What Would John Doe Do? – Firing Our Bass Player
John Doe is the founder of the seminal Los Angeles punk group X, a solo artist and actor. John answers questions from the KnowTheMusicBiz.com community members in the WWJDD? blog.
A Question from Chris in Chicago
My bandmates and I are struggling to decide if we should replace our bass player and would like to get your opinion on our situation. I was recently approached by a well known and very talented bass player in our area who expressed interest in playing with us “if we ever had an opening”. Our existing bass player is a capable player and good guy but clearly doesn’t have the chops, experience or contacts of the other interested player.
It seems like it would be a good business move to bring the more experienced player in but it seems pretty cold hearted to throw the existing guy out. So…what’s your take on improving the band’s overall chances of quitting our day jobs vs. destroying a personal relationship with an existing band member and friend? This is tough. We would love to hear your thoughts.
What Would John Doe Do?
Yr right, this is the toughest of decisions but it doesn’t have to be “cold-hearted”. First you must be as sure as possible that yr current bass player, even though he’s not the greatest player, isn’t key to yr sound. The most common mistake producers make is to replace the drummer during recording. Then they wonder why the “spark” or uniqueness has gone out of the band’s sound. Next, be sure that you like to hang w/ yr perspective replacement, since “hangability” is probably much more important than contacts (likely won’t mean very much) & “chops”. Then, ask yrself how enthusiastic are either of the bassists? Especially in the beginning, drive & a positive outlook can make a huge difference in the life or soul of a band. Finally, if you do decide to replace the old w/ the new, do it in a kind, diplomatic way. no reason to be a jerk & create hard feelings.
hope this helps & as always, thanks for writing.
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