How To Handle Tensions Between Band Members

I'm sure that those of you who've been in a band now what I mean. Everyone says that the best thing about being in a band is working with other musicians. Whereas that may be true, have you ever thought that the worst thing about being in a band is working with other people?

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So, you're starting a band.Assuming you're the guitarist, you start with a friend of yours from school, say a drummer. You have a couple of rehearsals, you start writing some material, get optimistic and think about getting serious. Next thing you have to look for members.A bassist, maybe a second guitarist and yes, a lead vocalist because you just can't sing.Perhaps the first two rehearsals are okay, and some bands never experience such problems but the things that COULD go wrong could be summed up in the next 3. 1) Creative differences. You and your drummer friend are, say, into alternative rock, influenced by bands such as Radiohead, R.E.M, The Cure and so on.Now the bassist and rythm guitarist are mainly metalheads and the vocalist listens to punk rock. While some bands manage to merge their members influences in various genres with astonishing great songs, the majority of the bands who experience such problems end up dissolving because of this.The thing is that, when you have a band, you want it to sound a certain way, you have influences, things you're better at maybe and instead off getting the sound you want you get a sound you're not sure you'd even listen to if it wasn't your band and you chanced upon it on a record. Solution: Take your time to fill in the band spots.Most bands rush into filling all the spots which is just wrong.Or just check the candidates technical skills only, which is also wrong. Of course you have to get capable people in your band but you have to GET TO KNOW THEM first. Find out what kind of music they like, jam with them a bit, you should always know who you're getting in bed with. Technicality can be achieved through practice but you just can't get somebody to switch his musical tastes. 2) Personal difeerences. The thing to remember here is that people never really show who they are in the beginning.When you go checking out people who want that one spot in your band they will be nice and cheezy and humor you and shit. Then, one month passes and you realise that that nice guy you got in your band is really a jackass who makes it difficult for everyone. Another thing to look at is the lead vocalist.. there are sure quite a few who are all nice and stuff but most of them are egomaniacs and douchebags. They could meddle in everything, give you "the rockstar attitude" and create tensions. Solution: KICK THEIR ASS OUT! Nobody is irreplaceable and even if you have that really great bassist or guitarist or singer and you don't think you'll find a good replacement, trust me.. you will. What you can't fix is a band with hate issues. 3) Underappreciation of members. You are NOT a solo artist and your band isnt a bunch of session musicians. If you want to work alone, go solo and do everything yourself. Nine Inch Nails worked out fine, if you have the chops you can do it too. But if you choose to be in a band remember that they work WITH you not FOR you. Everyone has ideas, some could be good or even better than yours and you shouldn't be an asshole and override them. If you're the singer stop bitching about long solos that steal attention from you, if you are the lead guitarist stop bitching about the lack of long solos to the singer. Long solos are good, in a FEW songs. If you're the lead guitarist and the rythm guitarist wrote a good lead part, let him play it and do the rythm you douche! If the bassist came up with a complex piece, let him do it in the song, it kicks ass.And for f--ks sake, never come up with a name like The Dave Matthews band.Just don't. Bands need to COLLABORATE and if you can't do that, don't be in one.

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    HavokStrife
    Not so great. Bands fighting, members leaving and such, are all really delicate subjects that don't have singular resolutions, like you're trying to convey. Just because someone turns into an ***** doesn't immediately mean you have to kick them out. They could just not be liking something in the band that could be worked on if everyone would talk about it. Maybe someone could be having some serious personal problems they don't wanna talk about and end up dragging bad emotions into band practice. Maybe the songs will suck at first, if you have a bunch of guys with different tastes that have never been in a band before. But see what happens after a couple years. The 'Step 1: Fire people' you convey is pretty harsh and will probably lead you to never being in a band for that long. The guy who wrote this should read Riot Band...
    KlinikaNekros
    Reaper-Man Yeah I have a girl in my band as a lead singer, and shes like a carbon copy of Hayley Williams, how could I not do her? haha
    Lucky bastard. ;p Well,if you don't make a mess out of the band it pretty sure it's worth it.
    dorado91
    Really, no woman is worth putting awesome band chemistry at stake. Sadly there's always someone who doesn't realise this.
    KlinikaNekros
    Depends.Heard that Hayley Williams dated Josh Farro and not she's dating that NFG lead guitarist but Paramore is still here kicking ass.
    Lambal
    hawk_kst wrote: Pretty good advice, A lot of it's common sense though...
