Bandmate-hood, Commitment, and Planning for the future

Discussion in 'General Music Discussion' started by vilk, Mar 4, 2019.

  1. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    My issues that I'll talk about are kind of long and has two main parts... my apologies for the wikipedia entry.

    Last summer I answered an ad for a band looking for second guitarist. The ad itself revolved mostly around musical interests, not really delving into requirements. I answer the ad, go to two auditions, at the second of which we establish that these guys are not trying to "make it big"; this is just a hobby. These guys all already have good, specialized careers, so this is all just "for fun". We'll play some local gigs, record an album, maybe at our most ambitious go on a mini midwest tour. They've been formed for about a year, have a few songs already put together.

    At the end of our first practice with me as an official member, we decide practice is same day next week. And then the next week, same thing. OK, I guess this is an every week band. I was kinda thinking since these guys are all older than me with families and more demanding jobs than my own that this might be an every other week kind of band, or maybe once a month. But it's cool, I do love jamming.
    But sometimes because of schedules we'll """have to""" move a practice, and then we'll end up having two practices in one week. Or if the drummer is out of town, instead of skipping that week, the other two guys will want us to meet up and have a "writing session". That's fine, it's not crazy or over-demanding or anything like that. Having said that, I haven't written any of these songs, I don't have anything to offer ATM, and I'm also not really interested in it. TBH I just like jamming. And I do like our band, and our songs, and I never miss practice, and I always know my parts and dont screw up too much, I feel like I am a good second guitarist. Also, what's the rush? Why do we have to cram two practices in a week? There's no exam or deadline. We've only got 5 songs and they're longer than any kind of opener set (10 min each) and we've got them down solid. Why hurry to write a new song? We've got the rest of our lives. The last time we had a new song, we did all of the "writing" at band practice, it worked out fine. If they ever wrote a new song without me all they'd have to do is send a quick recording I could learn it before the next practice, the same way I learned all the songs they wrote before I joined the band lol.

    Long way of saying that this band tries to meet more often than I am interested to and seems to want me to be more involved in writing than I'm really willing to be.

    **and here's a factor into that: I'm crazy about my wife. Yeah, I guess that's a little dorky, but it's just the truth. My wife is foreign and moved here to be with me, she doesn't know anyone here, she doesn't go on girls night out once a week when I do band practice. She's just home alone all day, and then all night when I have band practice. And I miss her, too. As much as I love jamming, I wouldn't probably choose to do it once every week over spending that night doing something with my wife. We might not be considered "newlyweds" anymore but it's not been 5 years, we're still all lovey-dovey. Either way, it was never my intention in the first place to be spending potentially 2 nights out a week. These guys are all like 10 years older than me, and I know at least one of them moved here only a couple years ago, so I believe they are all happy to get out of the house and away from their wives, and they seem to be, at this period in their lives, each other's closest friends. I joined a band to play music, not necessarily to expand my social life. I already have drinking buddies. It's not like I dislike these people at all; on the contrary I like them a lot. But does a band necessarily have to be a "club"?

    And the second issue: nothing is set in stone, there's no dates or "real" plans whatsoever, but we ultimately intend to move back to Japan to live. It was something we talked about in a "what if" format from time to time before joining the band, but more recently it's usually discussed using "when". We're still waiting on her green card renewal, but once that gets here we are gonna look into getting special permissions so that she can keep the green card (since we spent so much damned time and money on it) even when living in Japan. How long will that take? Well hopefully less time than a green card, but if you're wondering about the speed of USCIS I can tell you that right now it'll take them 18+ months to process a greencard renewal. So even though I believe we will definitely move to Japan, that might not be for like a couple years fastest case scenario.



    --------------
    Here are some questions I have

    1. Would you be offended if a non-critical member of your band wanted to be less involved, provided that they're a good member otherwise?

    2. Is it OK for a member of a band to be uninterested in writing the music? Especially in the case that all the music is being written by someone else anyway.

    3. Would you tell your band that you're leaving even though nothing is for sure? Or maybe I should phrase it: am I an asshole for keeping aspirations of moving away a secret? Playing music loudly with a group is something I really enjoy, and I even feel it's really therapeutic for me. I would prefer to stay in the band until I've handed in my two weeks at my job (as in, until I am about to move away). It's not like I don't care about leaving them hanging (though I am just the 2nd git). But like I said, potentially 2 years from now.

    4. If you were to break this kind of info to your band, how might you go about that?


    Please don't come running on in to tell me I'm an asshole and that I shouldn't have joined a band if I wasn't serious. I made this thread to try to examine what I should do to not be an asshole, and I was and am still very serious about jamming a couple times a month (plus gigs!).
     
  2. MaxOfMetal

    MaxOfMetal Likes trem wankery. Super Moderator

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    Have you discussed this with any of the band members?

    I think it would be good to have an open dialog about this.

    In my experience, folks are usually a lot more open to stuff when kept in the loop. It's the seemingly out of nowhere stuff that tends to get folks bent out of shape.
     
