#1
I'm the founding member of an indie punk band from Arkansas. The trouble is, I have a certain direction I want this to go, and because I built it with my best friends, I can't disagree with what they say.

I try to make myself a flexible leader and the way we write requires that everyone puts an equal influence on the songs basically. But time after time my bassist and drummer come up with ideas that I just don't particularly like and that I didn't have in mind when I started this project. I voice my opinion, and sometimes it gets heard. But most of the time, it gets ignored. Yet, when I have an idea, it gets knocked out. I am fine with not using all of my ideas. But if I don't like an idea, I don't want to play it.

This often results in a division. The keyboardist and lead guitarist end up on my side and the bassist and drummer on the other. the bassist and drummer are my closest friends. They always tend to win because of this.

This brings me to my next point. My keyboardist has shit tone. He can play decently, but we just picked up another guitarist who can play keys as well. I want to kick him, but my bassist just won't allow it. He is categorically against it. Sometimes I feel like he's a few bricks shy of a load. I've tried getting my keyboardist to adjust his tone, but he just picks another preset. He says he's too lazy to adjust his tone. My bassist says it sounds fine and that he needs to stay. To me, it sounds like generic 90's techno. My bassist is also the guy who bought the squier bass because he thought it looked cool, not for the sound. So at every corner I'm faced with incompetence.

Final problem: I book the shows. I write 70% of the music, some of the lyrics. I organize the practices and provide a space for the practices. I carry equipment in my car for people sometimes. At what point am I the f***ing leader already? Most of the band accepts this. My bassist does not.

So my two problems seem to come down to my bassist and keyboardist. I think my bassist, my best friend, is caught up in the image idea of being a rockstar. He sings for us so that must make him the leader. Once again, this is the guy who instead of buying a decent bass with the money he had, downgraded to a squier bass because it had 'swag'. I can't respect that. But I don't want to kick him. He's my best friend and I don't know how my drummer would react. I'd probably be able to keep my lead guitarist but then I need another drummer, bassist, and vocalist. And our drummer is the root of our sound.
I don't want our keyboard player. How can I convince the bassist, who seems to think that his opinion counts for 3, that it's a good idea? Usually I introduce an idea slowly to him and he slowly stops hating on it.
#2
You should play music in a band to have fun. You've gotta give up control. You sound like a complete control freak to me.

As far as your actual question, you shouldn't kick them just because they won't acknowledge you as the alpha dog.
#3
Get a new band.
Wether you keep the old one or just leave it, its up to you.

Start the new one with the clear notion that you are the leader and you have the say,
only let people in the band if they are willing to accept that "rule" and behave accordingly (and of course if they fit in your work) look for professional musicians, not undisciplined bafoons wannabe rockstars.

Think Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, every little thing is written and produced by him, the band just interprets it.
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Last edited by Slashiepie at Feb 24, 2012,
#4
Don't try to be band leader. It rarely works
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#5
Quote by Slashiepie
Get a new band.
Wether you keep the old one or just leave it, its up to you.

Start the new one with the clear notion that you are the leader and you have the say,
only let people in the band if they are willing to accept that "rule" and behave accordingly (and of course if they fit in your work) look for professional musicians, not undisciplined bafoons wannabe rockstars.

Think Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails, every little thing is written and produced by him, the band just interprets it.


This.

Your bassist sounds just like a guy I used to play with around 4 years ago. Fast forward to present day, he doesn't play bass anymore, never did anything good after we split up. Don't let unskilled musicians bring you down, but don't be a complete pr*ck about it, they're still your friends, from what you're saying. And here's the thing about playing with friends - you either do it for fun and you're successful or you don't to it at all, because you end up...well, sorry to say this, but you end up in your current situation.
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#6
1. Is there any particular valid reason why you can't progress all your band's ideas other than 'Mommy, I don't want to.'?

2. What don't you like about their song ideas and what don't they like about yours?

3. Why are their opinions less valid than yours? Who made you God's gift to music? Why must you be the leader?

Surely Indie Punk is Indie Punk and as long as nobody tries bringing in Death Metal songs, it's not such a big deal? And if you're such good friends, why can't you make a compromise? A band is usually a democracy, not a dictatorship. I'd bet your bassist and drummer oppose you because you're being overbearing. They probably feel as frustrated as you.

With regards to organisation, travel, bookings, rehearsals: If you think they are taking advantage, then make different arrangements. Find another practice space and make it a band responsibility to book a rehearsal. Don't organise as many gigs/get someone else to share responsibility. Don't offer as many lifts in your car. However, don't be vindictive and use it as punishment for not doing things your way.

