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Trouble with drummer

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Mantis Tobaggan, Dec 8, 2017.

  1. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    I play in an originals metal band. we have had a new drummer for about a year now. He had a good set the first gig we played. Since then, he has messed up at least once during every gig we have had. We play about once a month. His problem is during transitions from verse to chorus, he gets excited and comes in early. Also, his playing style seems stiff to me. He goes off tempo far too often. It is so bad that I sometimes have to drop out and come back in.

    Last night, we had a rehearsal for a gig that we have next week. He not only played terrible, he kept playing these blast beats before practice, and also other beats that i literally could not play with. During rehearsal his playing was going off and then he decides to play with a cigarette in his mouth. I live a couple hours away and only go to gigs and sometimes rehearsal. I don’t feel it is in my place to say anything but I need to something to change the situation but I am not sure what. It is very frustrating though. He is not reliable at all as a player and I don’t want to play another gig with him messing up.
    Wisebass likes this.
  2. buldog5151bass

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

    Oct 22, 2003
    In any band, members should be willing to discuss anything in a respectful manner. Certainly how the music sounds is a valid subject. Do you have recordings to help support your position?

    Band Dynamics in originals bands can be very different - I don't know how "democratic" your band is, so I can't say whether you should have the discussion with your Guitarist first.
    Munjibunga and Mantis Tobaggan like this.
  3. i have a serious drummer problem as well. but its a completely different problem. my drummer plays great. a super great drummer. very talented and more importantly, very tasteful. my problem with him is a personality issue. getting him to play is like pulling teeth. and i cant understand why, he doesn't have any other bands or projects, no conflicts of interests. he has a great practice space right next door to his house so he doesn't have to travel to rehearse. his kids are adults now so he doesn't have to do all the kids stuff most parents do. we are only a trio where the guitarist and i split all the songwriting and sing lead vocals on half the songs each. so the drummer doesn't have to write or sing. he doesn't want to either. but everytime we want to do a show, he drags his feet about it. doesn't matter the venue, he finds something to complain about as a reason not to play the gig. he absolutely refuses to play venues where there is smoking. he is only willing to practice on saturday evenings after 7. he worries about his safety at every venue, and brings a pistol with him... perfectly nice places... he won't play biker bars at all, the smoking thing. just completely inflexible. im ready to fire him despite the high level of musicianship. problem is, the guitarist isnt because they are childhood friends. im thinking i am probably going to have to leave because i really don't think he is going to change.
  4. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    This I don't get at all. Why do you think you it's not your place to speak up about issues that affect your band's presentation? In matters of rhythm section especially, it is ABSOLUTLEY your place to speak up. Doesn't have to be dramatic - should definitely be constructive, but if this is so bad that you have to stop playing sometimes, it is a very serious problem. I'm not one to stir drama, but this needs to be attended to.

    If you're comfortable confronting the drummer, you definitely need to talk to the BL. I can't believe others are not aware of such a critical situation. It's impossible for a bass player to get a nice grove working if he can't depend on the drummer's timing (been there). Sounds like you either need a new drummer or need to spend some rehearsal time with him to clean things up.
    Mantis Tobaggan likes this.
  5. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    Basically I live 2 hours away and come to rehearsals and gigs. I am not there for practice for the most part. I just show up and play. I would like to work with the drummer but the distance is bad. I am trying to figure the best approach. I am getting frustrated to have to drive so far and have our drummer making mistakes at gigs.
  6. mrcbass


    Jan 14, 2016
    Sacramento, CA
    No offense intended and take this with the spirit of "tough love":

    It doesn't sound like this situation is a good fit for you. All you want to do is show up and play, but the circumstances don't currently allow for this. It doesn't seem like you're willing to do what it takes to correct the situation. I get that it's not convenient or fun. At this point, I see you have four choices:
    1) get a new drummer
    2) move closer to the scene
    3) be willing to put in some effort to fix the problem
    4) find a new project

    Personally, I like rehearsals - I expect everyone to have done their homework of course. When ever I consider taking on a new project I consider the commute time involved in properly supporting the effort and have passed on many opportunities because they are outside of the range I choose to commit to.

    I'm not saying you need to commit to weekly workouts with the drummer, but surely one or two sessions should be enough to determine if the problem is fixable. If this is not an option, I guess I have no idea what options you thought we cold provide for you.

    Edit: And what does the two hour commute have to do with speaking up?
    krimo likes this.
  7. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    I will do the gig next week and try and get some bass and drum time in before the next one. Hopefully things go okay.
  8. craigie


    Nov 11, 2015
    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to not set foot in a place where there’s smoking. I’m surprised those places still exist.
    StayLow likes this.
  9. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Mantis :) lotsa questions! :(

    Does your drummer know that his playing $ugg$?

