ANALYSIS OF THE MUSICIANS' INTERVIEWS
In lack of interviews with the band I asked 22 musicians of known and
less known bands about some typical problems almost every band has - to be
able to prove some theories.
Some of my interview-partners wish to be anonymous, so I decided to publish the whole survey in an anonymous way.
1. What do/did cause the most serious conflicts within your band - personal or musical things?
The answers here were almost split. About 40% see personal things as
the main conflict potential, 60% musical things.
Here are some statements:
- "The highest conflict-potentials in a band are seldom personal things because you mostly know each other well. Otherwise, you wouldn't join together, would you? So the problems are mostly musically based. Some like this direction better, others another direction. To solve these problems you have to make compromises and meet in the middle. When someone can't go conform with these compromises the band will fail."
- "The decisive factor with us was that one of the members was highly displeased with the musical output. Our different musical backgrounds always were much more important than the personal differences. But in the end they were the reasons for the end of our friendship. The only solution was to split up the band. We are still busy with trying to find a financial solution."
- "Our band broke up because of personal differences. There was a daily fight that made working together unbearable."
- "Our band broke up because our songwriter suddenly said he never wanted to
tour again. And we said, if we don't tour we aren't a band anymore. He suggested
to engage another musician for the tour but he simply was too important for the
band. He wrote 70% of the songs, he founded the band, he produced the albums."
- "It's important to get along with each other, especially when you are on tour together all the time. But it is much more important that everyone in the band is happy with the music. If one is dissatisfied with the musical direction the band will get into serious trouble."
2. Do/did you have a "bandleader" or do/did you try to work as a democratic group? What in your opinion are the good and bad sides of these two options?
Most musicians prefer a democracy (55%), 28% prefer a bandleader and 17% think
that both solutions have their good and their bad sides.
- "We work on a democratic basic. That is important for a band, especially when it is a small one. If you have a big band of maybe 10 people, it is important to have a bandleader! That's human, I think, we wish to have a leader when there are more than four, five people together. So for a small band you need democratic structures, otherwise people will become displeased sooner or later. In a big band you need a bandleader, otherwise you will have lots of chaos and will get nowhere."
- "With four people in a band the best is to be a democracy. So you have to vote what you want to do together. In the end we always find a common solution everyone is happy with."
- "There are four people in the band but the songwriter is the boss, musically and organizationally. A democracy might be nice but mostly leads nowhere. It's better one is saying what is going on and the others only have the power of veto."
3. When you are / were on tour what do/did cause the most serious conflicts within the band?
Almost everyone (91%) think that routine is the biggest conflict-potential,
only 8% mentioned the "party-trap".
- "The biggest conflict-potential is to be together the whole time. Of course, other personal differences can turn up. You need to talk then, but sometimes it happens that situations escalate ..."
- "The daily routine leads to lethargy quickly. You sit around, listen to music, play on the computer. Then, you are on the stage - and on the next day you sleep too long. This can lead to problems. On the last tour we tried to do something different each day: visit a city, play golf or football ... you have to learn to handle the situation - or you have to leave the band."
- "This eternal travelling, being on a stage and then partying, partying, partying, then again travelling, being on a stage and partying ... can lead to a vicious circle in which you lose yourself completely and you might become an egoistic a*** no one want to be with."
4. When you are / were on tour what are/were the most tempting temptations? (Alcohol, drugs, girls) Do/did you get into these debaucheries? Do you think they had a bad influence on you or do you think that they simply part of a rock 'n' roll-lifestyle?
A clear Yes (88%) - but with critical remarks. Only 12% claimed they have
never led a debauched lifestyle.
- "You only live once - enjoy the moment!"
- "Yes, you enjoy it but it also destroys you. Once we were back from a tour, we were so f*** successful, and I sat in my apartment and had the feeling that nothing - really nothing - was okay. There I knew I had to stop drinking and taking drugs."
- "Of course, you enjoy it. Over the course of time you learn that alcohol and drugs aren't a really good idea but girls ... if you aren't marry girls are a lot of fun ..."
- "I tend to extreme debauchery. That often brought me into extreme trouble. You are young, you are successful - and you can have everything. And you want to have it."
- "As long as you can't live from making music you shouldn't be too decadent. Those things simply cost too much money. You invest better in other things."
- "It is easy to lead a debauched way of life. I drank a lot of beer already on stage, then we had party the whole night through and I took a lot of drugs - to do it all over again the next evening. A life like this is extremely short: you'll end up in prison, you'll die or you'll stop doing that sh**!"
- "It was like this: I came to the rehearsal - let's have a drink first. We settled down in the tour bus - let's have a drink. We arrived at the venue - let's have a drink. Soundcheck ... After show party ... before you realise it you are caught in a vicious circle. It seems to be normal to you, but it'll end up in being an alcoholic."
- "In the 80s and 90s is was much easier to have sex with groupies. Nowadays this is more difficult. It's not because of the girls but everything is more distanced. And you are observed much more. If you take a groupie with you to your hotel room, the other day someone will report about it in some f*** message board."
5. Has ever one of the members left the band? Why? And in which way did it influence the band? / Have you ever left a band? Why? And in which way did it influence your (musical) life? Looking back would you say that it had been good or bad for you?
Leaving a band is nothing special in the music-business. Most musicians don't
think there's something tragical about it - at least no one wanted to admit that
s/he regrets leaving a band. (This is definitely not true. The bigger and the
more successful the band the more difficult the later musical life for the
leaving musician). For the fans it often is a tragedy when a musician leaves
their favourite band (so Alan is still a big topic among the DM-fans.) This was
the reason to be interested in the opinions of other musicians.
Almost all interview-partners (92%) have once left a band or lost a band member.
- "My whole life through in the band I always had to make compromises. It became more and more difficult and frustrating that I couldn't realize my own musical ideas within the band. Now, after leaving it, I have the chance to articulate my own understanding of music."
- "We wanted to create a more dynamic sound. That meant our singer had to sing in a different way. But he didn't want to sing the vocal lines as we preferred them. 'If you don't like that I sing how I feel it I'm leaving the band!' was his reaction."
- "I once left a band because of musical differences and because of the working ethic of the band members. It wasn't that good for the band - it broke up. But I think it was because of the working ethic. A 'healthy' band would have been able to close the gap. In retrospective I think it was good to leave this band because now I'm in a band in which I really can be creative."
- "I had the feeling that the things I could do for the band weren't the right ones. I think leaving the band was the best I could do, the only right way I could choose. I didn't want to join a new band. To be honest I don't know any band to join when you just left such a big band ... so now I'm working solo."
- "In my opinion the band had reached the highest point. There wasn't anymore to reach. I couldn't see any new ideas for further projects."
- "Our guitarist was quite stubborn and wanted to get through his musical ideas. I often was on his side but I thought he was taken the whole thing much too serious. Over the course of time there arose a distance between us and him, and we didn't talk with each other anymore. The worst that can happen to a band is silence."
- "Next to my band I started a side project, and it frustrated me that I got more and more in trouble between the band and my side project. Finally, I decided for my own project. To be nine years in a band is enough, isn't it?"