A Difficult choice: Should I leave or should I stay?


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FlightofIcarus
02-12-2007, 05:24 PM
It seems there's quite a few similar topics to this, haha. But I guess I'm not alone..

So I've been in a band for about 10 months or so now, there have been plenty of good times, and also some bad ones. We've gotten somewhere in the local scene, and we've been doing alot more shows lately. This may all sound fine and dandy, but it seems like the last couple of months or so have been both the best and worst ones yet for me. We've been playing more shows, have more fans, and have improved on songwriting, but at the same time, it's been some of the most chaotic, and some of most tense times as well.

What's wrong you ask? Well, it seems that most of the others in the band have this zealot-like agenda to "make it" in the music industry, and it's really getting to the point where I'm concerned about my place in the band. I think it's really naive to assume you can just automatically become big because you've been doing pretty good in the local scene. But all they tell me is "if we work our asses off, people will see that".

A band is alot of work, but there's something wrong when it becomes to the point where it starts to feel like a chore to me, rather than something I'm almost always having fun with. I choose to live a practical lifestyle along with having a band. I go to school, and I work a part-time job. I love music to death, but I realize it's not always a practical lifestyle alone. The school and job parts of my life are beginning to suffer from it. I'm very close to the point where I'm not making enough money to pay for my expenses, much due to my job's inflexible hours, which I'm trying to solve by looking for a new job (rather than accomdate to my schedule, I get bogus hours)

I treat an education and a job as my basic needs, I feel these need to be met first. The ones "running" the band? They put the band before everything. They constantly do things like call in sick to work just to do an extra show on the weekend, and try to book another gig before I can request a day off to do a show, and they get pissed off at me anytime the work schedule gets in the way when things like that happen. Often over little things like having to settle for 1-2 shows on a weekend instead of 2 or 3. Anytime I express to them that I need to be able to make enough money to pay for things too, they tell me "No, you need to quit choosing your job over your band, we need to do this show!", and it's getting extremely aggravating to deal with this nonsense everyday.

Another thing is the songwriting process. As I develop with my songwriting, I find myself yearning for something a little more progression and dynamics than most catchy 3-4 minute songs can offer. Don't get me wrong, those can be great, but I love a good 6-7+ minute song here and there too (our longest song is a bit under 6 min). I listen to many sub-genres of rock, but I'm an avid metalhead at heart, who loves classic rock, punk, and experimental stuff on the side. Alot of ideas I've been throwing out lately have been getting tossed aside from the idea table, and we continue to end up with more straight-foward songs, which isn't the only thing I want to do.

Am I an @$$hole for choosing to be realistic about being in a band and living a normal life on the side? or what's the deal here? I just don't feel the guys are being practical about the band thing. They've even told me that music is the only thing that matters to them, and they feel they have nothing else in life. I just choose to play music because it's what I love to do. It would be nice to be able to live off of it, but I'm not in the music for the money, this is an art to me. I want to give people something good to listen to, something to do on the weekends, just to have a good time. I'm not doing this to try and live in a giant mansion, drive a ferrari, and get on MTV (which I'm not a fan of). I'm doing this to expess myself, that's all.

Didn't mean to make this so long, and I feel a little lame for letting this all out here, but I figured someone here might understand what I'm going through

thoughts?

Wasted Resource
02-12-2007, 05:34 PM
You could always give up.

mimimimi
02-12-2007, 05:35 PM
Just tell your members that you want to low things down and get your self sorted out. If they don't understand then their a buch of dicks and you probably wouldn't want to spend time on the road with them so quit. But if they understand then stay.

onlyonehere
02-12-2007, 05:35 PM
Well, from the sounds of things you've pretty much decided that you want out.

The band you're in doesn't sound like it caters for your needs as a musician and a songwriter. If you are serious about making it in music then this band seems to know exactly what it wants, if you don't want to be part of it then let them know, find another band and move on. The guys in the band seem to want to make it, if you have the same burning desire and urge as them then stick it out, try to find comprimises and work things out.

If you don't call it quits and find another band.

Whatever you decide, best of luck.

Jeff Manthei
02-12-2007, 05:37 PM
the bassist in my old band thought that i was like your band leaders... but im not. I play music because it calms me down/ wakes me up, it gives me something to do, and if it gives me money, great. But i dont do it for the money.

Abandoned_Alien
02-12-2007, 05:38 PM
oh man. that's a tough one. i understand what it must be like. i think with your band members that say music is the only thing, but it seems that it might be the only thing that they love, where as you use it to express yourself and because it's fun. i'd say talk to the guys in your band. tell them what you said here. if things change for the better, then good. keep at it. but if they are jerks than i'd stop probably. maybe start your own thing at your own pace and such.

