A to Z of Making It, Music, My Stories, Stupidity, Unsung Heroes

So You Wanna Be In A Band

ENTITLEMENT

I feel bitter as I’m going through a clean up/archiving process of some old emails. What can I say, they just brought back so many bad memories from my ex band members.

The first thing that stands out is the entitlement of my ex band members. Just because they played an instrument on a song, they argued that they were entitled to a song writing percentage. Just because they suggested that we play the riff once instead of twice, they believed they were entitled to a song writing percentage. And the bass player who joined to play live gigs also put in a song writing claim.

The band was formed in 2008. The majority of the songs that I used in the band were written during 2004 to 2006. I registered the songs with the rights organisation during that time as I was planning on shopping them around to other artists. Even though I showed these facts to my band members they still argued with me over their entitlement to a song writing share for the songs.

Let’s face it, bands are complex beasts and very hard to hold together. Instant fame and riches could push aside some of those bad vibes for a little while or maybe even a decade. However those bad vibes will always come to the forefront until an explosion happens of mass proportions. Motley Crue and Vince, Axl Rose and the rest of the Gunners crew, Don Dokken and George Lynch, The Eagles, Machine Head and Adam Duce. And there are many more examples when that innocent love for music turns sour.

Arguments ensure over money all the time because each band member is on a different financial path. Some are on unemployment benefits, some are on unemployment benefits and casual wages, some are on something else all the time and some are full-time workers. Some band members are more important to the band than others.

The thing that pissed me off the most was when I used to hear the drummer or the bassist or the vocalist telling other people that they were involved in creating the songs and that they had some input. That piece of dishonesty didn’t sit well with me and still to this day it makes me bitter.

DISHONESTY

I know that all of the songs have been written by me and only me. I was the one that spent time away from my family to write the songs. I was the one that recorded them on my Zoom 8 track machine alone late into the night. I was the one who tabbed them on Power Tab while my foot was rocking the bouncer in an attempt to put them to sleep.

To me, if a person suggests that we do the chorus once instead of twice that is not a reason to add them as songwriters. They didn’t contribute anything musical to the song nor did they contribute any new lyrical ideas or melodies. All they did was suggest to play a piece of music/words already written once instead of twice. In an end of credits scroll list from a movie these people will be listed as editors. The writer is still the writer regardless of what the editors do with the script flow.

So of course, I confront the drummer at his dishonest statements, and of course he disagrees with me aggressively stating that he did provide input. Of course I don’t let it slide easily and I ask him what input did he actually have. What piece of music did he contribute? What lyrical verse or melody did he contribute?

He answers that he provided ideas on subject matter. I reply that an idea does not mean that he wrote any music and lyrics. He answers that he assisted with a melody in a verse. I ask him what did he actually change that was so different to what I wrote in the first place.

Singing a word by enhancing the syllables is not a reason to get a song writing credit. Otherwise, James LaBrie or Vince Neil would get song writing credits all the time. Hell, if I used the logic that the drummer put forward that would mean that Bruce Dickinson needs a songwriting credit for every single Iron Maiden song, even the ones from the Paul Dianno and Blaze Bayley era of the band as Bruce did enhance the vocal delivery.

At this point, the singer and the bass player are on the drummers side and I feel betrayed.

BETRAYAL

I remember the day when I got a call from the rights organisation advising me that counter claims have been made on the songs I wrote from the drummer, the bassist and the vocalist. I was in a state of shock. And boy did I hate and curse them bad. I will never forget that moment because it made me realise how deceitful and dishonest people can be.

I told the rights organisation that I do not agree with their counter-claim however the rights organisation did not care either way. The songs go into suspension and any money accumulated from them is held by the rights organisation. For the rights organisation it is a win win. But for me, it was a loss. I had to get a lawyer who charged an arm and a leg however the work that he did was not of the quality that he charged me for. I was told that the onus was on me to prove that I wrote the songs. I saw this as unfair and unjust. The onus should be on them to prove that they contributed to the song writing.

So why did all of this rubbish happen?

GREED leads to a sense of ENTITLEMENT. What I had was a bunch of average musicians that have never written a song in their lives wanting to change the truth so that they are seen as more important than what they really are/were. To prove my point once I was out of the band, in the space of eight months they didn’t write nor release not one NEW song. What a bunch of talents, hey? And then the band ended.

So while forming bands are initially fun, if any artist is serious about making it in the music business and they think that the above doesn’t happen then they are living in a delusional world. This is what happens in the real world because untalented people are greedy. This is what happens because untalented people want to trump up their efforts as being more important than what they really were.

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