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when someone leaves the band...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by jomahu, Jul 29, 2008.

  1. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    ...when exactly does it hit you?

    our singer has quit the band. we've always gotten along great, but lately, she has not been into it as much as we have (surfing the internet during rehearsal was a good indicator). so i was getting a bit miffed, and when she made her announcement, my reaction was "ok, cool. what's the next step?"

    didn't hit me until the next day when we were auditioning singers. got kinda sad to hear the songs in a different (not bad) way and knowing that this phase of our music was over.

    how do/did you react? and how does/did it change with time?
  2. purfektstranger


    Apr 10, 2003
    I think everyone reacts differently depending on the circumstances surrounding the departure. Until recently I managed a local band: Four heavily skilled rockers with mad song writing and playing ability. The group was without a singer for a long while and actually gained a great following as an instrumental act. At their request I managed to find them a singer after about 10 months of searching. Three or four months later the guy turns out to be completely unreliable. He cannot write or remember lyrics and basically turned the practice sessions into three hours of messing around and a half hour of actual playing. I tried to remedy the situation many times but neither the guitarist nor bassist would budge because they too began to enjoy spending 5 or 6 nights a week at their practice space getting stoned and watching DVD's with the singer. This caused a rift in the band, especially with the drummer, who couldn't stand the guy from the start because of his poor work ethic and party all the time attitude. He voiced his concerns many times with the other band members and myself but nothing changed. The drummer ended up quitting about three months ago. He hasn't looked back since but unfortunately the rest of the band haven't looked forward yet.......... Every situation is different. Needless to say from a management perspective it was very sad for me to see the band lose a key member. Tough as it may be, never look back and always try to look ahead.
  3. Phalex

    Phalex Semper Gumby Supporting Member

    Oct 3, 2006
    G.R. MI
    Fear not......

    I went through this last week! Our singer (a very talented performer) walked out on us. His ego had gotten to be so big that he was really out of control. He refused to play the club we were booked at because they told him to put his shirt on the previous Saturday night. (His girlfriend getting banned from the place may have played a role as well) He called the guitar player and said he wasn't ever going to play that venue again. All our stuff was down there from the previous weekend, and we had a gig to play. The guitar player told him his behaviour was unacceptable, and he quit.

    last weekend was great! We had a fill in singer we borrowed from another band, and we had a guy try out for the position and he was really good!

    I kinda though my band would struggle, and maybe even fold with our singer walking out, but I was sick of his crap and was like "Alright, where do we go from here?" Forward. That's where we go. It's going to be different, sure, but nobody is truly irreplaceable.

    You'll be fine. Put the word out, and find someone to take over the vocals. It sounds daunting, but in my own recent experience, there is a lot of talent out there. You just have to find it.
  4. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Bands tend to be a very fluid type of entity. Longevity can be a very elusive thing to attain, so if you've managed to achieve high productivity with the same members for five years or more, consider yourself in the minority - and very fortunate. This being the case, it behooves one to put oneself into a mindset to anticipate change - and be prepared to roll with the punches, as it were.

    FWIW, my opinion is that the great majority of bands are managed very poorly and very unprofessionally. Relationships and responsibilities that ought to be well defined, with reasonable benchmarks established, most often go entirely neglected. Petty, childish things like temper tantrums, band politics and out-of-control egos too often carry the day. It doesn't have to be like that...but it usually is... :eyebrow:

  5. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    If someone is ready to go, then it's usually a great relief when they do. If everything else is in place, then you can move forwards quickly without the backage of a non-commited member.
  6. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Our original drummer threw hissy fit number one last fall over being asked to play a cover he didn't like. He threatened to walk, we said, "Your call..."

    He decided to hang around.

    Enter June 2008...

    He threw hissy fit number two 10 days before a major show (over the same kind of crap), and this time accused me of railroading him:rolleyes: (as if I have nothing better to do than suggest a song just to piss off my drummer...).

    He said he was walking, I called a drummer that had been referred to me by a friend. Replacement drummer played the gig, was invited to join permanently, accepted, and now we've made more strides in the last month than we had in the 6 months before.

    The only fallout was between the drummer and the singer, who had been childhood friends. The singer told the drummer his loyalty was to the band...and for once, all the drama ended on a good note!

    So to answer the question...when did it hit me? It hit me in rehearsal after 4 songs with the new drummer. After the first 3, he asked me, "Your last drummer wasn't really consistent, was he? You keep trying to push and pull my tempo. Don't worry, I'm on it." Mid-way through the next song, I realized just how nice it was to be able to focus on my own playing for the first time in a year. :bassist:

  7. What if you are the one wanting to go?!?!?!? How do you gracefully bow out without hurting people's feelings?? The group I'm in is not really going anywhere and if they do it will be very limited success as their song choices hinge on certain words not being in a song.

    They are a good bunch of guys but I've landed a spot with a band thats out playing & making money. The opportunity just came out of no where and ... well I took it!

    Do you just cut all ties?? They don't have any gigs in the works or anything.
  8. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    IME, it's often the players who don't/can't play very well who also happen to create the most drama. Here's yet another example... :rolleyes:

  9. ryco


    Apr 24, 2005
    Give 2 to 4 weeks notice. Or agree to fulfill all booked engagements.
  10. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    This really isn't difficult at all. Simply explain that you're less than satisfied with the progress of the current band, and that you've recently accepted an offer from a better one. Period.

    If there are gigs coming up, offer to give them a few weeks to find a replacement - if you're feeling generous. Since your guys don't even have gigs booked, that makes it even easier.

