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Tired of my bandmates?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Jared Lash, Apr 22, 2009.

  1. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    So I'm sort of at a loss to explain things, but I get the feeling I may need to quit one of my bands.

    Here's the deal. I play in a RHCP tribute band. I've played with the drummer and guitar player in different projects for almost four years now. The singer joined a year ago when we were still doing originals, things sort of fell apart and we reformed with the tribute idea as a way to have fun and gig and avoid some of the problems we'd had before in terms of songwriting disagreements, finding enough time to work on stuff etc.

    We sound great, our gigging schedule is picking up and despite never really being a cover band guy (though I've done it a few times in the past) I do enjoy playing these songs more than I thought I would.

    But for some reason I've just gotten to the point where the other members just annoy or agitate me every practice. Some of it is the same musical annoyances I've always had, but it's more than that. I don't really like being around them in a musical context for some reason.

    The guitarist is like a little brother and the singer and I get along really well even though we are pretty different people. The drummer and I will never be friends but he's been completely civil and accommodating, especially the last few months. None of them are bad guys, but I just am tired of playing music with them for some reason.

    So I don't quite understand why I'm hating practice so much lately. Have I just been around them for too long? Anyone else experience something similar?
  2. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Have you all discussed this in a meeting..maybe you can resolve some of the things that annoy you and they might have problems with you as well..thats a good starting point..if that does not work out you should consider other projects... good luck..
  3. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    We've talked about the things we all need to work on, but (and I'm sure I'm guilty of this to some extent) while the big things have been addressed many of the little ones haven't, ie not communicating when we start our tempo a bit too slow or fast to make changes, playing at the correct volume depending on the mix of the song we're doing, etc.

    Probably the most annoying for me is that if we go a week without practice every other guys get rusty (forgetting some arrangements, the singer forgetting words to a song or two etc) which is particularly irritating to me. Personally I think at this point we should be able to gig and only get together to practice when adding new songs to the set list, but though they've said they now do, I'm relatively sure they don't work on the material between practices.

    Still, all relatively minor stuff. I'm wondering if maybe I've just been around this particular group of guys too long and need to take an extended break from playing with them.
  4. You may just need a break. I find that when I start getting annoyed really easily, it's never really do to one thing in particular - more that I'm just in a "funk" - too much work, band, family obligations - everything starts piling up and the result is a low tolerance for 'BS'.

    If it helps any, I'm in the exact same boat with one of my bands. As a matter of fact, after "rehearsal" (in quotes because their version of 'rehearsing' is one of my biggest pet peeves) - but when I got home I wrote myself a note that basically said, "I don't want to think about music any more - I just want to play".

    The fact that there's no real leader or direction in that band is a huge sticking point with me. Being a problem solver, I automatically go into hard-core troubleshooting/solving mode when I feel like there's a problem. I realized that all the 'thinking' was bogging me down. I am used to either leading or being in a band that has a strong sense of direction and following/collaborating with a person or people who actively make sure we're moving that way.

    That said - I also live in the midwest where we're very susceptible to 'seasonal affective disorder' - or the Winter Blahs... months of cold, wet and gray can start to take it's toll on your mood and pretty soon nothing is fun anymore. So I've chalked my situation to both S.A.D. and too many irons in the fire. The sun's out now and it's looking like it's here to stay - so I am counting on the blahs melting away very soon.

    Instead of bailing or asking for a break (which is really not an option if you've got gigs booked) I had a good talk with one of the members and we both vented, ranted and basically got it out of our systems. Nothing's really fixed or changed - but I feel better.
  5. jnuts1


    Nov 13, 2007
    i am having a similar problem. my band wants to rehearse EVERY DAY!!!!! we gig about twice a week & they want 4-5 more days of practice to get "tight". it is driving me crazy, i learn all of the tunes on the fly & never get to practice them alone. & i find alone time the best time to learn tunes & get them down.
    last night everyone botched all their parts on a ton of tunes & i dropped 2 bad notes the entire night & i get death stares. i have only been in the band 4 months & they have been together for 2 years. they should have it down cold. but no they don't & i am getting the stares! i am getting officially annoyed too.
  6. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    The last project that I did was perfect for me, musically. Unfortunatly, me and the other guys were at different points in our lives. I was starting a family and saving to buy a house. They were sleeping until noon and smoking weed before their 2 o'clock class. I was working 6 days a week from 7-5. They were 'artists' and felt that they should be paid for being such.

