Drummer issues

Discussion in 'Band Wagon' started by srblue5, Jun 14, 2021.

  1. srblue5

    srblue5 Tele-Holic

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    My band is preparing for our first post-Covid gig in a few weeks (technically a livestream gig but a gig nevertheless). We've had a few rehearsals so far but I've been frustrated with our drummer.

    He's a nice enough guy and technically quite proficient (especially with fills) but he has a hard time keeping a consistent tempo -- he often speeds up a lot to a point where the singer(s) are out of breath by the last verse. He doesn't seem to respond to cues from the rest of the band members -- if I or the bassist purposely try to play slower behind the beat to bring it back a bit, he does not seem to hear it and so it ends up sounding sloppier in the end. His fills often are flashy and don't fit the song either -- it ends up sounding something like Neil Peart playing on Neil Young's "Harvest". He also either does not hear the feedback we offer -- we'll suggest something different (I also play drums) and seconds later, he's back to playing what he originally was -- or else he gets defensive about it. He likes to drink alcohol a lot during rehearsals and tell long stories, which is sometimes entertaining but also frustrating when we're trying to decide on a setlist and tighten up the arrangements.

    We had another more solid drummer previously, who is still technically part of the band. Unfortunately, he's been fairly busy with work so it's hard to get him to attend rehearsals, and I get a feeling from the other band members that they don't like his style, especially with their response when I suggested we get him in to play instead.

    Any ideas what to do in this situation? At the end of the day, this is just a hobby so it's not a huge deal if we blow the gig but at the same time, I would like for us to sound good, especially since this is our first gig in almost two years.
     
  2. burtonfan

    burtonfan Tele-Afflicted

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    What do you call a person that hangs around with musicians?

    A drummer. :confused:
     
  3. PettyFan

    PettyFan TDPRI Member

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    My son (who is 11) is going to be starting percussion next year in school. As a former drummer I am working with him this summer on some basics. We specifically talked about the importance of keeping the beat and how you really aren’t a decent drummer if you can’t keep a solid beat. Doesn’t matter how flashy your fills are.
     
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  4. Ron R

    Ron R Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    Do you have a way to either feed him a click track through headphones or set up a silent metronome? Then you map out the correct tempos for every song.
    No idea what to do about the fills - some folks never quite grasp that job number one for a club drummer is keeping the beat, and people aren't going to local gigs looking to see the next Neil Peart.
     
  5. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    the fundamental thing a drummer does is keep time. If you cannot keep time, you are not a good drummer.

    fills etc. do not matter if the prime objective is not followed.

    keep time or get someone who will.
     
  6. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I hear you, and no there is nothing you can do but change drummers. And do so before he gets too embedded, you'll thank yourself...
    I thought about trying to make a light bulb clik track of some sort.... not sure how to do that.

    I'll take a drummer who is rock steady and cant do a drum roll over a speeder.
     
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  7. Chiogtr4x

    Chiogtr4x Doctor of Teleocity

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    I swore to my drummer buddies ( who are really great- maybe the best musicians in our bands) that I would NEVER tell that joke again.
    ( just told it too many times...)
    Combo JoeW.jpg 20210530_181317.jpg
     
  8. teletail

    teletail Friend of Leo's

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    It's like a bandaide - you just have to rip it off. I've been playing for 50+ years and I've never seen a bad drummer get better. Actually, I've never seen any bad musician get better. Can't play in time and can't play tastefully - no thanks.
     
  9. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    THIS^^^^^^

    he can play all the great fills, twirl the sticks, throw them up and catch them, but if he can't keep a beat like a metronome he is not a good drummer.

    I have a drummer I play with who is really struggling to play with a click track now. He gets frustrated now when he gets off the click and has figured out that it was the previous band leader who led from the keys who had bad timing. The drummer sped up or slowed down matching the keys player timing instead of locking in the beat and having everyone match. It has seriously affected his playing now and he is having a hard time getting back to where he was.
     
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  10. johnny k

    johnny k Poster Extraordinaire

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    I played with a drummer who couldn't play 2 bars without a fill. Kind of like keith moon.
     
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  11. ReverendRevolver

    ReverendRevolver Friend of Leo's

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    I've had to be the one keeping time on rythm when using less than great drummers, but they still would pull back or speed up when they heard me ahead or behind them.
    Part of being in a band is playing cohesively, and if the drummer is working opposite that, its probably time to discuss expectations and hire a new drummer if he wont listed to cues and up his metronome game.
     
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  12. 421JAM

    421JAM Tele-Holic

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    You’re not going to train this guy to be anywhere close to perfect in time for the gig, but you might be able to reign him in by including a couple songs in your set that spotlight his drum fills, and try to get him to limit his flashy playing to only those songs.
     
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  13. WingedWords

    WingedWords Friend of Leo's

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    Drummers, who needs 'em?

     
  14. getbent

    getbent Telefied Silver Supporter

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    the good drummer vs. adequate is a tough mix! A click track is cool, but it almost guarantees the drummer wont have the feel for the beat that he would if he HAD good time..... so, it helps AND it limits.

    They say that in the Stones that Keith R. set the tempos and charlie and the rest 'followed'... I think that could be true. i accept it.

    If the guy driving the beat is NOT your drummer, then make sure he has good time.
     
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  15. drumtime

    drumtime Tele-Afflicted

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    How's your bass player?
     
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  16. 68tele

    68tele Friend of Leo's

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    Don't overthink it - you have a few weeks to find an actual drummer.
     
  17. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    Get rid off him.
     
  18. ping-ping-clicka

    ping-ping-clicka Poster Extraordinaire Ad Free Member

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    a CLICK TRACK ON EVERY SONG ALWAYS , he'll get the hang of it, before the guitarists learn about the amazing things you can do with the volume nob.
     
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  19. Elliot_G

    Elliot_G Tele-Meister

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    Chiming in with the others, to agree that if a replacement can be found, get a replacement.

    But if that's not feasible, convince the rhythm section that they ought to try out synchronizable vibrating wearable metronomes, like the Soundbrenner. If it's brought up as a band-wide problem, the drummer's ego may be hurt less and your drummer might even be led to believe that the wearable metronome was their idea in the first place.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. tele_savales

    tele_savales Tele-Afflicted Platinum Supporter

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    I’ve spent as much time here defending drummers as others have repeating the same stupid drummer jokes BUT if the guy is A) unable to count and B) unable to listen, then he really isn’t a musician and you’ll definitely be doing yourself a favor By canning him, and maybe he’ll get the message and do some serious self reflection and wood shedding.
     
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