When you see a band on stage, you may be blown away by the chemistry produced and the good time they seem to be having. But when you get a behind the scenes look, you may find that the band members don’t get along as well as they appear to when they are performing. That is the reason many bands go through lineup changes and even break up entirely.

There are many reasons bands choose to get rid of members, but laziness is a common culprit. When band members aren’t pulling their own weight, it may be the band leader’s difficult decision to get rid of them. But the question is, how do you get rid of a lazy band member? Although every musician will take a personal approach, it’s important to use the right amount of tact and professionalism to make sure you don’t burn any bridges in the industry. Talk to them in person instead of choosing to do it via text or email. Give them a chance to respond to get the closure they need and make sure to keep your materials protected from any acts of spite.

This article will review your options so you can decide what to do if a lazy band member is bringing your band down. Just remember to ask a lawyer first if you anticipate any fallout.

What Constitutes a Lazy Band Member?

It’s typical for a band to have a leader. The leader usually does most of the leg work for the band, but they also have the benefit of having the most creative control, getting the most attention and making the most money. They may write most of the songs and manage the band until they are able to get a professional management team.

Because the band leader gets lot of credit for the band’s accomplishments, they might not expect other members to pull as much weight in the band. However, band members still have basic responsibilities they must fulfil.  Here are some examples of behavior that crosses the line.

  • Band members are not showing up for gigs, rehearsals, recordings or any other necessary appearances
  • Band members are not practicing their instruments resulting in subpar musicianship
  • Band members are making others carry their instruments and not doing their share of promoting, songwriting, etc.

When band members are excessively lazy, it can really drag down the band and it could mean it’s time for a change.

Let Them Know There Is A Problem

Before doing anything drastic, a good first step in dealing with a lazy band member is to talk to them. They may be shirking on their duties because they are not clear on what is expected of them. Therefore, you want to make their responsibilities very clear so they know how they should be behaving.

If you feel that a band member knows what is expected of them and that they are being lazy anyway, let them know you are dissatisfied with their behavior. Then give them some time to see if they improve.

Be sure to follow the conversation up with an email or test reiterating expectations.

How To Survive A Band Breakup

If the band member in question is still not improving, it may be time to fire them. This is not an easy step for any band leader to take. Here are some tips that will ensure things go as smoothly and professionally as possible.

  • Do It in Person: Technology has given us so many ways to communicate. It may be tempting to send a text or email to let a band member know they are fired. That way you don’t have to deal with responses or emotions. However, using a smart device to fire a band member is insulting and unprofessional and it’s best not to take this route.
  • Stay Calm and Professional: Even though you may be upset at the band member you are firing, it’s important not to let your temper get in the way. Getting mad will only leave you with negative feelings that could come back to haunt you in the future. Therefore, it is best to know what you are going to say, to state your reasons without being insulting and to get ready to shake hands and move on.
  • Hear Them Out: While you may be tempted to slam the door after letting a band member go, it is important to give them the chance to respond. This will help them get the closure they need and it will further prevent bitter feelings. However, if they start begging to come back, it’s best to stay firm in your decision, and if they start getting violent, run!
  • Figure out Intellectual Properties and Payment: It is possible that a fired band member is owed money for songwriting, past performances, and expenses. If so, figure out the best way to pay them and make arrangements accordingly. You should also make sure that the band member has no access to the band’s private materials and assets. Changing passwords and locks may be in order!
  • Lawyer Up: It’s important to have expert advice before issues spiral out of control. If you are looking for legal assistance we recommend Ben McLane of McLaneand Wong Entertainment Law. Ben’s worked with some of the biggest names in music and has represented the site’s record label for several years.

Letting the Fans Know

If a band member is truly lazy, it is best to get rid of them. However, firing them will have its repercussions.

For one, fans could miss that band member. It is not unusual for bands to perform after a band member has been fired only to find fans in the audience carrying signs that say “Bring back (name of dismissed band member here)”.

Although this is disappointing, you really can’t hold on to band members just because they are a fan favorite.

It’s also important to be transparent with fans. Don’t try to hide the fact that you fired a band member and then show up to a performance with a different member on stage. Instead, release posts on your web site and social media briefly explaining that you have parted ways and wishing them the best.

If you’re uncomfortable breaking the bad news it might be worth considering hiring a publicist. Their main role is to advise and handle communication strategies in these situations.

Once you replace that band member, play a few shows together before announcing the new member to your audience. Multiple back to back lineup changes is really noticeable by people like booking agents and potential managers. Make sure it’s a good fit before spreading the word on social media.

Although it’s tough, a new member may actually increase show attendance and social media engagement. They may just like your new member better than the old one.

FAQ’s

If you are new to being in a band, it’s important to know how to deal with lazy band members. Here are some other FAQ’s that provide answers that will make band life easier to deal with.

Why is being in a band so difficult?

If you have ever been in a relationship with someone, you know how hard it can be. Now imagine that you are in a relationship with three or four other people. Everyone has different agendas and different personalities and it’s difficult to keep everyone happy all the time.

While being in a band is never easy, communication is very important. Keep everyone on the same page and let them know how you feel while encouraging them to express their feelings. That way, everyone will have a voice in band decisions.

Is it better to be in a band or solo?

Many musicians have gotten successful working on their own. They have written music and released content on social media and managed to catch the attention of managers and record labels.

Once this happens, solo artists are usually assigned a group of musicians to play with. Little drama is involved because the musicians are being paid and they know it’s unprofessional to bring emotions into the workplace.

While going solo may seem like the simpler route, it’s easier said than done. For one, certain genres will have better luck getting signed as a solo artist. While pop and country stars are generally known for their solo work, rock and metal bands are more likely to get noticed when playing in a group.

Also, if you don’t become very successful, you are limited in what you can accomplish. For instance, if you are in a band, you can still play rockin’ shows at a local bar, enjoy the chemistry you make together, and you may even be able to do some touring.

A solo artist will be limited to acoustic performances or they will have to play along to tapes and samples. This will not be as impressive in a live setting.

Why do all bands break up?

Though some bands last longer than others, it seems as if most bands break up or go through extensive lineup changes throughout their careers. There are many reasons a band might break up.

Creative differences if often an issue. Band members may want to take the band in different musical directions and if other members disagree, it could become a major issue in time.

Personal conflicts can also arise. Band members might have personal differences that can’t be resolved. If band members don’t get along, it can be unpleasant to work together and the musicians may part ways.

In other instances, a member of the band may decide they simply don’t want to be in a band anymore. They may find it unfulfilling for whatever reason and choose a different career path.

Being in a band isn’t easy and personality differences can get in the way. If a band member is lazy or needs to go for any reason, these tips will help you get rid of them in a professional manner. Good luck fighting the odds in keeping your band together.