Keeping Your Band Together – The Weakest Link

Ringo - The Weak Link?

   One of the biggest challenges you face in any band is keeping the band from falling apart. I’ve already talked about having a band leader but the fact of the matter is, the members are still there by choice. There are a lot of different things that can pull a band apart.

   One thing that’s inevitable in a band is what I call the “Weakest Link” syndrome. I don’t care how good everyone is, someone in the group will be the weakest link. Let me give you a few names and just think about their role as the “weakest link”.

  • Ringo Starr
  • Ron Wood
  • Richard Wright
  • John Myung
  • Mick Mars
  • Axl Rose

   Those are a few people who either rode the coattails of the rest of the band (Starr, Wood), weren’t quite as skilled as the rest of the band (Wright, Myung, Mars), or actually held the rest of the band back (Rose). What it really boils down to is they just didn’t contribute as much as the other members of the band. Which results in their falling into the “weakest link” category.

   Now I’m not saying these guys suck and should be kicked out of their bands. You know as well as I that the bands these guys belong to would never be the same without them. Their presence in the band is crucial to the chemistry that makes the band successful. The Beatles without Ringo just wouldn’t be The Beatles but you can easily make the argument that his contribution compared to Lennon and McCartney is minuscule. John Myung could blow almost any bass player away, but is he as accomplished as Rudess, Petrucci and Portnoy? Not in my opinion, which results in him being the weakest link. Axl Rose is impossible to work with but he is the voice of Guns-N-Roses. The band can’t function with him and it can’t exist without him. So Axl is the weakest link.

   My point is, it doesn’t matter what band it is, someone will be the weakest link. I’ve seen many bands fall apart and fail because they’ve tried to get rid of the weakest link over and over. It doesn’t work that way. Your band will not exist without a weakest link. So the best way to deal with it is to focus on that members strengths. You can tweak your band to lift up the weakest link and highlight their strengths. You’ll really have to answer the question, “Does this person function in our band?” if you can answer yes then you’re band will stay together and that’s the most critical thing for success.

Author: Live Musician Central

My name is Matt Rushton. I have been playing in bands for 27 years. I've been playing professionally for 21 years. I have opened for Sheryl Crow, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Jett, Little River Band, and Quiet Riot.

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