New bass player fired after 2 rehearsals

teletail

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Thanks everyone for the thoughts and feedback. Lots of interesting points. To finish out the story and update: the weekend we fired him - massive storm in our area -the power lines and cell phone towers were all down so my band mate fired him by text which was not ideal of course. The fired player sent both of us a really weird angry rambling email basically making a bunch of excuses and suggesting we misled him in terms of expecting note for note performances and we didn’t give him enough time (which was not the case and frankly not the issue). And then ended off by telling me he didn’t really like our music anyways and how he was too busy and was only doing this as a favour. Lol.

So as a courtesy to my band mate who is the friend, and having some emotional distance from this guy, I took the high road, sent a fairly short reply explaining it was a trial and the band all agreed it wasn’t working out in the time we had available, we felt it was better not to lead him on, sorry he felt that way and it was just as well considering it sounded like he wasn’t enjoying it anyways. No hard feelings here, best of luck and take care. The end. He sent me a very short reply saying thanks for the message and that was it.

So sigh…. never again. Friendships and band do not mix!!! Unless they have some emotional maturity and are known players. Honestly this was just a strange situation and we should have known better.

So to answer one other interesting point running through this thread— are we technically professional or is it a hobby? Well, I guess you would call it a professional hobby but I would never admit that when we are pitching for gigs to presenters. Yes I need money to pay for living expenses for a family of 4 and I have another job that pays the bills, so no we are not making a living. But we self financed 2 cds of mostly original music, have had some radio airplay, played at folk festivals now and again, gigged regularly at a few clubs and small theatres before Cvd and hustle summer concert series with municipal presenters. It’s a hustle and we don’t have the momentum to really build it up into a career and that probably isn’t happening anyways at my age but I am happy with the way it works. We get paid to play unless it’s a charity thing, and those hiring us are expecting us to sound tight and together and in tune. Is that professional or not? I guess I don’t care what you call it. For now we have a few young jazz session guys around here who know us and will play with us if we can pay them decently. They won’t commit to permanent status for obvious reasons.

At the end of the day if you are getting paid you should meet the expectations of whoever’s hiring you. Sadly music is a highly undervalued profession. But that’s another thread I guess.
I would say if you are accepting money for your services you are a professional. Does a person that only tends bar on weekends consider it a hobby????

I’d also say that if agree to play in public you should act like a professional, regardless of whether or not you’re getting paid. I’ve seen too many musicians turn in a half fast performance with the excuse that they weren’t getting paid, they weren’t getting paid enough, or it wasn’t a nice enough place to warrant the effort of a good performance.
 

JustABluesGuy

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Thanks everyone for the thoughts and feedback. Lots of interesting points. To finish out the story and update: the weekend we fired him - massive storm in our area -the power lines and cell phone towers were all down so my band mate fired him by text which was not ideal of course. The fired player sent both of us a really weird angry rambling email basically making a bunch of excuses and suggesting we misled him in terms of expecting note for note performances and we didn’t give him enough time (which was not the case and frankly not the issue). And then ended off by telling me he didn’t really like our music anyways and how he was too busy and was only doing this as a favour. Lol.

So as a courtesy to my band mate who is the friend, and having some emotional distance from this guy, I took the high road, sent a fairly short reply explaining it was a trial and the band all agreed it wasn’t working out in the time we had available, we felt it was better not to lead him on, sorry he felt that way and it was just as well considering it sounded like he wasn’t enjoying it anyways. No hard feelings here, best of luck and take care. The end. He sent me a very short reply saying thanks for the message and that was it.

So sigh…. never again. Friendships and band do not mix!!! Unless they have some emotional maturity and are known players. Honestly this was just a strange situation and we should have known better.

