Bandmates Get Envious


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Riffman15
02-18-2011, 06:09 AM
Guys, what does one do when you are always top dog when it comes to playing and musicianship and thus always end up stealing the spotlight whenever you play in a band context?

Quite simply, when one has talent that surpasses the other members of the band, and also best understands the practical matters involved with being a band leader, e.g., booking gigs, coordinating all the instruments into a cohesive whole, songwriting, arranging, website building.

I'm sure the obvious answer is find better musicians, but it's hard when all the good players are already in a band, are in the same boat I am (too good to join another project, and thus, start their own band), or simply non-existent on the local music scene.

Does this situation sound familiar to anyone? How have you dealt with it?

Aliasaria
02-18-2011, 06:28 AM
Sounds like my band, but we all converse a lot so we know the score.

That said, we just deal with it. We're all friends outside of the band, so we make sure we're still friends inside the band.

SlackerBabbath
02-18-2011, 06:50 AM
Put your own solo act together (make sure it has your name in the band name eg. 'The Riffman Experience') and hire musicians as your backing band, that way everyone expects you to stand out.

whalio
02-18-2011, 09:53 AM
Well, they can't really get pissed off at you because you're too good can they? If anything it should make them strive to get better if you're the one stealing the show.

Highwaytohell
02-18-2011, 11:18 AM
Sounds like a group of immature musicians. While cutting competitions and musical assertion have been part of the art since bebop, some would take it to the next level and assume a pretentious attitude about how to handle playing with others. Good musicians are willing to both out-do you AND work with you to improve your playing abilities.
The mark of a mature musician is someone who can both flex their muscles when necessary but is not afraid to be humble.

Shayne777
02-18-2011, 01:56 PM
Sounds like a group of immature musicians. While cutting competitions and musical assertion have been part of the art since bebop, some would take it to the next level and assume a pretentious attitude about how to handle playing with others. Good musicians are willing to both out-do you AND work with you to improve your playing abilities.
The mark of a mature musician is someone who can both flex their muscles when necessary but is not afraid to be humble.


+1 very well said
:golfclap:

Punk_Ninja
02-18-2011, 03:46 PM
Well, in any cases where I've seen a band get pissed off at someone for taking the spotlight it's never been soley down to the band not taking it well. Is there any chance you're playing up a bit?

I say this, because, my band are pretty much equals in terms of attitude, we're all chilled out and never argue or anything, and me and the drummer are probably at a similar skill level as each other on our instruments where the bassist is probably a bit behind, but he does a good job.
Anyway, my bassist has a bit of presence, but less skill, my drummer has a lot of skill but no presence (I've never totally understood how someone sitting can have presence without using crazy drum faces!) where I have both the skill and the presence.
But there's always a balance in who's the most attention grabbing. I mean, we interact on stage, noone does stupid gestures which ends up with everyone else needing to one up, etc etc.

This may not apply to you, but I've seen loads of bands get pissed off with a lead guitarist who does nothing but solo, even during rhythmic parts or people who try to grab attention despite there not being any call for it, etc etc.

If this isn't the case, I'm to assume you're the guitarist...well, people rarely focus on the bassist or drummer! Vocalists and guitarists naturally grab attention from the audience.
So either practice on your presence as a band so everyone gets seen as much as they please, or, just have them realise that they aren't in very attention grabbing positions.
Or introduce solos into your set, like, have each instrument at some point in the set (have it fit into the most suitable song) have a solo to bring them to the forefront of it all.

So yeah, can't help a whole deal, but if you're getting more attention than the other members I doubt it's soley down to your playing. Your stage presence will also be grabbing this attention, so I would heavily suggest working on that as a whole with your band. It should (hopefully!) stop any competition between your bandmates (which should be dealt with straight away if it's a problem) and it'll have your crowds enjoying your show a bit more.

