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Learn the song Drummer! Is this too much to ask?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Sludgemuffin, Feb 11, 2013.

  1. Sludgemuffin


    Feb 11, 2013
    I play Bass in my band. Ive been playing bass for 30 years.

    We play local bars...we get paid to perform. We play 80's Rock cover tunes...songs that will rock a bar scene...cause the women to get up and dance...get the house rockin...etc.

    So...I feel its up to us to make the song sound good, and as much like possible like the song were covering.

    We had to let our last drummer go...for many RL reasons, but mostly...because he just would not take the time to sit down and learn the song we are trying to play - whether its Bon Jovi, or Van Halen, or Nightranger..he just wouldnt take the time to sit down and actually learn the song...

    - the little accents specific to the songs beat
    - the fills
    - the precise beat as its played by the original band.

    New drummer...turning out to be the same deal. Shows up to practice...hasnt learned to song...wants to hear it again and learn it on the spot. No...you do that BEFORE you come to practice.

    AND...he just wings alot of stuff. Its different almost every time he plays the song. For example...during Journey...Dont Stop believin...I notice he's playing basically the drum beat from ACDC - You shook me all night long.

    Thats nice...but that not how the beat goes. You might be able to con drunk people into accepting that as the Journey song...but it doesnt impress me.

    But somehow...Im the bad guy...because I have the honesty to tell the guy..."look man, you have a working knowledge of how to play drums, but youre just winging it through on half of the songs. Not to mention...weve got half a dozen songs on the docket to learn...and you just arent learning them...but winging them."

    he says..."Ive been listening to the song all week man."

    Fine...so have I. But just listenting to the song...and then winging it...getting in the ballpark... is not the same as actually learning it.

    I dont like winging stuff. I sit myself down...and I learn the song

    Is it too much to ask a guy to sit his arse down...and not just listen to the song...but to LEARN IT until you can play it just like on the record? I mean...a little fill here or there thats different is ok...but just like the song?

    Am I being a jerk for insisting that...since were getting paid...and since I sit my arse down to learn the song note for note...that the Drummer should do the same?

    PS. Im not asking for absolute perfection...but come on man. Just listening to the song and providing a drum beat that semi-works...but isnt the songs actual drumming...that bothers me.
  2. Id tell him practice is what you do at home, This is rehearsal when every one meets together. Comply or use this advice in your next band. Basically
  3. Duckwater


    May 10, 2010
    USA, Washington
    My drummer is like this, as long as he keeps the beat and plays off of what we play I'm happy. He's a good musician, just not the thinking type.
  4. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012
    Eh, i wont comment on what the guy should do but Iwill say that your music views go completely against mine... exact covers suck and take 0 creativity..make it your own...
  5. fmoore200


    Mar 22, 2011
    Oh man, that made me laugh. Great line :D
  6. Sludgemuffin


    Feb 11, 2013
    I guess the thing that really bothers me is...the guy is a good drummer. He's been playing as long as Ive been playing bass.

    Its not that he cant play well...its just that he doesnt actually apply hismelf to sit down and learn the song AS ITS PLAYED on the record.

    For me...thats how I learned how to play. WAY back before youtube. I sat down and learned how to play the entire Piece of Mind CD by Iron Maiden...and the first side of Rush - Hemispheres.

    I would listen to the song...follow the riff...STOP...Rewind...sometimes several times...figure out exactly what they were playing...do that through the whole song. AND THEN...play along with the song several times until I actually could play the song...right along with Steve Harris and Geddy Lee.

    I still do the same thing today. Obviously...we cant play Rush and Iron Maiden in a bar setting. But Ill take the song we are learning...like Heartbreaker - Pat Benatar.

    Sure...Ive heard the song a thousand times. But I had to sit myself down...and repeat the learning process...until I can play that song note for note...right along with the song.

    I just feel like...when youre covering a song...and getting paid for playing cover songs...well then...you should get the song as close as possible to the actual song. Obviously the singer isnt gonna be the same...so they are off the hook. But the rest of us...come on...its not too much to ask.
  7. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    I'd say if you're playing it exactly note for note like the recording then you're supplying the same music that a jukebox can provide. You don't want to completely re-interpret the song, but you've got to put a little bit of your own personality or style into it. Isn't that what you're getting paid for?
  8. Pacman

    Pacman Layin' Down Time Staff Member Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 1, 2000
    Omaha, Nebraska
    Endorsing Artist: Roscoe Guitars, DR Strings, Aguilar Amplification
    I'll never play it just like the record. And it ain't cause I can't.
  9. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012
    Some people do not like note for note covers. you can still do great covers and not cop them note for note...just think, grateful dead, hendrix, phish, etc...
  10. Sludgemuffin


    Feb 11, 2013
    We are all in our mid-40s...and have jobs and families. We just like Rockin'.

    The local bars in our neck of the woods love 80s rock songs. So...as a hobby...we rock the houses around here. Its fun.