So to answer one other interesting point running through this thread— are we technically professional or is it a hobby? Well, I guess you would call it a professional hobby but I would never admit that when we are pitching for gigs to presenters. Yes I need money to pay for living expenses for a family of 4 and I have another job that pays the bills, so no we are not making a living. But we self financed 2 cds of mostly original music, have had some radio airplay, played at folk festivals now and again, gigged regularly at a few clubs and small theatres before Cvd and hustle summer concert series with municipal presenters. It’s a hustle and we don’t have the momentum to really build it up into a career and that probably isn’t happening anyways at my age but I am happy with the way it works. We get paid to play unless it’s a charity thing, and those hiring us are expecting us to sound tight and together and in tune. Is that professional or not? I guess I don’t care what you call it. For now we have a few young jazz session guys around here who know us and will play with us if we can pay them decently. They won’t commit to permanent status for obvious reasons.

At the end of the day if you are getting paid you should meet the expectations of whoever’s hiring you. Sadly music is a highly undervalued profession. But that’s another thread I guess.
Technically, if one makes any money doing something, they are doing it professionally.

Professionals are also generally expected to perform their skill (whatever that is) at a higher level than an amateur.

One can even perform a skill (whatever it is) at a professional level without ever making a dime doing so. I’m of the opinion that you are a professional musician because you are making money and playing at a skilled level. Just because it’s your second job and you enjoy it, doesn’t mean it isn’t a job.

Anyway good luck finding a good fit on bass.
 

Mike Eskimo

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Bass is so easy to just do “competently” .

And that’s below “good”

Just having a “good” bassist can elevate a band immeasurably in terms of swing not to mention the foundation.

Dig this : The dad band that I was in for 12 years that dissolved a couple years ago had a guy that was into old garage rock and that whole aesthetic but was a root/fifth guy and played… Wait for it… Wait for it…

A skeletal version of the Peace Frog bass line !

I blew up on him at an outdoor practice we had and kept saying “dude - that exact bass riff played exactly as they recorded it - is the whole song !”

But mercifully that band dissolved and then 3/4 of the band formed a new band that did all originals - and kept the crappy bass player ! 🤣
 

CV Jee Beez

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My experience with bands is that there's a significant portion of players involved that want to be in band however:

are not into the work associated
aren't strong in hearing themselves objectively
Optimizing the song and their ability within are not highly desired

I auditioned for a band recently. The bass player asked that I learned 3 songs for our maiden jam. I came ready, he and the drummer did not. To make it weird, he got snippy with me and said that the purpose of the jam was to assess chemistry and that they intended to do punk renditions of the songs in question.

I put forth mu idea that a good starting point for chemistry and stylized versions is to know the original song and know it well. He disagreed vehemently.
 

Barquentine

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I can remember a few occasions when I was given a list of numbers to learn for an audition only to find that the existing band members didn't know them as well as I did after a few days studying them. I've also recruited band members who seemed promising but then failed to make any further progress. If someone is 'too busy' to learn the songs they should give up on the idea of playing in a band.
 

JustABluesGuy

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I can remember a few occasions when I was given a list of numbers to learn for an audition only to find that the existing band members didn't know them as well as I did after a few days studying them. I've also recruited band members who seemed promising but then failed to make any further progress. If someone is 'too busy' to learn the songs they should give up on the idea of playing in a band.

I played with a beginner bass player who showed promise. There was no gigging involved so we jammed for a while. His progress was painfully slow.

He was stretched pretty thin. He had a full time job, was running sound for a working band, and just getting started on guitar, 4 and 5 string as well as acoustic bass. Nice enough guy, but just never got to speed.

I think the last time I talked to him he said he’s actually playing with a band though, so good for him! Bass players are rare here. I got grabbed for a band on bass when I first started, and I had never even played bass.

