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 ARCHIVED TOPIC: Have I been dis'd ?

Please note this is an archived topic, so it is locked and unable to be replied to. You may, however, start a new topic and refer to this topic with a link:

gbisignani - Posted - 06/23/2018:  09:15:45

I don't think of myself as being good enough to be considered a prima donna but I have to say I'm a bit angry and think I've been somewhat disrespected.

I play about once a month in a little group. We basically play in local bars. Mostly Souithern rock, folk, and some classic rock. I try to play either clawhammer or some folk fingerpicking.

Last night we were playing and we were doing Bob Dylan's All Along The Watchtower. One of my favorites and I try to get into it. About 1/2 way thru the 'leader' of the band stops the song and looks at me and says "what your doing sounds OK but you are throwing me all off by playing on the offbeats. I didn't know how to react so basically I just strummed the rest of the night.

Now I'm not the greatest, but neither is the rest of the band. Nobody in the audience knew what was happening. Actually my friends in the audience thought it was because he was forgetting the words and wanted to start over. I really play kinda like rhythm banjo and thought playing the offbeats sounded pretty good. We do the song really slowly.

I kinda let it go but today the more I think about it the more it bothers me. These guys refuse to rehearse so I thought because it is a "jam" mentality, anything goes.

Am I being ridiculous ? I'm a grown up, I can take it, let me know.

DC5 - Posted - 06/23/2018:  09:34:57

IMHO, the guy was a jerk. If you're not going to practice together you get what you get, but either way stopping a song and criticizing another player in front of an audience is unprofessional and in poor taste.

doryman - Posted - 06/23/2018:  09:44:04

What exactly are you doing? If you're playing rolls as a back-up then you're playing thought the off beat and the on beat...right? That seems appropriate for the banjo. Also, if you're just providing a simple rhythmic off-beat (vamping), that is entirely appropriate and common too. I can't see how that would throw anybody off. 

Edited by - doryman on 06/23/2018 09:48:15

writedivine - Posted - 06/23/2018:  09:50:32

The banjo sounds really great playing the "off beats" or on the 2nd and 4th - it's what gives a band a full sound.

Mooooo - Posted - 06/23/2018:  09:55:03

Instead of asking us, ask him. We can give you sympathy but without knowing the other side of the story any answer is just a shot in the dark. Ask the guy what the problem is and what he expects to hear. Then you either have to agree and comply or educate him.

Greg Denton - Posted - 06/23/2018:  10:06:48

I suspect he wasn't meaning to disrespect you or criticizie your playing per se. His limitation, not yours, I think. Perhaps what you were playing sounded good, and interesting, and for this person that caused enough of a distraction from their own part that they had difficulty maintaining concentration. Like a novice who can play a piece until you ask them to play it along with a metronome, and that throws them off, until they get practice playing in a metronome.

If he said what you were playing sounded okay but it was throwing him off, I suspect he was acknowledging his own limitations as a player and not disrespecting or criticizing you. At least, I'd like to think so.

banjered - Posted - 06/23/2018:  10:36:08

Some people think they can put themselves up by putting others down. banjered

Smelly Old Gibby - Posted - 06/23/2018:  14:33:50

I think it’s time to get together and work out how you collectively want it to sound.

I don’t think stopping in the middle of the song and in front of an audience is the professional way to go. After the song, set break, after the show is over... I get that. But not during a song at a live show.

mbuk06 - Posted - 06/25/2018:  04:57:14

As Greg says, the fact it was throwing him off is more likely a sign that he lacks ability and himself isn't able to accommodate difference to what he is familiar with. Playing with others and session experience builds adaptability and confidence. That's not the same as being thrown by someone who can't keep time.

And yes, stopping the tune and directing public criticism at you is just plain rude and unpleasant. Even if it becomes necessary to refer to someone's playing who, the whole session notice, has the rhythmic sense of an ADHD frog on sun-scorched sand it can be done discreetly, sensitively and with the intention to guide and pull-in rather than criticise.

Edited by - mbuk06 on 06/25/2018 04:59:54

Darling Cory - Posted - 06/26/2018:  10:16:17

How rude! I guess he can’t handle a little syncopation!

Really he should not have handled it that way. If he had to stop, he should have made another excuse and talked to you privately if he felt he needed to address it.

