#1
This is definitely a common topic among this forum but I'll post about my issue in anattempt to help get it solved. I am in a 5 man metalcore band, we're all in high school, except for our drummer who is a freshman in a local college this year. We've got the normal setup: vocalist, 2 guitars, bass, drums. All of us contribute to the band, except for the bassist. Here are some issues we have with him, it's lengthy:

He doesn't have a car, and always needs a ride everywhere. This is not that bad, considering he lives in our town, but it is sometimes a hassle when we have to go and get him every time we have a practice.

We have a band chat on facebook with the 5 of us in it to talk about anything band related. He's online sometimes and will contribute, but sometimes, at the last possible second, he will let us know that he can't make practice, or would come to practice late, but wouldn't have a ride so we would need to stop practice to go out and get him.

He does not contribute original music. Ever. He plays guitar and some drums as well, and we fully allow him to write anything and show it to us to use, but he never does, he just makes bass parts off of our guitar parts. The other guitarist and I write pretty much everything, save for the vocalist writing lyrics, vocal melodies, and helping us out with song structure (which he seems to be good at coming up with) and our drummer, who is a great drummer and can write lyrics sometimes too.

When the other guitarist and I introduce parts to songs, we usually show everyone at once, but we have the bassist come up with a riff, then drums, put it all together for the vocals to go over. We aren't a cookie cutter metalcore band, we have guitar solos and good structure and aren't tossing down generic pedal tone riffs. The bassist wants us to be a chug band a lot. When we show him a good guitar riff/ chord progression, he just usually starts to hit open notes or really simple stuff that brings the rest of the music down a bit, if people listened to all of the instruments. We don't mind breakdowns but it's not something we really enjoy writing, but he wants us to do simple stuff like that often.

This is a big problem I have with the guy: During the middle of practice he will take off his bass and stop playing with us if we're in a rest spot, and keep it off. We'll have to specifically tell him to put his bass back on when we're starting a song. Also, if we try to explain a beat to the drummer, he will immediately say "Here let me show you what they mean" and either do the correct beat, or something way too complicated sounding. Then when we're trying to get stuff done he will either keep playing his bass, take my guitar if I don't have it on, or smash at the drums every time we start talking.

At our last gig, when we were setting up, he just put his bass down and instead of helping us, he went off and talked to his friends. He also did that for teardown, and we had to yell at him across the venue to come and help move his bass and our amps.

That was quite long but I got a lot out. I don't mind the guy, but I'm total friends with the other three guys. Also, there's very, very few people, or nobody, around that would be into playing bass with us in our style, since we're somewhat progressive (from my view)

Should we keep him, and talk about all of this? The other guys, specifically the other guitarist, agree with me on these points. I don't want to necessarily kick him out yet, but he's the only one who doesn't pull his own weight in the band.
Quote by willT08
Quote by HowSoonisNow
How was Confucius death metal?
You've clearly never read any Confuscius.

As I wait on the edge of the earth,
I can see the walls being torn down again
Only to be rebuilt in another name,
On a different day
#2
Kill him.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#3
He seems like a dick, kick him out
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#4
Bassists are hard come by dude. Just remember that before doing anything you'll regret. I remember having to have a lot of patience with some frankly very frustrating stuff along these lines when I was bandleading. It came down to "well I still enjoy gigging with these people," and "there's no one else to play with." I'm not sorry I stuck it out.
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#5
If someone is wasting everybody's time at practice you should ask them if they really want to be in the band and if they are going to take it at all seriously. Then you should kick em out.
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
#6
Address your concerns. If it does nothing, start looking for a new bassist before firing your current one. So instead of a "firing", it's just a "replacement".
#7
Here's an article that I've put together from a response to a similar thread. It pretty much covers the advice I'd give.

http://www.ultimate-guitar.com/columns/general_music/how_to_deal_with_a_troublesome_band_member.html

The only other thing I would add is how small these problems are in the whole scale of things. He could be alot worse.