I barely played guitar, and they were desperate. I didn’t have the time to commit to a working band, so I ended up bowing out.
 

teletail

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I can remember a few occasions when I was given a list of numbers to learn for an audition only to find that the existing band members didn't know them as well as I did after a few days studying them. I've also recruited band members who seemed promising but then failed to make any further progress. If someone is 'too busy' to learn the songs they should give up on the idea of playing in a band.
I auditioned for a band that did about 50% originals. I really wanted to get in so I learned 6 or 7 of their originals in addition to some cover tunes. To make a long story short, they couldn’t play three of them. After the third one, the drummer stands up and says, “How effen embarrassing is this? The man learns our own tunes and we don’t even know them.” Turns out knuckle headed guitarist just sent me a list and didn’t bother to check it.

It turned out to be the best band I ever played with. We had a great run.
 

adjason

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Yeah it can be painful. I spent yesterday playing with a drummer who gels with me and a guitarists who overplayed and sounded like he was playing a different song than I was the entire time. When I gave him the chance to sing a song he struggled and constantly messed it up- it was as if he had never heard the song list I sent him etc. I am not talking note for note songs- I mean he could not play two chord songs - no sense of the pocket. It was painful and of course I felt like a jerk for telling him as nicely as I could how I felt at the end. Drummer agreed with me-it was as if you are trying to play a song while someone else is playing something entirely different at the same time. I am convinced that some people just can not hear themselves
 

Skyhook

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I can't imagine showing up to band rehearsal not knowing how to play the songs.

I'll do you one better.
I showed up to a gig once and suddenly the band starts up a song I had never heard before. :lol:

A little background is in order here.
We practiced a lot on our own there and we even managed once to play a song that
had never been played in rehearsal and played perfectly in front of an audience.
We looked at each other after the last chord and said "now that was a pro job".

On the flip side, however, there was a lot of spamming regarding suggestions for new songs
and lots of versions of set lists flying back and forth prior to gigs.
So... some miscommunication at this level led to me not even registering that a certain song I had
never heard before had snuck onto the set list.

So what happened? Well... I had two choices. Attempting to play or not playing.
I went with not playing. It was the much cleaner choice of the two.
Luckily it wasn't a keyboard heavy track as it relied mostly on guitars, so I just
sat down quietly on the floor behind my keyboard stack and listened to the song.
Listened intently, I might add, as it was very probable I would have to play that thing sometime yet. :lol:
 

wangdaning

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First round of covid lockdown here, 2020 in China, I found myself in a bar illegally opened up. Watched what remained of the band, many had went home over the Chinese New Year and could not returned, play a few songs. It was the keyboard player/singer on guitar and the guitarist on drums. Really silly, but this band is the house band at this bar. They are Filipino, quite common to have Filipino house bands here playing cover songs, often quite good. Anyway, it was quite late and drinks were going around. They let me noodle on the guitar and we talked a bit about music. Suddenly, they wanted me to be their fill in bass player. They were very serious, as they had nobody and did not know how they could keep the gig if they couldn't get a band together. I asked what they played, just modern pop covers, puke. I just said I was too busy as I have a full time job and a child. They were cool and we just kept messing around, what they enjoyed musically was not what they play during normal gigs. These are guys who will take a random request from the crowd, look it up, and play it. Takes skill, but not my cup of tea.
 

Matt Sarad

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Just informed the bassist his services were no longer needed. Thanked him for his time and effort.
At our last gig he started by ordering me to turn my amp down 2 seconds after I turned it on before I had adjusted the volume and tone.
He has been doing this at practices for months.
He doesn't woodshed between rehearsals and
does not take musical direction or criticism.
Glad he's gone.
 
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JustABluesGuy

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I have a friend who plays bass. He’s fairly new to it, but we would jam at my place fairly often. When the troubles began we took a break till we all got vaxxed.

He ended up joining a band. He recently got fired from that band. It know it wasn’t his attitude, but I don’t know what his skill level is now. He wasn’t that great when I played with him, but he was just starting out.

He told me that the band recently got a new lead guitarist, and the new lead guitarist pushed for his removal. I don’t know if was a skill issue, or a personality issue of some kind, though if it was a personality issue, I would guess it was the lead guitarist, since my buddy isn’t bossy, and doesn’t have a huge ego. The lead guitarist might have had a friend who played bass, or my friend just might not have been up to their standards yet.

