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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
What do you guys do if your bandmates differ in their degrees of motivation and commitment? I am the singer/guitarist in a three-piece and I put in more thought and energy into the band than the others. I'm getting tired, and I'm not even inspired to write songs anymore as I feel that my work/time is not just reciprocated but not even overtly appreciated.

I have tried to communicate my issues in person, but did not get back a sense of renewed enthusiasm/commitment. Over group chats on facebook, my messages are often read but there may not be a response for a week or so.

I have played with these guys for a few years, and I actually consider them good friends, but as bandmates I'm starting to get uninspired and annoyed. We've reached a plateau/crossroads and I'd like to push further, but I think the other guys are content to keep things as is in terms of their effort.

We're all in our 30s-40s, so not new to bands or anything like that.

How do you normally deal with this?
 

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Sorry to hear about your troubles...

Had a similar situation before with a band so kept it casual with them and treated it as jam sessions.

I joined another band at the same time, this new band was ticking and we quickly got contracts within the first 3 months. .. it was amazing. .. exept the lead guitarist decided to start sleeping with the singer after band reheasals and his wife caught them !!! Lol...

Since reheasals were at the guitarist's wife home... that kind of killed the band... I had 1 hour to come and get my PA system and all my bass gear or she was putting it out to the curb... lol...

I say . Keep jamming with your buddies but find another band with your sense of commitment...

And don' sleep with the singer !!! ;)
 

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Find a band doing what you want to do and get in there.

Worked for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. I'm leaning toward the idea of having a side project that hopefully is/becomes more serious than what I currently have.
I just wanted to clarify that it's not that the guys I play with have little commitment. It's just that it's less than mine. They still show up to rehearse usually 1-2 times a week. But little beyond that in terms of advancing the goals of the band like promotion, responding to messages/emails, etc. In truth they are likely far more committed/motivated than most people I could find if I put up an ad on Kijiji.
They are actually motivated enough that it would be difficult to find a new band while keeping the current band alive without contributing new songs on my part. That has been how we operate so far. If we keep playing the old stuff, everyone will get bored.
 

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Tough one. You’re probably right that you’re unlikely to find as good a level of commitment as what you have now from kijiji recruits, given your current guys still come out 1-2x/week. You’ll have to find your own internal motivation if you want to keep adding material plus doing promo/finding gigs.

You could put together a side project, but that’s not doing anything to further your current one and may even detract. For me, who is not a promoter or writer, more projects were a partial answer, but I still left a band I’d been in for 6 years, due to lack of progress and different member goals (or lack of them).
 

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Sounds like you're bored and should probably quit. If they just reap the benefit of your hard work, what's the point? Just to play music? You're in Montreal, a city with a pretty good music scene. If you keep settling on bandmates, you're never going to get better bandmates.

The band I had started before I joined Sparrows, I wanted to play some gigs. Our only gigs came right before I quit to put everything into the professional band. The band before that, I quit because they wanted to party more than try to book shows outside of the GTA.

Maybe it's time for a solo project.
 

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When I retired I moved away from anyone I remotely played with. I just noodle now and am fine with that. I get enough ideas from the internet to keep on going. I wish the internet was around in the mid 70s when I quit for 30 years. It was the internet that got me started again,
 

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Good reliable bass players and drummers are not easy to come by. Especially ones willing to play your original songs probably for little to no money. Find another guitarist with similar goals to yours? Also keep in mind that good friends are harder to come by.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Maybe it's time for a solo project.
No chance that would be my main project. I need other people's energy... I'm like a vampire. But a friendly one.

Good reliable bass players and drummers are not easy to come by. Especially ones willing to play your original songs probably for little to no money. Find another guitarist with similar goals to yours? Also keep in mind that good friends are harder to come by.
This is really excellent advice. It really helped to keep things in perspective. Thanks Guncho! We're rehearsing tomorrow so I'm sure we'll talk at some point. I hope it goes well.
 

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It hasnt gone well though. You keep voicing your thoughts and concerns and nothing changes.

