Band history first: A drummer I've been in multiple bands with, over the last 15+ years, called me up about 5 years ago. I had just quit an all original rock band that had bigger aspirations than I was comfortable with, at my age (44 at that time) and career level. They wanted everyone to sell homes and quit jobs to tour full time until they became famous, paying to play - opening for big name bands, etc etc. My drummer (a very good friend), when he called, was considering forming a cover band with a guitarist he had been playing with. I knew a very good singer that I'd seen out playing around with pieced together bands, mostly retired guys or people that are always playing at blues jams etc etc. We all got together and everything clicked very well! We put in the hours (some way more than others) creating a diverse and fun list of around 40 songs that would keep people dancing and put us on the map as a pro level party band. Our goal was to play 2-3 shows a month max, preferably high paying parties or weddings. Pretty quickly, once we started booking gigs, the guitarist (youngest member of the band in his mid 20s) started showing that he was a slacker. He would be the least prepared at rehearsals.... almost never doing his homework on new songs. He complained about the venues not being the nice ones that he wanted to play, not understanding that we had to start somewhere to build a fan base and reputation. He showed up last at gigs and left first, leaving the heavy carrying and PA setup work to me and the drummer. Our female singer can't lift heavy things and talks to the patrons (a good thing) while we set things up. I found and brought another guitarist into the band when the first kept turning down shows and missing rehearsals. We played about half our shows with just the new guitarist. He had/has our work ethic and professional attitude. Everyone finally got fed up enough that I got them to agree to let me fire the first guitarist, and I happily did. We've done well since getting rid of the free-rider guitarist, typically getting offered more shows than I and our drummer can do. The band is not a source of frustration anymore, and more like a 2nd family. Drummer has a very successful career that has gotten more demanding, and he struggles to do 2-3 shows a month. We haven't landed many high paying parties, and no weddings. But, there's plenty of $400-$500 bar gigs, with nice perks (free food and beer at some), and often crowds that tip big ($100 - $200+ per show). Our take home is anywhere from $100 to $175 per member, on average. That's not much money to me and the drummer... at all... considering most shows mess up the whole weekend for us. Friday shows take up about 7 hours of our night, after a tiring work week. We get home around 2-3am depending on if we get food on the way home. Saturdays we're sore and exhausted... often sick if the bar allows smoking, and many do. So... again... 2-3 shows a month is the most the drummer and I want to do. It seems worth it, and is still fun enough to us, if we keep it to 2-3. Our singer doesn't have a job and a couple months back she started trying to book every weekend, both days (Friday and Saturday). She said she'd get sub players for the ones we can't play. The guitarist recently got divorced and is willing to play all the shows with her. "No hurt feelings if you can't do them" she said, "I have to make as much money as I can." We told her to not book them under our band name that we had built a great reputation upon. And, she can't use the PA that the drummer and I own. All was good with that arrangement, even though some venues have made social media posts, mistakenly using the band name. The drummer played a show with a sub bassist. It wasn't great, at all. I played 2 shows with a pro level substitute drummer that did a fantastic job, but there was still a few minor trainwreck moments. The drummer and I do a lot more than just play our instruments, so using even pro level players is still not the party we usually bring. So, here's the issue: I agreed to play a show in 4 days with a sub drummer that she used (along with a sub bassist) a few weeks back. I figured the drummer has had the setlists for a month or more now, and he would know the songs well. So, yesterday we tried a rehearsal, and there was about 12 or more songs, out of the 40 or so, that he said he needed to work on with us. We planned a 2.5 hour rehearsal. Luckily, we only went over the 12 songs and wrapped it up in about an hour. Any longer, and I would've lost my cool and probably shoved my bass somewhere it wasn't meant to go. I've never met someone so calm about not knowing how to play songs, and sounding like total [email protected]! I'm talking totally blowing the beat to smithereens and killing the feel of every song! Ever hear upbeat funky drums in Fiona Apple's Criminal?? I have!! All the while, the singer is chipper and saying "oh, you'll know them by Friday night." Normally, I'm outspoken. But, this is her thing, so I kept quiet and kept my rage and opinions to myself. After rehearsal, I called the guitarist and said I wouldn't be playing the show. I asked how they could play such sub-par shows with these substitute players. IMO, it's detrimental to our band since they're playing the same venues we play, to the same crowds. He said they're just trying to get through these gigs. But, there's gigs every dang weekend, leaving no time for the real band to work on new material. I said I wouldn't lower myself to that. I haven't played bass for 32 years to get on stage and sound like total [email protected] for a 100 or even a thousand bucks! I called the singer and told her the same, adding that she is the face of our band and she and our band are better than that. I'll be waiting for the fallout.