Communication Within Bands (Day 71)

Yesterday, a member of my band; “S” opened up a conversation among the three of us through facebook chat.

He mentioned that there’s going to be a gig on Saturday and that he talked to the guy in charge and said that we can play.

As the gig is going to be held in a different city which is 1 hour and a half away from here, we will not be provided with money for transportation, food and accommodation.

We wanted to know all about the backline/equipments they were going to have at the gig. You know, if the show is going to require a whole adventure to get it done, at least we have to be sure about playing in at least, comfortable conditions. That’s why we were asking for the equipment involved in order to make a decision whether we play or not.

The genre of the gig will be something like hardcore-punk, so as I grew up as a musician in such contexts I started kidding about it. For instance I said “I bet we will have a broomstick as a microphone stand”, and things like that.

So, besides the conditions and all the judgments I could create within my band, I said “Let’s do it!” as a way to express that I was willing and available to do it once we - of course - knew the details in relation to the equipments we were going to have, to ensure we at least sound “descent”.

That’s when another member of the band; “O”, said; “I pass”.

This was the first time someone in the band said that; basically rejecting to play live. I didn’t know if he read the whole conversation in detail and made that decision, but there was no more than “I pass”, so I didn’t like that answer.

“O” once left the band and then another dude, “R” joined us but to make the story short, we ended up with the same members we have now. So, when I read “I pass”, I said “well, let’s invite “R” to play with us then” and we all started kind of kidding about it, including “O”.

Then “O” said, “There’s no transportation or food, only the invitation”, “It sounds motivating” (ironically saying, I guess).

Then he said, “I don’t know where I am going to sleep. Nobody is placing themselves in our shoes as musicians”.

Then I said, “Yes, dude, I know. It’s like a punk show with broomsticks and stuff”. Then he laughed and I emphasized that it was not going to be a show where Denisse Rosenthal (a popular pop singer in our country) is going to play.

Then I said “if we are going to wait until we get transportation, accommodation, food and everything to play, we would only play 2-3 times a year” (probably even less than that). I said this because since the 10 years that our band has existed, we have had all those “privileges” less than 5 times and we have been paid only twice. 

So, it was kind of weird to hear about a rejection to play live when everything has been functioning this way since the beginning. Plus, we have talked before about not having any expectations as we had in the past when we started the band and wanted to be famous rock stars lol. Now we do not want that and the band has become an activity with which we have fun and every time we have the chance to play live we do it because we like it and we are aware that we will have to spend our money in transportation, food and everything, because the guys that organize the shows are not big companies. They are only people that enjoy music and don’t want punk to die lol.

Then “O” said; “It’s just that I have other problems to solve instead of going to play in a show. That’s the reason why I say “no” this time”.

I said, “We will have to re-think the band thing then, because all gigs will be this way and if we are only going to practice (which “O” enjoys a lot) I’d rather not practice anymore”.

And finally, by the end of the “conversation”, I said; if “O” has stuff to do I understand, but if it’s just because he doesn’t feel like playing, I think it’s absurd. But, let’s talk about it tomorrow in person”.

Later we met (“O” and I) and we talked about it again. But this time he mentioned that the invitation to the gig was not a well-prepared proposal. He said that when he contacts some dude in charge of gigs, he mentions everything like a plan with the amount of money we are going to spend, where we are going to sleep and everything in detail. So he expects that because he mentions that that is an example of good communication and that when you are in front of a well-prepared proposal, then you can decide “yes” or “no”.

I agree with that, I mean, to have the whole schedule in order to perfectly know everything, because that is more practical, clearer and more comfortable.

“O” mentioned “I told my dad about this; I said there was no transportation, no food, no accommodation and he reacted like “whaat?”. So, I presume “O” used that to support his point. I was not there when he talked to his dad in order to know the intention behind O’s words, because it all depends on how you say it.

For instance, you could have also said “a member of our band got a gig. It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but we have never played there before. We perceive that the conditions will be poor, but you know what, we love playing music, so we will do it anyways. What do you think, dad?”.
Probably his dad wouldn’t have said “whaaat?”. He might have said “wow, that sounds like an adventure, but, it’s cool”.

It’s cool to realize this particular point, because I have done the same. When I want the approval/acceptance I tell people my version of the story and basically people react to my previous reaction. So, using that as a valid reference is only a cognitive bias. It’s like saying “many people think the same, so it’s true”.

Now – back to what happened within my interaction in person with “O”. He said that communication is not going well within the band, specifically at proposals when we have to play live, but I asked myself: Is only saying “I pass” supporting communication?”.

Then he said that communication must be clear (I personally agree) and that we have to Listen to each other. That’s when I said “yeah, you are saying it; Listening”. Now – Listening is an integrative skill as well as Reading, so I wondered “did this guy really read what “S” was writing when he mentioned about the gig? Because since the beginning of the facebook chat we knew where we had to play, so, saying “there’s no transportation, food blah blah” it’s only a justification to make an argument more solid.

Then he said “someone mentioned that it’s absurd if I don’t want to play because I don’t feel like. But, if I just want to say NO, you shouldn’t ask anything else, because we are free to do anything we want”.

I said “yeah, it’s not an obligation, but as it was the first time someone said NO, something’s going on”.

So, basically I was sure that for some reason he didn’t feel like playing at the gig. I know this guy since 2002 and I kind of know how he reacts. So, he always complaints that when he is working and he receives e-mails, clients are not specific with what they want. He hates that, because he has to re-organize or even re-write the e-mails to then ask clients: is this what you mean?.

What I pictured within my mind is the following:

"O" wakes up ready to work on his computer. Suddenly he notices there is a conversation about the band where he is also involved. He is trying to work while reading some other stuff. He gets distracted with the messages and then he goes like aaahhh!! and hopefully reads it. After reading the conversation his reaction is mainly negative, therefore he simply says “I pass” while thinking “too much shit, I don’t want do it and I don’t have/want to give any explanations because the band is not an obligation. Then, he thinks about what happened and during lunch he tells his dad about how he perceived the conversation and as he gets the approval/acceptance of his decision by his dad, plus Pablo was saying it’s absurd to say no when you only feel like you don’t want to play (kind of making fun of "O") – He gets the approval and he already believes he is right. Then, you can go redundant about the bad conditions, blah blah and there you have your belief that you are right.

I noticed that when we were talking in person, there was a moment wherein "O" reacted with a facial gesture that people normally do when they are fed up and think “you don’t understand. It’s not worth to continue speaking”.

I also know that he sometimes argues with his mom about very silly things and he refers to his mom as a "stubborn" and "superb" person that doesn’t admit when she makes mistakes. So, what I think is that her mom is only a mirror. The one who is a stubborn and a superb is him.

I have to go to practice now lol. I’ll continue…