Wanna know why bands fight? The basic answer is that they’re people.
Bands that are not yet established (and even those who are very much established: Here’s 20 biggest band breakups in history) go through a lot of arguments and squabbles because they are completely on their own- they have no leader who dictates the rules. Even if they did appoint one from the band, the others would –sooner or later- start to hate the appointed leader/manager for being bossy. There are so many egos to be managed! Groups run as democracies tend to have more conflicts. It’s an ego thing. It’s a whole lot better if the manager is not a band member but unless they’re willing to pay for one, they have to make do with a few squabbles now and then. And if no one leads, the band will not go anywhere. There will be a tug-of-war of power, bloating and bruising of egos, and a few outbursts in the early stages of a band.
Here are some of the most common reasons why band conflicts arise:
A band member complained in a forum how he hates the keyboardist because he only plays one style and it is really tiresome. Really, really tiresome. Different band members have different tastes, different minds, different influences. That is why, aside from talent, it is also essential that you team up with your “soulmates” to eliminate arguments in this department. If your influences won’t even say hi to each other in a party, then you might not have that chemistry.
Difference in Commitment Levels
I’ve seen so many bands break-up because they have different commitment levels. I shot a music video for a certain band and the guitarist had a gig somewhere around 10pm. The problem was, we extended the shoot for an hour. He left and that was the end of it. The thing is everyone in a start up band actually wants to be in some other band. They always look for greener fields, for a fall-back in case the band they’re in won’t make it.
Happy-go-lucky Members VS the Very Ambitious Ones
You’d soon find out that although all of you are passionate about music, not all of you are equally passionate about making it big. Your guitarist might just want to play gigs in local bars for the rest of his life because he has a corporate job. Your drummer might be serious when he said he wanted to be the next Ringo Starr. And the more ambitious ones would despise the laziness of the content ones; the “lazy” ones would hate how demanding the ambitious ones are. You might need to read our tips for confronting a difficult band member.
Oh yeeeees. Of course! Money is the root of all headaches and band fights. That’s the thing about money. They say it’s just money but how people handle it means a whole lot. People can judge you so much for mishandling even just a very meager amount. Friendships turn sour when a lender starts to get aggressive in collecting the money due. So you see. It’s really a fragile thing. One bad move and you’re out.
Most artist love being in the limelight but there are just some who CRAVE for attention more than the regular guy. Everything is about him and how important he is. How he keeps the band together, how he is the reason you got your past two gigs, etc. You know that. This should probably be the number one on this list of reason why bands fight.
If you have a band with two siblings or best buddies for life, expect them to make most of the decisions including what you’ll have for dinner. Of course, you may be lucky enough to have two mature people who are for democracy, but my guess is that they’ll stick together and stand by each other effortlessly. If you hate this kind of thing, then just don’t join one. But if you think they’re really talented, deal with it and try to be assertive with your choices in a pleasant way.
Making music is certainly not all fun especially if you want to turn it into a career. Expect lots of squabbles and insults, and hateful thoughts, and tiring arguments, and walk-outs, and no-shows, and outbursts. But of course, along with these things come laughter, growth, and fulfilment. And money, if you’re lucky. They’re all part of the package.
I’m sure you have other reasons why bands fight. Comment them below!
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD/vinyl and merch company in LA.