Trying to figure out what to do................

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by mikeluch, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. mikeluch

    mikeluch Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2004
    Ocala, FL
    So here is the deal:
    I moved from the Northeast to FL 3 years ago, answered and audition ad for a cover band , got the gig. I am the newest member.
    I amazingly like and get along with all which has made it fun, not to mention good musicians.
    I never have really gelled with the drummer, great guy, but everything rolls off his back. I have even given him MP3s of songs to learn tracks. He can play jazz and all types of stuff, but he always wants to play his way. We rehearse and he gets it down, the next time its a different beat which drives me crazy.
    The rest of the guys have talked to him and he steadies and then regresses.
    Also, recently, the guitarists (we have 2) have been somewhat critical of each other in a somewhat silent way. They both come to me and I feel like a mediator.
    Both have said that they would like for me to be in a band with them if something happens and I just feel stuck in the middle.
    I almost left about a year ago due to this as I was just feeling like I had to pick sides, not to mention the drummer thing.
    I gave my notice and they individually called me and talked me into staying
    . I really like the stuff we do even though I have had to change my in head song library, we get gigs on a frequent basis that fits the band's needs not to play every single weekend , as some still have family commitments, and we get good reviews.
    It is just I am at wits end with the drummer as we sometimes need to go over a song many times because he keeps changing tempos, and now the guitarists are back at it and pulling me into the middle.
    So they have agreed to audition new drummers, but the little guitarist riff that I keep getting stuck in has not made it fun.
    I don't like conflict (been there, done that and too old) and I feel like I am the one trying to get everyone to play nice.
    I wonder if it is time to move on, without any of the present bandmates since I do not want to take sides.
    I sometimes think maybe I am too critical of things, and over playing the situation, but I am in this to have a good time not to be irritated.
    What is one to do???????
  2. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    First get the new drummer. Then, tell each guitarist what the other is saying, and make them work it out. If none of that works: BAIL
    DavC, ndthorpe1, Atshen and 4 others like this.
  3. mikeluch

    mikeluch Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2004
    Ocala, FL
    Yeah, I agree on the drummer, he really is a key issue. I told these guys as recently as yesterday that they need to talk to each other, not me. Also the band is about compromises to make it work, not egos
    Roberto Nunez, jallenbass and brbadg like this.
  4. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    You need a really good drummer to have a really good band. Pat Metheny said "the drummer is the leader of the band". And the drummer must have really good time. It's really hard to give feedback to band members about their deficiencies in their playing unless they are open to it. I have had success to preparing them for the feedback with this..

    "Are you open to feedback about your playing -- with pointers for improvement?". If they say "yes" then you have permission to talk to them about it. If they say No, then you might have to go to a warning (described later). It sounds like feedback has already been given to him so far, which is a good start. But here are a few suggestions.

    1. If the guy says "yes" to taking feedback for improvement, offer to meet with him, just you and him, and play with a metronome together. I had a guy come over to my house once a week in addition to our regular rehearsal to lock in with me. We practiced with a metronome for hours until we got solid. We even planned joint accents we did together in certain songs. It turned out to be one of the best drumming situations I've ever been in given the way we were "one" after those rehearsals. It took about 6 weeks, but we had a good drum/bass combination when we were done. It was worth it.

    If the guy can't dedicate more time out of regular rehearsal, insist on having a click track in rehearsal.

    2. If the guy doesn't improve, put him on notice, with the band's permission (if that is the culture of the band) but kindly -- use your interpersonal skills. I am not a big fan of summary executions -- where you just walk up and fire a guy without giving him a heads up first. So, I would consider talking to him as a group, or individually (judge which is best given his personality) and letting him know that you need to see rapid progress in his drumming now. Be highly specific about what he must do. And that you may have to find a different drummer if there isn't significant improvement.