AlanHB
02-18-2011, 05:19 PM
Actually if your whole band does well, usually someone will say "hey you guys were really good!". If it's just you getting the complements your band may need to get tighter.

krypticguitar87
02-18-2011, 05:32 PM
honestly the best approach is the same approach that was taken by Gretzky when he was on the Oilers... the best on the team, the best in the sport rather, and yet he had more assists on his record than points. think about it if you are in a band than all your shows should be about the band, if you want it to be about you then start a solo gig.

when you are in a band, stealing the spotlight pretty much proves you aren't a good musician, if you were you would do everything you can to try to elevate their abilities. pass the puck to them once in a while, let them score, it's not all about you in this situation it's about the band as a whole. theoretically and technically I can easily out play most of the people in my band, however I mostly play rhythm guitar, not because I'm lazy but because I like to see the whole band working as a team rather than trying to out do eachother. during practice it is fine to fool around like that once in a while but on stage, unless they are absolutely horrible musicians, you shouldn't be upstaging them.

HeretiK538
02-18-2011, 07:01 PM
Well, they can't really get pissed off at you because you're too good can they? If anything it should make them strive to get better if you're the one stealing the show.
I agree with this fellow. If you're better than them, then they shouldn't get angry. They should take it as a challenge, in the friendliest use of the term; That guy's playing is fantastic, but I bet I can get better and be able to beat him in skill. Friendly rivalry :)

Riffman15
02-18-2011, 09:00 PM
These are some insightful replies. It seems that this "spotlight" issue is a relatively common experience in bands.

The sad thing is that, I was doing everything I could to make sure everyone felt like they were making a contribution. I actively encouraged people to step up to the plate, take actions to improve the band (without even consulting me first), such as finishing a song, writing new riffs, get some verse-chorus progressions ready, book a gig, etc.

Honestly, in many respects it was a maturity thing as some of you have been suggesting. As a band, we were very high functioning, I took us from the practice room to regular gigging in a 3 month period.

Sure the early material was written nearly entirely by me, and to a lesser extent my "business partner" (i.e. the fellow key member who owned about 40% stock in songwriting credits versus my 60%, and that's being generous. In reality, I would split all profits evenly, and sometimes just forgo my own cut and give it all to my band mates, since I wasn't in it for the money).

However, although I had the startup capital to get the band moving, i.e., prewritten material, gear, knowledge, experience, we were gradually working in other members contributions. Early songs were based heavily around my guitar solos, with me having sometimes 3 solos per song, and/or one extended wank fest (we tried to mix jam band with metal) at the end of a song.

Seriously this is the second time, I've had people stab me in the back for this. I've gotten so fed up with this I'm definitely looking to start a solo project and/or try to be hired as a lead guitarist in a talented established project.

When one member is doing everything, i.e., songwriting, booking, shredding, etc, that is just too much power consolidated in one member. It seems bands need to be more democratic with a more equitable balance of power. When someone else handled all the political matters and I just served as primary songwriter and lead guitarist there was much less pent up hostility.

Just some advice for any other band leaders.

krypticguitar87
02-18-2011, 11:25 PM
how long have the other members been playing? just curious.

also if you wrote your stuff around your solos how can you be surprised that you would steal the spotlight man? also I've found that when a single person writes a song that song tends to lean toward one instrument, ie vocals or guitars or drums. the other guitarist I jam with writes songs that are almost exclusively interesting on guitar, and the bassist writes stuf where the bass is super prominent and fun where everyone else is dumbed down. so subconciencly you may be writing songs that bring out your skills but make everyone else seem really bad.

on another note a band doesn't nessecarily need to be democratic, but you should distribute the work a bit, uh more of the non musical work. so finding gigs, taking care of the site, designing and pricing merch (both the prices to buy and the prices to sell), setting up and caring for effects (ie lights fog lasers), taking care of the 'prefered' fans. all these things should be distributed among the members it really cuts down the stress.

sorry for the long post, I hope this may be a bit helpful.

