he came up with the concept (changes, lyrics), and the rest of us "wrote" our parts to make it work, so in my mind, at least, we share some sort of ownership of the material.

    The others in the band - drummer and rhythm player - agree that improvements could be made, and they are content with me doing it. The guitarist is quite honestly a very gifted guy, and the stuff he comes up with is good. Nobody wants to piss the guy off, because he is a gentle soul as well. We started out as a democracy and have had a lot of success doing it that way, but it seems he's guarding this thing as if its his alone.

    We have the opportunity to use the CD for promos, possibly even to sell. I feel uncomfortable putting it out there with the errors *I* hear which could be easily fixed, without having to go back into the studio. It would be that easy to do.

    I understand he may feel like it is his baby, seeing as it was his birthday present, and if that's what it is, fine. BUT, if we're going to use it outside of ourselves, the changes *should* be made. A number of people have heard it and want copies, etc. We have even had a couple offers for gigs, notwithstanding the slip-ups!

    How can I get him to let me do what needs to be done? :help:
  2. In the music business, you ALWAYS want to put the best foot forward. Stiff competition out there and stuff. Don't release anything to the public unless all band members agree that it's ready for human consumption.

    Unless of course it's his band, then he can do whatever the hell he wants.
  3. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I can see your point, but the guitarist effectively funded the CD and therefore it's basically his. If he doesn't want change, then he doesn't have to have them.

    In your position I would have been reluctant to let him fund the CD in the first place.
  4. Very true, it's not just his reputation on the line, it's the whole band's. You might try asking him if he wants to help you re-mix it, rather than just doing it yourself. Better yet, get the whole band involved. In the end, you'll get what you want (since you have the expertise), and the others may offer some good ideas.

    If that doesn't work, just put it to a band vote. Release the CD as is, "yes" or "no". If he still refuses, I'd start getting angry. He doesn't own those recordings, no matter who paid for them (not in my opinion anyway).
  5. lfmn16


    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    He's given you an answer, you just don't want to hear it.

    Also, I think you'll find that the consensus is that if you only wrote your "parts" you don't have ownership of the songs. This is why everything should be worked out BEFORE you go into the studio. If you want equal say, you should provide equal pay.
  6. Perhaps he doesn't have to relinquish the recordings, but he certainly can't release them without your permission. That would completely unethical in my opinion (I can't speak for whether it's legal).

    I don't understand what his problem is; surely he wants the music to sound as good as possible?
  7. What if you just tell him, "Let me polish them up for you...if you don't like the end result, we can use the copy you have now." That way he doesn't really have anything to lose.
  8. brianerwin


    Oct 21, 2012
    Probably the best way to approach this is to explain to him that we really want to use this as a promo for our band. However, you know as well as we do, that there are some rough spots in the tracks and if we can smooth these out then we put out a great CD which can lead to many, many. gigs down the road. Hand the guy a thumb drive and ask him to "copy" the songs on the drive for you so that he keeps his originals and you can edit the files that will go on the CD. We will even give you a copy of the new CD for free, as well as make a copy of the untouched files on a CD for him.
    I understand that this was probably one of thoses experiences that he cherishes dearly and wants to keep them as pristine as possible. Your job is to make sure that happens.
    but also you want to use them for promotion purposes and since these are your/bands songs, you kind of have rights to them first.
  9. I strongly suggest to have the songs professionally mixed and mastered. It does not cost much and it is worth every penny.
  10. bassfran

    bassfran Supporting Member

    Mar 1, 2012
    Endorsing artist: Lakland basses

    If you can't (i.e., he won't) do it together then an unbiased 3rd party might be your answer.

    And register the copyrights as well or there may be trouble down the road.
  11. I did that. I offered to collaborate, to which he said sure we can do that but every subsequent attempt has met with silence. :( His wife gave it to him *with our blessing* with the understanding - at least between her and us - that it was going to be his present but a band thing.

    What sucks is that, after hearing it, people HAVE been requesting copies. The rhythm player, who has some connections, was encouraged to let a local radio play some cuts on their local talent show, but he's hesitant because of this issue.

