Vocalist's writing sucks

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BassPlummet, Mar 18, 2014.

  1. My band leader and I are having a bit of a problem and I thought I would ask the TB hive mind for a bit of advice.

    So we are a Post-Hardcore/Electronicore band and normally our band leader (Rhythm/Clean Vocals) does all the writing. I am still very fresh to playing bass so I don't exactly have the skill to start writing basslines, but I do what I can to help and I contribute in other ways too. Like graphic design for example.

    So the BL was getting a bit fed up with the harsh vocalist/frontman doing barely anything and he asked him to write some lyrics to one of our songs that are in development and put some vocals to it as well. The problem is that.. Well frankly his lyrics suck and the vocals he came up with are not really the best either.

    If he follows what the BL writes he actually sounds pretty good (if he actually practices). The problem is we don't know how to tell him that his writing sucks. He is one of those people who truly believe he has made something amazing, and I can understand that, but how do you tell someone like that, that they suck and how do you do it in a gentle way?
  2. rust_preacher


    Dec 17, 2009
    "There's nothing like a friend who can tell you you're just pissing in the wind" - Neil Young
  3. Hang on.... you guys pushed him into writing but think his stuff sucks?
  4. Good point, that's what we trying to do. We just don't want to be too blunt about it.

    Well that's the thing, he said he could write. We pushed him into writing because he wasn't doing anything else. The band leader is the main writer and composer.
  5. You tell him to keep writing. Definitely have him write with the Band Leader, so they can trade off ideas. It'll give direction to the singer, so he can get better.
  6. Help him out. Edit his stuff, rework it into the style you're looking for. "We were looking for something more in this vein; your stuff is good, but not quite right for, or going in the direction of, where the band is headed. Maybe try this angle, here's a couple other ways to tackle it." Give examples and several options.

    Professional writers get edited all the time, for example: movie screen-writers get "notes" from producers, directors and studio execs (mind, often they're poor suggestions that only water down the script). Good writers appreciate good editors.

    Be clear about the collaboration – decide/agree upon where the collaboration departs from "editing" and becomes "co-writing", or there will be more grief/misunderstandings down the road.
  7. Thanks guys. The Band Leader is going to get together with him one evening and they going to write together.
  8. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Diplomacy is a lost art.

    Find one nice thing to say about what he has done and then say, but you might want to consider .... Followed with suggestions for improvement.

    It's not rocket science. Just forget everything you've ever seen on reality TV where every interaction is an argument and screaming match.
  9. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it isn't any good.

    Quality in art is subjective.
  10. All right, seeing as we going to be all PC about this. It's not right for the direction the band wants to go.
  11. lancimouspitt


    Dec 10, 2008
    dayton Ohio
    Plummet,I feel your pain.
    I was once in a band and our singer at the time put some lyrics to an original.
    We where all horrified at the appalling words he scribbled down on that piece of notebook paper as he read the text aloud one afternoon at practice.

    "we are the untouchable band."........................................
    Lead Guitar players eyes went wild and he responded with-"How about we are untouchable like sand? Dude if you sing we are the untouchable band people are gonna think we got an ego problem."
  12. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    Nothing PC about my statement.

    Got sound clips?
  13. We still VERY early in the whole Band process. So "officially" we not really a band yet, but you can be sure that I will post sound clips/songs when we are ready to go public.
  14. Lobomov


    Aug 2, 2013
    I'm with mellowinman. We have no way of knowing whether your singer suck or you just have poor taste.

  15. FWIW: If someone likes what they do, there is no way of telling them that they suck without hurting their feeling - period!!!
  16. geddeeee


    Jun 30, 2006
    Songwriting takes practice. Most first song efforts will be rubbish... Over time, songwriting needs to be developed. You learn from your mistakes, and you will get better.
    Most of all, take the best ideas and help develop them, instead of saying 'that sucks!!!'

    I bet most of your first efforts 'sucked' too.....
  17. sm49341


    May 12, 2013
    No advice, just my condolences. I had this with our last crappy guitarist. Ugly baby syndrome is what I call it. I was ususally the jerk who said something. Sucked for me.
  18. We haven't told him that it sucks. We decided to just guide him instead.
  19. rust_preacher


    Dec 17, 2009
    A very prominent Finnish singer-songwriter once estimated he had written 250 rubbish lines for one gem.
  20. cnltb


    May 28, 2005
    Write music yourself and bring it to rehearsal.
    Nothing like offering alternative material if the present stuff is not to your liking.