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What happens when the leader burns out?


mstreck

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Yeah, that's me... after three years of this I'm getting to a point where I have a lot of other things in my life demanding my time and concentration - especially my job. It's not enough where I have to quit, but I'm starting to make setlists two hours before showtime, not getting promo posters made/out until the week before, well-timed phone calls and visits to venues are becoming harder and harder to make, etc. That's just not my usual M.O. - I'm usually the guy that's always ahead of schedule and has everything planned out in advance.

 

We've tried dividing up the labor - barely anything gets done if I'm not doing it. Either people don't know how to do stuff or they don't have the time either. Everyone wants to learn new songs and book more gigs, so it's not that we're not wanting to move forward. It's everything else that is standing in our way.

 

We have two or three more gigs left on the books - that's it. It's not that we aren't able to fill our calendar - I just don't have time (or the right time during the day) to do it. I'm afraid that we're just going to stall out and fade away if this continues.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Thanks!

 

Mike

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Delegate and demand results. Even if one person is in charge of getting posters to the clubs 2 weeks in advance... one less thing for you to worry about. Let someone else make the setlists. You focus on booking etc, the meat and potatoes. This is how we are doing it currently. Although the person in charge of the set list doesnt have a printer so I've been taking on that role too lately.

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It's hard doing all that yourself. I do a lot of it too, except I don't do posters, and all my bookings are done either at the gig or via email/phone calls. So far it hasn't overwhelmed me, but I don't think everyone in the band appreciates how hard I work at managing everyone's schedules, booking the best gigs I can, making set lists, figuring out what new songs to learn, etc. I do have some people I can rely on if I need something done, like a promo kit being delivered to a place that is farther away from me, things like that.

 

If you need to divide up some of the tasks, then do it, and manage it- make sure whoever is responsible for doing something gets it done. It's their band too, and there is more to it than learning new songs.

 

Summer will be here soon, you teach right? So you have the summer off, and maybe then you'll have more time to put into getting your fall and winter calendar filled up like you want it to be.

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Yeah, Brian...that didn't work.

 

Dan, the summer is prime-time for a band like us. The places where we'd go over well are the places that have their bands booked months in advance. Last year, we ended up playing two or three paid gigs over the summer because we didn't get to the right venues early enough. AND - more bands that do what we do are now starting to pop up. They are better looking and have more energy. We need to stay on top of things or we're not going to be working anywhere.

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Then it sounds like you have some band members who are only there for the fun part, and that's not being a band. I hate to say it but that's one of the downfalls of having some much younger guys in the band, they haven't been around long enough to know the ropes. Even if they are good players there is far more to it than just playing the music, and they'll learn the hard way when they have no idea on how to do it themselves when you get tired of dealing with it and quit the band.

 

Turn over booking responsibility to another member. Let them see how much fun it is.

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I don't have an answer for you but I can sure relate! Sometimes it is very annoying knowing that if you don't do something it won't get done. Uggh.

 

We do have someone that helps with the booking but I do most of the work, she just makes the calls...

 

Posters, flyers, gig contacts, video, pics, promo/press kits & DVD, website, FB/ networking, making sure our gig schedule fits with everyone elses, making practice CDs, setlists and of course arguing with shady bar owners at the end of the night. Just to name a few... :thu:

 

I assume you have asked for help from your fellow members. :idk:

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You can try scaling back your efforts.

 

Stop doing posters and flyers: play at places that don't require all that nonsense. You might have to take a pay cut. Scale back your PA and lights too. Strip it down to the bare essentials and make it all about the music.

 

Try it.

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I would say to take out the posters. Or at the very least, don't give them to the bars that don't require it.

 

My band does posters. But not all the time. We just went 3 gigs straight without them. There was no noticeable difference with or with out. If you really want to do posters though, get them all done for the next 6 months (as an example) and hand them out at one time.

 

Set lists, I wrote a program that creates my bands set lists. For us, we have songs that definitely getting played in a specific set. I read from an excel spreadsheet and dump that to a text file. Copy and paste that into an email and send it off to the band on Monday morning. Takes me about 2 minutes. If you want, I will try to hook you up with it.

