What To Do When A Band Member Dies?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BayStateBass, Apr 16, 2012.

  1. BayStateBass

    BayStateBass Guest

    Jan 25, 2012
    Central Massachusetts
    I got a terrible call yesterday from our drummer's wife. Maddy called to tell me that Ed was found dead Saturday afternoon at home. Early reports indicate a fatal heart attack.

    He was a close friend. When I talked to him on Friday I had no idea it would be the last time.

    Arrangements are incomplete.

    I'm not sure I have the motivation or desire to try to salvage, or rebuild, what is left of our band. It had been going poorly for a while and we were on the verge of breaking up as we all were headed in different directions. There is certainly no way that we can be the same ever again because his personality and the role he filled in our group can't be replaced.

    We are all still reeling from the news. I was closest to him out of everyone as we have been personal friends for about 13 years. And I'm not ashamed to admit that, even as I write this, I have to hold back the tears. I didn't hold them back last night.

    My initial thought is to dismantle the band, but I don't know how to do it "officially".

    Any thoughts here? I need some help.

    R.I.P. Edward Cournoyer. 52 is too young. I miss you already.
  2. I would just take a break, give it some time. Then get the group together and see if you all want to move on collectively.
  3. bassbully

    bassbully Endorsed by The PHALEX CORN BASS..mmm...corn!

    Sep 7, 2006
    Blimp City USA
    So sorry for your loss. I would talk with the others after he is laid to rest and go from there.
  4. My condolences for the loss of your friend. Don't make any decisions this month. Give it some time. It's too early to decide that question.
  5. Will Kelly

    Will Kelly

    Mar 3, 2010
    Sorry man. I know you're in a bad place right now. Forget about the band for the time being and take care of other business. Everything will sort itself out.
  6. Man, I am so sorry for your loss.

    I would suggest you hold off on making any decisions (as everyone else is saying) - and allow the grieving process to do it's thing.

    Again - I'm sorry, man. That's really hard news.
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I know a band that went through that (keyboardist was killed in a hit & run while riding his bike). They kept going although I know it had to be hard!

    I say if your band is a good band, take some time off and regroup after some grieving time.
  8. treekiller


    Mar 4, 2010
    Sorry to hear, my condolences to all!!!

    Firstly, the band is about the last thing any of you need to be thinking about right now! However, if you have any upcoming bookings then yes you need to make a few decisions as to cancelling and finding somebody to replace you. After that(and I mean waiting at least a few weeks for everyone to grieve and collect their thoughts) should you bring up how to proceed forward.
  9. nickbass79


    Nov 11, 2009
    North Carolina
    Definitely need to take a break. I'm very sorry for your lose. I lost a very good friend a few years ago and the best advice I ever got was to, Look back but Don't stare.

    I hope you keep his memory alive through music.
  10. BayStateBass

    BayStateBass Guest

    Jan 25, 2012
    Central Massachusetts
    It sucks. I had to call the others and tell them. I had a hard time holding it together making those calls. Everyone was in shock. He was a true gentleman and a very kind person who always acted from the heart.

    His wife is crushed. We all told her that we will do whatever she needs, anytime, to help out.

    Right now my head isn't on straight. He was one of my best friends that I've ever had in my life.

    Sorry for the rambling.

    I will deal with whatever needs to happen when the time is right.

    We don't have any shows lined up but I need to be prepared to handle whatever might come.
  11. 5StringFool


    Jun 10, 2011
    Greenup, KY
    Sorry for your loss. I hope you can find some tranquility in the turmoil of the moment. I'll echo the "take a break and regroup later to decide" sentiments. Right now isn't the time for making decisions it's a time to grieve the loss of your friend.

  12. svtb15

    svtb15 Inactive

    Mar 22, 2004
    Austin,TX - McKinney,TX - NY,NY, - Nashville,TN
    I play it all. Whatever works for the gig. Q+
    My condolences..
    The best thing at time sit to just take time so you can do it with a clear head if you wanted to continue the band..
  13. Konigstiger22


    Mar 22, 2011
    Kenosha, WI
  14. N.F.A.


