1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  
    TalkBass.com has been uniting the low end since 1998.  Join us! :)

Dealing with Dumb Bandmates

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by lovethegrowl, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    I live out in the desert & play with a guitarist & drummer, both of whom are far more experienced & professional than I. The guitarist is the leader of the group, however he relegated the job of establishing tempos to the drummer.

    While making preparations for a performance the drummer wasted tons of time between numbers finding an optimal metronome tempo using his cell phone. It took two sessions to cover all three sets, when it could have easily been done in one.

    Now that overly those rigid tempos have been established, the drummer puts his phone on his snare drum, & stares at the pulsating of the phone metronome while he plays along, completely uninvolved.

    At our last performance the drummer brought his new set, & had a separate stand for a new tablet that had a metronome app. He was staring at the metronome during the damn performance! Surreal!

    No need to burden all you good BTF users with what I should do. I've already figured it out. It involves chloroform & duct tape. The question is, do coyotes really devour all the bones, as well as all the flesh, of the dead mammals they eat. Or is that just a wive's tale.
  2. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    You'll be dealing with drummers your entire career as a bassist.

    Get a copy of the Care And Feeding of The Drummer.

    Remember no one is perfect.
  3. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Wish I could edit my grammar on that first paragraph. No editing options. I couldn't resist writing this thread.

    My degrees are in orchestral conducting, & I think a metronome has no place in a rehearsal. A practice room? Yes, for an instrumentalist to incrementally build up speed.

    However, we are going to work Spain & Armando's Rhumba into our act. In this case, building up speed in small increments will result in very tight ensemble. The metronome will be very useful for those pieces. I can't complain too much. The other pieces? Waste of time, so I can't resist taking a poke at my band mate.

    Is there such a book? What about the coyotes?
  4. Nashrakh


    Aug 16, 2008
    Hamburg, Germany
    Obvious question I know, but have you talked about it? A drummer that relies on clicks 24/7 would appear to me as having deficits, either it's his time itself or maybe it's a crutch for self-esteem issues (seen that one before).

    I guess there must be some good arguments why at least the drummer thinks using a metronome at rehearsal is a good idea. Does the guitarist have any problems with using or not using a 'nome either way?
  5. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013
    what about earbuds and writing down the tempo on the setlist for the drummer?
    This way, he can hear the click and does not need to stare at the tablet and people might think he's using IEM.
  6. Some very good drummers play to clicks.

    One of the best I have played with grew up as a teen playing to clicks. He doesn't use them now but he has excellent meter which he puts down to an internal ticking ghost of clicks past. Rock solid and groovy too.

    Not every sucessful muso in the desert went to music school. You'd be really complaining if he missed a fill.
  7. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    I'm afraid to broach the issue with the guitarist. Once I start talking I'm afraid what I'm going to say.

    The drummer & guitarist have been together in various groups for some time. Both these guys are 56, & both have been playing for about 44 years. I'm 57, & just took up the bass last year after having played for 2 1/2 years (as a second instrument) in high school. I'm fairly lucky to get this opportunity.

    The metronome makes the drummer's playing uninvolved, detached, very rigid. The guitarist, in the interest of being positive, keeping his band mates happy enough to continue showing up to rehearsals & performances, does grant the drummer lots of latitude. (And he is forgiving of some of my brain farts too.)

    I will casual ask the guitarist specifically what he thinks when I cool off. His answer will be that he's happy with the drummer's playing, as he also tell's me that he 'likes my muse'.

    I was serious about playing the harder stuff (the jazz I want to play, as opposed to the pop, rock & folk). Having someone with a metronome compulsion will help with tight ensemble the fast stuff.
  8. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    I've worked with drummers who played with a click live, and personally I thought it was great. They were probably a little better at managing the thing than your guy though, it never caused any hiccups or delays. And the ones that did it well probably didn't really need it. But playing things at the wrong tempo is a huge pet peeve of mine. Changes too many of the little nuances that build a groove.
  9. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Crutch for self esteem issues? So maybe if I give him a penis enlarger that will take his mind off his new tablet with the metronome app?
  10. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    If the your band is getting gigs and sounds okay overall, I wouldn't worry about.

    Since you're "lucky to to get this opportunity", I suggest you lay low to keep things copestetic.

    Also, don't let your obsessive/compulsive needs ruin your relationships with your band mates. :)

    I suspect that the drummer, as he gets more comfortable with the metronome, will be staring at it less in the future.

