March 22: Last Night at the Spur-Last Night for Lee
The decision has been made to fire Lee after tonight’s gig. It’s a sad but necessary thing. After some discussion, it is determined that it is Dave’s turn to fire the drummer (John fired Bob, Kevin Fired Jesse). Dave has recently gone through some assertiveness training at work and feels this will be a nice “final exam” to his training. We all look forward to a band without Lee, but no one enjoys hurting Lee (well maybe John ha ha).
The band sets up in record time. It’s nice to be able to sit down for a full 45 minutes before we play. As usual, it’s cold in the Spur, and Lee sits apart from the band. The first two sets are tight, and sounding good. This has one fan Geoff Rowlands greeting the band in between sets. It’s Geoff’s birthday and he came to the Tangled Spur because he knew we were going to be here. He is ON FIRE about the band. He has his picture taken with the band (a slight hint of irony as it will soon be outdated). He tells Dave how he came in a few weeks ago, and when he saw that we weren’t there, he turned around and walked out. At one point Geoff takes a flyer and notices that Seth’s name is missing (old flyer design was mistakenly given to the Spur). Upon filling in the missing blanks on the flyer, Geoff walks into the bathroom. While Geoff is still in listening distance Lee blurts out, “What a Freak!” (Nice!). That’s right Lee, the one thing we don’t want is people who REALLY THINK WE KICK ASS. Geoff hands Seth his address and wants to be put our mailing list (mental note to Dave – start mailing list).
The drumming is all over the place. Lee stops the song Little Rock for the second week in a row in the wrong place. His playing has been taking a steady decline for the past few months regardless of any comments from the band (slow down – in slow songs). With this kind of playing, he’s going to make tonight’s dismissal easy.
By the third set, the band’s batteries start to go low. A few slip ups here and there. Dave goes into “la la” land during Ain’t going Down ‘till the Sun Comes Up. Dave also gets distracted as Kris decides to dance with a scum bag. John draws a blank in My Maria. My Maria goes over very well at this bar (after kind of falling flat at Cappy’s). John’s wife Rhonda surprises us all as she jumps up on stage an sings back up on Mercury Blues. Erin Tippin’s biggest fan is at the bar tonight so the band pulls Ain’t Nothing Wrong with the Radio and Workin Man’s Ph.D. out of their butt. The crowd is much more rock-oriented and wants to hear Sweet Home Alabama or any Lynard Skynard tunes. We probably should learn one frickin Skynard tune. We have groups of drunken men who are blitzed strutting their drunkenness on the dance floor. One guy actually performs the “Watermelon Crawl.” At the end of the evening, many people stop to tell us how good we are- cool.
The band rips down in record time and gets back to the house. A dark cloud looms over the house.
In the basement, the band distributes the $275 that they made at the Tangled Spur. The band has perched themselves on miscellaneous speakers and such. They all stare at the floor. It’s time for Dave to fire Lee. A brief pause. Then Dave starts his speech. He wants to avoid any arguing. He doesn’t want to hurt Lee (but knows this will). Rather than tell him he sucks, Dave decides to focus that he just doesn’t “fit” in with the band’s vision. When he open’s his mouth, this is what comes out:
Dave: “Well we do have some band news, to talk over here, and basically Lee it deals mainly with you.
Um, the fact the you used to beat us here to practice… and that time is no more. (Lee nods in agreement).
There was a time, in all honesty, that you knew songs better than Me and Kevin and John, who had been playing them for months, – that time is no more.
Lee: “Uh, huh.”
There was time when, uh, you know… your attitude … you’re … you’re a lot happier to be in this band than some of us were. And I don’t know, lately it just doesn’t seem that way… and then …… it’s like lately ….. the last couple of weeks… especially last week…I know you said that one thing to that one customer about you know, “You better get on your knees and pray for a fuckin’ miracle if we’re gonna learn a new song.” And yet you were the one that months ago I heard out of your mouth say… you know, that, “This is a business and we have to treat it like a business” ……..so ……..
We thought about this a lot. We talked it over as a band, and you’re a good drummer and you’re gonna to fit, but basically, we just don’t think we can move forward with, with your attitude – and not so much your attitude- your..your. just……… a difference of opinion on how to…to run the band and …and..basically we want to basically divide up the drum set give you your cymbals and..and thank you for the time you’ve been here. Um,,,,,”
Lee: “You give me my drum heads too then?”
Dave: “Well the heads you basically wore out.”
Dave: “I mean you’re basically leaving the drum set the way you found it.. is how we want to do that.”
Dave: “Um…You know it’s like I said,…your..your just the.. the direction we want to go, we just don’t think that’s where you want to go…from your actions and things like that…so………..with that …..(long pause)…..”
Lee: “So in other words, I’m terminated.”
Dave: “Pretty much, yeah.”
Lee: “All right, well…”
It turns out that Lee has the band’s cymbals at his house. While we had hoped to make this the last interaction with Lee, there will be one more. A swapping of equipment. This will happen this week sometime.
Lee goes upstairs. A silence fills the air. The four remaining members stare at each other. It’s over.
The band is slightly puzzled at the lack of fight. It made things easy. Lee didn’t offer one – not one- excuse, plead, anything. He uttered the typical drummer response to getting fired: “Whatever.”
January 15, 1996:
Kevin explains how it’s not due to a lack of talent, but just a difference of opinion in how the band should sound. Jesse responds with, “Whatever. Do what you want.”
Upstairs the band discusses the actions taken with Maria and Kris. Dave had recorded the firing (again the assertiveness training) and thought if it went bad he could use it as a learning tool. We all feel bad. More for the fact that Lee is kind of used to being fired (he’s gone through a quite a few jobs during his stay). The band tries to make themselves feel better by reminding it was Lee’s actions that he CHOSE to do, (repeatedly) that lead us to fire him. The lack of rebellion in his response leads everyone to believe that he really didn’t want to be in this band.
We recall some of his biggest blunders (again possibly trying to make ourselves feel better). We talk about the fact that Ron (the awesome drummer from a few weeks back) has turned us down. He has given us a number of a high school student (NOT!). Dave will be in touch with Jack Beam this week. Kevin will be getting a number for the drummer of the band “Little Country” who has recently quit. We have a few leads, so we’re not too worried. We know in the long run, this will be for the best. With a glimpse of Ron, we also know how much better we can become.
We’re all glad to have a break. This will give us a chance to rework the song list. Scout the competition and bars, and get ready for our next move. Our next gig is May 31 for some outdoor festival. We will also have to start planning for Kevin’s departure later this Summer.
March 25: Jack Beam Comes to Jam
Jack comes over to audition for a temporary position. His attitude is awesome, as is his playing. He is just a talented as Ron. With Jack’s position being “I want to be temporary” it makes no real sense for him to join at this point. We still have time to find a drummer. It’s too bad he couldn’t join for real.
The band has to put out an extra 22 bucks for drum gear (Sticks and a high hat clutch) to replace the stuff the Lee “forgot” to leave behind.
Later in the week ,Lee calls Kevin to again stress how he wants his heads back. Kevin tells him to call John. John basically says that Lee STOLE our clutch, and that we will call it even. This should be the last we hear of Lee.