What to Do When When Your Ex-Bandmates Are Still Coasting on Your Hard Work
Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist, and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.
Dear Fan, I left a trio that I helped start and fronted about six months ago and the band fell apart. I guess the other two members kept playing music together in a new band because today suddenly I got the Facebook update that they had changed the name of the band on the Facebook page. I mean all our flyers and pictures and stuff are on there and it just seems really weird. They didn't tell me about it beforehand, it seems like they should just start from scratch? I feel weird, like, are they going to start playing our old songs without me? Or am I being a baby? A Lady
You are so not being a baby. How unseemly! And lazy, to boot! Trying to get around the hard work of garnering a new fanbase for their endeavor! What dicks! They are probably hoping you will not notice, or that all your friends and family that 'liked' your band won't tell you; these dudes, their sneakiness about it, to me, says they know it is shady. They are obviously doing a lot of wishful thinking here--that this is fair play, that you won't mind, that your old fans are automatically interested in whatever music they are making without you (LOLZ) and your distinctive presence in the band. You need no further proof of what fools they are than that they thought this was probably a really ingenious idea.
You, lady, are well within your rights as a former creative counterpart to step to them and be like "Hold up!" and tell them you are ok with them issuing a post or two about their new band (be the respectful example) and directing people to their new bands Facebook page, but this little co-opting endeavor is just not cool. It's hard to get too proprietary about a few hundred fans of a band that you aren't even in anymore, but given the nature of these things--that probably half these 'fans' are friends, family or co-workers--it's okay to be squicked out about it.
If you wrote those old songs with them they shouldn't still be playing them. Ask them if they are. Hopefully this namechange is to show that they have moved on to something else and are not re-doing/ghost-riding your old band, so to speak.
Be prepared that they may not hear what you are saying and you may not have much in the way of recourse, especially if they have already changed the password for this account/page they are now trying to claim. Even if they haven't, going in there and shutting this business down is just borrowing trouble. You don't want to get into that kind of tit-for-tat. If they refuse to honor your concerns, just walk away. You might have to settle for being grateful you are no longer making music with them and just accept that as the universe's reward for putting up with your ex-bandmates dumb bullshit.
Best of luck! Fan
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