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Am I wrong here? (Drummer situation)

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by tpmiller08, Mar 19, 2009.

  1. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    Record him. That's when you learn how amateurish it sounds. Until you realize it's a problem you have no incentive to change.

  2. blubass


    Aug 3, 2007
    Modesto Ca
    Current: Blackstar, DR strings, Nady. Previous endorsements with: GK, Rotosound, Ernie Ball, Cleartone, EMG, Dean, Dava Picks, Rebel Straps, Dickies
    Hey i know the feeling! Not just with a drummer, but with other members as well. The most effective tecnique would be to sit down with him and tell him something to the effect of, " We are playing really well together, and I see a huge amount of untapped potential, we just need to focus and work through these fills and changes so we are tight!" Avoid pointing the finger and saying "you are doing this" if you like his playing and think he could do better. Suggest playing to a metronome, which has helped my band in a huge way. The key is displaying confidence that you think the two of you could do better, and display the drive and ability to make sure that happens. Good Luck!
  3. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    Going through the same thing right now. Buddy is our drummer, been friends for over 25 years since we were kids. He is just not cutting the mustard, so we are trying different guys out right now. He is upset, I told him straight up how it is. I also said these magic words. " I would rather risk you being upset with me for a few months, then not trying to make it work and be in a band with a good friend such as yourself" and I mean that.
  4. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    +100 on the recording rehearsals.

    I suggest that you do that every time, burn some CDs, hand them out so everyone can listen and make suggestions and discuss with the band members.

    If the same suggestions keep coming up, something needs to change.

    Whatever that is, it's up to the band to decide.

    If the drummer been give notice(s) and can't/won't change, then he's given himself the boot.

    Put it on him. It's not your fault if he doesn't change.
  5. WHughes


    Nov 25, 2008
    Washington State
    Click track in the headphones was a good idea.
    F-ed up bass solo was a funny one. This guy probably wouldnt get that.
    After a messed up fill, you could tell him his solo comes later in the song.
    Maybe a little humility is in order.
    I dont recall your ages, but younger players seem to try to "pull off" as much crap as possible. Even bass players are guilty of this.
    Who are his influences, draw on them. My guess is they arent in constant solo mode. They must have recordings that dont sound like drum solos.
    My drummer was like that when he was young. Tons of talent but pulling it all off. He listens to our old recordings and shakes his head at himself. "what was I thinking" he says.
    Bottom line is if he cant keep time and is not willing to improve, hes got to go.
  6. So O.K. he is great fun, and a blast to jam with, just the 2 of you, but he cant keep time ? I would NOT enjoy jamming with him. You said he sucks so bad that it takes away the gui****s ability to play ? Wow that is bad. Record the song, then AS A BAND, sit down together and listen to the tape. Ask the drummer first where he feels you "as a band " need to improve? If he does not get it, not only does he suck, he is also an idiot... FIRE HIM.
  7. Not to make it seem ok to be deficient in rhythm, but I'd say to certain extents that drummer/bassist chemistry is way more condusive to putting together good songs. It seems like fills are the only hump to get over. Metronomes are amazing things.
  8. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    Man, I've been in the middle of a similar situation for a while now, and the more I think I know, the less I find that I actually know. I don't have a clue, man.

    First the guitarist is all "oh, let's fire him", and I agree, but he wants to be the one to do it. Then he doesn't do it, doesn't do it, doesn't do it. Wants to give the guy another chance. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the magic is gone for me. We are to meet back up again next month. But...the thrill is gone, baby. The thrill is gone away. I am *so* over this drummer. Right now, I just work on whatever I feel like working on, and we'll see what happens on the 2nd Tuesday in April. :meh:

    The one thing I can tell you to definitely do, if you don't fire him outright, is to video rehearsal and use it like the football team uses their game tapes. Critique yourselves. Together. Honestly. Be constructive, but be honest. And keep working with him on that metronome. It certainly can't hurt. And, since you have really good hang with him, and you are both rather young, it is worthwhile to try and work on time, metre, etc. Use it with all of you, not just you and the drummer. Gets everyone on the same page. A click is like broccoli. Its good for you, like it or not! ;)

    Good luck!

  9. lawsonman


    Dec 19, 2005
    NW IL
    There is nothing more important to a Bassist than a drummer keeping proper tempo.
  10. tpmiller08


    Mar 15, 2009
    Boston, MA
    UPDATE - Thanks for all the responses everyone. It's helped more then ya know.
    We've been using the metronome for 30-45 minutes before practice, just me and him, and we actually played our first show last monday.
    The show went great. Everyone was nervous, but me and him were golden. Every musician there complemented us on the rhythm section and it was tight.