    I did this with a guitar player who blew off practices all the time and didn't rehearse. He straightened up, and even called me a few weeks in to ask "how am I doing in the band now???". So, if this band is important to the drummer, he will respond with improvement. If the band is not as important as his ego, he might quit -- problem solved.

    3. Regarding the guitar players -- they are violating a principle of cohesive groups -- sidebar conversations. Next time they start criticizing each other behind their backs, I would use it as an opportunity to help them understand the impact their backdoor criticizing has on the group. I would let them know that even though they are doing it privately to you, it affects their behavior toward each other, and hurts trust in the band. I would also share your feelings about being in the group when these sidebars convos happen -- how its demotivating to you.

    Encourage them to talk to each other about it -- as they say in the military "conflicts should be solved a the lowest level possible", and that means the two of them face to face. I would do this individually with them,not together, obviously.

    4. I would give the band a set amount of time to deal with these issues, before you move on or make drastic changes. Maybe even share it with each member privately -- letting them know you have shared it with everyone else -- that you are giving the band X months to a) improve the drumming and b) deal with the guitarist conflicts or you may move on. If things haven't improved, you are going to consider getting a different band or gig.

    5. I would also start making friends with other musicians just in case. This means attending shows, getting to know other groups, assessing players, going to jams if any, in your town to get to know people. I'm always forging new relationships with musicians even though things are going well. They sometimes refer you gigs, help you out with promo gigs etcetera.

    Hope that helps!

    AltGrendel likes this.
  5. mikeluch

    mikeluch Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2004
    Ocala, FL
    PF, thanks for the feedback, really appreciated.
    To some of your points, we have taken the high road in all the band talking to the drummer and telling him to improve or we will need to look elsewhere. He nods his head yes, is not resistant, makes improvements for a while and then back to his old ways a couple of months later. He is never combative, just undisciplined and inconsistent.
    So a week ago I got band consensus to lead the search for a new drummer. Then, a couple of days ago, one of the guitarists calls me and say we should rethink this because it might do more bad than good. Really!
    I have been vocal with the guitarists that they need to talk to each other, not me. These guys are all older than me, have played for years, and I feel sometimes it is like dealing with a child.
    Also, I did not mention, we recently brought a sax player on board who has toured etc. He was really brought on board by one of the guitarists. Great guy and player, but now we are arranging songs around him. Don't get me wrong, I think it has brought new dynamics, but he doesn't need to play every song. On top of this change, there is now a disagreement on what venues we should play for some reason as we used to be in agreement. This has mostly been brought on by the guitarist that brought the sax guy on board. This has not helped the chemistry, and has stalled some our event bookings.
    Our female singer, who is not an issue, also has said to me that this whole drummer, the guitarist issue, and the gig disagreements have not made it fun and she is thinking of packing it in.
    I guess I am talking myself into moving on the more I write. It is just too bad because I really enjoy the people personally, and when we are in sync we sound good.
    Thanks for letting me vent!
  6. PauFerro


    Jun 8, 2008
    United States
    This is what I detest about democratic bands. I had a situation where it was agreed to fire our guitarist. I let him go as agreed, and then the drummer came back and told me he wanted to hire the guy back again. Stuff like that. i stuck to my guns, risking the band. We found another guy and eventually the drummer agreed the new guitarist was step up.

    Check the threads about whether there should be an "enlightened leader". Most of the experienced people think it's better to have a fair, balanced leader who uses judgment to make decisions, seeking input, but retaining control over the final decision.

    In my experience this happens if you have gigs and don't piss people off. That's your cred.
  7. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    First I would decide if the drummer is the deal breaker. If so, have a sitdown with the other band members, and talk about the idea of replacing the drummer. If it is and they won't, then you walk.
  8. bassinflorida

    bassinflorida turn that dang thing down

    Jan 27, 2014
    Tampa, FL
    Welcome to the central FL band experience.
    Roberto Nunez likes this.
  9. Lol. None of that is unique to Florida.
    Roberto Nunez likes this.
  10. sean_on_bass


    Dec 29, 2005
    To OP:

    For the drummer, it may not be his time to be in the band if he doesn't have to discipline to stick to a part. Coaching him likely won't change that, and giving some sort ultimatum to him likely won't make for a friendly atmosphere. Looking for a new drummer seems like a good option right now.

