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Had to quit my band.....


jdgm

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Well I felt it was going to happen eventually.

 

18 months ago a friend I have known for 42 years called me and asked me to help out and play lead in the band he was forming.

Though he lives 30 miles away (this is in S England) I took him up on it and we found some good people (I've written before about this on this forum) and started getting gigs. I played my lovely LP and all was good.

 

Until it wasn't.....every so often, about every 3rd-4th gig, my friend (the frontman/singer) would turn round, wave his arms and STOP a number.

Because he was out of sorts and/or hadn't picked up on the count-in properly, or.....????

If this has ever happened in a band you have been in you will know it is a very big no-no, one of the very worst things you could do.

 

We all said "you must NOT do this - please" after each time, and after each time he was very contrite but always had some excuse or reason behind why he had done it.

 

On a gig earlier this year, I took 8 bars too much solo and at the end of the number was completely astonished to hear him telling me off over the p.a. in front of the audience.

I concede it was my mistake but we all looked at each other - "WTF?" and the drummer took him aside during the break and explained that we must present a completely united front to the audience (and to be fair, I did get an apology).

We haven't been able to stop him saying "is everybody ready?" on mic at the beginning of most tunes either.

 

Cut to Friday 22 May, 10 days ago. The gig is 40 miles away from me (I get £34 GBP = $52 USD) so I have an 80-mile round trip.

I have the latest set list he has emailed me printed out, like the rest of the band do.

Unfortunately my frontman friend has had a very bad day indeed and has given himself the wrong set list.

Short disagreement about what the 3rd tune is and we all have to follow his list instead.

When the drummer starts the 7th number of the 1st set, frontman turns round, waves him to a stop and starts saying "no - too slow" and a bit more.

Gig goes rapidly downhill from there as HE'S DONE IT YET AGAIN and the whole band is pissed off.

I spoke to the drummer in intermission and he was pretty angry for someone who I've never seen get angry - all this happened in front of his local crowd.

It was very hot, cramped and unenjoyable as far as I was concerned though I did my best.

And then drove 40 miles home - you know how you can feel after a bad gig, like you are wasting your time and probably always will?

 

In the subsequent exchange of emails I sent my old friend and frontman a confidential one in which I was for once unable to be polite, which I regret very much of course. I said I would leave if it happens again.

However he then took a couple of sentences including that one out of it, and cut and pasted them into an email to the whole band with some (critical) comments.

This has forced my hand and this evening I called him and gave in my notice. He's got 12 weeks maximum to get another lead guitar player.

 

I had to do this to save our friendship of 42 years.

If other members of the band quit because of it I won't be surprised but it will be too bad.

Plus I was enjoying being the lead guitar player in a gigging band (distance or not) and, folks - my solos were getting much better - I had hoped to post something on the Forum soon.

 

But I cannot be in a band with that sort of thing going on. Nor can you as a matter of fact.

I am hoping this will teach him never to do it again but don't know. Too late for me now.

Bummer.

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Aww sorry to hear that. I'm sure many of us here understand these types of problems. It sounds like you're definitely doing the right thing though. Who knows maybe you'll get together with a better group after this?

 

Always hurts to call it quits though, especially when things seem to be going pretty well for you

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Sorry for your bad experience. Not too professional to stop a song for any reason in front of a live audience. I would be surprised if you are able to sustain your friendship with your old pal. Good luck. You should start a new band closer to your home.

Kenny V

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Oh dear! I understand your dilemma and decision completely John. Our frontman does that all the time at rehearsals, bless him - though I can only recall one song ever being euthanized during an actual gig (and it was the kindest thing to do [biggrin]) it would be sh!tty to have to put up with all that in the live shows.

 

On set-lists, we were playing a festival recently (i.e. just one set) and it had been agreed to reshuffle things slightly but I forgot, so as the band prepared for Jumping Jack Flash I launched into the big intro chords to All Right Now - to their credit they all went with it without missing a beat though I was vaguely aware of getting the odd glance. I guess there are many set-list stories out there...

