How come so many bands start out because school buddies get together, only to find out that they have different musical opinions and it hurts the friendship in the end? There has always been a difference between friendship and business, and let’s face it for better or worse a band is a business. So why can’t we be friends after the business is concluded?
The year was 1997, and my band was at a promo photo shoot for Atlantic records. I was the singer and guitarist in a band with 3 guitar players. As a singer it has always been my belief that a band should put a large percentage of responsibility and decision making in the hands of the singer/frontman/spokesperson. After all this is the guy who you unofficially ask to lead the band, and who is going to garner most of the attention, as well as being the focal point for everything. This is also being said to you by a singer, so take it however you want it. After a brief discussion which turned heated, because there were things I wanted to do which had been met with some trepidation, I unloaded on the other members.
Turning to the drummer I spewed forth a tirade (feel free to add any and all expletives you’d like to) consisting of the fact that he didn’t sing the songs, didn’t write songs, so his job was to shut up and play the drums. On to the bassist I railed similarly, although he did sing backup he was only just a tad more useful than our useless time keeper. The two guitarists were next, we split leads three ways, they offered the bare minimum when it came to writing and they both lacked in their singing abilities. So, I surmised, that each of them only needed to be responsible for 33% of all leads. How hard was that? I sang all the songs, wrote 90% of the songs, booked gigs dealt with record companies, management companies, played 33% of the leads, yet had to share equally in the vote of what we were going to do?
Somewhere along the line, it turned personal and we were at each other like a bunch of wild dogs. I started to pack away my personal belongings I had brought with me to the shoot. I turned and with a few choice words I walked out. Before I made it to the door though, I turned to the one guitarist and asked him if we were still on for lunch the next day and he said that we were. I nodded and left.
The next day around 1pm we met at the Chinese restaurant which was our usual meeting place. It was a wonderful lunch, and we had a great time talking about whatever had happened that week in our lives. How his sister was doing. My wife and I were trying to have another baby. And anything else that wasn’t connected with our musical work. There was an understanding with us that we would never let business come between us as friends. So what if I was an ego filled maniac, with bad ideas, and he was an unmotivated emotionless dipstick. He was my pal, we had bailed each other out of many hot spots over the years both before and after that moment. To this day we are still friends, and yes… we still work together on occasion. The other guys took things personally and I haven’t been in contact with them since the early 2000’s.
There are two morals to this story. The first moral is that when you have a job to do, you do the job! Don’t take it personally it is after all only business.
The second moral is choose your singer wisely, because they are going to want to steer the ship. So make sure it is someone with a good sense of direction…Like me!
Check out DeadTunes's personal website over at Darton Music.