Band Member Dust Ups

Roch

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Anybody ever have fights between band members that wrecked, or almost wrecked the night? I was reminded of a gig many years ago where two of the guys went toe to toe over who was going to set up where..although, their hatred of each other went way deeper than that..this was just the final trigger..anyhow, we were setting up and these guys started arguing over who was taking too much space and at one point, one guy started to move the others gear over. Which prompted him to grab his arm and tell him to stop..it escalated quickly and before you knew it they were head locking each other on the stage..which was in a restaurant full of dining customers..after we got them apart one, the keyboard player, packed up and went home..we did the gig without him..it was stressful at the time, but we laugh about it now..
 

pwc1141

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Not physical fights but certainly real tension has been experienced. I used a very good electric bass player here - ex-San Francisco - in a piano trio jazz gig a couple of months ago. Despite both the pianist and myself telling him he was too loud and too busy he insisted on over playing and at a higher volume than was comfortable. The two set gig felt like 24 hours and ended up with my not being able to risk asking him again on other gigs. As he is the only jazz bassist in town this causes me to bring down a bass player from the big city 2-3 hours away and find gigs that can cover accommodation for the night as well as make it worth the trip. There have been other gigs that were disasters but for different reasons ......
 

moodman

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I played in a band where the B3 player came to despise the front man (who he only referred to as 'the blond headed bastard') a mutual feeling. While we played the key man would smile pleasantly at the audience and other players but, when he and the front man made eye contact he changed to a stern frown and they would glare at each other. The rest of us fell out laughing, it was funny, but of course, the band broke up shortly after. We backed J Frank Wilson, whose hit song, Last Kiss, was about his girl dying in a wreck. He appeared on stage on crutches despite the fact that there was nothing wrong with his legs, like there really was a wreck. We passed on going on the road with him, when offered, but I did like playing that little drum break in the tune.
 
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Tmcfour

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I don’t understand that situation in the least. The bands I've been in are always close and have each other' s backs. Why would you stay in that situation? I guess I could see if that's your only source of income but other than that... I don't get it.
 

Roch

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Not physical fights but certainly real tension has been experienced. I used a very good electric bass player here - ex-San Francisco - in a piano trio jazz gig a couple of months ago. Despite both the pianist and myself telling him he was too loud and too busy he insisted on over playing and at a higher volume than was comfortable. The two set gig felt like 24 hours and ended up with my not being able to risk asking him again on other gigs. As he is the only jazz bassist in town this causes me to bring down a bass player from the big city 2-3 hours away and find gigs that can cover accommodation for the night as well as make it worth the trip. There have been other gigs that were disasters but for different reasons ......
I don’t understand that situation in the least. The bands I've been in are always close and have each other' s backs. Why would you stay in that situation? I guess I could see if that's your only source of income but other than that... I don't get it.
I agree..some guys are walking conflicts..this wasn't a tight knit group as I remember..it was a throw together for a few gigs one guy had booked..I had a guy cock his fist at me one time when I was bent over hooking up my kick drum mic..I remember looking up and he was standing over me..he never did swing, but my guess was he wanted to..lol...he was mad because myself and the bass player were quitting the band to form another..needless to say I never spoke to the guy again and he has never been in a band again..news travels in the circles..
 

prplx

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I use to be in a band that had been together for over 20 years (I joined in arounf their 20th aniversary mark). The band leader was an insecure prick who kept bullying the singer, who had an incredible voice (like doing Michael McDonald cover spot on). The band leader kept picking songs the singer didn't (or couldn't) sing, and drama insued. I always understand singer for vetoing some songs, I mean thier voice is their instrument, and at some point, if it's not for you it's not for you. I didnt stay very long.
 

Bri6366

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Years ago there was a lot of back channel in fighting with e-mails going back and forth that didn't involve me. Our singer wasn't happy and wanted another bandmate out and our lead guitar player prevented it from happening. This was part of a laundry list of issues our singer had with the band. Things came to a head at a gig. Some friends of the Singer were celebrating their anniversary and wanted us to play the Crue song Live Wire to open our final set. I can play that song in my sleep and was up for it, but we hadn't even rehearsed it in probably a year and it was long dropped from the set list. A couple of guys just didn't remember the song. Instead we would play Sober by Tool. The singer was pissed. We took the stage and started to play and the singer refused to take the stage. Eventually he came up and we completed the set, but it was the last gig we played.
 

Old Drummer

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I wasn't involved, but one night an argument broke out between two guitarists that came close to a fist fight. I don't know what the reason was, but needless to say those two never worked together again. Another assemblage of a similar band broke up when one of the same guitarists accused the singer of making passes at his wife. Now that I think of it, the problem child was probably the accusing guitarist, since he was involved in both altercations. However, he and I always got along, though I also got along with his enemies.

Yeah. usually band mates are allied, but I suppose it's like domestic violence in that the closer people are, the nastier the fights when they occur.
 

