Harmony Central Forums
No announcement yet.

How do you turn down an opportunity to join a band or quit an existing band?


  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • How do you turn down an opportunity to join a band or quit an existing band?

    If a band is not the right fit for whatever reason (i.e. musicianship, material, too many gigs, not enough gigs, etc), how do you go about turning down an invitation to join?  The majority of time you want to do it an a tactful way as to not burn any bridges.  Of course, if you don't care then it doesn't matter. 

    I've only "quit" one band I've played in over the fact I just didn't want to play with them.  Both of them involved band leaders who were unorganized and generally unlikeable human beings.  The first one was a guy that claimed to have some really good musicians hooked up with him and just needed the final piece. After 4-5 practices it was apparent these other musicians were not involved in the project.  He would make up stories such as "so and so had to move today" or "so and so's wife/GF is in the hosptial".  On top of that he had different people show up each time.  Some of them were actually pretty good.  When I told him I was no longer interested in pursuing this project because it was not for me he called me several times and e-mailed me about 7-8 times demanding an explanation.  I don't think he ever got out of the garage.

    I'm not sure if you'd even consider the above a band?  Other bands I've quit for a variety of reasons (better opportunity, relocated, etc) but the band leaders in these cases were cool about it. 


  • #2

    Yer Blues wrote:

    The majority of time you want to do it an a tactful way as to not burn any bridges.  Of course, if you don't care then it doesn't matter.

    You should always care - even if the BL is a douce the other members will remember who was the better man and someday that could help (or hurt) you.


    • Yer Blues
      Yer Blues commented
      Editing a comment

      RoadRanger wrote:

      Yer Blues wrote:

      The majority of time you want to do it an a tactful way as to not burn any bridges.  Of course, if you don't care then it doesn't matter.

      You should always care - even if the BL is a douce the other members will remember who was the better man and someday that could help (or hurt) you.

      I definitely agree with you there.  In general, I've find that good people seem to handle things tactfully regardless of the field involved... music, sports, business, etc, etc. These are the types of people you want to be involved with, right?

  • #3

    I always tell someone. You know, I'm not one of those that just stops showing up with no explanation. I try to be honest yet tactful. And I try not to burn bridges. But, I hate it when someone tries to talk me out of what I've decided to do and/or gets argumentative. To me, that reveals their controlling nature, and usually burns their bridges with me. And usually reaffirms my decision.



    Check my band: SoulPlay - > http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8TH9-e4FmaE
    Key Rig: Alesis Fusion 8HD; Roland A-800 Pro; Toshiba i7 laptop running Cantabile VST host with IK Multimedia Total Workstation Bundle, NI Vintage Organs, Tyrell N6, Sylenth1, XLN Addictive Keys, NI FM8; Tascam US-1641 USB MIDI/Audio Interface; 2 x RCF Art 310-A MK III series monitors.


      MDLMUSIC commented
      Editing a comment
      Honesty plus tactful ness. Always the best way.

      I've auditioned or been asked to join bands in the past that really weren't what I wanted to be involved with, for various reasons. If it was because the music just wasn't the kind of stuff I wanted to play, I told them so. If it was due to a lack of musicianship or professionalism, I just told them it wasn't what I was looking for at that time. I try never to burn my bridges and, so far, it has seemed to work out for me.

  • #4

    I've turned down offers to join a band on numerous occasions.   The most common reasons have typically fallen into one of three categories.  

    One category is the whole quality of musicianship thing.  When I show up for an audition and find the guitar player telling the root thumping bass player where to put his fingers, a drummer who can't shuffle and/or a guitar player who's just gotta play all the strings all the time - but can't tell you what chord he's playing - and there's NOBODY involved who can sing - the writing is on the wall for me.   It's not that I'm too good for 'em ... it's simply that I completed the garage band phase of my musical development years ago.  I'm simply not interested in investing time and energy in something where my would-be bandmates are struggling with the fundamentals.

    Another category is that the material simply isn't a good fit for me (I've done waaay too many auditions for bands that advertised that they were looking for a keyboard player ... only to find out that what they really want it somebody to play a few pads and organ sounds deep in the background behind guitars on a playlist that is crunchy, guitar centric material.).   

    The final category is what I'll call the "flake" factor category.  Lots of things fall into this group.  Show up for a 70 pm audition - and then wait as the rest of the band meanders in over the next hour.   <-- High "Flake" Factor!  Show up to audition based on the band leader's assertion that they've got a full setlist and "gigs on the books" - and discover that the existing band members can't play most of the tunes on the list from front to back without stopping and/or that the only "gig on the books" is a freebie house party for one of the guy's buddies.  <--High "Flake" factor!    Listen to the band leader from "flake" example #2 cluelessly explain that they're ready to take their two homemade cabinets and their Behringer powered "box mixer" and go play the more popular clubs in the area.  <-- High "flake" factor!

    When I turn down an "opportunity" to join a band - I usually keep it short and sweet by saying I don't feel it's a good fit for me.  A single audition does not obligate me to spill my spleen and provide a detailed justification of why I'm not interested.   Part of that is because I don't want them to mistake honesty for being a prick - and also in large part because I don't want to be standing in a strange basement with my $10K worth of keyboard rig, surrounded by 4-5 guys I don't know - and to whom I've explained as nicely as I could muster, that I think their band sucks and I'm not interested in playing with them.   While brutal honesty sounds like a good thing - I'm of the opinion that a simple "I don't feel it's the right fit for me" and an expedient retreat is ultimately in my best interest.

    The SpaceNorman


    Keyboards and Tone Generators: Yamaha CP300, Kronos 88, Roland AX Synth, Motif ES Rack
    Keyboard Rack: Samson SM10 Line Mixer, Motu MIDIExpressXT MIDI Interface, Shure PSM200 IEM system, M-Audio Wireless MIDI, Live Wires IEM ear buds, iPad wOnSong.
    Stage Amplification: Stereo via 2 Yamaha DSR112s


    • #5

      As mentioned, honesty and if quitting the band, time to exit gracefully, fulfill bookings, and be fair to the others in the band.

      I quit the band I started and fronted after a year+. That's yet another angle on the feeling of obligation to others. I was having some back/sciatic problems for the entire year that made 4 hours on stage pretty painful. When I get home, it would take another hour or two of various physical therapy-like moves to get comfortable enough to sleep. So gig weekends, I was finally crawling into bed at 4-5am. It certainly sucks the fun out of things fast.

      I honored all bookings while the guys looked for another singer/guitarist even though I hated every second of it. We all made it through, we all understood, we all stayed on the same page, and they finally found their replacement and ventured on.

      For me it wasn't a bridges burning concern, it was simply being a good bandmate and courteous to other's time and efforts. I went on to do solo acoustic stuff for a while (so I could sit) and we all remain friends and continue to support each other's efforts.

      Mitch -Eternally on hiatus from bands and solo gigsWashburn Preacher PS 9000Gretsch ElectromaticGibson Les Paul Jr.Various Acoustics from Ibanez to Epi to Gibson to OvationCarvin 3VM with Avatar Custom 212Also enjoy a variety of Orange and Peavey Amps


      • Lee Knight
        Lee Knight commented
        Editing a comment

        "Honesty" implies explaining yourself. I personally don't think it is wise to explain yourself. I stick with, "No thanks. Thanks very much in fact, but this opportunity isn't right for me."


        End of story. I'd put empathy in place of honesty. If they suck, I have no issue finding the one thing I admire about them and telling them that. Honesty can be overrated. Compassion is where it's at.