#1
I've seen a lot of similar threads to this, but didn't want to hijack anyone else's thread with my own problems. I'm new here, and rarely ask advice online, but this problem has been eating me up inside and causing me sleepless nights, so here goes (sorry it's so long!).

I've been in a band for the last nine months and things are reaching a crisis point. A couple of months ago we started gigging around our local area, and everybody seems to have gone off the boil. Up until the first gig, we practice three times every week, and now we're lucky if we meet once a week. It feels like everyone now thinks "great, we're getting gigs. We can stop trying now.", whereas I think that if anything, we need to put more into it so we can start getting PAID gigs, something that so far we haven't had.

That's just the start of the problems though. The drummer never practices between jams or rehearsals (and in fact NEVER has). He's only played for a few years, and wants to be self-taught, so won't learn exercises or take any advice from anywhere. As a result, his tempo control is terrible, the couple of rolls he uses again and again do my head in, and he plays his kit so hard that it is falling to pieces. This is bearing in mind that he never has money to fix it, or pay for rehearsals for that matter. He hasn't put his hand in his pocket once (in fact I invested the money to buy his current kit in the first place).

The singer is a complete control freak, and is insulting and brutal in any criticism she gives, but the other guys just let her get away with it, despite the fact she puts very little effort in, and often can't attend practice. She seems to have decided to take on the role of "band leader", which is crazy as she has never promoted the band, or given any input beyond her vocals (that she still regularly forgets). She doesn't even read the band emails, which frustrates the hell out of me, as most of my between-practice time is taken up with promoting, networking and demo-recording on behalf of the band. We wouldn't have had a single gig without my efforts, a logo, a bio, anything, but I can't remember a single one of these efforts that hasn't been dragged through the mud by her at one point or another. She has an excellent voice though, and as a result seems to believe she can get away with anything.

Worst of all, all my bandmates (bassist, drummer and singer) are old friends from way back when they were in school together, which kind of makes me the outsider, although I've known them all for years too. Earlier this week in a practice with the drummer and bassist, I complained about people having better things to do than practice, when a potentially important gig is just around the corner (I'd had pitifully bad excuses from the drummer and singer as to why they couldn't make the last one). The drummer took exception to this and launched a tirade of highly personal abuse at me, culminating in me walking out early with my equipment in hand (barring the drumkit I paid for). Now the entire band seems to have fallen out with me, and are blaming me because the drummer has decided to leave, stating that the band has become too much of "a chore". I have had each of them, and mutual friends, telling me I should apologise to the drummer, and beg him to stay. Despite all the bad things I've written here, I don't want to give up on it all, as I see potential in the endeavour, but I also don't want to waste my time with people who are not worth it. Any advice?
Last edited by axeman4666 at Sep 20, 2014,
#2
Leave and take your songs somewhere else. Don't stay in a shit environment nothing good can come from it.
#3
You paid for his kit, right? Take the kit, take your songs, and go elsewhere.

If your band is too immature to practice, then you're clearly wasting your time. Fuck them.
#4
Get the **** out. You are wasting your time with them. If you ever were to gain any real momentum, is this really the sort of people you want to be around every day? If you're serious about a band, you really have to like the other guys so you can also have fun, otherwise it's just going to be painful. Easy going types (who are also serious) are the best type to be in bands with. You have to learn to give space to other band members, be respectful of eachotherer, encourage instead of complaining, etc. It doesn't sound like your bandmebers are capable of neither.

I don't think think these things can be worked out, you have to get out.
#5
Practice 3 times a week is total overkill.

That said, there's no band to save. Your bandmates don't want to play music with you. You don't want to play with them. No need for apologies.

