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View Full Version : Break Ups, Betrayals and Fear of Success


Johnny Gash
April 27th, 2007, 02:53 AM
So the band I've been working my ass off to push to the next level is about to deconstruct. They've never gotten along very well but I thought we could get through it. We're starting to get some local radio play, a producer has been bugging me to get him demos to shop...and it's about to fall apart. When we were playing shithole dives for no money everything was fine. Just the smallest whiff of success is making it fall apart. Makes me so fucking angry. You guys know what kind of dedication and drive it takes to find any success in music, on either side of the glass. I'm so disappointed that we're falling apart when we're about to take a (small) step forward. Sorry to rant . Just really fucking disappointed in the company I keep.

Fulcrum
April 27th, 2007, 03:48 AM
I've got a thing or two to reflect upon... but I can't do it now as I'm falling asleep.

I will need a bit of coffee, maybe.

shlampe
April 27th, 2007, 02:02 PM
I feel your pain, I've been going through the same type of thing. I don't have assholes to deal with, just people that don't have the same level of commitment. It's tough doing something that you love and work hard for only to be met with reticence, incompetence or downright ignorance (not to mention assholocity...)

dikledoux
April 27th, 2007, 02:16 PM
It's been said that the worst thing about being a musician is that you have to deal with other musicians...

dik

Fulcrum
April 27th, 2007, 02:20 PM
So the band I've been working my ass off to push to the next level is about to deconstruct. They've never gotten along very well but I thought we could get through it.

Bear with me here.

Once upon a time there was a band called Fulcrum. Its leader, a tall, dapper, winsome keyboard player with a great smile and charm by the bucketful, was keen on taking the band to the next level. He figured that the way to do that was to stop writing new material and start recording the repertoire as it stood. While he had nothing but good intentions, he wasn't altogether concerned with whether anyone else in the band thought this was the right tack.

By the time he was finally done with the recording, some dozen years later as it turned out, the rest of the band had left. In fact they had left within about a year, for various reasons that had little to do with the keyboard player (well, none that they would own up to, anyway). The guitar player left because he was getting married. The bass player left because it had been a real bitch finding the guitar player to begin with, and he wasn't looking forward to starting another protracted search for the next guitarist. The drummer left because she was married to the bassist. Life tends to intervene; so do individual priorities.

I'm saying here that there may have been very little you could have done to keep this thing from falling apart. Unity of purpose is not always a strong enough bond. Habits and attitudes that grated in the lean times may well have magnified into full-scale abrasions and wars in the good times. Witness the Davies brothers, or the Gallagher brothers-- and they're related.

We're starting to get some local radio play, a producer has been bugging me to get him demos to shop...and it's about to fall apart. When we were playing shithole dives for no money everything was fine. Just the smallest whiff of success is making it fall apart. Makes me so fucking angry. You guys know what kind of dedication and drive it takes to find any success in music, on either side of the glass. I'm so disappointed that we're falling apart when we're about to take a (small) step forward.

Who among your band is willing to take that small step with you, or are none of them willing to do that? Cut your losses and move forward with people who can actually see that you are on the verge of greater things.

Tim Halligan
April 27th, 2007, 02:31 PM
Unity of purpose is not always a strong enough bond. Habits and attitudes that grated in the lean times may well have magnified into full-scale abrasions and wars in the good times. Witness the Davies brothers, or the Gallagher brothers-- and they're related.


Hell yeah.

If you are going to be in a band, and you have any dreams of achieving some kind of success, you have to like each other...or else have some world class dispute resolution skills.

I've seen the scenario described by the OP too many times.

Cheers,
Tim


PS: You can add the Knopfler brothers to that list...

DaveC
April 27th, 2007, 02:47 PM
seen it too.

I think that the reason bands split when success is at the door is that it is the point where the members really have to face some serious issues, they will be on the verge of signing some legally binding stuff.

Up to that point, whatever was said in the bar and rehearsal rooms, the band is a fun hobby. Band members might say 'I wish I could get paid for doing this, I want to make it big' etc, and they may even believe it. But deep down, for some this is a fantasy scenario, and there are some fantasies that are fun to chase but which you might not want to become reality.

Why not make it a reality? Because if you sign, if the band is really going to be making it, you are going to have to spend a lot of time away from home (wife? kids?) touring. You are going to gamble away your career and safety of your day-job (bank clerk, macdonalds server, whatever) - which might be a chore, but offers steady progression and safety to pay your bills, which a future in a band might not.

You basically have to face real issues about money, career, lifestyle and family. If you go for music, you are also reliant on the public to keep liking your music, your band members to stay true, your manager to not rip you off and your label not to leave you high and dry. It is a tricky decision.

