It’s no secret that one of the hardest things about keeping a band together is learning how to manage the personal relationships within the band. There are countless legendary bands throughout history that either broke up or underwent significant lineup changes due at least in part to personal tensions within the band. The most famous example may be the Beatles, but you can also look at Van Halen, Black Sabbath, Oasis and many, many more.
But, obviously, arguments aren’t just confined to successful, well-known bands. Learning how to work with others within a musical context is an essential part of being in a band from the day it is formed. That’s why from the beginning, it is nearly as important to get together a group that can work together successfully as it is to get a group that can play together successfully.
However, arguments are bound to arise no matter how compatible band members’ personalities are, and here we present several ways to settle disputes when they inevitably come up.
Band Partnership Agreement
This is a great way to solve problems before they start. It is imperative that every band write and sign a band partnership agreement in the very beginning of the band’s life. The contract will state how disputes will be solved when they arise, and will deal with various factors from how money is split to what to do if a band member leaves the band. Being a legal document, the band members decide how to handle tough situations in the beginning rather than after tempers rise.
Talk It Out
Sure, this seems like the most simple and clichéd advice that can be given. But most arguments get out of hand when there is no communication between members. Rather, voices are raised and opinions are voiced with very little listening going on. But if members can agree, at the very least, to sit down and actually discuss the root of the problem, it is much easier to see all sides of the discussion and be able to come to a logical solution.
Take Some Time Away
Sometimes in the heat of the moment, discussion is just not an option. When tempers are burning out of control, trying to talk to each other can prove impossible, and in times like this, it is best to take a break. Everyone should agree to a time and place to reconvene after the initial anger has worn off and they’ve had some time to consider what the best course of action would be to solve the given conflict. Then, it is time to actually discuss what the best course of action is, and hopefully develop a solution everyone will be happy with.
Bring in a Mediator
Sometimes, intra-band conflict can just not be solved by the band members themselves. When this happens, a non-biased outsider should be brought in to listen to all points of view, and try to work with all band members towards an agreeable solution. Sometimes having a fresh perspective is the only way to really realize the source of the problem.
Of course, every band will have to find their own specific ways to achieve the above goals, but they are good guidelines to solve the types of problems that cause the premature break ups of far too many bands.