Band drama: part 1

Engel

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Some of you might know I am in a country cover band. It is a little out of my comfort zone being a rock guitar player but I was delighted at the invitation to play in a gigging band as a rhythm guitarist. I tried out and was hired on no problems. It took me a while to learn the set list as I had not heard 90% of the music they played. Took me a few weeks to really nail it all. When I joined the band, the band was never about money, it was about having fun. With that being said, we all were in mutual agreement that we wanted to play out, schedule gigs, make a little gas money just for the hell of it.


Learning new songs evens the playing field for me. The rest of the band doesn't know how to play the song either. I have no trouble at all. I usually pick up on them way before the rest of the band does. I end up playing teacher to the rest of the band. I also play mandolin and harmonica which brings alot to this band. I've brought in some equipment (mics, monitors etc) to the band. I even bought myself a new LP and amp since I have been in the band. I've showed up to gigs sick and still played/loaded/unloade, with a bad back. It's been 3 months and I feel I've contributed alot to them.

Things started to go funny within the last month or so...

Everyone went on summer vacation. We didn't plan it but our vacations ended up being about 4 weeks consecutively which worked out well. We just wouldn't schedule any gigs during that time.

Come to my surprise, they scheduled a gig while I was away on break and played without me :shock:.
I found out right before I left. I gave them advance as to when I was leaving. Apparently it was a scheduling mistake and they took the gig anyways. Ok, whatever. Shit happens. Red flag one.

The lead guitarist, a young hot shot, is the type who skips a lot of practices and is always "busy" when it comes time to unload/load the trailer full of our gear. This is all OK because his dad is the drummer and mastermind, if you will, of the band. I try really hard to leave my ego at the door. I can't say the same for him. As a rhythm guitarist, I find it hard sometimes to even play rhythm guitar. He takes many of the rhythm riffs on top of all the lead. Red flag 2.

He uses a volume pedal which totally drowns out anything I play. One gig he was in Eb and the song was standard. The bass player came to me and told me my guitar was out of tune. I showed him that my guitar volume was turned off. I was pretending to play because it was a song they learned while I was away on vacation. Red flag 3.

One practice, while he was chasing a girl in another town, he called his mom. She told him we were all practicing and learning a new song. He got butthurt and told her that he felt like I was there to replace him. Seriously? :facepalm: I was playing bass in this song. Black flag 1.

From the beginning, I got the feeling that the band was nothing more than a backing band for this kid to mega solo to the entire night. I really don't even care, I have a lot of fun playing in the band and most of the time it's been drama free (until recently). I've put up with all this drama so far and done my best to hold my tongue. Holding it in is beginning to make it not fun.

The icing on the cake:

We're a 5 piece band. Lead/Rhythm/Bass/Vocal/percussion. Last week there was a new guy at practice. I asked who he was. He's a guy the drummer just met the day prior and invited him to practice to "jam"... No big deal, it's his house, his practice space.

Let me back up a little bit, the band as a collective have been pushing to throw in a few rock songs, however, our singers voice is more of a country voice and he does have a hard time with rock even though we've played a few new rock songs recently. We had not discussed ever looking for a second singer or replacing our current one. Why would we? The guy is great!

Back to the new guy. The whole practice went like this:

Play this new guys original songs while he sang them.

I felt it was a total waste of a practice. We didn't learn any new songs or practice any old ones. We are a cover band. Not an original band. Originals don't bring in crowds and we all know this. This guys vocal range is about the same as our current singers.

  • He knows no cover songs.
    He's never been in a band before.

"hey do you care if new guy comes to practice thursday?"

Black flag 2

Sure, why not.

Thursday:

New guy is in the band.

No band meeting.

No real tryout.

No need for a new member.

The singer and I had no idea. The rest of the band decided this without us. No mention of it. Oh by the way, he's playing at our biggest show yet this weekend.

Black flag 3.

Two front men:
Now our band has a second singer. He knows no cover songs. Has never been in a band before. He can play guitar (very mediocre) but between the rest of us we've already got the guitar parts covered. Our country cover band just did a 180 overnight.


The drummer asked me how I felt about the new singer?
I told him two things:

This decision was made very fast
The decision was not made as a band

We had a long talk. He kept reminding me how much money he has spent on this band and that he started the band, his practice space, his trailer etc. and how he was doing this for his son, the lead guitarist. He also told me that if I wanted to leave that I could and hinted that I was easily replaced. There was another guy ready to fill my spot if I left :hmm:

I have considered leaving but I can't right now. We are under contract to play soon at a big show. Once the show is over then I wont be bound by contract anymore. I'm not sure of the direction the band is going but I am going to keep my options open.

I'm undecided as of now but If the feel of things doesn't change soon I may walk away and try to do solo gigs or look for other bands. I don't like feeling like the hired help instead of part of the band. I just hate the feeling of not knowing how things are going to play out.

