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It's not me...... it's the drummer!


Aldena

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I often wondered why I wasn't really progressing, why do I keep making mistakes, missing the changes. I practice at home all the time, and I sound good, I play good.

 

A few weeks ago, we were praticing at the drummer's house, our regular place. We have a new guitar player, Mike, who plays mostly rhythrum, and he's real good. That gives us 3 guitars, all who sing, plus bass and drums. Cool. Right in the middle of Mustang Sally, I get lost. How in the hell does the bass player get lost on a song that simple, you ask?

 

Middle of a verse, middle of measure, the drummer throws in an odd fill, and just changes his beat. I stopped, turned to him, and was about to scream, when I thought better of that. Everybody stopped, and I just said, "Sorry, my fault", and let it go.

 

Now, Bruce (the drummer), has some pretty good chops, but straight ahead rock beats somehow elude him. He plays alot of weird fills and odd shuffles. I think his biggest problem is he plays the drums, not the songs. He says that's boring. If he really knows a song, like Cream's White Room, he nails it. Otherwise, most songs are one long drum solo/warmup routine to him.

 

Why not dump him you say? For all those same reasons you've heard before. He's become a friend, my only music outlet, etc. More on that later....

 

I have not really felt that joy of the groove in the few years I've been in this band (well maybe once or twice). It's hard to believe, isn't it?

 

Until last night!!!!!!!

 

It was the greatest day of my short musical endevor.

 

My sister in law Val, was having a work party for 20 to 30 people at her house Saturday night, and invited us to play. She recently did many renovations to her house, and wanted to show it off. The band knew about the party for about a month, and we worked on a few set lists.

 

Thursday night, 2 days before the party, Bruce calls to cancel pratice, says John (guitar #2) can't play on Saturday, and neither can he. It's Mother's Days weekend, and his wife won't let him play. What about commitments, I say? Sorry, he says.

 

Now, I'm panicked. I called by sister in law. She rented a large stage because the new deck wasn't built yet. Now, she's crying. Holy shit!!!

 

Friday, I'm franticly trying to get hold of Mike, thinking maybe me, him and Doug (guitar #1) can do some kind unplugged thing. Anything for Val.

 

Turns out, Mike plays drums, has his own kit. And he's good too. We had people dancing on the stage to songs that have never got that reaction before. I was grooving like never before. I was moving to my music like never before. My God, did it ever sound good.

 

So that's what it's like to lock in, be in the pocket, lay down a groove, and every other cliche you can think of! Woooohoooooo!!!!!! Pressed ham!!!!!!

 

It's not me, it's the drummer's fault!

 

We needed a name for last night. First I suggested "One Idiot Short of a Village" (hey, I was mad), Doug liked "Bad Attitude", Mike liked "Vance Halen", so I thought of "Van Giovi" (like Bon Jovi). We went with the old standby, using the initials of the band members. Last night we were DMV, and on prior occasions, we have been the BVD's.

 

Sorry for the long post, I just HAD to share.

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Many, many years ago I made a point of no longer playing music with one of my closest friends (who is a drummer).

 

We are still friends, which is what I had hoped would happen.

 

If we had kept playing music together, there is no way we would still be friends and at some point I probably would have tempted to commit a violent act.

 

You know what they say, "So many drummers, so little time."

 

Get a new drummer.

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A replacement is a necessity. I used to play with a guy who would get drunk, screw up and at the end of the song laugh and say "What did you do?" I finally got nasty with him on stage one night and although we continued to play together, our friendship never recovered.

 

Nip it in the bud, ummm . . . bud.

"He is to music what Stevie Wonder is to photography." getz76

 

I have nothing nice to say so . . .

 

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I didn't think I was good enough to join another band. I know different now.

 

And who says I can't still have fun with Bruce, just limit it to his house and partys. I can be in 2 bands, I guess.

 

I am actively seeking a new drummer. Mike's wife didn't even know he was that good, but she did say guitar was his first passion.

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Originally posted by Aldena:

 

Now, Bruce (the drummer), has some pretty good chops, but straight ahead rock beats somehow elude him. He plays alot of weird fills and odd shuffles. I think his biggest problem is he plays the drums, not the songs. He says that's boring. If he really knows a song, like Cream's White Room, he nails it. Otherwise, most songs are one long drum solo/warmup routine to him.