    I used a bunch of the advice posted up here. But what worked was this:
    I walked by his set at a break in practice, one of the people who hang out was tellin him how awesome one of his fills were( a total kiss ass). I walked by and said calmly, " Those crazy fills are gunna kill you and this band." Then I continued walking.
    He ran up to me and stopped me, asking me what I meant. I just simply came back with, " No ones gunna say 'Look at that nasty drummer, who comes in from his fills 2 or 3 beats behind everyone else.' People would say though 'Check out that band, I dunno wut it was, but I just couldn't stop moving and swaying to the songs!' Thats where you and me come in. We're in the backlight, but make people interested in the music."

    He commented on how I can put in bass fills where I want them, and make them work. Just told em it comes with experience, but I don't show off. I just fill in the gaps with a simple bass line. I only truely have one solo out of 12 songs, and its only 3 measures long. It just works. I want to play complex bass lines all day, it just doesn't work that way, in music.

    He's got alot of work to do, but from being upfront, and honest (without being an accusing arsehole) we sound alot tighter. Just in time too, the first show got everyone going crazy.

    Thanks again all! Made my life alot easier. I didn't need to kick the guy, and we're all moving along nicely.

    {we're all in our early 20's by the way :p)

  11. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas

    Keep up with the click work. It can only make y'all tighter.

    I would give my eyeteeth if my drummer would do that. It would fix a lot of things.

    Cherie :)
  12. Mike151


    Dec 22, 2008
    Sherman Texas
    Just from past experience:
    When I've had a drummer that speeds up and slows down, I've talked with them about it but it has always seemed that it was something they were born with and can't seem to overcome. Your situation seems like it just might be over excitement but I'd talk with the guitar player more in detail about it and find out the complete history of events leading up to the most recent question of "should we boot him." Nothing more frustrating than having your timing pushed and pulled.
    We recently auditioned drummers and picked one based on enthusiasm and meter.
  13. kraigo


    Jun 21, 2007
    Minneapolis, MN
    I think you can improve your meter. You've read it in this thread. Record yourself. Play with a metronome. Also the Billy Ward DVD ("Big Time") covers a lot of "mechanisms" to keep your time together - subdivide in your head or with another part of your body. Personally, I look at the prettiest dancer on the floor and keep telling myself that I am _NOT_ going to let her down.

  14. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    Thanks for the update - I'm glad to hear it's working out so far. Some players can indeed be saved and I'm always inspired by the success stories. AFAIC the guy owes you a huge debt of gratitude. (20 years from now when he's touring and doing sessions, he might reminisce and say "I might have never gotten here if a certain bass player hadn't turned me around..." :D)

    Hopefully he doesn't get bored and/or cocky and throw it all out the window.
  15. txbasschik


    Nov 11, 2005
    Leander, Texas
    Good advice.

    Should prolly reserve judgement...and an abundance of enthusiasm...unless/until the click/recording themselves thing pays off. Or not.

    I know that's what I'm having to do with my drummer. And he won't even try to work with a click.

    Blech. Meh.

  16. Some people don't acknowledge that every component of what you're creating is crucial, sure there's room to move around in there but if he's ignoring your band's creative process then he's probably not a good fit. The mark of a good rhythm section is the ability to use that pocket as a platform for where ever the music decides to go.
    Kudos to you for trying to work with the guy but if he's a stumbling block he should be sent packing. There are way too many good drummers out there!

    Side note: When he starts off on a tangent like that, nothing brings him front and center than everyone else stopping cold until he quits. "we've talked about this... wanna play the song WE'RE playing?"
  17. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Good for you Troy, best of luck. Good relationships (one of lifes simple pleasures) are many times made better by weathering adversity and working together through something that was hard. If you feel good, you'll sound good!
  18. TrooperFarva


    Nov 25, 2004
    New City, NY
    I once recorded a metal band that had a very fast drummer. One of the fastest I've ever seen, in fact, but he could not keep time at all.

    When we recorded him, we used a click track. On every take, for the first 3 hours he was there, he would stop part way through, and absolutely insist that the click track was slowing down. This was a MIDI click track in ProTools. So we'd listen to the playback, and he'd day that it sounds fine there, but it's definitely slowing down when he's recording. After enough arguing, he finally tried to follow the click track, and we eventually got a solid recording out of them.
  19. Jefenator

    Jefenator Supporting Member

    Aug 22, 2008
    One thing I really want to do at some point is to hire a crew for a session and use a click track that actually does slow down. :D Then do the next take with a click that gradually speeds up. Next take, keep it steady for a couple minutes... then skip an 8th note. And so on and so on. Really have some fun, get them all WTFing until I let 'em off the hook. :p
  20. fourfinger

    fourfinger Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 17, 2003
    Central Ohio
    He's your friend and this is your first band. That means you're entitled to have more patience than most.

    My advice is -- record your live performances and/or rehearsals before kicking anybody out. This will give your friend the drummer the best chance to realize that he may be overplaying, while also giving you and the guitarist the best possible accurate representation of your band's sound. There is a chance you might be surprised by what you hear.

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