    Haha, the latter is lacking in alot of people though...
    kthxbi
    raging_nucleus wrote: Non arrogant singers are hard to find. Some 20-ish douche canoe tried to get me to start a band with me on keyboards and him on vocals and all guitars. He sang beautifully like a prepubescant boy and yet had "DIMEBAG" tatooed on his knuckles and only played razorbacks. He asked me for my cell, so I gave him the number of the university gay/lesbian support group.
    id have to question how you knew the gay support groups number off by heart before i chose who to lol at
    CiReMaN
    hawk_kst wrote: Pretty good advice, A lot of it's common sense though...
    I consider you have common sense but the problem is , a lot of people have no common sense
    uninsane_guitar
    pineaple expres wrote: this other kid that is n a band with me now is a control freak. he's always like breakdown breakdown breakdown and me and the rest of the band r like this is boring iv been playing the same thing ovr and ovr again. he doesnt let anybody else do any of the writing. bottom line. bands get annoying if u dont hav good chemistry.
    I joined a band with this kid and he wanted me to be his guitarist and my brother to be drummer. Me and my brother are like metal fanatics lol and he was sorta. He told us we'd do something like Suicide Silence or Bring Me the Horizon (those bands are pretty awesome) and we're like ok...it turned out to be more like mallcore shit, Asking Alexandria and Attack Attack all that bullsh*t. He was the same way as your band mate he was always like breakdown!!! Oh this song isn't even done yet there's no breakdown! Oh we need a keyboardist we're not a full lineup until we have keys! As much as he wished he was in The Devil Wears Prada (I love them, but only TDWP can pull off their particular brand of metalcore with keys, others are just cheap ripoffs) he just wasn't. My brother wanted us to be like Metallica and Slayer, I just wanted to do more than breakdown after breakdown after breakdown. (I can sweep and tap and all that cool shit and he thought that was "showing off" there were NO SOLOS at all.....) It didn't work at all and the best part is local bands that we played with were like Thank God!!! Now, my own band is getting started, we have all the right stuff that is described in this article, and we're ready to kick some ass, Big 4 of Thrash style!!! (my band sounds like Slayer and The Black Dahlia Murder's love child lol)
    Henkdemachtige
    thetimmster wrote: THANK YOU!!! I honestly thought that I and my bandmates were the only ones who got this!
    Why thank you then? if you AND your band already knew it. Anyways nice article but your 3th point isnt convincing with all the stereotyping and cursing anyway good job.
    KlinikaNekros
    Henkdemachtige your 3th point isnt convincing with all the stereotyping and cursing anyway good job.
    I'm vulgar,just the way I speak I guess,and stereotypes like that exist for a reason.
    KlinikaNekros
    When people don't like something,they should say it,otherwise suck it up and try not to make everyones like miserable.Same goes for personal issues,no place for those in the band.Guys with different tastes have no place in the same band,they should be in bands that allow them to express themselves as they like,otherwise they'll be miserable.Yes,firing people is harsh but it just has to happen sometimes.You can't change who people are but the band is something you can change.You don't stick with *****s or people who don't really wanna be a part of what you're doing for a couple of years just so they might work it out.
    loaded_
    xstatic44 wrote: What if you were in a cover band that wants to play Kelly Clarkson, Notorious BIG, and Hanson? Do these rules still apply? How did I ever last 10 months...
    you just leave the band and start/look for another band that plays real music.
    osXtiger
    This article went pretty well till the end where It came off sounding awfully like a rant.
    Dmt8jr
    keep girls in personal life and out of the band life and youll be fine.
    tyscott
    My biggest problem is finding members with enough commitment and dedication to the band. It's really quite frustrating.
    KlinikaNekros
    I wouldn't say I'm exactly biased,this article is entirely based on personal experience,what I mean is that I faced those exact problems and,eventually,that's how I worked it out and everything is fine now.
    Fshhaaw
    HavokStrife wrote: The guy who wrote this should read Riot Band...
    Haha totally should see how you could fix a handlebar moustached drummer that makes out with your ex haha
    jean_genie
    Just my two cents ... I had issues from playing with friends too. We were a 'roots rock' band ... think Led Zeppelin III, minus the drummer and plus a keyboard. Our vocalist was a woman who sang EXTREMELY well, and even though she was hot, nobody tried to do her. Well, nobody tried very hard. We broke up because two of the members (keyboard and mandolin) had to be taught the songs over and over, like every week. As the primary songwriter, this really pissed me off to no end. The singer, bass player and I tried to find some other people, but we couldn't get people to recapture the sound we liked. And since the other two were our friends, and since we didn't want to upset our friends unless we could find perfect replacements, we all just went our separate ways. I joined a pop/alt band as the lead guitarist, and used lots of delay, phaser and wah to psych out the well-known songs. The singer did the singer/songwriter thing. To the best of my knowledge, the other guys pretty much called the band thing quits.
