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Tired of drummers that aren't prepared for practice!

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by bumperbass, Nov 21, 2012.

  1. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    What is it with drummers? We're a 3-piece that tries to do it all relatively well. Our drummer is never prepared for practice. Yeah, he can lay down the beat, and mostly the tempo is OK, but all the accents are missing and the bass drum part is missing, which is, unfortunately what I practiced with from the original song.
    This isn't the first time I've come across this. It's pretty frequent, at least in the last 3 bands I've been in. I find it hard to blame the guy, because he has nowhere to set up his drums at his house and hammer away, but sometimes I wonder if he ever even critically listened to the songs before practice. I will say this, though, on the songs that we do that every rock band in America plays (the obvious hits, etc.) he does a good job putting down a solid beat! But, if we try to do anything out of the ordinary, the critical breaks, tom hit accents, and bass drum aren't even close. The BL knows this, but I can tell you, this guy is IN THE BAND forever.
    In all other ways, this is the best band I've been in for a long time.
    Is this just a common thing with drummers? I can understand not learning the song beat-for-beat. That's not what I'm referring to. What I'm referring to is the drum parts that make THIS SONG, THIS SONG.
  2. smogg


    Mar 27, 2007
    NPR, Florida
    I'm not crazy, I'm just a little unwell
    No it is not a common thing with drummers. It is a common issue with poor musicianship regardless of the instrument. Life is too short to waste time with hacks and slop mongers.
  3. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    What if you're overly critical?

    Does the paying audience know the difference?

    Does he smile, sing and show up on time?
  4. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Not having a kit set up is not an excuse. That's what practice pads/kits are for. I'm a drummer and I have never let lack of access to a kit stop me from practicing. He can also put silencing pads on his regular kit and use brushes or hot rods with them. Players play. Slackers don't.
  5. MNAirHead

    MNAirHead Supporting Member

    OR the band doesn't pay enough to gather his attention and time.
  6. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    Everything else about him is top-notch. Always on time, sings SOME backup, but even then, he can't stay on his own part. He always sings the same backup part I'm singing.
    I was just wondering if this practicing thing is common with other bands. I'm not bashing the PERSON who's playing the drums. I like the guy very much and he's a great bandmate.
    I don't know if the audience can tell the difference or not. If we practice a song and there's too much of the drums that are missing, the BL will not put in on the setlist. It's considered dead.
    For example, BL says we need to learn a few more danceable songs. We all agree. So, he says, "Hey, Good Lovin' by The Rascals is easy. Let's learn that one next week". We had two others that went OK. But Good Lovin' was missing all the tom parts. The back and forth toms are critical to the song and they're all the way through, pretty much, but he didn't know them. Then there's the part where the drums hammer away like coming up to the pause/break,and he doesn't know that either.
    The overall 'feel' was not there, so we ditched the song. No big loss IMO, but still. Just an example.
  7. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    We make about $600 - $700 a month with this band. His regular job doesn't pay much. His wife doesn't work and he has 3 kids. He makes the same cut I do. I sing on about a dozen songs, and counting. Been with the band for about 8 months. I had to learn their existing material first. He doesn't have to sing lead. I don't get it, I guess.
  8. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Well, if he's a good drummer who's skill level simply isn't as high as you would like it to be then there's not much you can do about that other than choose to play with him or not. I run into players that I think are good but maybe not as good as I would like all the time. If I have fun playing with them anyway, then I do. If it's more about him not being serious enough about his playing, then he needs to put more time in the shed.
  9. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    "he needs to put more time in the shed".
    I agree. I guess I will let it go because the BL will never replace him and we have a lot of fun playing what we play, even if we have to weed out the 'undrummable' songs. I'm not leaving, that's for sure. I think it's up to the BL to talk to him, as they've been friends for many years. This has always been something I've never even thought of saying to anyone I've ever played with. "Hey _____, man, you need to go over the songs with a little more scrutiny when you practice cause you're not learning your parts, and we are". How do you do that? It's not in my DNA. I'm a wonderful complainer, though.
  10. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    There's two types of band for me. Ones I lead and ones I don't. For the ones I don't, I have a specific mentality. "It's not my trainset". I will keep quiet unless something specifically affects me to the point of not being able to give my best.

    So, if the band are so loud that I cannot hear myself when my amp is on 11, I'll have a word with the band leader. If someone is playing something that's 'not the original part' or misses a fill or flam, I'll keep quiet.

    In the very rare times that I lead a band, I will pick the best musicians and by best I mean the ones I don't have to deal with. They learn the parts, play the parts and play them well. For covers they do a good approximation of the original and for my stuff, I'm happy with what they do.

    Also IMHO the drummer is the most important person when hiring. I'd rather have an excellent drummer and an average band than the other way around.

    The BL in this situation has decided to go with a drummer that seems to do the job and no more. There's a number of possible reasons why he or she did this, but one things for sure...

