1. Please take 30 seconds to register your free account to remove most ads, post topics, make friends, earn reward points at our store, and more!  

Who's on first?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by xk49w, Oct 22, 2013.

  1. xk49w


    Apr 13, 2008
    We were doing this gig with a different, although quite seasoned drummer. We are playing songs that he and I both have played too many times to worry about. All is well. Then the lead-singer-lead-guitar-guy loses the beat. He doesn't hear that he is out. He plows on regardless and he is off by one. It is painfully obvious. What to do?

    Do I slip the time to sync up with him? Otherwise it will sound like crap for the next five minutes. (I promise the guitar is clueless - he thinks it sounds great.)

    Or, do I hang with the drummer and plow on relentlessly? Because he is either also clueless or decides to plow the field as it is, and lie there playing the beat that is correct while the lead guitar singer guy stomps all over the tune?

    What is the protocol? As it turned out I slipped the beat, joined up with the out-of-sync guitar, and the drummer gave me dirty looks for the rest of the night.

    Okay, so maybe we should have had a chat.
  2. Yes. Your job is/was to back him up, make him look good, and don’t let him fall - so change with him!!! And chat too!!!
  3. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    Always..... I mean ALWAYS follow the lead instrument or lead vocalist. There are no points to be scored for being right. Your drummer needs to learn this QUICKLY. Sync up with the lead and turn around to bring the drummer along. If it keeps happening, then you may need to have a sit down with the lead guy. But if it is just once or twice (ever) then follow along so the song sounds correct, even if he drops a beat.

    I've been doing this a long time. I can't even remember how many times a singer I have been working with has come in a beat early or a beat late. Most bands I am in simply glance at each other, lock in with the singer, and act as though nothing happened. "Dirty looks" for the rest of the night is totally unprofessional. Mistakes happen. But most of the time you can glaze right over them and the audience will either not notice at all or forget about it within seconds.
  4. BooshBass


    Sep 2, 2013
    Chicago, IL
    I'm inclined to say tooting your own horn on being right is not the way to go when you're main purpose is to sound good for other people to enjoy.
  5. You did the right thing, better late than never, drummer was bang out of order, probably won't be working with him again.
  6. xUptheIronsx

    xUptheIronsx Conform or Be Cast Out....

    Feb 6, 2010
    C-ville, Col, Ohio
    ...and then at the next rehearsal, identify what happened, and fix it there. Problems like these can be avoided if the people who mak the mistakes are made aware of it in the right forum, which is the practice room. If it is a consistent problem, you might need to cover that in the talk as well.

    It is wrong, however, to just let the mistake go, and let the lead players not learn to play correctly. That is not fair to the rest of the members of the band. If the lead players have such big ego's that they think they are always right, that would be a problem for me. I would not want to be in "that band where the singer has no time"...
  7. seanm

    seanm I'd kill for a Nobel Peace Prize!

    Feb 19, 2004
    Ottawa, Canada
    If the guitar is clueless, sync back up. Get eye contact with the drummer and switch.

    However, some guitar players prefer you to keep on time and they will sync back up. Switching up can throw them off.

    But if the singer messes up you always follow the singer. The singer is right even when he is wrong ;)
  8. +1. Yep - except it's rehearsal room, not practice room. ;)

    EDIT: And +1 to two finger's and everyone else's post so far too. :)
  9. megafiddle


    May 25, 2011
    A singer I worked with got off by a half measure once, when she came back in after
    the break solo. We simply (and gracefully) matched up with her.

    Just one of those things you learn to do playing live.

  10. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    I remember finishing up a scat solo with a band I was sitting in with--except I had lost the form--the drummer just yelled: "You're aren't done yet!". Embarrassing, but I appreciated his approach!
  11. Jazzdogg

    Jazzdogg Less barking, more wagging!

    Jul 29, 2006
    San Diego, CA
    Make the leader/singer look good until you can find another gig.

    Life is too short to gig with people who can't keep time, or are otherwise seriously musically "challenged." I've turned down several opportunities for repeat gigs offered by people who proved during a first gig that they'd be a nightmare to play with on an ongoing basis; they'd have to pay extra to make it worth the headache. ;)
  12. skwee


    Apr 2, 2010
    Ah yes, the Hazard Pay Markup! Well played!
  13. The error was just that: an error - a mistake. Anyone can make one.

    Once you know how to fix it, and you don't, it becomes more your fault than the clueless one who made the mistake in the first place.

    Maybe the drummer glared because he thought you were just as clueless as the guitar player. If he actually didn't like that you chose to go with the lead, he's just wrong. You totally did the right thing.
  14. Slade N

    Slade N

    May 28, 2005
    portland, or
    I admit that I have given and received dirty looks but then you keep going and get over it,
  15. intheory


    Nov 17, 2009
    SW Florida
    Definitely fix it! I agree that it's better for the whole band to sound right than just the rhythm section. I like to think that the bass player and drummer are problem solvers by nature, and should understand and take pride in this fact :)
  16. In performance, the singer/soloist is always right. Smile smugly at the drummer, then fix it at rehearsal.
  17. so how come the band didnt follow the lead singer piano player here?????

  18. Well, my guess would be: because they didn't have any idea where he was going?
  19. two fingers

    two fingers Opinionated blowhard. But not mad about it. Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 7, 2005
    Eastern NC USA
    My guess is that they were trying. Even Rose didn't have a clue where he was then.
  20. fhm555

    fhm555 So FOS my eyes are brown Supporting Member

    Feb 16, 2011
    For me it all goes back to the old Dusty Hill story about "lightnin change when lightning wanna change"

    Those of us behind the front exist only to make the front look as good as possible, so we adjust to them. The only question we need ask ourselves is how often is too often.

    The flip side is could have been the other way round and you could spend your night trying to come up with something that works between a solid front and an iffy drummer.

    Strictly from a personal POV, I'll take the occasional faux pas from the front over a wobbly drummer any day.

    Everyone is subject to the occasional "aw crap" moment, the trick is to recover as quickly and seamlessly as possible. that, and wait until AFTER the show to beat yourself up over it.

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.