MiG_853
02-12-2007, 06:25 PM
Dude, how far do you want to get in life? If you want to be a John Doe then fine, just take the 9 to 5 and raise a familly if you find the right girl. Other-wise, your mates are out for the gold, they're after their dreams, what they want, the thing that will let them feel fullfilled.
In all honesty, no matter how bad things get monitarely I bet you'll always manage to recover. Having a normal life is easy, but when your reach 40, do you want to look back and think "if I hadn't quit would I be happier?". The way I see it if your not willing to risk some security for acheiving your goals you'll never have more than what you're after, a normal life. Which is ok for some people, but if you ask me life is meant for winning.
On a side note, if your ok with being a regular Joe, don't hold your friends back, let them follow their dreams.

I hope you don't quit, don't do what most people do and later realize at 40 "shit I should have tried", risk it, worse case you'll have 2 cars instead of 3.

frigginjerk
02-12-2007, 06:33 PM
my friend, this issue is black and white.

Your bandmates want the band to BE their job. They clearly aspire to make a living playing music. It can be done, but it requires lots of talent AND a full-time effort once a band starts rolling and climibng the scene, as yours has. Sad but true... your mates are right about it being that much work to make it.

You, on the other hand, want a band to be a fun thing to do, though time-consuming. You have your mind set on having a job and a house and a "normal" life.

That difference of mindset is what seprates people who have a shot at making it big and people who don't. If you're having doubts, you should tell your bandmates, and offer to step down once a suitable replacement is found. They'll appreciate that you're sticking with them until there's another guy, and then you know the pressure is off you, and you can start looking for a new, not-so-serious band.

MiG_853
02-12-2007, 06:39 PM
(On a side note, I can't respect you wanting a "normal" life unless you already have a girl friend you intend to have a family with, seriously, "normal life" is just that, normal)

GiantRaven
02-12-2007, 06:57 PM
I think you need to leave

It'll be better for you

And it'll be better for your bandmates in the longrun

FlightofIcarus
02-12-2007, 10:35 PM
There's a little more to it as well that I probably should have mentioned earlier, but anywho...

One thing I'm really concerned about too is the other guitar player and his current legal status. He's in a world of crap, so to say. By the end of the month, there's a possibility he could go to jail for a while, possibly up to a couple of years. I feel like there's a good chance the progress we have made will come to a big halt if this happens. There's a pretty high likelihood of this happening at this point, but we're still waiting to find out.

If it does happen, it could affect the band in many ways really.

Like I said, I'd love to make something out of music, but I feel like they're making a lot of bad choices to reach their goal (other guitarist is planning to quit one of his jobs if necessary just to make time for one extra gig this weekend). I'm not trying to force them to agree with my opinion, but I've been losing alot of money from getting out of work to do shows, getting way behind in school, and they're not even giving me a chance to sort myself out here. That's all I ask really, and they're being really unreasonable about it.

But again, the drama itself isn't the only thing that's been making me think about this. Sometimes I feel like I have the most musical differences. I'm often thought of as the Melodic death metal/punk rock guy in the band. The others seem more into metalcore, post-hardcore, and screamo (I like some metalcore, but that's about it). I don't despise those genres, but I don't think my ideas collaborate as well with them sometimes. I'm looking to do some songs with more technicality to them. Maybe not Vai or Satriani technical, but something crazy enough to keep it interesting :cool:

I think I'm going to wait it out on the legal thing with the other guitar player for now. But if he doesn't go to jail for a long time, and I decide to leave still, I'm at least willing to stick it out for some shows so that they could find someone. I'm not out to screw anyone over or anything of that sort.

grouch593
02-12-2007, 10:36 PM
Hey man, I think I know exactly how you feel because I just went through the exact same thing. A few years ago, all I wanted was to be in a band. I've been in a few bands in the past few years, and I felt like the last one I was in was really going to make it. We started getting some local recognition and it was really fun, but after a few months it started to dry up. They were always so enthusiastic about jamming and I was just kinda like "Eh, I don't feel like it". I would jam anyway though because I didn't want to let them down, but after a while I couldn't fake it anymore, it just wasn't as fun anymore. I didn't like the way the songs were turning out after a while and it all just felt really stale.

So, I decided to leave. Music is the most important thing in my life, but I realize I need to have an education as well and I am currently unemployed but I am looking for a part time job. Plus, I play drums and bass as well as guitar and sing so I decided "Well hey, I'm not getting the sounds I want with them, so I'll just record everything myself". So that's what I'm going to do - I'm going to buy some gear so I can lay down the tracks and instruments exactly how I want them to sound. Then I have complete freedom with the music (which is what I think I've always wanted) - I can do whatever I want. Plus I'm on my own schedule then. That's just my way of going about it though.