    It ain't your trainset.
  11. lowfreq33


    Jan 27, 2010
    Endorsing Artist: Genz Benz Amplification
    Well said.
  12. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    ^^ I agree as well. I was venting, I guess, because there's no real answer. It's not MY band, so I'll leave it alone. I have learned the hard way, throughout life, to keep my mouth shut. I got some good opinions with this thread.
    One reason I brought it up is, this is a BASS forum, and if the drummer is not up to snuff, it affects the bass player more than any other member.
    Over most 40 years of playing, in my experiences, there's always ONE guy that slacks in learning material or is a few levels below the musical maturity level of the others.
  13. obimark


    Sep 1, 2011
    Why is everyone so scared to talk to each other? If a cool drum fill is missing from a song we play, I simply say "It would be really cool if you do that fill there like the record." No big deal EITHER he takes the time to learn it or not. If something is completely off like the beat, I stop playing at practice until everyone notices and then say, "I don't think that beat is right"

    No hard feelings, but people need some kind of feedback or they will never improve, myself included.
  14. CS


    Dec 11, 1999
    I agree that as a bassist it's better to play with an excellent drummer and I have been fortunate to play some exceptional players. However one has to decide 'should I stay or should I go'? (sic). There are people that I won't play with because they can operate an instrument and no more.

    It's not so much being scared but if someone hires a band is it your place as a hired hand to say that the drummer sucks? It's a criticism of the band leader. I recently did a short set at a party on vocals and guitar. I got an exceptional bassist but the 1st and 2nd choice drummers couldn't make it. I went with a very inexperienced drummer. I told the bassist what the deal was and he was happy to go along. At no point would I entertain criticism of the drummer. Also the bassist was experienced enough as a sideman to keep his mouth shut and let me deal with the situation. I made it as easy as possible by modifying the set, shouting cues and generally babysitting the drummer. As it happened he played out of his skin and impressed the bassist.
  15. lfmn16

    lfmn16 Supporting Member

    Sep 21, 2011
    charles town, wv

    Not trying to bash the OP, but I've noticed a lot of threads on TalkBass where the poster will talk to everyone EXCEPT the person who can fix the problem. I've never had a problem with someone pointing out that I'm missing a lick in a song as long as it's done in a professional manner and not with a bunch of passive/aggressive BS.
  16. Floyd Eye

    Floyd Eye Banned

    Feb 21, 2010
    St. Louis
    No it is not normal. I never once, for even a split second have to wonder if my drummer is going to be where he needs to be, when he needs to be there. If you do, then you need a new drummer, period.
  17. Nev375


    Nov 2, 2010
    A lot of this is all up to you. Some musicians think there is only one way to be and one way to do a part. And if you are trying to cover things note for note, those people are right.

    Other musicians know that musicians are ultimately human, and in being human, they ain't perfect. Your drummer may well be a slacker. Do you and the rest of the band have the skills to roll with the punches, pick up the slack and still put a good entertaining product out there?

    Its all up to you and your circumstances.
  18. pacojas

    pacojas "FYYA BUN"

    Oct 11, 2009
    i make it my business if our drummer messes up. and our drummer is the BL. we need to be in concert as bass & drums! i send him beats to practice and we critique every performance. as the newest member, i took a stand immediately.

    i don't care who's train set it is! if i play in your band i expect to be reminded every time i miss. i feel obligated to do the same. gl.
  19. drpepper

    drpepper Supporting Member

    Jul 20, 2009
    Columbia, Maryland
    Good, realistic perspective IMO.

    I think that this could be something that occurs more often with drums than the other parts of the band because the drummer can most easily "get away with it," and you can still have success.

    It was a part of my decision to leave my band recently...a small part, but it was in there. With this particular drummer, it was a matter of having a very busy life, and that was accepted. Some of it, I rolled with the punches, some of it grated on me. There were a few that just drove me nuts. We played Lit - My Own Worst Enemy, and he seemed almost prideful that he had never really even listened to the song. It went well enough, but it took forever for him to get the end down. Jimmy Eat World - The Middle; similar story, so he just played through the choruses. Again, it didn't really bother anyone except for me and the occasional other drummer who might hear us. The one that drove me up the friggin' wall was Tom Petty - American Girl. That song has a signature beat to it, and to me, it only sounds right with the drums played right. I'm not a drummer, but I have a set in my garage, and *I* was able to learn that song. I tried to show him, and he was having none of it..."I'll play it my way." Just like all the others, when we played it out, people seemed to like it all the same, but I knew it could be better.
  20. bumperbass


    Jun 19, 2012
    Guys, I'm not opening my mouth. It's not my band and we play out pretty regularly.
    The BL and I have laughed about it. He'll email me a song, and say "should be able to do this one well; it's a straight drum beat". Last week I and the BL talked about practice because we happened to ride together that night to a gig, and we talked about the songs we couldn't do, and he sort of laughed; the kind of laugh that could be interpreted as 'HA HA that's pretty funny that {________<name} didn't can't the parts'. The drummer is one of those who can be very funny, yet is very sensitive. One night at a private club, this drummer who had sat in one other time there for one or two songs (he's almost 70, has all his friends in there who are hollering at him to play) and he sucked big time. We played Johnny B Goode and one other oldie that I can't remember. So, two weeks ago he at in again and when he came up to the stage I said to our drummer "Listen, (_______<name). You might learn something". << in a joking way. The BL later tells me our drummer thought I was being serious.
    My opinion is, if the BL cannot bring himself to do anything or say anything to him, then I must remain quiet. The BL goes over all songs and sorts out the ones that we think we can do with the guys we have.
    I think 'it ain't my train set' applies here.
    If something better comes along, I'd seriously consider, but right now we are booking next year with good results.