    What about the others? Do they realize that there is a problem?

    Maybe it' s not a big thing for them, because they just play for "the hang and fun"?

    Or do they think it' s your fault, when you' re dropping out? (worst case scenario :banghead:)

    Yep! Your motivation will be down to zero, don't let this happen again!!!

    Record the gig!!! Then talk to everybody in the band! Get a sixpack of beer and stay cool about it.

    Listen to the recording, analize the problem together!!!

    And don' t forget to order some pizza because hungry drummers are dangerous! :D

    good luck buddy!!! rock on :bassist:

    Mantis Tobaggan likes this.
  10. StayLow


    Mar 14, 2008
    My respect to the kind souls above. My take isn't so nice.

    A guy who can't keep basic time or transition from verse to chorus isn't a drummer. Those are fundamental requirements that have nothing to do with knowing the material and are prerequisites to joining a gigging band.

    Speak up and quit, barring the band getting a new drummer. Or if you're feeling very charitable insist he tighten up by a certain date. No gigs or rehearsing until then, so he has the time to find an instructor and get up to speed.

    You live in Tampa, where highly skilled metal musicians are as common as the sunshine. Enabling someone to be a wannabe doesn't do him, you or the band any good.

    Take the time you'd waste holding his hand and giving him free lessons and instead learn to play the drums yourself. It'll improve your bass playing and you'll love the look on the face of drummers when you have to sit down behind the kit and show them how to play something properly. Then quit that band too.


    Good luck!
  11. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I wonder if the drummer prior to this Tommy-Lee-Wannabe is available...
  12. baileyboy


    Aug 12, 2010
    The drummer aside, this is the reason I would leave the band. Unless you live in the middle of Nebraska, I'd look for band opportunities a bit closer to home.
    Mantis Tobaggan likes this.
  13. Fabio_MIJ


    Feb 3, 2016
    back home
    I would talk to the others in the group and consider all the pros and cons.
    One reharsal per month + 2h travel doesn't sound as the best quality/price ratio, but it depends on your goals.
    Mantis Tobaggan likes this.
  14. Mantis Tobaggan

    Mantis Tobaggan Supporting Member

    Sep 9, 2015
    Tampa, FL
    He was an amazing drummer who had none of these issues. But he was abusing pills and having serious issues other than his playing and we had to fire him. He isn’t doing so good these days.
    Wisebass likes this.
  15. Smooth_bass88

    Smooth_bass88 Groove it Supporting Member

    Geez, just get a new drummer. Feelings will be hurt, words will be said, then everyone moves on with their lives.
  16. el murdoque

    el murdoque

    Mar 10, 2013

    It always helps to have hard facts at hand.
    Record the gig and present it to the band - sit together, listen to the record and make a plan
    to improve on the next gig. Sometimes, musicians are not totally aware of how bad they mess up in a live situation.
    I can tell from my own experience that one must not give up hope. I've had a session, where a recording was presented and the drummer in question realized how he did drag the entire band down. He was playing a lot more focused from there and he upped his practice schedule a lot.
    Wisebass and Spidey2112 like this.
  17. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    All of us... so much potential, in one form, or another... and yet we still find a way to ignore it, or worse, abuse the gifts given to us...

    ... I hope he finds his way.
  18. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    Manti, if you had posted the same thread topic after a couple of rehearsals with said drummer, I'd dismiss it... after playing for a year (hopefully sooner), I would think things would be clicking, in a more positive way, for both you and the drummer... I'm sure the distance doesn't help, either...

    ... if you really want to bring things to light, informally record a session with just you two... no distractions, nothing masking mistakes, just components making up the foundation of your setlist.

    Then, take it from there, noting progress... or... you know...

    ... lighting the drummers cig, with a blowtorch... Caution: Contents may be hot.
  19. Seanto


    Dec 29, 2005
    Well, you can either say something in rehearsal(which imo is the best place for it), live with it, quit, or try to get the dude kicked out of the band. Take your pick. I'd go with the feedback in rehearsal option first and see what happens. He might not even realize how bad he is screwing up.

    Do you all actually communicate honestly during rehearsals? In my main group, if things aren't sounding right, someone points it out and we run through it until it works. If it still never sounds right after that, then more difficult decisions might be made(dropping the song/personnel change).

    I will say that screwing up just once or twice a gig is no big deal in my book for most bands that aren't a big deal.
    Spidey2112 and Mantis Tobaggan like this.
  20. Wisebass


    Jan 12, 2017
    Lost in Space
    Hi Spidey:)

    The "fire the drummer" gag finally makes sense. :D


    At least for heavy metal :laugh::laugh::laugh:


    Mantis Tobaggan and Spidey2112 like this.

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