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Disagreements on the new drummer...

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Spinal Tapper, Sep 10, 2008.


  1. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Chicago
    I'll try and make this as short and painless to read as possible...

    Our band lost our drummer a few weeks back. He decided it would be a good idea to join up with another band and leave us for a 3 month tour. He explained he had all intentions of returning to us when he got back - in mid-November. We felt differently and fired him promptly as we don't intend to sit on our hands for 3 months while he's out touring with another band. Fine. He got what he deserved.

    We auditioned a few drummers for a few weeks and found one guy we really liked. We told him he's in and he's been practicing with us for a couple weeks, and we have 2 really big shows coming up in two weeks to get ready for...

    Our old drummer calls me and says he wants to meet with me (and only me) last weekend for lunch/beers. I reluctantly agree (wondering why he's not gearing up for his big tour) and says things aren't working out with the other band - they hired their old drummer back and let our guy go. Of course he wants back in...

    I informed my band of this sort of joking like, heh, karma's a bitch, right? Now they're all thinking that our new guy isn't ready for these shows coming up and I disagree. His chops aren't up to par, doesn't know the stuff, etc.

    I think our new guy is really good potentially - maybe better than our old drummer who left us - but he doesn't know the stuff 100% yet, but in two weeks he should be ready no problem. My band thinks we need to have our old drummer sub for these next to shows. Shouldn't I have more say in the matter???
     
  2. KeithPas

    KeithPas Supporting Member

    May 16, 2000
    Poulsbo,Wa
    Depending on your bands situation I would not hold going on a tour with another band against the old drummer unless your band had obligations it could not meet.
     
  3. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    Agree.
     
  4. Well it should be a band decision, and if you get outvoted, then you get outvoted.

    My question is why did you feel the need to kick out the original drummer for going on tour with another band, why isn't the "new drummer" a sub drummer instead? Are you guys in process of touring, or have a lot of shows/recording sessions coming up? Was it his choice to leave the band permanently, or just for the tour and rejoin?

    Personally, if I was hired into a band, and someone told me that they were going to have the old bassist play these new shows and "sub" for me, I'd be outta there.
     
  5. Mystic Michael

    Mystic Michael Hip No Ties

    Apr 1, 2004
    New York, NY
    Having more say in the matter is one issue. But the bigger issue is: On what basis does your band as a whole make decisions?

    If everything is done on a "seat of the pants", ad hoc basis, that's a recipe for inconsistency - and big problems. Ya can't keep switching players out, then back in again. You've collectively made a commitment to the new guy. Unless he's proving to be a complete disaster (which doesn't sound like it's the case), you don't sub him out - before he's even had a chance to play the first gig! That's kid stuff - and it shows A LOT of insecurity and lack of professionalism.

    Give the new guy a chance to rise to the occasion. Even if he flubs a few parts on the gig, consider it a "trial by fire" - which is a great motivator to get up to speed quickly. If you all don't even give him a chance to play, don't expect to keep him around much longer. Personally, I would be way pissed if someone ever treated me that way... :eyebrow:

    MM
     
  6. mutedeity

    mutedeity

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney
    I'm not clear whether Spinal Tapper is the band leader here. If that is the case you make the call, it's not a democracy. You made the decision to fire the other guy and get someone else in now stick to it. Otherwise, as MysticalMichael says, you look like an amateur.

    Unless the guy you got in is terrible or for some reason you really want the other guy in the band, you really have the obligation to keep this new guy on. If either is the case you probably should have thought about that before you fired the original guy, and you might have auditioned your candidates more thoroughly, at least that way you could have gotten someone in as a sub from the start.

    Being worried about this guy being ready for the first gig is not really a good reason to flip flop on this kind of thing and make yourself look unreliable. Maybe you should consider doing a few more rehearsals in the lead up to the gigs too to make sure this new guy is up to speed.
     
  7. Joey3313

    Joey3313

    Nov 28, 2003
    The new drummer might not be 100% yet, but with more practice, he'll be fine.

    Besides, what a blow to the confidence that would be:
    "I know we hired you, but you aren't ready to play with us". How lame would that be? If I were him, I'd probably quit altogether. I

    f you didn't have enough confidence in his skill (including his ability to learn the material), you shouldn't have hired him, but you did, so there must be a reason.