Just collect your gear and move on.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#6
Thank you so much for the replies. The really painful thing in all this is that the bassist is lovely, patient, dedicated and everything I want in a bandmate. We've played together in three different bands over the last eight years, and he's the part of all this that I really don't want to lose. The singer, as I said, is a complete pain in the arse, but I can't deny her talent, and have always struggled to find a singer who's voice I actually like. The drummer, on the other hand, is poison. He steals other people's girlfriends, owes everybody and his dog money, and has such a knack for making enemies that a few people boycott our gigs already! A further question would be, if the drummer IS serious, and leaves, are there any methods people know of to reel in the singer's out-of-control ego?
#7
Why are you trying to save this band? Just start a new one with the bassist.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#8
I think the bassist has disappeared inside the drummer's anus sadly. I'm trying to pull on the one pinky finger he still has sticking out, but we'll just have to see if I can gain purchase! It's pretty much all done now. So glad I came here for advice - it was the push I needed to put this all into effect, and I'm trying REALLY hard not to be a douche about it! I've started already in networking to find them a replacement for me, so I can leave them to their madness without tarnishing my own name!
Last edited by axeman4666 at Sep 21, 2014,
#10
The bassist is buying me out on it, crazysam, which is fine by me - the ham-fisted dickhead has half-destroyed the thing anyway!!
#11
It doesn't sound like they are dedicated to being a band. The "band" I was in stopped working because we couldn't/didn't want to prioritize the band over other things. Which is fine, musicianship can still carry on outside of a band.

If you still have the opportunity to save it, you would need to find common ground. Questions like, "What are we doing this for?" and "Do you really want to make music?" should be answered somewhat the same by all band members.
#12
I think this was part of the problem, Will. No consensus was ever laid down. They all talk a good fight, but now it's come time to put fists up, everybody is pussying out. I think it's too late for those questions to be posed, but I may present them anyway, just to see how opposed we actually were...
#13
You are overthinking this process.

Take the drumkit until the bassist pays.

Tell the other guys that you're quitting the band.

No further action required.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#14
^ Yeah. Getting those other mutual friends to sort of guilt you as well is kind of a dick move, if you ask me. Just because they're acting like you're the bad guy doesn't mean you are. Assuming everything went down the way you said it did (not saying for a second it didn't, I'm just keeping myself right, just in case ) it sounds like they're the ones who should be apologising. and you certainly shouldn't have to set the band up so they fall on their feet once you leave- that's up to them.

dickish types are often pretty good at doing dickish stuff but then getting nicer people to feel like they're in the wrong. don't fall for it.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#15
Quote by axeman4666
The bassist is buying me out on it, crazysam, which is fine by me - the ham-fisted dickhead has half-destroyed the thing anyway!!

Quote by AlanHB
You are overthinking this process.

Take the drumkit until the bassist pays.

Tell the other guys that you're quitting the band.

No further action required.


Alan laying it down.

Quote by Dave_Mc
dickish types are often pretty good at doing dickish stuff but then getting nicer people to feel like they're in the wrong. don't fall for it.

Yup. You don't owe them anything. If they want the drumset, then wait until the bassist pays for it. If he never pays for it (or takes forever), then they're using your kit for free and not contributing anything towards you. You're no longer in the same band; you owe them exactly...zero!
Last edited by crazysam23_Atax at Sep 21, 2014,
#16
^
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#17
Hahaha! Feel so much better! Dave_Mc, you make a damn good point - this is just the situation from MY point of view, and naturally I'm biased towards the points in my own head. My problem is I've played much longer, and been in many more bands than the lot of them. This makes me a bit of a taskmaster, and perhaps that's a bit much for them. As for the bassist, to his credit, he has already wired me two-thirds of the cash for the kit, and I expect the rest towards the end of the week. I know I don't owe them anything, or the chance to land on their feet, but without being big-headed, any replacement I find for them is not going to be as advanced as I am, as they are all former students of mine who are yet to overtake me!
#20
Been trying to listen to your stuff through the link, Sam, but my damn browser isn't giving me any sound from it! Aarrgh! Do you have another place I can give you a listen from buddy?
#21
Quote by axeman4666
Hahaha! Feel so much better! Dave_Mc, you make a damn good point - this is just the situation from MY point of view, and naturally I'm biased towards the points in my own head. My problem is I've played much longer, and been in many more bands than the lot of them. This makes me a bit of a taskmaster, and perhaps that's a bit much for them. As for the bassist, to his credit, he has already wired me two-thirds of the cash for the kit, and I expect the rest towards the end of the week. I know I don't owe them anything, or the chance to land on their feet, but without being big-headed, any replacement I find for them is not going to be as advanced as I am, as they are all former students of mine who are yet to overtake me!