Riffman15
02-19-2011, 03:59 AM
how long have the other members been playing? just curious.

also if you wrote your stuff around your solos how can you be surprised that you would steal the spotlight man? also I've found that when a single person writes a song that song tends to lean toward one instrument, ie vocals or guitars or drums. the other guitarist I jam with writes songs that are almost exclusively interesting on guitar, and the bassist writes stuf where the bass is super prominent and fun where everyone else is dumbed down. so subconciencly you may be writing songs that bring out your skills but make everyone else seem really bad.

on another note a band doesn't nessecarily need to be democratic, but you should distribute the work a bit, uh more of the non musical work. so finding gigs, taking care of the site, designing and pricing merch (both the prices to buy and the prices to sell), setting up and caring for effects (ie lights fog lasers), taking care of the 'prefered' fans. all these things should be distributed among the members it really cuts down the stress.

sorry for the long post, I hope this may be a bit helpful.

Well any mature musician would understand that by signing up for another person's project they will be sacrificing their own ability to be the bandleader. If i signed up for someone else's band i would understand it's a job and treat it accordingly - i.e. show up for gigs, but keep my own solo stuff on the side! It's quite simply just the way the world works.

cheapr2keepr
02-19-2011, 08:13 AM
It sounds like there is a certain amount of enabling involved. They are taking a rear seat because you've made it easy for them to take a ride on the gravy train.

It's not an easy answer, but if it were a job, sports team, etc. I'd be inclined to let things fall apart a little at the hands of lower contributing memebers. When the results become substandard, then it might help force them to step it up.

But then again, who wants their band to turn into crap?

Start putting bigger responsibility into the hands of those who frequently dodge it. No one wants to be the weakest link and be the obvious failure. You might be surprised how they step up, or go down in flames. :devil:

Riffman15
02-19-2011, 09:31 PM
It sounds like there is a certain amount of enabling involved. They are taking a rear seat because you've made it easy for them to take a ride on the gravy train.

It's not an easy answer, but if it were a job, sports team, etc. I'd be inclined to let things fall apart a little at the hands of lower contributing memebers. When the results become substandard, then it might help force them to step it up.

But then again, who wants their band to turn into crap?

Start putting bigger responsibility into the hands of those who frequently dodge it. No one wants to be the weakest link and be the obvious failure. You might be surprised how they step up, or go down in flames. :devil:


True. I'd considered the enabling factor. Funny, I had originally made the singer responsible for getting shows. And he was failing miserably. Lol, he couldn't distinguish between a legit offer for a show and someone just giving him the "yeah yeah, sure you guys can play (not)."

Embarrased on multiple occasions for it. After that I had no choice but to step it and take total power, lol.

But yeah, you are right, the band members need that sense of efficacy that comes from contributing to the overall functioning of the unit. We had that to an extent, one guy served as recording producer, another as social networker, etc, but seems this still wasn't enough.

krypticguitar87
02-20-2011, 01:22 AM
Well any mature musician would understand that by signing up for another person's project they will be sacrificing their own ability to be the bandleader. If i signed up for someone else's band i would understand it's a job and treat it accordingly - i.e. show up for gigs, but keep my own solo stuff on the side! It's quite simply just the way the world works.

word to the wise, if you aren't getting paid for it it is not a job, so don't treat it like one, unless you enjoy it. you will find it difficult to find musicians who will enjoy just doing what you say and not being paid. I know I would hate it and stop going.

Riffman15
02-20-2011, 04:08 AM
word to the wise, if you aren't getting paid for it it is not a job, so don't treat it like one, unless you enjoy it. you will find it difficult to find musicians who will enjoy just doing what you say and not being paid. I know I would hate it and stop going.

We were usually getting paid a cut of the door or bar after most gigs. Other payment includes the joy of getting on stage, the female attention, personal fullfillment, being part of a group, etc.

