SHOULD I QUIT MY BAND?

pippoman

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I ask myself the same “should I quit” question often. No real issue, but in my previous band I was more or less the leader/guitarist/singer and in the current I’m mostly just in a lead guitar and occasional vocal role. There’s definitely advantages and disadvantages to both roles. i was out of bands for about 20 years and got used to doing what I want when I want, now it seems that every time there’s a concert, event or get-together we’re booked. I’ve been in this band four years but bookings have been sparse the past two years and I find that hanging out at the house with the Mrs. isn’t a bad thing at all. Once I get to the gig I have a blast but convincing myself to get off the couch and go is a struggle. I think I’m turning into an old fart.
Feels like I’m reading my own post!
 

Happy Enchilada

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Sounds to me like you need a break.

Give your bandmates one more chance to consider the new material you want to do. If they turn you down, then you need to find greener (or at least less toxic) pastures.

I'd leave 'em laughing - or at least not thinking you're an a$$hat.
Make something up about how you need to put more time into your bonsai tree farm, etc.
That way you can come back and knock on their door someday if you feel like it.

Meanwhile, find a partner and go play small bars, coffee houses, and even care homes.
At least you'll be playing and doing what you choose instead of what the group decides.
And who knows what wonderful new possibilities you'll discover.

I played lead in a really great worship team and left because they told me to move my car further from the door on an icy February Sunday so the latecomers could park up front (this after doing a Saturday night service and 3 back-to-back on Sunday every other week for 6 years). That and I was sick of the material, same as you. Tired of gooey homoerotic "love songs" to Jesus and idiot sound people turning things upside down. Enough. I quit and became a Scout leader for 9 years, which helped my 2 sons to stick with it and earn their Eagles. So in the grand scheme of things, I think my efforts were put to good use.

Finally, listen to your heart. And don't put yourself in a situation that doesn't feel right. You'll know what to do.
 

Ben Bishop

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You're saying the guys are kind of ok, the tunes are kind of ok, the gigs are kind of ok. When I feel that way often it's one big thing and the rest is just the friction of everyday life. Have you thought of an alternative? What gigs would you like, what would you play, then maybe find someone to jam or practice with and see where that leads. It might clarify your feelings.
 

Call Me Al

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I’m on the fence myself. I’m the bass player in 2 bands with one shared bandleader.

“The thing” surely didn’t help things. I work with a vulnerable population (unjabbed kiddos) and it’s been hard not being on the same page with comfort zone. Being pressured to take indoor gigs, etc…

But the winter break has highlighted other issues, as I am really enjoying the time away. The commute, the disorganized setlists and rehearsals, scheduling conflicts, long gig days, and just the strain it puts on my work/family life…

I actually came to TDPRI when I took up electric guitar on the last winter break. I haven’t touched my bass in over a month, except to lay backing tracks for my guitar lessons. I’m having so much fun playing guitar, that’s been missing from my bass playing.

I honestly don’t know what I’ll do, but I’m leaning towards quitting. Last spring I was super excited when rehearsals resumed. This time around, I’m kinda dreading it.

Well thanks for opening up the door for me to vent my thoughts! :D good luck with your decision!

edit, typo
 
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oregomike

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I don’t have any animosity toward any of my band mates, we have the best rehearsal space I could hope for, and I enjoy playing, but my enthusiasm is at an all time low. Our last gig was an outdoor thing last November and 2 guys caught the thing despite all of us getting jabbed. I still play every day and enjoy it. But for some reason, we’ve locked ourselves in a self imposed corral of playing only 60s & 70s soft rock. It’s okay, meh actually, but after 6 years I’m ready to burn that corral and branch out. At my age, I’m not looking to start another project, although a Texas swing band would tempt to me. There’s other issues, like feeling I don’t have much of a voice in decision making, or anything for that matter. Case in point: Twice I mentioned I was going on vacation this past December, even holding up my hands with the ‘time out’ gesture so I could speak. They acknowledged. I still got a phone call while I was in the mountains asking where I was because they were at rehearsal, waiting on me. I graciously reminded them that just 2 weeks earlier at rehearsal I had told them I wouldn’t be there. And my input as to song selection? Phhht. I could go on, but…..

So here is where everything stands: we have no gigs because of ‘the thing,’ as nice as the rehearsal room is, it’s still an hour round trip, but I like the guys and I’m sure they get a little irritated with me too. That’s typical.

Have any of you ever been in this dilemma? I’ve always enjoyed playing, but without gigs because of the ‘thing’ and waning interest in our cover songs, I’m having a hard time convincing myself I’m on a good path and I’ve been in a funk about it for quite a while. Challenge: Convince me I’m wrong.
Explain to the band what you just posted here. You'll know right away what to do after. If they're hand-wavy, then I'd cash in " Okay, no hard feelings, and good luck." As other have mentioned, just make sure it isn't the winter blues. Others might be in the same rut, BUT if there is a pattern of ignoring your input, that's a showstopper IMO. Good luck.
 

noname_dragon

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Gigs that pay are the magic dust in the band business. It's how you keep quality musicians in your band, and it's the carrot and stick to be prepared. Clubs or promoters hire band that have their **** together, that can commit to, show up for, and deliver the goods with conviction. If there is no deadline, bands die in rehearsal rooms.
 