(I'd also say that just because you're biased doesn't necessarily mean you're not in the right, too. Your way of looking at it may well be correct. Everyone is biased, but some people are way more biased (or just outright dickish) than others.)
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#22
They all seem biased towards the useless prick of a drummer. The latest is that the singer and drummer are thinking of backing out on the four gig dates the band still has lined up! I'm getting shit from all corners for not contacting the drummer to make amends, yet they are all ignoring the fact that he quit, refuses to practice because he doesn't want to be in the same room as me, and has taken the very adult approach of unfriending and blocking me! This is just so ridiculous! He said some horrendous shit to me, but I've been packed up and ready to go to every practice that should have happened, have agreed to do the gigs, and as stated before, even offered to arrange my replacement! Not that it would matter, as the singer and bassist say that if the drummer leaves, they will dissolve the band! Very professional....
#23
So...quit bothering with it. Take your gear & leave. Don't bother anymore.

Did the bass player finish paying you for the drums?
#24
^ +1

They're dicks. You're better away from them.
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#25
Don't worry mate, I'm rising above! Spent a great day jamming with an old friend who actually appreciates my playing - so refreshing! Also, the night I quit, a request for a new lead guitarist in a city but a stone's throw away came up, like providence calling! I've put in my app, and as soon as they have a decent list of applicants, auditions will resume! Looking into doing something more with my raft of kit now, as it was woefully underused in my previous endeavour...
#26
Quote by AlanHB
Practice 3 times a week is total overkill.


Well, if you're in three bands, then sure, since there aren't that many days in the week, but for our band, the vast majority of songwriting took place within jams that were conducted within the practice sessions. In the space of six months we had twenty damn good originals to choose from for our sets, as well as hours of extra material (all recorded, naturally) to draw from, so it is probably just considered "overkill" from the perspective of a person who is spread too thinly between different projects. Perhaps this may go some way to explaining why this was not an easy decision to make.
#27
^^^ Welll your band only lasted 9 months, and I think that part of the reason is that your bandmates were burnt out. If you actually had 20 songs you could have decreased the practices to something more reasonable like once a week.

I know you are frustrated about the other guys not showing up to practices, but if I was in a band for 6 months that had 20 songs, zero gigs and practice 3 times a week, I'd skip practices too. Would I have better things to do? Hells yeah!

Hopefully the practices were only two hours long. Any longer is a waste.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#28
Quote by AlanHB
^^^ Welll your band only lasted 9 months, and I think that part of the reason is that your bandmates were burnt out. If you actually had 20 songs you could have decreased the practices to something more reasonable like once a week.

I know you are frustrated about the other guys not showing up to practices, but if I was in a band for 6 months that had 20 songs, zero gigs and practice 3 times a week, I'd skip practices too. Would I have better things to do? Hells yeah!

Hopefully the practices were only two hours long. Any longer is a waste.


Absolutely they were two hours long - much like revision, I'm aware that marathon sessions mean you lose a vast majority of productivity in the middle section, remembering mainly the first and last things you did. The three practices a week were agreed on by every member of the band, who were more than happy - in fact insistent - that they happened. Oh, and at the six month mark, no one was skipping practice. It was once we began playing gigs that the complacency started - we had played four gigs leading up to the point of the break-up, and had another four officially booked over the next month, as well as several others that myself and the bassist were networking to sort out in the following months too. I should also add that the twenty songs were very much at the foundation stage and requiring work - the idea (borne from a friend in a successful band) was to make as many ideas as we could, so we could pick from the cream of the crop - my friends band wrote around 70 in the inception of their first album, and only 8 of those saw the light of day!

My frustration lay in the fact that no one had come forward and said "Hey guys, mind if we just strip it down to once a week? This is just too much". Instead it went more like: "Guys I've been called into work this afternoon, and I can't get out of it.", "Guys, I promised I'd help my sister with something so I can't make it.", "Guys, I got my shift patterns wrong, so I can't make it.", "Guys, I've got flu, so I can't make it.". Often these excuses were but an hour or two before an arranged meet, by which point I was all packed up and ready to go, having often turned down social engagements I could have made instead.

Still, it's all done and dusted now, and if anything, it's taught me a lot about what to look for (both in benefits and red-flags) when scouting out future band mates.
Last edited by axeman4666 at Sep 24, 2014,
#29
Irrespective of whether they mentioned it verbally, it's pretty clear that they didn't want to dedicate that much time to the band anymore.

One tip I can give you with bandmates (and people in general) is that if people want to do something, they'll do it. Conversely if they don't want to do something, they won't do it. So for examplenif you bandmate misses a bunch of practices, it's nit because he/she had other things on, it's becuase they didn't want to practice.

