OK, five years ago I started a group. There were four musicians. I had to let go the guitarist a year ago, although the members of my group reluctantly agreed to it. About six months later, I saw on facebook that my sax player was playing a gig with the guitarist in a new band. It was the same instrumentation, playing the same set list. Essentially, the same band, but with a new bass player and drummer, all initiated by the displaced guitarist. Meanwhile, the sax player had still been performing in my group for the last six months. During this time, I'd kept this sax player as busy as he said he wanted to be, gave him the repertoire and creative control, and had the pay increasing just like he'd been insisting on. So, when I learned about his involvement with the displaced guitar player's group (simply a carbon copy of my own group), it surprised me the sax player didn't have the political foresight/courtesy to at least tell me what he was doing. Particularly since he was essentially joining a direct competitor with whom there were relationship issues, since I'd been compelled to force the guitar player from the band previously (with the sax player and drummers' permission, by the way). When I learned the sax player was in this other band, the sax player indicated he was going to play in both bands. He said "the band I stay with is the one that has the best music and keeps me gigging the most". So, he implied he was on the verge of quitting. Or at least, putting me in competition with this other band, to serve his own interests the best. I said I was confused as I'd actually scaled back gigs for him as he told me he only wanted to be out once a month or so. No solid answer. He then recorded us at a gig to provide "evidence", and then ripped up the band's playing -- also blaming himself for some of it. Then he did some other things that left me confused. We booked a jazz festival, and he agreed to do it. Then the other band (the one the fired guitarist started), also booked HIS group at the same festival, and ended up on the schedule at the same time as ours. The sax player kept his commitment to perform with our group, and the fired guitarist got a sub sax player for his group. At one point the sax player said this caused some ruffled feathers in the other group and that he (the sax player) "wasn't even sure if he was in the band anymore". He seemed to recommit to our group. But then, after I booked a string of about 6 gigs over Christmas, he told me he was too busy with his church Christmas show performances (although he had kept the heavy gigging schedule the previous year in spite of the same church commitments). As a result, I had to create another band with subs, since we are so dependent on his keys and sax talents. The sax player liked the picture of this sub-band on facebook when I posted it. Another thing -- he gripes about pay a lot. Often very picky about the time and places he plays. Doesn't like weddings even though they pay well, and doesn't want to drive out of town. He normally does them, but only after I twist his arm and have to convince him. He's always the hold out on whether we should do a gig. For example, I came up with a concept for a show, which preliminary market research would command about $200 per man easily, with no promotion involved (a seminar in which we teach teamwork, leadership, management and delegation to corporate employees, using the band as the vehicle for teaching and demonstration). He replied "that sounds like a lot of hassle". i said "What if you got $200 for doing it?". He said nothing. All the other guys in the group were thrilled with the idea! Well, I learned a few months later, he's committed to a low paying restaurant gig (below the minimum he expects from me) with the displaced guitarists' group, and is playing into 1:15 am in the morning. Something I KNOW he would refuse if I asked him to do that. In the last year, I've been on a "contractor's" model given my experiences all these years. I have a trio that I formed and hire contractors as I need them. Much easier, I find, with subs several musicians deep. I posted at thread on it, with positive comments from most talkbassers. But in this original group I formed with the sax player, it is still somewhat peer based. Songs are custom, non-standard. They aren't easy to sub. The sax player controls the repertoire, so there are a lot of songs I'd rather not be doing. The sax player seems like he's simply playing both sides of the fence, and given his comment in the beginning he will "stay with the group that has the best music and is the busiest" makes me think that at any point, I'm going to get a phone call telling me he's quit. And he will be hard to replace given his dual instruments (sax and keyboards). I tried talking with him directly about it, but he's hard to talk to (always been that way). He gives cryptic statements and seems to act inconsistently. I even asked what he likes about our band -- why he keeps doing it -- and he wouldn't give me a straight answer. So, is it time to let this guy go? Is it time to make this quartet a contractor's band like I did over Christmas, and stop investing in him? Some other alternative? Let me know what you think.