I was never bossing people around or telling them what to do, it was probably more of an enabling thing. I had to take control over key aspects of the band, they saw me stepping up to the plate and doing things, they felt incompetent, worthless.

If someone had a song for me to learn, I understood I would have to sit there and learn the song. I do this voluntarily because I know it's what needs to be done when you are in a band. I'm not about to get insecure and think, "oh no, some guy is teaching me somthing, he must be out alpha'ing me, let me sabotage this project."

BlakeAlan
02-20-2011, 04:20 AM
Start a punk band where everyone can just scream and flop around and everything is cool, bro.

von gelb
02-20-2011, 04:34 AM
In our band it goes down like this:

The bassist and me write most of the riffs, and do a lot of the bookings/promotion stuff etcetera. Our lead guitarist is the most competent of the band however, but we don't mind that he takes the spotlight on stage. He plays fantastic leads, but doesn't do well in songwriting. We use this to our advantage and don't mind people coming up to him after a show saying that he's great and all that. But then again, he's very humble about it so I guess that helps.

Riffman15
02-20-2011, 05:36 AM
In our band it goes down like this:

The bassist and me write most of the riffs, and do a lot of the bookings/promotion stuff etcetera. Our lead guitarist is the most competent of the band however, but we don't mind that he takes the spotlight on stage. He plays fantastic leads, but doesn't do well in songwriting. We use this to our advantage and don't mind people coming up to him after a show saying that he's great and all that. But then again, he's very humble about it so I guess that helps.

Yeah, it seems that a more equitable distribution of duties, spotlight, rewards, etc is what needs to go on. Especially when money is not involved.

People prefer to work and associate with people similar to them on all indvidiual attributes. The poor marry the poor, the intelligent associate with the intelligent, etc.

krypticguitar87
02-20-2011, 06:02 AM
We were usually getting paid a cut of the door or bar after most gigs. Other payment includes the joy of getting on stage, the female attention, personal fullfillment, being part of a group, etc.

I was never bossing people around or telling them what to do, it was probably more of an enabling thing. I had to take control over key aspects of the band, they saw me stepping up to the plate and doing things, they felt incompetent, worthless.

If someone had a song for me to learn, I understood I would have to sit there and learn the song. I do this voluntarily because I know it's what needs to be done when you are in a band. I'm not about to get insecure and think, "oh no, some guy is teaching me somthing, he must be out alpha'ing me, let me sabotage this project."

that makes sense but you have to realize that if they aren't having fun then alot of this 'payment' is worthless to them.

now when it comes to assigning jobs how did you guys handle it? did everyone volenteer for their jobs?

also since we are asking questions, did you tell them that you don't want to be stuck doing everything anymore? and explain that if something doesn't change you will find another project instead?

also how long have the others been playing their instruments? have they played in other bands before?

Riffman15
02-20-2011, 06:50 AM
Jobs were mainly volunteer. I never told anyone what to do per se. But I commanded a natural deference since I formed the band, and knew most about the practical matters of being a band leader.

When we recorded our demo, the bassist volunteered to do it because he had a decent recording setup on his PC and also new how to use multitrack fairly well.

I told everyone to just do whatever they saw as somthing that could improve the band in any way.

I had told them on numerous occasions that is getting exhausting trying to carry the band on my two shoulders the whole time.

I was on the verge of breaking up the band when the drummer refused to play a show that he had told me he would play - he did this the day before the actual show. Later on he told me this was just him trying to exact revenge on me for wrongdoing against him.

The drummer felt insignificant and walked on during our band exchanges. Everyone was looking to me, calling out stuff like, "hey we should do this with the song" or "this would sound cool."

The drummer himself was a very passive and non-assertive person. Everyone talked over him; I'm naturally going to give my attention to the person talking the loudest. He was kind of immature and thought that the world was going to stop everything and ask him what he thought we should do with the song.

