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Bassist/Drummer Delicate Situations...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by thebates, Mar 26, 2013.

  1. thebates


    Jan 2, 2011
    I have recently joined a band that labels itself "Country Rock". For a little insight.. I come from a funk and
    R & B background but i had no problem in entertaining an audition with these guys. We did two unplugged rehersals one for music and one for vocals. They do a lot of Eagles, Byrds, Jackson Brown and straight up country like Alen Jackson, Dwight Yocum etc. Also a couple classic rock tunes but not many, which suits me fine. It sounded great and they were delighted to make me an offer. I felt really good about joining. Meanwhile i had their song list and had been shedding heavily on all the material, 60 plus songs with harmonies on 90 % of them, so i have a pretty good feel for what makes each song tic. First full band rehersal was a bit of a letdown mainly do to the drummer. He wasn't playing the beats as i had learned them (like the recordings) He wore ear plugs and was loud. But the conflict rythmically is my main concern. It sounded to me like he doesn't listen to the tunes or care too. Case in point...We were attempting the Allman Bros. Midnight Rider which has a subtle feel to it and it was ****ing rediculous! I mentioned that he might just want to play 1-3 on the kick drum, 2-4 on the snare and 1/16ths on the hi-hat. Simple enough and would work. He couldn't do it!!! I was flabergasted.....Of course he got embarrassed and angry. These guys know i'm a stickler for detail and said they welcomed that to the band. They were tired of the "it's good enough" mentality.
    Well here i am. I like the band overall...but this is going to be an issue. Short of leaving the band, any ideas on how to procede in a tactfull manor? Anyone else experience this?
  2. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    Im working with drummer issues right now. I told her she was an important part of the band but she needs work. If I see that she's putting in the effort and improving every week I won't look elsewhere. If the work isn't put in, she's gone. I did this in a very nice way and she's a nice person. She got the message.
  3. thebates


    Jan 2, 2011
    I hear you Ty....And agree with your assessment of your situation.
  4. Bunk McNulty

    Bunk McNulty It is not easy to do simple things correctly. Supporting Member

    Dec 11, 2012
    Northampton, MA
    I think you'll be fine. It's even possible it's one of the reasons they brought you in: "Maybe the New Guy will tell it like it is."
  5. thebates


    Jan 2, 2011
    It's sticky cause i'm a new guy in the band. Saying they welcome that is one thing. But you know how it can shake out sometimes. These guys have been friends a while now. I can't seem to get a break lately with drummers. And i mean guys who wouldn't know a pocket if it hit them in the ass. Im a big Dave Garibaldi fan. It pisses me off that i would have to tell someone...anyone, what to do. I'm in my fifties and so are these guys. Sorry for the vent...but man, youv'e got to have an ear in this business.
  6. It's a hard situation. I went through it and I still do, to a degree. Our old drummer just simply couldn't play very well. I struggled every week to find any sort of value in his playing. At the same time, we had a backup drummer to cover shows and practices the regular guy couldn't make. The backup was FAR superior to the regular guy in every way with the exception of personality; the regular guy was very laid back and the backup is super-intense. In the end, it took a poor show with the regular guy to get the band to make the change and bring in the backup drummer full-time.

    Now on to this drummer.....steady as a clock and stuff that makes you go "oh wow". Pretty easy to play alongside. Never misses, never gets lost, amazing fill work.


    In many cases he plays differently than the recording. The basic structure is there, but it's certainly his own take on the drum work. He has been doing it this way for the last.....um.....40 years and has always had a reputation for being an excellent player.

    It does complicate things, though. In some cases I have to look at my bass lines a little differently. But usually the are minor changes.

    In your case it's even tougher because you are the "new guy", and it won't go well for you if your first input is to tell the band they need to change members.

