Musician Tips: Firing A Friend From A Band

Since bands spend a lot of time together, they usually form a tight-knit relationship. Being part of a band almost feels like having a second family. Generally, every band member knows his bandmates very well. Although being close means that you have successfully established a good relationship with one another, it may also cause difficulties in the future.


Since you probably treat your bandmate like a brother, it can feel awkward if you try to confront him directly about your feelings. Sometimes things just don't work out the way we want them to. No matter how much time you've spent together, how many late nights you've bonded over music and beer, you may still end up wanting to fire your bandmate one day. It will not be easy for you to explain the reasons why you've decided to fire your friend who happens to also be your bandmate. However, all real musicians need to make hard choices if they're serious about having a successful career. For the sake of your band's future, it's important to make the right choice.

The time will come in the near future when you might think of severing ties between you and a long time friend, collaborator or band member. During these confusing times, you have to be well prepared. Have you thought about specific circumstances which made you decide that you want to fire your bandmate? Have you imagined yourself confronting your friend and letting him know that you've decided to part ways with him? How would you feel during this situation? More importantly, how do you think your friend will feel after you've talked to him? I thought about this topic after reading a Chicago Grid article called "How Wilco's Jeff Tweedy Learned to Grow Up and Start Firing His Friends." If you've ever seen the documentary called "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart", you will be aware of what happened in at least one of those friend firing incidents. When Tweedy decided to finally grow up, he confronted his multi-instrumentalist Jay Bennett and told him that he's fired.

Tweedy was no longer interested in working with Bennett. He did what he thinks was best for him and his band. A few years after he fired Bennett, Tweedy instructed his manager to handle the process of firing another friend of his who is a band member. There have been varying opinions about how Tweedy handled his frustrations with Bennett. After reading other people's thoughts on this matter, I began to wonder "Is there really a right or wrong way to inform your bandmate that you don't want to work with anymore?" I also thought about whether a probationary period is necessary before finalizing the decision on whether or not to give your friend the boot. Does every member of the band have to be present during the confrontation? Before starting a band, should there be a set of rules and expectations that each member should follow? I believe the answer to the last question is a resounding yes.



Your Turn to Sound Off!

Have you ever had to fire a fellow band member before? What was your experience like? Did you have any regrets after making that decision? Are there any lessons you've learned through this experience? Please share them in the comments section below to help other readers experiencing the same problem.

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