Lastly, if you write 70% of your bands songs, why can't you let your bassist and drummer have the last 30%? That's 15% each, plus 0% for everyone else.
#7
Perhaps i am a bit much of a control freak; but i have been backing off. But what about the keyboardist?
#8
Quote by StanleyBaby!
Perhaps i am a bit much of a control freak; but i have been backing off. But what about the keyboardist?

Again, is it just you who thinks he sounds bad, or is it everyone else in the band? If it's just you, maybe try and lighten up. If it's everyone, have a proper band discussion with him. Be adult about it and say something like, 'Dude, we really think your tone needs tweaking. Your playing is great but your tone sounds weak in the mix.' If he still says he's too lazy, say you'll do it for him. That way he'll either get off his ass and change it himself or you'll change it. He's got no ground to stand on in not letting you do it. Either way his tone gets fixed.
#9
Quote by StanleyBaby!
My bassist is also the guy who bought the squier bass because he thought it looked cool, not for the sound. So at every corner I'm faced with incompetence.


looks over at his Squier Bronco sitting in the rack

Sorry, dude. Any sympathy you may have gotten from me just went right out the window.
#10
This is why you should avoid forming a serious band with your friends. I remember reading a quote somewhere saying that business that comes from friendship is bad, while friendship that comes from business is good.

I would just chill, are you guys a serious band, or just having some fun/messing around? If it is the former, then I suggest you leave your band and form a new one, as Slashiepie suggested. If it is the latter, then there really isn't much you can do other than chilling out, and trying not to be the leader and exerting control over your friends. They are your friends after all. You seem a bit like a douche towards them though.
Last edited by zincabopataurio at Feb 25, 2012,
#12
But time after time my bassist and drummer come up with ideas that I just don't particularly like and that I didn't have in mind when I started this project. I voice my opinion, and sometimes it gets heard. But most of the time, it gets ignored. Yet, when I have an idea, it gets knocked out. I am fine with not using all of my ideas. But if I don't like an idea, I don't want to play it.


Let me get this straight - you write 70% of the music but you complain if they want to do something you don't like ... and you also bitch if they don't want to play something you like?

Dude. You don't want a band. You want backing musicians. You can't have it both ways: either the band is about compromise and everybody making a commitment to play some stuff they don't like to keep each other happy, or not.

My bassist is also the guy who bought the squier bass because he thought it looked cool, not for the sound. So at every corner I'm faced with incompetence.


And you're slagging on a guy because of his equipment. I feel sorry for your bandmates, I really do. It's got to be hard for them to have such an over-entitled donkey fronting the band.

(Some Squier gear is great. Quite frankly some of it is better than the made-in-Mexico Fender stuff. Sounds like you can't get over the name on the headstock - that makes you the incompetent jackass, not him.)

You ask "at what point am I the leader" and I'll tell you:

You're the leader when people are willing to follow you.

Right now, they're not. That's your fault, not theirs.

I find it hysterical that you say the bassist thinks his opinion counts for three. Are you sure you're not looking in the mirror when you say that?
#13
Quote by HotspurJr

You ask "at what point am I the leader" and I'll tell you:

You're the leader when people are willing to follow you.


Amen, brother. Amen.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#14
As everyone has said get off your high horse and compromise. I was the same way as you a few years back (though not nearly as big of a dick). Now I have no band and two of the other members (who are still great friends of mine though) are playing live shows and are in bands.

Guess who won out?

- I'll give you a hint, it was the guys who weren't being total control freaks about the music.
I'm a musician/composer before I'm a guitar player.

foREVer


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#15
To play the devil's advocate here, though....

Some of the most successful musicians out there have been total control freaks. They had a vision, knew it was great, and would not let anyone lead them astray from that vision. No compromise. No deal.

Democracy, by its very nature, ensures a regression to the mean. Nobody would have elected or achieved unanimous consensus by choosing Beethoven's music at the time he was writing, for instance. He was considered a musical heretic of sorts. "Not like that Bach fella. Now HE could write some REAL music!"

Consider a dinner party: You have to please as many people as you can with as many dishes as possible. People might not like your Lamb Korma, assorted sashimi plates, or even the nice jerk chicken you thought all sounded like great ideas. Instead, you get basic pepperoni pizzas, veggies and dip, and maybe a bucket of fried chicken.

But I do agree. It sounds like OP needs to decide whether he wants to be in a band, and perhaps leading a band, or if instead he want to be a solo artist with a backup band.

Band: a group of people with common goals and objectives that work together, collaboratively, as a single functioning unit. (from a business perspective, a single business run by a number of equal co-owners)

Solo artist: One owner of a business who hires appropriate staff to meet certain criteria to achieve the goals of said company.

