New bass player fired after 2 rehearsals

FaithNicole

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I'll give you my story.

I'm the 'friend of the band' amateur bass player. I learned late, 50+, played 5 yrs counting the initial learning curve - jams only. I then took 4yrs off not playing (life crisis). I started going back out a bit. Then started following my friends band. Got [re]interested in the music. I asked and received their songs and set lists. I set up camera and recorded their gigs and set out to practice. I had no goal other than to get back into playing. Once comfortable I mentioned to my friends that if they ever needed a fill-in that I'd be willing. Well, I filled in once, it went well. They had a falling out with their current bass player. they asked me to audition. I played two songs and was in.

Summation is, I put in the work with no real plan on a 'reward'. The person you described wants the 'reward' without doing any real work.
 

stxrus

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The only one I see doing anything wrong is the bass player. Couldn’t/wouldn’t commit the time and energy to learn the songs AND acted like a baby when confronted with HIS problem.
Cut the cord, rip the bandage, move on…there’s nothing to see here.
 

ReverendRevolver

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There's other bass players out there. That's what I keep telling myself at least.

I think the situation that @FaithNicole describes shows that sane people understand that you have to put in effort for people to want you in a band. If you don't want to learn the songs, here's a cowbell, go dance around in the back corner. When we get paid, you get a dollar.
Someone on the same page as everyone else will come along. (In my case, if they play an upright I'll meet 'em half way. That reminds me, I gotta go re-google some lyrics incase the next guy notices what I'm actually saying....)
 

Burlington Dave

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I play in an alt country band. About half original music and half covers. There are 3 core members and we all get along pretty well (lead singer, lap steel player and me on guitar) . We all have day jobs of course but take it pretty seriously, and try to play decent paying gigs but not all that frequently. We have got into the habit of working with a roster of different bass players and drummers from time to time who like working with us but without committing to any one - they always get paid and it’s just easier that way.

Recently we tried out a new bass player - friend of the lap player- who is more of a casual bass player. As a sub for some of our more low paying pwyc casual gigs (we always take equal shares) if he learned the material it might be good to have a good back up. We were told he was really excited about working with us and looking forward to it etc. has been a friend of the band for years and always said if we had an opportunity he would love to play with us. It was clear that he thought he was auditioning as a full band member which was weird as that was never discussed and he knows we work with lots of other people.

Anyways 2 rehearsals in and it’s clear it’s not going to work. He doesn’t use charts, doesn’t take any notes during practice, hasn’t “had time” to listen to any of the material (he has copies of our 2 cds plus YouTube links and charts i sent on Dropbox), keeps talking about how busy he is and says he will try to find time to learn the material. He watches my left hand and plays about half a beat behind. My response is WTF!!!We have a gig coming up in a few weeks and are running out of time and patience to work on it with him. After the last rehearsal, our drummer came up to me after and pleaded with me to get someone else and sent a follow up email. That clinched it. I was able to convince our lap player that personal relationship aside this was NOT going to work.

So the message was delivered that it just wasn’t working out and he reacted very badly and said all sorts of fairly juvenile and nasty stuff. But he still seems to think we owe him more of an explanation. My view is that if he doesn’t know why, that is part of the problem. I really liked him as a person but talking about this further is pointless. Anyways I am frustratedly and just ranting here. Anyone had similar experiences and is there a different approach or is it better to just rip off the bandaid in one pull and move on?
Sound alike you’ve taken a professional approach and he’s reacted very unprofessionally. You don’t owe him anything else.
 

Guitarteach

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I see. You don’t commit to your rhythm section and see them as disposable, cheap drop ins.

Why you expect anything different? You got what you were looking for... an unprofessional.

You won’t get invested players with that vibe IMO. You seem to have a ‘them and us‘ thing going on that could put off good players too.

I am with a function band now that had to dump a poor bass player recently that turned all nasty when told. Some can’t take the knock back.

You need formal auditions and a better offer if you want better and a team player IMO.
 