Tigerdrummer

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Of know bands I think the davies got in a fight on stage during the Kinks heyday. Also I belie ve Ginger Baker punched out Jack Bruce when in Cream. I think those two got into it more than once according to reports
 

dsop

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What do you do about musicians who drink during a gig, and it clearly affects their playing in a negative way?
 

pwc1141

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What do you do about musicians who drink during a gig, and it clearly affects their playing in a negative way?
Personally. I just don't play with heavy drinkers - no good can come of it. Same with those who use drugs of any kind. Not because I am a puritan but because of what you refer to - the negative affect on the music PLUS they cannot be reasoned with when either of these issues are raised.
 

dale w miller

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While on tour in Europe my singer and guitarist got in a fight backstages before the last show.
 

mkelley

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Mainly because of hurt feelings and drama, my band broke up last Friday, the night before our first public gig. Feels like I wasted my f-ing time, so despite having a chance to stick with the singer, I bailed. I don't do drama.
 

Old Drummer

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Personally. I just don't play with heavy drinkers - no good can come of it. Same with those who use drugs of any kind. Not because I am a puritan but because of what you refer to - the negative affect on the music PLUS they cannot be reasoned with when either of these issues are raised.
Ah, drinking and drugs . . . These are huge issues in the business, and actually an issue that I personally have to be careful about. Ironically, I started drinking regularly as a teenager in the band business (free drinks and all) and developed the lifetime habit. The key is to pace yourself. A band I played in years ago had the rule that you had to be set up before you got your first drink, and that worked. If you're only getting one drink before you play and then others during hourly breaks, you're OK. I personally stick to this rule lest I get too tipsy, but I've played with guys so drunk they fall into their amps and that definitely doesn't work.

Pot seems a different issue. I never developed the pot-smoking habit (it wasn't free at the bars I played) but I've played with a lot of pot smokers. As far as I can tell, it doesn't affect their playing or behavior in a bad way. A guitarist I sometimes work with who used to be a big pot smoker but isn't now explained that you just get used to it and it becomes your normal. Maybe so. I've never had a problem with pot-smoking band mates, even though I've worked with a lot of them. The ones who can't pace their drinking create the problems.

To my knowledge, I've never worked with any who are overly involved in so-called hard drugs, so can't say about them. I did get a hearsay report that a drummer friend of mine who went pro was fine when he could keep his head out of the medicine cabinet. That didn't sound good to me and I hope he managed, but abuse and addictions are a curse of this business.
 

RIDDIM

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What do you do about musicians who drink during a gig, and it clearly affects their playing in a negative way?
- Talk to them about it. If the behavior doesn't change, well, it's not like there's a shortage of cats who can play well in LA, no?
 

Stickclick

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The musician that hit my car was all messed up on alcohol and drugs. My car was parked, I was inside the bar gigging when it happened. That guy was dangerous to drive.

I don't gig with that guy any more.
 

dsop

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- Talk to them about it. If the behavior doesn't change, well, it's not like there's a shortage of cats who can play well in LA, no?
Is it really my responsibility to reform someone? I don't think that this is something that deserves a second chance. Anyone that thinks it's okay to drink during a gig isn't taking it seriously. They're treating it like a 'hang' or a party.
 

RIDDIM

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Is it really my responsibility to reform someone? I don't think that this is something that deserves a second chance. Anyone that thinks it's okay to drink during a gig isn't taking it seriously. They're treating it like a 'hang' or a party.
- You asked how to handle it. Suppose that person was you?
 

Polska

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I was in a band where the guitarist and bass player had been close friends for years. Sadly, the bass player had substance abuse problems and his behavior was wearing thin for the guitarist (who was really the band leader too). It came to a head at one gig where bassist was doing shots and beer between sets, on top of the drinks he had earlier. Second set we get about half way in and I realize I don't know what song the bass player is playing. I have to follow the guitarist while the bass player is basically soloing over the song, and it was a cover song so it definitely did not fit. This happened again on the next song and after that one, the guitarist said *%$# it, we're done for tonight" - maybe about 20 min earlier than we should have. I lean over to tell the bass player, who is pouring his own pitcher of beer into a glass. He sets his bass down in the cradle and walks off stage.

I couldn't move fast enough to catch the very expensive bass that wasn't exactly sitting in the cradle, and it fell forward into the pitcher of beer knocking it all over the stage. We broke down our gear and the guitarist said he was thinking of letting him go and this was the last straw. After we load out, bass gear is still on the stage - bass player no where to be found. Keyboardist says "Shouldn't we take his gear" but guitarist had enough and said "Leave it, take it, sell it on ebay - I don't care", so keyboardist took it home. The kicker - someone comes up to me later and says, "hey man, your bass player really plays some wild %$*&". Ha! That's putting it mildly.

I am fortunate not to have substance issues, or have any close friends that do, but that was my brief window in how it wears down a relationship over time. I won't pretend to have any answers or advice.
 


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