Songwriting drummers

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Bard2dbone, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    Now, before I get started, I am NOT in any way dissing musically competent songwriters who just happen to be primarily drummers. For example: Don Henley is a drummer. But he does most of his songwriting on guitar, and occasionally, piano. He is not, therefore, subject to the rant I have in my head just mow.

    So. Who has a drummer who writes songs without knowing what notes he is using? I suppose non-instrumentalist vocalists go in this bag, as well.

    My drummer had a cool idea for a song a while back. But the way he addressed it was to call the voicemails of the guitarist and me, and say "I need you to figure out how to play 'Nunnaaaaaaaaaaah nuh nuh nuh nunnuuuuh naaaah nuh nuh nuh nunnuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh nah.' I've got a great lyric already for it. So figure out that melody line, okay?"

    The 'melody' on the voice mail was a rhythmic string of F#'s. Really.

    And at practice, when he tried to describe it again, it was much like the Strongbad email where the dragon comes in the night.:rollno:

    On the upside, when we figured out what he meant and actually put notes to it, he was so excited he could barely sit still. It was pretty funny.

    So. Who else has a drummer or vocalist that 'writes' songs without having a melodic clue?*

    *disclaimer: Greg used to play sax way back when, so he understands melody. He just doesn't reproduce a melody when he is trying to describe one. He did okay when we got him to sing the words. But when he tried to sing the tune without words, it was all the same note.
  2. bassjamn


    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    The drummer in our band is pretty much the band leader/organizer, he comes up with chorus/verse/bridge/prechorus etc sections and usually has a general idea for something slow here, melodic fill here etc.

    It's usually wide open though and were free to change parts, so not like your situation(though there is some humming involved)

    It's nice for a change to have a drummer laying down tunes beforehand though.
  3. Eric Cioe

    Eric Cioe

    Jun 4, 2001
    Missoula, MT
    Had one. Always wrote really, really stinking cool parts, especially bass lines if nothing was coming to me. It took a while, but that's the process.
  4. Bard2dbone


    Aug 4, 2002
    Arlington TX
    I like that he can write lyrics, because previously that was all me. Having only one lyrical 'voice' can limit the bands sound somewhat. We got lucky with my previous band because I was into a lot of eclectic stuff and world music at the time, so my writing reflected a lot of musical diversity.

    Unfortunately, the radio station that played the eclectic mix I liked went all talk, and nobody else plays anything like them. So now, without the varied input I used to get, I actually see my songs starting to sound more like each other.

    So my current drummer is competent to bounce lyrical ideas off, huh? That is until the 'nunnuh nunnuh nuh' phone call.

    My amusement is only directed at people who try to communicate tunes without being able to communicate pitch. After talking to a friend who used to be in a band, as well, I have heard that this is a 'drummer thing'.