He maybe a little disorganised, but thats not the end of the world; and aslong as he's writing the bass parts then does it really matter if he's bringing tons of other material?

You admit that bassists in your area are hard to come by, so its either have a bassist who is a little irritating at times or have no bass at all which would kill the band.

Finally I'd add that writing something simple (especially basslines) isn't a bad thing. Some of the best and most memorable songs ever written were extremely simple. Simplicity is definitely not a hinderance. Remember your ears will only cope with processing so much, overcomplicate things and all you get is noise.
#8
Quote by thePTOD
we're all in high school, except for our drummer who is a freshman in a local college this year.


He doesn't have a car, and always needs a ride everywhere.


The economy is in the toilet and you guys are in high school. The only reason I was able to get a car was because my dad let me have our old family car until I got one as a birthday present a year or two later. I wasn't making much money and if I had to buy my own, I wouldn't have been able to do it.

He does not contribute original music. Ever.


Okay.

he just makes bass parts off of our guitar parts.


Wait, what?

He's the bassist, right? He's making bass parts, right? That means he's writing music, right? So what's the problem?

I have no real opinion about the rest of your issues, but these points stuck out to me.
#9
Quote by CarsonStevens
He's the bassist, right? He's making bass parts, right? That means he's writing music, right? So what's the problem?

Should have clarified that he plays like 4 notes a song, and half the time he plays he's playing the wrong note by a whole or half step which sounds really off. He only makes parts when he absolutely has to, he won't ever say "can I hear that riff?' to make a bassline, he'll just start playing 2 or 3 notes back and forth. He doesn't stop playing when there come to just drum/single guitar spots, is off time, doesn't play along with riffs/breakdowns.

And to add to this, when we're on stage, he never moves. He's like a statue usually but stands near me and never moves so I can never move around.

All of these have been addressed more than once and he does not fix them. The point I'm trying to make isn't that his parts are simple, it's that he never puts in effort or enthusiasm, and in general he doesn't try.
Quote by willT08
Quote by HowSoonisNow
How was Confucius death metal?
You've clearly never read any Confuscius.

As I wait on the edge of the earth,
I can see the walls being torn down again
Only to be rebuilt in another name,
On a different day
#10
There are two separate issues here.

The first is who he is musically, the second is who he is professionally.

I don't know why people who write these posts always insist on dumping in all these other issues (he's a high school student and you're complaining that he doesn't have a car?).

Professionally - by which I mean showing up to practice on time, carrying his weight, etc - you need to sit down and have a conversation with him, explain your expectations, and ask him if he thinks he can meet them. If the answer is no, then you can part ways with a clean conscience. You can even tell him, "Well, we're going to start looking for a new bassist, then."

Musically, on the other hand, you ahve to decide if you like what the guy brings to the table or not. It's hard to tell since you complain about this almost as an afterthought- it seems like the car is a bigger issue to you. If you don't like what he plays and he's not willing to work with you to change, well, then, there's your answer.
#11
Since bassists are hard to come by I would have your band talk to him and tell him he needs to straighten up his act maybe add in an idle threat of "or else you're out"

Trying to persaude the bassist won't work if nobody else in your band has a problem with him, otherwise you're alone on the matter and it's your opinion against his and your other band members.
#12
I would say stick it out, at least for now. If the parts aren't absolutely atrocious and ruining the songs, it doesn't seem worth trying to find a new bass player, especially if they're that rare
#13
Quote by thePTOD
Should have clarified that he plays like 4 notes a song, and half the time he plays he's playing the wrong note by a whole or half step which sounds really off. He only makes parts when he absolutely has to, he won't ever say "can I hear that riff?' to make a bassline, he'll just start playing 2 or 3 notes back and forth. He doesn't stop playing when there come to just drum/single guitar spots, is off time, doesn't play along with riffs/breakdowns.


Thanks for the additional info. Yeah, I think I'd be annoyed by that, too; I couldn't tell if what he was writing was just not to your liking, or what... but it sounds like he simply doesn't know how to write a bass part.

