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Another drummer rant

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bullitt5135, Oct 14, 2012.

  1. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    I hate to admit it, but our drummer is killing us. We're just your typical classic rock bar band (I consider myself far from professional, but I take the band very seriously), but this guy's lack of professionalism is astounding: chronically late, terminally unprepared, and prone to being an a-hole if anything rubs him the wrong way. We're all older adults, and it sucks to have one member of the band who acts like a conceited kid.

    A couple of things have saved his bacon up to this point. He's put a lot of effort into beating the bushes and finding us gigs. He's the only guy in our band that consistently brings a crowd of 10+ of his family/friends to gigs (last gig was over 20). His peeps love to dance and party, which never fails to get everybody else dancing. We get very enthusiastic feedback from patrons and bar personnel, despite what the rest of the band considers glaring mistakes (a few sloppy starts/endings, not learning the drum parts accurately).

    I also feel a sense of allegiance to this guy. When I first started playing again a year and a half ago. He approached me at an open mic and asked if I wanted to jam. He was very patient with me while I got some of my chops back and learned some songs. After moths of trying to form a band, I eventually fell in with some other guys. When the drummer quit that band, I was able to bring my buddy on board. He's generally a nice guy, and we usually have fun when we get together. It's strange that a year ago, I felt like I was by far the weakest link in the band -- but at least I was always on time, prepared, and had a positive attitude. I would hate to vote this guy out of the band after all he's done for me personally.

    I have yet to confront him directly on these issues. I know the guitar player has on more than one occasion. He's always apologetic, but rarely corrects his actions long-term. If it wasn't for the fact that we have some gigs lined up and have gained a little momentum with booking, we would have shown him the door. I have a feeling that either the guitar player will kick him out, or he will be offended by the constant criticism and decide to quit. At this point, I'd be fine with that.

    Thanks for reading, it's always good to get this junk off your chest.
  2. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    I'd definitely talk to him about it. It seems like he was a pretty cool dude in the past, so perhaps something has happened in his life outside of the band that's affecting him. People need to leave their baggage at the door, but sometimes it can be hard. Regardless, I'd talk to him about it and let him know it's becoming a serious issue with everyone else.
  3. Not trying to be an ass, but which one is it? You have to decide what side of the fence you are on.

    This should happen before anything else, especially if you are the one that brought him out.

    If he is a friend than you should be able to talk to him and come to an agreement on benchmarks. If he doesn't follow through then he has no one to blame but himself for being ousted. You did your part by improving, he has the same responsibility.
  4. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    Man, that's part of the problem. He's really unpredictable. One week, he'll be on time & ready to play. Things go well, we sound good, and it's a bunch of laughs. Then the next weekend, he shows up an hour late (without apology) with a bunch of increasingly sketchy excuses. I'm learning that his go-to defense mechanism when he's out of line is to be in a bad mood -- as in "I'm going to pretend I'm having a crappy day so you guys go easy on me." I'm pretty non-confrontational, so I try to just roll with it. He deflects or disregards constructive criticism, so it's hard to have an honest conversation. He also pulls the "you guys don't appreciate everything I do for the band" stuff.

    We have a gig in two weeks, which is the last one one the schedule for this year unless something else pops up. I'll try to talk to him in the mean time and make my expectations clear. I'm sure our guitar player will have the same conversation. I'm tired of the showing up late and failure to accurately learn and practice the material. We've been playing a lot of the same songs for a year, and he repeats the same mistakes over and over. Maybe he's just not into it, and it time to mutually move on.
  5. Bullitt5135


    Nov 16, 2010
    SE Michigan
    In case anybody cares, I thought I'd post an update to my situation... I finally got around to canning the drummer. Back in October, things were coming to a head -- we had a couple gigs scheduled that we didn't want to cancel, so we decided to ride it out and see if the guy showed any sign of improvement. In the end, his antics only got worse. For me, all I care about is "show up on time, be prepared, and don't be a d***." The drummer failed all three, showing up late to our last 3 or 4 gigs, making a lot of mistakes (from lack of practice on his own time), and was generally no fun to be around. At the same time this was going on, my guitar player blew out his back and needed surgery. He played the last gig in a ton of pain. We asked the drummer to show up early to help haul gear and set up, and instead he showed up 10 minutes before show time. That was that.

    The problem is nobody wanted to do the deed, so it hung out there for the past two months while we were on hiatus (for guitar player's surgery/recovery). The drummer changed his phone number, so I couldn't get a hold of him. The singer chickened out when he had the guy on the phone. Guitar player was angry and bitter and didn't want to make the call. The guy finally called me a couple days ago, and I just sucked it up and broke the news to him. I was expecting him to be a total d*** about it (he has a big ego and nothing is ever his fault), but surprisingly he took it very well, had nothing bad to say about anyone, and basically said "no big deal."

    I guess the moral of the story is if you've got a problem in the band, just deal with it. The situation was gnawing at me for a few months, and I was dreading the confrontation. In reality, it ended up being a few minutes of awkward conversation and then all was good.
  6. StrangerDanger

    StrangerDanger Neo Maxie Zoom Dweebie Supporting Member

    Jan 3, 2010
    North DFW, TX
    Good for you. Honesty is the best policy.

    Really, it is.
  7. Biggbass


    Dec 14, 2011
    Planet Earth
    I feel your pain. One drummer I work with has a way of sucking the mojo out of any opportunity that comes up. He has poor tempo control and a total lack of dynamics and can't remember the arrangements. Then he just smiles a goofy smile when we look at him with the ***? look. It just makes the duo I work in all the more fun. Guitar and bass....no drummer.