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Was "let go" without warning

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by NicJimBass, Oct 18, 2010.

  1. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson! Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    Sorry for the rant, just need to vent a bit.

    I was in a cover band for a little over a year- I joined the band early last year, and after half the band moved out of state, we went on hiatus while the guitarist joined another band. After finding it wasn't for him, he contacted me, we found some new guys, and played our first show back late last year. We've been at it ever since. We'd average about 2-3 shows a week, with the occasional off week. Things were going well, we were sounding tight, and all was good.

    Or so I thought.

    Last Monday, me, the guitarist and the singer got together to discuss some things. One had to do with doing work inside the band, and whether or not anyone should expect payment, especially if there was a great deal of time involved. We talked it over and resolved the issue. Then, the guys started asking about whether I was having personal issues, as I'd been "acting different" the past few months. This was the first time I'd heard anything. There were issues I've been dealing with, but I didn't realize they were affecting me to the point that it was noticeable. They also asked if I was still into the band, asking about my commitment, which was something that struck me as odd, as I'd not given one indicator (in my mind) that I was even remotely not committed to the band. I reassured them that I was totally into things, and that while personal issues were affecting me in ways even I couldn't see, I'd do my best to keep things going while I dealt with things.

    To be perfectly blunt, I understand I am not the best bass player out there. I know my limitations, my weaknesses, and while I try to continually better myself, I'll never be a virtuoso. To that end, I try to make myself valuable in any situation I'm in by pulling my own weight, and doing what I can inside the band, so I'm not simply a mediocre bass player who collects a check and does nothing else. I put a ton of time into designing things for the band- logo, posters, t-shirt, business card, and toward the end, a DVD package for a promo kit. I also took over mailing the posters to the venues ahead of time, as well as doing more than my fair share of setting up and tearing down at every show. I felt that I made myself available more than enough, especially considering I live about an hour from the other band members. I was very rarely late to practices or shows, and more often than not, I was early. I came into every practice knowing the songs and doing my part to make things go as smoothly and quickly as possible. While I'm somewhat introverted by nature, I got along well with the guys, and tried my best to be as friendly as possible to those who came out to shows, even making several new friends along the way. I was planning on being with this band for quite some time.

    Which is why it came as a shock when I got a phone call this past Tuesday night. It was the guitarist telling me they were letting me go. At first, I was very very numb to the whole scenario, and was very cordial, and understanding, and was generally being very nice about things. I believe anyone is replaceable, myself more so than others, so being let go was not a huge deal. It was simply how it went down that has since left me bitter.

    There was no warning, whatsoever. There was the one meeting, the night before I was let go, and that was it... and I left that meeting thinking everything was cool, and that things would move forward. Just before I left that night, I was talking logistics about this past weekends' shows, and upcoming events. No hint of any kind arose. It was simply one day I was in, the next I was out.

    Since then, I've talked to the drummer, who has become a good friend of mine (and will continue to be for a long time)- he took it very hard, and lobbied for me to, if nothing else, be given some sort of warning, as opposed to being completely blindsided. The other guys didn't see fit to do so, and replaced me with a guy who subbed for me just the weekend before, while I was on vacation (btw, he's a fellow TB'r, and a friend of mine. I don't wish him any ill-will, as he was simply at the right place at the right time... I wish him the best).

    Have any of you dealt with situations like this? How did you deal with it? It's still affecting me, especially since I was with this band for so long. It'll take some time to get over, I'm sure. Any advice?
  2. TRichardsbass

    TRichardsbass Inactive Commercial User

    Jun 3, 2009
    Between Muscle Shoals and Nashville
    Bassgearu, Music Industry Consulting and Sales. Tech 21, NBE Corp, Sonosphere.
    At least they were man enough to call you and talk to you on the phone. Based on a ton of posts here that seems to be a rarity these days.

    I wouldn't take it too hard. Yes, its disappointing. But as long as they didn't tell you it was because you suck, then its not your playing. My guess is that the other guy may live closer and they may be closer to him in some way.

    Just make sure you get all of your equipment and the like back quickly if they have any, and also just put all the other stuff you have (posters, et cetera) in the mail back to them.

    I would take a short break, and hone your skills. Learn a bunch of new songs. Tweak your basses and amps. Have a beer.

    This has happened to just about all of us here at some time in the past. I remember a time in the middle 1980's where I was in a band that was on its way to being signed, and the day before a meeting with a label the gui**** and the singer decided to give me the boot. They were thinking that when the label picked them up that they could easily replace me.

