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How long do you stick it out with a band spinning its wheels?

stevil

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I’ve been working to start a band with a group of nice guys I really like. However, we're not making progress, and in fact seem to be losing ground recently as the bassist is a new dad and he's (understandably) become pretty unreliable. I'm in a quandary insofar as I like these guys and want to be loyal to them, but I also want to be in a productive band that performs live. Wondering how others on the forum would approach this sort of problem. We've tried setting goals/deadlines to do things like record a demo, play a first show, etc., and we've blown each of them. I've also expressed that it's important to me to perform and that our lack of progress is frustrating me.

For what it's worth, I think I have the bandwidth to play with two bands, but if one of them got traction I foresee myself losing interest in the other.
 

JazzyJeff

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Been there, done that years ago. You’re on the right track - get into a band that doesn’t continue to flop like the proverbial fish out of water. If the second band does well, that’s your priority, but you can continue with both. Eventually it will work itself out one way or another. I had an original prog band for 4 years that played 4 total gigs. Bass player was young and started a family. Eventually that became his only priority (as directed by his wife). Great guys and fun while it lasted.
 

bassanddrum84

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I would sit them down find out how serious they’re and go from there. Express your concerns and decide wether or not to stick around. I my self would flat out ask them and if it didn’t change I would move on or replace the people
 
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Tornado

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I'd be looking for something else. You don't have to quit. If you aren't gigging with them, then it's not really a time sink. I hope you aren't doing frequent rehearsals.
 

Cauldronics

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Tough call. I’ve been in a band since 2010 that’s in much the same situation: likeable fellows, one of whom I’ve been friends with since the early 90’s, but we’re not going anywhere. At least not where I’d like to be, which is gigging 4-8x a month.

By now, we should’ve recorded at least a few demos and played a lot more shows, but the reality is two of them have two kids each and that’s taken over much of their lives, especially when they were little tykes.

One thing I’ve been able to get us all doing lately is recording. I just setup the mics and go, and they seem to tune in on the project. It gives us something to work toward and everyone is trying to sharpen their focus more than usual.

It’s hard to offer advice without being in the exact situation but I’d say follow your heart and go with what will be the most satisfying for you down the road. Sounds like you’re leaning toward moving on.

“Buddy bands” can turn into a trap that people never get out of. I see bands of friends who are relatively happy with that but they sound stuck in one place either in terms of era, playing the same songs or never changing their sound (or all of the above).

If you think your music goals go beyond them, maybe your question is already answered.
 

drawtheline55

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Depends on the singer or singers, I have played in bands where the singing is ok to not bad.
I play in a band in Maine once a yr where the singer isn't good...he is great, I mean he has got it.

My playing goes up many notches playing behind him, what I am saying is...really good singers are very hard to find. if you are in a band where there are some issues, but the singer is great, its worth working it out, the singing is ok ? keep your eyes and ears open.
 

Cauldronics

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Fwiw, and this is telling, an old band mate is in town so a few of the old gang are getting back together tonight for the the good old buddy jam.

Feels like a scene from Family Guy.
 

stevil

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Yeah, this is all helpful input. Sounds like the best policy is to be frank about my expectations, what's working for me, what isn't working for me, and set fair boundaries.

I've made this observation before, but the difficulty of finding and maintaining a good creative dynamic with a bunch of other musicians makes me jealous of artists that can do their thing solo. There's nothing like being in an awesome band that clicks, but there's also nothing so frustrating as a band that isn't working out.
 

BennyK

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As long as the gigs kept coming, I learned to disregard creative deficiencies . I've been in bands that barely knew more than three chords , but the crowds loved us and cash register played music that management loved to hear . If you've outgrown your bandmates and your motivation isn't economically driven , then leave while you're still friends or things may become unnecessarily complicated and acrimonious .Getting the toothpaste back into the tube kind of thing. This way you haven't made it permanent . I have near and dear friends I won't engage with musically because our relationship is from a different place .
 
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equipmentdork

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If the band hasn't gotten off the ground by now, they won't.

In almost every band I've been with from the beginning, there's that "new band energy" where everyone is psyched and PRIORITIZES the band, at least at first. Sounds like you have a stillborn project.

It's terribly frustrating. 98% of musicians I've met are good to competent at playing, but nearly worthless at returning a phone call or email. They're also great at talking a good game with zero follow-up. Zero.

If you need a rewarding project, best to look elsewhere.


Dan
 

Cauldronics

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On a related note but in reverse (kinda), there’s one phenomenal bass player who seems to be waiting for me and at least one more musician to get our act together enough that he can take us seriously. Until then, he’s working with his main band and can make time for us occasionally.

Other side of the coin. If we can get a real project together with him, we will conquer. Wish I could figure out how to make that work. I don’t want to be the one holding anybody back though.
 

CC Cirillo

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Sounds like you have already let them know what your goals are and that you are feeling frustrated.

I suppose now you could do a number of things, such as finding another band while remaining with this one, or leaving this one for another band if you don’t have the time or energy for two.

But to directly answer your question: How long does one stick it out with a band that is spinning its wheels?

For me I know it is time to leave if I am frustrated or bored.

You have already told them how you feel, so you are being honest.
 

Ludwigboy

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I bounce between two bands (more with one and occasionally with the other) because each performs sporadically, I would suggest that, if you have the time, start looking for another band who maybe fits your needs but let your current band know when you find another band and you can tell them you want to stay with them as well but not all your needs are being met so this is why you are also playing in the newer band. I would think the current band will understand and appreciate your honesty
Hopefully, this will alleviate your stress and allow you to play live performances...IMHO, the best of both worlds!
 

Heartbeat

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I'd be looking for something else pronto. You don't have to tell the current band anything more. You've already voiced your concerns and apparently it fell on deaf ears. They should know that by ignoring your concerns, they're risking losing you. Find something else, then decide if you want to stay with the current band. FWIW, I play in 4 bands. It can be done.
 

Lazmo

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Bands that rehearse endlessly and never gig… na, been there, done that, life’s too short.

The bass player / songwriter (ex-pro) who is a formidable musician and the main guy of the last three bands I’ve been in… had a “rule” which was… any person you would want to gig with in your band, should be able to learn a 10 song set, at home on their own, then rehearse it two or three times as a band, then play a support gig. Then hone that set live gigging while adding more material. There is no substitute for live gigging.
 

bbunks

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I used to hesitate leaving before finding another band - “then I won’t be playing”.

But I learned that my mounting frustration over a rudderless band started to turn me into a crabby old man, and I didn’t like that version of myself.

So for me, when it starts to feel like work it’s time to bail.

Like any other relationship, would you stay with a friend who makes you unhappy until you found another friend?
 

drumsforme

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Bands that rehearse endlessly never end up doing more than that. Sometimes they will tell you the gigs are coming soon for months and possibly years. Still nothing happens. Don't quit, but when you land a new project and playing with them interferes with the old band, just cancel with lthe old band ike the bass player with the kids. Transition from the old to the new- this way you're always playing. I've been in your situation, but now I give myself a deadline for starting the departure process and try to stick to it
 


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