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Fire the drummer or give a chance.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by woody357, Mar 13, 2019.

  1. woody357

    woody357 Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    I am at a crossroads. My drummer and I are friend, but I have been talking to him about his playing for a few months. He doesn’t know the songs a lot of times and his tempo is on and off. I’ve worked with him one on one, but that has gotten on my nerves because he comes over but doesn’t know the songs. At first I’ve been PC about it saying stuff like we and not point the finger, but it hasn’t worked. About two weeks ago I let him know he had to do better, meaning know the songs. Well he was really off this weekend on a big gig. My singers called me the next day complaining. I know I have to do something, but I’m not sure if should give him a ultimatum of get right I make a change, or just cut musical ties and move on.
    Nunovsky and Smooth_bass88 like this.
  2. sorry mate you probably already know the truth.
    You cant build a house on a shaky loose foundation. same goes with a band and it's drummer. They kind of hold it together.
    Tough when it is your pal though
  3. 4 Strings Good

    4 Strings Good

    Mar 6, 2014
    "Give a chance"? Isn't that what you've been doing?
    • You've been talking about the problem with him "for months"
    • You tried working with him one on one but he won't learn the songs
    • You warned him again before a gig
    • He didn't take your advice and blew it at a gig, pissing your bandmates off in the process
    You've been more than patient. Fire the drummer.
  4. 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
    He won't or can't learn the songs? Is his musical memory bad? Or his attitude?
    ObsessiveArcher likes this.
  5. woody357

    woody357 Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    The guy has a great attitude very positive you can’t help but like the guy. He has great pocket as long as it’s just a straight driving song, but if there are hits or other things going on he may get it he may not. At first I thought it was nerves on a gig, but I realize it’s something but I don’t know what.
  6. rockdoc11


    Sep 2, 2000
    Life's too short to work with a poor drummer who can't/won't get better.
  7. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    He needs to take lessons. He needs to care enough to value lessons and mentorship that'll help him actually become a drummer. As it is now, he's not a drummer. He's someone whose friends - like you - are totally enabling him by "working with him one on one". That's not your job - that time should be spent on your own musical development, doing situps and pushups, or ...something.

    Yes it's correct to lend a helping hand and give back what we've learned but you're having it thrown in your face.

    Possibly he doesn't even realize it because, again, you've been enabling. That is NOT what real friends do. When you care about someone you tell them the truth. He isn't fit for your band .. or any self-respecting band.

    Tell him when he can send you recordings of him playing the songs correctly, with just a metronome accompaniment - same as any other drummer/guitarist/bassist/singer/etc. that wants a gig - then he's welcome to jam. Until then, you've got to move on.

    If people followed that very basic principle for themselves, their bandmates, or auditions, 90% of the threads in this forum wouldn't exist! Same as in all facets of life. Work, romance .. all are relationships. Functional or dysfunctional. Respect or disrespect. Come correct or with excuses. Action or inaction. Progress or stagnation. You must choose. Make the right choice, especially for yourself and for those you claim to care about.
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2019
    EatS1stBassist and woody357 like this.
  8. Bodeanly

    Bodeanly Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2015
    Bad tempo and doesn't learn the material? You do not have a drummer. You have a "dude that owns a drum set."
  9. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    Sounds to me like he just isn't putting the time in to learn the songs.

    It's not up to you. It's up to the band. Time for a discussion. Come to a group decision.
    Nunovsky likes this.
  10. woody357

    woody357 Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    I’ll have to disagree with you on that. It is my decision it’s my group I put it together I book the gigs, I pay everyone. I could discuss it with the others but at the end of the day it’s up to me.
    newwavefrank and EatS1stBassist like this.
  11. woody357

    woody357 Supporting Member

    Jun 17, 2005
    He and I are going to have a conversation but it will have to be face to face and not on the phone. I have not talk to him since Saturday. Whichever way I go I own him the respect of telling him face to face.
  12. gln1955

    gln1955 Supporting Member

    Aug 25, 2014
    Ohio, USA
    Sounds like you really tried. He's not doing his part, so time for him to go. It's tough when it's a friend, but he's holding the band back.
    Ewo likes this.
  13. Yep, get what you mean by it's up to you. However, you admitted the driver for "having to do something" is a complaint from the singer. Therefore, like it or not, it's a band issue and if you don't solve it in a manner the band finds acceptable, you might have more member troubles than a shaky drummer you've done enough for.

    I agree with the people saying you've invested enough time and that you need to be a little firmer in telling him he needs to learn his parts and get the songs right as you're getting complaints. Start with one or two songs and tell him he's got a week to improve them, and he needs to figure out how on his own (woodshed, lessons etc) and build the list from there.

    Good luck.
    mrcbass and Nashrakh like this.
  14. punchdrunk

    punchdrunk Supporting Member

    Jun 22, 2013
    Jacksonville, Fl
    Replace him with a more determined/capable drummer. It will hurt his feelings, but he’ll get over it.
  15. Wesley R

    Wesley R Supporting Member

    Typically I reside in Fire the Drummer territory. Every long term (more than a year or two) band I have been in started with a weak drummer, and their skills were always improving. If the guy is a friend, talk it out, ask him things like would he practice more iof he had lessons, and 1work with him in earnest. Ultimatums will not work. The gent might just say his heart isn't in it, or some such.
    Heisenbass and EatS1stBassist like this.
  16. ItsmeSantiago

    ItsmeSantiago Supporting Member

    Nov 23, 2015
    I call this condition Drummeritis. It’s when drummers don’t practice, can’t maintain consistent kick patterns, doesn’t do anything the same way twice, and noodles in between songs. I see it all the time. It bothers me because I’m a drummer and most of the time I’d rather play bass but I end up drumming a lot.

    Time for a replacement. Pro bands need pro musicians.
  17. coronado3

    coronado3 Supporting Member

    Jun 29, 2008
    Indiana, USA
    Yes, but you may lose your singers /other musicians over this issue.
    DirtDog likes this.
  18. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    If it's your band and they are employees/contractors, from what you said, he just is not putting in the time. He's gone.
  19. garp


    Feb 7, 2009
    Connecticut USA
    Sorry you have to do this, but you are certainly approaching it with class.

    I'm a drummer too, and from that perspective, it seems to me like he's simply not willing to put in the effort to improve. To @ItsmeSantiago's point, some drummers will never progress beyond a certain point because they mistakenly adopt the rationale that their playing is "good enough." From their warped perspective, gigs are practice. We read threads here all the time about poor tempo control, which can be often remedied with effort. But a lack of interest in learning song structure and dynamics isn't likely to go away on its own.

    I realize it's easier said than done, but it can sometimes be helpful to present a musician with an audio or video recording of the band's performance when you want to point out specific performance deficiencies. Live recordings have a certain unbiased way of "telling it like it is." This drummer may have no memory of how badly he flubbed last weekend's show.
    ObsessiveArcher likes this.
  20. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv
    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. I suppose it's possible that he could turn this around, but I've NEVER seen it. Every single time I've encountered this either I've had to fire the person (if I was BL), or I'd wind up quitting.

    Now get off my lawn and go fire the drummer.

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