This is kind of a bandaid fix, but does he insist on writing his own parts? If not, maybe you could just write his parts for him.

And to add to this, when we're on stage, he never moves. He's like a statue usually but stands near me and never moves so I can never move around.


Well, you can tell him to give you some space, but I certainly can't play if I'm jumping around, I would imagine that's his problem.
#14
Quote by HotspurJr
There are two separate issues here.

The first is who he is musically, the second is who he is professionally.

I don't know why people who write these posts always insist on dumping in all these other issues (he's a high school student and you're complaining that he doesn't have a car?).

Professionally - by which I mean showing up to practice on time, carrying his weight, etc - you need to sit down and have a conversation with him, explain your expectations, and ask him if he thinks he can meet them. If the answer is no, then you can part ways with a clean conscience. You can even tell him, "Well, we're going to start looking for a new bassist, then."

Musically, on the other hand, you ahve to decide if you like what the guy brings to the table or not. It's hard to tell since you complain about this almost as an afterthought- it seems like the car is a bigger issue to you. If you don't like what he plays and he's not willing to work with you to change, well, then, there's your answer.


The car is the least important issue. I tried to list them from least important to most important. He doesn't really bring anything to the table. Some of the songs he recommend we cover are out of left field, for instance he wanted us to cover one song that used 7 string guitars in drop A, and I'm the only one with a 7 string.

It's not that I didn't like his parts or that they weren't to my taste, it's that he doesn't really know how to write a bassline. I'll write parts for him once in a while, but sometime he'll bypass the passing tones that give the feeling and just play the skeletons of the riffs I write for him.

The four of us are talking to him at Friday's practice. It'll be more of a "Hey man, do you enjoy being the bassist in this band?" and "If you want to be in the band, you need to pull your weight more and amp up your practice and playing, or we may look elsewhere." He just doesn't act like he enjoys it or he goofs off or whatever.

Fortunately for us, our vocalist is an amateur bass player (however he might be a better writer than our current bassist) so, whether we keep our guy or not, he wants me to start teaching him more so he can get better at it, both to learn and in case he needs to play bass as well.
Quote by willT08
Quote by HowSoonisNow
How was Confucius death metal?
You've clearly never read any Confuscius.

As I wait on the edge of the earth,
I can see the walls being torn down again
Only to be rebuilt in another name,
On a different day
#15
you need a new amp.

but seriously, get a new bassist. if they dont hve reliable transport or they arent reliable they are useless.
Quote by element4433
One time I watched a dog lick his own dick for twenty minutes.

Quote by Roc8995
No.


Well, technically it could be done, but only in the same way that you could change a cat into a hamburger. It's an unpleasant process, and nobody is happy with the result.
#16
Well you obviously want to kick him out. Are you asking for our permission?
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#17
Quote by AlanHB
Well you obviously want to kick him out. Are you asking for our permission?

Kind of and no.

/vague answer
Quote by willT08
Quote by HowSoonisNow
How was Confucius death metal?
You've clearly never read any Confuscius.

As I wait on the edge of the earth,
I can see the walls being torn down again
Only to be rebuilt in another name,
On a different day
#18
You should have ditched him a long time ago, for future band dealings i'd secretly have a 3 strike process in the back of my mind. Basically 3 red flags on the person and its time to move on. It seems you let him stick around alot longer than he should have and nipping these problems in the butt in the early stages will save you all some stress!

That kind of dead weight does nothing but hinder your progress...Bass tracks composed in Garageband played along the band with an ipod are more useful than him:P Keep rockin n a Rollin!
#19
I'd personally avoid having a band sit down with him. He may end up feeling like everyone is teaming up on him. If you're the "leader" of the band, I'd just catch him one on one and let him know that you feel he's not bringing the same level of effort as everyone else. Keep in mind what other people are saying... Sometimes finding a bass player is extremely difficult. A better approach may be to try to work with him more, and try to get him more involved in writing if possible. I've jammed with people who were completely not meshing until you lay down a couple riffs together, and work off one another. Just gotta get the creative juices flowing, but if he's not willing or able to break out of his 4 note progression then maybe it's time to find someone else. Either way, I'd try to at least check around for a replacement before I gave him the boot.

