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

Reply
Old 02-10-2013, 11:26 AM   #1
UnbrokenGlass
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
How do you tell your bandmate that their lyrics suck?

So, I'm the main songwriter in one of my bands, and lately, the bass player has been saying that he wants to stretch his songwriting chops and contribute to the songwriting process more. Great, says I. He's got a bluesy riff that he's been working on(I'm not crazy about it, there's really no tension and release), so even though I've got some ideas to put over it, when he says he's working on something, I back up off it and let him bring the lyrics. He sends us an email "Guys, we're doing this"(I'm already disinclined to like ultimatums), and wants us each to write a verse to this thing now and sing it. He wrote the verse about his girlfriend. Specifically, what a "hot piece of ass" she is. It's a bit misogynistic for people that don't know them(and even if you do know them...), which I'm not into presenting on-stage, and beyond that...just puerile and bad. When I brought it up with him, his response was that "OK, I can go back and work on the lyrics, but I want to keep the theme, because I'm stubborn and like my song, dammit." No idea what to do; I've never run into this problem before, believe it or not.
UnbrokenGlass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 11:59 AM   #2
manualex
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Say that the melody is good however the lyrics needs some change?
manualex is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 12:02 PM   #3
UnbrokenGlass
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Eh, yeah, tried that. The riff and everything is fine, but see the end of the post. "I want to keep the theme, because I'm stubborn and like my song, dammit." The problem isn't just the lyrics; it's also that his lyrical theme comes across misogynistic and I want no part of the song in our band if it's going to about what a "hot piece of ass" his girlfriend is.
UnbrokenGlass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 12:18 PM   #4
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
Well, I think you could suggest some improvement ideas. And you could tell him that the "hot piece of ass" ( ) part doesn't really fit the song and might even insult his girlfriend (I wouldn't like it if somebody talked about me like that, I'm not a girl but still, it would make me look like I'm some kind of sex object that has no other meaning than my ass). So if you have some better ideas for the lyrics, suggest them. Try to "modify" his lyrics so that they sound better. I think it's pretty much the same as writing a song: I sometimes modify my friend's song ideas. Just tell him: "Hey, I've got this great idea for the lyrics..." I haven't really written lyrics but I don't think it differs that much from writing the instrumental part of the song.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Digitech RP355
MXR Micro Chorus
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Hartke HyDrive 210c
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 12:19 PM   #5
UnbrokenGlass
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
No, he's hellbent against the idea of anything but that being the theme of it. And his girlfriend likes it because it means attention! Attention paid to her! And all attention paid to her is good!
UnbrokenGlass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 12:34 PM   #6
Skullivan
JKap's Trusty Headband
 
Skullivan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: The opposite of Compton, California
I'm going to need pictures of the ass in question before I make any judgement.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by link no1
Quote:
Originally Posted by jazz-rock-feel
How damaging is it for a trans person to be referred to the incorrect gender as a child?
I don't see how it would be damaging. I got called C-dog for a number of years despite not being a dog. I turned out alright.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mickel_w
PRS is not enough
Skullivan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 12:38 PM   #7
shoegazer'
Still Haven't Found
 
shoegazer''s Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: NY
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skullivan
I'm going to need pictures of the ass in question before I make any judgement.

This.
shoegazer' is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 12:40 PM   #8
UnbrokenGlass
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by shoegazer'
This.


Nothing work writing home about.
UnbrokenGlass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 12:53 PM   #9
HotspurJr
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Okay, look.

I strongly feel that in a band situation, if somebody brings in an idea that you don't like, you have a responsibility that goes along with saying "no." That responsibility is to help the person get to yes. So offer to work with him. There's no reason not to have a song be about how hot someone is, so work with him to make it the GOOD version of that song rather than the bad version of that song.
HotspurJr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 01:01 PM   #10
UnbrokenGlass
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
So just so I'm clear, you think that any and all ideas, no matter how crappy, you have a responsibility to make a part of a band? I like you and usually agree with you when I see you comment on things, but on this one I'm going to have to strongly disagree. A buddy of mine that I used to work with had a saying, "they can't ALL be gems." You don't always get the best ideas. There's really no sense in polishing a turd.
UnbrokenGlass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 01:17 PM   #11
MaggaraMarine
Slapping the bass.
 
MaggaraMarine's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Finland
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnbrokenGlass
So just so I'm clear, you think that any and all ideas, no matter how crappy, you have a responsibility to make a part of a band? I like you and usually agree with you when I see you comment on things, but on this one I'm going to have to strongly disagree. A buddy of mine that I used to work with had a saying, "they can't ALL be gems." You don't always get the best ideas. There's really no sense in polishing a turd.

OK, tell your bassist that he can use the song for his solo project or sing it for his girlfriend but it just doesn't fit your band. I write some songs that don't fit our band, I might show them to our guitarist but I usually know if a song doesn't work for our band. Your band doesn't need to play all the songs your band mates come up with.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
Just remember that there are no boring scales, just boring players.

Gear

Charvel So Cal
Ibanez Blazer
Digitech RP355
MXR Micro Chorus
Laney VC30
Tokai TB48
Hartke HyDrive 210c
MaggaraMarine is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 02:07 PM   #12
HotspurJr
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnbrokenGlass
So just so I'm clear, you think that any and all ideas, no matter how crappy, you have a responsibility to make a part of a band? I like you and usually agree with you when I see you comment on things, but on this one I'm going to have to strongly disagree. A buddy of mine that I used to work with had a saying, "they can't ALL be gems." You don't always get the best ideas. There's really no sense in polishing a turd.


