New bass player fired after 2 rehearsals

Kansas

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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?
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?
I’ve been hired and fired. I’d suggest you try and not let somebody else‘s drama disrupt your day. Just not working out is all that really needs to be said. You aren’t somebody’s mental health counselor. Move on and don’t answer the phone.
 

String Tree

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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?
Ay some point, one Has to put in the Work.
The fun stuff comes later.
If Buttercup can't suck it up, he has to make room for someone who can.
 

FaithNicole

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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?

<snip ... <snip>

In my case they did not have an undue expectation. They adjusted the set list to the songs I was most comfortable with and we practiced the others to improve them so that they could be rotated back in. They were quite adamant about stating that they would have been happy the mistakes I was making even after several months of playing with them. The reason my mistakes were more minor was the effort I put in on my own. It's always a plus if the new person can just step in, it wasn't the expectation in this case.
 

Flat6Driver

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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.

This is often a whole different skill set than instrument proficiency. So many people never learn that. They expect to show up, play their/all the parts (hey guitar players I'm talking to you) and the show goes on. Some fitment is needed. And more over, someone to call the shots in a kind way that makes that happen.
 

itstooloudMike

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You did the right thing by cutting this guy loose. But you’re doing the wrong thing by not looking for a permanent member of the band to play bass. The bass is key in any band, and isn’t a spot to use a “pick up” player. If you want the band to be tight, you need a good bass player in that spot permanently.
 

Jazzcaster21

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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?
He's obviously thinking that because he's friends with the lap steel player he's got the gig. Well, it doesn't sound like he's doing the work required for the gig so, friend or not, you gotta move on.

Friends and bands don't always mix. At the end of the day, if you are a working band, making money, it's like you are running a company. All the members need to be pulling their weight in order for the "company (band)" to succeed and if one is not, for whatever reasons, then they have to go.
 

Jazzcaster21

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Agreed.
And from the OP, it sounds like the guy does not take criticism very well (or takes it too personally). If the message is being delivered face to face, I'd be aware of that and make sure to keep the emotion out of it.
he obviously has very little self-awareness.
 

Jazzcaster21

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Agreed.
And from the OP, it sounds like the guy does not take criticism very well (or takes it too personally). If the message is being delivered face to face, I'd be aware of that and make sure to keep the emotion out of it.
he obviously has very little self-awareness.
 

teletail

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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.
+1

"Do you just want examples of your awful playing, or would you like examples of being a Richard Cranium too? Like right now for example."
 

chris m.

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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.)
It would be different if the guy had managed to learn at least a handful of the tunes, but he apparently did bupkus.
 

JIMMY JAZZMAN

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A band is like a football team. Everyone has to do their job to reach success. One missed
block or beat, one false start or wrong note takes away from the whole team. Unconditional
release is a term I would use. Better luck next time.
 

Matt Sarad

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You're lucky. I met a bassist who, in the last 4 years got better. Problems?
He is about 5'5" so he can only play a short scale bass. I made the mistake of giving him a chorus pedal to try. Now he has one on his pedal board and loves the sound. I've told him repeatedly that it DOES NOT FIT in a blues band. He tried to use it with the surf band so I dissolved that band and the country band as well. He said that " the songs need a different flavor added."
I'm trying to kick him out of the blues band as well, but with gigs lined up it's impossible to bring a new guy in to learn all three sets.
 

Preacher

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he obviously has very little self-awareness.
I had a guy who wanted his guitar playing friend to join our worship band. His buddy told me that this kid was really good. The kid seemed kind of shy and reserved so I went to him and said that his buddy suggested that he play on our worship team. I could tell he was kind of embarrassed that I had asked him to play and I told him he did not have to if he did not want to. He said he would think about it.

His buddy kept telling me to recruit him and I told him that I had and that the kid was thinking about it. One day I had the pair of them together and the buddy went there about joining the band. The kid got really uncomfortable and eventually left the two of us sitting there.

I reached out to the kid later and he confessed that he had a guitar but could not play it. He had recorded some sound clips of other players and was telling people that it was him playing to get some girl he was in love with. Eventually he ended up taking lessons from me for about six weeks before he fell out of love and decided he did not want to play guitar.
 

vjf1968

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Everyone wants to play; few want to rehearse, even fewer want to practice.
I find that everyone wants to play and rehearse but never practice. After some experience, my last band I made a rule that we would all meet at a rehearsal space and not somebody's house to practice. That way everyone is putting in the same effort to get there and split the cost and as a reward after three hours we head to the local pub. It builds comradery and it worked.
 

vjf1968

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You're lucky. I met a bassist who, in the last 4 years got better. Problems?
He is about 5'5" so he can only play a short scale bass. I made the mistake of giving him a chorus pedal to try. Now he has one on his pedal board and loves the sound. I've told him repeatedly that it DOES NOT FIT in a blues band. He tried to use it with the surf band so I dissolved that band and the country band as well. He said that " the songs need a different flavor added."
I'm trying to kick him out of the blues band as well, but with gigs lined up it's impossible to bring a new guy in to learn all three sets.
Never be held hostage by a band member. Either do the gigs without him or cancel them. He is of the belief that you need him more than he needs you.
 

teletail

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You're lucky. I met a bassist who, in the last 4 years got better. Problems?
He is about 5'5" so he can only play a short scale bass.
If he learns proper technique he can play on any bass. I've played with a couple of bass players with short, stubby fingers who can fly on a precision. Ever watch a really good string bass player? String basses have a 41" scale. It has nothing to do with scale and everything to do with technique, barring an actual medical condition.
 




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