So you’ve been playing in your live band for a while but it just seems like it’s not what you wanted. Believe me, we’ve all been there. I remember playing in a band where I had steady gigs three weekends a month and all I had to do was learn the songs, show up with my gear and play. But it was becoming a hassle trying to juggle band practices and gigs with my personal life. I also wanted to write and perform my own music live. I knew the time had come to quit that band but what was the best way to do it?
Well, quitting a band is just like quitting a job. There’s a right way and several wrong ways to quit a band. Let’s discuss the wrong ways first.
You can always just stop showing up for practices and gigs but I guarantee you that you are going to severely piss some people off if you do that. I remember a band member quitting one of my bands by not showing up for a gig. We wanted to lynch the guy the next time we saw him. Nothing is worse than being left with a gig and not being able to play it because a member didn’t show up. It’s also bad to leave your bandmates wondering “Whatever happened to that guy?’
Another wrong way to quit a band is to show up to rehearsal, rip everyone and the band to shreds with insults and announce that you will not be seen with that band ever again. All you do there is anger a bunch of fellow musicians and burn every future opportunity to play with these people that you will ever have. Not only that, but you’ll be gaining a reputation in the music community that you are difficult to work with.
So here’s how to quit your band. The best way is to call a meeting outside of band practice but if that is impractical for the band then plan to tell them at the next band practice. If you can setup a meeting outside of band practice at least you can spare everyone the trouble of hauling their equipment to practice to hear you announce that you’re quitting. You can also soften the blow with an e-mail or a text message in advance letting everyone know that you are considering quitting. Don’t just leave it at an e-mail, meeting your bandmates face-to-face is a much better way to handle making the announcement that you are quitting.
When you get together let the band know how much you have appreciated playing with them. Remember the good times you’ve had with them. Then let them know that you are worn out and that you’ve just got too many things on your plate to give the band the effort that it deserves. Also, make sure and honor any gig commitments for at least 3-months which should give the band enough time to find your replacement and train them. Let them ask you questions and let them know that you are firm in your resolve to quit.
It’s always better to leave a band with good feelings. They may even throw you a goodbye party if you’re cool about playing final shows with the band and helping to find and train your own replacement. In the future, you can count on your old bandmates to put in a good word for you or even be involved in your future projects.
It’s always scary but at the same time exhilarating to leave a band and start something new. Just make sure you don’t burn any bridges when you leave your old band. It will help you with the local musician’s, agents and clubs for them to know you honor your commitments and are a person who lives up to their word.