Miscellaneous Rumbles

Letting a band member go…

1

Tormented over making this decision but in the end had to listen to my gut and give one of my band mates the axe.

It came down to personality and a lack of professionalism.
Talented guy, but I just couldn’t do it anymore. Where do you draw the line with band mates?
For me it was the lack of professionalism, ie. I just never knew what would spew out of his mouth while on stage, and he wasn’t willing to change.

2

Bummer. Personality can sometimes be overcome if the guy still conducts himself like a pro, but it's hard to make excuses for the inexcusable. I'm sure you will find plenty of people ready for a chance to join your band and prove themselves.

Good Luck

3

Lewd, crude, rude, and socially unacceptable is no way to go thru life. When you're dealing with the public, your demeanor is highly important. Not everyone enjoys the "locker room" mentality. It easily could've cost you gigs. I've been thru this with my brother. It got to the point that I couldn't go out in public with him to anything other than a dive bar.

4

As a band leader I have to admit I enjoy a good awkward moment live, when the whole place goies silent, but not by being nasty.

I had to fire a bass player last year, and frankly I was glad. Despite being an actually good jazz trained player (though we're not a jazz band per se) he couldn't get a decent sound out of his amp, was NEVER loud enough (We're louder than a jazz combo but quieter than a full on rock band) and had a lot of passive aggressive attitude. Also he was still using cheat sheets after a year and would often miss beginnings and endings, and cues. The last straw was when audience members were noticing his f-ups That and my drummer didn't like playing with him anymore. My drummer is my litrmus test for niceness in people. He's very kind and generous of nature If he doesn't like them, they're probably not worth liking

Too often I've tolerated the wrong player or bad attitude just to avoid the hassle and awkwardness of replacement .. in the end it's not worth it. I'd say pat yourself on the back for doing the difficult but right thing.

5

Consider discharges like that easy, Hipbone: he was hurting the band, and you warned him.

I don't know where everyone here is on the "professional musician" spectrum, but I suspect most of us are weekend-wockstaw* hobbyists who are in it for the fun and satisfaction of playing music, because we don't make enough money to be in it for that, right? When someone sucks the fun out of it, they gots to be gones. They gots to, and that's that.

You only put up with chumps when there's a lot of money at stake.

Paul/FF909

*say that in an Elmer Fudd voice and it makes sense.

6

Years ago, I was the leader of a traveling road group that played hotels - 4 / 5 hours per night, 6 nights a week. We'd play at the same place for 2 to 4 weeks. I was out during a break and someone in the audience asked me what was up with the drummer. He explained that the drummer was bad mouthing the band, seemed very unhappy, and was telling people how he was going to put together a far better band. I asked a number of other folks (on different nights) about this and most of them told me the same thing. The problem with that kind of band is that you need to keep it working and try to book 6 to 10 or more weeks in advance, preferably with decent drives (4 to 5 hours or less) between venues. I called our agent and told him I needed two weeks open as soon as possible. I had to wait almost two teeth-gritted months for those open weeks. The drummer got let go after the last night before the time off. I told him that he should go where his heart is and not stay where his heart isn't. He was cool with that.

We used the 2 weeks off to work in another drummer, then back out there.

7

I hate it when that happens. Been there, lived through that. Been fired once by someone who got too big a head and thought he was better than the rest of the band, and also have had to fire someone who was causing too much grief and put me in a "Keep her or us" situation with the rest of a long-time folk group.

Neither was fun, but they seem to be part of the deal.

Nowdays, I mostly work alone. Even so, every now and then I think someone's going have to go...

8

I have simple rules.

Show up for practice and gig;

Pay what is due;

At least try to learn the songs everyone agreed on;

Don't be a dick.

9

I've played with grating people too, and I've possibly been a grater also. I've had to let go of guitar players that really should have been better, a bass player that was a "one finger" guy as in only the root and not the run, and I've been fired myself for asking to play the song as heard instead of what someone wanted to come up with as a shortcoming.

All in all, I don't miss it.

10

Make your manager do it and claim it wasn't your doing. That's what managers are for.

11

Rather than spend another summer on the road with with someone whose company I could not tolerate, I quit a band. It was him or me. This guy is a world class player while I’m only so-so. There was no choice when it came to chops or musical depth. This guy would stay.

I feel redeemed to know that this great player has been fired from three bands you would all recognize, including a Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member’s band. I later regrouped with old band members minus this problem child. We still gig occasionally under far less stressful circumstances.

12

Just because someone has great musical chops, that doesn't make them a great human being. Life's too short to deal with idiots.

