May 22, 2013

...and all the other dinosaurs who got kicked outta the band.

Dear aap
I spent the past 2 years hating a person who, I just found out, isn't the person I should have been hating all this time after all. I was playing bass in a band with girls I thought were my best friends. We're all 20-22 and have known each other for years before we started the band together. Then one day I was told I had been replaced and was no longer in the band. I know it doesn't sound punk, but I cried for days because it was so unexpected and so cold. They didn't even sound mad or upset just like it was a business decision and we were a bunch of strangers. And it wasn't a business decision because we're just a small, little band in a fairly average-sized city scene. We don't have any records or anything, just a tumblr site and about 10 original songs. Really we're just all starting out - together I thought. So for the past 2 years I've been hating their new bass player because she replaced me, but I slowly realized I was really more angry at my friends because I thought we were friends first and bandmates second, and so now I don't trust myself as much as I did before about how I judge and accept people. I think it'll make it harder for me to make friends in the future. And I know I want to keep playing music, but I haven't found another group of people I want to really play with and get better with and stuff so my question is: Why did they throw me out and how do I get over this and move on? -- No Band Now.

Dear NBN -
The short answer is: You get over it and move on. Seriously. I can promise you that 20 years from now, it won't matter a rat's ass to you... unless of course your former band becomes huge, but I can promise you the odds of that happening are incredibly long. 

I know I'm being a bit flip... Yes, getting thrown out of a band always sucks, and it sucks even more when you thought your bandmates were your actual friends.  It is a simple and sad fact of life for musicians, and we all either have to get used to it, or become solo artists.

It has happened to nearly everyone, including me. I was in a band that included some friends I had known for years (pre-band) until one day I went down to the rehearsal room and found that the lock had been changed and my gear had been left outside of the room... no one stole it because it was pretty crappy gear, but still - who DOES that sort of thing to friends? I was plenty mad for a while. In their defense, I'll admit that I was clearly the worst musician in the band - so when they decided to get serious about the music, they needed a "better" guitarist. Even though I was a sucky guitarist, I had actually written about half of our original songs, which they continued to play after I was tossed out. That really pissed me off. ...but in the end, so what? They became local heros and I moved on to other places and got on with my life. I got better at guitar. I played in better bands (and worse bands, of course.) No one got rich or famous. 

People, male and female, do shitty things to each other, especially when they're in their early 20's. Whether we're talking about bands or about love relationships, many people just aren't grown up enough to be honest when their feelings have changed, or when they've made a difficult decision that should be followed with a difficult conversation, but isn't. 

Get on with your life. Don't let their shitty behavior make you down on yourself. Start another band if you want to -- but don't turn it into a "spite" band. Don't let your driving force be "I'll show them...."  - because that just leads to bad karma and (more importantly) bad music.  

I'm just realizing I haven't even addressed they "Why did they throw me out?" part of your question. From where I'm sitting, that is impossible to answer. I could give you some possible reasons, but I think what you're really wondering is why didn't they talk to you and tell you WHY they were throwing you out. Be honest... are you really sure you don't know the answer to that? As I said in my example - I knew I was a lousy guitarist. That is the main reason I was replaced. Were you the weakest player in the band? If yes, that might be your (simple) answer. If you weren't the weak link musically then it could have been any number of reasons - personality, ego, musical influences, taste in clothes, guys or drugs etc. Be honest with yourself about these things. 

Good Luck. 
ps: Special AAP bonus points to anyone who can correctly identify the quote that I referenced in the title of this post...