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Buh bye drummer boy

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by MichaelScott, Nov 30, 2004.

  1. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    I play in a somewhat successful alt rock band in the West Los Angeles area. We gig about 3 times a month and normally have around 30-40 people come up to our shows.

    While every band has small and large problems- Our Achilles heel is the drummer. The guy can’t keep tempo to save his life. The guy drops his sticks 3+ times a show. And if that wasn’t bad enough he listens to anyone but me when he loses the tempo and needs to find it again.

    The more we gigged the more of a problem it became- until each show the rest of the band was wondering if we were going to train wreck.

    To fix the problem we bust out the trusty metronome, plug it into a huge speaker, and play all of our songs at 80% normal speed to the click. The problem becomes really obvious when the rest of the band stopped playing and the drummer couldn’t play to the beat at all. The last practice we had with him we all sat around while he tried to play the same 8 measures to the click for 45 minutes and failed. It was the last straw.

    After each of our practices we would be bombarded by his complaints. He was a firm believer that HE was the real tempo not the metronome. And if we listened to the metronome we weren’t going to be able to follow him at a show. We went around and around with him on the same issue for a month till I finally couldn’t stand it- he said the same thing to all of us after the lat practice- when it was obvious to everyone in the room that he couldn’t play.

    The lead guitarist and singer have been just as frustrated with him as I have- but they didn’t have the nerve to let him go since he was their friend. Bad drumming sucks, bad tempo sucks, but if the guy was cool and had a good attitude I would want to work with him and help him improve. Our drummer had problems and blamed them on us. If the tempo was off WE needed to follow him better.

    I finally got my way last week and he was told the band was breaking up. It wasn’t how I would have done it since we aren’t breaking up- we are firing him. But the other guys in the band decided that it was the best way. I have a feeling it will bite us in the ass at a later time and his feelings will be more hurt then if we would have just told him strait… but it isn’t really my deal since I wasn’t his friend before he was in the band.

    For now we are playing to a drum machine… and everything is excellent.
  2. Been there, got the T- shirt etc.

    You are right that, ultimately, the "drummer" WILL feel infinitely worse when he discovers that you all lied to him about the band "breaking up" when the reality was that he was being fired.

    Is it too late to disillusion him NOW rather than wait? I would highly recommned it if it is possible.
  3. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    Has he listened to himself on tape?
  4. Eric Moesle

    Eric Moesle

    Sep 21, 2001
    Columbus OH
    Personally I would have been honest with him and explained the reason WHY he was being canned, instead of lying to him. He's going to find out eventually that you are still together.

    Either way, if he can't pull his weight with his own instrument, you have to move on.
  5. jive1

    jive1 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 16, 2003
    Owner/Retailer: Jive Sound
    This sounds like something the guy should be doing on his own time, not the band's rehearsal time. Sounds like a waste of 45 minutes of rehearsal time.
  6. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    I agree with you on the method, but hey, what can you do?
  7. DaveDeVille

    DaveDeVille ... you talkin' to me ?? Supporting Member

    bad move ...
    ya'll should have told him outright that he just didn't fit the band .
    his feelings probably will be hurt , and he may hold a grudge later .

    oh well , live and learn ...
  8. Stinsok

    Stinsok Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    Central Alabama
    We did the false breakup thing with a keyboard player who just did not work out. It was kind of silly and we wished we had just let him go.
  9. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    Yeah I agree with you guys. He should have been told that he wasn't making the cut and not that the band broke up- but it wasn't my call since the singer and guitarist wanted to tell him the band broke up. Not to sound like a jerk but I really don't care about the method- I just don't want to waste anymore time with him in the band. The one's that this might bite in the ass are the other two guys and I already told them what I would have done.
  10. IvanMike

    IvanMike Player Characters fear me... Supporting Member

    Nov 10, 2002
    Middletown CT, USA
    big suck, i feel your pain. if i were you i would call him on my own and tell him the truth. when (not if) this comes back to haunt the remaing members you don't want to be guilty be association.

    I have been very fortunate to play with a bunch of excellent drummers, although i've played with some pretty awful ones too. I have nothing but respect for drummers and am always in awe of their ability to coordinate all 4 limbs. but i refuse to be in a permanent gig with a bad one. flat out, no questions asked. when i find a good drummer i buy them dinner, drinks, wash their car, take out their trash, anything short of sexual favors, but then again, i havent had the pleasure of having a gig with a female drummer so that's not entirely out of the question :p
  11. Woodchuck


    Apr 21, 2000
    Atlanta (Grant Park!)
    Gallien Krueger for the last 12 years!
    A bad drummer is one of those things you can't "just deal with". Like I said, I didn't dig the method, but if this cat puts out a salty review of you guys as people, he wouldn't be wrong.
  12. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    Whitmoretucky MI
    Sounds exactly like my drummer with out the attitude, the bad attitude is left for our singer that is tone deaf and in denail but we are talking about the drummer here. There are only two things you can do.

    1. Have him play every tune with a nome in his ear through headphones. Change the BPM of each song on the nome before he plays, this will make him tighter. The band could maybe lock into him or it would be bit easier chasing him around since hopefully it would keep him more on track. But if he has probs following a nome anyway if the whole band was following the nome it would be a train wreck, just have him on it. This worked with my drummer.

    2. If he refuses to change his attitude and open his mind to first admit he has a problem and take the steps to correct it then bye bye tempo boy!
  13. CJK84


    Jan 22, 2004
    Maria Stein, OH
    In an earlier post, someone asked if the drummer had heard a recording of himself. That would be a good idea to make him aware of his timing problems.

    Last year, I recorded a bunch of X-mas song tracks (piano, acoustic guitar, eb) for my children and their cousins to sing to.

    After all the tracks were recorded, the drummer in my group laid down a snare track - an odd way to record, for sure, but the final product is intended only for family.

    Anyway, when the drummer experienced how difficult it was to play along with recorded tracks that contained some timing inconsistencies, it was a big eye-opener for him.

    His remark was, "This is a taste of my own medicine!" as we had often told him that his occassional timing problems made things difficult for the rest of us.

    The experience seemed to heighten his awareness of the importance of solid timing from the drummer.
  14. gretschman


    Nov 22, 2004
    Lewisville, TX
    As a drummer, I just had to comment on this thread with a view from the other side.

    I once played in a band with the worst bassist in the world. Unfortunately, it was his band, he did all the booking, and we worked ALL the time. To top it off, he was a really nice guy who helped me out when I needed it.

    That said, we spent two hours once in rehearsal trying to show him the bass line for Bob Seger's "Come to Papa" to no avail. He just couldn't do it.

    All he could play was a walking 3 chord country line, and that not well. But he always had a pretty good band (except for him). Hey, it was tough times and the gigs paid well.

    I quit that band when I moved to Texas, and didn't play in a band again for 15 years.

    Before that I played with a bass player who's still my best friend, and who described another drummer's solos as sounding like "books falling off a shelf."

    It's tough when drums and bass can't get along musically, isn't it?
  15. bassmonkeee

    bassmonkeee Supporting Member

    Sep 13, 2000
    Decatur, GA
    While I agree with you on pretty much everything, you need to realize that it might not be "over." If the other two guys didn't have the nads to tell him the truth, what do you think they're going to do when he finds out, and asks for another shot? I hope you are able to find a new drummer, and he works out.