#1
Hey there.

This has been annoying me for quite some time. Let's say Bandmate#1 doesn't want a leader in the band. BM#1 thinks that everyone in the band is equal and does the same amount of work. Whenever I bring up the question of who's the band leader, BM#1 gets all defensive and says we don't need a leader because we are all in it together.

I disagree. We never get anything done in practice, and always wait until the last week to get our set down. We need a direction from someone. The thing is, I think I should be the band leader. I write most of all the music and I can play and understand every instrument (drums, guitar/bass/vocals). For the record, I'm the drummer.

Every time I write a song at home, and show it to the band, BM#1 always make me change it so we can all "write together." I can never get any good songs written without BM#1 interfering with the song. If BM#1 just made small changes I wouldn't mind, but BM#1 insists on writing whole new parts and changing the order etc.

What do you guys think? Should I just let it be or should we appoint a leader? If so, how do I tell them I'm the leader?

Thanks a lot!
#2
Just because there's a band leader it doesn't mean that you're not all in it together. You guys are making it sound like just because somebody is leading the process that that person should attain more of the assets than all the others

If you sincerely believe that more and better sounding music is being made under your leadership, just explain it to the other members, if the majority agrees on it and Bowel Movement #1 still objects to it, kindly tell him gtfo
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#3
This is a good question, I've been in a similar situation (except it was me and a friend against the others ).
Why not just call out BM1 on it. Ask him/her to be leader for a day/week or something, during this time you can't interfere with what he/she does and says.
If BM1 can't organise the band properly then you should appoint yourself the leader.

I'm primarily a guitarist but I play drums for my band, I know alot of theory and so does my friend. I think, instead of appointing a single permanent leader, you should 'rotate' who's the leader every so often.

If someone has an idea for a song, be it you, BM1, or anybody else, you should all follow what he says, then, after you've got a feel for the song, talk about adding your own stuff to it.
That's what I've done with other people i've worked with, if they have an idea for a song, let them expand upon it.

I'm not sure if my point was clear or not, after reading through it it looks abit like some kind of annecdote, but I think the whole 'let one person take control for a week' idea might be worth a shot.
#4
I'll be the devil's advocate then...

Being the songwritter != (does not equal, for you non-coders) being the band leader. Not to say the main songwriter can't also be the band leader, but they are not equivalent. If you want to get stuff done in practice, say "Hey, let's practice this song," or "What songs do you guys want to practice?" And that's great, sometimes people just need to step up to the plate and get the ball rolling. Lead by example though, don't just say "I'm the band leader, do what I say." BE the band leader. Suggest songs to play. If someone else suggests a song they want to do, say "Let's do that song then." Being the leader should come out naturally. The band leader gets the sh*t organized, calls the other band members, books the rehearsals, scoops out gigs and, if necessary, deals with conflicts.

Speaking of conflicts, you have one right now, and it's not about band leadership. It's about songwritting.

Quote by sublimeisgood

Every time I write a song at home, and show it to the band, BM#1 always make me change it so we can all "write together." I can never get any good songs written without BM#1 interfering with the song. If BM#1 just made small changes I wouldn't mind, but BM#1 insists on writing whole new parts and changing the order etc.


I think you need to look carefully at what you wrote here, and it requires you to be critical of yourself for a second. "When I write a song"... "When I show it to the band"... "I can't get a good song written". This is a band, not a bunch of hired guns. Sometimes you have to let the idea gestate and grow in the band. It's not your baby now, it's the band's baby. If you have an idea for a song that just can't be changed, maybe that's not necessarily a song for the band. The other dude wants to write with you... write with him! If you hate everything he does, that's not just a problem with him, it's a problem with both of you. Compromise! Take some of his better ideas, and add your own to it, so that it's both of yours. Let each of you improve on each other. That's the whole point of being in a band.
Last edited by Trisonic77 at Sep 14, 2011,
#5
Every group of people need some sort of leadership to achieve common goals. It's not a flaw on anyone's behalf, but some people would rather be a follower than a leader.

I'd explain to BM#1 that right now things aren't getting done in a timely manner, and that you are going to set a schedule and goals that everyone will follow. If anyone disagrees with the schedule/goals, it's open to discussion and change.

If BM#1 disagrees, he's probably not cut out for bands. In their most basic form, a band is a group of people. You need to be able to work together and in a common direction to get anything done as a group of people.
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#6
Quote by Trisonic77
I think you need to look carefully at what you wrote here, and it requires you to be critical of yourself for a second. "When I write a song"... "When I show it to the band"... "I can't get a good song written". This is a band, not a bunch of hired guns. Sometimes you have to let the idea gestate and grow in the band. It's not your baby now, it's the band's baby. If you have an idea for a song that just can't be changed, maybe that's not necessarily a song for the band. The other dude wants to write with you... write with him! If you hate everything he does, that's not just a problem with him, it's a problem with both of you. Compromise! Take some of his better ideas, and add your own to it, so that it's both of yours. Let each of you improve on each other. That's the whole point of being in a band.


