Your Future Former Bandmates
February 24, 2016
Years ago, the then-fledgling band REM explained their rule about choosing a producer. To paraphrase their sentiment:
“We’ve decided as a band that we won’t work with [jerks.] (Here, REM used a pungent synonym for “jerk.”) Bands don’t stay together for that many years, so why spend months of that time with someone we hate working with?”
I think this is a reasonable rule. Hard to enforce when you don’t have the kind of leverage that REM had, even in the early days, and sometimes worth bending if the person-you-hate-to-work-with in question has powers or talents that are necessary for your career advancement, but a valuable rule all the same.
However, it doesn’t help with an even more important issue:
What if you’re the person other people hate working with?
The answer, of course, is don’t be. And the way I’d suggest you keep yourself on course as a non-hated person is this: Try thinking of the people you play music with as your “future former bandmates.” Think of the booking agents you interact with similarly. And the sound person at open mic. And the studio operator where you’re recording. And the salesperson at the guitar superstore. And so forth.
Then the question becomes: What kind of story do you want these future former associates of yours to tell about you, in years to come? That you treated them with respect? That you provided them room to give creative input in ways that was important to them? That (and this is far from just an aside), that you showed up for practice and sound checks on time and sober?
These are heavy duty questions, but far from hypothetical. Bands, personnel lineups, studio and venue situations don’t last forever. But reputations can, including the reputation you have of yourself.
President & Founder
Oasis Disc Manufacturing