#1
My fledgling band is still in the rehearsal stage, but it seems like trouble comes early. There's two problems I'm facing right now. Right now it's me (guitar/songwriting), a bassist, and a drummer. I started the band to be a punk rock band. Soundwise, we're like a Nirvana-meets-Green Day-meets-White Stripes.

The first problem is with the drummer, which also links a bit into the second problem (more on that in a sec). He's been a close friend of mine for eight years now, though our relationship can be a lot more like a rivalry than a friendship at times. But still, we've managed to stay friends through all our conflicts, which says a lot about our friendship, I think.

He's the singer (screamer) of a screamo band that's already playing shows, so I understand that his schedule can be tight at times. However, setting up rehearsals has been a chore lately since he's always busy. Our band had it's first rehearsal in over a month yesterday; the drummer wasn't there.

I'm not sure how to handle the situation. I'm fed up with us going nowhere because we're not practicing, so I've decided to have rehearsals whether or not he can make it. If he keeps missing them, I want to threaten to kick him out of the band, but I also don't want to screw up our friendship. I would like advice on how to talk to him about this that will let him know he needs to get his shit together, but in a way that doesn't sound as mean/mad as the way I just put it, lol.


The second issue is also linked to the drummer: band control. I was looking for people to start a band before he came in, making it known I was starting a punk rock band. My bass player was originally on drums, and he was just excited to be in a band; he doesn't know a lot about punk and he's more into the screamo scene here. The drummer has been occasionally making moves to get us playing in the screamo direction.

The problem with this being that I hate screamo music and I started this band to play punk rock. The bassist doesn't oppose it (he supports it often) since he loves that kind of music too. When I try to mention, in the least dick-way possible, that I started the band and that's not the direction I want to take with our music, the drummer pulls the "band-mates are equal" card saying that we all need to agree on things.

This, of course, is giving me more reason to want him out of the band, but the bigger issue here is that the control of the band is going more and more to him. I worry sometimes that I may be the one who gets the boot, even though I founded the band. He uses the guise of "band equality" to essentially try to make our decisions. If I threaten to leave, I know the bassist will stick with him and do screamo anyways.

So advice on how to handle the band control issue would be awesome as well. On the one hand I don't want to seem like the band dictator, but I do view it as my band since I founded the band and write all the music and lyrics.


Thanks for any advice I can get!
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#2
Your problem is you "started" the band. A band is not "started" by one person. Everyone in the band should have equal say. If you don't want a member, it needs to go to a vote. No one person should be making the decisions.

The term "song writer" is for people who think the band revolves around them.
#3
Quote by xSacrilegex
Your problem is you "started" the band. A band is not "started" by one person. Everyone in the band should have equal say. If you don't want a member, it needs to go to a vote. No one person should be making the decisions.

The term "song writer" is for people who think the band revolves around them.


Not quite. Sometimes a band can consist of just one songwriter, which may be him.
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#4
As the sole songwriter, they might want to realize that the band would be up shit creek without a paddle, so to speak. Unless the drummer feels like doing the same thing in two bands, which I don't know why he would.

He's hardly in the band if he doesn't ever come to practice, though, is he? Tell him that.
#5
The way I see things is that if one person gathered up some people to start a band, they're the leader and it's their vision. As for the drummer you just need to be straight with him, there's no use beating around the bush, just say what's on your mind, if he can't take it, he's being a douche. Also, argue that he's already in a screamo band, so why be in two? Not to mention you could be a bit aggressive about things and just tell him that he can start making decisions when he starts showing up to rehearsals. Which will result in him either showing up to rehearsals more often, or make it very clear he's not that committed, in which case he needs to go.
#6
Brian Jones was one of the founders of the Rolling Stones- and he got the boot. So being a founder means nada ultimately.

Sounds like your drummer has already moved on if he hasnt been to practice in ages.

The flip side to the practice problem would be to get him to nominate the practice time.
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#7
When I try to mention, in the least dick-way possible, that I started the band and that's not the direction I want to take with our music, the drummer pulls the "band-mates are equal" card saying that we all need to agree on things.


If you hire musicians to play to your instructions, then you get to set the exact terms of what happens - what they play, what style of music they choose, and so on. Otherwise, you're asking people to co-operate with you on a project they all want to do or hope to benefit from. It's unsurprising that they might want to influence what it is they're playing.


This, of course, is giving me more reason to want him out of the band, but the bigger issue here is that the control of the band is going more and more to him. I worry sometimes that I may be the one who gets the boot, even though I founded the band. He uses the guise of "band equality" to essentially try to make our decisions. If I threaten to leave, I know the bassist will stick with him and do screamo anyways.


So two of the people in the band want to play one thing, you want to play another. He's hardly taking the position of 'band leader' if he's just putting forwards the majority opinion. If you get the boot, it's because you're not fitting in with the group.
#8
Basically you shouldn't start bands with your friends, otherwise extremely simple problems like yours get bigger for no good reason.

