Drummer Drama...Advice Needed

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by KoalaOnBass, Aug 26, 2018.

  1. bkbirge


    Jun 25, 2000
    Houston, TX
    Endorsing Artist: Steak n Shake
    LOL, it's funny 'cause it's true!

    To the OP, if you guys are new to the studio type of work then I do not recommend the drummer try laying his tracks down in a vacuum, you guys need to be there to play along with him as scratch tracks if not keepers. Lock in as a band before you try overdubbing single parts. Maybe you already are doing this, but I got the impression from the OP that the drummer was laying down parts without the rest of the band. If the engineer is forcing the one instrument at a time then he's not a very good engineer and/or he has a studio not up to the task.

    Also, when recording I suggest you let the drummer be the drummer he is, if his playing has worked in the practice room it will work in the studio as long as the band is on the same vibe. It may not be great technical playing but it will be honest to where you all are at, and that generally makes a better record than futzing with timing grids in pro-tools in some misguided effort to sound like an atomic clock.
  2. sqlb3rn


    Apr 6, 2016
    It sounds like you guys aren't in a big hurry, you could record the song yourself with a little bit of equipment and research. That would be way less pressure on your drummer. As for the gig, maybe you could invite a friend to come listen to your band practice and act like he is an amazing drummer.
  3. MrLenny1


    Jan 17, 2009
    New England
    The studio engineer is probably right. If the drummer has limitations, we all do, then
    he should work on that or simplyfy it. Work with him,do a few sessions with bass & drums.
    I work with better musicians and always learn a lot and work on that to get up to their level.
    It's part of the learning process.
    Good Luck.
  4. saabfender

    saabfender Inactive

    Jan 10, 2018
    Doesn't matter. The experience has messed with the head of the drummer and thus the future of the band. I doubt the issue was handled very tactfully otherwise he wouldn't feel so beat up.
    bkbirge likes this.
  5. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    I agree that an intervention type approach will put him over the edge. If he has esteem issues, a one on one talk is much more appropriate.

    Can you postpone recording and just do the gig? Recording is high pressure stuff, especially for someone with confidence issues. Perhaps, if you can get him to do the gig, you can score some success and hopefully build a little confidence and work out recording later.

    Is he recording alone? Can you do a rhythm section recording session so you're all playing together? That might ease the pressure a little.

    I understand the attempt to keep the guy around, but if he's unwilling to play a gig after 18 months that the rest of you feel ready for, he's just not the right guy and probably never will be.

    Best of luck.
    oldrocker likes this.
  6. hardtop

    hardtop Supporting Member

    For that matter you could record your songs yourself, line them up to a click track, let your drummer practice scratch tracks with the click superimposed. Then, when you're in studio, he can track "in a vacuum" (as someone suggested) by playing to the click and lined-up scratch track. This is a pretty common approach with today's digital mutli-track recording. you don't have to be a genius with software to line-up your recordings to the click, and it doesn't have to be perfect, either, just so the drummer can play to a click, all should be well.

    As to the gig, I agree with the others. Get him up there. It does not have to be perfect live! as long as you guys are keeping time with each other... pushing and pulling together, it'll come off great (some may argue, better)
  7. KoalaOnBass


    Feb 18, 2016
    Thanks for the insight everyone, really appreciate it :)

    So we had the band meeting yesterday and it actually turned out better than expected.

    We comforted the drummer extensively, but also told him we were worried about his recording/gigging anxiety, and that we think he should do the gig. He totally agreed, saying he knows that the problem lies with him and that, on a rational level, he understands we're right.

    We agreed that we should continue recording, but maybe at a different studio. He also decided to take a lesson or two to try and figure out what he's doing wrong - as someone asked: the snare and hi-hat were bang on, just the kick was off. He was also using the studio kit, as someone suggested. The problem, though, is that he can't quite conceptualize or even really hear where he's off, so it's impossible for him to correct it atm.

    Oh, and he was recording to a scratch track, so playing "blind" was not the issue.

    As for the gig, he's still not particularly happy about it, but seems to be at least somewhat open to the idea of still doing it anyway (I feel the whole thing is still hanging in the air, though). He even said he would feel better if we had a smaller gig or two before then (this is a well-known venue in our town, so people we know would be there, which makes him nervous) and offered to try and organize something.

    The singer was also pretty chill and supportive - much more than I expected her to be, so that was a relief.

    We still didn't come to any super concrete solution tbh, but I do have better hopes for the future now :)

    And I'd like to thank everyone again for pitching in, it's awesome having a community like this to turn to :thumbsup:
  8. That sounds promising.
  9. EddiePlaysBass


    Feb 26, 2009
    Subbed for the follow-up. Very well-handled!
  10. joebar


    Jan 10, 2010
    I’m going to be recording an album for an artist I’ve been working with since the beginning of the year.
    I’m coming in as a hired hand; I know the music inside and out and am the best musician that will be contributing.
    The drummer( who calls himself a session drummer), has poor groove, taste limitations and general tempo issues. I don’t like playing with him at all.
    The engineer wanted to record bass and drums together and I talked him out of it; there’s no way the drummer is good enough for a one take situation- I could be there for weeks.
    I suggested him recording drums first and we can lay ghost tracks down for him to play to.
    I will record bass afterwards to whatever he comes up with.
    I know the engineer isn’t going to mince words or suffer fools when the time comes.
    There will be words exchanged and he will be right. I’ve warned him in advance.
    He doesn’t want to doctor the tracks; he wants solid one takes. Good luck.
    If there are timing issues with your drummer, it will be difficult for him to get a solid track down under pressure.
    OTOH, his ego is small enough that the engineers words affected him.
    The engineer has a job to do; it’s not personal.
    You may need a better drummer for the studio.
  11. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I just have to weigh in and advise you FIRE THE DRUMMER.

    Somebody had to do it.
    EddiePlaysBass likes this.
  12. KoalaOnBass


    Feb 18, 2016
    I'm honestly shocked it took so long for this to come up! :roflmao: Honestly though, this is a friendly project, and we just don't want to go there if it can be helped.

    I do have a positive update, however: we're doing the gig! :bassist: The producer sent us the scratch track with the (off) drum track added, and it cheered the drummer up considerably since it doesn't sound all that bad even if it is slightly off in places, so he's agreed to do it.

    We've also agreed we would continue recording the other instruments to a click, and the producer is going to try to fix the drums in the meantime (if that doesn't work, the drummer will have to record again - this is slightly worrying, but we'll see).

    I actually recorded the bass last week and it was a great experience - the producer is a perfectionist for sure and it took a while for us to get everything sounding and feeling just right, but we did it, and I'm really happy with the result! I also got to track with a Ric and tried out a 78 precision (both owned by the studio, it was the first time I played a P and I loved it!).

    Overall, I'm pretty happy with how things are going atm :)
    oldrocker likes this.
  13. I would ditch the drummer and the singer.
    One is the little train that couldn't and other is the Emperor's New Clothes.
    Y'all should have a dozen or more songs down in 18 months.
    Time for new Blood.
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