Firing a band member is a tough proposition. First, you have to be sure you even have the right to fire someone from the band and continue on using the same name and material - something that is not a given and depends very much on WHO is getting the boot (sending a founding member and songwriter to pasture? Better start coming up with your plan b). However, if someone is holding the band back, they've got no real role to play. Not sure if the jig is really up with your bandmates? Look for these signs it's time to start lining up auditions.
Bands have different approaches to practices, depending on their schedules and ultimate music goals. The important thing is that you're all on the same page with how things are done in your band. If the rest of you are absolutely committed to making regularly scheduled rehearsals and working hard while you're there, and you're never quite sure when - or if - one particular band member is going to turn up, you've got a problem on your hands. Their lack of commitment to practice is likely to spill into other areas of your music, and it's doubly bad if they have the nerve to skip practice and then flub the songs over and over while you're on stage. This person just isn't committed enough to the project.
Do you have someone in your band who is forever picking fights at venues, showing up late to important appointments and overindulging in music biz excesses at the expense of the work you're doing (in other words, when it comes time to get on stage, are they too deep into the rider to perform a good set)? This kind of behavior may seem very rock and roll to them, but in reality, they're making you look bad as a unit and giving your band a reputation that could impact your chances of getting new shows, attracting managers and agents, and so on. If you're getting kicked out of every venue you're showing up to play, it's time for a little damage control.
When you're getting started as a band, it's not uncommon to bring in musicians who have other projects going on. That's fine - but that sort of relationship has it's way of running it's course. This band member may get so excited about your music that your band becomes their main thing, or they may be already so committed to another act that you're always going to be second fiddle. If things start happening for your band - you get big touring opportunities or a deal - then you need someone who can be on board with the project all the way. If you've got someone who just can't, you're going to need to find someone to fill their shoes, no matter how big.
4. You Don't Like Them
There - we've said it. You may think that you can tolerate someone because their playing is so good, but you won't think that eight hours into a road trip crammed in a smelly van with every move they make getting deeper and deeper under your skin. You're not The Who or some other band in which some people who don't really like each other show up on stage to play music together because the money is just too good to pass up - you're a new band building a music career, and you don't have to do it with people you can't stand. Now is the time to build a band you can go on this journey with, and it's just easier if you all like each other and support each other. It's not going to get easier to get along once deals and money and big decisions start entering the picture.
Not every music is a fit for every band. If you've got someone in your unit who isn't musically up to snuff when it comes to playing your songs or who simply excels at things your band doesn't really need, they'd probably be happier playing with a different group - and you'd be happier with a different musician playing your tunes.