#1
It's come to that time. Do we break the band up or not?

My band has been together for several months now and we've had a lot of rad shows, and some great opportunities. We've generated a bit of buzz and things have been going steadily upwards. Our morale, however, has been going steadily lower and it's getting to the point that even with all of the fun we've had performing and all of the potential we have, three of the four of us have been talking amongst ourselves about calling it quits.

Basically, it comes down to what we perceive as a difference in interests. On the one hand, three of us have steady jobs and family committments that we are trying to balance with our passion for music. We also want to be in a fully-original rock/punk outfit. We would really prefer to play the occasional cool punk-as-f gig and maybe a big tour here and there and spend the rest of the time writing and recording new songs and rehearsing them til we're tight as hell. We don't need the band for money and would like the schedule to be driven by our creative desires while making it as compatible as possible with our family/work lives.

On the other hand our band leader has no job and is hoping to scrape by on music (along with a few other small streams of income). He seems like he wants the band to be his job, full time. He comes from a pop cover band background so he is new to punk both musically and the lifestyle/ethic. Although he has at least paid lip service to our desires to do other things he seems like he must have several well-paying gigs a month lined up regardless of where they are or what else we want to accomplish. If not it's like he's giving us a brief break from the norm, as a favor, before we're right back at it. I don't think he keeps a calendar so I think sometimes he literally doesn't realize (until the third or fourth time I tell him) that he booked us every week for a month straight. It doesn't bother him that most of the gigs we play are in a dive bar or a Moose Lodge (very not punk!) and we're the only band on the bill and have to play 75% cover songs to get through four hours of music, even though it drives the rest of us crazy.

He's also in poor health (and obviously burning his candle at both ends) and has fallen on hard times, and he calls in favors on a nearly daily basis. It makes it difficult because I feel like on the one hand we are enabling him to continue on this self-destructive path that he needs to get out of, but if we "cut him off" he's going to sink even lower.

We've had one big blowout and a few serious conversations and the three of us on the one side have all come close to quitting. So far we've always pulled back after having an awesome, awesome show and not wanting to kill it. But now our bassist is more or less committed to calling it quits. He is having a very rocky time with his relationship and it sounds like he either wants to focus on fixing it, or if that doesn't work, leave the state for good. The other two of us are on the fence about whether we just throw in the towel with him. Adding to all of this, we recently lost our rehearsal space, our planned recording project has stalled, and I feel like we need to come to a decision before our leader says "oh well we don't need to rehearse, we can train a bassist in two weeks, break's over, let's get back out there on the drive bar circuit!"

But we've generated a good buzz, have our name out there, have lots of contacts and some very, VERY enticing opportunities coming up. I could just write a ton of new songs so we don't have to play so many covers, coup the booking so I can book us cool shows, and tell him not to book ANYTHING until we get our recording done. But I have this sinking feeling he'll agree for about a week and then it'll be back to the same old same old.

So I'm torn. Call it quits, or try to work through it?
#2
what's wrong with getting rid of the singer since he doesn't have the same goals and finding someone else? seems like the rest of you are on the same page
#3
In this case the leader is not the singer, but I think I know what you mean. Two reasons. First is, he kind of organized the band...recruited all of us and got us our first gigs, came up with the name and logo idea, etc. I think just out of respect for him and keeping any breakup as amicable as possible, I would want to give him the option to either keep the band alive with new members (including songs I've written) or just bury it and move on. I think he would take it as being "kicked out of his own band" and be much more insulted if we got rid of him and continued under the same banner without him.

I do owe him a lot for getting us those first gigs and teaching me a bit about the music biz; on the other hand, he's run his mouth to anyone who would listen about his previous bands and if I give him any ammo I wouldn't put it past him to do the same about me. So I want to keep the waters as clean as possible either way.

The second reason is our bassist is probably still going to leave regardless of what we do, so then our band is down to two, and I think the two of us want to go in a different direction and start fresh.
#4
Honestly, you guys sound like assholes with the "We wanna punk it up man!" thing. And i don't think quiting the band will help with the basists relationship, only strain it further. But anyway, just kick the guy out and change the name of the band. Or "form" a new band with the 3 of you and don't include him. Or simply kick him out. Pink Floyd kicked Syd Barrett out, even if he was the "band leader".
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
#5
Quote by gorkyporky
Honestly, you guys sound like assholes with the "We wanna punk it up man!" thing. And i don't think quiting the band will help with the basists relationship, only strain it further. But anyway, just kick the guy out and change the name of the band. Or "form" a new band with the 3 of you and don't include him. Or simply kick him out. Pink Floyd kicked Syd Barrett out, even if he was the "band leader".