    Well, they got signed the next day. I went home and licked my wounds, and wound up starting a band with a friend. The band that dumped me got signed but the label dropped them after their first recording session. My band got signed and I went on to 5 years of recording and touring before getting dropped from the label.

    So, to sum, don't take it personally, and go ahead and feel like crap for a couple of days. Then just regroup and do things that you like. Someone will most likely hear you are available and probably call to see if you want to join them.

  3. I've never been fired from a band but there was this one time where we had to sit down and have a meeting because they had noticed that I just wasn't into it anymore, which was true because I was in 2 other bands, a church band, and these guys were not gigging or recording at all. I told them that I wanted to quit and they were cool with it but if I hadn't told them they probably would have let me go.

    In your situation, it sounded like they wanted an excuse to let you go for their new player, who they probably wanted for a while but didn't know how to do it without feeling like a bunch of douches. Any way you look at it, it still sucks. However, there are several bands out there and a lot of them need bassists. I should know, I live within an hour from you and I get emails and text messages all the time from bands and artists looking for bassists. The next time I get one, I'll refer you if that's alright.
  4. Mike Shevlin

    Mike Shevlin

    Feb 16, 2005
    Las Vegas
    It was the bad timing of the other bass player subbing for you & the same time that the band was having some issues with you. They got a bit of fresh air with the new guy, and decided to keep him. Not your fault, just bad timing ~If you had not taken that vacation, this would not have happened~
  5. just last week a band i was in snapped and left my ampeg b100r out in the driveway.
    The reason is because the chick leader in the band thought i was talking about her behind her back. I was talking about her to her face honestly. I was about to walk anyways.
    Ive been in 5 or so bands in the last 5 years. None have fired me and I didnt quit any of them. they all just sorta fizzled out. Out of all those bands there is only 1 guy who wont take my calls and who wouldnt want to hear from me. the rest i am cool with.
    this chick has been in one band and now including me there are 4 people whom she has burned the bridge with. so that set my mind at ease. Some people are just unstable i guess. point is bluntly "you'll have that" when it comes to bands acting weird. its hard to find a perfect situation where you will totally jive and go out a get a nice following and make good money. I think ive been pretty lucky in that regard but still i just got dumped on my azz also.
  6. GianGian


    May 16, 2008
    I once played drums at my cousin's band. When the bass player suddenly left, I moved to bass. As they knew I was not happy with the band, they put me out and called the old bass player back.
    I was always talking about quitting, but I never actually did, I didn't want to leave them without a bass player, and I like the guys. They, on the other hand, didn't think twice before firing me and calling the old guy back.
    It hurts a bit, but we have to develop a thick skin for these kind of things. That's life, it is never easy.
  7. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    I had a somewhat similar experience a few years back. My "issue" was that I was working a straight job and the rest of the band (or some of them) wanted more "commitment."

    Same deal in that I (responsibly) hired a sub (an acquaintance, bit less of a player, but better vox) and that coincided with a thing the lead singer was going through.

    The main problem for me was that this was one of the very few legit R&B acts in Phoenix, which tends toward the heavy metal garage band mentality; so, when I lost that seat, it was like "what next?"

    Anyhow, I found my way into a decent Blues situation and went from there. The R&B band had somewhat better vox, but not the same groove; and that change eventually got them nowhere; and unfortunately they dissolved.

    Sad thing is that it is such a small musical world; and I run into these guys on the scene from time to time. IME, this kind of drama is unnecessary, but somewhat common.

    You just have to keep rolling, and keep a great attitude about it. Bands come and go. I forget the exact quote, but the Tom Hanks movie "That Thing You Do" has an excellent line by the vet Jazz keyboard player to the effect of "Bands come and go, One gig's too many for some bands.":D
  8. aztomr


    Oct 5, 2010
    Don't let it get you down, there will be other bands. In situations like this I remind myself of two things. First, no matter how great your band is you will play with them for a finite amount of time. It will end, play every time like its the last time you get to play with the people you are playing with. Secondly, I always remember that the Yardbirds fired Jeff Beck, sometimes your just not the right guy for the gig, it's not that you aren't good enough, it just isn't a good fit.
    Join or form another band, blow your old band off the stage.
  9. tekhedd

    tekhedd Tone chaser Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2009
    Colorado, USA
    Owner/operator of BYTE HEAVEN
    Sorry for your bad experience! When band mates start getting paranoid, there's not much you can do. I've had some similar experiences...when they start asking whether you are "committed", it is a bad sign. I haven't figured out what makes them do this, but once they become paranoid it's very difficult to bring them back. Apparently, just being extremely dedicated to the band isn't enough for some people. :< (I have found some correlation between this paranoia and chronic pot smoking, which I suppose shouldn't be surprising.)

