Telltale Signs That You Have a Serious Weak Link in Your Band
It’s a team effort being in a band, especially if you’re on the independent track. Working together isn’t a suggestion it’s a requirement for survival. A strong collective work ethic helps ensure no one person’s energy or enthusiasm is drained by too many tasks. Everyone’s gotta do their part. Is there anyone in your band who’s not?
If in your group it feels like there’s always that one person, these three major points will probably confirm your sneaking suspicions: they’re a weak link, and they’re stunting your progress. We’re not advocating that you give that member the boot right away, per se, but if you see any of these signs in a bandmate, strongly consider talking about the issue. Don’t let it fester.
1. They have trouble making the necessary time commitment
Between rehearsals, booking shows, and performing, being part of a band can be incredibly time-consuming. There’s even more to it than that, like making merch, promoting, and touring. Preparing for rehearsals by practicing on your own time is a must, too. Unless you’ve gone full-time, you’re squeezing in hours the way you would with a hobby, but treating it like serious work. It ain’t easy.
That said, if someone’s committed to being in the band, he or she has inherently agreed to make time for it. It’s part of the deal. Coordinating schedules between multiple members can prove difficult, and it might require some rearranging or sacrifices, but it’s possible. If someone just can’t seem to make it work they’re not available for long stretches of time, or they confirm plans only to break them at the last minute you might want to reevaluate that person’s role in the group.
2. They’re unenthusiastic or negative
Constant perkiness isn’t necessary, of course, but a band can quickly be bogged down by someone who’s always grumbling through tasks, complaining during rehearsal, or has a consistently terrible attitude. Apathy isn’t too helpful, either. It’s natural to sometimes feel blunted by exhaustion, and it’s okay to be a little irritable in certain situations, like when your van breaks down just ahead of a lengthy tour. But positive attitudes are a boon to band morale, and you’ll want to keep that as high as possible to get you through all the work that’s required and hurdles you’ll encounter.
3. They treat band life as nothing more than one big party
Sorry, but it just isn’t. Getting too wasted at gigs can make you look unprofessional to the booking agent or venue owner. You want to have your wits about you to make sure you play well, to remember to collect your payment, to sell merch and engage with fans. Do we even have to mention how detrimental trashing the venue or getting into conflicts both of which are more likely to happen when you’re sloppy drunk can be for your career? And, of course, someone who’s getting tanked on the regular is probably less productive (read: not helpful in taking care of business like booking, promoting, and getting merch together) than someone who’s not.
You don’t have to ban all drinking as a band, just be reasonable about how much you’re consuming. Anyone who refuses to comply with a reasonable rule to not get super smashed all the time is probably more concerned with partying than with the progress of the band.