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Drummer who thinks he's a singer

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by guy n. cognito, May 4, 2006.

  1. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I joined a cover band about 2 months ago. This was an established band, although they hadn't gigged out yet. During the last two months, the drummer has been performing the majority of the singing duties. He's not very good, to say the least. It had always been my understanding that we would ultimately add a vocalist. A couple of days ago, we were contacted by a singer looking for a band. I've heard some of his work, and he's pretty good. In addition, he can play guitar and keyboards, which is always helpful. We set up an audition for Saturday.

    Here's where this gets tricky. The drummer has apparently gottn his panties in a wad. He sent an email this morning quitting the band. This caught the rest of us off guard. Reading between the lines, he is apparently upset that we are interviewing singers and trying to replace him. To take it further, he says that the ONLY reason he plays drums is to give him a chance to sing. Apparently, this guy is operating under the dillusion that he is a good singer. Now, this guy is a decent drummer, when he's not singing. When he is singing, he drums what he is singing. We had no intention of replacing him as a drummer. To make matters worse, we practice at his house, so if he quits we lose our practice place.

    I'm trying to reason with him, WITHOUT giving him the impression that we like his singing. I have talked to the other members of the band, and they all agree that we want him to stay, but we can't pass up the chance to get a quality vocalist. At the end of the day, if the vocals suck, the audience will assume that we suck. In my mind, if it comes down to "either I sing or I quit" then I would rather that he quits.

    So, while I thought I had a drummer that sings, it turns out that I have a singer that drums. If anybody has been in a similar situation, I would love to hear how you handled it.
  2. IanStephenson

    IanStephenson UnRegistered User

    Apr 8, 2006
    Explain to him you need a singer AND a drummer - you need someone to stand at the front, and someone to sit at the back so no one can do both.

    Much as you LOVE his singing, you haven't been able to find a drummer to take over from him, so you're having to make do with a new singer.

    As you all want to get out and gig, and you now have a singer, and a singer/drummer the singer drummer will need to pitch in for the good of the band.

  3. Offer to let him sing a couple of songs lead (the ones he does the best hopefully) and get him singing harmonies. There, that was simple. :D
  4. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    That's probably the direction we will go. He has a very limited range, but we can probably give him a song or two to make him feel good about himself.

    I don't want to tell this guy I love his singing, because I don't AND because he would probably quit the drums to be our lead singer if encouraged. We're going to have a talk with him tonight. The two guitarists, who have played with this guy for over a year, are quite surprised by this announcement. They claim that he only started singing because they simply couldn't find a good, middle-aged male singer that wanted to join a cover band (and not play country, in Nashville.) They are both pretty upset, and the lead is ready to fire him even if he doesn't quit. I've convinced all of them that no one needs to make any decisions until we talk on Saturday.

  5. I kind of have the same problem. I made the huge mistake of telling the keyboardist in the band that he could also sing sometimes, and now whenever I and one of the guitarists make a song, he wants to sing. He usually sings backup, which is fine by me (I'm the lead singer), but in this last song, its kind of a heavy metal song and he can't play the keyboard (except for like a 5-second moment), so he wants to sing lead. The problem is that his voice is just not good for the song, and he doesn't know the song so he messes up every single note, so he messes up the whole song. Whenever I tell him that that's wrong, he says: but that's how I sang it last time! And I tell him: well last time was wrong too. But then he ignores me and we continue jamming. I have no idea what to do, because this guy really wants to sing, but he sucks...
  6. No offense, but you probably should've discussed this potential line-up change with the drummer before setting up this audition. I mean, if he is singing and drumming right now, maybe what is going through his head is "Well, if they don't want me singing anymore, maybe they don't want me drumming either."
  7. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    I agree, but I really didn't know that they were actively looking. As I said, we have discussed it before, and being new to the group, I ASSumed that everyone was on board. I would have preferred a more open discussion, but I really didn't know about it either. According to the lead guitarist, he had put an ad in bandmix quite some time ago, but hadn't recently been looking.