I had a similar issue with a guy that we were trying out in my band a while back. He came to practice 4 weeks in a row, NEVER had any of his own gear, and NEVER bothered to learn any of the songs... Didn't even attempt it. I was going to ask him if he really wanted to be in a band, because part of that is learning the songs, but he dropped off the face of the earth before I had a chance to bring it up. Guess he answered the question before I could ask it.
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He's obviously pretty young, and I'd guess he's being raised by wolves, or at least humans with the intellectual capacity and compassion of wolves.


You finally made it home, draped in the flag that you fell for.
And so it goes
#20
I really don't see a big problem. If he doesn't have a car and has no reliable way of getting to practice...is it his fault? I'm assuming you know/knew he didn't have reliable transportation all the time...that's on ya'll if you want him in your band.

Welcome to the world of being in a band...some people don't contribute musically, your just glad you have someone that can play their instrument and can play well live. Some people just don't write music in a band setting. I've been in bands playing guitar, bass, and drums and the only time I ever contributed musically was when I was the guitar player and would bring riffs and songs to practice, other wise, I showed up and worked with what someone else came up with. Even if you say everyone writes the music, blah blah blah, only 1-2 people are actually going to be producing any songs. If you have to baby him and write the bass lines, so be it.

Also about the loading in, I hardly ever help the others and never ask for help. I'm not going to set somebody else's stuff up for them. I and the rest of my band are big boys and we can pick up a 50lb cab or 2/3 drums at a time and put them up on stage. I ****ing hate it when people touch my stuff and try to "set it up" for me. I realize there's trying to be nice, but good lord it takes 5 minutes to put your stuff on stage and take it off. I can do it, you can do it. If he sets his stuff up and then goes to get a drink or talk for a few minutes...who cares. He's ready, your not.
Last edited by scguitarking927 at Mar 2, 2012,
#21
He has no gear other than a cheap bass. I own the bass amp he uses. He doesn't help set it up on stage or tweak any of the settings, once he gets plugged in he just chugs. Both during setup and teardown he does not help any of us when we need to move drum cymbals and cords and whatnot.

It's also not that he doesn't write, he never bothers to learn parts. he'll play the riffs off time and wrong notes all of the time, then when we stop to make sure he's got it, he'll sometimes play it right, but then when we start he messes up and never tries to actually fix it.

Every day since monday ALL OF US established that we would have practice Friday. Our 2nd guitarist couldn't come but he is currently at a classical music event at a nearby college for his trombone (total legit reason to not be there) and this was what happened between the bassist and I.

Me: hey man, I'll come get you once I'm out of school
Him: we have practice?
Me: uhh yeah we established that, you can still come right?
Him: yeah I will be home in like 5 minutes, mind if I cut out early?
Me: I guess that's fine yeah, cya soon

20 minutes later I drive to his house. No one is home.

Me: hey dude I'm here, are you home?
Him: I already have plans today, I'm still at school. I'll make it to next practice if nothing comes up

I get to vocalist's house. First thing I say to him and the drummer:
Guess who I don't want in this band?

He doesn't take any of this seriously, we all want him out.
Quote by willT08
Quote by HowSoonisNow
How was Confucius death metal?
You've clearly never read any Confuscius.

As I wait on the edge of the earth,
I can see the walls being torn down again
Only to be rebuilt in another name,
On a different day
#24
Quote by Scowmoo
Sounds like my bassist.

TS, are we in the same band?

Is your band called Netherwind?
Quote by willT08
Quote by HowSoonisNow
How was Confucius death metal?
You've clearly never read any Confuscius.

As I wait on the edge of the earth,
I can see the walls being torn down again
Only to be rebuilt in another name,
On a different day
#25
Quote by You Ruined It
If all you guys want him out, kick him out! Just find a replacement first.



Yup. If you can get a replacement, do it, if not, it's better than not having a bassist at all