  3. cwhitey2

    cwhitey2 BlackendCrust Metal™

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    Here's my answer to the questions:

    1) i would not be offended

    2) this is my bass player and im ok with it. Im a writing machine.

    3) tell them when you know for sure

    4) just sit and talk with them like a normal human being :lol:
     
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  4. Harry

    Harry Doom man of Doom. Contributor

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    I would say I like to think any rational, reasonable adult wouldn't be upset or offended, regarding Q 1 and 2. If there are any a-hole, narcissistic personalities in the band, then maybe someone might give a stink, but shit you don't want to be in that kind of band anyway :lol:

    I don't think you're an a-hole. Although if you decide to keep your whole moving away thing a secret or withhold any information really, then yeah you would be quite frankly.
    Having been in bands that suffered from poor/lack of communication, I can tell you nothing, NOTHING good comes of it being that way. Doesn't matter if you think you're only the '2nd git' 'non serious guy', communication is important.
    Be clear and upfront about your feelings and thoughts on the matter as soon as you can (answer to no. 3 and 4 really)
     
  5. Mwoit

    Mwoit SS.org Regular

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    1. No, everyone has different levels of commitment. Being frank on how you feel about meeting up all the time opens up honesty which is what you need to be in a band.
    2. Everyone has different capacities of writing abilities, and there are ways you can write your parts (like embellishing on top) without having to be in every session. Every band have their own way of writing.
    3. Yes.
    4. Just talk to them after practice or getting a drink or whatever.
     
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  6. Xaios

    Xaios Foolish Mortal Contributor

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    1) Yes, so long as it's possible to work around, and with the caveat that, well, things change. If a band happens to get more serious with one member having reduced involvement compared to the rest, their role in the band needs to be re-evaluated based on the new dynamic.
    2) Sure. I'd say that most musicians even in larger rock bands aren't that in songwriting, although I'd say it's a little unusual for one of the guitarists to be in that group.
    3) Yes. I've been in that situation, I did tell them, and it was the best thing for everyone. I knew about 9 months in advance but I still told them right away, and we still played together for as long as possible. You have to respect them enough to let them know and decide how to proceed as a group with that information.
    4) @cwhitey2 already said it best.

    One more thing...
    Never feel like you need to justify that. Who cares what we think about it, you're the one with the wife that you're crazy about. :yesway:
     
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  7. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Some good answers.

    Go talk to them.

    Edit: they double down on jams because its likely the one time a week they blow off steam and avoid family stresses. Some guys have hockey, some have golf, some have a band, and crazy rich bastards have all three :lol:
     
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  8. NoodleFace

    NoodleFace Delicious Noodles

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    It sounds like you and the band are on different wavelengths
     
  9. GunpointMetal

    GunpointMetal SS.org Regular

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    Good answers so far. Talk to them, let them know how you're feeling. I'm sure if they're a little older going to jam once a week is basically "guys' night" or whatever so they don't wanna miss it. If you have no problem doing the homework and being prepared to jam a few times before shows and you're not participating in songwriting, I know I wouldn't have a problem if you didn't come every week for rehearsal.
     
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  10. Eptaceros

    Eptaceros Wayfarer

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    I'm on board with every response in this thread. Open communication is key, that's all there is to it.

    I do have a question, and don't take it the wrong way. Why are you in this band? Weekly band practices (sometimes 2x or more) are a common thing. A band is a commitment that should be fueled by the passion of getting together and playing music. Obviously, there can be different stages of the band when you need to jam more (in preparation for live shows), or jam less (maybe there is a single writer and he's in workshop mode).

    You've made it clear that you don't have any creative contribution and your only interest is jamming. So why aren't you stoked to jam at least once a week?
     
  11. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Because hes away from his wife iirc. And thats ok.
     
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  12. Eptaceros

    Eptaceros Wayfarer

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    Yeah, that's totally fine. I guess I just don't get the point of all the other info in the OP, then. If that's all it boils down to, then he just needs to talk to his band about not going to every single practice because of domestic commitments. If they give him shit, they're assholes, and he can find another group to jam with, since he's not looking for anything more than that.
     
  13. vilk

    vilk Very Regular

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    How often do you call your mom?
    How often do you wash your car?
    How much do you practice guitar?

    These are all kinds personal choices. Some people choose to work 80 hour weeks. I would never be OK with that.
    When I was in my early 20's, I wanted to (and did) go to the bar with my friends on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday morning. But I don't feel that way anymore.

    When I decided that I wanted to join a band and play music with people last summer, I was only ever really aiming to add into my life a pastime that took up 2 or 3 days a month. I know that weekly band practice isn't uncommon--it's probably the status quo. But the two people I know personally that are also in bands were practicing every other week, gig maybe every other month, and it was my envy of their situation that lead me to want to join a band.

    Honestly, I'm not NOT stoked to jam once a week, despite that it's more than I was really looking for in the first place. And if that's all it ever was, I don't think I'd need to say anything to the band about it. But it's the way that these guys feel the need to re-schedule missed practices and have 'writing sessions' if someone's out of town and then invite me dinner parties that makes me feel like this hobby is bleeding into areas that I never intended it to go.

