Recently, I reconnected with 'Jake', an friend of mine from high-school, and he mentioned that he was starting up a new band. I told him that sounds really fun, and that I would check it out. I was under the impression that he had a band already formed and playing together, and they wanted to me to check them out to see if I would be a good fit for them. Instead, it turns out they have never played together, don't know each other, and immediately assumed I was 100% on board with joining before they had met me.
I just attended the first practice with them for the first time earlier this week, and to be honest, it was a rather painful experience.
Most of the band members do not know each other, and have never played with each other before.
Most of the band members do have have very much musical experience.
Jake has very little talent, but is overconfident about his abilities and plays with way too much energy. Since he doesn't play or sing very well, he just wails on the guitar and screams in the mic.
The practice was very disorganized. No one really stepped forward to lead the band. I would have expected Jake to, since he was the one organizing it, but rather than keeping people focused, he was just playing really loud and shrill guitar parts over people talking.
In my opinion, most of the music we played together was very sloppy and sounded bad.
Jake has a very loud and domineering personality. To the point where he will shut down other conversations without realizing it.
I feel like if I continued playing with this band, I'd spend most of my time teaching Jake guitar parts, and trying to get other people on the same page about what were doing. And since I dislike the sound we make, I don't know if that would be worth it to me. Also, the way he talked about writing music together and playing local gigs and things like that made me realize that he is waaaay more passionate about this group then I will ever be. I think I would be a detriment to them when they have these expectations of the band going places and I cannot possibly be excited about playing with Jake.
I did however get along with the rest of the band fairly well. I could even see myself playing with the drummer in the future in a different context. But I have no desire to be in this band. Unfortunately, because of not starting out on the same page, they are all under the assumption that I'm fully on board with the band, when in my mind I was just checking it out to see if it would be a good relational and musical fit.
So I need to tell Jake (and the other members) that I am not going to be a part of this band, but I really don't know how to say this in a tactful way. Especially because in the end it comes down to: "You sound bad and I don't get along with you". (Not that I dislike Jake, I just find the way he does music very abrasive) I'm also concerned
it might come across as too soon to leave them after only playing with them one time. And
The other band members might feel hurt that I don't want to play with them because of issues I have with Jake, not them.
So I have a few different questions:
How can I tell Jake that I don't want to play with them without hurting their feelings? I can beat around the bush, and say things like "I'd rather focus on my other music" or "I'm busy with school", which are both true, but aren't really the honest reason I don't want to play with them. I'm concerned he might come back with "Oh that's fine. You want to play with us this summer when those aren't issues?" or something like that if I don't give the honest reason.
Should I be more honest with the other band members than Jake? I'd like to let them know that I enjoyed playing with them, and that Jake is the bigger issue. But I'm concerned that being too honest with them would feel like insulting Jake behind his back.