Careful, though... if they are owners, they will invest of themselves towards the common good. If they are employees, they will expect compensation, and will not otherwise invest of themselves.

The ideal here is to (IMHO) form a band made up of people who already share a common goal and have common priorities. Out of that group of people, one of them will have a little more "something" than the others that, by way of unspoken consensus, will position him/her as the leader. That "something" may be a collection of songs, a well-conceived vision, a strong business sense, a work ethic that goes beyond the others, or simply a charisma that draws others to them - or more likely, a combination of some of those things.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#16
Quote by axemanchris
To play the devil's advocate here, though....

Some of the most successful musicians out there have been total control freaks. They had a vision, knew it was great, and would not let anyone lead them astray from that vision. No compromise. No deal.


I think this is true, but I think a lot more people THINK they're in possession of some great vision when the reality is that they're just being full of themselves (which can be the case even if they're the most talented member of their band).

Unless the rest of the guys are as egotistical as the "leader," they'll quickly realize when someone is bringing that extra somethign to the table. I mean, given that the OP already writes 70% of the music, it's not like he's not capable of getting his voice heard, or of seeing his vision realized.

An example I would give would be The Police. The Police were, originally, Stewart Copeland's band. He started it. He set the agenda.

He and Sting clashed like hell at times. On the other hand, Copeland was also smart enough to realize, "That Sting guy, he's a better songwriter. Probably ought to let him take the lead on most of the material." That's why Sting ended up writing 8 of the 11 songs on Zenyatta, 8 of the 11 songs on Ghost, and 8 1/2 out of the 11 on Synchronicity.

And they still got into fights about the size of everyone's contribution, but there was still room for everybody's contribution: the iconic guitar part of "Every Breath You Take" came from Andy Summers, not Sting. Sting was an egotistical prick at the time but the other guys were still adding songs to the group and contributing to his songs. And when he decided he wasn't okay with that, he quit the band.

Ultimately, though, this is the thing: You can't simultaneously say, "I want everybody's input," and "But they come up with stuff I don't like." That's what having everybody's input means - they're going to choose stuff you wouldn't. That's what having their input means.

And either they bring enough to the table - as friends or as musicians - that you accept it, you give up a little musical control-freak-ness in order to play with them ... or you don't, in which case you strike off on your own.
#17
Quote by MechaDio
You should play music in a band to have fun. You've gotta give up control. You sound like a complete control freak to me.



If no one is in control and no one leads, nothing will get done. Cases of "band democracy" where every single member commits and contributes equally is rare.

One person, with the agreed determine direction from everyone, and the individual is in control to get you there.
#18
If you want to dominate the band entirely - give instructions on parts, on tones, on what ideas go forwards - you'd better be prepared to pay, or be respected substantially more by the band than you appear to be.

I've played both in bands with a central domineering figure and in democratic ones, and both are fun - but I respected the band leader and was reasonably sure that his ideas were the good ones.

That's not something you're entitled to.

Final problem: I book the shows. I write 70% of the music, some of the lyrics. I organize the practices and provide a space for the practices. I carry equipment in my car for people sometimes. At what point am I the f***ing leader already? Most of the band accepts this. My bassist does not.


You're the leader when people respect you as the leader. You can't force your way to a dominant position without risking them just...y'know...leaving, or - as I would probably do - just ignoring your attempts to swing the biggest wang around. You can ask for greater contributions from them in getting stuff to and from gigs, and in practice spaces, but you can't say 'I drive the car, therefore I'm the boss'. If anything, that makes you the roadie.
#19
Show authority, just not directly. They will get it - subconciously if anything.
FUCK YOU ALL!

666 BLACK METAL HOLOCAUST!!!!!
#20
Stanley,at rehearsal run through your best set,RECORD it,then have a meeting.If your keyboard player sucks that bad,The tape don't lie.How does the bass player sound,never mind what he's playing.The brand of bass don't mean shit.Every time I took you seriously,you come out with some petty crap like that,like whose car we drove.If you can't keep your personal life off the stage,something needs to change.If you're old enough to drive,you're old enough to move.Go to Memphis,put up a sign,drummer wanted and two guys will be tapping on your shoulder before your staplegun drops.If you're good enough to lead,go run with the big kids awhile.See how you do.......Paulele,probably got that wrong,sorry.#1 man.Synth,timing,arrangement,technique,all of it.You're a class act.If you're not making a living at it you should be.You have real talent.Keep at it.
#21
Heh.. I'm in same kind of situation but it's other way around. I'm forced to be a leader even though I'm not really up to it and I think I'm not fit to lead a group.

There is already lots of good answers here and I can't think off any better advice. And aren't you some sort of leader already when everyone else in your band thinks that your are the leader except the bassist?