He also ran sound for another band that a friend of his played rhythm guitar in. That band replaced the rhythm guitarist and then never called him back either. They were obviously hired as a pair and let go as a pair.

With bands there will always be drama!
 

Ronhar

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Being able to sit in on short notice and roll with the band is a great skill to acquire. It typically takes years of singing or playing in ensemble settings. Lots of guys from the YouTube generation just haven't had enough opportunity. It doesn't help that most K-12 schools no longer have the richness of choir, orchestra, band, marching band, and jazz-rock band that they had back in my day. My high school had all of these and more. Those were seminal learning experiences on how to have big ears and know your spot.

Once a band has its material together I agree that they don't need to rehearse as much. My band rehearses for these reasons--

1) when we want to learn new songs. This is important, because we get stale if we don't keep adding new songs to our repertoire. It gets boring playing the same songs. It's fun and invigorating to learn new stuff. We pick a couple of songs that the singer is psyched to do, we practice them on our own, and then when we get together for a rehearsal we give them a few run throughs and figure out if they're going to work. Usually we can add them to the set list after maybe a half hour of working on it as a group....because we all showed up at least 90% familiar with the song and its changes.

2) To review the rough spots in the last gig. We talk about where we had a few minor train wrecks, such as a botched ending, and go over it to tighten it up. The audience never noticed, but we did.

3) When there's a long hiatus between gigs. When we're playing every couple of weeks, we just gig. But when we have a month between gigs that's an opportunity to get together and work on stuff, and it helps keep us tight. Besides, we actually like hanging out with each other-- kind of like poker night but with music instead of cards.

4) When we need someone to sub. We've had to get a bass player or a drummer on short notice and ideally we get together at least once with them before the gig. If they're good musicians one practice is enough and they're good to go. If it's a short notice deal they usually end up with at least a cheat sheet for some of the songs.
Our band (50 yrs ago! Man, it’s been that long!) worked like this. We were all friends and the busiest band in our area. To add, we were a top40 cover/dance band allowing for plenty of wiggle room in the program depending on reading the dance floor(extra verses, keep them dancing). We had a horn section and on occasion we had a player fill in. With the assistance of our excellent schooled musicians (and excellent subs) we never skipped a beat. I (yes, the humble bass player) was the least trained musically . With some effort, my friends gave me an opportunity to learn and grow. I jumped at the chance and like to think exceeded expectations. Still we had an occasional knot head that would not pull their weight. Ease them out … As my former employer used to tell people they fired… it’s best for them. Lol I suppose it is.
 

Ronhar

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Well, our band were once offered the chance to back a lady that fancied herself as the next Patsy Cline. We declined. She left her husband, 3 kids and moved to Nashville to find her star. Never heard from again. I guess she showed us. What was the question?
 

Skyhook

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I would say if you are accepting money for your services you are a professional. Does a person that only tends bar on weekends consider it a hobby????
Ken Rockwell (www.kenrockwell.com) stated on his site that a
"professional [...] is a person who earns his entire living (100%) from the [thing he does]".

On a personal note... does a professional anything(like a painter) then stop being a professional if he starts busking
on the weekends for fun as a side gig?

On the other hand, I've read that you can get a SAG-card by appearing as an uncredited no-line extra in a film.
 

teletail

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Ken Rockwell (www.kenrockwell.com) stated on his site that a
"professional [...] is a person who earns his entire living (100%) from the [thing he does]".

On a personal note... does a professional anything(like a painter) then stop being a professional if he starts busking
on the weekends for fun as a side gig?

On the other hand, I've read that you can get a SAG-card by appearing as an uncredited no-line extra in a film.
I don’t know who Ken is, but I totally disagree with him. Also there is a difference between “professional” as in how you earn your money and “professional” in how you conduct yourself.
 




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