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Was this an appropriate way to be fired?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by TheIndieKid, Apr 7, 2020.

  1. So I was in this band for six months. They'd spent 4 years writing songs but hadn't done a gig yet. Said they wanted to perfect them and stuff. Fine...bit peculiar, but I could understand wanting a full set list under your belt before gig time.

    Anyhow, we gelled like cookies 'n cream (or so I thought). They had a vision and were more than happy to point out when a bass part wasn't what they were looking for. They did compliment my bass parts what I pull out the bag and really like some stuff I do.

    Anyhow, time comes around for studio work to record a single, plus one extra. All goes smoothly. There's no complaints. Parts that they changed their opinion on are changed around, and the studio guy is happy with my parts (I think). Says he really likes some ideas I play.

    Roll on 2 weeks post studio, and we are all in lockdown. They seem a bit quiet but nothing seems particularly off. There's a video call with the studio guy that they do, but I don't participate. I was asked before about doing a band video call regarding a music video, and I didn't mind sitting out, since I'm not the one with the vision. These guys really knew what they wanted.

    I take a listen to the raw mixes whilst they're calling. I don't know if it's the guy's style of mix in which he experimented with, but you could probably hear my bass less than Jason Newsted's on the Black Album. Except I wasn't downtuned, and I was playing a 5 string Squier Jazz, borrowed from the studio guy, strung with fresh rounds and ran through a DI, with an distortion simulator on it.

    It was a far cry from my usual bass - 4 string short scale, strung with flats, but unfortunately that was in repairs. My other basses are in due need of repairs too. I discovered I'm not used to playing long scale 5 string basses.

    I thought nothing of the mix. He'd gone down 1 or 2 directions with the mix prior, and the band didn't like his approach, so he changed it. No biggie.

    Anyhow, I can't remember if it was the morning after, or 2 days later, but I get a message from the singer. Without the fluff of saying "you're a great guy and hope you got some experience from this", he says that I'm not the right bassist for them and that "it's the wrong time to be jamming with them" and that he's sorry but wishes me best of luck.

    Now at first, I was dissapointed, but I thought "Ah it's nothing out the ordinary. You win some, you lose some". But a family member kept reiterating that it was a real bad move. They said it's weird they've strung me along for six months, telling me that I'm great with the band and that we've got a good line up, only for them to drop me now.

    After sending a message to the singer saying I was dissapointed, but ultimately asking for the aspect they didn't like about my playing (to take away and improve on), I was left on read.

    Furthermore, the other two band members didn't even wish me a farewell or a good luck or nothing. Not in the group chat. Not privately. I was removed from the studio chat we had overnight, but not from the band chat.

    These reasons compounded made me warm to the idea that what they did wasn't that nice. Maybe it's me, but I'd be keen to know your experiences and opinions.
    Rob112, fhm555, DJ Bebop and 5 others like this.
  2. Musicians aren’t always noted for their ethics and thoughtfulness. This sounds like your first experience with this. Most of us have been dealing with this kind of thing for decades. I recommend you—not be jaded, necessarily—but cautious, and if you expect fair treatment in life, then expect to be disappointed.
    Gooney, Reascot, Vinny_G and 28 others like this.
  3. I've seen many replies on TalkBass, and whilst I know it's out there, I at least thought I'd be able to foresee being kicked out. You can usually get a vibe for bandmates and how they react.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  4. Get all of your equipment working well before pursuing another gig.
  5. el jeffe bass

    el jeffe bass

    Nov 22, 2013
    New Mexico
    I think that I would not be happy to be used as a free studio bassist.
    Reascot, Vinny_G, Artman and 29 others like this.
  6. lowphatbass

    lowphatbass **** Supporting Member

    Feb 25, 2005
    west coast
    It’s hard for us to know if the band members are a-holes or not. It does seem to me that they could’ve treated you a bit better, confrontation can be difficult and is often handled poorly. There’s also a lot going on in the world right now...not an excuse but I’ve heard worse.
    What I do know is borrowing a bass to record with that’s a longer scale and has more strings than what you’re used to playing would be quite challenging for a lot of bassists. When someone says they “like your ideas” that may not mean that they think you are executing them well.

    You might try lifting things air out for a little while and try writing back to the band letting them know you totally accept they’re decision and would appreciate some constructive feedback.
    DJ Bebop, TWolf, dbsfgyd1 and 7 others like this.
  7. Unfortunately, my bass decided to need a repair about 2 weeks before the studio date and wasn't ready till after. We couldn't cancel the date for the sake of my bass.
  8. That's why you make sure ALL your equipment is working well, including the backup instrument.

    TBH if I were in a band with someone who couldn't keep their equipment functioning, they'd be the first to get fired.
    Reascot, jmon, Stormchaser and 29 others like this.
  9. I'll echo what LowPhat said, there's no way that perfect strangers could have a truly proper insight into your situation. Having said that, from what I read, since you asked:

    A 'band' that's been together four years without one single gig would have stopped me right there: That's not a band, it's some sort of hobby or vanity project. I'd have passed on it immediately.