 

Dealing with booking ... I have mostly cut this back to phone calls. OR, I will book return gigs when collecting the check. We are currently booked out till September. I haven't left the house for the sole purpose of booking the band since September of last year. I would encourage that you attempt to book while getting paid.

 

Set up, don't know how to help out here. It's part of the job regardless of what role you play.

 

Tear down, go get paid at this point, book more gigs (or at least share the dates you're available) schmooze the dude in charge, sure you're not doing all the heavy lifting but your still being constructive. Let the rest of the band do the work here. Not all of it, but a good chunk of it. Consider that payback for all the work you do.

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One of our big local bands, a country act that plays the better venues in town, recently took a break. A hiatus, if you will. A month or two off.

 

Then they booked their Triumphant Return at those same venues and used it as a promotional tool...revamped set list, new attitude, less tired.

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Set up, don't know how to help out here. It's part of the job regardless of what role you play.


Tear down, go get paid at this point, book more gigs (or at least share the dates you're available) schmooze the dude in charge, sure you're not doing all the heavy lifting but your still being constructive. Let the rest of the band do the work here. Not all of it, but a good chunk of it. Consider that payback for all the work you do.

 

Agreed. I don't understand why things seem different these days as far as setup/teardown. When I started out in bands, it was just a given that everyone is supposed to help with load-in, setup, teardown and load-out. If everyone pitches in, then it goes a lot faster and people can get to the good stuff (e.g. playing onstage) and the other good stuff (going home quicker after getting paid).

 

Maybe you can give people specific tasks. For your singer, have her bring in the boxes of cords (speakers, mic cords, etc.). Have the drummer bring in some other hardware besides his own for his drum kit, such as light trusses. The bassist, lead guitarist and yourself can bring in the heavy equipment. While two guys are dragging in stuff, the other one can position them.

 

If they all refuse to do anything similar to this, you're basically going to have to call it a day or hire a roadie or two and take it out of everyone else's pay. It's not fair for one person to have to do all of this work. I know the feeling. I had three newbies when I had my band in 2009 and I had way too much responsibility. Part of it was my fault for not delegating things for everyone to do right away, but at the same time, it should be expected that people want to help out, right? Apparently not.

 

Anyway, I hope you can get the situation resolved and can keep going. Good luck. :)

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I think its more of a matter of you have been going from one crisis to another , with one problem or another for quite a while, and thats just the stuff you have brought to this board. You may well be creating most of this stuff for yourself. Chill out , rexlax. Stop trying to micro manage the band. Its pretty easy for over achievers to make way ore work out of things than they need too. Set list Pfffffft .. go on without one. Just let amy call the songs she wants to sing as she sees fit ,,,, go with the flow. My bandleader has been full time at this stuff for over 30 years. His number one rule , is that it has to be fun. Maybe you are just taking the fun out of things by always comming up with the next thing to worry about. Seems like you almost thrive on turmoil ... stop it lol

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One thing that for us is not up for debate... EVERYONE should help load in/ load out as much as they can. Someone just hanging out while we load in and set up would not fly with us! Our keyboard player lately is having some problems and can't lift like he used to... that's OK. He does other stuff. IMO it still takes us way too long to set up.

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I've always played in bands where pay was split evenly, but I'm reconsidering. I'm in an 8-9 piece band and it's clear that the responsibilities and work ethic are not equal. I don't see why someone should be able to skip rehearsals, do little or no musical homework, show up for gigs if his schedule permits, and get the same pay that I'm getting (which ain't much.)

 

Now I know why they couldn't keep the keyboard chair filled.

 

I think it's a tough to figure out what's required and what's optional. It's clear that band philosophies - leaders, sidemen, co-op, whatever - vary greatly. Sound, visuals, marketing, repertoire . . . . it's all debatable, for better or worse. Mostly because the money doesn't seem to be within the grasp of most bands, at least not enough to motivate everyone in the group. (But then you'd think they'd do it for the sheer enjoyment of playing.)

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My band had the same problem, only I wasn't the leader. The guy just got burned out and started not wanting to gig. We should have cut and run, but we were all good friends. Since we don't play for a living, it was okay. In the end, it worked out. We are currently looking for his replacement.

