The skill level of my bandmates isn’t really something I spend much time thinking about. Even in low-key projects like Roy where everyone was playing an unfamiliar instrument, technical shortcomings proved to be less of an obstacle and more of a guideline. If we were aspiring to play some brutal tech-grind then it might have been a bigger issue, but every band I’ve been in has been less focused on living up to a specific sound and more interested in playing whatever suits our abilities.
This isn’t to say that these bands are utopias where ability is never an issue. Far from it. I’ve been in bands with guys who have a great ear in the studio but go tone deaf at full stage volume. I’ve been in bands where replacement drummers can’t replicate the old drummer’s beats. I’ve been in bands where guys don’t run through songs at home before shows and then get drunk and forget everything on stage. Hell, I’ve learned that just because I can play something decently on an acoustic guitar while sitting on my couch at home doesn’t mean I can play it decently while standing in front of a crowd.
So in terms of skill sets, it’s never been a big issue. But I do think there’s something to be said from a creative standpoint about doing your homework and practicing. I’ve been in bands with guys that practice their instruments constantly and guys that only touch their instruments when the whole band is together, and while the hours of practice might not vastly improve a player’s virtuosity, it certainly makes them more interesting and flexible players with a more diverse array of musical approaches.