Tim Armstrong
April 27th, 2007, 06:30 PM
Every band I've ever been in has broken up, except for the one I'm in now. And we just haven't broken up YET.

Bands break up, usually a whole lot easier than they form. Some bands have such serious fault lines that they splinter as soon as you look at them (one of my bands, after six months of rehearsal, played one gig and broke up), others stay together and make lots of great music but gradually grow apart (I played with the same group of guys in Colorado for a decade).

If a band has any significant problems at the start (like, say "They've never gotten along very well but I thought we could get through it."), then the end is in sight all along.

To have ANY chance of staying together long enough to even try to have any success, a band needs to get along, play with some chemistry between players, be smart about money, and be dedicated to a plan that makes sense. Of course, getting 3+ people to achieve that is rare towards miraculous!

Cheers, Tim

ggunn
April 27th, 2007, 08:13 PM
At my ripe old age of mumbledy mumble, I am in the best band that I've ever been in, and a big reason why it is so good is that we didn't start out to form a band. I have a good friend who is a prolific songwriter, and I have a home studio/rehearsal space, so rather than go out and spend money at a bar listening to crappy jukebox music one Saturday night, we went over to my place to fart around with some of his stuff. My brother plays, so the next time we got together I called him up to join us. We met a keyboard player in my neighborhood bar and asked him if he wanted to come over. And so forth; The Saturday Night Jamming Society was born.

One Saturday Night Jam, the songwriter came in and said that a friend of his that runs a small community theatre was looking for some sort of musical thing to happen at a fundraiser, and did we want to play? We looked around at each other and said, "Damn! Are we a band?"

That was four years ago and we are still going strong. The thing is, rather than start a band and then try to define a direction for it, the right bunch of people found each other first and started working on music we like and believe in, and the band sprang unbidden, like magic, from that association. We've all been on the same page from the very beginning.

eagan
April 27th, 2007, 10:44 PM
That was four years ago and we are still going strong. The thing is, rather than start a band and then try to define a direction for it, the right bunch of people found each other first and started working on music we like and believe in, and the band sprang unbidden, like magic, from that association. We've all been on the same page from the very beginning.


I was going to say something on this, but this, the above, was not something to let pass without emphasis.

That, boys and girls, IMHO, is by far the most likely way something will come together that is actually good, genuine, and will last.


OK, to my own spew.

The first item is this.

I understand, it's a pretty broad generalization. But so be it.

Bands suck.

In an ideal properly working universe, it's one of the greatest things not only in music, but in human existence.

The practical reality is.....

Bands suck. The reality is that, hopefully, the nightmares and grief will be far outweighed by the good stuff. If you're incredibly lucky, the nightmares and grief will be so outweighed as to be negligable.

Good luck with that.

For the older critters around here, there is no need to have this explained.

The younger ones who haven't figured this out, there's no way to really explain it. You'll find out yourself.


Once upon a time I came across this, attributed to drummer Michael Giles. He was once in a band that did not suck at all, musically, in fact, it was fantastic.

That band, in its original fantastic configuration, lasted approximately one year.

But this thing attributed to him, was a set of rules that determined the likelihood of a band enduring.

To keep a band together, you have:

1. The music is good.

2. The money is good.

3. The people in the band really like each other and can stand, even enjoy, each other's company, in large doses for long periods.

To keep a band together: at least two of those three qualities must be present.

All three would be fantastic.

Having any two of those things means the band has a chance of lasting.

Only having one of the three means that it's only a matter of how long before the inevitable implosion.



Anyway, that's Mr. Giles' theory, but by god, I absolutely believe he's dead right on this.


JLE

ggunn
April 27th, 2007, 11:29 PM
I was going to say something on this, but this, the above, was not something to let pass without emphasis.

That, boys and girls, IMHO, is by far the most likely way something will come together that is actually good, genuine, and will last.



Thanks for the validation.

BTW, the Saturday Night Jamming Society is also still going; we get together on Saturdays whenever the band (Crystal Flavola, http://www.crystalflavola.com) doesn't have a gig. It's not another rehearsal, though we do play many of the same songs. It's sort of the "farm team" for new original songs and/or new treatments of existing ones, as well as an excuse to pound out a favorite cover or two, invite some other friends over to play, drink copious amounts of beer and Irish whisky, and rave on well into the wee smalls. And like Jack Black says, we ALWAYS RECORD!

Tim Armstrong
April 27th, 2007, 11:37 PM
invite some other friends over to play, drink copious amounts of beer and Irish whisky, and rave on well into the wee smalls. And like Jack Black says, we ALWAYS RECORD!

Damn it, Gordon, next time I'm in Austin...

