By Mason Hoberg
The hardest part of trying to figure out who would be a good band member is that it’s hard to know a person until you’re around them for a while. A person fine in small doses may be a nightmare once you start to depend on them. Likewise, a person who rubs you the wrong way when you first meet them may end up becoming one of your best friends.
An article can’t give you the ability to judge a person at a glance. Some people are like tornadoes: they upend your life without warning, and after they’re gone you’re left scratching your head and trying to pick up the pieces. That’s just life.
Though, if you take the time to read this article, you can reduce the likelihood that this will happen to you. And really, aren’t the five minutes you’ll spend reading this article worth it if you can reduce the odds of someone ruining your band?
Spend Time with Them Before They’re In Your Band
A lot of people rush into joining a band, and because of this they don’t really know their bandmates until they’ve been around them for a while. That’s fine before you start gigging, but don’t trust them with any responsibilities until you have an idea of who they are.
Listen to their stories. Do they always make it sound like they’re the victim? Or does it seem like they’re always screwing someone over, even if in their story the person sounds like they deserve it? These are red flags.
Learn to Identify an Addict
Many musicians struggle with addiction. If anything, musicians are more likely to be addicts than the average person. While every addict may have a story, and usually a pretty sad one, you shouldn’t entrust an addict with a lot of responsibilities. No matter how good of a person they are, trusting an addict can very easily lead to heartache.
The most easily identifiable signs of an addict are physical. You obviously can’t pick them up by their crotch and teeth and examine them like at a show dog, but you’d be surprised what you can see in a person if you take the time to really look at them.
Lastly, make a note of their friends. A person’s friends are a reflection of that person, so if all of their friends seem a bit off it’s possible that they may be too. Should you meet any of their friends, discretely check for any signs of addiction.
Trust Your Gut
You ever get a bad feeling about someone, but you just can’t figure out why? That’s your subconscious alerting you to something about that person. While no one’s intuition is fool-proof, the fact that something rubs you the wrong way about someone is generally a good reason to be wary of them.
The hard part about this is knowing how to act on it. Generally, the best course of action here is to trust but verify. Give them the opportunity to earn your trust, but don’t entrust them with anything until you’ve gotten to know them as a person.
A Tiger Rarely Changes Its Stripes
I’m a big believer in the idea that if people want to change, they can. However, most people have a hard time acting against their nature. If they’re a liar and/or a thief, you don’t want them in your life.
If you hear stories about how a prospective band mate has previously treated the people in his/her life, be sure to take this into consideration before you bring them into your band. This actually leads us into our next topic.
Don’t Trust Every Story You Hear (Good or Bad)
While the rumors surrounding a person can be a good indication of who they are, at the same time it’s important to consider where these stories are coming from. For example, there are people who are going to be jealous of an up-and-coming musician in your local music scene. And while I wish musicians didn’t treat each other this way, there are musicians who will start rumors about each other out of jealousy.
And while it’s a cliché, rumors do spread like wildfire. Be sure to really think about who’s telling you a story about a person before you believe them. What do they stand to gain from telling you a negative story about a person? Never discount a story about a person, but don’t blindly trust anyone either.
Learning to judge a person is a key part of succeeding in the music industry. The way members of your band act in public will have an effect on your reputation, so make sure that they reflect well on you as a person.
And don’t be afraid to get rid of someone who’s a drain on your life. Life’s too short to spend time with people who make your life worse, and everyone (well, almost everyone) deserves a good life if they’re willing to work towards it.
What you’d think of this article? Anything you’d like to add? Tell us all about it in the comments section below!