Jump to content
bitflipper

Last Night's Gig, continued...

Recommended Posts

Last night's gig was on an island and the ferries had stopped running before it was over. As is our custom, we all crashed at the sax player's house on the island. My head hit the pillow around 2:00 AM. Exhausted, I put on headphones and was drifting off to the sounds of Hans Zimmer, when the drummer came in - furious and threatening to quit the band if we didn't do something about the bass player.

The issue is that the bassist drinks too much. He's a great player and a good singer, scores points with me by helping to set up the PA as well as hauling gear in and out. But when he drinks his timing goes all to hell and he makes stupid mistakes like starting a song in the wrong key.

The rest of us have all agreed to not drink during a gig, which has been my own policy since forever, in every band I've ever been in. He doesn't seem to be able to go along with that, making me think he's an alcoholic. Plus he's "sick" a lot. Plus he gets very argumentative whenever the subject comes up. I've known enough alcoholics to recognize the symptoms.

Not sure how to proceed. Do I confront him and demand that he stop drinking at gigs, knowing it will probably be fruitless and just engender resentment? Or do I start advertising for a bassist and hope I find one as good as him but without the psychological baggage? (Insert bass player joke here. Ed?) Singing bassists are surprisingly hard to come by.

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

maybe let him know  (friendly, respectful, calm)  he cannot drink again at gigs, or he'll be replaced, period, that's it.

would try not to get into a discussion etc.

at least you gave him credit and a last chance...

just my 2 cents.

 

Edited by Sheens
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get rid of him. Fire him. Now.

This will not get better.

3 hours ago, bitflipper said:

Plus he gets very argumentative whenever the subject comes up

Everything you need to know is right here.

Ditch him now. Find a replacement later.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Protect the band first, got to keep that going. The show must go on and other band members are complaining about him so it shouldn't be just your problem. Make sure he understands why band members are upset with him ie starting songs in wrong key and bad timing etc, people in this state always like to confuse by making things personal so it is good to zoom in on what he is doing that harms the band, look at it from a professional business perspective.

Is he the lead singer as well as the bass player? You wont have a band if you get rid of him. Good luck finding a replacement. You may need to replace him with 2 people or phase him out gradually, suggest a dedicated bass player so he can concentrate on singing and then when the bass player is in, replace him as singer if he doesn't shape up.

If he only sings on some songs but is mainly the bass player then you will have to start auditioning bass players behind his back and cover the singing by others or drop those songs. Sounds treacherous I know but the gigs come first and if you sack him straight away, without a backup, you wont be able to gig until you find a new person and get them up and running. If you confront him too aggressively he might storm out and then you can't gig.

I've had to deal with a few of these situations together with other band members, we got a replacement up to speed behind the scenes before getting rid of the culprit as we were gigging 2-4 shows a week and couldn't afford the downtime replacing a band member requires. I remember getting in a new bass player into a band and I went through all the songs with him, just guitar and bass, and then the drummer practiced with him at his home as well, then we sacked the bass player and literally next day were practicing with the full band and new bass player and played out at the next gig with the new bass player.

The old bass player didn't like us a lot but....the band and gigs come first.

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He's not the lead singer, but he's the only baritone in the band and the few songs he does sing lead on are among our strongest numbers that I'd hate to drop. 

I've had to replace band members before, but it's a whole lot easier when you have money to offer. We only play out once a week and the money isn't even minimum wage after you take into account travel, load in/out and rehearsal. Our only reward is the fun factor, and our only mission is to be the best band we can be. I do it to get out of the garage, interact with non-virtual people and - most important - to keep my chops up. My fingers start to rust when I'm restricted to just composing at the DAW.

So along with the usual prerequisites of knowing how to sing and play, it also requires the willingness to work hard for little compensation beyond the joy of making music. And doing it sober.

Gigs do come first. We have upcoming gigs on the calendar, including one venue that we've been particularly looking forward to playing. Another is one that we had to cancel last summer when our guitarist got Covid, and they were nice enough to reschedule. We're building a circuit despite overall having fewer places to play than in past years.  I don't want to lose any of those venues.

btw, the last time we auditioned bass players we heard plenty of good bass playing. But none of them were singers. We're already a six-piece band, and it's a tight fit on some stages, so adding another member isn't practical. I'd love to have a percussionist or a second guitar. Or a couple go-go dancers. But they'd have to be willing to haul gear, which is hard to do in a mini-skirt.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do you record your gigs? We used to record every one and critique them at the next practice.

It would put the reality of it right in his face. If he laughs it off and doesn't care what it sounds like then he needs to go.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wake up! It sounds like your drummer is quitting the band. Get rid of the problem member, everyone will be happier. I've quit 3 bands because of alcohol and drug abuse. I know five musicians who have died from substance abuse, three of those I played in bands with.

  • Like 1
  • Great Idea 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Have videos of the band gigs ? Maybe he would come around a bit with some self embarrassment/ reflection? If he's the kind that doesn't care - then yea you need to just make the choice to thin out the vocals live.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think you have to at least have a discussion with him about the problem. He may be looking at these gigs differently and not as serious as the other band members are. He may see it as just a chance to get together to jam and party. It may not end well when you talk to him about it but at least you will know where he stands and move forward from there.

Does he look good in a mini skirt? 🤪

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, bitflipper said:

Our only reward is the fun factor, and our only mission is to be the best band we can be.

Sounds like he is stealing your rewards and keeping you from accomplishing your mission.  2 strikes!

Address it with him as a group (if you haven't already) and if he is unwilling to abide to the agreed upon policies which include having fun and being the best WE can be (strike 3), MOVE ON! (without him, of course)

EDIT: Life is just to short!

Edited by Fwrend
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, PhonoBrainer said:

Is his name Randy? I know that guy.

I was about to write, maybe Randy Meisner needs a gig.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the decision was made for me last night. A band member accidentally sent a text out that wasn't meant to include the bass player, in which he said we needed to play gigs sober. He didn't mention the bassist by name, but he figured it out and fired back an "I QUIT" text.

So we won't be playing out in November, or learning new material. Instead we'll be auditioning bass players. I've contacted two people who'd run ads on Craigslist, which is a crap shoot at best. Wish me luck.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You're a keyboard player, right? A real keyboard player? Put that left hand to use!

😁

Edited by bdickens

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I actually did that for five years, because back then it was my full-time job and the money split better between three people than four.

Over time, playing bass with my left hand became second-nature. But at best it was a kludge that audiences could overlook. I couldn't possibly imbue the performance with any real expression and still do justice to piano/string/organ/synth parts - which often require two hands by themselves.

We have an entirely different outlook nowadays. When the singer asked me how I felt about adding a horn player, I said we're never gonna make any money at this anyway, so let's just make the best band we can. The sax turned out to be a wonderful addition. I actually wouldn't mind adding a percussionist or second guitar, but we have trouble squeezing the six of us onto some smaller stages as it is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Get a new bass player.

I learned when I was young, never hire someone who drinks on the gig.

Life is too short to deal with that.

 

Notes ♫

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
59 minutes ago, bitflipper said:

Instead we'll be auditioning bass players.

Give Ed a ring.

I hear he's got an Alembic 😊

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...