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Synchro

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I find it interesting that he really wanted to do it, yet did none of the work necessary to make that happen.
It's rather shocking that his ear wasn't even good enough to play along without having to study your hand. I always wait until the song's
over, go over the bridge, stops, key changes, and then WRITE THAT **** DOWN!. But then I'd have been pretty prepared before I showed up. 🤷‍♂️
I‘ve had this happen on more than one occasion. There was one guy that would come to rehearsal every week, vowing to have the songs ready “next week”. Ultimately, he wanted to play the songs he liked and didn’t so much want to join our band, but wanted our band to learn his crap.

I‘m fortunate, in that the bass player I work with is: a) a good friend, b) a good bass player and c) willing to put some real effort into it.
Everyone wants to play; few want to rehearse, even fewer want to practice.
For sure.
 

Peegoo

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You tee'd up the ball for him to hit it squarely down the fairway (you provided prep material and he had lead time) and he whiffed on the swing.

If he were truly serious, he would've worked in some practice time. He didn't.

Your band is not a few pals in a garage; you have paying gigs on the calendar and you need players that can carry their portion of the load.

If he cannot handle the truth--that's his problem, not yours.
 

beyer160

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Sounds like one of those guys who likes the idea of being in a band, but not the reality of being in a band.

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Fiesta Red

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I am not a great guitarist. I know it, but I also won’t commit to something I can’t do…I’m humble and honest enough to say, “You’re looking for someone better than me…”

Having said all that, I have no qualms about getting rid of someone who either can’t or won’t learn our band’s music…I wrote most of it, but (as I mentioned above) I’m no great shakes so if they can’t figure it out, they probably need to get to work learning to play or give it up.

Several times I’ve gotten to the point that I’d rather just simplify the arrangements of the songs and play rhythm guitar without a bassist than to play with a bad bassist.
 

WRHB

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First, make sure your guitar is safely put away. Then tell him bluntly he’s out. If he reacts childishly, at least your guitar is safe. I have no problem telling people why they’re out. I know there are nicer ways but nice doesn’t always get the job done.
 

Flat6Driver

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I'll give you my story.

I'm the 'friend of the band' amateur bass player. I learned late, 50+, played 5 yrs counting the initial learning curve - jams only. I then took 4yrs off not playing (life crisis). I started going back out a bit. Then started following my friends band. Got [re]interested in the music. I asked and received their songs and set lists. I set up camera and recorded their gigs and set out to practice. I had no goal other than to get back into playing. Once comfortable I mentioned to my friends that if they ever needed a fill-in that I'd be willing. Well, I filled in once, it went well. They had a falling out with their current bass player. they asked me to audition. I played two songs and was in.

Summation is, I put in the work with no real plan on a 'reward'. The person you described wants the 'reward' without doing any real work.


The end of this got me thinking. Often I see post from bands that fired a member or he/she died, moved away, etc. There's an expectation that a new guy will get up to speed quickly to keep the bands momentum.

Is that fair?

If you're Van Halen and Diamond Dave quits for his solo career, it makes sense to expecr Sammy Hagar to get up to speed and nail it. This is a serious band with real high stakes on the line.

A band that plays Stinkys Bar and Grill every third weekend and everyone gets $75 and two drinks on the house? Maybe not as much.

I think with a hobby band (which has a large range, right?) There's a natural period of rebuilding with the new person. The new person has to get up to speed, the band has to get the feel of the fit, etc. Even in Van Helen's case, they had been together for 13 years by the time Dave quit. So the rest of the band knew each other and the music really well. I assume the OPs band had been together a while as well (2 albums) so there's an intangible there that transcends the music itself.

Not saying the OP is wrong with this guy, just the general internet consensus might be expecting more in the over all scheme of things.

(My son played on the varsity basketball team this year. The team lost every game but one. Despite being in a populous area (he passes another HS to get to his) this school plays all the rinky dink rural schools. Those kids can play and you can see them work together well. Maybe it's coaching, but I'm sure that those kids have spent their whole lives playing together.)
 

ndcaster

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The gig is in a few weeks, and he hasn't learned much if anything. When he does play along, his time is bad. I agree with all that's been said so far, but you have a gig to play.

