Trouble With Our Drummer

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Nirvana4ever, Sep 29, 2005.

  1. Nirvana4ever


    Aug 2, 2005
    This is probably a popular problem. We've had a band for pretty much a year now. Our drummer started after the guitarist and I, so he is a little behind us. The problem is, he is beast when it comes to solos and drum fills, but what's the most important thing to a drummer... THE TIME. He cannot keep a time. I am not even a drummer, but I can keep a better time than him. It is a huge problem for me because I am supposed to follow both him and the guitarist and when they are in completely different time zones, how am I supposed to do this?

    The second problem with our drummer is the fact that he plays too loud. He isn't like us and he doesn't have a volume control. When we are playing, the guitar and bass are drowned out because the drums are too loud. We have received many comments about this, saying that he was too loud and also completely off beat.

    And the third problem is he is never free to have band practice. Whenever the guitarist and I try to schedule a practice, he is usually busy. We think it's because his mom hates us. She doesn't seem to want him to hang out with us. So the guitarist and I practice alone all the time and we are way ahead of him when he finally makes it to a practice. He definetly doesn't take the band as seriously as us.

    You may suggest to replace our drummer, but it's not that simple. Although he has his flaws, he is still our best friend. He is a crazy drummer, he just needs a lot of work. Any advice on what we can do?
  2. DemoEtc


    Aug 18, 2004
    The two first problems can be worked on; the third one really can't - especially if his parent is involved - and will prevent fixing the first two problems.

    You say replacing him is not an option, so since the third problem - him not coming to rehearsal / mom against it - there's no solution really.

    Or...keep him as a best friend and get another drummer anyhow. Is the friendship based on his being a drummer? If it's just pure friendship - without drumming - then it should be okay. Especially if you do things right so he doesn't get insulted or something.

    One thing you might do is find another drummer and have both of them play at rehearsals. He might hear this other guy and get inspired, or realize he's not up to things and then he might leave on his own and the friendship might remain intact.

    Sometimes having a band goes beyond friendship, in ways that are not comfortable. If you're really serious about the music, then sometimes...just sometimes...friendships will be something that, at a certain point, might become less important. Sometimes you can't have both, you know? Depends on what you guys really, really want to accomplish and sometimes, you may find, that requires sacrifice.

    Take care and good luck.
  3. 1). If you feel the need to stay together as a unit, you have to find a way to rehearse together on a consistant basis, or he'll ALWAYS be behind and never get tight with the two of you when you play together.

    2). Does he take lessons? He needs to hook up with a really good SET drummer and learn time-keeping techniques and also learn the importance of dynamics. That will especially include playing quiet. The quieter you start out, the more you can make the dynamics you use in the song stand out.

    3). You all have to treat this as a "business". If you want to play music gigs, there has to be a business aspect and attitude to the performers. This also means that you all promise to make your best effort to play your best and always get better. If that isn't happening, then any, and all three of you are each expendable, and need to all realize that for the good of the band, any of you could be let go for a better player if conditions aren't met by all. (Maybe that will get his attention...)

    I assume that you're a younger group and you have plenty of time to get your "groove". It won't happen, though, unless you all three can rehearse together. Once that happens, then there will be things, (like tempo, volume, etc.), that will become apparent and you will have the opportunity to address those issues in a rehearsal.

    Remember; presentation is everything! If you want to bring it up, try something like; "hey! I noticed that I'm having a hard time hearing the vocals, (or whatever), during this song. Let's try everyone backing off of the volume this time and see how it sounds."

    Then there's no finger pointing at anyone, and if it works, then you can suggest that you continue the volume reduction for a while and maybe he'll get the feel for it.

    That's about all I can think of for now. Good luck! ;)
  4. *ToNeS*


    Jan 12, 2001
    Sydney AU
    Ah, inconsistent time. It's my biggest complaint with musicians from all instruments. It sounds as if this guy has gone straight for the 'flash' (ie. fills and solo's) and bypassed all of the really important fundamentals of drumming (ie. KEEPING THE GODDAMN TIME STEADY YOU BASTARD). Although I wouldn't hold it against him - music is fun, and he's obviously having fun, and you guys sound pretty young as it is. So have fun; plenty of time for serious rockstar aspirations later.

    One thing you can do, however, is pull him in line. You say your time is better than his? That's great. When you're all jamming, make eye contact with him, and STOMP YOUR FOOT. If the time gets weird (I would haphazardly suggest that he goes wildly off-kilter after trying some kind of fill that doesn't work at all - this is very common with novice drummers) - get him to zone in on your foot. Make it really, really prominent where the '1' is, perhaps even calling it out loud.
  5. Practice with a metronome, the whole band together. If the metronome has a headphone output (which they usually do) you can get an adapter and plug it into the PA or an amp.
  6. +1 It's the revealer of all evil, and the solution of time!