Jim_R - Posted - 06/26/2018:  11:16:50

He stopped the song. It's on him, imho. Never stop the song in front of an audience.

mike gregory - Posted - 06/26/2018:  11:40:49

Geez, folks.
If it ever happens that YOU are being thrown off by a band mate, during a song, FAKE a COUGHING FIT, then ask the band to stop while you catch your breath.
Then step WELL AWAY from the microphone, and explain to you co-star what's really happening.
And then do a different song.

The best way to prevent random improv from other players from throwing you off, is to actually PRACTICE between shows, at least a LITTLE bit, so everybody has a pretty good idea of what's going to happen during each song.

haildixon - Posted - 07/01/2018:  23:25:00

If the singer has a problem playing with a backbeat, I dunno... Might want to consider a different hobby. If you were doing something like playing on the & of 1 or 4 or something, then I can see them having a problem.

SaxManiac - Posted - 07/04/2018:  06:46:59

The dude sounds somewhat inept at what he's doing. If he wants the band to be there to accompany him then he should man up and tell the others they are there for him.

Staghorn5 - Posted - 07/12/2018:  11:09:26

You were playing something that didn't sound good. At least he told you. Don't get your feelings hurt, practice makes perfect.

gbisignani - Posted - 07/12/2018:  11:26:03 original post says that when he stopped the song he said I sounded OK. This is a song that we play everytime we play together. I think your missing the point here. I'm not the best player by far but I don't sound "bad" !!

KCJones - Posted - 07/12/2018:  11:32:31

Everyone please refrain from responding to Staghorn5. He's a troll. We all know he's a troll. Don't feed the troll. Ignore him completely. Please.

(I understand the irony of this comment but let's all try to have it be the last one about said user)

KCJones - Posted - 07/12/2018:  11:36:37

Glenn, to me it sounds like he was giving you a mea culpa when he said you sounded OK. What you describe seems like he was having a hard time singing and asked you to change it up because he couldn't sing along with it. To me, that doesn't sound like he's dissing you at all.

That said, you guys should probably talk about it and at a minimum have a game plan for what to do when there's a problem during a song, and hopefully that plan doesn't involve stopping the show and having a band meeting in the middle of a song.


Also, to your topic title: Have you been dissed? I ask: does it matter? Are you his friend first, or his band mate? Your response should depend on your relationship with him. As musicians, we've gotta have thick skin. Even if he was dissing you, I wouldn't lose too much sleep over it. Clear communication, positive encouragement, and constructive criticism are very important to a band. Make those things the focus of this episode, rather than focusing on interpersonal issues. 

Edited by - KCJones on 07/12/2018 11:41:36

Staghorn5 - Posted - 07/13/2018:  21:23:23


Originally posted by gbisignani original post says that when he stopped the song he said I sounded OK. This is a song that we play everytime we play together. I think your missing the point here. I'm not the best player by far but I don't sound "bad" !!

It sounds ok but it threw me off.  Why are posting this if there was no diss? It sounds like you only want someone to tell you that you’re right.  Ok, you were right.  Your bandmate tried to help you.

Edited by - Staghorn5 on 07/13/2018 21:23:39

steve davis - Posted - 07/15/2018:  09:17:19

Very amateurish to stop a song at a gig and publically display complaints of any sort.

gbisignani - Posted - 07/15/2018:  10:30:53

First thanks to most of you for your comments. I've taken some and left others.

I told my brother this story. He's been a jazz enthusiast pretty much all his life. He told me a story about Charles Mingus stopping rehearsal to punch one of the musicians in the mouth.

I have learned from this experience !

stanger - Posted - 07/15/2018:  14:46:08

If you were in the pocket and it felt right to you, it's hard to say what the real reason he got upset really was.

It might have been the lack of band practice and the ragged music that comes from the lack of it was what was really bugging him, or his discomfort with the tune for some reason, like forgetting the words, or being unable to synch is singing to the music, or any number of reasons that had nothing much to do with you.

Or may have, too; without practice, a band's weaknesses are never going to get any improvement.

But he was wrong in venting it onstage. Practice is where all that stuff needs to be aired and straightened out. It's amateurish and bad when it happens onstage.

The fact is, no matter how good a player one is, how much experience one has or not, doesn't count for squat on stage. When you are up there on the stage, you're a professional, whether you are ready to claim the title or not, or whether you feel like you are or don't.

If you are playing for others, it's not the fun of it that counts. Playing for others is a job, and any job should be done just as professionally as one is capable of doing. It's an undertaking that was agreed upon, even if there wasn't a dime in it for anyone.

The more professional a player acts in public performance, the better it is for all. And the more fun and satisfaction will come from the performance.

