tl;dr: Committed to band, quit after 2nd rehearsal. I don’t join bands anymore. Just don’t have the patience for the drawma, volume wars and other insanities. These days it’s just more satisfying to solo recordings, one-off projects with friends, or maybe little temporary projects that gig a few times. But about a year ago, a singer who lives in my town, who I know through some recording collaborations, called and said she had an originals band that needed a bassist. I checked them out and they sounded really good. But I declined because of the reasons above. Over the last year, she would occasionally send videos of them gigging, saying “hey the door is still open”. In the videos of their gigs, they sounded great, looked pro. I was intrigued by their format: They were playing as a stripped-down little three piece: vocals, acoustic guitar, and a drummer who just played a floor tom with mallets. Tiny footprint. Great blend. Very mature. Since one of my biggest pet peeves of being in a band is being forced to move and set up a truckload of gear, every gig, just to facilitate ear splitting volume in tiny rooms for 45 minute sets, I loved the maturity and efficiency of their setup. The idea of a stripped-down little stage plot like they were using was really appealing. And more importantly, it was working really well. After a while, and a few more offers to play, I got to thinking that not too many people are busting down my door to join their bands, so this might be a great opportunity. Three quality musicians, close by, with great songs, rehearsal space, discipline and maturity? Yeah, sounds good. I said I'd learn some songs and stop by. REHEARSAL 1 Learned five songs, went to rehearsal. Everyone was so nice! And on time! What?? Crazy. We ran the songs. Sounded great, right off the bat! Woo! I liked playing the tunes. They liked me playing them. But man did I love the blend! guitarist was at a reasonable volume. Drummer with his mallets was glorious. I was playing a single 12" combo. We could all hear each other really well. Sounded like a recording, almost. I thought "this is what a mature band sounds like!". I was glorying in the fact that we would be able to play anywhere. With a footprint like this, moving, sound-checking and setting up would be easy. After, they said… “So.. what do you think?” “Don’t commit just yet.", I thought “I’m in!”, I said And all was merry. REHEARSAL 2 Drummer shows up with a full kit. Not just a full kit, but the biggest, loudest, John-Bonhamish full kit I have seen in decades. I query him about it, and realize he is drunk. Very drunk. He slurs something about “now that we have a bass player, I can play a real kit.” No more mallets + floor tom. We’re talking 24” kick, rack toms, 16” and 18” floor toms, and about half a dozen cymbals. Guitarist now has changed his setup as well. His volume is much louder, due to the drummer, and he has for some reason switched to a hollowbody, which is now having feedback issues. We jam. It's a super loud mush. The singer looks distressed, and I can no longer hear her. The 1x12 combo I am using which was fine the week before is now inaudible. I find myself squatting near it so I can hear myself. I sigh, realizing that I will have to start shlepping a stack of some sort. Drummer who was awesome last week has now, through the magic of many craft beers, turned into the loudest and worst drummer in the world. I turn around in the middle of some horribly messy fill that he comes out of badly, and he is literally trying to drink a beer while playing, and its running down his shirt. The singer looks at me across the room with a look of horror on her face. After stumbling through the set, we sit down and try to talk about stuff, but the drummer keeps completely misunderstanding what we are trying to say, because he’s out of his mind. We sort of ignore him, and talk some more, and the guitarist starts saying how he will need me to commit to spending $500 on gear for an IEM setup. Because he has all the stems from the recordings and wants us to play with a click and backing tracks. Whaaa?? At this point, I’m like “hey, well, you know… what I loved about you guys was the small footprint acoustic thing you were doing. What you’re proposing is way more complicated.” Then they told me that the acoustic thing was always just temporary until they got a bassist, and what they really want to do is have this full rock band thing with backing tracks. Like Gob from Arrested Development, I realized I made a terrible mistake I committed. But this was a freaking mess, and exactly what I didn’t want to be involved in. Do I stick with it? Be an honorable person and commit because I have a strong character that would not allow me to go back on my word? Nah. Thought about it for a few days, then called, thanked them for the opportunity and said that I decided I’m not going to continue with the project. They asked why, I was annoyingly vague, and just said “It’s not what I’m looking for.” They understood, but were not happy. And now I am sure that I will forever be known as “that flaky bass player”. Alas. Lesson learned: never commit until you see the drummer at his drunkest. Their lesson learned: Never believe a bass player when he says he's in. Or at least never believe me when I say that.