    18zzz18
    Okay, so I'm a girl? I've been in bands, and 90% of the time? I've been the one fixing problems, not causing them. It all depends on what kind of a girl you get. If you get someone who's gonna go flirt with each of the band members and make them hate each other? Problem. However, finding the right girl for a band is very similar to finding the right guy for a band. Similar interests. I happen to be a tomboyish person, so therefore I get along with them well and they treat me like one of the guys. If you can get a girl like that, you won't have problems. And for those jerks saying the whole time of the month thing? Honestly? I guarantee that 98% of the time you'll have no idea that its her time of the month. So it just all depends on what kind of girl you're getting. And for the ego-maniacs: you need to find a way to squash their ego. It'll be better for them in the long run. Bring them to a show where the instrumentalist is amazing and say, "man I wish you could do that!". Harsh I know. But if it gets them to be less ego obsessed, then I suppose you're good.
    18zzz18
    PS: sorry for the rant. It just upsets me when girls are classified as all the same.
    KlinikaNekros
    I have a girl singing in my band atm and everything's going great,so far at least. In fact,it's not the girls fault we guys tend to think with our dicks.We do that,I'm not really ashamed for it,it's natural.It's not your fault,but having a girl in a band with 4 guys can very well destroy that.
    Reaper-Man
    KlinikaNekros wrote: jrakus wrote: Useful to read. We have some issues in my band and trying to work it out. Like previous poster said, most of it is common sense, but it helps to read it! you could touch the issue of having a girl in a band. 've been there.Does account on the personal differences but statistics say that one of the guys will end up doing the girl and then the band's over.
    Yeah I have a girl in my band as a lead singer, and shes like a carbon copy of Hayley Williams, how could I not do her? haha
    KlinikaNekros
    ryancide wrote: i'm quit lucky with my current band. we have a female singer without any ego problems! my old band, the singer drove everyone away with his bullshit attitude. but 1 question...the band is cool, but their signifigant others are douchebags. our singers boyfriend is an ass. how would i deal with this situation?
    Unless it affects the band don't do shit,it's not your problem.
    jrakus
    Useful to read. We have some issues in my band and trying to work it out. Like previous poster said, most of it is common sense, but it helps to read it! you could touch the issue of having a girl in a band.
    KlinikaNekros
    RicBerkley wrote: Most of this is common sense....where it becomes difficult is when all the members are friends prior to the band being formed....and even more difficult when there is a secondary relationship, like belonging to the same club or organization. We started great, then the creative, ego, preferred style...all that stuff started showing up. Your are almost better off starting with people you don't know, get to know them, and go from there.
    Well yeah,I've been through all of them.Start with friends,get a female singer which dated the drummer and then the guitarist had a major crush on her which ****ed us up,starting a band with strangers,vocalist trouble,and now in addition to my bands i play bass as a session player for a local band here.Being in a band is quite arduous.I ended up having a bunch of side-projects to be ok with myself.
    KlinikaNekros
    True but experience taught me that a good deal of people lack this simple common sense.
    KlinikaNekros
    jrakus wrote: Useful to read. We have some issues in my band and trying to work it out. Like previous poster said, most of it is common sense, but it helps to read it! you could touch the issue of having a girl in a band.
    've been there.Does account on the personal differences but statistics say that one of the guys will end up doing the girl and then the band's over.
    Lord_Vhailor
    Wish I knew this a year ago, maybe everything would've gone another way. Girls in a band - I think it's a taste of personality and what she does in the band. I didn't want a female vocalist in my previous band, we started to argue a lot and soon she left, then the band broke up.
    wyldeshredder
    ya....girl in the band. i could get into a long story that caused me a lot of grief, some of which carried into my next band..
    HendrixClaptonP
    Session musos can work together very well, and are very good players, and can't afford to be ego-maniacs or they won't get work. Typically no one knows who they are, or their names and contributions are hidden in album sleeves or credits. And if yo are a session player you will probably be playing with people who are ego maniacs, so you can't be one yourself. Other than that not bad, agreed girls in the band can be an issue, and singers ego's are a huge issue in my experience!