Guitarteach

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On that note, what’s your opinion of this: in previous bands, we always used rehearsals to work up new material unless a gig was near, then we’d run the show. But as a rule, new material took precedence, then we’d work the rough edges off other songs, time permitting.

In this band, it’s the other way around. We’ll spend an hour or two running through a long set, taking a break, then working on the new material we agreed on, time permitting.

I addressed that because I saw it as an issue, but to no avail. I mentioned that some songs can literally take 2 or three hours to work up right, but no. So, at last rehearsal when we got to the new material and brushed over it, I heard “not bad for the first time.” We sucked on them, nowhere near ready to play them out, not to mention 2 of the guys didn’t even know their parts. How do you guys work up fresh material? BTW, all these guys are seasoned musicians. Maybe I’m at it wrong?
Well.. yep, we are probably what people would call seasoned musicians. we are booked solid till the Autumn already, so that is a big motivator to keep our sh*t together.

If your bandmates cannot nail a new tune in a few minutes and be prepared for a rehearsal, you may be overestimating them. Something is wrong with 2-3 hours to sort a single tune at the rehearsal IMO… that is for tweaking, not learning.

People should be expected to come prepared. Usually its 15 mins for us to run through a new tune 3 times and decide any arrangement details, put it into a couple of set run throughs, then we gig it and fix anything we were not happy with while it is in rotation.

To assist our process, I usually do a rough multitrack recording of a proposed tune a few weeks in advance… we use Bandlab, so we have a reference arrangement to practice and prepare with and everyone can replace my parts with theirs at leisure. All we discuss at rehearsal is start and end and any other cues and oddities that might trip us up live.

Works for us.
 
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JustABluesGuy

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I’m on the fence myself. I’m the bass player in 2 bands with one shared bandleader.

“The thing” surely didn’t help things. I work with a vulnerable population (unjabbed kiddos) and it’s been hard not being on the same page with comfort zone. Being pressured to take indoor gigs, etc…

But the winter break has highlighted other issues, as I am really enjoying the time away. The commute, the disorganized setlist sand rehearsals, scheduling conflicts, long gig days, and just the strain it puts on my work/family life…

I actually came to TDPRI when I took up electric guitar on the last winter break. I haven’t touched my bass in over a month, except to lay backing tracks for my guitar lessons. I’m having so much fun playing guitar, that’s been missing from my bass playing.

I honestly don’t know what I’ll do, but I’m leaning towards quitting. Last spring I was super excited when rehearsals resumed. This time around, I’m kinda dreading it.

Well thanks for opening up the door for me to vent my thoughts! :D good luck with your decision!

There’s always someone here to vent to, even if that’s the only help we offer. Just talking about it often helps me clarify things in my own mind.

Good luck whatever you decide to do.
 

pippoman

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Well.. yep, we are probably what people would call seasoned musicians. we are booked solid till the Autumn already, so that is a big motivator to keep our sh*t together.

If your bandmates cannot nail a new tune in a few minutes and be prepared for a rehearsal, you may be overestimating them. Something is wrong with 2-3 hours to sort a single tune at the rehearsal IMO… that is for tweaking, not learning.

People should be expected to come prepared. Usually its 15 mins for us to run through a new tune 3 times and decide any arrangement details, put it into a couple of set run throughs, then we gig it and fix anything we were not happy with while it is in rotation.

To assist our process, I usually do a rough multitrack recording of a proposed tune a few weeks in advance… we use Bandlab, so we have a reference arrangement to practice and prepare with and everyone can replace my parts with theirs at leisure. All we discuss at rehearsal is start and end and any other cues and oddities that might trip us up live.

Works for us.
Not many songs take that, but “Lonesome Loser” was an exception - a lot of harmonies. Some songs seem to come together very quickly because we’ve all played them in different bands. These guys have all played in well known local bands for decades, but we really focus on being tight, especially on vocals.
 

Telekarster

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That’s pretty much my thinking; do it before the gigs start getting booked.

FWIW man, I've been in this situation more times than I care to think on. Bottom line - If you do break it off, do it cleanly. It's not worth ruining friendships over. I learned that lesson a long time ago, and hope it helps. I've got a band that is begging me to gig with them, and I'd love to BUT.... I also know what's involved. I'm in the studio these days recording originals with my main band, and I'm having such fun doing that that the giggin' bit just doesn't outweigh what I'm doing now, regardless of the $$$ the other band makes... and they do OK on that front. 2nd Bottom Line - Do what makes you happy. If it no longer thrills you, it's probably time to step off that train at the next depot. Again, FWIW and good luck in whatever you decide to do man!
 

bendercaster

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Having almost died three times before the age of 40, my personal philosophy is life is too short to do stuff you don't want to do unless you have to do it. There's always little stuff. I get annoyed when I'm still setting up and the other guys are already plugged in and warming up. Is the stuff you mentioned little stuff, or is it the kind of stuff that makes you not want to play with them anymore?
 

