I have personally got positions in bands mostly because I was a nice guy. I have often replaced a person that was a better player than myself. Those bands kept me around because I wasn’t a jerk. So stop being a jerk to make sure you land that next gig.
You might be the best musician in the universe, but it won’t matter much if nobody wants to play with you. A great example of this is Jaco Pastorius. He is probably the best bass player to walk this Earth, but he couldn’t find work towards the end of his life because of his tendencies.
Are you a negative person and don’t even know it?
Take a look at yourself and see how you act in certain situations. Do you always complain when things aren’t perfect? Do you always put down other members if they make mistakes? Do you usually show up to a show late? Are you drunk or high most of the time? Do you not care about the band at all? These are all things that will make you not worth keeping around.
Negative people can really take the fun out of things. You could be playing the best show in town, but a negative person will only highlight what is going wrong. A positive person will notice the bad stuff, but they won’t dwell on it. They move past it and learn to highlight what is going well.
People really respond to somebody with a positive attitude.
Here are a few things that you can do to become a valued band member. You show up to a rehearsal or show on time if not early. Take pride in what you are doing. You offer constructive criticism instead of put-downs. Be supportive of your bandmates. Act professional and put in time outside of rehearsals or shows to help the band be better. See my post on why personal practice is different than rehearsal. You work on yourself to become more content and an overall happy person. Help your bandmates load in/out when they have more gear than you. Offer to help in any way you can and not just think about yourself. You should also read my 10 things to stop doing on stage immediately post.
Don’t allow jerks to weigh you down.
You can be the nicest person in the room, but sometimes jerks won’t respond to your kindness. You need to assess if you need those kinds of people in your band. Sometimes all it takes is one person to ruin a great band. Is that one person more important to the success of your group than the rest of you combined? Is being miserable worth it to have a successful band? These are questions you need to ask yourself. I would answer NO to those questions personally, but it is up to you to figure that out for yourself. Once you find that group of people who are a joy to be around, you’ll notice that you create better art. You enjoy playing shows. You don’t dread that next band project but look forward to it.
Want some help with negative people? Check out this book.
Do you have any stories about jerks that you have been in bands with? Write them below in the comments.