 

I'm considering the same move actually, but more to be reinvigorated by playing different music and with only so much time to dedicate to it. I love the guys in the band though and we've been though a lot so its a tough thing to grapple with. anyway, all the very best - hope your next band works out great! [thumbup]

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Reminds me of the diffinition of a musician." A person who loads $5,000.00 worth of equipment into a $500.00 car and drive 100 miles to play a gig for $50.00!"

 

Is it any wonder so many bands end up in fist to cuffs?

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That sucks, especially since you were gigging. I quit my last gigging band 18 years ago due to a d-bag coming in trying to take my place on lead guitar because he grew up with the other band members and thought he was entitled to the spot, despite not even knowing how to play in key. Sounds like you'll have better luck than I did finding a better gig (not that I've tried that hard). Things will work out for the better, and you'll be rockin' again if you want to!

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A real pity jg but more than understandable. I would have liked to have heard your band. Your front man sounds as if he has some sort of fundamental insecurity bubbling around underneath and until and unless he gets that sorted nothing will change.

 

Hope something worthwhile comes out of it all.

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I hear you, and completely understand where your head is at right now. Seems that he just doesn't get it. I've been in similar situations. Walking away with out ruining a friend ship is probably the best way to go about this, obviously, talking to this guy doesn't help.

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If the rest of the band is as fed up with his unprofessional behavior as you indicate they seem to be, wait till the band folds (and it will...it sounds like it won't be long either), talk to your band mates about forging ahead SANS your vocalist.

 

Will it piss him off? Yeah, probably based on what you said he did with your e-mail. But if you enjoyed the band (without his tantrums), IMO, you don't owe him anymore consideration than he afforded you. If he's truly a friend, he'll get over it. If he doesn't, he wasn't much of a friend to begin with and you won't really be losing anything.

 

Mistakes happen at gigs. Amateurs roll their eyes and can't save their tirade for break or post gig. Professionals roll with it and save the gig.

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talk to your band mates about forging ahead SANS your vocalist.

 

but in this case he's trying to preserve a 40+ year friend ship with the front man.

 

This will be counter productive to that goal.

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Yeah. Things happen and everyone can lose their composure one time. But, it seems to be a pattern with this guy.

 

Personally, I think 12 weeks is way too much notice. I would probably either quit on the spot or maybe give 1 more gig as a courtesy.

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talk to your band mates about forging ahead SANS your vocalist.

 

but in this case he's trying to preserve a 40+ year friend ship with the front man.

 

This will be counter productive to that goal.

 

Per the OP's post, the vocalist doesn't value the "friendship" enough to extend the same concern for preserving that relationship. Deliberately ignoring a reasonable request not to conduct himself in the described manner in a professional setting, for the greater good of the band tells me that the only feelings that matter to him are his own.

 

Why should the OP feel obligated to carry that burden alone? It's become one-sided and that's not the foundation of any friendship as I understand the term.

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I thank every one of you for your insightful comments. [thumbup]

It is a bummer - today I'm thinking "damn" but I feel sure I have done the right thing in the long run.

 

" A person who loads $5,000.00 worth of equipment into a $500.00 car and drive 100 miles to play a gig for $50.00!"

Yes - that's me alright. Almost!

 

I would have liked to have heard your band. Your front man sounds as if he has some sort of fundamental insecurity bubbling around underneath and until and unless he gets that sorted nothing will change.

Thankyou for the compliment. I also feel there is a bit of insecurity there, as the other 4 of us all have well over 30 years playing/band experience each and suspect he found that intimidating at times.

 

Sounds like you were in a tough spot and did your job. Once the singer/frontman starts to think he's the musical director you're pretty much screwed.

This one also nails it. Absolutely.

 

Personally, I think 12 weeks is way too much notice. I would probably either quit on the spot or maybe give 1 more gig as a courtesy.

