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Drummer over playing

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BASSMASTER105, Aug 28, 2007.



    Jul 16, 2006
    Any input on this matter would be greatly appreciated.
    I am currently in a blues rock band that is quite popular in my area .I was asked to join the band about three months ago
    and since then have been gigging steady and we are booked ahead for months so i am fortunate to be part of this band.
    The problem is the drummer is constantly over playing his
    parts sloppy fills stupid wind chimes constantly losing tempo
    forgetting starts and finishes he is the hardest drummer i have ever had to play with.It is not that he cant play the parts he just wont do it we were playing an important gig
    the other nite our first set was less than stellar due to the
    drummer i asked him to calm down a bit he did for a couple
    of songs but went back to messing up the next two sets
    he has only just joined the band recently and was responsible
    for getting me my audition hes a good guy i just dont feel
    he will ever change his habits so the band agrees with me
    and i have been elected to take care of this matter as i see fit.The question to you guys would be talk it over with him
    and give him a chance or replace him?As i said hes a great
    guy and i have no desire to come down on him just want to sound as good as possible.Your advise would be greatly appreciated.Thanks
  2. Joey3313


    Nov 28, 2003
    He's a great guy, but a poopiee drummer. Honestly, I'd rather have to play with an arse that can play than an amateur.

    Find someone else.
  3. Silas Martinez

    Silas Martinez

    Jan 17, 2007
    Denver, CO
    I'd let him know that what he's doing seems to be conflicting with what the band is doing, and that you guys as a band need him to tone it down. It is better (usually) to not give that sort of talk alone, as if you're the only one doing it, he's likely to feel that the problem is just with you, and the rest of the band doesn't support you.

    Good luck - I hate the 'you're not working out' talks.
  4. mjolnir

    mjolnir Thor's Hammer 2.1.3beta

    Jun 15, 2006
    Houston, TX
    Have you had a serious talk about this with him yet? If not, have one with him, see how it pans out.

    If so, it's probably best just to let him go.

    Everybody deserves a chance to make things right, but if he's already been given that chance, it's time to move on.
  5. I was in the same situation a year ago. Toys, toys, toys! Our old drummer loved to buy all kinds of crap to add to his kit and he felt the need to slam virtually everything during every song. Plus, he was very bad at keeping time and same volume beats. It was all over the place. I would make some comments but it was taken in jest and forgotten. This made it very difficult to play bass because I had no reference. I resorted to playing this ridiculous mind exercise of trying to ignore the drums and hold the time, hoping that he would follow the pulse from the bass. It was personal disagreements that led to the band falling apart. But we pulled it back together with a different drummer and things are much better. He keeps great time, only adds accents and fills where they fit the song and doesn't have all those toys.

    Maybe try recording the whole band and listening to some songs that you play. Try to make the drummer hear how busy it sounds and, very tactfully, offer suggestions.
    eJake likes this.


    Jul 16, 2006
    Well put as for both responces good advise i would like the
    support of my fellow band members i guess there are tactfull ways to aproach the matter.I to can overlook a personality issue if one is a good player.Thanks again


    Jul 16, 2006
    Where else could someone get this much free advise?
    You guys are great!!
    Rattman and bassbully like this.
  8. Vanceman


    Feb 14, 2007
    So. Cal.
    The problem with some drummers is that you can't tell them how to play. It's a "style" thing, and you're not going to change their style. I tried to ignore the drums, but that was no fun at all. I had to quit because I couldn't take it anymore.
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  9. Jeez, Until recently, I`ve been doing the exact same thing in one of my bands...what a pain in the ***! I eventually had to have a rythm section meeting...just my drummer and I and a case of john Labatts finest. I kept it super casual and mentioned that we as a band should start playing with a click track to help EVERYONE out...If you make it sound like you`re just brainstorming with him to improve the band, then hopefully he`ll feel like it was partially his idea to play simpler/use a click/whatever...Sure it`s kind of an underhanded approach but it has (so far) worked for me. Also if he`s yer buddy then next time you`re in the car (going to a gig, for a beer, whatever) start playing tracks that have uber simple but wicked drum lines, and point them out in a way that will get him stoked on playing that way.:ninja:
    I hope that all made sense...and helps
  10. Not trying to hijack the thread with "drummer stories", but I laughed while reading this. It reminds me of the first gigging band I ever played in. The drummer was okay, and was a respectable player. Had absolutely no confidence in his own playing, so it was tough giving him any kind of constructive criticism about his playing, for fear of hurting his feelings.
    Anyways, he bought a double-bass pedal. He used it obsessively, and not very well. He insisted on creating fills with it all the time during live shows, even during slow blues songs (we were a blues band, btw).
    Our solution? We would conveniently forget to pack it for him when we had gigs. Because of his work schedule, we had to tear down his kit at our practice space and pack it up for him. We would make an effort to already have it packed up in one of our vehicles before he got there, so he would often discover that his double-kick pedal was missing when we would get to the venue. Of course, we'd apologize for forgetting it, but secretly, we were happy with relief on the inside.
    This went on for a few months before we finally talked to him about "fills" and "techniques" that maybe didn't quite fit the song.
    Rattman and Hammerfield like this.
  11. I'd prefer to be told directly. Dancing around the problem isn't going to help anyone. This is business, right? Tell the guy. You don't have to be a dick about it. You never know, he might really try to do a better job. If not, get another drummer. Been there and appreciated the honesty. It helped me become a better player in the long run(blah, blah).
  12. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    One word: punctuation.
    Lobster11 likes this.
  13. Rugaar


    Apr 11, 2007

    Communication is the key to any successful relationship, band or otherwise.