    KlinikaNekros
    HendrixClaptonP wrote: Session musos can work together very well, and are very good players, and can't afford to be ego-maniacs or they won't get work. Typically no one knows who they are, or their names and contributions are hidden in album sleeves or credits. And if yo are a session player you will probably be playing with people who are ego maniacs, so you can't be one yourself. Other than that not bad, agreed girls in the band can be an issue, and singers ego's are a huge issue in my experience!
    I wasn't reffering to session musicians,I was reffering to treating your bandmates like session musicians.
    RicBerkley
    Most of this is common sense....where it becomes difficult is when all the members are friends prior to the band being formed....and even more difficult when there is a secondary relationship, like belonging to the same club or organization. We started great, then the creative, ego, preferred style...all that stuff started showing up. Your are almost better off starting with people you don't know, get to know them, and go from there.
    Guano23
    One word, communication. If you dont express yourself and ideas no one will know wtf your thinking. Been with the same guys for 7 years now but have gone through 4 singers. Think we finally have it right this time. Other singers have just bowed out but we always talked stuff over and we are all still friends. The other thing is as a musician you have to be able to take criticism, the good and bad.
    thetimmster
    THANK YOU!!! I honestly thought that I and my bandmates were the only ones who got this!
    xstatic44
    What if you were in a cover band that wants to play Kelly Clarkson, Notorious BIG, and Hanson? Do these rules still apply? How did I ever last 10 months...
    ryancide
    i'm quit lucky with my current band. we have a female singer without any ego problems! my old band, the singer drove everyone away with his bullshit attitude. but 1 question...the band is cool, but their signifigant others are douchebags. our singers boyfriend is an ass. how would i deal with this situation?
    Electric Pluto
    i feel like members also have to have somewhat similar personalities and a sense of humor. for instance, i am relatively insane and this kind of turned off one rhythm guitarist we had because he was more interested in playing bon jovi than the mars volta. also, i'd get strange looks from my ex-drummer when i would dance at the mic or make weird faces at my best friend/bassist. the bassplayer and i have been in various bands for the past three years and we always work well, so it's important to play with similar people or at least folks who bring out the good in you. my ex-drummer pissed the hell out of us thus band tensions were high (he rarely showed up so he could be with his girlfriend instead). find a group of guys who like similar things, have similar personalities, and play to play and not to impress girls. better to not be in a band than a band you can't stand being in.
    pineaple expres
    oh man. iv had ego maniacs and girls n a band and it doesnt work.....actually i wasnt n a bad with a chick she kicked me out sumhow. paramore worked out tho. so did heart. i wouldnt mind havn a girl n the band its just the whole time of the month thing that would get n the way.....kinda like y alot of ppl think its a bad idea to hav a woman president. this other kid that is n a band with me now is a control freak. he's always like breakdown breakdown breakdown and me and the rest of the band r like this is boring iv been playing the same thing ovr and ovr again. he doesnt let anybody else do any of the writing. bottom line. bands get annoying if u dont hav good chemistry.
    COBShredder
    what i do with my band is easier, i was by myself, so I did my songs and passed them to some guys (drummer, bassist other guitar player) and went like, if you want to join the band its alright, here is how the songs are gonna be if you like it, join. so its pretty stable at the time ;
    Andragon
    You sound a bit butt-hurt bout singers, but the rest is sound advice.
    KlinikaNekros
    Andragon wrote: You sound a bit butt-hurt bout singers, but the rest is sound advice.
    Maybe,but that's cause I had to go through several due to severe douchebaggery.
    Andy2k64
    hawk_kst wrote: Pretty good advice, A lot of it's common sense though...
    I agree but at the same time its a good article to show people that they are not alone. its not nice to dislike anyone in a band so to know that its happens to alot of groups is good to know
    E.harley
    common sense is hard to find in bands sometimes. my advice would be to everyone in a team orientated band with many style influences - just play and create your own sound. that's how Zeppelin did it!
    hawk_kst wrote: Pretty good advice, A lot of it's common sense though...
    espChris93
    hahah this seems like "rock n roll for dummies" just a list of useless shit that you know doesnt work in a real life situation
    raging_nucleus
    Non arrogant singers are hard to find. Some 20-ish douche canoe tried to get me to start a band with me on keyboards and him on vocals and all guitars. He sang beautifully like a prepubescant boy and yet had "DIMEBAG" tatooed on his knuckles and only played razorbacks. He asked me for my cell, so I gave him the number of the university gay/lesbian support group.