If I was in your band, I would be having a talk with the singer about this. That display of temper should never have happened onstage, period. He needs to know that and needs to know it was unacceptable. You are all in this together, so he needs to understand that fact too.



Edited by - stanger on 07/15/2018 14:47:04

gbisignani - Posted - 07/15/2018:  18:25:24

just a little fact to add to the situation.....the band gets paid but I have always refused to take my part. I don't want it to be just a job. I want it to be fun and I've never gotten paid for something that was fun that didn't become a job at some point

haildixon - Posted - 07/15/2018:  22:14:34


Originally posted by stanger

If you are playing for others, it's not the fun of it that counts

Man, I feel like that's a terrible, terrible attitude to have. I mean, I know people with that attitude. They aren't any fun to play with so we don't play with them, and we do quite well.

Also, dude take your money. It might be a job but it doesn't have to be work.

Edited by - haildixon on 07/15/2018 22:15:56

mbuk06 - Posted - 07/16/2018:  01:16:14


Originally posted by haildixon


Originally posted by stanger

If you are playing for others, it's not the fun of it that counts

Man, I feel like that's a terrible, terrible attitude to have. I mean, I know people with that attitude. They aren't any fun to play with so we don't play with them, and we do quite well.

Also, dude take your money. It might be a job but it doesn't have to be work.

If you read the full post Stanger went on to say that there's fun and enjoyment in the performance. His advice and the point he's making (and I agree) is that when you sign a contract and are being paid the primary consideration is delivering to the best of your ability what the booker has paid for. Do you have fun? Yes of course if you play well and the band dynamics are good. And that fun will communicate to an audience.

It's just the difference in thinking between rolling up at a session to have fun and playing paid gigs where the band having fun is not the first consideration. We rehearse, we construct set lists, we care about our sound on stage. We learn our craft. You can use the word 'professionalism' or I like to just use the word respect. For gigs the first consideration is always: fulfill the brief.

And similarly we can't really advise someone else in regard to payment. Because everyone differs in how accepting money affects their sense of playing; I can relate to that - our band gets paid but I also sometimes play solo or duet booked gigs (usually for local dances) where there may not be fee or it is nominal or 'payment in kind' and my respect for situation does not change based on accepting payment or the nature of that payment. Accepting our cut or not doesn't change our requirement to respect the gig context. Respect should be a basic feature of pride in our musicianship and toward the person asking you to play the gig and the people who will be there. That taken care of, then we can have our fun.


Edited by - mbuk06 on 07/16/2018 01:31:13

steve davis - Posted - 07/17/2018:  09:35:48

I've never found any problem with getting paid,Glenn.
Maybe the others would consider you a bit more of a brother if you took the dough.

haildixon - Posted - 07/18/2018:  01:10:18

Hey Mike, nah.

johnedallas - Posted - 08/05/2018:  14:15:27

Coming in a bit late on this (just back from vacation).
For 20 years, I was bandleader, singer and banjoist of a folk group. We were what I would call "paid amateurs." We met once a week for practise - that was often hard work, especially because we were amateurs with a professional goal. We played the gigs just to have fun, even though it gave us the money for new strings (and even a new instrument now and then).

To us, there was no better fun than feeling the audience rise to the arrangements that we'd worked so hard on and - yes - debated controversially at times. The controversy was confined to the practise-room.


Veerstryngh Thynner - Posted - 08/18/2018:  02:54:41

I think Glenn has a point.

Longtime ago, I sat in for a band, from time to time. Let's say that their style - and even the manner in which every instrument should be played - was, well, pretty thoroughly circumscribed, by their ambitious leader. So ambitious, in fact, that their every performance was knocked stone-dead in advance. Everyone playing from a score throughout the gig.

I read music, but have never been ace at sight-reading. It'll strangle the last ounce of liveliness out of any Swing or Trad setting. But that particular one invariably extinguished all genuine fire in me, more importantly. I much prefer to rely on my own musical intuitions and anticipate creatively on or interact creatively with fellow band members, if and when the moment so decides. Making music in a group much more fun, that way, I feel.

But as said, this band leader didn't want  to have any of that - so gigs with him were bloody hard work and not a lot of fun, as a rule. But yes: I did get paid for those.

Would I have refused the money because of considering myself not good enough? Or else because of the fun factor being so utterly, totally absent? I don't think so. I'm in my early sixties now. But at that time I was rather young, relatively green and still learning the ropes. Besides, I shan't conceal that I needed that money very badly. All off it going straight back into everything I wanted my jazz career to be, at the time. Without it, I wouldn't be where I am now.