1. Drummer is not showing up for practice. You kick members who don't show up for practice. That's pretty easy.

2. When drummer is at practice, he wants to push band in a direction you don't want. This point should be irrelevant as you should have already kicked him for not showing up to practice. However as you haven't, you're in a situation where you have the wrong drummer for the band artistically. This should have been sorted out before he joined. But this didn't happen either.


I'd kick him for not showing up to practice, and the other problem will disappear with him. Yes it may impact your friendship, but that's the whole point behind people saying "don't make bands with your friends" in the first place. Most people learn from their mistakes, and this is yours.
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#9
As far as I'm concerned, if you told them upfront that they were joining a punk rock band, then they have no freedom whatsoever to change the genre of the band.

When I look for members for my band, I tell them upfront what they're expected to play and give them a demo tape; if they don't like it, they don't join. If they join and try to drastically change the sound (influence is one thing, going from punk rock to screamo is another) I kick them immediately.

I say kick the drummer and find a new one (the fact that he's not showing up for practice is plenty reason to kick him). If the bassist also quits, forget him and find new musicians to play with and make sure they know what the hell they're supposed to be playing before they join. If you're writing all of the music and they knew upfront that your vision was that of a punk rock band, they have no right to completely change the sound of the band.
#10
Can I just ask; is this your first ever band? Because if it is; then I think you should give up the control a bit and be willing to compromise.

Next time the drummer pulls the "band-mates are equal" card; you say "Ok; lets discuss what each of us want and find some common ground" and you must tell them that you respect want each of them want but that they also have to take account of what YOU want too. To be honest; it sounds the drummer is just pulling that card as a subtle way to get want he wants as he knows the rest of band (excluding you of course) are going to agree with him. By discussing what each of you want (even if the majority view is the same) you not only throw the drummer's card trick off but you can take an approach that will try to make everyone in the band happy.

Don't worry too much about how the band sounds; if this is your first band, then the likelihood of you staying in it is unlikely anyway. Play and few gigs and meet some other musicians and at the end of the day; if your still unhappy about being in the band, then leave and start a new one. Hopefully; you can take your experiences from your current band and make a even better group.

Or you could try Winter Sky's theory; but if you do, you risk making yourself look like an asshole and I don't know many people who would want to join a band with an asshole.

So its your choice and Good luck. :P
#11
No single person *is* the band. In my original band, I was the so-called "founder" and primary song-writer. However, without the other guys, I was just some schmuck sitting in his basement writing songs and wishing he had a band.

You need to find people with similar goals and similar visions. This way, when everyone basically wants the same thing, everyone can have a say, and the band will continue to navigate towards a common goal, but in a way where everyone's interests and opinions are valued.

It's a democracy, yes. But when you can pick the people who vote, it's pretty easy to rig the election, no?

CT
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#12
It doesn't really matter who started the band, part of working with a group is being able to compromise and agree, if every member but you wants to add some "screamo" influence you should compromise accomodate them. If a band is going to exist only to play exactly what you want you should have started a solo project instead.
Have a talk with the drummer and bassist, and discuss the problem with the drummer not showing up to practice (I wouldn't show up either, if i was in a band that actually valued my opinion.) and tell the drummer that if he doesn't start showing up regularly he'll be replaced.
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#13
If a band is going to exist only to play exactly what you want you should have started a solo project instead.


Pretty much this - you should really make it clear when looking for other musicians to play with what the group dynamic is, whether it's egalitarian or controlled by one person's vision. Be aware that, if you take away any influence over the group's aims and style, they have less reason to be in the band anyway, and less commitment - how much of his 'not turning up' is because he doesn't like being told what to do at every practice and having his suggestions shot down?


Or you could try Winter Sky's theory; but if you do, you risk making yourself look like an asshole and I don't know many people who would want to join a band with an asshole.


This, too. If musicians start to get the idea that you're a control freak who will try and dominate the band, they'll not be keen to work with you. My band rejected a few adverts from potential singers simply because they seemed to want creative control.

(I wouldn't show up either, if i was in a band that didn't value my opinion.)


I have played in a band that was, effectively, one guy's solo project - I'm not obsessed with internal democracy (or forcing my own ideas forwards). But he was prepared to deal with different influences and took on board ideas that didn't entirely fit with his own concepts. If someone won't do that, there's going to be a lot of dissatisfaction within the group.
#14
I think you should make a compromise. First let me say; I hate screamo. But perhaps you should allow some screamo into your songs? I love hybrid music! Let your drummer do a bit of his screamo thing, and you can do a bit of your punk thing. Meet somewhere in the middle, maybe not with music you really love, but with music that you still enjoy. You'll learn to appreciate other genres after play in them too btw.

If you're not willing to make a compromise, then you should just leave the band yourself so that you don't restrict their artistry(I may not be one, but to some people out there screamo is art...). Who knows, they might make it big! So it sounds like you guys are even on your punk vs screamo debate, so just meet somewhere in the middle.
#15
If you think your friendship is strong enough to cope with a kicked-out-of-band experience, kick him out for ditching practice. then he will either accept it or try to prove himself. then its you choice. good luck.
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#16
There's a difference between a democratic band setting and hijacking a band. If someone recruits someone specifically for a punk band, that new member is knowingly joining a punk band. If they then try to "vote" the band into being a screamo band, that's not democracy. That's hijacking because they knew from the beginning that the band's genre was intended to be punk, not screamo.