    Plus, faking drums is soooo much easier than faking any other instrument, IME. As long as he knows where the changes are, the gig would be a breeze.
     
  8. Deacon_Blues

    Deacon_Blues

    Feb 11, 2007
    Finland
    Two drummers in a band is cool. Listen to Doobie Brothers. :)

    ...just adding a third option here...
     
  9. mutedeity

    mutedeity

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney
    That's nice if you want to make a handful of assumptions. All of that is completely beside the point though. The drummer's confidence is not the issue. The issue is that they made a choice and now they should stick by it unless they want to look like unprofessional hacks. If they aren't happy with the guy they hired they should probably have been a bit more thorough in their auditioning process in the first place.
     
  10. mutedeity

    mutedeity

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney
    Works for King Crimson too
     
  11. It works for 38 Special as well. But if your drummer didnt burn your band with already booked gigs, you should possibly look at it from a real professional point of view and understand the need to broaden music experience, and bring it back to the band. How many pros. over the years played with other bands?, musicians? Made recordings? Learned new things? You should wish him well, let him know hes welcome back....in some capacity, but dont burn the new drummer for it, again UNprofessinal. Look at all the credits listed on your albums / cd's and SEE whos played for who, then rejoined their bands with new experiences, new techniques, etc. but....to each his own. Good luck.
     
  12. mutedeity

    mutedeity

    Aug 27, 2007
    Sydney
    I agree with you there. What they did, though was fire the guy and replace him. It's like a jilted lover story more than anything. Fair enough if the guy, as you said blew out some gigs that were already booked, but it seems like these guys just got annoyed that he was off playing with other people.

    That being said the guy made his decision to play with the other band anyway and they in turn made their decision to hire someone else.

    Professionally if the band wasn't doing anything and the drummer was offered better money for a short period of time with the intention to return, and should the band really want the guy to continue playing with them, you would just hire a sub in to do the gigs. That way everyone knows where they stand. What you don't do is fire, hire and then change your mind because the original guy decides things aren't going the way he thought it would.

    Really at this point asking the original drummer to sub in because they are worried about the new guy being ready or getting the old guy back and firing the new guy is just unprofessional.
     
  13. Yes, you are right. I didnt realize the drummer "just quit" for another band. I meant a type of educational hiatus if you will, but it should be with the bands blessing and preapproval. Then let the "new" drummer know in advance that its a sub/ temp. spot. I would be pissed too if our drummer just quit for another band and then wanted back because they sucked! Or whatever. He made his bed....time to lay in it.
     
  14. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Chicago
    I appreciate everyone's responses. Sorry I left you guys hanging - had "rehearsal" last night. Here's where I sit, here are the updates...

    First off, the reason we fired our current old drummer is because he decided to leave us for 3 months. We're a very very hard working, original band. He informed us that he's leaving the night after we played Metro here in Chicago. If you aren't from Chicago, you may have not heard of the Metro, but IMO, it's one of the best venue's for any local or national touring act to play on their way through. They only book unsolicited bands there and mostly national acts. Amazing room. Amazing sound. They have roadies who carry your gear and all the green room perks. I've seen tons of my heroes and favorite bands take that same stage. It's a real-deal venue. Tell me you wouldn't be pissed too...

    We've been a hard working, DIY group for 3 years and finally were asked on a few separate occasions to play this amazing venue, and on the third time we were asked, we played (worked out with our schedule strategically). And we pulled it off so gracefully. Had the best live turnout we've ever had, no big mess ups, everyone was really on. Things were looking up...that was the night before he tells us he's leaving...

    Now the current situation is a little hairy. We got this new drummer after a few auditions. We all like him. He's a great drummer - or so it seems. Fast forward to a couple weeks later and he hasn't learned a lot of his parts, he loses tempo, he comes in late/early on fills and my bandmates are complaining. Maybe this guy just had a lucky audition?

    Strangely, as the bass player, I haven't noticed, or haven't been as picky since he's new, but then again...maybe I suck too? :meh:

    I got a text out of nowhere from our singer yesterday that he contacted our ex-drummer and set up a rehearsal for last night. So we played - didn't talk much, but ran through the setlist. As usual, it sounded amazing with our old drummer. We were locked in tighter than ever.