    My advice; determine how much you like the band. They may be looking to upgrade the membership. Good luck.
  7. thebates


    Jan 2, 2011
    Bay State....Thanks for the input, yeah it never ends. Got a real kick out of the "Plunkin Roots and fifths" I know what you are saying about the replacement drummer, some guys have to keep it interesting and i understand that. That is not the case here. This guy never had the part down to begin with. And i'm busting my ass to get up to speed on a ton of tunes note for note. I'm not going to do anything drastic till i see how some more regular gigs go. I believe if you are going to cover, then cover. Pay due respect to the song. You can add your own flavor and touches but you have to cop the tune first. And take a little pride in your craft. Jeez.....
  8. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    The simple truth is that they have the wrong person playing drums.

    If the band leader intends to let him stay, you have two choices:
    1. Leave;
    2. Put up with his awful playing.
  9. thebates


    Jan 2, 2011
    Jazz, that's a straight answer, and i appreciate it.
  10. jason weatherby

    jason weatherby

    Aug 30, 2012
    Feel for yah! I'll be rehearsing tonight with our new drummer for the very first time...

  11. This ^.

    I put up with the awful playing for 6 months. Never again.
  12. I auditioned for one of the current bands I am in now. Musicians were good except the drummer was meter challenged.
    The next day, I sent them an email thanking them for the opportunity but it just wasn't working for me and I will have
    to decline your offer.
    Got an email back expressing disappointment and wanting to know "what wasn't working"?
    To be honest, I said, the drummer is not up on his chops and I do not have the time or patience to walk him through every songs.
    2 days later, they dropped that drummer and asked me to join them in auditioning his replacement.
    I did and the new drummer is awesome.
    Note: This is the first time that scenario has ever happened, wish it was always that easy.
  13. Winfred


    Oct 21, 2011
    This is correct. Trying to change the drummer (or any person), which you tried to do, is usually pointless. People change because they want to change.

    As stated, unless they're willing to boot the drummer, you have those two choices. It's all up to you.
  14. fishtx

    fishtx Supporting Member

    Mar 30, 2007
    Dallas, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Genzler Amplification/Spector Basses/Mojo Hand FX
  15. Moe Monsarrat

    Moe Monsarrat Supporting Member

    Jul 30, 2006
    Austin, Tx.
    Endorsing artist:Regenerate Guitar Works Carvin, Micheal Kelly Guitars
    New or not, if he sucks ......he sucks. How is that going to change?
  16. bumperbass

    bumperbass Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2012
    The same thing happened to our band about three years ago. The drummer had been playing for 45 years or so and his mentality was "Whatever I play will fit". I understand what you're going through. If those accents aren't there then your part is thrown way off, too. I'd start lookin' around. This sounds to me like one of those drummers that doesn't practice. IMO, there are more drummers that DON'T practice than do.
    I also agree, if BL doesn't move, then you should move. Playing with a drummer like that will pull you down.
  17. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Bravo. Well done. :cool:

    I wish that every Talk Bass member in a similar situation would follow your example - by holding firm, and refusing to compromise on quality. Sometimes you have to be willing to walk away - and realize that by doing so, you're ultimately doing yourself a favor, along with every other player with whom you will ultimately collaborate. It simply doesn't happen when one wimps out and accepts a deeply-flawed scenario...simply because he doesn't want to "lose the gig". :rolleyes:

  18. m0ranwad


    Jan 29, 2013
    My audition with a working cover band, took place on stage at one of their gigs. I met the guys 45 minutes before playing with them on stage.

    I spent hours on the 3 tunes that I was supposed to play, to ensure that I knew them inside and out. I was ready to improvise, skip sections of the song, anticipate the out of the ordinary.

    There's hardly anything you can do to prepare for a drummer that can't keep time. Literally, when he was trying to explain to me when I was supposed to come in, he explained with hand motions ("I'm going to do this *emulates moving around drum kit*, and then when I move my hands like this, you come in"). Still confused, I asked, "So do I come in after 1 or 2 bars?" I got the same "hand motion" response.

    He ended up dropping a stick on the second song, and he changed the timing trying to compensate.

    In the end, they were all super nice guys. The other members of the band were so solid. The drummer can keep a steady rhythm, but he is definitely the least experienced member of the band.

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