You cant complain if you choose to keep beating your head against a wall. Get out. There *are* other committed, serious musicians out there. So long as you stay in the safety net of your current band, you probably wont find them.

Signed, 8 months without a bassist at a touring level.
 

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I've found myself in this exact situation a few times. It sucks. Broken promises, no-shows, late arrivals, sudden departures, AWOLs...sweet dick all we can do about it. Smaller groups, particularly duos, seem to work better for me, but it takes the right person.

I don't have a solution. Sorry. People suck.

(In recent years I've become less able to handle crowds, confined spaces/audiences, without some anxiety. Nor sure what triggers it, but I'm happier when I'm away from a lot of stuff going on around me. This has made it easier to deal with the non-compliance of band members, and I've drifted into recording myself, mostly solo. This year I'll have less than half a dozen gigs, the fewest in decades, unless something comes up that I can't refuse.)
 

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Funny enough, as commitment goes, I'm probably somewhere in the middle with my current band. I'm not much into the 'marketing' and 'getting us gigs' thing. I don't network as much as a couple of other guys and they find more gigs than I do. I guess if I stumble over a potential gig, I'll push for it, but I don't 'pound the pavement' looking.

OTOH, I'm very keen to learn new tunes and I try and bring new stuff to the group as well. I learn my parts, suggest arrangements, work with them on vocal harmonies. That's the stuff I enjoy doing.

It bugs me that as more of a rocker, many of my ideas get criticized/shot down by the keyboard player, who is into lighter stuff. He flat out refuses to play some heavier stuff, while I still bite me lip and play stuff like Leave Your Hat On, which is more his kinda thing.

But it could be worse. At least the keyboard player learns his parts and shows up for practice, he just doesn't participate much in setting up and tearing down gear (he takes an hour putting up his stand, 1 keyboard, mic and monitor). The last keyboard player was 3 months in and doing gigs, and was still shouting at me (we share stage right) about "how does The Dark Side start again". He was also more interested in partying and arranging for me to 'designate drive' him so he could drink his face off.

I've always said a band is like a marriage, but with more than two people involved. And the degree of difficulty of getting consensus with a group is the square of the number of people involved. I guess what I'm saying is we all need to be flexible and accommodating and tolerant of others or it will never work out. I know this also happens with pro bands, so it isn't like it's just at the more amateur levels that this happens. I sometimes wonder how bands like Yes, The Eagles and many others, were as stable as they were and didn't explode on a weekly/monthly basis. Maybe they did and we just didn't hear about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Just to give everyone an update...
We had a really good talk at our last rehearsal. What came out was rather interesting. On the one hand, Guncho was right. The drummer felt that in our trio I tended to exert more power in terms of influencing decisions and such, therefore, I should be okay with assuming more responsibility. I totally see his point, with some caveats which I'll get into below. The big bomb was that the bassist announced to us that he will be going on an academic exchange for a year starting in the winter semester of next year (I presume Jan. 2019). So, all of this explains and confirms a lot in terms of my observation that there were differing levels of commitment and motivation in the band.

The idea of being the leader in the band, and therefore holding more responsibility/duties is new to me. But, it's also the first time I've been in a trio. Reflecting on things from the past, I find that when there was a second (lead) guitarist involved, that person would always do a lot for the band. Given that I'm the singer/sole guitarist in the band (and we jam at my house), I think with good reason things are skewed a lot more in my direction. But I don't know what are the implications going forward in terms of benefits/rewards. For example, say it takes me 10 hours to design a T-shirt, arrange for its printing, etc. Should the 3 members of the band split the profits evenly? Or what if I mix and promote the entire EP myself (that's the plan)? Does that mean I should get a larger cut of sales? I've never been in this scenario before... I'll be talking with the drummer about the future of the band shortly, but would love to get some insight from you guys beforehand.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I think you need to ask yourself and your friends what your goals are. Are you trying to get signed as an original artist or are you just looking to write some songs and play them for fun.

