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My drummer is NOT a metronome, unfortunately.

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Bradass, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. Bradass


    Oct 17, 2011
    Tallahassee, FL
    So the drummer in my band is by far the most talented guy I've had the pleasure of playing with, BUT...quite a few of our songs start at one tempo and end up 10+ BPM faster by the end of the song, usually because we speed up a bit coming out of every chorus. I, on the other hand, have the most impeccable sense of timing ever :ninja: This usually results in me desperately trying to get his attention to adjust the tempo during practice, which eventually happens and we get back on track. For a show though, we can't afford to gesticulate wildly like that because, well, people will notice, and we'd like to at least look like we don't suck.

    We're trying to figure out how to communicate a "slow it down" or "speed it up" message on stage without giving it away that we are having some tempo battles. Does anyone have any tried and true methods of getting this message across during a gig without letting the audience know? Our first big show is this coming Friday and right now we're talking about just experimenting with some subtle hand gestures... :hyper:
  2. Rickett Customs

    Rickett Customs

    Jul 30, 2007
    Southern Maryland
    Luthier: Rickett Customs...........www.rickettcustomguitars.com
    It is true that timing must be learned and understood by any musician, but in a band setting, everyone is a timekeeper.

    I'd try the eye contact , followed by thumbs up or down..........
  3. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    +1 Nothing wrong with eye contact.

    That said, the bass player must not defer to the drummer with respect to time or temp: own the time.
  4. orfeu


    Mar 31, 2008
    a slow down / speed up message I established with my drummer: lean forward = speed up, lean back = slow down. subtle, but works for us. I'm curious to hear other solutions !
  5. viper4000


    Aug 17, 2010
    On stage communication is what sets the great bands apart from the mediocre bands IMO. You have to have these gestures or whatever discussed and understood before a gig. You can't just saunter up to the guitarist or drummer and look at them and expect them to know what you want.

    For tempo issues we devised this: Make eye contact, then look up for increased tempo, and look down for decreased tempo. No need for hand gestures - you're playing after all.

    For increased intensity, we'll make eye contact and hunker down/bend over a touch like we're really into the jam, encouraging them to go with you. Reverse it for bringing down the intensity, eye contact, then stand straight up, and lean a little back.

    Anything beyond that, to me, means you need more rehearsal time with the band with a song or the whole set.

    EDIT: A slight speed up during a live song is not entirely bad, only when it goes beyond the scope of the song.
  6. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    My drummer does something similar. He'll start off a song slower than it should be played. Only on a few songs, and only after he's had a few.

    I Wanna Be Sedated is a perfect example. We speed up throughout the song and finally get to the right tempo, but it drives me nuts. I'd be perfectly happy to cut the song because of it. I've brought it up before, but the other guys don't see it as a problem and think the song sounds great.
  7. boynamedsuse

    boynamedsuse Supporting Member

    Oct 13, 2010
    Good ideas. :cool: I have nothing to add, but like what I've read so far.
  8. Marley's Ghost

    Marley's Ghost Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 9, 2002
    Tampa, FL

    You've had to tell your drummer to speed up?!? :eek:
  9. fraublugher


    Nov 19, 2004
    ottawa, ontario, canada
    music school retailer
    Ha! ya , the olde giddy- up , whoah-back goat herder on the precipice method.
  10. lpcarter

    lpcarter Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2012
    Minneapolis, MN
    So uh...get a click track? Perfect tempo every time. Boom.
  11. DBCrocky


    Oct 18, 2011
    Cary, NC
    Speeding up isn't so bad. Listen to a lot of recordings by The Who before they gave Keith a click to stay in sync with the keys, and it's always constantly speeding up. Live at Leeds is a speed-up fest. Speeding up adds excitement and energy.

    Slowing down, however, is death, guaranteed to cause yawning and ambivalence in players and audience alike.
  12. Dave W

    Dave W

    Mar 1, 2007
    White Plains
    Sometimes it can, but not always.
  13. Moloch666


    Apr 22, 2012
    If I stand near the drummer's hihats, he knows to slow down. If I stand near the ride, he knows to speed up. Luckily enough the stage is only juuuuust big enough for this to work.

    If I put one foot up on the kick drum, he knows I'm having fun.

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