    I do realize those are kinda trivial things. Why not just suck it up? Well I mean, I have been thus far. But I always wonder to myself "What if I could have things just the way I want and everything still be OK?". And so I decided to make this thread and find out how other musicians and bandmates think.

    I should mention that I've been kicked out of two bands before. One was due to the collapse of a friendship, and the other was due to me having plans to study abroad in Japan. So to me bandmatehood seems like kind of a sensitive thing.

    And it's actually been very reassuring to read everyone's comments saying that it's no big deal, they wouldn't mind, etc.

    So this week when there's supposed to be a "writing sesh", maybe I'll just tell them "Hey I don't have any ideas, you guys go on without me".
    But then they'll say "You don't need to have any ideas you can still help"
    and then I'll say "I don't want to"
    and then they'll think what's with this asshole?

    but hey, worst case scenario, they kick me out, and I move away in a few years anyway. Idk why I'm such a chicken shit.
     
  14. prlgmnr

    prlgmnr ...that kind of idea

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    One of them will see this thread and be trying to call you through Facebook messenger any minute now anyway.
     
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  15. Rational Gaze

    Rational Gaze LithiumDawn Voicebox

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    To me it sounds like their reactions to your confessions are going to be inconsequential to you in the end. You seem to have very plain, non-aggressive motivations for how you feel. Assuming they are reasonable people, there should be no bad blood or any lasting tension. And should there be, what's the worst that happens? You get kicked out and move on?

    It seems like you're placing a bigger brunt of expectation on this than you yourself think exists. I really think talking to them in an open, casual way is the answer. And if their reaction isn't what you want, move on. It's that simple.
     
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  16. Eptaceros

    Eptaceros Wayfarer

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    @vilk


    I think the general consensus here is that you shouldn't suck it up, and just talk to the bandmates openly about it.

    Now, I don't know how literally your hypothetical dialogue is supposed to be taken, but when you do bring it up to your bandmates, I don't recommend going about it like that. Instead of just saying "I don't want to", give them more detail (kind of how you did in this thread). Explain that your wife doesn't know anyone in the area/feels isolated, and you want to be there for her. Tell them you'd like to jam, at most, 2x/month upfront. If they have issues with that, then all of you need to decide if it's a good idea for you to be in the band.
     
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  17. budda

    budda Do not criticize as this Contributor

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    Nailed it.

    Talk to them. It already sounds like you've decided to quit though :2c:
     
  18. TedEH

    TedEH Cromulent

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    The bands I've been with have all gone through the loss of critical members at the worst possible times and sometimes just because they need a break, or aren't feeling it right now, or want to do something else. We had one guy who got sort of poached by another band and didn't have time for us anymore (but he came back a year later). In all cases: No, I'd never be offended by someone doing what they want to do. You play in bands because you want to. You stop playing in bands because you want to.

    I usually prefer it that way. One or two writers with a solid vision, IMO, make for a better total product than trying to squeeze creativity out of everyone just because they're in the room. Let the writers write and the players play. There need not be an overlap.

    Given the options, I think the worst scenario would be that you pull a really sudden move that you could have prepared people for. If you think you're going to be unavailable, be upfront about it. If these are good people, then the benefits are twofold: They won't feel like you've pulled a rug out from under them, and they can also be excited for your aspirations along with you until that point. They are your friends after all.

    I don't think it matters how, just that you do it. Maybe just start bringing it up conversationally at the beginning or end of jams or something. I think that's one you need to figure out for yourself.
     
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  19. jwade

    jwade Doooooooooom

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    Honestly, if you’re not as invested into it as the other dudes, and your goal was just to jam for fun, then do what you want. If they’re like ‘oh we’re doing a second practice this week on ___’ just day “hey sorry, I’ve got plans with my lady.” If they either don’t understand, or are upset, that’s their own malfunction.

    I’d just tell them straight out “I’m not interested in two nights per week, this is just for fun.” Mature adults should be perfectly fine with that, and if not, that’s a pretty clear sign that the ‘fun’ isn’t really worth it.
     
  20. Descent

    Descent SS.org Regular

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    Some guys like to practice more often and treat it like a guys' club. Some bandmembers I've had have treated practices as excuse to cheat on the wife - say they're at practice and go nail a nurse during her night shift break for example (real story).

    TBH at some point I was in 2 bands and doing 4 rehearsals per week out of the house, but it was productive - there were shows, writing albums, etc. I did enjoy being out of the house, I won't lie to you.

    As far as you moving away - I won't announce it until I am one month away from doing it, as the band is non-serious anyway.

    You being 2nd guitarist and not wanting to write - make it known and have them make a decision on that. Just tell them you can do a practice a week and that's all you're willing to commit to.

    As far as spending all this time with your wife - that's definitely not healthy, you need to have a life outside of your marriage as well.
     

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