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How to Tactfully Kick Someone Out of Your Band

by Shane Mehling
music & audio

how to kick someone out of your band

Photo via Flickr

In one way, band members are like roommates — you share a space, financial responsibilities and trust that they will respect your stuff, or at least not screw with it too badly. But they’re also so much more, and kicking someone out is more like breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend you should have never moved in with. There is no easy way to do this, and every situation is different, but consider these steps when it’s time to make a change:

Make Sure the Rest of the Band Agrees
If there is nothing stopping your decision, then triple-check there is no band member on the fence or you risk bigger issues once this is taken care of. An ex-member may pick at someone sympathetic, trying to get back in or poisoning the well. If you have a new person joining, or are trying people out, it’s important that the band is fully supportive of the change or else that new member will be walking into an even more dysfunctional relationship.

Do it in Person
If you are serious about your band, then be an adult about the way the band functions. Unless you can’t stand to look at them, a face-to-face meeting is a necessity instead of some protracted group texting debacle.

Keep the Explanation to a Minimum
Again, if there is nothing stopping this, why air all your grievances? Even if they keep pushing for an explanation just say that it’s not working. They will likely have seen this coming anyway; you’re just ripping off the Band-Aid.

Be Gentle, not a Doormat
Depending on your relationship, you may have an ex-member who moves on quickly or quickly decides they hate you and your band. No one wants to be kicked while they’re down, so don’t deliver the news and then treat them like a busted guitar string. But you also don’t have to obey every demand, whether it’s about them supposedly being owed money, needing the van to move their gear or spontaneously realizing that they are the rightful owners of the PA. Be reasonable, but this isn’t a job and they are not owed a severance package.

Go do Amazing Things
They’re gone! Good job! Nothing should be holding you back now. Because if you’ve fretted about doing this for months, and it was a nightmare to pull the trigger, then something worthwhile better be on the horizon. If not, you’ll feel pretty lame spending all that time to kick someone out of a band that breaks up six months later.

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Shane Mehling

Shane Mehling is a freelance writer and editor who plays in noiserock bands.