Band broke up.....not sure how I feel.

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by Knowcaster, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. Knowcaster

    Knowcaster Tele-Holic

    Jun 30, 2007
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I had been with a classic rock cover band for about three years, ever since I moved to this area from out of state. We had been gigging once or twice per month over that time, mainly due to our bass player/front man/manager, "Bob" networking with bar managers, VFW presidents, event organizers, etc. We did a gig Saturday night at a local watering hole that was pretty typical for us - not a great crowd, but we brought some people and kept the ones who were there dancing and buying beer. Sunday morning I received an email from "Bob", saying he was "resigning from the band", had cancelled all our scheduled gigs, and had taken down our Facebook page. He didn't say why, and nothing in particular happened at the gig that I remember. A short time later I got a text from the other guitar player asking if I wanted to find a replacement for Bob and keep the band going. I honestly don't think I do, but I told him I would think about it.

    Replacing Bob would require filling all three roles - lead singer, bass player, and gig getter, so we would have to figure that out. Doubtful we could find someone to fill all three roles well, but you never know. I would like to keep it to a four piece, and I honestly have not had good experiences with lead singers who do not play an instrument. Then we would have to get the new person/people up to speed and I am a little tired of the weekly rehearsals we usually had.

    I had actually been contemplating my future with the band the last couple of months but had not made up my mind what to do. The band played the type of music I generally like, and we got along pretty with with one another. My main issue was that as a group we were not as tight as I would like us to be. The vocals were actually pretty good (Bob was a good lead singer and sang most of the songs and we did harmonies where appropriate). We could pull off the solos and other key parts of the songs we were covering and could generally get pretty close to the recorded versions (not that this is everyone's cup of tea, but the crowd liked it). It's just that on a lot of songs we sounded just a bit disjointed, like the drums, bass, and guitars are not exactly on the beat together. They other guys didn't really hear it though, and I don't think most of our audience would consciously notice, but my wife has commented that something just isn't quite right. I have been in other bands that were less flashy and had weaker vocals, but had our timing down much better.

    Bottom line is that while I don't want to throw away three years of time with the other 2 guys in the band and not revamp this band, I feel like it is time to move on. Maybe go in a different direction, maybe more of an acoustic or "unplugged" type of group, something that plays more family type events. I am not thrilled with playing in smokey bars and clubs until midnight or later any more. Maybe take some jazz lessons and focus on solo jazz tunes. Maybe get more involved in the music ministry at my church.

    Thanks for listening (well, reading). Not really looking for advice here, just a bit of a rant. If you have gone through a similar experience and would like to share, please do, all thoughts, comments, and smart remarks are welcome.
    Wildcard_35 and brbadg like this.
  2. Dacious

    Dacious Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 16, 2003
    Bands are like marriages only less permanent. Unfortunately everyone is not also on the same page so these things happen. Some bands have magic some combinations don't.

    Bob may have reasons you don't know about. Illness, trouble at home, change of circumstances. Maybe he's been spending money on the band and not recouping it? Maybe he's just tired of constant practice and logistics too?
    Wildcard_35 likes this.
  3. philosofriend

    philosofriend Tele-Holic

    Oct 28, 2015
    You said you were thinking about the band anyway, and you like playing at church.

    They still have smoke at bars in your area? Around here that went away a long time ago. For me though, its just more to the point to play at church than to get home at one in the morning, though I have to admit I like to play for enthusiastic dancers.

    Few bands are as tight as we would like them to be. If you get along with the other guys and have an easy place to rehearse, you might want to get together for fun.... but you also might like a vacation for a while.
    nojazzhere likes this.
  4. RodeoTex

    RodeoTex Poster Extraordinaire

    Sep 14, 2005
    Nueces Strip
    Sounds like Bob was doing a lot. Maybe just burned out.
  5. brookdalebill

    brookdalebill Tele Axpert Ad Free Member

    Nov 15, 2009
    Austin, Tx
    Onward and upward!
    Join or form another band.
    You might consider being a hired gun.
    I like it, but you gotta remember not to get too emotionally attached to any one band.
    Drama sucks, and it is absolutely inevitable.
    Don’t let it mess with your happiness.
    nojazzhere and SPUDCASTER like this.
  6. Paul Jenkin

    Paul Jenkin Friend of Leo's

    Aug 17, 2017
    Essex, UK
    I'm not intending to be critical or controversial but, in an ideal world, wouldn't it have been better for Bob to call a band meeting and announce his intended departure and give the rest of you the option to find a replacement for him and, potentially, keep and fulfil the gigs already booked?