    When I was their age, we probably would have been best friends.
  7. Thunderbird90DB


    Dec 29, 2008
    ah yeh same for me, my last two bands went pear shaped

    in the first band i ended up being the only contributor to the music, and none of the others cud be bothered to try or even play the parts properly, as well as practises rapidly crumbling into arguments.

    the second little prject thing i did was with another guy, who came to about 2 practises and that was it, no further interest,

    so yep
    given up on bands in my area for ages now!
  8. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    That first paragraph really resonated with me. I've never been in a band without a strong leader, whether it's been me or someone else. But that's one problem we currently have. Our drummer seems to want to be that guy. He owns that band's PA, we practice at his house and he acts as producer when we need to record. And yet his attempts to be in charge just don't work mostly because he falls down in other areas. For various reasons, none of us are really cut out to lead things.

    We've had the opposite whether here. It just hit 96 degrees last night. I was hot and tired so I'm sure it made things worse, but I've felt similarly for a few weeks now.

    I've had a few "venting" conversations with each of the guys. It does help for a while. Maybe that's what I need.

    Been there. This situation isn't like that though. I'm the oldest at 31 but the drummer and singer are 29 and 27 so it's not a huge gap, though our guitarist is not yet 23. All of us are single and with full time jobs except the drummer who is doing a number of different things to make ends meet (some drafting and contractor work, renting his sound gear, now apparently day trading etc) but we're all relatively on the same page.

    Honestly I wouldn't have started this thread if I could explain it. For some inexplicable reason I just get very easily agitated playing music in this band in a way that I don't with my other projects.
  9. Low Tone

    Low Tone

    Feb 7, 2004
    St. Joseph, MO
    I'm not fond of my bandmates either. The drummer is a bit of an ***hole most of the time and the singer/guitarist is usually tabbed out or drunk. Musically, we get along fine and I like the music we're doing but I get tired of their **** sometimes. They are constantly bickering with each other and then want to pull me into the middle of it. We've been playing together for a year and a half now and just now starting to get our **** together enough to go out and play a real show. If I didn't already have so much time and energy invested in them, I would have quit months ago.
  10. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Just to be clear, I'm talking about minor flubs. We really are tight and sound good, and we usually recover from mistakes well. I guess I just feel like after all this time we shouldn't have to "shake the rust off" after one missed practice.
  11. In another project (currently on hiatus) I took on the leader roll. I'd preached for years about the value of bands having a leader vs. the warm-fuzzy, "everyone's a leader BS..." (I believe the "we're all leaders" thing is 99% bunk)

    So I took on the role of leader - not dictator, but someone who actively took responsibility for creating agendas for rehearsing, scheduling, driving rehearsals forward, provided all the 'administrative' stuff a really organized band needs to be productive - and it worked AMAZINGLY well.

    Every rehearsal went smooth. We made HUGE progress very quickly. To make it all that much more gratifying, everyone in the project would tell me (offline) that they really felt my leadership was responsible for why we were moving forward so well and how it made their lives so much easier.

    The great benefit to that is the band as a whole really does make progress. The drawback (obviously) is that the leader really does have to do about 5 times the work compared to everyone else. When everyone else appreciates it, it makes that extra effort effortless.

    If people take the leader for granted (especially if he's responsible for propelling the band forward) it makes the extra effort unbearable.

    BUT - if there's no leader - and the band is laboring under the delusion that they're going to go forward with 4 magnets surrounding the compass - get ready to get dizzy!

    And when there is no perceived forward motion - more like a lot of motion, but in no specific direction, that can easily lead to frustration.

    In my experience, the leader does not have to also be the producer, song writer, or even the person who formed the band (in the project I mentioned, I worked with the band's founder sort of as his 'project foreman' which allowed him to retain 'ownership' of 'his' project. I agreed to push it forward based on his vision) - just someone who is organized and can facilitate forward motion.

    I'd say if there's no understood leader, it could very well be the reason there's frustration.
  12. NickyBass

    NickyBass Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2005
    Southern New Jersey
    Maybe the new gigging momentum will bring you guys closer---or get them excited enough to work on their parts. A while back, I was in a cover band. They were auditioning a new guitarist who could really play, but just wasn't into it. Later that night, he came to the gig with us, and he go to see first hand, the crowd, our sound and lighting crew, the girls, the rooms we'd be playing, etc....He was begging for a secong audition, and showed up with all the right energy.....

