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When Do You Replace Someone?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by BayStateBass, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. Well, thought I'd bounce this off you people and get some feedback.

    Currently our band uses two drummers. We have our main guy and our backup drummer.

    Each of them have played shows with us, with different results.

    Main drummer was the first person hired by the BL when he started this band, or, rather, rebuilt this band. As a drummer, he's not bad, but he's fairly basic and nothing flashy. He struggles with some things. Nice guy, no personality issues, very laid back. Has some difficulty with performances and isn't the best "live performance" drummer out there, although he gets the job done at an acceptable level. Mostly reliable but has a high pressure job so he is unable to make some shows or practices.

    Backup drummer is a more recent addition. He and I have ties that go back a long, long way. He gets tapped for practices and shows main drummer cannot make. Our first show had him behind the kit and he totally brought his A game. Tons of experience, energy, and blows away the main drummer as far as skill and experience. Is semi-retired, can make every practice and show. Personality wise, he's tough. Very unforgiving of mistakes, pretty high pressure, tends to lose his cool from time to time and get snappy at people. Can be hard headed and hard to work with, unlike main drummer.

    We did two shows at the same club within weeks of each other, each drummer played one show.

    We got a positive response on our backup drummer, but with the main drummer we got feedback like "you have your drummers backwards. Your main guy should be your backup, not the other way around".

    Main drummer has been there since day 1 and never went anywhere else. Backup drummer is a hired gun who will jump at an opportunity to play a show. Backup drummer is chomping at the bit to be the main drummer knowing we have shows lined up and he wants the job. Main drummer is committed to the band and has stayed through every change in personnel.

    Main drummer has significant investment in PA equipment (specifically, he owns all the stage monitors).

    BL knows backup drummer is better. He won't change drummers because he's loyal to the guy who has been there since day 1, and I do respect that. Main drummer and I are the only original members left now (other than BL), and you can say I'm not "original" as I replaced their old bassist. Guitar player is pushing for backup drummer to be main drummer. New lead player likes backup drummer better. New singer likes backup drummer better. Old singer loved backup drummer. This is all based on his skill and not his personality.

    As for me.......I really don't have a say. You see, backup drummer is my father who I tapped for our first show when main drummer had to bail out due to a family emergency and we needed a guy who was ready to rock and already up to speed. An ex-pro who took a few years off and is back in the game now.

    He is talented, skilled, and great at what he does, but very unreasonable and tough to work with.

    We are not a professional band relying on this for our income. We are a low level bar band, with tons of offers to play small dives for reasonable coin. We always stressed getting along and making this a fun project first and foremost, but it's grown steadily and now we are getting regular calls to book shows.

    So, given this situation, what would your band do?
  2. skychief


    Apr 27, 2011
    South Bay
    These 3 statements carry weight, imo.

    I would yield to to BL's desires if i were in your situiation.
  3. bluewine

    bluewine Banned

    Sep 4, 2008
    Stay with your main guy. Sounds like. If you guys tick off the "hot shot" he'll just drop you guys.

  4. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
  5. I should clarify my sort of position on this;

    I enjoy being in the band with main drummer. He's a truly nice guy and we get along well. We've formed a sort of system where I lay out the tempo for him, and the timing, and he runs with it. Backward, I know. But it works for us. Being the son of a drummer and playing drums myself, I tend to help him a lot.

    Backup drummer is easier to play with and less work musically, but I can see personality problems over time. Band will progress more quickly in the short term with the backup drummer. Backup drummer played and was lead vocals in his previous band which held the house band position at one club for over six years. Pretty good track record. But I don't particularly like working with him in a band setting.

  6. Sorry, I'm not sure what /thread means.

    Help me out.
  7. it means end of thread

    internet language
  8. jmattbassplaya

    jmattbassplaya Supporting Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    Tampa, FL.
    Hard to work with = I ain't playing with you longer than I have to. Interpersonal relationships are super important for a healthy band. If he has a tendency to get snappy at people then he probably isn't a good fit for any band that's less than pro (and even then he better be darn good and be worth it!).

  9. Ok, thanks.

    I'm old so I don't know these things.:D
  10. Marko 1

    Marko 1 Supporting Member

    Mar 9, 2009
    N.E. Ohio
    I’m with the others who say let the BL decide.

    In your situation (were I the BL), I’d probably stick with the regular guy.
  11. scottbass

    scottbass Bass lines like a big, funky giant

    Jul 13, 2004
    Southern MN
    I concur with the others who have weighed in: the personality issues you described, including backup drummer's willingness to dump you when a better offer comes along, make it a very unwise move to replace the main drummer with this guy, even if he is your father. I know my son loves me very much, but he would HATE to play in a band with me!
  12. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    Your dad isn't Ginger Baker, is he?

  13. MatticusMania

    MatticusMania LANA! HE REMEMBERS ME!

    Sep 10, 2008
    Pomona, SoCal
    When they need to be replaced.
  14. drummer5359

    drummer5359 Gold Supporting Member

    Jan 10, 2011
    Pittsburgh PA USA
    I have a brother who is an excellent guitarist, we played in bands together from the mid 70's until the early 2000s when I moved away due to my day job. Playing with other musicians without him for the past ten years enlightened me as to what a pain in the butt he is.

    Since I moved back into the area a couple of years ago he has suggested again and again that we put together another band. He's a great player, he's my brother and I love him. But, I really have no desire to go through the kind of band drama that playing with him entails.

    It's really up to the bandleader, but I feel your pain.
  15. bassinplace


    Dec 1, 2008
    Sounds to me like you're better off sticking with the original drummer, all things considered. He's a good guy, easy to work with and plays well enough. My personal code says you shouldn't undercut someone who's been loyal to the band long term in a non-professional setting.
  16. MegaSwing

    MegaSwing Your Obedient Bassist® Gold Supporting Member

    Nov 26, 2002
    Baltimore, MD USA
    Wow! That's a mouthful of hot soup, if there ever was one.

    I'm in a band with my wife, which is actually OK. Never could I imagine being in a band with my dad, at least not doing the kind of stuff I've seen bands do. I could never cut loose. I don't care if he drums like Buddy Rich.

    My advice is either leave things alone or leave the band, particularly since you say it isn't your decision anyway.

    That's all I got.
  17. Ha ha....no

    But he's pretty darn good.......:D

    Well, all of your responses confirmed what I was feeling in my heart.

    As far as I'm concerned mods can close this one now.

    Thanks, guys, really this was a fishing trip to see if I'm being too naive and whether or not I was alone in my thinking.

    I would have a vote in the decision, but would probably abstain for obvious reasons.
  18. ChrisB2

    ChrisB2 Bass... in your fass

    Feb 27, 2008
    TalkBass > Off Topic
    If you're playing with your Dad, odds are I'm waaaaay older than you. :D But yeah, my point was that if the band leader will not change drummers, the thread is over....
  19. BawanaRik


    Mar 6, 2012
    New Jersey
    I agree. Hopefully you all have day jobs

  20. mellowinman

    mellowinman Free Man

    Oct 19, 2011
    I don't care if you're a jerk. I don't care if you get snappy. If you play well, show up on time, learn the songs, and make my life good while we're jamming, you are IN.

    If you are the nicest guy in the world, but you're just not very good, you are OUT.

    No exceptions.