Band relationships are some of the most intense relationships you can have. All of your hard work, hopes, and dreams are wrapped up in each other, and with all of that pressure, there are bound to be some pretty heated moments. And just like any other relationship, having a fight doesn't mean you should jump ship. There are some times, however, when the best thing to do is to move on and find some new people to make music with. You may have your own personal deal breakers in mind, but here are some red flags you should definitely watch out for:
- You're not getting to make the music you like- Sounds pretty obvious, but many people join bands because they think they just want to play only to find out they actually don't want to play just any old thing. There is a band out there making music you love - find them.
- You're not getting the credit you deserve - Are you contributing to songs, but not getting credit for your contributions? Or do your bandmates never want to discuss who wrote what? You may not think this is a big deal now, but if one your songs is a hit, then you can bet it will be about the biggest thing going. Being vague about things like this come out of being either shady or just plain dumb - but when you're getting burned, who cares why?
- Your bandmates are irresponsible - OK, this is music, not some 9 to 5, suit and tie kind of gig, but if your bandmates can't be bothered to show up on time (or at all) to practices, soundchecks, and shows, then they don't love BEING in a band, they love TELLING people that they are in a band - big difference. No one is too rock'n'roll to practice.
- You can't commit to the band - Does your band have opportunities, like tours and recording sessions, that you can't commit to, for whatever reason? Do the decent thing and bow out.
- The financial burden is being carried by a select few - Bands cost money, and everyone in the band should contribute equally as much as possible. Things come up, and sometimes one band member has a pocket full of cash when another is flat broke, and that's ok. But if one person is making all of the sacrifices, all of the time, there is a problem.
- Partying comes before playing - Partying like rock stars, before you actually become rock stars, is generally counterproductive. This is music, and everyone likes to have a good time. But when the good times start to take a toll on your performances or distract you from the business of the band, that's a problem. You'll make a bad impression on the people you need to impress when you treat your shows like your own personal booze-fest. If the people in your band can't grasp the distinction between the partying and the playing, you are most likely on a sinking ship.
Of course, none of these red flags HAVE to mean you should leave the band - maybe you can address these issues, fix the problem, and get back to the music. But, if these problems just won't quit, it may be time to pack up the gear and head for the door.