    ....He still didn't get the gig, but his attitude sure changed.
  13. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Thanks everyone for the comments.

    In particular tZer, I think you are right on the money.

    Lacking a leader is almost certainly why (1) despite a decent gig schedule we aren't moving forward like we really should be and (2) I'm so frustrated.

    Really the leader needs to be the guy that shows up to practice on time every time knowing the songs inside and out, hears the whole mix and knows when to make changes, has good organizational and communication skills, has the respect of the other guys and does the leg work to get gigs.

    In one way or another we all all fall short. Personally I just don't want to do it, our drummer is not really friends the way the other three of us are and he's done things like completely forget practice even though it's at his house and is a substantial drive for all of us. He's also acted unprofessionally at gigs a few times. Our guitarist has terrible communication skills in terms of checking/responding to emails or calling people and is still immature for his age and our singer struggles to get songs down and lacks the musical knowledge to direct others.

    So we are sort of languishing and I'm sure that's the biggest reason why I'm so easily aggravated at practice.
  14. Man, I can relate.

    In the project I was talking about, I'd played with the primary song writer and drummer before and in our previous band, I'd preached the gospel of "strong leadership" - because that band was one of those "kumbya" bands where "everyone's a leader" - and guess what... it languished (3 years) and fizzled.

    So when this project idea came up, the first thing I told the song writer was "We MUST have a leader this time" - and I encouraged him to take on that role since it was his material we were going to be working up.

    Well, he's no leader and he couldn't even take the first steps - so I stepped in and told him I'd "lead" and he could be a silent leader - basically, I'd do all the heavy lifting and run things by him to make sure it was in line with his vision for his material.

    I, like you, didn't consider myself "leadership material" at that time, but since I'd made such a stink about how a leader was critical and even gone so far as to blame the demise of our last project on the non-leader/we're all leaders nonsense, I had to put my money where my mouth was.

    What I discovered was that I was more of a leader than I gave myself credit. As time rolled by, I started establishing patterns and really learned how to communicate effectively without ever looking like I was "a boss". The biggest thing I had to over come was my own personal desire to do things my way.

    A good leader is a good listener. I listened and empowered the rest of the members by letting them know if they had a vision and could articulate it, I'd do whatever I could to make it happen. That effectively keeps everyone's interests in the mix. "Have ideas - articulate them - we'll make it happen".

    Anyway - I also completely understand not wanting to be the leader. It's exhausting. But if you should find the energy and motivation to give it a try, I think you'd surprise yourself with how well you'd do.

    PM or email me if you want any tips or suggestions. I'm no expert, but after two years in the role, I definitely discovered some things that worked amazingly well and other things that seemed like they'd work on paper, but in practice failed.

    Everyone in that project has me on a permanent, "Whatever the project, I want Tony to run it" list. If you do it right, you can turn this project around big time and gain a LOT of political capital in the process :p
  15. Ive been In a similar situation before. Hated practice, even giging with these guys was no fun. I felt , though, that as long as we were giging out, that I would stick it out.

    I was talking to a friend who's in a very good band in the area, and he asked one day, "do you enjoy the people you play with"? I was miffed at first, I thought, what does that matter? as long as we we playing.. In mean..we didint need to be friends.
    I was in the camp, that it didnt matter. Things happened later, I left the band, but not related to this topic.

    Im in a band now with a great bunch of guys. We are not even a great band, Ive been in better. We are average at best. But THESE guys are the easiest people to work with. Practice is a blast. We all cut up and dont take things seriously. And its always easy to decide band things. We pretty much throw out an idea, and if 2 or more agree, we go with it. We always comunicate, one calls the other and no one is left out. And this attitude leads to more gigs, since we get more done.

    Then one day I was thinking how fun this was, and I realized what was meant by the "do you enjoy the guys you play with" question. I though ..yea I do. I didnt when you asked, but now I know what you mean.
  16. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Um.... what is RHCP?
  17. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    Yeah, strong leaderships definitely helps a band gel as a unit. In my improv band things started off quickly. We pretty much came together at a party, bringing in 3 people last minute to jam. We all had a blast and everyone wanted to give it a go. In the early stages we tried going with the 'democratic approach'. Things quickly fizzled to the point where the main objectives of the band began to get buried by each individuals own ideas of where the band should go. I almost quit the band that I had brough together.

