View Full Version : More band woes - this time my story :-(

November 9th, 2009, 05:01 AM
So I've been playing in a cover band for the past year and everything has been going pretty well. We all get on well together we have a good sound and people generally seem to really like us. Unfortunately due to the recession in this part of the world Pub/Club owners seem a little reluctant to pay for live music but we've been getting maybe 1 gig per month and hope to increase that to 2 next year.

About 6 months ago I let the guys know that my wife was due a baby in September and that I wouldn't be able to gig for about a 4 week period which was fine. Our daughter Mia arrived on Sept 16th but unfortunately she hasn't been doing great, nothing too serious but she's had a severe case of colic and sleeps very little and cries uncontrollably for several hours a day. We had a gig a couple of weeks back which was seriously difficult for me because of the physical & mental tiredness and I spent the whole gig thinking i should be at home with my family. After this I explained to the guys that I really couldn't commit to any more gigs for the rest of the year but that if things improved at home I'd let them know. It should be noted that we didn't have any gigs in the calendar for the rest of the year anyway so I wasn't asking to cancel anything.

Last week I get a message to say we're booked in for a gig on the 29th of Nov.. I couldn't believe that they took this booking knowing my circumstances. When I contacted them I got 'well we can forget gigging in this venue again if we don't do it', as I said gigs are becomeing hard to come by. But I'm really p*ssed that I've been put into this position, I want to put my family first but if I don't do it I'll feel like they'll hold this against me. For me a good relationship has definitely been soured, I've been 100% committed to the band up to now, I never miss a rehearsal, I do all the sound for our gigs (despite having no experience - I just have good ears) & I've invested financially into the PA system.

I feel as if I'm being treated badly, am I being unreasonable?

November 9th, 2009, 05:17 AM
Lev, sounds to me like they're playing the "guilt" card on ya. They should have contacted you first before taking the gig, but you might have said no. In doing it this way, they figure you'll have to go along due to feelings of guilt for letting your mates down.

Pretty underhanded for friends to do to you, but, then, on the other hand, maybe they don't see it as such a big deal like you do. Maybe they figure enough time has passed so that your family "crisis" has had time to mellow out, and one gig is do-able...?

You and they are seeing it from two different angles, so to speak. But, they should have okayed it w you first, whatever the case...

My 2 cents...

November 9th, 2009, 07:40 AM
I think they should have consulted you first too. But, how long will you actually have to be away from the family? 6 hrs? Do you think they can manage? You'll be bringing in some needed income and doing what you love which could help you clear your head a bit.

November 9th, 2009, 07:48 AM
Lev, I totally sympathize with making the needs of you family and new child, and mother of your child first in priority. But I guess then you need to decide do your priorities match up with these guys and their goals. Of course they should have consulted you first, and they should not play the guilt card on you. You should talk directly and honestly with them about that. But also, since there is not much year left, and you said you needed to dial back until the end of the year, the schedule for rest of the year should be discussed, and what happens after that.

Your life changed so you will need to make adjustments, and hopefully they match up with the goals of this band. They may not though. As a father of three, I also suggest you talk honestly and directly with your wife about a reasonable amount of time to devote to your music. You have been making practices, and one night out for a gig in two months should be ok I would think. :)

I support your working through this, and offer this as another Dad who tries to find a balance. Not easy for sure, and open communication with all concerned is a must. But in the long run, your never leaving the house for a year will not make anyone happy. Just my rambling thoughts on the matter.

EDIT: One other thought, make sure you take on making time for the two of you in some way regularly. Whether it is taking care of dinner and bringing a movie home, or arranging a sitter and making dinner reservations or time for just a walk. Very important, and very easy to overlook as family responsibility pushes you toward "shift work" ie, your turn for some time, her turn for some time. Though you should encourage her to take some time for herself and help that happen. Even if it is only you taking over for a while so she can take an uninterrupted bath.

Do those things and also make a little time for yourself, like to play a gig once in a while. It may or may not be the commitment to this band, but do take some time for you. :AOK :AOK

Perfect Stranger
November 9th, 2009, 08:22 AM
Family always comes first. Blood is thicker than water....

November 9th, 2009, 09:18 AM
Family first, end of story.

