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Old June 14th, 2013, 05:41 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Not sure why some people do this.

I debated whether to put this in the Band Wagon forum, but didn't because of the generality of this topic. Starting with the band I am in. We are doing pretty well, in terms of learning songs and keeping them interesting. I really enjoy play with these guys. The drummer, however, has a weird quirk that keeps popping up. Tonight, I mentioned that a local coffee shop is interested in having us play a set some night. It is a small place, and definitely not a place to rock out. I asked if the others guys would be interested, and the drummer says that we would have to play quietly. OK, duh. Should we tell them we are interested? The answer was yes. A couple of months ago, I told them that one particular gig we were interested in playing was going to be in a converted church. The other guy said, it's pretty reverberant in there. Outside of the band context, I had met with a prospect student for our program where I teach, and emailed the area head about how much I liked his music and would like to see him admitted. The other guy replied, "I just wonder who would teach him?" (This is because we generally have a grad student teach undergrad comp lessons.

Well, the one thing I have learned in life, if everybody has a problem but me, then I am really the one with the problem. I like a more direct yes/no answer, then mull over who will teach, how we will have to be softly, etc. To my mind, these are side issues. If we decide we want to play the gig, then we talk about how we will have to manage to turn it down. For me, anything can be turned down and played quietly to fit the venue. What is to discuss? If a hall is reverberant, does this mean we shouldn't play in it? The only option is not to play the gig.

I'm not expressing this well, as part of my problem is that, in the band, one of the guys does this all the time. He is decision-averse. "Nah, I don't think we should do it, as we would have to play to softly, it wouldn't be worth it." The kicker, though, is that all of these guys actually do want to do the thing, even though they raise concerns. Why raise the concern if you are not going to act on it? I like decisiveness and not wasting time mulling over things that have an obvious solution. It's kind of like b****ing for b****ing's sake, with no real purpose other than to vent. Surely things like this come up all the time with bands and in the workplace. I remember a few years ago, we got into some weird mood in our area meetings where two guys would just b**ch and moan, without being able to make a decision. It's like if there is a potential problem, discussion and decision-making cannot advance. Some guys that I work with seem to use these decisions as a venue to air old, dirty laundry, about how someone in an unrelated developed experienced a bad thing in the past. What seems to be important is not in making the decision, but just sort of wallowing in the bad things that have happened in the past, and, therefore, might well happen again.

I just want to know, do you want to play the gig, and figure out how to handle any difficulty that arises, or do you just want to sit there and point out the different bad actions that have happened in the past? Why did we waste the last few minutes griping about something that we will eventually manage to sort out after accepting the offer of a gig? I'm happy to be the leader and steer us to a decision.

Why do I keep thinking about the film. Withnail and I (hope I spelled it right). Talk about an exercise in futility. Sorry to be the spoilsport of the party, but I just want to move forward. Anyone else with me on this?

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Old June 14th, 2013, 06:24 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Larry F View Post

I just want to know, do you want to play the gig, and figure out how to handle any difficulty that arises, or do you just want to sit there and point out the different bad actions that have happened in the past? Why did we waste the last few minutes griping about something that we will eventually manage to sort out after accepting the offer of a gig? I'm happy to be the leader and steer us to a decision.
I respond directly to these cretins by saying "you're giving me an answer to a question I didn't ask".
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Old June 14th, 2013, 06:46 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Or call them out, "I'll take that as a NO then!".
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Old June 14th, 2013, 07:25 AM   #4 (permalink)
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There are so many people that can't give a straight answer, either yes, or no, or a simple answer to a simple question.
I have a saying for those type of responders: If I ask what time it is, you tell me how to build a clock!
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Old June 14th, 2013, 08:09 AM   #5 (permalink)
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They are doing what most people call..."covering their asses"...

just incase the gig goes bad, they can say, "I told you so".
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Old June 14th, 2013, 08:40 AM   #6 (permalink)

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Larry, I can sometimes be accused of similar things, though I'm a pretty decisive guy.

I'm a problem solver by nature, so when confronted with a situation with significant obstacles to overcome I immediately start addressing them, even if I don't have solutions to offer yet. Since I'm usually the problem solver in any group, part of me is thinking "Christ, what else am I going to have to figure out?" and "Do you guys care enough to help or am I on my own here?"

Part of this is me figuring out whether or not I'm in, but I almost always am.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 09:05 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I think the main problem with this behavior is other band members and possibly you too anticipate it and limit themselves from suggesting an opportunity simply because its exhausting to deal with the complainer. It's just the way it is though and assuming the complainer brings other things to the table you enjoy, and there are no other real thorny issues my approach is to just tough it out. When you get the ole hairy eyeball just give it back to him. You are an individual. Stand tall and don't let this persons peccadillo bother you for too long.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 09:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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I don't know for sure, but from the way you describe it, it sounds to me like -you- are the decision maker, and they feel like their role is to help you make up your mind. I bet if you told them, "We're going to play this quiet gig," then you would get a more straightforward yes or no answer.