    We had a meeting, right before a gig, that almost brought everything to its end. I disagreed, stated my case, and then conceded to the whims of others. I almost walked out midset. I got a call from the drummer the next day, who apologized for the way things went, so I called a band meeting. We got together, laid it all out on the table, and set things straight. Even at the meeting everyone was happy to be there. Since then Ive picked up the leadership role in the band and things have gone alot smoother. We all still really enjoy playing together and though I dont flaunt it, I would definitely say I'm responsible for taking the band to where we are now. And I think the others in the band realize and respect that. Still, I dont make any major decisions without running things by the band.

    We were scheduled to play a show Monday night. Sunday night I came down with a bad cough and cold. I felt a little better Monday morning and went to work, only to start feeling sick again, so I went home, hoping I could get better before the gig. It wasnt happening, so I informed the band that I couldnt make the show. Im the main vocalist and bassist in the band, though our drummer does back-up and our second guitarist plays some bass. They were a little bummed (as was I) but I knew they could pull it off without me for one night. The drummer (kind of like my second in command) was a little worried things wouldnt go well, but I heard good things about the show, and I think my leadership skills has more than just a little to do with things working out.

    So, to TheBigO, I realize you dont want to put yourself into that leadership position, but maybe you'd feel better about your band and the way things are going if you take on that role.
  18. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    Sounds like things worked out well with you taking the reins. But when I say I don't want to do it, it's really just that I don't want to. I know that I can. I fell into that role being the frontman of my most successful college band. Well, our 2nd guitarist/saxophonist acted as manager (booking gigs etc) but I ran practices, handled disputes, handled the website etc.

    The big thing for me is that I just don't have the passion to put into doing it. It IS a lot of work to be THE guy and I'm not certain I want to dedicate that kind of time to this project. Not to mention that they can obviously see how frustrated/annoyed I"ve been at practice lately. I think it would be a tough sell for me to turn around and say I want to be in charge of everything. Besides, when I was playing with the same guitarist and drummer (an two other musiicans) for another project, the drummer balked at me assuming control even though I was asked by two other band members to take charge of things. As I said, he seems to want to lead things, but nobody is really interested in following him. And of course it just makes things awkward because we use his sound equipment and practice at his house.

    Red Hot Chili Peppers
  19. I hear you loud and clear. And I understand completely.

    When you don't have the energy or the drive, making yourself take on extra, especially taking on a leadership role, is all but impossible.

    I know that when I took on my big leader gig, I had energy and drive to spare. I could outlast, out work and out everything everybody. I am not sure why, but I just had a surplus of energy and the timing was perfect for me to use it for this project.

    After two years, even though the project was very successful, I pretty much burned up all my fuel and that was it. No amount of intellectualizing could change the fact that I just didn't have it in me any more. It was fine with the rest of the guys - we didn't break up - we just are on hiatus. We'll get back at it when the stars line up again.

    Go with your gut. If it's not working for you and you don't feel the desire to push to change it, that's really all you need to know.

    Sometimes it's just not right and you need to move on or disconnect. I know the anxiety that goes along with that sort of decision. You don't want to bail on people who are counting on you, but you also don't want to continue to do it but be miserable.

    Soul searching is a sonofaB, you know?
  20. atheos


    Sep 28, 2008
    Tampere, Finland
    Just remember that there doesn't need to be one leader for everything. Different people can take care of different things, for example in my band's case our guitarist is the "musical AD" and main organizer, male singer makes all decisions about visuals, female singer is our PR lady and I do all kinds of technical stuff like web pages etc. Our drummer doesn't have much responsibility but it's because he's been in the band for 6 months only but well figure out something.

    But there has to be a leader for at least few main things. E.g. somebody to control the schedules, somebody to control stupid mistakes ("oh sorry, I forgot the second verse started there"), somebody to control money, somebody to control the various side issues like web site etc.

    Do not tolerate mistakes at rehearsals unless it's a really difficult part (in which case whoever fails that need to practice at home). Band rehearsals are for rehearsing the playing as a band, not as an individual.

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