November 9th, 2009, 03:44 PM
It was beyond foolish of them to book the gig knowing that you might not be able to play it. That onto itself is bad business................much less doing it in an attempt to guilt you into playing it.

Now, they're going to have to back out of the gig, which might mean not getting booked there again.......................which is what they are supposedly trying to prevent. A dumb move on their part, Lev.

No need at all to feel an ounce of guilt - family comes first and foremost. You did your part in informing them that you were going to be unavailable.

November 9th, 2009, 03:54 PM
I want to amend my prior reply to include that I also agree family is first. If these guys do it this way, it may not work with them. After some time and good communication, the truth will be known. Best of luck!

November 9th, 2009, 05:47 PM
I can understand where you're coming from. I've lost gigs before from putting my family first, but I've never felt bad about making that decision. Expecially when your kids get older and you realize how important it was for you to be there for them when they were younger.

This is one of the benefits of NOT playing music for your main source of income that people often overlook. If music is not providing you with your main source of income, then you have the freedom to make your own choices about your music activities, how often you play, or even who you play with. It's not as easy to do this when you need the income from steady gigs.

Never feel bad about making a decision like this.

-- Jim

November 9th, 2009, 06:45 PM
Family first and foremost.

And don't apologize for doing the right thing.

If your daughter's better, and you want to play the job, fine.
Make it clear it won't happen again, you've done the right thing, now let the bandmates step up and do the same.

November 9th, 2009, 08:22 PM
I've never been in that situation because I have no band experience but I second (or third or whatever) the general concensus- family comes first.
Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and the other band members should respect that and should have respected that before booking it.
In my case there are lots of hunting trips I didn't take because it wasn't the right time to be away from the family.

November 9th, 2009, 11:31 PM
Yes, sometimes you do have to sacrifice some of the family time for your own projects and such, can't be helped, but in your situation it's not an option.

I can understand very well, I also have a soon month-old baby here. And he also cries a lot at nights.

So I basically go to work in the morning, come home and tidy up and do the dishes and household chores and cook dinner, then watch the kids till midnight and try to surf and something when I can in between while my wife tries to get some sleep. I almost don't even see her any more :-) because we have this system we take turns. She minds the kids all night and morning so I can get six hours of sleep and I take care of the rest when not working so she gets some rest.

I do go to band practice or something once or twice a week, but that's like 2 hours away from home max.

I could never go to a gig right now. Having small children is pure hell for a month or two but well worth it in the end :-)

November 10th, 2009, 01:46 AM
Thanks for the support guys. Under normal circumstances this wouldn't be a problem, we had our first daughter 18months ago and although she cried quite a bit she slept well and allowed us to continue with a relatively normal life. This time Mia cries a huge amount and sleeps very little (no more than 2 hours at a time). So we are all exhausted and trying to work 12 hour days on top of it.

The good news is that she has shown some signs of improvement over the past few days so maybe she's over the worst of it. Most babies get over this within the first 3 month hence I couldn't commit to gigs until the new year.

November 10th, 2009, 02:23 AM
Well I wish you luck and strenght with it! 4 me it's easy now that the older son is almost 5 already and sleeps 8 to seven like clockwork plus my work takes only 4-6 hours daily and my wife's at home. And still it feels damned hard at times!

With the first one, I was hard at work with lots of commuting and was away from home from before six until six in the evening and I gotta tell you, I don't even really remember much anything of the first year. I have vague recollections of watching over my son at night and wondering what weird alien that actually is, LOL :-) I really didn't get with the program at all until well into the second year. It was like walking in a haze, I felt very little connection with my family really at that time due to work stress and lack of sleep etc. yet a strong sense of worry for them all the time. But the second year, totally different. And with the new kid, I'm ecstatic about it right from the start & my kids are the whole world for me now. It just took a while for it to sink in with all the hassle back then.

Also, it's taught me I should never ever work for more than 8 hours a day including commuting time if there is any way I can get less hours to work. It just ain't worth it to me to spend most of the time off from the family. So I'll drive an old clunker and never travel; it's worth it.

Currently I'm good with a little less than 9 months working a year and usually like 14-20 hours a week and a mile to work, so couldn't be happier!