What I'd try to know is whether you can find a ringer in under a week (are bassists plentiful?) to give y'all time to get things down pat. Would finding this person take more or less time than training your slacker bassist?

I hope it's the latter. Good luck!
 
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brbadg

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I am not a great guitarist. I know it, but I also won’t commit to something I can’t do…I’m humble and honest enough to say, “You’re looking for someone better than me…”

Having said all that, I have no qualms about getting rid of someone who either can’t or won’t learn our band’s music…I wrote most of it, but (as I mentioned above) I’m no great shakes so if they can’t figure it out, they probably need to get to work learning to play or give it up.

Several times I’ve gotten to the point that I’d rather just simplify the arrangements of the songs and play rhythm guitar without a bassist than to play with a bad bassist.

This is the same reason we no longer use drums.
 

P Thought

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Maybe it's coaching, but I'm sure that those kids have spent their whole lives playing together.
It's both.

I attended 8th and 9th grade at the 160-student high school in the 4-town coastal valley where I grew up. I've been to some great basketball games, but I don't think I've ever experienced one more highly charged with all the things--close score, rivalry, lead changes, packed house going nuts--that show up in the pro playoffs, than the one at Point Arena between their undefeated team and ours.

The gym was more of a pit, with three, maybe four feet clearance around the court itself, then wooden benches arrayed steeply up ten rows or so. I forget who won, I think they did, but their roster had 2 family names shared by a half dozen players--surely they'd all played together all their lives--and our guys had also grown up together on the same playgrounds. I don't know about theirs, but our coach knew enough to teach fast break and quick pick'n'roll, and on the court our Panthers were a machine. Great coach, but I'm sure if you found him today and asked him he'd tell you that was a special bunch of players.

Anyway, back to the bass player. There's a simple solution for the bass guy and for the band that fired him. He needs to focus his indignation, round up some fellow musicians, and start his own band. There now.
 

Skub

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he reacted very badly and said all sorts of fairly juvenile and nasty stuff.
Aside from him not being up to the job and showing no inclination to put in the work,the above reaction shows you did exactly the right thing. Bands are always a delicate balance of members,if you'd kept him on,you'd probably have been looking for another drummer. One bad apple,etc.
 

keithb7

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Tons of depth to a topic about working with other musicians and keeping a band together. There are many reasons to either cut your losses early or carry on trying to work things out. The ejected player's stupid response, saying nasty things and so on, is a big indicator. Deep down the guy is a bit of an a s s , acting like a 14 year old spoiled brat. We had a similar experience when the drummer was fired. Nasty. He wanted specific examples of his bad playing. His playing was only part of the issue.
 

SRHmusic

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I'll give you my story.

I'm the 'friend of the band' amateur bass player. I learned late, 50+, played 5 yrs counting the initial learning curve - jams only. I then took 4yrs off not playing (life crisis). I started going back out a bit. Then started following my friends band. Got [re]interested in the music. I asked and received their songs and set lists. I set up camera and recorded their gigs and set out to practice. I had no goal other than to get back into playing. Once comfortable I mentioned to my friends that if they ever needed a fill-in that I'd be willing. Well, I filled in once, it went well. They had a falling out with their current bass player. they asked me to audition. I played two songs and was in.

Summation is, I put in the work with no real plan on a 'reward'. The person you described wants the 'reward' without doing any real work.
Perfect example, and good work. I had a similar experience as a part time player, working at improving through learning and practicing, intermittent low key party gigs with friends, and years of blues jams to get comfortable playing out and pushing me to learn more material and work on actually executing new ideas. Eventually a good break occurred and I got into a good gigging band, and still know there more to work on and learn.

If someone has not played seriously in a band before then there can be a lot of learning ahead about what it takes to be prepared, how to really play together, how to pay attention to the overall sound, and which bits/aspects make the songs work. Sounds like this guy hasn't really worked to figure it out. We had a similar experience with another "home player" that wanted to sit in. Some folks need more time and work to get there, but they need to be paying attention to even realize it.
 




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