    IF you're going to be taken seriously as a player, you CAN'T not have your gear ready to go, RIGHT NOW. Period.
    No excuses. There are plenty times as a musician when you got to step up and stand and deliver on the spot, and having instruments NOT ready to go will weed you out, and fast.

    Which dropped you right into having to use the studio's bass. This happens occasionally, but a) you don't want to have it happen to you because you walked in with something bogus (or worse, empty-handed), and b) stretching from a short-scale four-string with flatwounds to a five with roundwounds (under the pressure of recording) would be recipe for trouble unless you're very experienced.

    They're going to 'move on', but I'd bet my next Unemployment check that if those recordings are used for anything, your parts will STILL be on there. A very cynical person would think they used you, for free, then kicked you to the curb after the tunes were in the can.

    Sorry you got mixed up with these clowns, but speaking personally, the hardest lessons usually are the best: Not fun at the time, but I guarantee you'll never do it again.
  10. Discount Bassy

    Discount Bassy

    Mar 9, 2020
    That was one side of the story. Certainly there are others.
    Bassdirty, DJ Bebop, Mvilmany and 5 others like this.
  11. Yes, and I would just LOVE to hear the others.
  12. It may just be me and I realize I’m fortunate to have a variety of guitars and basses but I never even go to a bud’s house to jam one on one with a solitary axe.
    DJ Bebop, TylerJ, Aqualung60 and 2 others like this.
  13. crguti


    Feb 14, 2011
    I think you mean ‘And Justice for All’.

    The studio booking was probably done months in advance, and you send all your basses for repair 2 weeks before recording? dumb*ss move.
  14. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    It happens. It sucks. It stings.

    I had a great gig a few years ago. I lived 450 miles from the gig, they knew my rehearsal limitations, they knew my routine of come in the night before, we'd rehearse new stuff once, gig the next night, and home I'd go. Told me I "was who they want on this gig." I was never anything flashy, but that was not my job. Learn everything note-for-note as they required, hold down the bottom, be reliable, and don't screw up. The co BL (husband of the duo running it) often commented "I never have to worry or even think about what you're going to do on stage left, solid as a rock, and I can't compliment you any more than that." Cool! I'll take that with a smile.

    I got unceremoniously dumped a year into this. I know damn well why, but was told b.s. reasons why. Yep. It stung. They can rot in hell for all I care now. But what can ya do? Just roll on and live well (musically speaking) as my best revenge.
    Seanto, DJ Bebop, TWolf and 2 others like this.
  15. EXACTLY!!! Four years and haven't produced as damn thing? Yeah...ummmm...nevermind. And yes, it seems they used you to get a recording accomplished and they will continue to use it for free. Clowns...yes. The only bass player that would ever fit in their band is one of their close buddies they have a relationship with who is also someone that just wants to play around "pretending" to be a band as a hobby.
  16. QweziRider

    QweziRider Supporting Member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Northern Nevada, U.S.
    But that can't be used as an excuse or reason. That's two weeks to find, purchase or rent, a backup and get used to it. Been there, done that. More than once. Rented a backup once for an unexpected last minute gig while my bass had become fretless (stupid of me) and no time to get better on it. Had another short notice gig when my next bass was in pieces being refinished, had to buy something to get through the night. And a third time I needed a backup (because by then I don't do gigs without one), ended up buying the cheapest one in the store I could find because I'd loaned out one of my two basses to the kid of a friend in another state. Broke the neck on my upright a day before a gig and the only option was to borrow an upright from the local high school music director.

    You just have to be prepared to do what you have to do, not say "my stuff is in repairs for two weeks."
  17. I didn't send ALL my basses for repair 2 weeks in advance. If you've seen what I've posted on TalkBass, I don't have much luck with instruments. I have four basses. Two I don't play anymore because they're long scale and I find them uncomfortable to play. If you read my thread on the Mustang Bass and on the Supro Huntington I have, you'll see the issues I have. I have one repair guy I can trust in the area. I can't just keep funneling basses to them. The band knew about the issues with my basses well in advance.

    I bought a Fender Mustang because of the issues I was having with my Supro. My whole thread on the issue with the Mustang was happening in the time with the band. I didn't know when it was going to be fixed or replaced. It went back to Fender.

    Yes, my mistake about the Metallica album. I'm not that familiar with them. I just know the bass was inaudible on one album, it was Jason Newsted on it, and it gets mentioned lots here.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2020
  18. I don't drive. We all drove together. There was also the fact that we couldn't have fit another instrument in the car. 5 of us in a five seater with a roofbox. Packed with lighting for photos, camera, guitars, mics, drum kit, clothes, pedalboard, stands etc
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  19. As much as I'm a proponent of "two sides to every story", there's not more to it than that.
    DJ Bebop likes this.
  20. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    :D Four years of writing songs and they want to "perfect" them? Wow, that's a red flag if ever I saw one. Best you learn this lesson now ... any band that's together FOUR years and isn't playing gigs isn't a band, it's a musical social club. And while you may be invited to the club as a guest, you'll never be a member. And secondly, if you want to be a working musician you need working tools. All of us who work regularly (or at least used to until a month ago) own multiple basses, amps, mics, etc ... well maintained and ready to work when the work is there.

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