    But honestly, i think having a bum player in the band is only a small part of your issue. It sounds like you all lack solid leadership to keep the band on a singular track to success. I think someone needs to step up into the leader role and start calling some of the shots. I've been in far too many bands that lacked leadership and everything was a group decision. Those bands NEVER went anywhere. Could never form a cohesive setlist and just lacked general direction. Could you or the vocalist take on that role? It sounds like the guitarists might lack the maturity for it.

    As for sax man, i can see that as an asset if the bands ducks are in a row. But it depends how he is integrated. Did you have to throw out a bunch of material for him? You're right, he doesn't have to play on every song. With that said, he probably could play on most tunes as the sax is a pretty versatile solo instrument. Again, it takes a good leader to help work all that out.
  11. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I love this. Not only do I wish every band I was in did this, I wish every band I went to see did as well. I just think it adds so much when there are bass/drum accents that mesh. Get a rhythm guitarist in on it, (in rock,) and it's magical. Too many bands today think it's wankery when the lead player solos, but if the rhythm section is doing something interesting underneath, it isn't. There are so many places in songs for this type of playing, and it makes the performance interesting, and fun.
    EdO. and static0verdrive like this.
  12. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Inactive

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    If you aren't 14 years old, you need to find some grown ups to play with.
    aprod likes this.
  13. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    You obviously need a third guitarist. ;)
    EddiePlaysBass, alack, Oddly and 4 others like this.
  14. Willopis


    Aug 25, 2012
    This is from Ray Dalio's principles of success in the workplace but I think it also could apply to a good band?

    Realize that you have nothing to fear from truth.

    Understanding, accepting, and knowing how to effectively deal with reality are crucial for achieving success. Having truth on your side is extremely powerful. While the truth itself may be scary—you have a weakness, you have a deadly disease, etc.—knowing the truth will allow you to deal with your situation better. Being truthful, and letting others be truthful with you, allows you to explore your own thoughts and exposes you to the feedback that is essential for your learning. Being truthful is an extension of your freedom to be you; people who are one way on the inside and another on the outside become conflicted and often lose touch with their own values. It’s difficult for them to be happy, and almost impossible for them to be at their best. While the first-order effects of being radically truthful might not be desirable, the second- and third-order effects are great.

    Do you agree with this?

    Create an environment in which everyone has the right to understand what makes sense and no one has the right to hold a critical opinion without speaking up about it.
    Be extremely open.
    Openness leads to truth and trust. Being open about what you dislike is especially important, because things you don’t like need to be changed or resolved. Discuss your issues until you are in synch or until you understand each other’s positions and can determine what should be done. As someone I worked with once explained, “It’s simple–just don’t filter.” The main reason Bridgewater performs well is that all people here have the power to speak openly and equally and because their views are judged on the merits of what they are saying. Through that extreme openness and a meritocracy of thought, we identify and solve problems better. Since we know we can rely on honesty, we succeed more and we ultimately become closer, and since we succeed and are close, we are more committed to this mission and to each other. It is a self-reinforcing, virtuous cycle.

    Do you agree with this?

    Have integrity and demand it from others.
    Integrity comes from the Latin word integer, meaning “one.” People who are one way on the inside and another way outside lack integrity; they have duality.