    That's really all there is to it. No need to waste words. Make it quick, smooth, civil and professional. If people's feelings are hurt, you can't be responsible for that (Would you be willing to stay, just so their feelings wouldn't be hurt? I didn't think so...)

  11. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I think you always want to:

    1. Try to not burn a bridge
    2. Keep it as friendly as possible
    3. Give notice, and during the notice time, cover the responsibility for the gigs booked until the replacement is found.

    I know, all easier said than done, but as close as you get to this
    is good for all. And, over time, players network all the time and re-join with each other. You don't want a bad exit to affect future opportunities.
  12. mrokern

    mrokern TB's resident Rush freak

    Jul 20, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN

    In the case listed, you said there weren't gigs scheduled, but SBassman's advice is spot-on for the future. Always bust your butt to cover current obligations during the notice period, stay friendly and positive, and basically "be the good guy".

  13. That is post of the week.

    Seriously, it is bad mojo to burn bridges when leaving any partnership... especially a band. Everyone knows the music biz is as much about who you know as it is how you play.
  14. SBassman


    Jun 8, 2003
    Northeast, US
    I have given notice Twice in my life to bands, when I needed to move on. In both cases, I:

    - Kept the responsibility for the gigs on the books during the notice period, until the band said they were covered and I was off the hook.

    - Worked - hard - helping the band find my replacement.
  15. scootron


    Jul 17, 2007
    Moved to Texas
    I have quit two bands. In each case I made sure my last playing date gave them plenty of time to find another bassist before the next gig. I took care of all financial responsibilities, and played 100% through the final encore.

    In each case, the band wound up never playing another gig.

    My wife thinks I have a knack for knowing when a situation is going south and getting out just before everything falls apart. In one case I was one of the "co-founders" of the band, while in the other I was just a fill-in bassist who became a regular member and stayed on for about a year. In neither case was I anywhere near being the best musician, although in one I think I had the most business sense.

    Stayed on good terms with most of the guys in both bands. A couple of them blame me for the second band's demise, although I can't figure out why, since the band was in existence before I came along. Nobody seems to really understand what happened to either band, everybody just says they ran out of steam or something like that. It's a shame, really, as they were pretty decent bands.
  16. Thanks to all & I agree, burning bridges isn't a good thing at all. I will cover current obligations that were in the talks so to speak & go from there. I think they were trying to line up couple of charity events to raise money for one family who lost husband/father. I don't mind covering those obligations at all.

    Some one once told me be careful of the toes you step on today as they may be connected to the a** you have to kiss tomorrow!
  17. jaff


    Jun 7, 2006
    "IME, it's often the players who don't/can't play very well who also happen to create the most drama. Here's yet another example"

    In my case, I'm the one who doesn't/can't play very well. I started the bass quite late (60's) and have been playing for over 4 years. I have been taking classical lessons for a couple of years. I love playing in a small ensemble of similarly trained folks and read reasonably well. We have a trio - piano/cello and have good times in our fairly small community. I also play in a 'pick-up' band (60s - on 'old stuff') and don't do as well. I really need a lot of work on rhythm, ear and improv so when a gig for the group comes along...I find myself sidelined in favor of better bassists. Still, I guess I'll hang in and take what I can get since it's about getting experience by any means. Probably should be grateful that I'm allowed to hang out with better musicians. I'm the oldest of the 'group'. Best perhaps to get these formative music years out of the way when you are young because it stings more when you are much older and realize your options are much fewer and far between....
    The search for a good attitude can take a lifetime...
  18. dj150888


    Feb 25, 2008
    Belfast, Ireland
    Had trouble with our original drummer, he left because I called him out on regularly putting down and insulting one of the other members who wouldn't stand up for himself as much. I didn't put it in a nasty way, just told him if we were going to progress, he needed to stop picking on the other guy.

    He took it as a personal insult and started throwing a hissy fit, I told him the next time he insulted someone in the band in a non-playful manner, he was out. He got upset and said, "Well why don't I just leave now?" I think expecting me to step down, I told him it was his choice, if he didn't want to treat his bandmates with respect, it might be for the best. He didn't show up for the next practice, we replaced him and realised just hom flawed he was as a drummer, which I think was the reason behind the constant jibes at the other member who is an outstanding, natural talent who has worked his balls off to get even better.
  19. E2daGGurl


    May 26, 2008
    No, No, Jaff, I'm the one who doesn't play well! I started in my late forties (on bass). You think that's it? I wasn't that good on the instruments I started earlier.

    I too am grateful to get to play with better musicians who definitely see me as a willing practice partner and capable of improvement - but when they actually gig, they find someone else, as I totally expect them to do. I've played on stage with them, but not for money (luaus and family parties).

    I get my opportunities to play in public in various combos with other, better people and try to make as few waves as possible. I've known quite a few other musicians in this status, and I think we tend to be meek.

    I'm just lucky that I'm often the only bass player who is around to practice with and can keep a beat.
  20. That does happen ("running out of steam", etc.). The first band I was in was together for almost eight years...myself on bass and our guitarist/singer. We went through numerous lineup changes, and took a big blow when our lead singer and drummer left without any prior notice to form a new band. We played only three shows after that in the following year and half, due to having trouble finding good replacements. In retrospect we should have either decided to call it quits with that band and start some kind of completely new project, or been much more picky about the replacements we brought on. Sometimes you can only catch lightning in a bottle so many times before it's time to do something different. We finally decided to end it because our then drummer was being a total flake, and we decided we'd had enough of "re-starting" with new members. We're still good friends, and I think both way less stressed now that we don't have to deal with that band's dramas anymore.
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