    Bob no doubt had his reasons and, as mentioned earlier, may just have been burned out. However, notifying band members by text / email and cancelling gigs and pulling down a band FB page unilaterally seems a bit heavy - bearing in mind that, until that point, you were a "band".

    Clearly, your call but I think I might be tempted to see if it's possible to carry on without Bob or find a replacement. Then again, I'm not someone who likes other people making those sort of decisions for me.

    Anyway, I hope Bob is okay and that you guys resolve whatever it is that you want to do.
  7. MilwMark

    MilwMark Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

    Apr 29, 2013
    near Arnold's
    Deep down you know the band wasn't very good. Or very satisfying. Maybe Bob did you a favor making a decision you felt too guilty making?
    nojazzhere and SPUDCASTER like this.
  8. thegeezer

    thegeezer Tele-Afflicted

    Jul 5, 2010
    West Michigan
    The thing that struck me: Bob's action's taken without telling the rest of the band. Cancelling gigs, pulling your FB page and then telling you he quit.

    Why do that? Why not just say he wanted out first and give the rest of you the opportunity to find a replacement or even use a sub or two for a while if the rest of you chose to continue? Seems he made a unilateral decision on behalf of all of you. Sounds like the rest of you only thought it was a band.

    i guess you're moving way or the other.
    LocoTex likes this.
  9. jimilee

    jimilee Tele-Holic Silver Supporter

    Dec 19, 2017
    Be the band leader and take over the roll and make the band better. Surely you guys know the booking people where you played already and they know you, that’s a leg up.
    Or drop out and do something else for a while.
  10. Gene O.

    Gene O. Tele-Holic

    Sep 20, 2015
    NE, Ohio
    Sometimes these things are a blessing in disguise, giving you/us an opportunity to find other, more satisfying opportunities.
  11. DavidP

    DavidP Friend of Leo's

    Mar 16, 2003
    Vancouver, BC
    Agree 1000% with both of these statements. Take a week or two (or more) to let the event soak in and think of where you want to be musically in the future -- you're at the crossroads right now.
  12. dogmeat

    dogmeat Tele-Holic

    Oct 12, 2017
    have you talked to Bob? maybe you two are more on the same page
    thesamhill likes this.
  13. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

    Feb 3, 2017
    Foat Wuth, Texas
    Several thoughts come to mind.....maybe Bob didn't like the lack of "tightness", and he may be starting over with other musicians....maybe Bob got lured away by another band who recognized his talents....maybe (as RodeoTex said) he's burned out and just doesn't want to do it don't seem to have much respect for the other remaining players, were they the cause of "bad tightness"? If it's important to you, call or email Bob, and try to get his thoughts...maybe he would want to work with you again, maybe not. But I agree it would be good to know the full could be educational.
    Tele1966 likes this.
  14. NJ Deadhead

    NJ Deadhead Tele-Meister

    Jan 25, 2017
    Greenville, SC
    I'd be happy to tell you how to feel!:)

    How about pi**ed off at Bob? Now that that's out of the way, here are some options as to what to do:

    1. Talk to the others and see if there is a desire to keep the band going, and if so, what does that look like? Be honest about your previous concerns and see if they agree to work on tightening up. Also, do you really need a new vocalist/booking guy? Perhaps one of you can try lead singing duty and surely all of you are capable of booking a gig. Maybe you just need a bassist...that's not too bad!
    2. Fold it and start something simple
    3. Ask Bob WTF and see if maybe there is a chance to work through whatever caused him to back out so unexpectedly.
    Paul in Colorado likes this.
  15. Tele1966

    Tele1966 Friend of Leo's

    Jul 30, 2014
    I have the same speculation as some others that Bob will be forming a new band.

    OP, this may be a blessing in disguise.

    I've said before that when my band breaks up I will never play in another band. It's too much work, and even though playing live is just about my favorite thing to do in life, when this band is over, I'm over.