What are you thinking could happen if everyone was as committed as you are?
I am a rather odd bird... I have a full time and satisfying job, and I have a family. But, I am obsessed with music and advancing the band. To directly answer your question, my ultimate goal is to be known locally as one of the more kick-ass rock bands, and to even play a festival or two in Quebec. That's it. But that also takes a ton of work and ambition. I don't have such lofty goals as going on a world tour, or making a living out of music.

I think maybe you should worry about profits when there's enough profits to worry about. Just focus on making good music.
I see your point, but it's not hard to make a bit of money with some effort (emphasizing the "bit"). I could make some tees and have them sold at a profit for our next show. The profits would be slim, yes, but the tees also serve as promotional material which I think is important. Making good music in my case also implies devoting 30+ hours to mixing after we record the EP. I'm confident (I need to be!) that we can generate sales with the EP too, but it will take a lot of effort on my part, so I need any and all forms of motivation to keep me going. In the end, I think it's important to have these conversations earlier rather than later.
 

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The idea of being the leader in the band, and therefore holding more responsibility/duties is new to me. But, it's also the first time I've been in a trio. Reflecting on things from the past, I find that when there was a second (lead) guitarist involved, that person would always do a lot for the band. Given that I'm the singer/sole guitarist in the band (and we jam at my house), I think with good reason things are skewed a lot more in my direction. But I don't know what are the implications going forward in terms of benefits/rewards. For example, say it takes me 10 hours to design a T-shirt, arrange for its printing, etc. Should the 3 members of the band split the profits evenly? Or what if I mix and promote the entire EP myself (that's the plan)? Does that mean I should get a larger cut of sales? I've never been in this scenario before... I'll be talking with the drummer about the future of the band shortly, but would love to get some insight from you guys beforehand.
I don't know the answer to your questions - I suspect it's specific to each situation. But I think you should have a clear understanding with the other band member(s) before going ahead with anything.

I had some buddies who did some recording and released a CD. One member borrow from the others (had them cover his nut, basically) to make it happen and then, when it didn't sell, he reneged on payback, since there was no profits. You can be damn sure he would've been in there if there were some profits to split. He wasn't worth the crap the other guys had to put up. Fortunately, none of us have seen or heard from him since that happened.
 

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I see your point, but it's not hard to make a bit of money with some effort (emphasizing the "bit"). I could make some tees and have them sold at a profit for our next show. The profits would be slim, yes, but the tees also serve as promotional material which I think is important. Making good music in my case also implies devoting 30+ hours to mixing after we record the EP. I'm confident (I need to be!) that we can generate sales with the EP too, but it will take a lot of effort on my part, so I need any and all forms of motivation to keep me going. In the end, I think it's important to have these conversations earlier rather than later.
What is your goal with the profits? Are they to pay you and the band, or are they to put back into the business (because bands that get paid are businesses) to grow said business?

Sure, my band could split up all the money from playing shows on the road... but then we're just going to be putting that money straight back into the next thing that requires it.

If you guys are splitting up money from shows and merch, you're probably going to want to put something in writing. People get shitty over money.
 

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I am a rather odd bird... I have a full time and satisfying job, and I have a family. But, I am obsessed with music and advancing the band. To directly answer your question, my ultimate goal is to be known locally as one of the more kick-ass rock bands, and to even play a festival or two in Quebec. That's it. But that also takes a ton of work and ambition. I don't have such lofty goals as going on a world tour, or making a living out of music.


I see your point, but it's not hard to make a bit of money with some effort (emphasizing the "bit"). I could make some tees and have them sold at a profit for our next show. The profits would be slim, yes, but the tees also serve as promotional material which I think is important. Making good music in my case also implies devoting 30+ hours to mixing after we record the EP. I'm confident (I need to be!) that we can generate sales with the EP too, but it will take a lot of effort on my part, so I need any and all forms of motivation to keep me going. In the end, I think it's important to have these conversations earlier rather than later.
I don't want to scuttle your dreams but you said everyone was 30's-40's. What are the odds that your band is going to be successful enough that how royalties and money from merch are divided is even an issue.
 
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