Beer and Irish whiskey, that's exactly what WE drink.

...at gigs, actually...

:Twisted:

Cheers, Tim

crunch
April 27th, 2007, 11:58 PM
ggunn,
Hey man, you're playing the saxon tonight! Wish I could go, but have a blast!

Bob Olhsson
April 28th, 2007, 03:55 AM
It isn't just bands.

A LOT of people shoot themselves in the foot the moment they no longer have any excuses about others standing in the way of their success. They'd rather quit and live in a fantasy world than risk failure out in the real world.

I still can't believe the opportunities I've seen people blow off over the years.

SaltyDog
April 28th, 2007, 12:01 PM
In my case, when push comes to shove (money and level wise) CHOPS count! Many people that I've worked with got cold fingers and feet when they realized they'd have to bone up on their basic skills. I have to sight read? I have to know how chords flow by listening? I have to lay down a track in 1 take?

The "next" level separates the wheat from the chaff.

Sad, because these are folks that you've played with for a while, and you're COMFORTABLE with them.

Droolbucket
April 28th, 2007, 02:57 PM
Okay, I got up from my rocker and hobbled all the way over here to put in my 2 cents worth (in my day, 2 cents was worth 3 CENTS!). I'll type quick before the Metamucil kicks in....
If the band breakup is inevitable, be professional and decent, even if the other ungrateful SOB's deserve a massive kick in the ass and a police escort out of your life. Being musicians, you'll travel in the same circles, and chances are, you'll work with each other again in some form or level. Even if it's just a reference or compliment that opens a door for you.
In my younger, even dumber days, I was in a country band that tried to be GOOD. We practiced a lot, and put a lot of effort into reaching the next level. We had great harmonies, the best equipment we could afford, and a pretty good songlist (for country).
We had a younger guitar player who had a great voice, and was a very good guitar player. He was NOT ready to be serious, he just wanted to make a few bucks and party with his friends. During breaks he'd go out in the parking lot and smoke dope with his buddies, and the next set, he'd forget lyrics, arrangements, spend huge amounts of time between songs fiddling with his amp and tuning his guitar. Just completely unprofessional. We ended up booting him out, and re-formed with a steel guitar player and kept going. My comment at the time was, "I'll never work with that guitar player again. He's talented, but he's too lazy to ever amount to anything."
Fast forward just a few years..... the guitar player has joined a very good band, and the band members took him to 'Band Boot Camp 101". They let him know that he WOULD show up on time, he WOULD help carry equipment, he WOULD play at a reasonable volume. He ended up writing a few songs with that band that became local hits.
Now, he lives in Nashville, he's written number one hits for several different artists, he's toured with a few HUGE names, and he's set for life.
I, on the other hand, have not.

My point is, ....... wait.... I don't have a point. I just wanted to ramble.


You kids get off my lawn!

Droolbucket

idylldon
April 28th, 2007, 09:07 PM
PS: You can add the Knopfler brothers to that list...

And the Fogerty brothers.

Cheers,
--
Don

Scratchy Potts
April 28th, 2007, 09:38 PM
Bear with me here.

Once upon a time there was a band called Fulcrum. Its leader, a tall, dapper, winsome keyboard player with a great smile and charm by the bucketful


:Confused: SOooooo!! ,,,,,,did you know these guys or sumthin???

Fulcrum
April 30th, 2007, 01:29 PM
You could say that we had a passing acquaintance.

ggunn
April 30th, 2007, 07:19 PM
ggunn,
Hey man, you're playing the saxon tonight! Wish I could go, but have a blast!

It was a smallish crowd, but they were very enthusiastic, and we gave a pretty good perfomance, despite the songwriter's breaking a string on his Dot halfway through the first song and having to play the whole set on his 12 string.

The Saxon has recently added a control room in the back behind the room with the pool table where they can do remote recordings. We got the rough mix within an hour or so and it sounds pretty good; we're supposed to get the tracks from them in a day or two.

bobzilla77
May 1st, 2007, 01:35 AM
I've had this happen as well. Not even on the brink of success but the brink of like, getting $100 gigs.

Some people are so tweaked they can't even stand to see something finished...maybe because once it's finished it's open to criticism. Until that time you can keep talking about how cool it "would" sound if it were only finished, and if anything's wrong with it, well, that's one of the things we're planning to fix when we finish it.

I watched another excellent band disintegrate as they were on the verge of touring Europe, because they couldn't stand each other and some of them were on the shit. I had been trying to help them out but soon realized, if they don't care enough to do this for themselves they sure ain't gonna do it for me.

Not much can be done. Sorry you had to waste your own energy into a sunk battleship.