:sigh:
 

EDS1275

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just... go.

i know how it is... they're maybe the only hope to play anything in a band cuz of the region you live in or something else that makes you overlook the obvious..... these people are a total unequivocal waste of your time.

also trust me, thinking you'll just be happy playing rhythm but the other guitarist has no idea or intention of blending with a second guitar... it gets really old and irritating fast. run away from these people.
 

Lungo

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He's let you know what the deal is. I see two options:

1) Jump on board and live with things the way they are.

2) Tell them you didn't join the band to be playmate for a spoiled brat. Good luck and goodbye. See if you can take the old singer with you and start a new project.
 

Tom.Ashworth

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I can't imagine your original singer is greatly impressed by this either. Why not talk to him about splitting off and forming a project. With you two as the original members of a new group a lead playing hotshot would be considerably easier to deal with. You'd probably take a lot of the fan base with you too. Who do crowds recognise? Frontman or drummer?
 

hecube

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My advice is, too, to take the country singer.

Once you have a singer, bass players and drummers get out of the woodwork.

Something very similar happened to me back in June. Singer and drummer decided to hire two bass players (don't ask) to fill in for our bass player who left for health reasons.

I was not consulted. That and several other annoyances made the decision to leave easy.
 

Engel

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I cant decide until next month. I'm not going to forfeit our contract commitment. We've already got paid half up front and I know the guys that are promoting this show very well. There's a chance I will stay but things would have to go very well for me to stay. The singer has already told me he is done after the big September show. I'm not trying to toot my own horn but I feel I am the most talented member and if they lose me and their lead front man the band would not do so well. If I had to make the decision right now I honestly couldn't. I'm upset that they did this behind our back but I'm going to see how it plays out before I make a decision. It's damn stressful is what it is. If I do leave it's going to be so awkward going to collect all my gear.
 

Lungo

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I cant decide until next month. I'm not going to forfeit our contract commitment. We've already got paid half up front and I know the guys that are promoting this show very well. There's a chance I will stay but things would have to go very well for me to stay. The singer has already told me he is done after the big September show. I'm not trying to toot my own horn but I feel I am the most talented member and if they lose me and their lead front man the band would not do so well. If I had to make the decision right now I honestly couldn't. I'm upset that they did this behind our back but I'm going to see how it plays out before I make a decision. It's damn stressful is what it is. If I do leave it's going to be so awkward going to collect all my gear.

This says it all:

We had a long talk. He kept reminding me how much money he has spent on this band and that he started the band, his practice space, his trailer etc. and how he was doing this for his son, the lead guitarist. He also told me that if I wanted to leave that I could and hinted that I was easily replaced. There was another guy ready to fill my spot if I left

I wouldn't stress out over it. Think he's stressed out over the possibility of you quitting? If the situation bugs you that much end it, go get your stuff and call it a day.
 

Spoone

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Get your gear, and get the hell out of there.
Take the singer, start something else, but ditch the brat and the brat-daddy.
 

Death Incarnate

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Engel, that's such a bummer and we've all been there.
I've been in many bands, and it sucks when it starts off so cool, and then seems to just disintegrate and crumble before your eyes.
So disheartening and soul crushing.

That's why I'm all about the session men!
 

mdubya

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I would say just stop showing up. But I understand about the September gig. It is in your interest to do that one - for the promoter.

Then split and take the country singer with you.

No way in hell would I stay in the band the way it is.

I wouldn't give notice, wouldn't say a thing. Just stop showing up. They haven't given you a single courtesy.
 

lunchbox

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I'd walk, show booked or not. If you're so 'easily replaced' then they should have no problem keeping to their schedule.
 

mudfinger

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Bail as soon as possible.:thumb:

That act is going nowhere fast, if that's any comfort. It's a showcase for the son, and he ain't got what it takes. :cool:
 

Engel

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I'd walk, show booked or not. If you're so 'easily replaced' then they should have no problem keeping to their schedule.

Not so easy when you're friends with the promoter and your name is on a signed contract. It pretty much said you had to show up unless you were dead.
 

hecube

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image.jpg
 

GitFiddle

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...He also told me that if I wanted to leave that I could and hinted that I was easily replaced. There was another guy ready to fill my spot if I left :hmm:
...

I think that was all I'd need to hear. No more fun left in that venture. Time to pack up and head to the house. :cool:
 

Chicago John

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Engel, if you're not playing music for a living, at least you should have some fun playing it with people whose company you enjoy. As soon as you fulfill your contract, I'd just take off without a word.
 

Leendrix

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The key to a cover band, for fun or for money, is consistency.

And I've heard this as a cliche, that when originals are brought into a cover band, that's when things go downhill.

It sounds like the drummer thinks way too high of himself, and doesn't care if you're in the band or not. And that's nothing against you, he sounds like the person that knows he can manipulate others at his will and wont sweat finding someone else - the whole "If you're not with me, you're against me" mentality amplified.

Ask yourself this: Are the current tensions in the band worth staying for? If the 180 of the band has happened without the input of you and the first singer, what else will change next?

Everyone has their limits, but you have to ask yourself what yours is.
 

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