In Band Politics Affecting Songwriting&Contribution


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02-01-2010, 07:52 PM
Apologies if this is in the wrong place, or isn't a sufficiently relevant title.. I wasn't sure where to put it or what to call it.. (i also realise that could sound sarcastic, but it's a genuine apology)

So I've been in this band for over a year now.. not exactly my type of music, but i do enjoy the end product that are our songs, gigging is great as we're reasonably successful locally and have played some great gigs and achieved national radio play etc.. even a residency in a European holiday resort last summer.
Howeever, every single one of the songs is written by our other guitarist (we dont define lead/rhythm as we interchange as necessary) and lyrics by the singer. This dominance was evident from the offset when I joined the band, and wasnt a problem as I wasnt exactly a prolific writer of songs.
Now, however, I've been writing more and more, lyrics and music but little or none of it is being noticed by the other guitarist. Tonight he came to practice saying he had written a new song and played what was a riff i had playd to him last week in a different key.. and with a sliiightly different rhythm... after copying my initial idea he has the cheek to say 'oh, that sounds a bit like yours.'
This was not an innocent coincidence as he's done similar before.

I have started another band in a bid to expand on my songwriting as the new band intend to be of a genre more suited to my writing style, but im reluctant to leave the original band due to the success, and the potential within the band. We have just confirmed a 2week tour of Scotland and Ireland (we're from Ireland) and there is some label interest. Much as i hate to 'sell out' the new band arent going to get anywhere near where the original group has gotten, but i feel my witing could develop and mature...

WHat do to? leave one or t'other... stay in both? Go ape-shit and loose it with the overinfluential guitarist? Im satisfied with the success of the band, but greatly frustrated by the creative restraints...

Long post....sorry....

02-01-2010, 07:58 PM
He sounds like a total tool, in my opinion.
If there is the opportunity, I suggest you try and stick with the group but you need to let the other guitarist how you feel. Make him understand that what he's doing isn't fair to you, and if he has a problem with that then you're out.

02-01-2010, 07:59 PM
If you feel in anyway unhappy with the way your treated in the band, leave.

Do whats best for yourself at the end of the day, its their loss. It does sound selfish but any tension in a band is not good. It's all about the music after all.


02-01-2010, 08:03 PM
talk to your band and tell them you're feeling stifled and want to have some input too. if they don't want you to do that, but are happy with you in the band, then let them know you're going to have a side project. Preface the conversation by saying you want to have a serious discussion, and let them know you are enjoying being in the band. thats pretty much all i can think of.

as long as they are vaguely rational, they should understand your frustration. if they are being recalcitrant about letting you join in the writing process as well as starting a side project, you will have to evaluate the deicision best suited for you, and whether you think you'll be happy playing with them after that. at the end of the day, its how you feel.

02-01-2010, 08:22 PM
They know how i feel. The drummer has similar musical tastes as me, and is considering drumming for my second band. The bassist is new, but already is becoming frustrated by the overbearing nature of this guy. The singer knows how i feel and does encourage a more balanced writing process, in fairness he appreciates my writing contribution, even my editing of his lyrics, as thats what im pretty good at.
I've been very close to leaving before, but I do enjoy it, and weve ebcome very good mates over the last year and a half, so I wouldnt want to abandon that.
Any suggestion from another member is more or less ignored by the guitarist, and were in the process of writing a new set, so you;d think input would be welcome, but hes trying to phase out any song not 100% written by him in the past...
He even insisted on the phrase 'Words and music by.... (singer and his names)' on the back of our last release, which was an insult to the rest of us.

As for the tension... its a thing that kinda works, if you get me... we really didnt see eye to eye for a long time, now theres kind of a mutual understanding and respect and I have freedom enough to play about with my parts providing i dont deviate too far.. and the fact that im pushing the limts and testing his boundaries, has made me push myself musically, which is good..
but ulimately i want to be writing more.. i feel like i just need to develop and mature that aspect of myself musically, but this band, despite the sucess, arent my outlet.

thanks for the advice so far... i didnt expect such a quick reply

02-01-2010, 08:29 PM
He even insisted on the phrase 'Words and music by.... (singer and his names)' on the back of our last release, which was an insult to the rest of us.

To me, that just screams attention *****.
It seems like he's the only problem really. It's a tough spot having a really talented member being the biggest problem to a band. Talk to all the rest of the guys first, get their input, and then all confront him together; all in the friendliest way possible, of course.

02-01-2010, 08:37 PM
its been done.. hes been confronted before.. part of the problem is that he knows he holds the balance of power. Without his songwriting we'd probably be a very average band. Myself, the drummer and the bassist are all rockers, big into the blues and good old rock n roll. The problem guitarist and singer are more into indie the libertins, the view, oasis and such..

Its a combination of influences that actually works.. our music isnt bad in my opinion anyway..

Also, is it a bad thing that im sort of forcing myself to write in a way that might suit the band? like in conscious that my own stuff is very Thin Lizzy esque...without being a total rip off.. and the band very much arent that style.. so ive had to alter my approach. Do more experienced songwriters reccommend the removal of a rookie from his or her comfort zone, or is it better to just write all the rubbish out of you... so to speak?


BTW (danlally) listening to the vents now... really liking it..not sure if i can imagine it with a female vocal to be honest.. but thats for another thread.

02-02-2010, 05:07 PM
To me, that just screams attention *****.
If they were the ones who wrote the songs then why not put their names down. It's not exactly an uncommon thing to do (in fact it is probably less common to find bands where the song is written by "band name"). By writing "All songs by *band name*you give everyone equal credit which is much good from a legal perspective because now everyone has equal rights to the song.