    Better luck in your next gig!
  10. NicJimBass

    NicJimBass Flossin'? I thought your name was Munson! Supporting Member

    Nov 22, 2004
    Lancaster, OH
    Thank you all for the advice! It seems as though I'm well on the way to not letting this bother me, but it also seems as though as soon as I think I'm clear, some sort of reminder pops up, and it sets me back a bit. I'd just as soon be completely done with all of this so I can move on.

    I already have a couple projects that have popped up, so I won't be sitting at home twiddling my thumbs, but it'll take some time before I'm back out and gigging. Oh well, such is life!
  11. TheVoiceless


    Jun 11, 2008
    New Jersey
    Sorry to hear this. Unless you are contracted to any job, its at will employment. I think it sucks, but yes at least they cared enough to make the phone call.

    But this is the life of a musician. And it only gets worse the higher you go up. Think about all the band drama from major acts. Like losing your job as an original member of Van Halen to have the guitar players kid replace you. I doubt that he had much of a notice on that. Point is this is standard play in the music business, which sucks because music has more of an emotional attachment then other professions.

    No is your chance to sit in front of youtube and learn as many songs as you can. Make yourself valuable. Being a member of a group is time consuming so use that time to take lessons and become a better player. Hopefully it will mean that you will land a better gig.

    Best of luck.
  12. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    one day, i walked into a room for rehearsal and a new bass player was warming up. (stuff happens) i didn't say a word... i walked out followed by half of the band,.. including the drummer, of course!
    that band fell apart and the new bass player stole the leader/singer's girl.
  13. Cosmo420


    Sep 10, 2010
    Roanoke, VA
    It's the whole "when one door closes, another opens" thing. If they don't want you, go find a band that does.
  14. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Sounds like it was uncomfortable..

    It may have just been a mismatch or change of direction..

    I'm sure anyone who plays eventually gets swapped.

    I've known of guys cut because they were "too good" meaning the natural talent levels were 2 totally different places.

    I can understand if you would want a very exact set of reasons (from your drummer pal) of why you were dismissed. Give him the right to say EVERY and ANYTHING -- it's your job to take notes and think later.

    Send them a thank you note (hand written) - very few folks do this (anymore) it's the classiest way to keep a bridge warm but not burning.

    I'm guessing your alternate may have been a better fit - it does sound like you'd be a joy to play with.

  15. I've never been "fired" from a band, but had an experience a few years ago where a singer and drummer (whom I had helped bring into the band, which I had co-founded), suddenly decided to jump ship and start their own group. They suddenly told me about a laundry list of problems that had with me and the direction of the group, none of which they had told me about before hand. There were no hints or warnings. It was just, "We're done, doing our own thing, see ya." The timing was horrible, as we had a gig lined up, and I had to turn down at least three paying gigs after they left because there was no time to find a fill in replacement immediately.

    I won't lie, I was hurt at the time. However, you just have to move on. I figure if someone doesn't want to play with me anymore, then that's fine. Let them go do their own thing and move on to the next opportunity.
  16. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    wow.. how dirt bag of them.. they must have really had some angst to not honor a confirmed gig
  17. zenrad

    zenrad Supporting Member

    Feb 4, 2009
    Bergen County, NJ
  18. bucephylus

    bucephylus Supporting Member Commercial User

    Aug 18, 2002
    General Manager TecPadz LLC
    Yeah baby, that's what I call Rock & Roll.
  19. I am sorry to hear about your situation my friend. Have you ever considered taking lessons or committing to spending a bit of time in the 'technique' or 'general instruction' portion of Talk bass? I really agree with the point TRichardsbass mad about taking some time to hone your skills. Generally, TB'ers that have taken the time to study their craft know better than anyone what a dramatic effect lessons and practice can have on one's playing in a short time period. I only mention this because I think it could really be the ticket for preventing this from happening again in the future. I couldn't help but admire your honesty regarding your own assesment of your playing. It seems from some of the compensatory activities that you engaged in that you may have tried to make up for being the musical weak link by pouring your energies into other aspects of band activities. It would be amazing to hear from you in a few months after deciding to make a diciplined comittment to pour that energy into the betterment of your playing. Best wishes!!
  20. I was "let go" by a band a little over a year ago via the e-mail equivalent of a drunk phone call. I went out and found another band playing all originals and another cover band that's making decent $.

    The band that cut me has been through at least four bassists since me - and that's only the ones I know about.

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