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Working with an egotist?

Wesley S 27 Apr 09 - 10:49 AM
Will Fly 27 Apr 09 - 11:13 AM
Amos 27 Apr 09 - 12:19 PM
PoppaGator 27 Apr 09 - 12:26 PM
scouse 27 Apr 09 - 12:49 PM
Maryrrf 27 Apr 09 - 01:19 PM
The Sandman 27 Apr 09 - 01:21 PM
Marc Bernier 27 Apr 09 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,TJ in San Diego 27 Apr 09 - 03:58 PM
JohnInKansas 27 Apr 09 - 05:19 PM
M.Ted 27 Apr 09 - 05:22 PM
Leadfingers 27 Apr 09 - 06:50 PM
Dave Roberts 27 Apr 09 - 07:22 PM
frogprince 27 Apr 09 - 11:24 PM
GUEST,suegorgeous 28 Apr 09 - 06:05 AM
matt milton 28 Apr 09 - 06:20 AM
matt milton 28 Apr 09 - 06:44 AM
Stringsinger 28 Apr 09 - 12:23 PM
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Subject: Working with an egotist?
From: Wesley S
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 10:49 AM

Here's the deal. I have a friend who is an excellent fingerstyle guitarist. Just ask him. He'll tell you. He plays some stuff I don't really care for – some of his own compositions are self indulgent in my eyes but he's still technically gifted. But it gets a little old to hear him tell about how well his last performance went and how well he was received. I tolerate it because this guy has been a great friend over the years. You can count on him to go the extra mile for you if you're in trouble. And we have a lot of history together. He's an upstanding guy in a lot of ways. It's just that he's self confident in the extreme.

But I still want to work with him on some music. Here's why:

He's really talented when it comes to both Delta and Piedmont style blues. I've just purchased a new National mandolin and want to get better at these styles but the trio I'm in currently isn't inclined to move in that direction. My friend can teach me a lot about some musical areas I want to go in and I'm sure he'd be open to it. I'd be able to "drop in" to his performances for a few numbers without any trouble. And if I wasn't able to show up at a gig because of family obligations I wouldn't be missed. At all. I'd just have to hear about what a great gig I missed. But I can tolerate that. I've done it before. Any payment for the gigs wouldn't be a consideration.

So to me I've got a lot I can learn – and have some fun doing it. The downside would be minimal. Has anyone else been in a similar situation? How did it work out?


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 11:13 AM

Been there. I spent 12 years playing in a trio with a drummer who was very, very good. The trouble was, he always wanted to be the star of the show and would promote himself over the band. He was a great rock'n roll drummer and we got on OK for the first 10 years or so. Then when myself and the bass player got more plaudits, he got tetchy, ratty and difficult to deal with. So I left. We're fine when we meet now - socially - but we'll never play together again.


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: Amos
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:19 PM

If you have the forbearance to pay the price--listening to his endless self-acknowledgment--then no harm done and you get the benefit. You might ask him sometime if the opportunity arises what he is so un-confident about that he has to keep asserting so hard.



A


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: PoppaGator
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:26 PM

Wesley,

Reading your initial post, I got the impression that you've already decided that it would be worth it to put up with this guy's BS for the opportunity to play with, and learn a few things from, him.

Maybe you had to write down your thoughts before you could feel sure about it.

I like Amos's suggestion that you someday work up the nerve to ask the guy why he's so insecure!


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: scouse
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 12:49 PM

Had with a mate who played fiddle but he forgot that his job was to back someone not take over the song and the stage!!Friendship never lasted long... Remember Wee Dougie's line... Lost friends who needed losin"!!! My sentiment entirely with him.
As Aye,
Phil.


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: Maryrrf
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 01:19 PM

At some point it will probably become unbearable but as you are going in with your eyes open you may be able to end the association graciously at the appropriate - that that is when you feel you have gained the experience you wanted and/or when the guy has gotten on your last nerve and you don't want to continue.


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: The Sandman
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 01:21 PM

I work with an egotist,he is called Dick Miles,its great because you cant argue with yourself.


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: Marc Bernier
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 01:30 PM

Play until you don't enjoy it. Ensemble playing is as much dealing with personalities as it is performing.


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: GUEST,TJ in San Diego
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 03:58 PM

My son, who sings, plays lead guitar and keyboards and sings, co-founded a band around nine years ago with a fellow guitarist who had a lot of original ideas (most of which, we now know, he "gleaned" from other sources). He played rhythm guitar, for the most part. His voice, both speaking and singing, was not terribly strong, but he insisted on being the spokesperson for the band whenever they played or were interviewed.

My son faced the same conundrum as Wesley. He did not want to jeopardize his friendship, but felt more and more frustrated by his friend's attitudes and behavior, both of which were holding the group hostage. Finally, the problem was solved when the other fellow announced (in a terse e-mail and with no warning) that he was leaving the group. Surprisingly, all the other members of the group applauded and told my son that they now felt they could grow and were ready to follow his lead. Sometimes, a little sunshine leaks in when you finally part the clouds.


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 05:19 PM

Especially in the "entertainment" business, possessing an unbridled and inflexible ego seems to be almost a requirement for advancing "to the big time" and emulating the ego of the superstars seems quite often to be something pickup up by "persons with ambition to go far" - even, or perhaps especially, when the ambitions are somewhat delusional.