TS, talk to your band members, tell them you'd like to write more. If the two of them have been writing all the songs for a long time then they might just assume that you don't want to write songs because you haven't in the past, it's a bit unreasonable to expect them to assume that because you showed them on song you now want the band playing your songs.

But if you talk to them and they don't want to play your songs you can either leave or, if you are willing, essentially just be their backup band.

02-02-2010, 09:23 PM
How good is the stuff he's writing?

Just to point out - you'd do a load better playing in a band where you're not getting an awful lot of creative control, but you're getting paid well, than in the one which has a residency in the Dead Sheep pub in Aberystwyth, North Wales and gets 3 pints as a booking fee every week.

Go to the singer and guitarist - ideally not at a standard practice, because then there's good reason to focus on songs you've already got - and say 'right. Here's a new song I'd like the band to do'. Sit down, play and sing it through. Be prepared to say what you want the other instruments to do. Be prepared to compromise (although asserting your own creative work). Think 'how will this do as a song for this band to play?'

If they reject it just because it's by someone else - *and* it's a good song that really has potential - then start thinking about other projects and other bands. It's entirely possible that the guitarist has heard you play something, thought 'OK, what'll make this successful' and come up with a similar riff that he thinks is better. If you're fussed about this, take completed songs to them, demo them (a lot of major bands do this - if you think that they all sit down and work them out together or jam them out, you're thinking wrong) and discuss what'd make it better.

Deep Purple minus Ritchie Blackmore = meh.
Pink Floyd minus Roger Waters = meh.

Just because someone's dominating the songwriting with what they think's good, doesn't mean the band won't do really, really well.

02-02-2010, 11:09 PM
im happy enough with his song writing, just not his attitude towards other members' contributions. Everybody in the band feels that his absolute disregard for anything not his own is potentially detrimental to the overall sound of the band.
It just pissed me off that he so obviously copied my idea and then acted like it was an accident.. if he had said 'ok., i had a play around with your stuff, and i think if we change it like this...etc it might be better' i have no problem with that.
THey know i want to be writing, i dontwant to dominate proceedings, but myself and the bassist feel we dont have any input whatsoever.. as if were no more than a backing band to this other guitarist, and to a lesser extent the singer. The drummer i think isnt bothered, but he recognises the problems.

Yeah i agree, its better to be successful and such, but it would be more fulfiling to actually feel like ive made a significant contribution rather than just having been there at the riht place and time.

02-03-2010, 11:05 PM
If the rest of the band feels simaliar wouldn't it be a conscious decision to meet with them and consider getting rid of this guitarist? It's not exactly the most complicated think in the world to find other guitarists

The Arsis
02-03-2010, 11:39 PM
If the rest of the band feels simaliar wouldn't it be a conscious decision to meet with them and consider getting rid of this guitarist? It's not exactly the most complicated think in the world to find other guitarists

The thing is the guitarist is the main songwriter in his band. To be honest, TS, you should confront him about his snobby attitude. Make sure that your band is behind you in this and tell me that if he doesn't stop then he is out of the band. He only has as much control as you give him.

02-04-2010, 02:39 PM
Go ape-shit and loose it with the overinfluential guitarist?that might make you feel a little better, but when push comes to shove, you WILL lose.

Let's review:

- This band is working and fairly successful.
- Writer is a driving force and is NOT gonna give credit where credit is due to anyone else who tries to write for the band. In fact, he lifts ideas from you and fleshes them out into his own songs, but gives you no acknowledgment
- You wanna have more creative input and do some writing.

I don't believe it's likely you can change his behaviour and attitude, do you? As far as the other members of the band are concerned, they aren't gonna kill the goose that lays the golden eggs. He's been writing. They've been playing what he has written. The band is enjoying some success. If you were one of the other members, would you fuck with that? I don't think you would.

So your role in this band is as a performer, not a writer. Accept it or don't. You won't have the support you need to change that situation. Any ideas you flash to the rest of the band, he'll poison. Then he'll take pieces of your ideas and mold them enough to call them his own. You won't win. Stop showing your ideas to him. Just play the music he writes.

Use your creative ideas with your other band. Or just write them out. Or get a recorder and play them and save them that way. Use them at a later date.

At some point, you'll probably leave this band. But the question is, when? With continued success, you can make a name for yourself with this band and make some contacts in the industry. When your own skills are strong enough to drive a band of your own, you'll already have contacts. Or you can break away now and try to do it on your own.

02-05-2010, 12:03 PM
The bassist just rang the singer saying he was considering leaving for the very reasons i have just described to you. Ironic?

He also feels he has song ideas he'd like to contribute, but that there is little or no point due to the other guitarist.

At least that confirms im not insane in my opinion that hes a tool.

To Someone You Knew: Yeah you're probably right, ill leave at some stage.. hopfully having made some decent contacts. But I'm still essentially selling out which im not overly chuffed about.. its a moral dilema really. Well no its not... play a few songs...get rich and buy a really nice les paul.... sorted :D

02-06-2010, 06:27 PM
If you feel in anyway unhappy with the way your treated in the band, leave.

this attitude is what is wrong with a lot of posters in this forum.

you people are going to have real problems when you have to start actually engaging with people.

02-07-2010, 05:02 AM
Also I would suggest in the future recording all stuff you write before you show people. That will give you some copyright protection if the worst were to happen.

But also if you're merely creating riffs, and not fully fleshed out songs, it would be debatable how much copyright protection they would actually recieve.