When it's time to go, it's time to go...

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My band had the same problem, only I wasn't the leader. The guy just got burned out and started not wanting to gig. We should have cut and run, but we were all good friends. Since we don't play for a living, it was okay. In the end, it worked out. We are currently looking for his replacement.

When it's time to go, it's time to go...

 

 

Maybe I'm missing something, but why didn't the rest of you chip in and take the load off?

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Get paid by check, pass out the cut at the next rehearsal. :-)

 

Not from a band perspective, but I used to work in radio. I was the Promotions Director for three stations, in addition to my air shift. My days were filled with sales calls, show prep, a five-hour air shift, prepping for remote broadcasts, administrative work, etc. I started having to rush before events to get stuff done for that event until one day I realized that I was doing it wrong. I took 15-30 minutes per day (even off days) to plan for upcoming events, and I built a template/checklist to make sure I had all the issues covered. After a while, it felt like the events were almost planning themselves!

 

Can't help you with the motivation part, unfortunately.

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Maybe I'm missing something, but why didn't the rest of you chip in and take the load off?

 

 

I think his situation is different. His guy didn't want to gig. At that point, you're finished no matter who is doing the work.

 

I just need time during the week when I can get things done. Or work with people who can do what needs done.

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At a certain point most gigging local bands hit their ceiling-where you've reached the top of your pay scale, but the work of running the band continues. If at that point, if the money isn't worth the effort(I'm too busy doing other things) then you have to either raise your price until it is worth the time, or cut back, or end it. That's why I don't play clubs, to run around booking them for the money they are paying isn't worth it to me, or the other guys in the group. No one gets excited about a 100.00 per man gig when gas is north of 4.00 a gallon.

 

Maybe you could transition into privates using an agent. That way, there's no promo, no booking. That's the way it is for us at the moment, but it also means fewer gigs. That leaves time for other stuff, be it other gigs, or non music stuff. At a certain point, I said to myself if the money doesn't make sense from a pure time/effort point of view, I'm out. That worked for a while, then my day gig started earning me more. Now, no gig i can get makes sense from that point of view, so I gig less than ever. But that's ok, because I'm still playing, practicing, writing, learning. When it's time to go out and gig, I'll do what it takes to do so. Maybe you neded to step back and focus on what it is you really want out of this particular situation.

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I used to be "The guy" and I pretty much reached critical mass last year. Dealing with all the ass-kissing of booking, running and maintaining the website/facebook/myspace stuff. Keeping up with the email list. Running the PA, dealing with the trailer and having to replace several singers just made me want to quit.

We ended up merging with a singer who was having some issues with his own band and now he handles all the business and I can be drummer/soundguy. Everyone pitches in with load in-out.

I just wasn't having fun anymore and it wasn't worth the stress.

 

A lot of people want to be in bands but don't want to do the hard work. Delegate the stuff you can and let go a little bit if the results aren't up to your standard.

It's hard to have a vision of what you want and not have everybody pulling as hard as you.

You pretty much have to accept that you have to do it all, and do it w/o complaining or eventually let it wear you out enough to quit.

 

I can tell you I'm really enjoying being a sideman right now. There's plenty of compromise, but I love not being the guy everyone expects to have all the answers!

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That's exactly why I like the scaled back approach. If it weren't for one guy in my band making issues, the rest of it is pretty much taking care of itself.

 

(He's gonna wind up on the curb. mark my words. LOL. He cussed me down on stage TWICE last gig, after I asked him nicely once to turn down and THEN after I actually complimented him for doing that. I got no room in my life for that garbage. Next time I'm gonna deck his ass, right then and there. I'm gonna see to it that there won't be a "next time". Dude's done as far as I'm concerned. DONE. Maybe the other guys feel differently. I'm cool with that too. They're not the ones having to put up with his {censored}, I AM.

 

If they think they can get a better man in there to deal with that, hey, I won't stop em. At least I'm honest with where my limits are. It's all fun and games until you get up in my face with confrontational garbage.)

 

Any guitarists out there in Louisville looking for a nice low-key cover gig playing classic rock/blues?

 

PM me please.

 

Thanks

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