I mean come on, no one is going to worship you, if you want to be influential you've got to step up to the plate and assert yourself.

In retrospect all the band members view it as one of the highlights of their college years; now that we have disbanded the drummer is trying to start a band with the other members of the project, and they really aren't going anywhere; I think they regret the decision to disband;

Some people it seems would rather be a loser than have a valuable social asset (band) that they can put to good use it seems.

krypticguitar87
02-20-2011, 07:01 AM
Jobs were mainly volunteer. I never told anyone what to do per se. But I commanded a natural deference since I formed the band, and knew most about the practical matters of being a band leader.

When we recorded our demo, the bassist volunteered to do it because he had a decent recording setup on his PC and also new how to use multitrack fairly well.

I told everyone to just do whatever they saw as somthing that could improve the band in any way.

I had told them on numerous occasions that is getting exhausting trying to carry the band on my two shoulders the whole time.

I was on the verge of breaking up the band when the drummer refused to play a show that he had told me he would play - he did this the day before the actual show. Later on he told me this was just him trying to exact revenge on me for wrongdoing against him.

The drummer felt insignificant and walked on during our band exchanges. Everyone was looking to me, calling out stuff like, "hey we should do this with the song" or "this would sound cool."

The drummer himself was a very passive and non-assertive person. Everyone talked over him; I'm naturally going to give my attention to the person talking the loudest. He was kind of immature and thought that the world was going to stop everything and ask him what he thought we should do with the song.

I mean come on, no one is going to worship you, if you want to be influential you've got to step up to the plate and assert yourself.

In retrospect all the band members view it as one of the highlights of their college years; now that we have disbanded the drummer is trying to start a band with the other members of the project, and they really aren't going anywhere; I think they regret the decision to disband;

Some people it seems would rather be a loser than have a valuable social asset (band) that they can put to good use it seems.

sorry dude but that bolded statement definately makes you seem immature, but I'm guessing that you are just blowing off steam because your mad that the band broke up.

but yeah I would totally have kicked him out for dipping on a show like that.

to be honest with you the most difficult part of being in a band is finding like minded people who actually want the band to go somewhere. and I don't know how it works in your band situations but my band has 'smoke breaks' (I don't even smoke) every hour and a half or two hours where we take about fifteen minutes to a half an hour to step outside (unfortuantely we even do this in the blistering cold :() and just talk about the band and what not. things like performance ideas site ideas and things we can do for fans and the like. also who is incharge of what. I think they are extreamly helpful, just a suggestion :shrug: .

AlanHB
02-20-2011, 08:41 AM
Riffman, I'm not sure whether your posts are meant to come over as egotistical, or whether you're just stressed and bitter about your band dynamic. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and go for the latter.

Although some would like to argue, every band needs a bandleader, and it's usually just one person carrying the weight. They'll organise the practice agenda, book the gigs, everything that goes along with being in a band. It can be an enviable position in some circumstances, as it gives you connections to use for other and future projects, as well as having full knowledge of what's happening with the band rather than waiting for someone else to do it.

On the other hand, it's not easy. The last thing I want to do when I come home from work is hit up bars for more work. But someone has to do it. Without someone doing it, the band will fade into nothingness, and your time committed to the project will effectively be a waste.

On top of that, sometimes you'll get band members saying this or that that doesn't make sense about you having too much power or something along those lines. Firstly, make sure that you are taking in all the ideas that they have given along the way. Secondly, they're probably going to quit the band soon if they don't usually come up with ideas anyway at practice. They're actually frustrated about something else, whether it be the slow pace of the band, wanting to spend time on the PS3 instead of at band or that their girlfriend just left them.


TLDR; Quit the grumbling, read between the lines.

grimms
02-20-2011, 08:48 AM
Just remember, a band who is just a band will remain that and no more.
A band who are friends, bond in different ways.

Im best mates with all of my band members, we never get envious of anything.