Departing from there, I find Glenn's stance (fun not requiring any payment) very principled. But at the same time I'm wondering if that makes me morally corrupt in comparison.

Veerstryngh Thynner

Edited by - Veerstryngh Thynner on 08/18/2018 03:10:00

Veerstryngh Thynner - Posted - 08/18/2018:  03:21:03

Erm...on second thoughts: please substitute 'morally', in that last sentence, with ''ethically".


maryzcox - Posted - 08/18/2018:  10:01:02

Yes the man was insulting you & you were insulting him.  since you are not rehearsing at all--why don't you both take it out of your pants & compare yourselves on stage--then you can drink a few beers & let your roadie tune all your instruments so you can start fresh on the tune after all the applause from the audience :)

gbisignani - Posted - 08/18/2018:  11:19:53

WTF ? I'm 67 and there's nothing left in my pants. We don't rehearse because he doesn't want to ! He won't let us tune in between songs "No playing between songs" !!

He has some kind of built in tuner on his guitar that is basically silent and he doesn't remember how it is for other players !

All this doesn't matter anyhow. Since this event took place he invited me once more and I was told not to bring my amp because he has a mike for me. He turns it way down. That's why I bought the pickup and amp in the first place ! People were telling me they could hardly hear me. One time between songs I tapped the mike a couple of times and heard no noise coming from it ! I had plans and couldn't make the gig. He always waits until the day before to email me.

He has played a couple more times since and I wasn't asked to join ! No big deal. I was having fun at one point but it's not fun anymore. I have a couple of other friends who play the guitar and we're going to try to get together (to practice !).

steve davis - Posted - 08/20/2018:  13:29:41

When its that bad it's time to search for another band.
Good luck.

BrooksMT - Posted - 08/20/2018:  15:27:24

This singer is a control freak, sounds like. They are no fun, so you are wise to look elsewhere for your fun. His actions, as reported in your post, show he is a jerk, to boot. Maybe he has that disease/condition in which there is zero empathy for others? Whatever the cause, I would drop the gig/band and find someone else to play with (musically and enjoyment play both).

Regarding money, I do a lot of stuff for free; if I take $, I feel I have to provide more than I am willing to provide for that person, so not taking money gives me more freedom to do the job the way I want to do it. If they don't want my free work, they are certainly able to hire someone to replace me, no problem from my end. Money changes things, emotionally and expectations, usually for the worse in my experience.

Or, next band, you could take the money and donate it to your favorite charity, if you wanted. Don't advertise this, though, otherwise the guys who take the $ cause they need it might feel bad.

alfiedog - Posted - 08/20/2018:  15:55:51

I had a real bad experience a few years ago. I was playing with a band, and we had a booking at a real good venue, loads of bikers, real music lover's. Did the first half of the set, and the crowd loved us, we did a few Cash number's, and they were dancing about the place. Then when we took a break for 30 min's the dobro player, and lead vocalist started drinking super fast ( 4 pints in 30 mins) We got back on stage, and the dobro player dropped his slide half way through sweet sunny south, then the lead vocalist forgot his word's. I looked at the mandolin player, who was sober as a judge, as i was, then i walked off stage. The lead singer followed me into the car park, and started shouting at me "you shouldnt have walked off, what ya doing" Then the bar manager appeared, and praised me as it was starting to go down real bad. Dont bother with band's so much now unless i can trust em 100%.

gbisignani - Posted - 08/20/2018:  15:57:41

I even put $5 in the tip bucket every time I play and then don't take my share of the tips. Sometimes there isn't more than $10-$15 in the bucket. One of the guys really needs the money !

Ga-PorchPicker - Posted - 08/23/2018:  07:55:28

I can't blame you for feeling put down over an incidence like this. This guy was a jerk. That is not how you act with your band mates on stage. I played with my ex husband for years in local bars. Bottom line is some musicians are great people and some are A-holes. My X was the leader of the band, I was rhythm guitar player. One night he got nasty with me onstage in front of an audience. So on our break, I set my guitar down, went outside got in our SUV and drove home and left him to finish the night with no rhythm guitar player or 2nd singer. He was PO'd… We needed a good divorce anyway. Which we got in 2011. I would just laugh it off if I were you. Don't let if effect your self esteem.

gbisignani - Posted - 08/23/2018:  08:46:47

I was just reading that Jerry Lee Lewis shot his bass player !!!

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