 

Agreed. Had it been anyone else I would have quit after the 2nd occasion of it happening.

We have 2 weeks before the next gig and I think he should easily replace me before the 12 weeks are up.

 

Many thanks again and my best wishes to all of you.

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Per the OP's post, the vocalist doesn't value the "friendship" enough to extend the same concern for preserving that relationship. Deliberately ignoring a reasonable request not to conduct himself in the described manner in a professional setting,

 

 

having been in a very similar situation some years ago, where I *lost* a very good friend, while we are amiable with each other it's never been the same, I know from experience I wouldn't ever want to go there again.

 

I've been doing this for close to 50 years now, Bands come and go, life long friends, do not. I am not will to sacrifice another for the sake of any "band" Age has made me a wiser man, I don't want the regrets.

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Had a drummer that would do that all the time...right in the middle of a song, and he misses a beat, and just stops...despite everyone on him about it, he kept doing it, I finally just left. Got sick of the guitar guy too, after he'd get a couple beers down, and start what I'd call his 'Jimi-Routine', volume wars...I had enough, and finally loaded all my stuff in my car, while they watched, dumbfounded, and that was that. I'd really rather just do my own home recording thing anyway, no egos to deal with, and once my music's posted, I got a world-wide audience...

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having been in a very similar situation some years ago, where I *lost* a very good friend, while we are amiable with each other it's never been the same, I know from experience I wouldn't ever want to go there again.

 

I've been doing this for close to 50 years now, Bands come and go, life long friends, do not. I am not will to sacrifice another for the sake of any "band" Age has made me a wiser man, I don't want the regrets.

 

It's funny you mention that because I'm kind of in the same boat. Where we diverge is that I don't consider someone who can't show me the same kind of respect they expect me to show them, a lifelong friend. I look at it more as they regard me as a friend to them because I'll be their yes man, or they'll take what they can get from me, but don't feel it should be a two-way street. In my mind, that's not friendship. It's me being used to fulfill their agenda.

 

I maintain my friendships with the real friends I have. I've cut ties with most of the kind described above. Not for everyone I suppose, but that kind of stuff has no place in my life these days.

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I'm not saying I don't agree with you, because I really do.

 

I just don't think it's worth getting in to the mud over it.

 

There's a totally different dynamic that occurs with a group of musicians working together, (or trying to) vs. a one on one friend ship.

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When I was very much younger, a singer-songwriter got a band together and started to get a few gigs.

 

After a few weeks I stepped in to play lead.

 

This singer-songwriter was a great guy and everybody got on well with him. The trouble was though is that his drive perfection made him tyranical. He tried to micro manage everybody elses part, and what started out as fun became a miserable experience for everyone.

 

The bass, drummer & myself enjoyed playing together but we couldnt sack the guy from his own band. That was the trouble, we had become 'his'.

 

We ended up doing the only thing possible. We all quit and formed our own band.

We felt bad for him, but not as bad as he had made us feel over 3 months.

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It's very hard to get a group together where one doesn't have a issue , his stopping songs made him in his mind look like he was the "head" of the band . Not only did he make the band look bad he made friends look bad , he has the "issue" and not a very good friend.

 

4H

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There's a totally different dynamic that occurs with a group of musicians working together, (or trying to) vs. a one on one friend ship.

Yes, completely agree....

 

......He tried to micro manage everybody elses part, and what started out as fun became a miserable experience for everyone.

The bass, drummer & myself enjoyed playing together but we couldnt sack the guy from his own band. That was the trouble, we had become 'his'.

We ended up doing the only thing possible. We all quit and formed our own band.

This is it. And one of the other members of the band did call me yesterday and made a similar suggestion - hmmm....I have to think carefully, and extricate myself from current situation first.

 

It's very hard to get a group together where one doesn't have a issue, his stopping songs made him in his mind look like he was the "head" of the band....

Much truth in both bits of this.

 

Many thanks again to all for your supportive comments which are very helpful.

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