Bands, how much are they really worth it?

MichaelAndrew3435

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Having been in 3-4 of them for roughly 3 years total, my short answer is yes, but only up until a certain point. The certain point being when it's no longer fun, or when you've gotten everything out of the group/experience and it's no longer beneficial to you. After quitting my last band, I might be permenantly retired LOL.

Every band I've been in has done 90% original material. Other 10% covers. Each group kinda starts off the same. There's a honeymoon phase where everyone is open to listening to each other's thoughts and opinions, then there's some writing and rehearsing, maybe some light recording, then eventually people get tired of each other and someone calls it quits or is terminated. Around here, one person's departure usually means the project is over since there is a severe lack of folks who want to play original music. Seems like a lot of the really talented musicians want to find gig ready situations and that usually means doing covers. Just the way it is and I get it.

Some groups never lasted long. One was about a month before I bolted, another was 5 months before we mutually parted ways, and my last one was nearly 2 years. All kinda ended due to the same reason. One person or the band leader becomes a raging control freak and is no longer tolerable LOL. Let me be clear, every band needs a leader. There is a major difference between being a good leader and a psycho control freak.

Good leader(s)
Gives good musical direction
Is on top of keeping a consistent rehearsal schedule and setlist (of course this also involves other members too).
Someone open to opinions and suggestions musically and in other areas.
Willing to make minimal sacrifices for the good of the group.
Sets a good example.
Has a goal and follows through with that goal without getting sidetracked.
Treats everyone with respect.
Honest and helpful.
Organized.
Makes decisions that benefits the band

Control Freak(s)
Listens to nobody
Thinks they're always right, even when they're clearly wrong
Takes 0 responsibility for anything
Always blames others for their own failures
Believes they are superior to the rest of the group (it's okay to be the best musician in the group without letting it go to your head)
Establishes complete control over the setlist of both OG's/covers. You play what they say.
Tells people what they should do down to every last detail from their playing, to what equipment they think everyone should use, etc.
Repackages any opinion or suggestion they might not like as "drama", even if the opinion or suggestion is constructive.
Uses and abuses people for their own benefit.
Usually smokes and drinks way too much.
Never follows through on what they say they're going to do.

I've seen some folks start out as good leaders and turn into downright control freaks nobody can stand to be around quite quickly, which was the case with my last group that lasted nearly 2 years. Overall it was a fun experience and I came out a much better player for it, but the nasty ending kind of has me never wanting to do another band again LOL. The band leader ended up being an unreasonable control freak with a shit attitude. Guy was good at writing songs and had some direction at the beginning, but smokes and drinks too much to stay on task or follow through with anything. Not saying he had a drinking or drug problem, but I did notice an on-the-go coffee mug he always carried in his car and to every rehearsal with booze in it and it raised some eyebrows.

The straw that broke the camels back was when we were trying to record some songs. My house was the rehearsal space and a place to record. I spent hours and 4 separate sessions with the guy trying to get drum recordings he liked. All the gear is mine keep in mind. The dude was just such an asshole. Everything he didn't like, he blamed on my drum kit, recording software, or whatever the fuck else. He has an electric set in his apartment that he refused to record with. After attempt number 4 and him telling me my set was "not good enough to record with" (it's a $2k set), I told him to get his own or go to a studio. Of course he didn't take it well, along with the other members who also lack a lot of their own shit. I told them I was done about a month ago. They haven't replaced me yet, but yesterday the band leader texts me out of the blue telling me how they're "so much better without me" which of course I don't buy for a damn second LOL.

Unfortunately I think a lot of musicians are just bums. They're the types of people who say they're going to do something but don't do it. I casually look for other musicians locally but everyone else seems way worse than the people I just played with believe it or not. I don't really want to deal with it again unless I find something else that seems really intriguing. I myself can be an occasional asshole but never to the extent of what I just witnessed. People pretend to be your friends but in reality, they're just users and abusers far too often. It's similar to any toxic relationship. I'm just glad I have a great wife, job, house, and other friends who have their shit together. Since 99% bands don't end up doing shit in the long run, I only consider them worth it to a certain point. Better off just playing guitar alone than dealing with another asshole.
 
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MichaelAndrew3435

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are you sure the problem is the bands?

common denominators and all that.....
I'm not perfect. First band was kinda like my "starter" band and when it's your first time doing anything, there's growing pains. Part of me might not have been ready for that. I'll take a chunk of the responsibility for it not working out. 2nd band the drummer had no idea what they were doing and I bolted. No clue what the project was really going for there. There was also another group I played with twice I think? My style and personality was not a fit for them and I completely understand why it wasn't going to work.

Last band I truly believe it was them, not me, that was the problem lol. Just a classic case of entitled brats who don't carry their weight. Singer wanted to borrow my shit all the time and would get mad when I said no. Keep in mind I'm cool with lending small items like pedals, cables, earplugs, etc. But this person wanted to use my $1.2k Marshall for a gig. Absolutely not LOL. You want to play guitar at a show while you sing? Get your own amp. That's "being in a band" 101.
 
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MikeyTheCat

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One of the best band experiences I had was backing up a guy for his tour. We had a date the gigs would start, we were booked 5 or 6 nights a week and we had a date and place where it ended. He had the songs, we learned the songs and we played them for eight weeks. It was great having an expiration date.
 

ErictheRed

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You need to find musicians with their own equipment, their own transportation, and their own job. I don't care how good they are, if they don't have those things, they're too much trouble (drama, deadbeat, unreliable, entitled, druggie, whatever). Those simple criteria will eliminate 90% of your problems.
 

Gfunk_Minor

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You could also try Wikiloops.
I am starting to rediscover it for original material.

You will probably NEVER meet the other musicians, but it is a great original music outlet.
 

ErictheRed

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If you’re over about 23 years old, starting a band that plays originals is going to be a tough road.
I almost wrote something similar. After college, original bands are pretty much impossible. You're either going pro in music and going all-in, or you're going pro in something else, in which case you don't really have the time to do an original band justice (the vast majority of the times). The people that have the time are the drama cases, the deadbeat cases without the jobs, etc.

There are obviously exceptions. There's a reason that most people playing original music and gigging are the singer/songwriter types with an acoustic guitar and maybe one other person, though.
 

Shelkonnery

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It’s tough starting an original band after mid 20s.



Ideally you start a band with your friends, so when the going gets rough, you guys care enough about each other to put up with all the BS. Otherwise no one will stand it.



My best band experiences outside my close friends circle was with other scene people I’ve met with similar values and tastes. I’m not sure what kind of music you like, but in my experience, people are a lot more open minded and humble in the alternative scene, where the DYI culture is strong and everyone has something to contribute.



Bands that play classic/hard rock/metal usually take themselves too seriously.
 

JTM45

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If you’re not playing what you love it will burn you out, I think if you want to write your own stuff and play it live you should, it will give you some info you need.

is it good?
am I a good songwriter
can I capture an audience with my music
what do I need to do better
 

MichaelAndrew3435

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If you’re over about 23 years old, starting a band that plays originals is going to be a tough road.
Lol dang, you mean I have to be under 23 years old to be rich and famous?

Just kidding of course. I'm not trying to get rich and famous lol. I'm about to hit my 30's in December. All I want to do is create music I'm proud of and maybe play a crappy bar gig every now and then, which is what I was able to do with this band so I feel kind of at peace in some ways as far as accomplishments go. I wish we could have gotten professional grade recordings however, but that's alright. Continuing to work with shitty people isn't worth what I'd have to do to achieve that.
 
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