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Drummer/singer wants to sing only

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by NickInMesa, May 2, 2010.

  1. If you remember a few weeks ago I mentioned how tired I was to not find the right band (audition frustration, flakes, weirdos, uninteresting offers).

    Got together with a drummer who has the same ideas and ambitions as I, we auditioned, or tried to (remember the pizza thing?). Some never showed up, some were absolutely not what we were looking for, then tonight the last candidate was exactly what we were looking for. Learn the songs in no time, knows a lot of popular songs, sings pretty good, good gear, not a weirdo. Wow.

    So now that we can start working on songs, we are at disagreement with my drummer.

    He can sing pretty well even while drumming, which is a rarity and probably a cool thing in a band.

    My opinion is that we should look for a 4th guy who is more of a lead singer / rhythm guitarist, and the drummer would sing lead on a few songs to give the other lead singer a break, the rest of the time sing backups, like the rest of us.

    But he wants to be the lead singer, no instruments, and we should look for a drummer.

    Since this is going to be a gigging band doing bar gigs among other things, I want to keep this a 4-piece. Some bars have a small stage and 5 guys can walk on each other's feet.

    A lot of the songs only require drums, bass, guitar & vocals, but others only sound good with 2 guitars. We also want to throw in some 80's pop metal in the mix.

    I know this is up to us to sort it out, but what do folks sing in general of a drummer / singer who can sing lead on some of the songs?

    The last thing is: yeah, he can sing lead, but he is not awesome, and singing abilities are the hardest thing to criticize, as everybody knows.

    I would appreciate the input.
  2. I know it sucks to have to start re-thinking the plan, but outside of his singing ability...do you think he'd make a good frontman? That ego, charisma, attitude, goes a long ways in connecting with a crowd...some people have it, some don't.

    It's a needed thing IMO.
  3. sounds like your drummer is one of the flake wierdos you were trying to avoid. bummer.
  4. I played in a 3 piece cover band with a drummer/singer and lead guitar/singer. They traded off lead vocals and both sang backups for the other.

    I'm currently in a 4 piece original band where the drummer does all the primary backup vocals.

    It works just fine, but having a drummer do lead vocals is a real let down visually. Fans didn't like Robert Plant just because he had a great voice - he also strutted around in tight pants with his junk in plain view for the girls. That's an extreme example (and enjoy the mental image) but a drummer who sings can do nothing even remotely close to that.

    Being -lead- singer is 50% singing ability and 50% ability to entertain as the front man. Right out of the gate, I would be skeptical that a drummer is ready to make the switch and hit the ground running. It would be more realistic to expect 6-12 months of decent singing and lame showmanship. Obviously exceptions exist and your drummer might be perfect, but you have to consider this and watch out for the pitfalls.

    "Hi, um, so yeah. Um, have you ever noticed, that, like, sometimes you just don't have enough time? Like, you want to do stuff, but then, you like, run out of time? And you just can't that stuff done? Well, sometimes I feel like that too, so I wrote this song, it's called, 'Just Don't Have The Time.'" -Actual song introduction by a horrible front man one of my previous bands.

    Don't let it happen to you!
  5. if he auditioned as drummer,albeit with vocal abilities and a few weeks down the road he's angling to switch to lead singer,red flags should be popping up all over the place......sounds awful impulsive,or worse,downright deceitful to audition,get the gig,and then pull the plug like that......you gotta wonder what will happen in another few weeks
  6. maxiegrant

    maxiegrant Bassist in Transition

    Nov 26, 2007
    Sellersburg, IN
    Simple response: "I got together with you on the basis of your drumming abilities, not your singing abilities. What am I supposed to do NOW?"
  7. Nagrom


    Mar 21, 2004
    Western Canada
    You need a second guitar player who can double on drums while your regular guy steps up front for a couple songs
  8. slaps76


    Jul 10, 2008
    Medford, MA
    Comes down to one thing: whether or not you think he's good enough to sing lead, which sounds like you don't feel that way.

    Like you said, it's hard to criticize someone for their singing...so you could just split from him and keep looking to avoid conflict...or could tell him you're really looking for an experienced frontman who's got a more versatile voice, or simply you don't think his voice is good enough to carry lead for a full night of music.

    Last thing you want to do is go along with it grudgingly for now then split 6 months or so down the road after wasting effort.
  9. tycobb73


    Jul 23, 2006
    Grand Rapids MI
    A good lead person is more valuable than a drummer. Notice I said good. See if he can sing a tune with a freind's band and see how good he is. You don't know what you have til you see him at a gig.
  10. RustyAxe


    Jul 8, 2008
    Sounds like he's star-struck ... wants to be out front. If he auditioned as a drummer who sings, then that's the role he should fill. To me, a singer who plays no instrument is just another share I need to pay out at the end of the night, and is likely a primadonna that'll piss me off down the road. I can find singing guitarists, bassists, drummers, keyboardists who can do the job.
  11. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    List of drummers who became better known as singers:

    Marvin Gaye
    Mel Torme
    Teddy Pendergrass
    Jeffrey Osborne
    Karen Carpenter
    Morris Day
    Phil Collins
    Maurice White

    It can happen, in a big way. Don't rule anything out...unless the guy is nothing but a pain in the arse.
  12. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Looking for a gig around East Islip, NY!

    Jan 13, 2008
    You can add Chris Cornell to that list as well.
  13. Yeah he started out as a singer who sings. The first guitarist (who left because he only wanted to play classic rock -meaning did not want to learn new songs) agreed with me, that he should be drummer first and sing backups, plus sing leads on certain songs.
  14. that ship sailed......once he expressed the desire to step up to the mike,i doubt if he'll retreat now,and if he does,how long before the next flight of fancy.....

    maybe a few songs sung from behind the kit might be a compromise, but if it was me i'd want a resolution before i'd invest too much into the band
  15. We sort of agreed on starting this project together, he has connections with bars and venues, as he is also a DJ. He knows his way around a P.A. He is also the same demographic as me and we're both I.T. guys. All these things make me want to find an arrangement.

    But my vision is a band where everyone plays an instrument, everyone sings, lead or backup. I also want to keep it a 4-piece.

    I guess we need to talk it out.
  16. Singing drummers can really be a benefit, but you have to be careful of what material is being sung. What happens when there is a tough piece to drum that is nearly impossible for most guys to sing, particularly while playing? If the cat can drum like Stewie Copeland and nail the Sting lead vocal on the The Police's "No Time This Time," then he's probably talented and qualified, but methinks that you will need to perhaps pick out a song from your agreed repetoire as a sort of litmus test.

    The advice to mention that you got with this person for their drumming primarily is the most solid piece of advice here.
  17. Dark Horse

    Dark Horse Supporting Member

    Jul 31, 2008
    Austin, TX
    Just keep this in mind -

    Having someone in the band that isn't happy with what they're doing is useless.

    Let him try singing. Videotape it. Watch the videotape OBJECTIVELY (yes, him too). THEN decide what your next move is.
  18. We compromised. We have to look for a female lead, now.

  19. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    Find a way to get him out in front.. a periodic song with a drummer singing is cool.. tons of them makes a band feel disconnected.
  20. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Supporting Member Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Cali Intergalctic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon slow downer software- full 4 hour demo
    Who plays rhythm guitar?

    Sounds like you're not too happy.

    Next you'll hear that his girlfriend happens to sing.:atoz:

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