    Good luck!
  11. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Okay, but what about the coyotes?
  12. Kmonk


    Oct 18, 2012
    South Shore, Massachusetts
    Endorsing Artist: Fender, Spector, Ampeg, Curt Mangan Strings, Nordstrand Pickups, Korg Keyboards
    Just because he uses a click track doesn't mean he is dumb. In fact, he could say the same about you given the fact that you obviously have a problem with his efforts to play in time. It could be that this is how the drummer prepares for gigs in order to make sure that his timing is consistent. Personally, I don't see a problem with it.
  13. pklima


    May 2, 2003
    Kraków, Polska
    Listening to a click is a lot more practical than staring at one on a phone or tablet, though.
  14. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    First off, we have been playing the same set list for 7 months. On November 5th of last year we had a performance that two musician friends of mine attended. They told me, "You guys are really tight". That was quite a compliment. Being "tight" as my friend described, wasn't a result of our group having practiced together a whole lot. Our tightness was a result of 3 seasoned, experienced musicians with a very strong internal metronome. Months later, all of a sudden, the drummer had been relegated with the new job of finding tempos, and wasted excessive rehearsal time monkeying around with the metronome. The result was a bit of regression. The drummer's playing, as I described from the beginning, was far less involved, & not really into the music. The net result is that it's a step backwards. This whole metronome thing is 'fixing things that ain't broke'.

    Has anyone here heard George Benson's old recording of Broadway? It starts off at a blistering tempo, & ends at a markedly slower tempo. Why? Because the tempo was misjudged, & the actual groove was at a slower tempo, they (Benson & his backups) belatedly found the groove.

    The other night we played Broadway at a private birthday in Palm Springs. The drummer started Broadway at the blistering tempo, & unfortunately kept it there. Last September we all agreed (as a group) to avoid Benson's mistake & not take it too fast to begin with. I guess the drummer forgot. It was still tight, but stiff.

    Actually I still maintain that this rigid reliance on a metronome is profoundly unprofessional. Even Toscanni scoffed at metronomes, saying that 'music has to breath! Though I think that the metronome might have it's place for us practicing hard fast stuff. But clicks even for the easy folk, pop, rock stuff? (Like Leslie Duncan's/Elton John's ' Love Song?)

    Who at the professional (in jazz) does this sort of thing for everything at every rehearsal & performance?
  15. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Who at the professional level, that is?
  16. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    Apparently 'clicking's' a fad now. I can't believe people are defending it. I've played in classical & jazz ensembles as a trumpet player. Several rock groups as a bassist. Attended Berklee college of music & got to watch many faculty jazz ensemble rehearsals. I frequented Lenny's, Paul's Maul, Jazz Workshop in Boston. Saw everybody from Don Ellis, Maynard Furguson Miles Davis, Chick Correa, Freddie Hubbard, Gary Burton, Stan Kenton, Keith Jarret, John McLaughlin live.

    I don't think Chick Webb used clicks, I don't think Gene Krupa used clicks. I saw Louis Belson battle Buddy Rich live. No Clicks

    I attended Gunther Schuller's conducting workshop in Sand Point Idaho. Max Roach headed the program there, I met him, watched him work with his students. Winton Marsalis came in & worked with the students for four days. I don't remember any of these people extolling the virtue of the clicker!! So yeah, I have a bit of a problem with an experienced drummer using a clicker both at rehearsals & performances.
  17. ENOUGH with the coyotes!

    You want pigs, got it? SWINE!

    Hungry pigs will devour the bones even, as seen in "Snatch!", "Hannibal" and the series "Deadwood".

    Use pigs, make sure they're hungry ones.
  18. lovethegrowl

    lovethegrowl Banned

    Oct 30, 2013
    I find that hard to believe. People tell me that coyotes even devour teeth. I find that incredulous too.

    Did my last tirade read like a Lewis Black routine?
  19. hrodbert696

    hrodbert696 Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Keith Moon started using clicks at some point, not right from the beginning but as the Who's arrangements were getting bigger. I agree with you, though, that he'll be better off listening to his bandmates rather than staring at a click. You might suggest a compromise - let him consult his click briefly before counting a song off (maybe keep it on the floor, not his snare), and then play the song without continuing to use it.
  20. Guitalia


    Jun 7, 2008
    Baltimore, MD
    Many if not most touring professionals don't listen to clicks---they play along to prerecorded tracks.

    Tell the drummer that it sounds as if he's internalized the tempi sufficiently to try playing without the click. Could be that he's been using the click simply because the guitarist offloaded the responsibility to him. Maybe staring at the tablet is his passive-aggressive way of conveying that he dislikes playing to clicks. What musician doesn't?

    By the way, you don't "find that incredulous"---the word you're looking for is "incredible." If you're going to describe your drummer as "dumb," you should at least word your tirades correctly.