Egos, Perfectionism, and “Being Difficult”

There are a handful of people who would say I am hard to be in a band with, that I am “difficult” and turn what should be “fun” into “work.” To a certain extent, I agree. However, if you were to get MY side of the story, you would see there is reason why I can be difficult. It can be summed up in two words: THE MUSIC. Now really, is that such a bad thing? After all, the music is the reason we are in the band to begin with!

In one band situation, I was told that I made things stop being “fun.” Oddly enough, this statement was made once we (1) entered the studio and (2) tried booking gigs. What these people fail to realize is that sometimes you DO have to “work” before you can get to the “fun” part. Let’s face it: learning a song is, in fact, WORK. You have to all know when to start, when to change from loud to soft, when to slow down, when to speed up, when to change sections, and of course when to finish. Rehearsing isn’t easy, but you HAVE to put in the hard work or else you risk being so sloppy that you are booed off stage (or worse). In my mind the more work you put in, the more proud you can be of the music. As for booking gigs, anyone who has tried getting a show in the Capitol District of New York knows that is no easy task either.

My insistence on producing the best quality recording has also caused problems. This is because I insist on multiple takes until I get a solo or vocal line right. Think of all the albums you know and love. Can you imagine how shitty they would sound if they consisted of nothing but first takes? It would be pretty bad, which is why those bands went through multiple takes before the albums were finally mixed and mastered.

I must explain that I do make a distinction between recordings that are meant only for the band to practice along with versus something that we will hand out for the public to hear. If it is the former, then I relax on the perfectionism. However, if it is the latter, then it is important to make sure the recording is the best it can be. You should never have the mentality of “it’s only a demo” if you plan on letting the public listen to it. To draw an analogy here, can you imagine what kind of football team you’d have on your hands if they thought of practice as “only practice?” Or what if a boxer thought of a sparring match as “only sparring?” They would constantly get their ASSES handed to them! To make good music, you have to always bring your “A” game, even if it is “only a demo.” If you aren’t going to always play with that intensity, then put your instrument away because you are just wasting everyone’s time (including your own).

I hate to come off sounding like an angry, ranting maniac, but if there’s one thing I can’t stand in this world, it is lazy musicianship. Actually, there IS one more thing I don’t like: I can’t stand it when I am made to feel like I have to apologize because I actually HAVE the drive/ambition to make sure the music is the best it can be. The slackers are the problem…NOT the hard-working folks like myself. Last time I checked, SLOTH was one of the seven deadly sins…not “ambition.”

Like my friend’s tattoo above her lady parts says, “Go hard or go home!”


About Steve Grogan

I am 40 years old, divorced, and a father of four kids. I am a practitioner of a self-defense system called wing chun kung fu. My other hobbies include writing, playing guitar, reading, watching movies, and listening to music. Recently I have gotten back into fitness, and this time I am DETERMINED to get the washboard abs...whether my metabolism will cooperate with me or not! The purpose of this blog is to write not only about my hobbies, but also about whatever crosses my mind, whether it is something I don't understand or something that aggravates me. So join me as I indulge my tendency to think too much about topics that don't usually cross anyone else's mind!
This entry was posted in analysis, art, artist, concept album, confidence, ego, music, observation, off-topic, perfectionism, random, rant, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Egos, Perfectionism, and “Being Difficult”

  1. Hazer says:

    Its important to get all your members on the same page as well. No doubt there is no substitution for practice.

  2. Just discovered this post. I agree with what you have said. Knowing that what you are doing is going to go to the public, you must show the audience proper respect by putting in the best that you can. Just shrugging off one take while you are texting your friends (or whatever) is essentially saying that you don’t really care about your audience, and that’s so disheartening to listen to. And you can hear the difference.

  3. wcman1976 says:


    I am glad someone else gets it. Plus if you are texting when you should be prepping for another take, then why the hell did you bother to learn an instrument anyway? To waste time and money?

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