    Also, check out 'Green Onions' by Booker T and the MG's. Classic blues/rock song with a killer groove and not a single drum fill in the entire song. Our band uses this to start off our second set. It's a nice warm-up groove and we extend it out a bit. It's pretty cool.
    MCF and FunkyD like this.
  14. I've had the same problem. One drummer, refering to the double kick story above, sounded like someone falling down the stairs everytime he attempted a double kick fill. He eventually got fired for an unrelated incident. Currently, we have an extremely open line of communication within the band. There's a section in a song where I break into a "what is hip" style sixteenth note progression. When I first started doing it, everybody started doing it along with me and it sounded like ****. Nobody holding down the beat and it sounded like a smear of noise rather than the syncpated bass line I was going for. I brought it up at rehearsal and within five munutes pleaded my case and fixed the issue. I also generally have a secret weapon at my disposal. I usually take an 8 track digital recording off of the sub groups on the FOH board. I then take it home and mix it down with the offending part heavily featured in this mix. That way when you get the "it wasn't me" or "I wasn't drunk" or "well if so and so would do this" arguements you can just say, "let's roll the tape!" By the way this is usually followed up with some sort of "if you think you can do better" comment. "Well, it's not my job to do your part better, it's yours." usually puts an end to that one. Seriously and back on topic; if your freind/drummer is capable and over playing, this can be corrected. If his drumming is just not up to the band's expectations or not fitting in with the style maybe it's time for a change. Either way I don't envy (or appreciate) the position your band's put you into regarding the fate of your drummer. Good luck with that!
    Rattman likes this.
  15. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    In my last band, we had a superb drummer ... best I've ever played with. He was not real busy but, every once in a while, he would go into one of those fills that would terrify you because you knew he could never jam all the intended hemidemisemiquavers into the remainder of the measure and still stay in rhythm. Yet, time after time, he pulled it off flawlessly, leading me to look at him and start laughing hilariously. He'd just raise his eyebrows, smile, and keep on keepin' on. It was quite entertaining.

    The drummer in my current band surprises me, too. He's really good at throwing in a few tasteful triplets or some syncopation that really fits. He also listens (as do I), and we find little bits of business to do together after maybe twice through the song. It's a cool feeling.

    So anyway, they're not all knuckleheads.
    Jimmy4string likes this.
  16. RobinG

    RobinG Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2007
    Washington State
    Been there.. It comes down to 2 aspects for me.

    Firstly, can you call him to bail you out of Jail with your one phone call, and count on him doing it (a question should be asked of all band members..)? Bands that can stand the test of time will do that for each other.

    Secondly, do you look him in the eye while playing? I find that a great way to read each other. If you feel tempo changing, or a bad fill coming up, you can use body language to try and signal a change.

    If none of that works.. find someone new.

    The band I'm with now has been gigging for 3 years (with a 5 month "try other projects phase"), and have a small following; we are on our third Drummer, and he's a keeper!

    He plays a "Jazz" kit as well, so now there's room on stage for my UB :ninja: A whole new flavor for a R&R Bar Band.

    G/L with how your band progresses! Robin
  17. I'm not sure how old you guys are but I do know that younger musicians have a tendencey to overplay. I play with a group of guys now that are 40+. I'm the youngest guy at 34. All these guys, including the drummer, have learned to LISTEN to the song as they play the song. Many musicians learn to play their respective instruments at the highest level they can at that time but they fail to learn to play songs at the same level, if that makes any sense. As they mature, they'll learn that it's not about the instrument they're playing, but about the song everyone is playing. It's a goal that we all should continue to strive for at any age.

    I had the same problem with MYSELF. I was the one that would over play and ruin a groove during a song. My drummer, keyboardist, and guitarist told me that LESS IS MORE. At first, I shrugged it off and acted like they were the ones that were underplaying but when we recorded one of our practices I was astonished. I wanted to quit the band and quit playing bass all together just out of sheer embarassment. The MP3 file never lies. I now realize that if I'm not enhancing the song then I'm getting in the way of everyone else who trying to.

    Maybe, if you have the means, try to record one of your practices and then play it back for him in front of the whole band. He might get a big revelation.
    Maureen M and Bassngtr like this.


    Jul 16, 2006
    We arent young 50,52,43,and the drummer 61 he should know how to play by now in my opinion.The founder of our band and myself met last night and decided to replace our
    drummer and guitar player with two other very talented
    musicians.The guitar player is another story wont go into
    that one.After much thought it all comes down to, do we
    want to sound great or just ok im all about sounding great.
    Simlpe decision when it comes down to it.
    bassbully likes this.
  19. Bayou_Brawler

    Bayou_Brawler The most hurtful thing ever realized

    Oct 23, 2003
    Ann Arbor, MI
    have a direct talk with him.....fire him.....or get out....

    i would not be able to handle to insanity it would cause me to let it linger....
  20. If he doesn't respond to a direct request from the rest of the band to restrain his playing then sack him.

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