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What do you say when you leave a band in order to reduce friction?


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Hi guys,


it's not the band I was writing about a few days ago.

It was a one-time ensemble for a party.

It had all the warning signs in flickering red:

people not really proficient enough to get through a set.

No PA equipment whatsoever and no notion there should be any.

Tiny repertoire, endless rehearsals, tiny improvement rate.

People so inexperienced they actually stop to admire the scenario that "wow, this is like a band, almost!".

People don't show up for rehearsals without my knowledge.

I ask for an explanation why they knew people will not show up, but never told me- and I get the answer "you should be grateful to be even allowed in here in the first place".

When I hear this "you should be grateful..." sentence - this is for me an immediate trigger to say to myself "okay, leave at the earliest opportunity!".


After the one gig, which didn't crash as hard as I was worried about, the guys were like "wow, we're a band now- rehearsals start next week!".

I immediately left.


Their response: "It's a pity you have lost all interest in making good music!".

I explain that without the courage to leave, Chick Corea would be still playing in his elementary school band.

Response: "Oh, you're telling us we are a terrible band" (which is of course a preparation for "actually you sucked so badly, that we were considering to kick you out anyway)

I explain that I am very busy with many bands and that for weeks now I didn't do any free time activity- I was only transcribing/rehearsing/gigging and no more.

They kind of took this explanation, but also teased me that I'm explaining too hard and I'm a strange person.


Is there a way to leave a band without burning bridges?

I've seen many musicians leave such bands, and people speak about them in admiration after they've left ("well he's a pro, he has no time to play with guys like us- he's real busy").

What the heck do one need to say to get out of this in one piece?


Thanks :-)






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You did the easiest excuse...'I'm too busy with other projects...'

That said, I always try to be honest and frank when I leave a project. The last one I left, the band leader was getting too into his duo with his new GF, and I basically told him that I couldn't continue if he, as the leader, was not 100% committed to the band [which had been going for almost two years]. He started trying to put a mini-set of him/her in the middle of our shows, and I was not amused [neither were the other members, but I was the one who called him on it]. I run into him periodically, and we are still amicable. I don't think he realized what a wedge he jammed into the band until we all walked away...kind of the Yoko/John thing.

In your case, the lack of 'professionalism' would have kept me from ever committing to actually playing a gig with people who don't show up, don't do their homework and are not serious. Under those conditions, honesty is wasted because those types of people are delusional. They think they are a band because they get together and play music. Your quote: "wow, this is like a band, almost!". was very telling...are these all 16 year old kids?


Some bridges are worth burning, btw...:wave:

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I only left one band so it's a special case.


Leilani and I were in a 5 piece band. We started out saying something positive (I'll paraphrase) - We love you guys and we are having great fun playing with you.


Then the band news - but we decided to become independent and a duo. We'll finish all our upcoming gigs, and if you want, we'll help break in replacements.


Thankfully they didn't take us up on the 'break in replacement' part, but we would have found time to do it.


We are still friends with them.


I would think the main thing would be to say something nice first. Nobody wants to feel rejected like they are unworthy (even if they are).


Insights and incites by Notes

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