    But of course, I feel kinda ripped off he left us in the first place.

    So the consensus from the band is that they want our ex-drummer to fill in these next two shows that are coming up in two weeks because they're huge gigs.

    Basically, we're going to be seen as assholes for doing this by the new guy...

    I've been against it and really wanted to give the new guy another chance, but I was talked out of it on a 2 against 1 meeting with the gui**** & singer saying "we don't have time to teach him the drums". I got tired of arguing and just said to hell with it.

    Ultimately, I believe these brash decisions by our singer will lead to our band's demise.

    Sorry for the winded post - thanks for reading.
     
  15. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    I'd be pissed if he told me BEFORE the gig, not so much after.

    You mentioned the singer's brash decisions, was he the one who decided to fire the drummer in the first place?
     
  16. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Chicago
    Yes - our singer sparks most of the big decisions because you can't argue him off a point. When he makes a point he will argue with you until your brain hurts...not exactly a wonderful experience to get tangled into

    AND the really messed up thing is our drummer did tell us before the gig...like the night before, but then the next day he said he was gonna stay w/ us...probably to keep moral up for the show...then sure enough, a day later, he drops the bomb on us.
     
  17. Dkerwood

    Dkerwood

    Aug 5, 2005
    Midwest
    This is tough. Looks like the damage has already been done, so more discussion is probably moot...

    ...But, I'm never without an opinion, so I'll offer it.

    I've discovered that a solid drummer can make a crappy band sound good. A lousy drummer can make a great band sound terrible. IMHO, the drummer is the biggest variable in how "good" the band sounds; second biggest being the singer.

    If I felt that the new guy wasn't pulling his weight, I'd talk to him and voice my concerns. If he still didn't turn it around, I'd tell the new guy that I was going to ask the old guy to sub in until the new guy is up to speed. It's nothing personal. It's business. If the new drummer ever wanted to play, he'd have to get his stuff together.

    And since it IS business, I wouldn't have fired the old guy in the first place. I'd have hired a sub for three months and been happy that I'm playing with a guy who's got the chops to be a hired tour drummer. If everything else was equal, and YOU got the chance to go tour for three months, wouldn't you go?

    It really sounds like you guys need to sit down with your singer and discuss the decision making process. If he's the band leader and you guys are just hired hands, THEN he gets to make all the calls and he can do it however he wants. If it's a group, however, then you need to feel like you have some say in it.

    Quite honestly, I would give the new guy the two weeks to get his butt in gear. After all, it sounds like the old guy could step in with one or no practices and play it fine. Just be honest with the new guy and tell him the band's concerns.

    For what it's worth, firing guys who can't do what they were hired to do (play the gig) is NOT unprofessional. Going out unprepared with a guy who isn't solid is.
     
  18. Joel S.

    Joel S. Reserved for future witty use...

    Jul 9, 2008
    Friend of mine is like that, lol. He's even told me, he'll argue something, not know what he's talking about, but still win because he's argumentative. No offense, but your singer sounds like a bit of a jerkoff. Unless you guys are just his backing band, he needs to learn that it's not all his way, and he's not always right.

    lol, that's a pretty important thing to leave out. I would've been a bit ticked off, but I still don't think I'd fire him.
     
  19. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Chicago
    Thanks for chiming in - you certainly hammered the nail on the head here. I wanted to give the new guy time to work it out too - that was kind of what made me want to start this thread in the first place, but my band sees differently. If I'm outvoted, I'm outvoted...

    Mostly, I agree w/ your last two sentences, and what I think we did/are doing will be the right choice in the first place.

    BTW, we'll definitely be talking to the singer about it when our keyboard player comes back from a week long vacation...yes, I forgot to leave that out too - our keyboard player is coming back on Sunday and has no idea what's been going on...:rolleyes:
     
  20. Spinal Tapper

    Spinal Tapper

    Nov 15, 2007
    Chicago
    No offense taken. Yes. he is a total jerkoff, but that's what makes him so special I guess. Unfortunately, a lot of artists/musicians/creative people are.
     

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