14

In over 35 years of being in bands, I've only been in one where someone has gotten the boot...and I had to do it. Fortunately, it was a very easy reason for the guy to understand I've left a few. This band is mine, and I can't leave it...which means I have to give someone the boot. It sucks. We have so much of our identity/ego tied up in our art/skill... it's going to be a real bummer for this guy to get the axe. I ain't looking forward to doing it.

15

Rat rod covered it. Do not be afraid of hurt feelings. Hurt feelings are for pussies. Yo Rat, learning songs is a big part of it, I could not agree more with you. GOOD RULES!!!

16

By the way, pissing and moaning over a guy is just sissy shit. I mean really, your going to cry over a guy that you most likely will not ever see again. Come on and be a boy, put your hankies away and try not to smudge your eye shadow and mascara while your at it. That is just the shit that real bands do. Welcome to the big blue world.

17

I wish that was the situation, but the reality is he is a friend and I live in a small town. I did pull up my big boy pants and get it done, but it wasn’t easy. Life would be nice if it was always cut and dry, sometimes the human element gets in the way.

I made the decision and I’m better for it.

18

There's nothing sissy about being nice. We could use more of it.

19

Being in a real band is a business if indeed you have not worked in a real band then you will not know of what I speake. So your a musician, at least thats what you think, So,,,, hears your job. Show up for every practice, learn every note of every song until you have it tight,show up for every gig, and don't smurf up your parts because if you do you will be on the streets the next morning with your union card in your hand wondering what the hell just happened, the band, well they will not have skipped a beat, your place will have been filled before you left the parking lot last night. So anyway being nice is not really a commodity. Personally I have never been let go from a band. back in the day when I worked at it we worked hard we practiced hard, we worked sober and were generally careful of the pot smoking. It is a nasty business over all.

20

For any other job, showing up late, or not at all, showing up loaded, unable to do the job, etc., would all be grounds for dismissal. Why should a band be any different? There re still a lot of guys wanting a decent gig out there.

Being nice is great. It doesn't always work to everyone's best advantage. A buddy that dumps on you really isn't much of a friend.

21

Being in a real band is a business if indeed you have not worked in a real band then you will not know of what I speake. So your a musician, at least thats what you think, So,,,, hears your job. Show up for every practice, learn every note of every song until you have it tight,show up for every gig, and don't smurf up your parts because if you do you will be on the streets the next morning with your union card in your hand wondering what the hell just happened, the band, well they will not have skipped a beat, your place will have been filled before you left the parking lot last night. So anyway being nice is not really a commodity. Personally I have never been let go from a band. back in the day when I worked at it we worked hard we practiced hard, we worked sober and were generally careful of the pot smoking. It is a nasty business over all.

– chrisbo

That’s some real tough guy talk you’re slinging.... I can’t picture bands like The Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin dropping the hammer with one missed chord? Anyway, do you think these hands have been soaking in ivory liquid my whole life?

22

The Stones as did the Beatles let guys go, as for every body else there is an entire body of unfathomable work to be done just to getting a shot at the ring. And if you wan't to talk to guys let go after a show, talk to guys from the James Brown show, or better yet Crazy Horse, names you will never see mentioned, Neil Young is a strict task master. Van Morrison comes to mind as a guy who could not tolerate a missed note. Yeah if your James or Neil or Van then when your band pulls out you most likely won't get left standing on the side of the road with shit between your fingers. It pays to be great. It don't pay the rent if your not.

23

Looks like we've got the Chuck Norris of guitar players among us.

24

Chuck no, great git player no, an every day every man yes. In the bands I worked for I filled a niche, that is all. All I'm really saying is that it is a hard cruel world out there, and nobody ever gave us a space to inhabit, that shit is only up to you, god himself never passed a hand over the planet and said rhat you would be the next Mozart. If you watch David Attenborough, not sure I got his last name right, then you would see with clear eyes that life is a business, and if your not in the business of living your just road kill. If a person wan'ts to live in the gutter than the gutter will claim him.

25

"Work" is work, and folks getting fired is just part of life. It's not easy on either side of the conversation.

An old boss and I had a conversation about this years ago. He hated to fire folks, and usually would spend the night before nervously trying to get some sleep.

He told me that he finally got to the point where he just would say, "This just isn't working." Any questions or answers to that comment got the same response. "This just isn't working."

He said that the majority of folks, when told that, already knew that the writing was on the wall, and not surprised.

No need for detail, just say it, and move on.

Funny thing, a few weeks after that conversation, I went into work on my day off. He said, "JD, what the hell are you doing here today?" I smiled and said, "This just isn't working," shook his hand, and hit the trail.


Register Sign in to join the conversation