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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So the band decides a new bass player is needed. I stay out of the process - I sorta like the old bass player but I understand the give-and-take of the band personel process. I've been in bands for 23 years or so.

This particular band is very profitable and has been player for 11 years. I've been with them on and off the entire time. Nice people - many fun nights playing music and as I said the money is the best in town.

So the NEW guy wants a rehearsal with the whole band. I'm not a big rehearsal guy - usually the horn parts are written out and I play the page. If the tune becomes part of the rotation - it's memorized and the band moves on.

I go to rehearsal - low key - just run throught some tunes to let the New bass player get a feel for the ensemble. During the first tune, I get a sense that the bass guy is experienced - this is good less time to get going. By the third tune, he's putting the keyboard player and guitarist on the spot for the instro of a Chicago tune that we typically skip during performances to help with a segue. OK - so the guy likes to hear things like the recording - No unusual.

SO HERE COMES THE PROBLEM - He want to run a James Brown tune that we've played a MILLION times. He stops the group 10 seconds into the tune and says we're playing the horn part wrong. WHAT!!!!!!

He starts to dictate the correct whatever - and I stop him. I say "Look I play what's written - if there's a problem with the arrangement - that's our arrangement guy." He then proceeds to tell me I should take NOTES. He's is the great-all-knowing bass player.

That was it - Who the &^%&$ does this guy think he is? We have 100's of tunes he has to learn in two weeks and he telling ME that I'm playing a part wrong. I told him straight - the he's the new guy and I would not continue the rehearsal (of course not so politely). Put my horn away and walked out.

Yes it was wrong - I should have stayed cool. But this guy was talking to everyone like we're Middle School student's who have never played a gig. Would you take that?
 

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I guess it would help to hear how the others took his input. From his perspective, he's trying to improve the group. Just because things have always been done a certain way doesn't mean they can't be tweaked; especially if it improves the product. Then again, the third song of the first rehearsal might be a little early to dictate changes. Still... might want to know how the others (who chose him) feel about him.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
After I left - It apparently got worse. He told the keyboard player, we were playing a song in the wrong key. There was some rhythmic kick he didn't like. AS with any working band - these tunes evolve over MANY years. Nothing is like the recording anymore and that's OK. We play the tunes the way we like and it's been very successful.

Most of the band sent supportive E-mails and understood why I reacted to strongly. We simply need a bass player who knows his part so we continue what we're doing. If we feel the parts need re-writting then we'll discuss that once this guy is up and going.
 

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I think you have to ask yourselves who you want running the band.
 

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Does your band have a leader? If yes, is the leader a strong leader? It's up to the leader to either tell the band to listen to the new guy or tell the new guy to shut up.

My inclination would have been to tell the guy, "You consider this a rehearsal. We consider it an audition."

If the bass player told me I was playing in the wrong key I would have told him we thought we were getting a bass player who can play tunes in any key.

But that's just the kind of hairpin I am.

You were right to walk out. Always exit from a stressful situation. Music is supposed to be fun. Stress kills people.
 

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I agree that the third song of the first rehearsal is too early for a new player to be telling the rest of the band how to play. His behavior suggests a lack of ability to work well with others. Also, I think that after you left, he should have been thinking "gosh, I wonder if I did something wrong - maybe I should lay low for a while". But if his behavior got worse after you left, it suggests that he is not good at reading what is happening with those around him.

Is the bass player young? If so, maybe he just needs time to learn these things.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I'm willing to work with anyone but I get the feeling this guy is a "it must be like the recording" kind of musician. Most have heard about the Jazz Police but this is the Wedding Band Police. What's going to happen when we start calling jazz tunes and this guy hasn't played one before. Who knows
 

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Al Stevens said:
Does your band have a leader? If yes, is the leader a strong leader? My inclination would have been to tell the guy, "You consider this a rehearsal. We consider it an audition."

Posted by A Greene
I'm willing to work with anyone but I get the feeling this guy is a "it must be like the recording" kind of musician.
I had a situation which was a strange mix of yours but with different results.
After two keyboardists had quit in succession, our bandleader finds a potential replacement after a frantic search and invites him to rehearsal. On that night, I had new alto and tenor mpcs that I had to try out or return. Because I really pushed the mpcs to the limit to see what they could do, which included playing some alto parts on tenor and vice versa, I really didn't play like I usually do.

So I get a call from our spineless leader a few days later who says that the keyboard player will join the band but he doesn't want to play with the sax player. I explained why I had played below my norm and although it was clear the keyboardist was auditioning the band and not vice-versa, I was cool and said, OK if there are problems with a few of my solos, I'll pass them over to the keyboard and guitarist and pick them back up after I woodsheded them. In the meantime, we didn't even have any gigs, so when he said that was "impossible" because the music had to be played "exactly like the recording", I knew he was just looking for a way to weasel out of the situation.

I busted my a** for that band for over years, religiously making hour long trips to weekly rehearsals, often on dangerously icy roads, writing all the horn parts and often playing for no pay and this was the best support he could do. Why not? All the hard work was done and he could easily call in subs to play the sax book. It was clear he didn't have the integrity to stand behind me and so I just said fine, I'm out of here.