Furthermore, missing practices is usually a sign that the member is going to quit soon. I know they made it look like you were actually the one who quitted, but there wasn't much to quit really. A bunch of guys who couldn't practice together who were willing to drop gigs in a second. Those other guys really quit a while ago - they just didn't tell you.

I'd also rethink using your band practices as songwriting time. It is very rare for the entire band to contribute equally to a song, so there is no need for everyone to be present waiting for inspiration to hit somebody. It is far more common for a bandmember to write a song or part of a song away from practice, record it on their phone, send it to the other guys to work with and get it all together at next band practice. This means much less wasted time sitting around, and you'll keep your band members engaged.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
Soundcloud
#30
Always seems to me that guitarists are the only ones that ever give a fuch about their band getting somewhere.
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#31
Quote by AlanHB
A bunch of guys who couldn't practice together who were willing to drop gigs in a second.


Well, you predicted the future on that one, Alan, because guess what? I had a message this morning at 7am saying the singer and drummer were ill, and I had to contact the promoter and cancel a gig we were supposed to be doing TONIGHT! In all my years, I've never had to do that. Like you say, nothing to save!

As for the song writing, I get what you're saying, and that method is my preferred modus operandi, but the other guys don't really write at all on their own at home (the singer wrote lyrics, but more as poetry waiting for a song to fit them to). They preferred to jam out stuff, but that always came out a bit unstructured. The middle ground we struck was to have jams with all of us improvising, and the singer recording it on her phone. Weirdly, these always came out at around 11 minutes - don't know why that is! Me and the bassist would then meet up another night of the week, with what was a mutually agreed "best jam of the night", and strip it down to somewhere between 3 and 5 minutes, taking the core essence of what we thought made it good, and adding/removing parts as we saw fit. We'd record this, then send it to the others for discussion at the next meet. It seemed to be working quite well, and it saved people getting disgruntled at me having the monopoly over song writing (they obviously found SOMETHING to be disgruntled about in it all though!). I quite liked that arrangement, though it seems that returning to this more traditional approach will be how I do it from here on in, as I understand that if I write the songs myself, it doesn't matter who stays or leaves my next band, those songs will most definitely be mine to keep!
#32
Quote by The Judist
Always seems to me that guitarists are the only ones that ever give a fuch about their band getting somewhere.


Maybe it's because it takes a fair bit of effort to become even half-decent on our instrument, whereas singers either have it naturally or they don't, and a lot of bassists and drummers think they can get away with being just mediocre (that certainly doesn't apply to ALL bassists and drummers, I should add!). Therefore the extra time and effort guitarist will generally put into their instruments gives them a far greater investment in it all.
#33
Music is the easy part, people are the hard part. I hear a bunch of pretty unrealistic expectations and that is the stuff of band angst and breakup.

3 rehearsals/week preparing to play free gigs is madness unless all players have no life. I'd walk in a heartbeat no matter how good the other players were. If you are playing Hollywood Bowl on Saturday for $20K each, folks will find time for 3 rehearsals. Otherwise, forgetaboutit.

Gentle suggestion:
Handle songwriting as a duo (rarely if ever full band) and don't invite the drummer till you are pretty tight. Make quickie demo recordings so others know what you are working on. Rehearse 1/wk and learn 2-3 new songs max. Run through some of your older stuff to keep it current. Record the rehearsal and share it. The fastest way to make a drummer go postal is songwriting or woodshedding during band rehearsal. They universally HATE IT! Respect the other players time and personal life.

Find and book paid gigs. Free showcase, prepay, pay-to-play is schite and always a slow death band killer. If your music doesn't sell, start writing music that does sell. Beating this horse 3x/wk for free gigs is not gonna fly ever.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
Last edited by Cajundaddy at Sep 25, 2014,
#34
Quote by Cajundaddy
Music is the easy part, people are the hard part. I hear a bunch of pretty unrealistic expectations and that is the stuff of band angst and breakup.

3 rehearsals/week preparing to play free gigs is madness unless all players have no life. I'd walk in a heartbeat no matter how good the other players were. If you are playing Hollywood Bowl on Saturday for $20K each, folks will find time for 3 rehearsals. Otherwise, forgetaboutit.