    I guess I'll just give up and let the chips fall where they may. The drummer, especially, is on my side. We've been joking together that we have become The XXX YYYY Band instead of ZZZZZ where XXX YYYY is the guitarist's name. :meh:

    I'm not going to get too worked up about this anyway. Its primarily a hobby band. The other guys have no pro experience as musicians, even though they DO have skills. I enjoy it because I CAN write my own parts, there is absolutely no pressure, and the time involved is minimal. I'm just a bit frustrated that a good thing could be better with a tweak here and there. I'm averse to confrontation because I don't want to jeopardize a good friendship and otherwise good working relationship with a thing that, in the long run, probably won't matter much. :rollno:

    Thanks for the comments, folks, I appreciate them. If anyone else wants to jump in, please do so. If he relents, I'll post results!
  12. brianerwin


    Oct 21, 2012
    why not goto his wife and ask her about a nudge in the right direction to get the music tweeked? I know it is the back door but this was her gift to the guitarist, but when executed actually becomes a very nice gift to the whole band... Also can get you some Good Paying gigs.
  13. Massimo636


    Aug 3, 2011
    What is his motivation? Why wouldn't he want a better mix and to put more work into the presentation of his music? Does he just feel like his mix cannot be beaten? (If so, he's deluding himself.)
  14. SirMjac28

    SirMjac28 Patiently Waiting For The Next British Invasion

    Aug 25, 2010
    The Great Midwest

    The problem as I see it is it's really not a good friendship or working relationship if you can't discuss or disagree on anything ? if it's just having fun and good times keep it that way because when you start recording music for sale or promotion it is your responsibility to make a quality product you never know who is listening and what it can turn into?
  15. Good point, and well taken. What I think I will do is if it does come to selling the CD or putting it out to radio, I will say I object because of the things mentioned, and then stand my ground while offering to "help" him remix the cuts in question. I'm pretty sure at least the drummer will back me up, and the rhythm player knows what my ideas are, so he will probably fall in line.

    I think the guy is so enamored of his effort that mention of change totally rubs him the wrong way, when in actuality he should welcome constructive criticism and input - which is NOT where he's at right now.

    Like I said, its a hobby band, so I'm not going to lose sleep over this.
  16. Stewie26

    Stewie26 Supporting Member

    Big mistake. Never ever mess with a man's wife to try to circumvent her husband's viewpoint. You will lose his trust, perhaps his friendship, and he may resent you the rest of his life. It's a hobby band, so friendship decisions should take higher priority over business decisions. Keep things in the proper perspective. EDIT: just wanted to add that friends are more valueable than money.
  17. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Bottom line is, you need to talk to him, and get him to see your point of view, where you end up walking away with copies of the files.

    If he doesn't like what you do in the re-master, he can simply use what he already has. He has NOTHING TO LOSE, and therefore, he doesn't have a position that makes sense.

    I do NOT take this kind of ego-driven crap from people, nor do I expect them to take it from me. If you can make my hard work sound even BETTER, than you are my hero.

    If you re-master, and I don't like it, I will tell you what I don't like, and I will have the final say. But until such time as you have delivered me a product I don't like, I have to respect your desire to do us all a favor, and improve the quality.

    Be persuasive.

    Be heard.

    GET the result you want, and don't take no for an answer.

    No need to be nasty; just make sure you get the result.
  18. Violen

    Violen Instructor in the Vance/Rabbath Method Banned

    Apr 19, 2004
    Kansas City Metro Area
    Endorsing Artist: Conklin Guitars (Basses)
    Just let it go. This will cause more problems then its worth

    Let him live with the mistakes, that way you wont make them next time in the studio.
  19. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008

    He's already said "no". I would forget about it.

  20. FunkHead

    FunkHead Supporting Member

    Mar 10, 2007
    Phillipsburg, NJ
    It sounds like This guy is a Douche that I wouldn't even want to be in a band with. Every one should have gotten a copy of the CD. Cd's are like 10 cents. IMO, He's afraid you are going to try to "steal" the music from him. Heck if you hand the CD to a Club owner, He could make a Copy and say it was his band. What's he gonna do? Just only ever have one copy of the CD and only let people listen to it while he's right there guarding it?