I'm glad the situation with the bass player didn't turn out badly for you. like mine did for me. But...watch your back. ;)
 

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This is less about music and more about interpersonal skills. I have known many excellent players who were hard to get along with, and many mediocre players who were easy to get along with.

Musically, you would want to field the best possible musicians (in a perfect world). However, it ain't a perfect world, and you quickly learn that adjustments need to be made all around.

Push comes to shove, any group that hopes to be an ongoing concern needs to have a core, something like the soul of the group. In this capacity, the golden three (drummer, pianist and bass player) certainly fall. Miss any one of these three and not only the performance but the rehearsal suffers.

I'd surely want to have these three people in place for as much of the time as possible. My next concern would be with the vocalists. They have to learn how to do more than just play the notes off the page, and it's a general rule that one of them cannot just "step in" and pick up a part and go.

The various horn folks tend to be the most flexible, since all that they have to do is to play the music. Not so with the rhythm folks, and certainly not so with the vocalists. I can drop down to 4333 instrumentation pretty easily and still turn out a quality product. However, without that last three in that string, I can't do a blessed thing.

I've not yet had a problem with any of the rhythm folks (but had to nix one drummer pretty early on, due to his "do things my way" attitude). Vocalists are another matter. I've had the prima dona problem with two of them, and I anticipate that these problems will continue to crop up over the years as we continue. But, I get paid the big bucks to deal with them...
 

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Al hit the nail on the head - the first couple of rehearsals and/or gigs are really an audition. Playing is one criteria to be judged on, and fitting in and getting along is another. First few times playing with the band is too early to start offering your opinion on how others are playing, especially when they've been together for awhile. The new guy is the one under scrutiny at that point.
 

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I too am in a similar situation with a pick-up band I'm in. My main gig is going well but have the chance to play in a Sinatra cover band. Rehearsals are brutal because the trombone player insists on correcting everyone's mistakes. Not a problem but he screws up all the time without comment. I don't need to be in another band that bad to put up with guys like that!
 

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Thanks guys. I'm not able to play right now due to the family health situation. All your stories help remind me of the things I don't miss. ;)

FWIW, the book "The Inner Game of Music" shares some ideas of giving non-personal criticism in a very useful manner. It's obvious that the people with whom you are having such encounters have not read this book. I started employing the suggested practices years ago because I, too, am a critical listener while I play. It takes one from "Hey, you hosed measure 118 with the wrong articulation!" to "Be aware of the articulation in measures 112-120." It forces other people to listen to themselves instead of you being the monitor/police.

As to new members coming in and trying to recreate the band in their own image - WRONG. There's the door...
 

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kingperkoff said:
Gary, I hope you took the horn parts with you! :x
Thanks, Ben. Actually I worked out a deal where I sold the book to the band. I sold it at a pittance but I did get some money and made the point that I should be reimbursed. At the same time I didn't burn my bridges completely, since this is a small musical community and everyone knows everyone else.

As an addendum to my "tale of woe" :cry: :D my GF (at the time) said she smelled a rat and said the keyboard player probably had a saxophonist friend that he wanted bring in. I said she was finding conspiracies where conspiracies don't exist. The last time I looked at the band's web site there was a new saxophonist in the band. I googled him and lo and behold, guess who he has worked with in other bands for at least the last decade? :cool:
 

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Who cares if the tune is in the original key, or the arrangement is different? In your case, the band has been together for year. I would get rid of him today!
 

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gary said:
As an addendum to my "tale of woe" :cry: :D my GF (at the time) said she smelled a rat and said the keyboard player probably had a saxophonist friend that he wanted bring in. I said she was finding conspiracies where conspiracies don't exist. The last time I looked at the band's web site there was a new saxophonist in the band. I googled him and lo and behold, guess who he has worked with in other bands for at least the last decade? :cool:
No surprise there. I bet it had nothing to do with your playing, gary. This guy wanted his buddy in the band and you had to go for that to happen. The keyboard guy sounds like quite an operator, but I'm really surprised at the spinelessness of the band leader. I really hate this kind of stuff, but it happens.
 

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If this guy is such a hot bass player, I'm guessing his attitude is the main reason he was actually available to play with your band and not otherwise occupied.
 

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Just like some skilled players poison a sports team the same can happen with a band. Cooperation, empathy and listening skills can be essential to having a good time and a good band.
If A Greene could influence the band to find another guy it might be best. Sound like this guy has a lot of soul. *** Soul.
 

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I remember back in highschool I was in an R&B band with problems like this. The drummer was a control freak and she didn't acknowledge her own mistakes - only those of others. The singers didn't learn the tunes and were lazy as sh*t and the horns... well, I happened to be playing guitar and not sax for this band, but the horns were HORRIBLE. They didn't practice all that much and when push came to shove you could barely hear them when we played a tune. All these people were nice, but try and make them work together and you'd end up feud-ridden band for sure.
 
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