Go Back   UG Community @ Ultimate-Guitar.Com > Music > Musician Talk > Bandleading
User Name  
Password
Search:

Reply
Old 04-26-2014, 05:29 AM   #1
cee-kay110
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
So, should I quit my band?

Hi there. Long time lurker, first time poster. You guys seem to have a lot of experience dealing with band related matters; hopefully you'll be able to help me with my predicament.

I'm the lead singer and songwriter of my band. We've been going for almost half a decade now. My goal in life is to write songs and share them with the world, and I've always felt that being in a band was the best way to accomplish that. When we started things went incredibly well. We recorded an album worth of demos and put them online, which then received unexpected amount of attention and acclaim from the most unlikely places. We did a big run of physical copies that sold out almost immediately, and were in demand for quite a long time. We played huge shows with crazy attendance, topped online music charts, got a fair bit of local press and did really well in local radio. Critics and music industry people acclaimed us as a band and as individual musicians, and it seemed like we had a pretty loyal fanbase. Our popularity has faded over the years, but the band relationships remained incredibly strong until last year. Since then, it's gone downward and I don't know what to do anymore.


Reasons to leave

- We've had a pretty disastrous decline in popularity. In the old days we could comfortably fill a room, nowadays the "crowds" we pull largely consist of a small group of friends. Pathetic. Occasionally we'll miraculously play some decent sized shows out of nowhere but that's more the exception than the rule. Blogs that championed us initially couldn't care less about us nowadays. Social media attention has gone down despite the money we spend on advertising, and the new EP has sold next to nothing. Pretty heartbreaking considering our demo CD sold out very quickly.

- The bass player booked our EP launch (which ended up going poorly anyway) and the mastering/printing sessions before the recording was even finished(!), so I had to rush to get it done in a ridiculously short amount of time. As a result it's something that the entire band is very dissatisfied with. This has opened up a Pandora’s box within the band of blame has never happened before. I'm obviously pissed off with the bassist for ruining our EP, the keyboard player hates me for not doing a good enough job with it, etc etc... In all honesty it's probably not that bad, but we obsess over what could've and should've been. I'm ashamed to have my name attached to it and don't really have much enthusiasm for promoting it. It's gotten mixed-positive reviews from critics but not glowing like we've had in the past. Fans aren't interested and it's not selling. We've spent most of our money on printing, promotion and advertising so we don't have much left.

- I'm now afraid to bring in any new ideas because whatever I do nowadays gets torn apart. I'll write a song or do a mix that I'm really proud of, only to get attacked by the band over it. I then show the same ideas to friends and music-industry people outside the band and they tend to enjoy and appreciate them. But indifference from the band has become a best-case scenario. In the old days my ideas were met with compliments and enthusiasm, but since the EP was such a failure they've stopped trusting me with such things. I'm all for constructive criticism, I realize not every idea I have is going to be a great one and I appreciate it when people tell me what I can work on. I get the feeling they probably see the band going in a different direction than what I do. Which is fine, but it often feels like they're blocking me from achieving what I want.

- I really don't like the way our band is represented. Our bassist and booker sends off terrible bios and photos to important people, and compares us to bands I hate in our interviews. When I speak to him about it he gets defensive. I've literally begged him not to do such things because it looks so unprofessional, but to no real avail. It feels like everything that was once so easy has become needlessly stressful.

- Sad to say it's been at least a year now since I've gotten any real fun or enjoyment out of it, be it gigs, rehearsals or whatever. It's just hard to get too enthusiastic nowadays. I used to relentlessly spruik my band to everyone and anyone, with excitement and pride. Nowadays I just can't bring myself to do that. Whilst I love the band, I now have a desire to distance myself from what we’ve become. I know I could and should be doing a lot better in terms of creative output, image and success. I guess that carries into a lack of confidence when I'm performing on stage. I used to be very flamboyant and showman-y perhaps to a fault, nowadays I'm a lot more timid. We've been playing the same material for a few years now I've grown really sick of it, and I feel like all the emotion initially in those tracks has gone. Because it's been so long we've all had time to second-guess everything. I've tried to introduce newer material earlier but the band never thought it was a priority.

- I feel like when it comes to our songs, recordings and performances - everything has become over-thought and over-analyzed. Certain members hate spontaneity and the band as a whole has developed a big conscience of how the audience feels. It's become more of a focus group approach, which inevitably sucks all the initial magic out of everything we do. You know the phrase "strike when the irons hot"? There's none of that going on here.

- When I talk to the band about how I feel, I'm met with either dismissal or defensiveness - which quickly turns into a blame-fest. It's not very assuring or constructive.

- Family members, teachers, and even doctors all tell me to go solo. They say my loyalty is admirable but is only holding me back. I've heard it all for years and I've always been dismissive, but this is the first time I've ever begun to consider it. I do a lot of bedroom recording and that always seems to get a more positive reaction out of people than band stuff does, and the small number of solo shows I've done have gone well. But I know full well you're never gonna make anything resembling a career out of doing that.