    Doesn't really matter now. The drummer and I talked, and he talked with the other members of the band. I was honest with him about his singing abilities, which I think he appreciated. At the end of the conversation, he admitted that he was not a very good singer, that he was having home problems, and that this emotion spilled over into that silly little e-mail. He's fine now and is going to stay in the band.
  8. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Sounds like the rest of you are united.

    Record some of his "performances" and let him hear it. If he is as unacceptable as you say, objectively, he should get it. Make it professional, strictly business, no emotions involved. You aren't trying to hurt his feelings, just make the band better. Offering to let him have a few tunes of his own and backing vox should assauge his feelings if he is adult about it. If not, you'll need a new drummer.

    EDIT: just saw you last post, good news.
  9. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    That was actually what finally convinced him. They had been playing together for over a year and NEVER recorded themselves. We recorded a practice session last week, and I think he was shocked and dissapointed at what he sounded like. What made it more confusing for him was that his family told him that he sounded wonderful. This revelation added to his depression over his family issues led to him quitting. I think he's over it now.
  10. Blueszilla

    Blueszilla Bassist ordinaire

    Apr 2, 2003
    The Duke City
    Now he needs a hug...:bawl:
  11. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Well....we're not an emo band. Maybe I'll just give him a slug on the shoulder. :)
  12. Lazylion

    Lazylion Goin ahead on wit my bad self!

    Jan 25, 2006
    Frederick MD USA
    Maybe you could let him do a couple of country songs...

    I'm KIDDING!!!!
    Have a good weekend!
  13. I'd still think it might be nice to let him sing on a couple of songs. Make sure he know's it's just a few songs - he's not the singer. And make him practice hard! He'll get better and then maybe he won't feel so bad / stupid.

    My cover band let's me sing a few tunes and I really enjoy it. There are two better singers in the band, lol, so I am third best, hahaha. But I sing songs in my range and do them well and it gives the other singers a chance to rest and let's me get a bit more attention - it works well for everyone. In a three hour gig, I sing at most three songs. If we do shorter sets, I usually only sing if we have a request for one of my songs. Otherwise is harmonies or keep my yap shut!

    Good luck!
  14. guy n. cognito

    guy n. cognito Secret Agent Member Gold Supporting Member

    Dec 28, 2005
    Nashville, TN
    Good memory!

    We are going to let him do a few songs, just to make him happy.

  15. Bingo. Throw him a bone.
  16. morf

    morf Banned

    Feb 17, 2006
    Let him quit. He doesnt seem worth the trouble.
  17. Dude, same problem here, too. Except I have a singer who thinks he's a singer.
  18. Murf


    Mar 28, 2001
    Well the only drummer/singer I ever heard who was any good was Andy Sturmer from Jellyfish and he used to play the drums standing up!!:eek: and at the front of the stage....seriously though imo if your playing in a covers band you need a frontman..ie the guy/gal who prowls around the stage/swinging from the lights/runnning around on top of the bar etc to really sell the show ..the drummer is not going to provide this (no matter how good a singer he/she is)..the audience loves "spectacle and showmanship".

    Case in point a good mate of mine whos a hell of a bassist recently got a gig with one of the top cover bands here in Ireland as a frontman singer..(he's brilliant at this)...After his first gig with them he rang me and asked me to cover the bass playing duties as he found it too hard to be the frontman and a good bassist at the same time.
  19. QORC


    Aug 22, 2003
    Elberon, New Jersey
    the ability to sing as delusion is not uncommon. I've run into almost every place I've gone. It's disheartening.

    as far as your situation, I say - let him go. He's a whiner. He won't every be satisfied.

    My experience tells me when someone starts making noises about quitting, eventually they do anyway - and often bring the whole band down with them.

    Either he goes or you do. It's pretty simple. Life is too short to do otherwise.
  20. ric1312

    ric1312 Banned

    Apr 16, 2006
    chicago, IL.
    Have you ever recorded live performanced of his singing and played them back? This often shatters delusions of being a good singer.

    If you want a softer way of telling him, just say that, "we not only need a singer, but one who doubles as a frontman, and there are no drummers around who could possibly take over."

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