My advice to you? Seriously think it over. You could be thinking this way for now, but in a week your feelings for the band could be renewed. If you feel really restricted, then leave. It might seem heard, but you've gotta do what you've gotta do. What's the point in hanging around if your being held back? Like I said, I know exactly how you feel cuz it's what I went through and what I'm kind of still going through right now.

frigginjerk
02-13-2007, 12:41 AM
yeah... threadstarter guy... if your bandmates are dedicated like you say, but are also ****ing idiots like you say, then maybe you should just leave the band. stay for any gigs you've already booked, but don't book any more if you don't feel like it.

fretboarddragon
02-13-2007, 08:03 AM
I'm was in a similar situation myself. The band I'm in now has the potential to take off...we've written some originals, put them on CD, and have been getting good responses all over. The other three guys have that same attitude..go all the way if we can. In theory, it sounds good...that's what I've always wanted to do myself. But I have a very good, steady job and I'm married. If things were to take off I ask myself all the time, "What would you do?" The wild, go-for-broke side of me says "Of course you would, and you know it!" but the logical side of me says "Now really, be realistic here. You're 33, have a good job, and a great wife. Yeah, she supports this band thing 100% but if it got serious can you assure her you'll be able to provide for her the way you are now??" And that usually brings it to a halt. So instead of racking my brains all the time, I decided to talk with her about it. After all, she's got a stake in this too even if she isn't directly involved. And she said:
"If you were able to do this to where you'd make the same amount of money if not more, why not?? You can always get another job doing what you do...it's not like you're the only one in the world that can do it, and the industry will always be there. Yes, you'd be gone quite often and 9 chances out of 10 I'd probably go along as much as I could. You gotta go with your heart. It would be slow at first but if you feel it has the ability to go farther than do it."
What a weight off my shoulders!! But your situation is different. You're in it for the fun, but even at that level there's still work involved. A veteran of the bar bands once told me, "If it starts seemeing like a job and stops being fun, pull out as soon as you can. Because while misery makes for great music sometimes, most often than not it kills the spirit and you lose your love for music altogether." If you wanna just have fun with minimal effort, find a bunch of people who want nothing more than a garage jam every weekend. I did that for awhile...it WAS fun. But way back in the recesses of my mind, there was that little creature that was yearning to stand under the lights and watch the faces when you hit that first power chord....

zer0monkey
02-13-2007, 04:00 PM
yea, similar to what I think a lot of people are saying in here...
you don't seem to be willing to work for the band because you don't believe you are going to make it past the local music scene, which is where (I think anyway) bands make the decision and seal their own fate. It takes hard work and determination to make it in the music business, that is true, but everyone has a chance to make it, its just how bad they want it that really matters. Your band mates sound a lot like myself and my band mates when they say music is all they have. In our case...and maybe in theirs, that may or may not be true. People want a job that they are going to love and will at least allow them to support a family if it comes to that one day. I think what they really mean is that music is where they find a sense of belonging. Music is where they are happy and would ultimately like to spend the rest of their lives. This is where I would advise you to quit if this is how you feel. They all have a dream that it sounds like they are willing to do anything for and although at times it seems highly unlikely, they do honestly have a chance in the music business, because a little determination goes a long way.
If you plan to support their efforts, then go ahead and stay, otherwise its just better for both you and them if you leave.

alienboy18241
02-13-2007, 04:27 PM
The way I see it...you either need to step up and make this band your top priority or find a new band, because it seems everyone else is concentrated on working on the music. I would love to switch bands with you.

EDIT: Remember, just becuase its a 3-4 minute catchy song doesn't mean the musicianship has to be at the level of fall out boy.

zer0monkey
02-13-2007, 04:28 PM
The way I see it...you either need to step up and make this band your top priority or find a new band, because it seems everyone else is concentrated on working on the music. I would love to switch bands with you.
haha yea
that is true
bands with dedication like that only come around so often
seems ashame to not share the the enthusiasm and leave the band because of it

rockingamer2
02-13-2007, 05:53 PM
Yo, the same thing happened with Iron Maiden when they just started and were in East London. Steve Harris was all for the band and anyone who didn't put the band first was out, he was going for the big time. Well, if don't put the band first like the others, quit the band. Just don't quit right before a gig.

FlightofIcarus
02-14-2007, 12:42 AM
haha yea
that is true
bands with dedication like that only come around so often
seems ashame to not share the the enthusiasm and leave the band because of it
The dedication is definentely there

But how can I feel enthusiastic about it when I'm feeling bossed around and used as a tool?

P.B.
02-15-2007, 04:15 PM
i'd have to recomend that if you arn't happy that u should quit. simple as that. odds are that your feelings won't change anytime soon. and they will only get worse until you have a big blowout.

Tiger88
02-15-2007, 07:02 PM
Have you expressed what you said here in full to your bandmates, because you should. Let them know that music isn't your number 1 priority. Sure thats what it takes to make it big, but cmon guys, lets be realistic... chances aren't in favor of that and you should have a back-up plan. I think your education is most important right now, along with your job, just like you.