Reasons to stay

- We've almost finished our album. It's been years in production (constantly delayed by the band's different prioritizing and admittedly in recent months, my own lack of enthusiasm) but it feels like I've worked on it too hard for too long to allow it to throw it away, even if I don't 100% believe in the quality of it anymore. Anyway, I made a commitment to release it - It's been a lifelong dream to release a real album and I wanna accomplish that to say I've done it at least. We've also got a guy who's worked on some pretty big releases who's interested in mixing it, although the discussion’s still in early stages. The demos were really well received, so there's an outside chance this will be too if we can avoid any major stuff-ups.

- We've got some interest from a potential new manager and an A&R rep. It'll more than likely amount to nothing, but it’s something.

- The band has given me some wonderful experiences in the past. I've been to some pretty great places and met lots of great people through playing gigs and networking, including meeting my girlfriend and the folks who got me jobs in print and radio. It's opened doors for me, presented lots of invaluable opportunities, and I'd miss it a lot if I were to leave.

- If I left the band I fear I'd have nothing. I don't know any good enough local musos who'd be open to playing with me outside the ones already in my band. I'm not into the idea of putting up notices, I did that once and it ended badly. The bass player books all the shows and does most of the liaison; I'm a social introvert so I can't really handle that. We've self-managed ourselves for a few years and can barely handle that as 5 people, I couldn't imagine doing that myself. It's almost certain I would lose most of the fans and connections I've built up over the years and would have to start over again from scratch. The idea of it makes me feel more stressed and depressed than I am right now.

- The bass player and I have been best friends since we were in single digits. We've been together in bands for at least a decade and a half (we're in our early 20s still). He's the only person I know who is as mad, driven and devoted to music as I am. We've been in bands together and split up before, but always end up coming back to eachother in the end. As a result we have a friendship/working/creative relationship unlike anything either of us have experienced. And I'm pretty certain if I were to quit the band now, we'd have an unnecessary awkward patch before inevitably teaming up once more. He's also in a really bad place right now - he was just evicted from his home and was dumped by his girlfriend; works a job he hates and loves the band more than anything. I'm sure me leaving now would probably kill him.

- Furthermore the drummer seems to be the only one who truly "gets" what I'm going for, and we both write together a fair bit. We have several really good relationships and we seem to be on the same wavelength.

- Our live shows have consciously improved over the last couple of months. They're still not anywhere as good as I'd like them to be, I still find them an incredibly frustrating experience and we're still really not pulling good numbers, but at least there's a tiny bit of positive progress there.

- We've gone through really tough times before and gotten through them, we’ve even experienced out-of-nowhere resurgences in popularity.


Wow, I wasn't expecting to type out that much. Damn! I guess I come across as a right nutjob. It's been building up for a long time. Emotions are high at the moment I guess. Feel free to ask any questions.
cee-kay110 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 08:42 AM   #2
AlanHB
Godin's Resident Groupie
 
AlanHB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canberra, Australia
I have some questions - more out of curiousity than anything.

Why did your band decline in popularity so quickly?
Why did it take so long to release a professional EP after the demo cd?
__________________
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
AlanHB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 08:54 AM   #3
cee-kay110
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Good questions.

First one - I can't really give you a proper answer on that. We were quite successful and had a bit of forwards momentum for about a year and a half, then it just kind of reversed on us. We didn't have any management or anything like that, nor did we have a lot of experience in that field. So it was quite hard to keep on top of it all. It wasn't an instant decline, it's been a gradual thing over a couple of years.

In answer to your second one - Initially we didn't have the resources or connections to make the sort of sound that we wanted. By the time we did, the band for whatever reason felt the priority should be on preparing the next live show as opposed to recording. They didn't seem to think it was as important as I did. This irritated me quite a lot and they knew it, but I went along with it anyway for the bands sake. I guess they saw themselves more as a live act than a recording band at that point. I suppose money was also an issue, we weren't making enough to make it happen for a long time.

Last edited by cee-kay110 : 04-26-2014 at 08:57 AM.
cee-kay110 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2014, 10:45 AM   #4
Hardlycore
Now it's a party
 
Hardlycore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Jesus, you guys are in your early 20s and you've been through all that? That's awesome!

If you're that young, I don't think making a decision like leaving this band will be too detrimental your music career. I've no where nearly experienced the music industry like you have, but I've been in a band with some of my best friends for a few years now, and I've just recently come to the harsh realities of what it truly takes to be in a band. I will most likely be leaving my band, even though it's gonna break my heart (Which I know you're feeling as well). You all have to be on the same page and have the same goals or else it just wont work.

But dude, it sounds like you know a thing or two about this business, so if I were you I'd trust my gut. You have to trust your self to make the best decision and commit to it 110%.
Hardlycore is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-27-2014, 08:59 AM   #5
AlanHB
Godin's Resident Groupie
 
AlanHB's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Canberra, Australia
Quote:
Originally Posted by cee-kay110
Good questions.

First one - I can't really give you a proper answer on that. We were quite successful and had a bit of forwards momentum for about a year and a half, then it just kind of reversed on us. We didn't have any management or anything like that, nor did we have a lot of experience in that field. So it was quite hard to keep on top of it all. It wasn't an instant decline, it's been a gradual thing over a couple of years.