    My front man and I started our band 7 or 8 years ago. We have an agreement that if either one of us every left the band that nether of us would continue using our band name, the band name would be retired.
    badger51 likes this.
  16. archtop_fjk

    archtop_fjk Tele-Meister

    Aug 4, 2009
    Lebanon, NH
    I would get together with your two band mates and have a jam session (someone would have to start playing bass). Maybe try some different songs or arrangements of songs. If something gels, then you all could agree to seek out a new lead singer and forge ahead.

    I'm in a similar position. I play lead guitar in a group where the singer and bass player have been good friends for years. They run the group, get the gigs, promote the gigs, etc. I'm OK with that, but coming home from a gig at 2 AM on Saturday/Sunday nights is starting to wear on me. Still, my band mates are easy to get along with, I enjoy the music we play, I get some creative freedom to come up with my guitar parts -- and I get to sing a few songs too! So I'll forge ahead for now.

    By the way, being the band manager can be a LOT of work if you want to gig regularly for money. Tracking down restaurant/bar/club/event managers, getting everyone to agree to specific dates (maybe way out in the future) while not clashing with family commitments or your day job. No fun...
  17. Henry Mars

    Henry Mars Tele-Holic

    Jan 17, 2014
    Bucks Co. PA
    With one of my bands we are booked 2 - 3 times a month for the rest of year. Our bass player quit with two days before the next gig without notice. I understand that he was burning the candle at both ends. I wish that he could have given us some breathing room but he didn't. We found a bass player the next day and were back in business. Nobody is irreplaceable including yours truly.
    If you really want to play find a bass player and get on with it. You just have to hit the street and talk to the owners where you are playing.
    All of that said you need to hang around open mics and jam sessions so that you know which players can cut it and which players are available ... in other words you need to build and keep relationships with other players outside your band. These kind of relationships will help you keep things working even when you get an unexpected break in the chain.
  18. Teleguy61

    Teleguy61 Friend of Leo's

    May 17, 2010
    Eastern Massachusetts
    It seems Bob was carrying the load, and may have had issues with that, but seems not to have voiced them.
    If he was the bass player, lead (or only lead) singer, and did the booking, it was pretty much his band, so he can do it.
  19. Tenderfoot

    Tenderfoot Tele-Meister

    May 8, 2014
    Katy, TX
    To be tight all band members need to be positive in their thinking and strive to contribute to the band's overall sound. Bob apparently had something going on that he didn't want to share, but it was something eating at him to the degree that it impacted his desire to continue playing in the band. Perhaps he sensed that other members of the band were getting burned out or not playing to their full potential (perhaps like in the first couple of years). Seeing this happen, over the last number of recent gigs, he might have felt other band members wanted to call it quits (or make a position change) but hadn't said anything. If this was the case he most likely felt it was only a matter of time before another band member quite and this would have a negative impact on the band's ability to fulfill future scheduled gigs.

    What happened to you I have seen happen several times with bands I have been in and bands of friends. When it happens you move on and make the best of what comes your way.

    Best of luck in whatever you decide to do.
  20. chris m.

    chris m. Poster Extraordinaire

    Mar 25, 2003
    Santa Barbara, California
    A few thoughts--

    - if your singer was also playing bass that might have factored into the lack of tightness. It takes some serious talent to be able to sing well and keep the bass completely in the pocket at the same time. If you want a really tight band in my opinion
    the most important component is drums and bass being totally in synch.

    - starting a new band takes a long time and is a lot of work. Coming on board a working band is less work, but you have to be able to fit into the already established picture for the most part. Rebuilding your band minus the key guy may actually
    be the easiest route.

    - Doing the management stuff-- keeping things organized, social media, getting bookings, etc.-- is the least fun job but so essential to any band. These days social media really makes all the difference in terms of building a dedicated following. I joke
    but am actually serious that our band should try to find a person who is willing to do all of that stuff and then they should get an equal share. If your old band re-forms someone needs to step up and do that stuff. Maybe it's you.

    - Playing in a band can be hard work, but man, when it sounds good and is lining up with your personal goals it is really great. It is a challenge to find good musicians whose goals are similar. It won't work if some of the guys are trying to make a living
    and want to gig as much as possible but the other half just wants to gig for fun once a month or so.
    Wildcard_35 likes this.
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