I got asked recently if I miss being in a band. Do I miss the camaraderie? Do I miss bouncing ideas off other people?
As a drummer, I have played with a lot of bands over the years, from bands at school right up until the end of 2011. Some lasted a while and gigged, others didn’t get past the first rehearsal. I’ve not actually done that many gigs with bands, but it wasn’t because I didn’t want to or through lack of trying. Things just didn’t work out that way. Members would leave, I would leave, some bands seem content to just rehearse songs to death. Some people ‘talk’ a good band but, when it comes to putting any work in, they are strangely quiet.
The last band I was in was a two-piece. It really shouldn’t be hard for a two-piece band to fire on all cylinders, should it? All bands, whether 1 or 30 piece, need to have all members pulling in the same direction, towards the same goal. There is no room for deadwood. We were another band that talked a good story. Together for 3 years, we managed a pitiful 5 gigs. All were booked by me in the first year or so. All web presence by me etc etc. Not that I minded to start with as I was enjoying playing in the band. Then I started getting bored with it all, had started writing my own songs, and was getting more and more concerned about the lyrical content coming from the other guy which was becoming a repetitive theme of misogynistic murder.
In the end, I stopped doing anything related to the band just to see how long it would take the other member to actually DO SOMETHING. ANYTHING!!! I didn’t even get a text to ask “are we rehearsing this week?” By that time I was in it for myself, just to keep up with drum practice. He did nothing. Just moaned a bit about not doing anything, and came up with some ‘revolutionary’ ideas on how to take the world by storm. The last straw was when he announced that we needed to re-record our album as he wasn’t happy with it. That’s ok, but this is 5 months after I handed him the mixed tracks. Seems like he couldn’t even be bothered to listen to his own songs.
So I decided to leave and start doing my own thing, which I was enjoying more and more.
I never intended to release an album or play a gig. It just happened that way. My first album was just a demo, for my own benefit. After playing it to a few people, not to mention a few thousand listens of my own, I decided it might be good enough to release. So I did. I sent a copy to a friend down in London. I’d played with his band, Proud City Fathers, back in the early nineties, it didn’t work out and we lost contact until a couple of years back. Out of the blue, he announced that he had booked a gig and would I like to play? I had been thinking that I should maybe give it a go at least once since releasing the album early in 2011, and if I didn’t play a gig by the end of the same year, I never would. So I said yes.
To answer the question;
No, I don’t miss being in a band at all.
I do miss playing drums sometimes.
It must be handy having 5 members sharing the costs for travel/promotion/CDs etc but then again earnings would have to be shared out too.
Having to put up with the guitarist’s moods or the singer’s ego or the bass player’s drink problem or the tambourine player’s smelly feet?
No thanks! It’s bad enough putting up with my own ego/moods/drinking/feet