In answer to your second one - Initially we didn't have the resources or connections to make the sort of sound that we wanted. By the time we did, the band for whatever reason felt the priority should be on preparing the next live show as opposed to recording. They didn't seem to think it was as important as I did. This irritated me quite a lot and they knew it, but I went along with it anyway for the bands sake. I guess they saw themselves more as a live act than a recording band at that point. I suppose money was also an issue, we weren't making enough to make it happen for a long time.


Cool thanks for answering my questions.

I may be a bit presumptive here, but could one of the reasons your popularity declined be that you aren't in high school/college anymore? If your band is around 5 years old, and you are in your early 20s, that would place you in high school/college when your band was at its peak.

In high school/college you have the most amount of friends that you ever will have. When it finishes the friends slowly drop off. This means that you can quite easily draw a whole heap of people to gigs when you're in high school/college, but afterwards it's a lot harder.

Anyways back to your initial question. You should finish the album if it's one of your personal goals. As for the band, if the relationships aren't there anymore it's going to break up anyway. It's more likely that everyone is frustrated that the band didn't become huge and doesn't seem to be going anywhere.

Either:
1. Sit down with the band to discuss whether they want the band to continue, and if they do, things the band could do differently to get momentum up; OR
2. Quit.
__________________
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
AlanHB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2014, 12:43 AM   #6
cee-kay110
Registered User
 
Join Date: Apr 2014
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
I may be a bit presumptive here, but could one of the reasons your popularity declined be that you aren't in high school/college anymore? If your band is around 5 years old, and you are in your early 20s, that would place you in high school/college when your band was at its peak.

In high school/college you have the most amount of friends that you ever will have. When it finishes the friends slowly drop off. This means that you can quite easily draw a whole heap of people to gigs when you're in high school/college, but afterwards it's a lot harder.

Yup, I'd say you're pretty much on the money there.

The contract negotiations failed quite badly but at least it's instilled a sense of unity in the band which we haven't had in a long time. We're on a month-long break now and resting up has done a world of good. When we meet up again I intend to start chatting to them about audience targeting. At the moment it's been a case of "throw it out there and see who responds" when really we should be aiming towards a particular audience; especially given we lean toward the more avant side of pop.
cee-kay110 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2014, 12:30 PM   #7
Cajundaddy
Registered User
 
Cajundaddy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: SoCal
Every band goes through this stuff at some point. This is where the good ones get their hands dirty and fix it, and all the others fade away. I've been in 5 serious bands in my lifetime and they all came to this place at some point. If things were working well in the past, you have the basic elements in place so it is probably worth fixing if everyone is game.

Suggestions:
Develop some new material. At least one new song per month to keep things fresh.

Gig everywhere and put half the $$ income in a fund for recording. Bars, backyard parties, street fairs, every dog and pony show to get out and play. Rock the joints every time and leave them wanting more.

Leave recording, mixing and mastering to the pros. I know it is expensive but it is the only way to end up with a product that will sell beyond the HS crowds.

Consider management. You will need to generate good crowds at your gigs in order to attract a good manager but they are worth 15% in handling the business end and developing your brand.

Forget A&R guys and big record deals. They are effectively over. If you are going to get back on track and make a living at this game you will have to do it without them unless you look like Justin Bieber.
__________________
Tone- It's in your fingers.
Cajundaddy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-16-2014, 04:07 PM   #8
Jeremie Emond
Registered User
 
Jeremie Emond's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
You could start a side project since you compose and sing (which is a blessing believe me).
The Idea is to Transfer to something else and also see who's with you in your actual band on the <<Whole>> music idea that you're looking for.
Jeremie Emond is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 06-03-2014, 07:02 PM   #9
Craig Antley
Registered User
 
Join Date: May 2014
Well if it was just about the decline in popularity and going through a 'paying your dues' phase, I would say stick with it. But this is more about the internal dynamics. It sounds like y'all have issues to resolve. If they aren't willing to listen and consider what troubles you, then you would be wasting your time by staying with them. Everyone can feel when a band is together fully in their hearts. Yes there will be tough times but that's where communication and finding common ground come in. If there is no common ground, then it's not going to work out in the long run. It'd be best to move on and start solo while you look for members for your new band imho. A band is both a business and a marriage, a purpose/direction everyone agrees on and solid communication, with the ability to be heard when something agitates you is key for a growing relationship with the band.

I wouldn't say leave them yet, bring everything out onto the table, without blaming anyone, but stating how you feel and keep everything you say about what you want because that can't be argued. Blaming and saying someone else should do something can be argued. And if after you talk with them, if they're not willing to listen, then it's time to move on.


Craig

Last edited by Craig Antley : 06-03-2014 at 09:12 PM.
Craig Antley is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

vB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump



All times are GMT -4. The time now is 04:45 AM.

Forum Archives / About / Terms of Use / Advertise / Contact / Ultimate-Guitar.Com © 2014
Powered by: vBulletin Version 3.0.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.