It reminds me of my boss, and some of my coworkers. If he asks them if we should take on a project or not, we have to sit through hours of excuses and conditions. But if he tells us "We're going to take on this new project," the discussion is much shorter.

You the boss, man! (Or if not, maybe you should be.)
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Old June 14th, 2013, 09:35 AM   #9 (permalink)
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It takes all kinds of people to make a group.

One thing is for certain though. An idea, allowed to grow into a problem, will become a problem.

I find the best way of dealing with these things is to simply downplay the potential negatives. If someone says, "yeah but, that hall is going to have lots of echo," I just say, "yes, it will and we'll just play quietly to compensate," followed by a positive statement like, "......it will sound so cool in there."

Stop it from growing into a problem before it has a chance to. re-direct the energy to something positive and then discuss the good things about it.


Personally, I love a quiet gig. It's more difficult to play quietly than it is to play loud. The challange, and the clear sound are quite rewarding to me.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 10:03 AM   #10 (permalink)
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There's a teacher at school who does something similar. I asked him about a student:
"Has Devin finished his Math course yet?"
"Well, he was supposed to come and see me, and he hasn't yet, but he only has a few chapters to go, and I told him that he only needs to do the review questions, as long as he sees me first so that I can over the stuff with him."
"So that would be a no, then."
"Well, yeah."

He just cannot give the answer to a question without a lot of extra information. He often seems to be defending himself in his answers.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 02:55 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I do what I can to accomodate different gig situations. I bring the right size amp with me, and if the room is especially live, I will bring a closed-back amp; that helps keep the lid on too many echos.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 06:09 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Some people have a negative outlook and think up problems in any situation before they arise. Others are simply contrary and will take the opposite track on anything anyone proposes. If you say it's daytime, they can sit there in the sun staring at a bright blue sky and swear it''s night time.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 06:48 PM   #13 (permalink)
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we don't do yes and no in my main band.

it is in or not in.

that way folks don't feel so committed.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 07:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I can identify with your bandmates. When asked for a decision on the spot, I've been known to state the obvious, too. My mind makes decisions by first identifying any and all potential problems or issues and second determining likelihood/significance. In a group setting I might talk during this process. And then be accused of being pessimistic or negative.

Remember, they just heard about this two minutes ago and are kicking it around in their head for the first time whereas you had time to think it through and form an opinion before you presented it to the group. You have a head start on them.

Your job as leader is to present the proposition, then listen, let them bring up concerns but don't let small issues derail progress or decisions.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 07:38 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Sounds like you associate with a whole heap of procrastinators Larry!

(Strange thing about procrastinators is that until I was 15yo I thought they all did rude things, or were some weird religious cult!)

The people you mentioned are just waiting for you to make their decision for them.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 10:05 PM   #16 (permalink)
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I've never been in a band unfortunately (will do one day when I get likeminded people and get myself organised) but I don't like to be messed around. Life is too short. I now it sounds brash, but if somebody bugs me, i cut them off. I know with a band there has to be a bit of give and take but experience tells me that I can't have 'problemed' people on my pad (because they will let you down big time eventually).

I did seriously consider a career as a guitarist.I was practicising 8 to 12 hrs a day for 3 mths (DIY classical and rock) after I quit a career (had practised regularly before that). When I thought I was ready to go, I answered a few ads and met a few guys. I found out two things instantly: 1. There is a lot of talent out there 2. Musos (particularly guitarists) have massive egos (stereotype based on a the small no. of people I met)..and could be hard to work with. I abandoned my journey and got a low-paying job in a factory.
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Old June 14th, 2013, 11:27 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Seems to me gatimberframer(above) has spotted the crux of this situation - you've got the "head start" whenever you present a new idea. So you will probably hear things that ran through your head when you first considered the idea also. If you can realise this and expect it, go with it and be sympathetic to those "catching up", I think you'll not only find it less frustrating you'll also be able to discuss any concerns the group has, and that will lead to everybody "owning" the concept more. This may be a challenge for you, but soon you'll roll with it better and be happier with the process. Hopefully this will allow everyone to have their say and feel more "included" = good vibes. ( just my 02 cents )
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Old June 14th, 2013, 11:56 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I'm happy to be the leader and steer us to a decision.
You're not leading, you're letting chaos reign. In a group that has a track record of indecision and waffling leadership is, "Here's the job, here are the parameters. Who's in?" It's up to you to decide the 'hows'.
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