I don't see the issue with this. Honestly, the singer is the only one who is not on the same page as the rest of you. The band can't be the thing that's both saving and hurting him, so to speak. It's ultimately his job to fix his life and deal with his health issues. The rest of you should kick him out and move on.
#6
Quote by gorkyporky
Honestly, you guys sound like assholes with the "We wanna punk it up man!" thing.


Really? Just curious why. I'm serious, I want to know what's asshole about it. This is kind of the response I was looking for.

To go back to the root of the problem...I don't like most of the music we are playing and often the venues we play it in, and I don't like the fact that we don't have anything (even a proper demo) recorded, but I don't see a way we are ever going to get past it because we have to keep the band on the road all the time and take every gig that comes our way to pay this guy's rent so he doesn't get evicted or have to, ya'know, get a real job.

I'm fully accepting of the possibility that I might just need an attitude adjustment, which is kind of what I'm asking...would we be better off finding other people, or are the three of us just being douchebags who will regret breaking it up later when we learn the err of our ways? Please, lay it on me man.

And i don't think quiting the band will help with the basists relationship, only strain it further.


I don't see it straining it further. She hates rock music and the fact that he's on the road all the time. But this is kind of a side issue; he's quitting either way. The question is whether the other two of us forge ahead with a new bassist or use the opportunity to split while the boat is already rocking.
#7
Quote by jjack
I don't see it straining it further. She hates rock music and the fact that he's on the road all the time. But this is kind of a side issue; he's quitting either way. The question is whether the other two of us forge ahead with a new bassist or use the opportunity to split while the boat is already rocking.

I know I've already said it, but forge ahead with a new bass player. I mean, why not? The two of you who are staying love it and can pretty much tell any potential new bass player, "Here's how it's going to be. If you don't like it, then don't bother to audition." I'm sure you'll find someone who is also willing to do what you and the other staying member want, schedule-wise.
#8
Here are your issues in a nutshell;

Quote by jjack
Basically, it comes down to what we perceive as a difference in interests. On the one hand, three of us have steady jobs and family committments that we are trying to balance with our passion for music. We also want to be in a fully-original rock/punk outfit. We would really prefer to play the occasional cool punk-as-f gig and maybe a big tour here and there and spend the rest of the time writing and recording new songs and rehearsing them til we're tight as hell. We don't need the band for money and would like the schedule to be driven by our creative desires while making it as compatible as possible with our family/work lives. On the other hand our band leader has no job and is hoping to scrape by on music (along with a few other small streams of income).


This alone is reason to leave. You want to be in a hobby band, he wants to be in a serious band. Nothing personal, it's just that these viewpoints are incompatible with each other.

I'll breeze over the other interesting points you make:

Quote by jjack
I don't think he keeps a calendar so I think sometimes he literally doesn't realize (until the third or fourth time I tell him) that he booked us every week for a month straight.


Mate, I won't lie, if you think playing one gig a week is too much, I wouldn't hire you. It's not committed enough, but that's basically the same point as above so I'll continue on.

Quote by jjack
It doesn't bother him that most of the gigs we play are in a dive bar or a Moose Lodge (very not punk!) and we're the only band on the bill and have to play 75% cover songs to get through four hours of music, even though it drives the rest of us crazy.


This is simply crap however. If you're an originals band, don't play cover gigs.

As for this silliness;

Quote by jjack
He comes from a pop cover band background so he is new to punk both musically and the lifestyle/ethic.

.....

most of the gigs we play are in a dive bar or a Moose Lodge (very not punk!)


One could say that this statement;
Quote by jjack
We don't need the band for money and would like the schedule to be driven by our creative desires while making it as compatible as possible with our family/work lives.


isn't very "punk" either, when you compare it with this;

Quote by jjack
He's also in poor health (and obviously burning his candle at both ends) and has fallen on hard times, and he calls in favors on a nearly daily basis. It makes it difficult because I feel like on the one hand we are enabling him to continue on this self-destructive path that he needs to get out of, but if we "cut him off" he's going to sink even lower.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#9
Quote by AlanHB
Nothing personal, it's just that these viewpoints are incompatible with each other.