    Jun 25, 2009
    In a blue funk
    My sympathies to your and your family. Taking time does seem the best thing to do.
  15. Sorry for your loss! You need to concentrate on doing what a good friend would do. Suppport his wife and family etc. Don't worry about the band thing right now. If it is meant to be later that's great. If nothing else maybe at some point you could get together and do a tribute show for him.
  16. Bassamatic

    Bassamatic keepin' the beat since the 60's

    I'm so sorry. I am sure that this is very hard. Like all things in life - it will become easier to handle over time, and you and your guys can consider going on or not.

    When you audition a new drummer, think of it as honoring Ed and not replacing him.
  17. OPBASSMAN1994

    OPBASSMAN1994 Guest

    Jul 30, 2010
    I'm sorry man. It's always tough to lose anyone, especially someone close like that. You guys will be in my prayers.

    On band matters: take a break. if you have a desire to reband and regroup later, and if you think that Ed would have wanted you to carry on, stoke the coals and get the train rolling once more.

    However, I would second the tribute show. Find someone to fill in, and raise money for his wife and family. Find other bands to perform as well. After that, take the break. I think it'd be a good way to make sure his family is taken care of for a while, which would be the best way to honor him, I think.
  18. I think you should definitely put some good time between today and when you choose to do something with your band - whether that means continuing on with a new drummer or moving on to new opportunities.

    I was the guy who a band brought in to replace a band member who died suddenly and unexpectedly - and it was immediately after he died because the band had a commitment and because I was available as a sub, they decided to soldier on.

    It's hard to be that guy. People who knew him keep coming to the shows and talking to the other members about how much they miss him - and I became the focal point for why people either thought the band wasn't as good as it used to be - or worse, there were people who liked my approach better and then there you are in a conversation about how you're "better" than the guy who passed. Not to mention causing conflicted feelings amongst the band itself because they might really like the new sound you bring, but that makes them feel guilty - as if they are dissing the memory of their friend.

    I never knew the guy I replaced - but I have a strong feeling I'd have liked him a lot and it was obvious that the band had a chemistry with him that wasn't the same with me. As a guy who was the guy brought in to replace the guy, I can tell you - while it has it's good moments, on the whole the void is always there. The guys in the band who knew him will always miss him - especially when playing - and the guy who takes his place will always represent something more than what he's there to do which is be a musician in the band - he's the guy who replaced the friend who died.

    This is my own experience as "that guy" - The band can go on with a new member, but part of what makes a person live on is when people who knew him get together - like a band tends to do. The simple act of rehearsing becomes very nostalgic - and you become a third wheel to all the "remember when..." and "he would have said..." - then the eyes look at you and everyone says, "but we like you too..."

    You need to give yourself time to come to terms with it all. This is my experience being the guy who filled in the slot very shortly after the tragic event. I think if the band had taken a little more time to come to terms with things, allow the grieving process to do it's thing and then decide they want to reignite the band thing, it would have been much different.
  19. mikegug

    mikegug Guest

    Oct 31, 2011
    I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. That's tough.

    After some time passes (you'll have to figure out the amount of time on your own), get the band together (sans intruments) for some pizza and talk about direction. Go extremely informal. Just talk. See what happens as far as direction is concerned.

    Well, that's what I'd do, sitting on this side of the situation.
  20. greggster59


    Oct 31, 2006
    New Jersey
    So sorry about your loss. May your grief give way to fond memories as time passes.

    I joined a band a year ago that was looking for a bassist. I did not know until my audition that they had been together 15 years and had lost their long time bassist, also 52, the year before.
    From what they said, following his brief illness and death put the band, a four piece with two guitarists/song writers, into a state of grief that made it too difficult to even think about going on as a band.
    About 10 months later, the two guitarists went to see the drummer play out with his long time cover band, a side project. At the end of the set the drummer convinced the guys to get up on stage and do a few of their tunes with him. It was a bittersweet moment and afterwards they decided it was time to get back on the horse because they all knew that is what their friend would have wanted.
    We didn't play much in the first months I was with them but now the band is getting together fairly often and there's a even a few new songs being developed for the next CD.
    Like others mentioned here, take the time you need to mourn your loss and then see what your are up for down the road a bit. If you think your drummer would have wanted to see the band continue then there is no better way to honor his memory.
    Good luck to his family and all of you.