DeanTeamCV

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I don’t have any animosity toward any of my band mates, we have the best rehearsal space I could hope for, and I enjoy playing, but my enthusiasm is at an all time low. Our last gig was an outdoor thing last November and 2 guys caught the thing despite all of us getting jabbed. I still play every day and enjoy it. But for some reason, we’ve locked ourselves in a self imposed corral of playing only 60s & 70s soft rock. It’s okay, meh actually, but after 6 years I’m ready to burn that corral and branch out. At my age, I’m not looking to start another project, although a Texas swing band would tempt to me. There’s other issues, like feeling I don’t have much of a voice in decision making, or anything for that matter. Case in point: Twice I mentioned I was going on vacation this past December, even holding up my hands with the ‘time out’ gesture so I could speak. They acknowledged. I still got a phone call while I was in the mountains asking where I was because they were at rehearsal, waiting on me. I graciously reminded them that just 2 weeks earlier at rehearsal I had told them I wouldn’t be there. And my input as to song selection? Phhht. I could go on, but…..

So here is where everything stands: we have no gigs because of ‘the thing,’ as nice as the rehearsal room is, it’s still an hour round trip, but I like the guys and I’m sure they get a little irritated with me too. That’s typical.

Have any of you ever been in this dilemma? I’ve always enjoyed playing, but without gigs because of the ‘thing’ and waning interest in our cover songs, I’m having a hard time convincing myself I’m on a good path and I’ve been in a funk about it for quite a while. Challenge: Convince me I’m wrong.
Maybe play with multiple bands at the same time could help? Hope it works out for ya🙌
 

regularslinky

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Dont jump too fast. You can keep your eyes open for a new situation while you try to make the current band better. It’s not a marriage. Personally, having the outlet of practice night once a week with my band has kept me sane though “the thing.” Even though it’s frustrating sometimes, I’d miss it terribly. And now is not a good time to put a new band together.
 

blue metalflake

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For me it was always the guys in the band who were the downers & the gigs were the thing that lifted me.
Sounds as though you’re missing the gigs - not sure anyone gets a kick out of rehearsal just for the sake of it.
I’d do nothing until you have the chance to gig again, then reevaluate.
 

Skyhook

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- You have no input
- They take you for granted(nice as they might be)
- Setlist's not gonna change(see first point)

But... don't just quit on them... give them some kind of ultimatum... like...
"Guys, we need to stop with the [THIS] and start playing [THIS] and [THIS] and especially [THIS]".
If they categorically shoot down your suggestions, then you walk.
 

Togman

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I would like to hear more about your experiences playing care homes. I have seen the amazing results that can be had with music and memory care patients. I want to watch them light back up for a minute!

My mom is in a memory care facility as well, so I would like to do some amateur music therapy (for her at least).
I'll PM you this evening (UK time)
 

Togman

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I'll PM you this evening (UK time)
I cannot start a conversation with you via the forum for some reason. so here goes.....

I'll anticipate the questions you are likely to ask - but please fire back any relevant questions to me.

Before I retired from work, I worked in an office that was very close to a residential care home. I was walking past there one day when I noticed a young girl leaving the care home with an acoustic guitar. I got chatting to her (like you do!) and it transpired that she was a carer in the home and had taken in her guitar that day to sing a few songs for the residents. She went on to say that the manager of the care home was very keen on developing the musical entertainment side of the spectrum. She gave me the contact details of the manager.

I immediately started to think about my love of the music of The Shadows, and I was sure that this would be ideal for the age profile of the residents of the care home. I arranged a face to face meeting with the manager to discuss. I was upfront with her and explained that I had never performed solo before - but was keen to put my idea into practice. I offered to play a 1 hour session at the home free of charge to see how things went. Luckily, I used to finish work at 13:00 on a Friday, so we arrange for me to play from 14:00 for an hour on a Friday. To my delight (and that of the residents and staff) the gig went very well indeed. As a result of that 1st gig, I was offered a regular weekly slot on a Friday afternoon. I was a bit apprehensive about performing there so often as I had a limited amount of material with backing tracks to call upon. The manager did not see this as a problem as the majority of the residents were at various stages of Alzheimer's and/or Dementia and would not know any different. I continued on this basis at this care home until I retired from work at age 60. I was then able to spread the word around other local care homes and get more bookings elsewhere. They mostly seem to be for an hour in an afternoon. And pay £40 to £45 ($54 to $60) depending on travelling distance.

I have adapted the act over the years to now include some vocal numbers. I am not a good singer at all, so I stick to numbers that I know the residents will (hopefully) sing along with. The first vocal number I introduced was by way of a request from a resident - You are my Sunshine. I now do this at most gigs and get the residents to sing along with the chorus.

If you need any further information, please feel free to ask. I haven't mentioned the gear that I use, but can elaborate if you wish.

Regards,

Kevin (AKA Togman)
 




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