Pretty much my thoughts, except I like to think we're both serious; but serious about different things. I don't need another job, I need an artistic outlet.

You're right though; at this point in my life, yes, I guess you could call it a hobby.

Quote by AlanHB

Mate, I won't lie, if you think playing one gig a week is too much, I wouldn't hire you. It's not committed enough, but that's basically the same point as above so I'll continue on.


It's not one gig a week that bothers me. We've hit it harder than that and it was fun, when we had something new. There's nothing I'd love more than being out on the road for weeks or months playing every night...for a set period of time. But even the biggest road dogs have to, you know, spend some time in the studio or have a little alone time to write new songs. It's not that I'm not committed to investing time in the band, it's just that I don't want all of it to be playing the same old songs in the same old joints.

Also, "hired". Yeah. I don't want to be hired. He's not my boss. He uses that word too. This is exactly the problem. If you think of me as an employee please don't "hire" me.

Quote by AlanHB
One could say that this statement...isn't very "punk" either, when you compare it with this;


This crossed my mind...
Last edited by jjack at Feb 19, 2014,
#10
AlanHB you really pretty much hit it squarely. For three of us, this band is not our primary profession, so we have a limited number of hours in a week to devote to it. We have to ration our time. I would like to spread it evenly around to what I see as different aspects of our music...I can write on my own time but we need to rehearse, record, and gig together, so there are three things fighting for a limited amount of time. We don't agree about which of those should get the most attention. I'd like to see them each get roughly equal attention because I don't think one is fulfilling without the others. One member of our band, who has the most influence of the four of us, doesn't agree. SO the question is whether this can be reconciled, or if it's better if we just find other people who have similar priorities.

I am "serious" in the sense that I want to write good songs, make a real album, and gig the tunes live. I realize that, at best, not being able to take the plunge -- I have three little girls who can't do without my 50k day job -- puts me on a longer timescale as far as "making it" goes and, more realistically, could limit how far this music goes. That's fine, because I don't mind playing in a basement for 15 kids who are really into it and getting little more than enough gas money to get down the road if my tunes are good and people like it. I realize there is a contradiction here. I have the luxury of being "crusty" on the weekends because I can be white collar five days a week and burn up my paid vacation days to go on tour. Maybe the "problem" member is the most punk of all of us. I don't begrudge him any of his priorities. I like him and respect the hell out of him, and we play GREAT together. I just don't think we're compatible, like you said.
Last edited by jjack at Feb 20, 2014,
#11
^^^ In an ideal world, you guys could keep the originals band and only play original songs and gigs, and the singer can make a separate cover band. This way your amount of gigs would be cut, you could focus on the originals, and the singer could continue making some cash at dive bars.

Quote by JJ
Also, "hired". Yeah. I don't want to be hired. He's not my boss. He uses that word too. This is exactly the problem. If you think of me as an employee please don't "hire" me.


Sorry what I meant to say is that if I were picking band members you wouldn't be able to commit as much as I would require. However I have way more time for bands as I don't have kids running around.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#12
Well you're in a bit of a pickle....my two cents:

1. Sit down with him, all of you but make sure it's friendly and only one of you talks for the group. If there are 3 of you going at him he'll probably feel like his back is against the wall and go defensive. Have a list with what you've stated here and basically be honest about how you guys want the direction of the band to be.
2. Its really hard finding a "happy medium" when it comes to band involvement but seeing there are 3 of you that want the same its better to discuss it with him and leave the decision up to him...cause basically the status quo is if you keep doin what your doing now there will be no band in the long run.
3. Good relations are important in a band but honestly don't think you can be friends with everyone....it is like a job and relationships between bandmembers is best left at casual aquantencies. Be professional and except that of them too...if he's asking favours, borrowing money, and so and its not "job related", (lending someone bussfare to get to rehearsals is annoying but sometimes a necessity if he's unemployed).....just don't except that behaviour....he's not asking cause he sees you as a friend...he's just beeing a leech and you're beeing an "enabler"
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
#13
You should talk to your band leader and tell him what you think first. Have a heart to heart with him and tell him what you guys think. Maybe he changes his attitude. Worth a try. That way if he doesn't see eye to eye with you on things then he understands why you guys broke up, but you can't expect the guy to read minds. If everybody is in the loop, but the band leader, that's a pretty crappy thing to do, IMO.