    Ive got some original stuff I have...but Its not the stuff we can play at the bars we play in. Its too heavy. So its not that Im into cloning...but we play in a cover band that caters to a specific crowd...in a bar room scenario where we live.

    I respect your point though.
  11. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012
    well..they are playing journey after all..lol yuck
    I forgot that the 50 year old women want to feel 20 again like they just put the vinyl on the turntable and turned the stereo on...yet they still would have no clue its different as long as you say "dont stop believing" like your balls are in a vice grip
  12. ngnt


    Apr 22, 2012
    I half agree with this. If the whole band is playing it differently than I'm fine with the drummer changing the groove. But, if everyone else is sticking to the original than the drummer should too. He's taking the easy road, knowing most people won't notice. I did the same thing in the cover band I played with for a while. Only for U2 songs and things like that where the bass line is 8th notes the entire song I should mention though. If we played something with an interesting bass line though, you'd better believe I played it as close to the original as I could. I guess in the end, if you're being payed to play the covers like the originals, play them like the originals. That goes for everyone in the band.
  13. Groovy_Gravy


    Apr 26, 2012
    i understand. im not trying to diss you guys but its just that EVERY cover band plays the same songs, no matter where in the country you are! i dont get it!

    it makes my blood boil, sorry for venting
  14. Stumbo

    Stumbo Wherever you go, there you are. Commercial User

    Feb 11, 2008
    the Intergalactic Mind Space
    Song Surgeon sofware
    What do the other guys say? If you don't get support then you have a choice to make.

    If you're still getting all the gigs you can handle, doubt 99% of the audience can hear any difference let alone tell the difference or even care about it.

    If the other members are not worrying about it, maybe you shouldn't.And, if you keep on complaining, they may end up talking about replacing you.

    I'm just sayin'...

    Don't worry, be happy.
  15. Sludgemuffin


    Feb 11, 2013
    I respect that position. I agree with it too. I think Guitar and bass players have a bit more freedom than Drummers do to 'make it your own'.

    But Im saying...you cant just wing the Journey - Dont stop Believin song on the drums...by playing the ACDC - You shook me all night Long beat in there.

    That song has a very specific beat in it. It doesnt have to be perfect...but come on man...put in a little time to learn the beat for that song. At least get in the ball park.

    Its been several months since this guy joined the band. When we play Ozzy - Crazy Train (And bar people love that song here. We play it at the end of the set.)...he plays it different everytime.

    Theres a specific hi-hat riff for the most of that song...but he just makes it up different every time. And then the part just before the solo (Vocals - "I know that things are going wrong for me"...)...where Aldridge is doing the triplets and shtuff...our drummer just leaves it empty. AIR...he just follows the Bass part.

    I just had to tell him "Dude...youre well able to play that part of the song. It aint that hard. The dead AIR isnt cutting it. Cant you just sit down this week and learn it?"

    He still hasnt sat down and learned it. I mean...hey...thrown some descending rolls in there...make it your own...do SOMETHING.

    Instead it sounds like the very beginning of the song. Dun-dun...Dun-dun, Dun-dun...Dun-dun.

    Again...I have no problem making the song your own...but good grief...dont re-invent the song because you dont have the dedication to sit down and learn it.

    At least learn it first.
  16. I agree fully. If that's what you are hired to do then you should do it right. If you don't then they can probably find someone else who will. Also, no, it's not too much to ask. If it is then you need to find another drummer who is up to the task.
  17. Sludgemuffin


    Feb 11, 2013
    LOL! Just made me smile.

    Well...this is the context in my neck of the woods. This is our crowd...aging farts we are.
  18. Sludgemuffin


    Feb 11, 2013
    Oh...no offense taken. I appreciate the input. It may turn out that im just a perfectionist ol' fart...and I need a chill pill.
  19. throughthefire


    Oct 1, 2010
    Sig worthy!
  20. Art Araya

    Art Araya

    May 29, 2006
    Palm Coast, FL
    this is common. i lead the music ministry at my church. the clearly communicated expectation is for everyone to listen to the music and come knowing their parts.

    some come knowing their parts and some don't. some listen well during the week but never learn it on their instrument. some listen a few times and fake it because they believe they're good enough to do this. and some actually work their tails off to learn it like the MP3. some seem to have philosophical issues about learning and performing a part like the MP3 - they want to make it their own and do their own thing.

    It's a non-stop issue for me and has been for over a decade. Everyone has different ideas of what learning a song means and how close is close enough and how much time and effort should be spent, etc...

    Most of the ones who cry about wanting to have artistic freedom to interpret the tune in their own way are generally the ones that are not-disciplined enough to put in the time to learn it right. and their interpretation is seldom as good as the original. there was only one instance where a player would not learn the parts like the MP3 but was actually good enough to create some on the spot that sounded as good or better then the original.