Sure. I agree with this, in theory.

In practice, I think you have to first engage with someone before you can reject the song - unless they're producing so much material that you're already saying yes to a fair amount of it.

I don't know if the song can be salvaged, and maybe it can't be. But the act of trying gives you the moral standing to say, "We shouldn't play this one."

It diffuses some of the ego conflict that can cause people to dig in. It helps the guy see that you two are on the same side.

I guess what I'm saying is, play a long game. Trust that in the long run, everyone in the band will come to an overall agreement about what the good songs are, and that by helping explore these avenues you reduce the damage your friend's terrible songs do to you as a band. Managing egos is a part of keeping a band going.

And in the long run, if the band doesn't come into agreement about that stuff, then you guys have to decide if you're willing to play a few songs that you're not crazy about for the sake of the band, or if you're in the wrong band.

It's hard to imagine that Sting felt great about songs like "Friends" or "Mother." But he was in a band and having everybody feel vested was important. I read a quote from Andy Summers that made it sound, to me, like his attempt to explain to Summers that "Friends" was mediocre, at best, was essentially to refuse to sing it. Andy didn't get the hint and sang it himself.
HotspurJr is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 02:15 PM   #13
UnbrokenGlass
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Well, I sent him an email, offering a more detailed critique of why I think it doesn't work musically, but also pointing out about as gently as I could that I think the song will come off fairly misogynistic to people that don't know him, considering that even I'm kind of uneasy about it and not a fan of the lyrics and the theme(and I'm fairly unconcerned about being PC, so this is not an oversensitivity to it). We'll see how that goes.
UnbrokenGlass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 03:27 PM   #14
NormH3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Delaware
Find another bass player. He will get the message.
NormH3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 06:19 PM   #15
UnbrokenGlass
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
^Unhelpful troll is unhelpful.
UnbrokenGlass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 07:07 PM   #16
NormH3
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Delaware
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnbrokenGlass
^Unhelpful troll is unhelpful.


No..I don't troll. The comment was tongue in cheek.
NormH3 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 07:36 PM   #17
kilbie
Super Noob
 
kilbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Australia
If your trying to spare his feelings, you tell him that you don't like what the song is about, and for this reason you don't want to play his song. Also make sure to tell him that he can use his song in future projects he is involved in.
The everyone write verses thing for his song seems a little odd given the topic. Does he want everyone to write verses about how hot his girlfriend is? Maybe you could point that out to him as well.

The best way to deal with this is really going to depend on what his personality is like (ie. does he take criticism well?), the dynamics of your band and also the relationships between people in your band. There is no standard way to address these issues that works in every situation. It might also be time to have a discussion about how songwriting works in your band, ie. should the band play any song that a band member has written, only play songs that everyone agrees on and does a band member have a right to demand other band members help with their song (such as writing verses or working out a melody). You might also want to talk about who gets the song writing credit for these songs that involve multiple writers.
kilbie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 08:03 PM   #18
UnbrokenGlass
Registered User
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
No, he wanted us to write verses about OUR girlfriends. Which is completely asinine, I know. But yeah. The way songwriting has worked so far, I write most of the songs; the bass player helps to clean up the structure a bit, and because of that, we've just been crediting our songwriting as the two of us; he does have some significant input into songwriting, just not on the lyrical side of it. He doesn't take criticism very well(see also the comment "I'm stubborn and I like my song, dammit"), but he's usually pretty chill. I expect he'll react poorly to this though, because it's connected to his girlfriend, who's a fvcking Yoko and who I've already had problems with.
UnbrokenGlass is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2013, 08:11 PM   #19
D..W..
Registered User
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
As a band member, you're able to say no. Do you sing for the band? Play guitar? Just don't play the song. Or tell him that (if you are the vocalist) you won't sing those lyrics. He can even keep his lyrics and you can all write other lyrics to be sung in studio and on stage. I've done that before, have a serious song but a total goofball set of lyrics with the band outside of gigs.
Obviously, if you're the vocalist and don't want to sing about the hot girlfriend, you can just let him keep it as his own song, which has nothing to do with the band.

And really, although NormH3's comment seems a little harsh, there's truth there. If he can't compromise he probably shouldn't be in a band. That just doesn't work (I learned it from experience in being stubborn). Also, do make sure you're not the only who doesn't like it. If the whole band but him hates the lyrics, then you're coming from a valid point of view. If not, then you kinda just have to suck it up and sing/play it.

To make a long story short, there has to be a compromise. Whether it's that you just deal with it, or he changes the lyrics, makes other lyrics, or keeps the song to himself entirely, there has to be something or this type of thing will plague your band forever. Well, maybe not forever, but in most cases a non-functioning band member ends up as a non-functioning band.
D..W.. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2013, 02:38 AM   #20
91RG350
At least Microsoft cared
 
91RG350's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: NSW, Australia
Well... theres always the skulduggery of outright lies and manipulation.....

"Hey man...its not 1983.... singing that line live will get you laughed offstage...and alert every horn-dog in the room that your girlfriend is worth hitting on before the band finishes the set..."

Its a cheap line too... he could think of alternate ways to say the same thing.... two seconds thought gives me "She grinds the grind like no-one you can find"

Still not a classy line... but better...?
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
91RG350 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 11:52 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.