It's been described as a "soccer mom instinct" with the person's "own inner child" as the object/focus.

It has to be recognized that it is not necessary to really like everything about someone in order to have them as a friend. Absence of at least a few "annoying" friends may be an indication of some undeveloped aspects of one's own personality(?) - although the principle shouldn't be carried to extremes.

The situation described doesn't appear to present any real problems, since you indicate that you can choose when and how much to enjoy your relationship with the pompous one. In the absence of a mutually-serious-commitment-for-eternal-bliss, it would seem possible for you to enjoy what you can learn and let the association "drift" to whatever is, or becomes, most comfortable as time passes. You're making music, not taking vows ... ... (?)

John


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: M.Ted
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 05:22 PM

The sad truth, and I've learned it the hard way, is that the self-promoting, self-aggrandizing, self-congratulatory folks whose only topics of conversation are what they're doing, where they're doing it, who they're doing it with, and how well it's going, get jobs, get remembered, and keep working.

As someone once said, "If I don't promote myself, who will?" And guess what, WesleyS, it's catching--Don't believe me? Here's what you just told me:

Here's the deal. I have a friend who is an excellent fingerstyle guitarist. he's ..technically gifted. this guy has been a great friend over the years. You can count on him to go the extra mile for you if you're in trouble. And we have a lot of history together. He's an upstanding guy in a lot of ways. ... he's self confident in the extreme.

He's really talented when it comes to both Delta and Piedmont style blues. I've just purchased a new National mandolin and want to get better at these styles but the trio I'm in currently isn't inclined to move in that direction. My friend can teach me a lot about some musical areas I want to go in and I'm sure he'd be open to it. I'd be able to "drop in" to his performances for a few numbers without any trouble. And if I wasn't able to show up at a gig because of family obligations I wouldn't be missed.
So to me I've got a lot I can learn – and have some fun doing it. The downside would be minimal.

You make it sound like you've got the opportunity of the century--


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 06:50 PM

We all HAVE to have a fair amount of 'ego' just to get up and perform ! I was in a duo with a guy in Singapore - We both were basic guitarists and singers . but I also played whistle behind HIS Vocals . When people started asking me to play more whistle and NOT asking him to sing more , he split the duo ! Strange guy !


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: Dave Roberts
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 07:22 PM

I liked JohnInKansas' phrase 'emulating the ego of the superstars'.
I've observed one or two people doing this over the years in the world of folk and, yes, it often does go along with ambitions over and above the abilities of the person with the ego (or, as we succinctly put it around here, the one with the 'ead as big as Birkenhead').
There are, in my experience, generous performers and selfish ones; those who relish others' successes and those who,sadly, consider their own success the only worthwhile goal.
I think there's a difference between confidence and ego, particularly when it comes to entertainment.
However,I'm fortunate at the moment to be working with a lot of people of the generous persuasion.


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: frogprince
Date: 27 Apr 09 - 11:24 PM

Heck, Wesley, after you learn what you can from Bobert, you can just stop hanging with him so much if he really gets to you...

            (Forgive me that, all at once I just couldn't help it.)


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: GUEST,suegorgeous
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 06:05 AM

I put up with a similar situation for a couple of years (won't go into the details). I put up with it because initially I got an awful lot out of working with him, he was a great musician and very supportive in many other ways. But in the end, it gradually became more and more difficult, and less and less worth it, as I got more confident and maybe less dependent, and I left, for better things.

In the end, no one's irreplaceable.


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: matt milton
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 06:20 AM

"My friend can teach me a lot about some musical areas I want to go in and I'm sure he'd be open to it. I'd be able to "drop in" to his performances for a few numbers without any trouble. And if I wasn't able to show up at a gig because of family obligations I wouldn't be missed. At all. I'd just have to hear about what a great gig I missed"

Actually, when you put it like that, with the exception of the last sentence there it sounds like the ideal situation!

I mean, that's infinitely preferable to playing with someone who can only play tolerably well, moans all the time and belittles themselves.


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: matt milton
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 06:44 AM

To take this thread on a slight tangent, something that's struck me often recently is how useful it is to project confidence and self-assurance on stage. I regularly listen to distinctly average guitarists playing songs in a fairly pedestrian way, but they succeed because they do it with self-assurance.

There's a lot of truth to the adage that those who succeed are the ones who [i]want[/i] to succeed the most.

And that's not just how you come across in performance. Quite a few of the musicians that I like most on the UK folk scene don't really seem that interested in making albums and pushing them in that careerist sort of way. Which is both a good and a bad thing. Thinking off the top of my head of names like Robin Gillan, Laurel Swift, James Raynard (he has made one very very good album indeed, but nowt since), Jonny Kearney, Pepe Belmonte, Smoke Fairies...


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Subject: RE: Working with an egotist?
From: Stringsinger
Date: 28 Apr 09 - 12:23 PM

Egotism comes with the territory. There are few without it.

A good approach is a professional one. "He who pays the piper calls the tune".

This doesn't mean you have to suppress the good music.

The best approach is an artistic marriage in which goals are agreed upon through
a mutual understanding.



Frank


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