Gentle suggestion:
Handle songwriting as a duo (rarely if ever full band) and don't invite the drummer till you are pretty tight. Make quickie demo recordings so others know what you are working on. Rehearse 1/wk and learn 2-3 new songs max. Run through some of your older stuff to keep it current. Record the rehearsal and share it. The fastest way to make a drummer go postal is songwriting or woodshedding during band rehearsal. They universally HATE IT! Respect the other players time and personal life.

Find and book paid gigs. Free showcase, prepay, pay-to-play is schite and always a slow death band killer. If your music doesn't sell, start writing music that does sell. Beating this horse 3x/wk for free gigs is not gonna fly ever.


I appreciate what you're saying, but you're missing a few salient points from my previous posts. Perhaps a little extra elucidation is in order. Firstly, the drummer was perhaps the biggest fan of "woodshedding" out of the lot of us - on top of these three band meets per week (perhaps a better phrase than "rehearsals" to describe the way they were), he would meet with the bassist each Saturday, when myself and the singer had other commitments, for YET MORE "woodshedding"! I guess for him all of these meets were his personal practice time, as his drumkit would get packed away after (even though he had ample space to have it set up permanently) and not touched again until the next band meet. I should also add at this point that all these meetings took place at his flat, where noise was no particular issue, thanks to him having just one (almost deaf) neighbour (we didn't send the guy deaf, by the way!). Rehearsals actually did take place once a week at a local studio on the build up to gigs, where we could crank it up through a good PA and work on our showmanship in a space more conducive to the feel of a stage (all videoed for scrutiny afterwards, of course).

I've been in bands in the past where the song writing duo thing worked quite well - myself and the rhythm guitarist from an old band of mine FUBAR used to write all of the songs in my ******* (the place where I make food and wash the dishes! Why does this keep getting bleeped out?!), get the bassist in on a night when we had some cool ideas ready for him, and then the drummer at loud practices, JUST like you suggest. This more recent band was a little different though - the singer was an immense control freak, and would shut down if she didn't get her way on every decision, the bassist could only come up with parts that sounded too similar to the original riff to really stand out as a new section in the song (he was much better at coming up with accompanying parts than whole new sections), and the drummer would become resentful at being left out of the process. I maintain that our way remained, for everyone involved, the very best way to come up with new material (unorthodox as it was) - and believe me, it worked! Songs generated from our "woodshedding" were by far our most popular live and through social media.

The process we used to song write is not what I put into question here - it may not work as well with any other group of musicians I play with, and I will come up with a different technique for whatever suits the next situation - unconventional solutions to conventional problems! If that happens to be a traditional approach to song writing that works for everybody, then that's the one we will initially use, but I find thinking outside of the box often yields the most original and interesting material, and I will always look for different approaches to song writing, as I believe taking one approach and sticking to it as gospel only leads to eventual staleness.

This brings me back to my original point, which is: if the 3 band meets a week were an agreed upon, celebrated benefit to the band, that everybody was keen to do and in fact loved, by their own admission, then what is the problem in having that many? If that feeling had changed for any member, despite this, there was not a person in the band who would have complained to hear the words "I can't do this many band meets a week anymore, because of REASON A, REASON B". What is unreasonable about the expectation of simple politeness?

PS. We came away with a cut off the door on our first two, charity gig was number three, cut off door on number four (and the one we would have done tonight) and the same for three of the next four (one of which was another charity gig). Of course, cut of sales on the door is slim pickings whilst you build a draw for your band, but you surely know that this is only achieved by getting out there and making a name for yourself, which we had only just begun to do. I don't know what it's like over in the US, but here, unless you have a proven track-record of drawing good crowds to your gigs, no promoter is going to book you on a decent fixed fee (unless you're a touring band, and even then you can expect to sometimes only come away with petrol money - recession has hit the live music biz hard here).
Last edited by axeman4666 at Sep 25, 2014,
#35
It ain't working. If everything was just peaches, you wouldn't be here. Grab your gear and simply move on.
"Your sound is in your hands as much as anything. It's the way you pick, and the way you hold the guitar, more than it is the amp or the guitar you use." -- Stevie Ray Vaughan

"Anybody can play. The note is only 20 percent. The attitude of the motherfucker who plays it is 80 percent." -- Miles Davis

Guthrie on tone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmohdG9lLqY
#36
Have already done so, my friend. Read up the comments - it certainly ain't "peaches", but you were picking points that were actually working great for us, and I had to say my (very long) piece!

PS. Guthrie is a legend!