Adding screamo influence is fine, but if they try to "vote" the band into being a full-on screamo band, I think that's bullshit. Sure, you're opinion in that case is minority, but that doesn't change the fact that they knowingly joined a punk band and are then refusing to play punk music.
#17
There's a difference between a democratic band setting and hijacking a band. If someone recruits someone specifically for a punk band, that new member is knowingly joining a punk band. If they then try to "vote" the band into being a screamo band, that's not democracy. That's hijacking because they knew from the beginning that the band's genre was intended to be punk, not screamo.

Adding screamo influence is fine, but if they try to "vote" the band into being a full-on screamo band, I think that's bullshit. Sure, you're opinion in that case is minority, but that doesn't change the fact that they knowingly joined a punk band and are then refusing to play punk music.


But 2/3 of the band don't want to play punk music as much as screamo. You're insisting that the person who first looks into organising it gets to set some things in stone - effectively, insisting that they get a veto over any ideas that change the genre of the band.
There are legitimate *arguments* why you might not want to change genre - past reputation and existing fanbase, previously written songs, your own lack of interest - but they're just arguments, not sufficient to go 'NONONONONO THAT'S NOT ALLOWED'.
#18
Quote by Samzawadi
But 2/3 of the band don't want to play punk music as much as screamo. You're insisting that the person who first looks into organising it gets to set some things in stone - effectively, insisting that they get a veto over any ideas that change the genre of the band.
There are legitimate *arguments* why you might not want to change genre - past reputation and existing fanbase, previously written songs, your own lack of interest - but they're just arguments, not sufficient to go 'NONONONONO THAT'S NOT ALLOWED'.

Not that everything is set in stone, but why join a punk band if you dont want to play it?

Thats pretty much what happened, other guys joined band knowing that its a punk rock band and now one tries to switch the genre, not exactly a cool move
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#19

Not that everything is set in stone, but why join a punk band if you dont want to play it?


As I recall from TS, this guy is one of his friends. The drummer wanted to join a band with his friend, and also wants to play the sort of music he enjoys. Seems pretty reasonable to me. Needs to be some degree of compromise on both their parts, and if they're not willing to do that, the band won't work.
#20
Quote by hr113
Not that everything is set in stone, but why join a punk band if you dont want to play it?

Thats pretty much what happened, other guys joined band knowing that its a punk rock band and now one tries to switch the genre, not exactly a cool move

TS said the drummer was "making moves" to switch the genre, but without knowing what those "Moves" are we don't know if he's just making mountains out of mole hills.
#21
Quote by hr113
Not that everything is set in stone, but why join a punk band if you dont want to play it?

Thats pretty much what happened, other guys joined band knowing that its a punk rock band and now one tries to switch the genre, not exactly a cool move


My point exactly. Why is everyone taking my point as "founder/organizer gets veto power"? That's not the point. The point is that if you join a band specifically looking to play punk, it's not reasonable to turn around and vote the band into being screamo. Sure, if the TS's band was voted into being screamo, he can't really do anything but suck it up or quit, but it's still a backhanded move on the parts of everyone else in the band.

Don't join a punk band if you don't want to play punk, simple as that.
#22
Quote by hr113
why join a punk band if you dont want to play it?


Not exactly relevant to the topic, but sometimes what a band starts out as is not where the project ends up going. The guys in Metallica all joined a metal band and now they do mainstream rock. The guys in Green Day joined a punk band, and now they all play in a pop band.

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#23
It sounds to me like you don't really have a band.

You write songs, and you know a couple guys who occasionally want to participate as you show them what you've written.

I've read a lot of opinions here, and there are many ways a band can function, but the primary ingredient requires people who can make a commitment. Anything short of that, and you have dysfunction.

One guy with a goal is usually the primary songwriter, the guy who seeks out other players with comparable talents, the guy who invests a disproportionate amount of his time, energy, and money into creating and continuing a project (rehearsal room, PA, etc.), and the guy who ultimately decides on what is happening no matter who makes a contribution. Of course that requires the ability to acknowledge and accept a better idea when it's presented. Like it or not, kids, he's known as the founder and bandleader. And, although democracy is a noble concept, a band without a leader is like a plane without a pilot that will ultimately crash. If everyone can come together and share the goal, the investment, and the discipline, it works. Leadership isn't an ego struggle, it's an acknowledgement and trust that the decisions made are in everyone's best interest.

If not... members can go elsewhere and try being thier own leader to see where that gets them... and now refer again to my first sentence.

I've known a ton of excellent musicians who insisted on their ability take part in multiple projects and spreading their name out there... they never made any long term committment... they wanted to keep themselves available to any opportunity that may come along... consequently, they never accomplished anything because no single project ever received the amount of focus required to stand on its own.

A band is a marriage multiplied. If the commitment is not equal, it won't last.
Last edited by Terry Gorle at Aug 1, 2011,