(1) Drug Addiction.
Your band is not a rehab center, and this isn’t the 60s. In 2015, your chances of success are lower than ever, and you need everyone gunning and participating as strongly as possible towards success. You don’t need someone that flakes out constantly, needs hours of babysitting, lies constantly, and steals money (often your money).
If you can’t get this person to clean up, they need to get out of the band to take care of the problem immediately. Especially if the band is enabling that person.
(2) Childish behavior.
Crafting warring factions and being passive aggressive are childish behaviors that will bring a group down. If you want to build a long-term, sustainable career, you need mature people who can deal with real problems in realtime. Fire anyone that refuses to grow up.
(3) Problems Practicing (i.e., no Work Ethic).
Amazing bands practice constantly. And they spend lots of time recording, collaborating, and experimenting. Anyone that isn’t willing to work relentlessly to deliver amazing shows, recordings, and other experiences should not be in the group.
(4) Scheduling Problems.
Being pre-med is great, except if that’s your bandmate. If you can’t coordinate time to practice and tour, even local weekend mini-tours, it’s just not gonna work. Discuss the issue, and decide if this person’s schedule is stunting your chances of success.
(5) Inferior musical chops.
If they suck, they’re out. Because inferior musicians not only drag the other members, they tend to limit the creative potential of a group.
(6) Major differences in attitude and goals.
Everyone should (basically) want the same thing.
If all of you are having fun playing covers on the weekends, then you’re perfectly aligned. If one of you wants to tour 350 days a year while everyone works day jobs, then it isn’t a match. Fire the odd man out, or quit if your goals are misaligned.
(7) Can’t logically discuss and weigh options for achieving success.
He’s a fun guy, and such an amazing bass player! But can he work through the endless options and challenges a band will face, like whether to sign with a label, who should be the manager (or if you need one at this stage), how royalties should be split on publishing, who should handle digital distribution, etc., etc., etc.?
If you can’t have serious discussions about these important topics, or at least get some understanding and buy-in, you are likely to fail. Fire this person.
(8) Ginormous ego issues/Crushing insecurities
An ego is healthy. A big ego can actually work wonders against the constant barrage of ‘NO’ a young band faces. A ginormous, out-of-control, unhealthy ego is often a symptom of serious insecurities, and usually leads to constant clashes with other band members, not to mention club owners, sound guys, lawyers, family members, girlfriends, etc.
Fire this person!
(9) ‘Creative differences’
She likes reggae. You like EDM. No, this isn’t a romantic comedy, it’s a recipe for either (a) great musical fusion, or (b) certain musical death. If you aren’t solidly in the super-creative (a) space, end it.
(10) Complete lack of realism.
Most bands need to play smaller gigs, and suffer financially for long periods of time before achieving any level of success. That’s reality, and if one of your bandmates can’t handle that, they usually fire themselves. Replace the person with someone more realistic and hardworking.
(11) You just don’t like the guy.
It happens. Not everyone was born to collaborate within a super-intense, small group of creative individuals. Some people are assholes. That’s the way it goes, but don’t keep someone on board if you can’t stand them. This will not end well!
(12) Just not a superstar!
If your bandmate isn’t a complete and total superstar, on-stage and off, then what’s the point? You should only want to work with the greatest musicians, the most creative minds, the most innovative and business-savvy people imaginable. The superstar bandmate brings energy – tons of energy – to every situation, and is constantly generating new ideas, making things happen, and having fun.
If you have that person in your group, try not to let them fire you!
Image by a2gemma, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).