I understand what you're saying. The thing is that we all write a few songs, but I write the most, and when BM#1 makes changes, TBH, it kind of ruins the atmosphere.

Sorry if I come off as a jerk or something, I just have no clue what to do.

Who was the leader of the Beatles anyways?
#8
Quote by sublimeisgood
Who was the leader of the Beatles anyways?


It would have been both Paul and John.

A band CAN have more than one leader, if they're on the same page.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#9
Quote by sublimeisgood
I understand what you're saying. The thing is that we all write a few songs, but I write the most, and when BM#1 makes changes, TBH, it kind of ruins the atmosphere.

Sorry if I come off as a jerk or something, I just have no clue what to do.

Who was the leader of the Beatles anyways?


No worries... sorry if I came off a little jerkish too.

Have you tried just sitting with him outside of a full band practice and writing a song or two by bouncing ideas off each other? That's usually a good way to get a feel for each other so the stuff you write complementary stuff.

If his ideas consistently stick out like a sore thumb, then he might not be a good fit for the band musically.

What is it about his ideas that don't gel? Are they off key? Off-beat? Crazy hair-lighting metal solo in an acoustic love ballad?
#10
Quote by AlanHB
It would have been both Paul and John.


Actually, for the early years, it was unambiguously John. He was setting the agenda for the band. Of course, during that time they had a lot of mutual respect for each other and so it wasn't like it was the tyranny of John, but ...

That being said, however, to the original poster:

You don't need to define a bandleader. What matters is not if you get the band to agree to call you the leader. What matters is if you start leading them.

Getting the band together to declare that you're the leader feels like an exercise in ego. That's probably what your bandmate is resisting, too.

Instead, just start leading. Start small:

Next time things start drifting during a practice, crack the whip. "Hey, guys, we only have a few hours here, can we stay on point?" When the conversation zigs, nudge it back on course. Don't be a nazi about this - let it drift, then pull it back after a few minutes.

You want to get the setlist for a gig down sooner? Again, don't insist on locking it down right away - part of being a bandleader is incorporating the desires of your bandmates - but nudge them towards thinking about the setlist sooner.

Do this kind of stuff, and you'll be the bandleader whether or not anyone admits it. Just remember that a band is often like a giant ocean liner - it doesn't change direction quickly or easily, and the only way to get it to stop in a hurry is to crash into something big and solid. So make small adjustments. Nudge the band in the right direction, and don't freak out if it doesn't seem to move that way right away.
#11
Quote by HotspurJr
You don't need to define a bandleader. What matters is not if you get the band to agree to call you the leader. What matters is if you start leading them.


^^ this looks to me like the only bit of advice you need. Most musicians I've met got into music because they're the sorts of people who would baulk at the kind of conversation where you bring up who's formally in charge of something like a band.

You can motivate and get stuff done without stressing everyone out by insisting they recognise you as regional manager or whatever.
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#12
Quote by Crazyedd123

Why not just call out BM1 on it. Ask him/her to be leader for a day/week or something, during this time you can't interfere with what he/she does and says.
If BM1 can't organise the band properly then you should appoint yourself the leader.


Do this!
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#13
Don't do that. Seriously.


Unless your bandmates are radically different from most of the young people in originals bands I've met - and nothing you've said indicates they are (quite the opposite) - they want music and bands to be places they can get away from the formal hierarchies they'll run into pretty much anywhere else in society; teachers, bosses, policemen, parents etc. etc. etc.

Not only is insiting your bandmates recognise you as bandleader going to create stress and drama, it's not even a necessary evil -

You don't need to define a bandleader. What matters is not if you get the band to agree to call you the leader. What matters is if you start leading them.

Getting the band together to declare that you're the leader feels like an exercise in ego. That's probably what your bandmate is resisting, too.
Quote by Ed O'Brien
“It’s not genius. It’s just that if you want something good to come out of something, you have to put in a lot of effort. That involves a lot of hard work, and a lot of blood, sweat and tears sometimes.”

http://urbanscarecrow.bandcamp.com/
#14
Being a leader doesn't necessarily equal being a dictator. A band needs direction, without it you can't really achieve anything. What are your bands' goals, etc currently? If you don't have any, I suggest you get together (as a group) to discuss plans and goals for the band. The excercise could demonstrate to your band what direction does to a band, and of course discourage the "lazy" ones from taking over.

If all else fails, military coup
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