    The second- and third-order effects of having integrity and avoiding duality are great. Thinking solely about what’s accurate instead of how it is perceived helps you to be more focused on important things. It helps you sort the people you are around and the environments you are in. It improves the organization’s efficiency and camaraderie because the secret things that people think and don't say to each other drive resentment and key issues underground and don’t lead to improvement. Having nothing to hide relieves stress. It also builds trust. For these reasons:

    Never say anything about a person you wouldn’t say to them directly, and don’t try people without accusing them to their face.
    Badmouthing people behind their backs shows a serious lack of integrity and is counterproductive. It doesn’t yield any beneficial change, and it subverts both the people you are badmouthing and the environment as a whole. Next to being dishonest, it is the worst thing you can do at Bridgewater. Criticism is both welcomed and encouraged at Bridgewater, so there is no good reason to talk behind people’s backs. You need to follow this policy to an extreme degree. For example, managers should not talk about people who work for them without those people being in the room. If you talk behind people’s backs at Bridgewater, you are called a slimy weasel.

    Don’t let “loyalty” stand in the way of truth and openness.
    In some companies, employees hide their employer’s mistakes, and employers do the same in return. In these places, openly expressing your concerns is considered disloyal, and is discouraged. Because it prevents people from bringing their mistakes and weaknesses to the surface and because it encourages deception and eliminates the subordinates’ right of appeal, unhealthy loyalty stands in the way of improvement. I believe in a truer, healthier form of loyalty, which does the opposite. Healthy loyalty fosters improvement through openly addressing mistakes and weaknesses. The more people are open about their challenges, the more helpful others can be. In an environment in which mistakes and weaknesses are dealt with frankly, those who face their challenges have the most admirable character. By contrast, when mistakes and weaknesses are hidden, unhealthy character is legitimized.
    Aaron Mc likes this.
  15. get yourself out of the middle of the 2 guitar player's issues. I was once there, in the middle of a vocalist/guitarist battle. And even though I did not take sides, and everything went in 1 ear and out the other, I somehow became the problem. It was not long before I was out.
    gazzatriumph likes this.
  16. tedious1


    Feb 14, 2014
    Oh, this is almost too easy:
    1) Fire the drummer, wait, what? That was knee-jerk, but rereading, it's also appropriate...
    2) Put both guitar players in a small room with one amp, and one cable. When you hear playing, you have your guitar player, the guy who got choked out with the guitar cable. The one playing is far too quick to violence, therefore not someone you want to be in a band with.
    Hamish MacCleod and ak56 like this.
  17. JRA

    JRA my words = opinion Gold Supporting Member

    OP: just curious: does either one of the guitar players 'make more sense' to you with his stance, or are they both equally 'goofy' with their issues/behavior? (i realize you're preference is to not take sides and have them figure things out between themselves.) :)
  18. El Güero

    El Güero Inactive

    Oct 5, 2015
    Dodge B likes this.
  19. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    There is always some conflict in bands.
    Personnel issues are ongoing and part of any work situation.
    Good luck
  20. mikeluch

    mikeluch Supporting Member

    Nov 30, 2004
    Ocala, FL
    All great posts, I love the comment "welcome to the band scene in Central FL" as I keep hearing that. I must admit, it is different than in the Northeast, but that is another story
    Anyway, the drummer has been somewhat of an issue since day 1. Nice guy and can play, just not disciplined. I try to pull him aside and say "we need to hook up and get on the same page". He never looks up at me when we are playing like he is in his own world.
    The guitarists have different styles. They both are good but they disagree on things like strum patterns, types of chords, and one is more of a rocker than the other but can play laid back. Their personalities just clash on the music side at times, not as individuals as they are good guys. Like I said, this issue has become more pronounced since the sax player joined.
    On top of that the sax player does not play every gig, because he is a hired gun that tours as needed.
    I agree we need to play stuff for the audience, and I go with the flow, but there needs to be some compromises to keep all happy.
    I am not getting rich off of this, I spend way more than we make, I look for it to be fun, but fun to me is also getting along and sounding tight
    I had called and sent some correspondence to all last night, and got some encouraging feedback, but we will see when we practice next week as this has happened before
    Thanks for all the feedback, hope everyone has a great Turkey Day!