 

"Pretty good chops" are pretty worthless chops if they aren't contributing to the song and the band. Tasteful fills should only be the thin layer of cream cheese icing on the thick carrot cake of groove.

 

Keep the friendship but replace the drummer. The sooner the better, and don't beat around the bush. Buy Mike a new pair of Vic Firth American Hickory 5A's. And a black shirt with a yellow traffic sign featuring a drummer in the road...and hide his guitar... :D

"All the world's indeed a stage, and we are merely players..."

--Rush, "Limelight"

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I've played drums for 25 years. I've done the busy aggressive double bass/ chinas/ splash thing. I mellowed in '95. Smaller kit. My style now is relatively few fills w/driving pocket. It's way more satisfying to play now w/being comfortable enough to lay back. Ghost notes are great w/phat pockets.

Now when I play bass , & the drummer knows I play drums , they mostly try to show off & I have no pocket to play to. I try to play right behind the beat, so if the drummer speeds up through a fill, I have to rush to catch up. I play in a rockin blues band. Me & the guitarist are the core members & we just hire drummers, 15 in the last year & 1/2. The guy I would like to use most of the time is playing w/so many bands we have to hire other drummers.

YES IT IS THE DRUMMER MOST OF THE TIME.

I played w/ one guy that was so out there (no one or steadiness ), that I couldn't help but lose it. I turned around w/ both arms out, & kept repeating "there's no pocket". This didn't help. I still got a fat check though.

When I play w/ a drummer who's got good groove & is not overly busy, I can immediately come up w/something to compliment it. ;)

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It is really hard to play with a drummer that doesn't have a sence of responceability to the groove and will do his own thing at will. Emotions get the better of him at mouments. I have been playing with this guy that is doing the same thing and it is no fun. When a drummer is solid I can groove like mad even if he lacks "heart". If he isn't solid it is just aweful.
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I'm lucky I guess. Drummer I work with now is really tight, can do a fill whenever he feels its appropriate and IF he gets lost it takes him a second to recover. I think that sometimes he and I are the only ones in the band who notice :)

 

Of course, come Thursday I may no longer be in that band, since there is some internal shit brewing ... But there are many, many drummers out there, as Aldena and PAYSON have already proven.

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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Mmm, I was just thinking of that situation 20 minutes ago. I'm playing at a boarding school, and we were playing a cover of "Hallelujah" (Cohen/Buckley...)...

 

THE DRUMMER COULDN'T SHUT UP!!

 

The theory of "less is more" simply seems to elude him... very sad and frustrating...

 

Anyhow, hi, I'm new... well, i've actually been here before under the name JanJ, but i lost my login info... And yeah, i read the forum regularly... Keep up the good work :)

Current set-up:

 

Ibanez SR3005 into a Mesa WalkAbout head with a Mesa 2x10 Powerhouse

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A quote from one of my favorite drummers I've ever played with:

"I never learned to twirl my sticks. I preferred to learn how to play instead of show off..."

Tenstrum

 

"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

Harry Dresden, Storm Front

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I'm glad you found this out, Aldena. And your approach sounds reasonable; if you can remain his friend while playing with him, great, but you're probably going to need a more groove-friendly band for your source of musical satisfaction. Great if you can have it both ways!

 

I'm one of the lucky ones. I've played with only one drummer. This guy is great, a pro who can play in just about any style. Mainly he's just rock solid & really plays the songs. I'm moving far, far away in a few weeks, and finding a new drummer after this is a rather sobering prospect.

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It always blows me away to hear what a solid drummer can do for my playing. I usually go from thinking I'm pretty good, to thinking I'm really good, all because of the right drummer.

 

Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to play with more good drummers than bad ones, and the drummer I play with now causes "drummer envy" in guys who already have pretty good drummers. :D

 

It's more about the communication, the conversation the two of you can share within the music.

And a good conversation is usually worth listening to.

 

Congrats on making the connection, and recognizing the difference it can make.

 

Way to go! :thu:

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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Actually it's something I neglect all too often: paying attention to the drums. But one reason for it is that -now and in one of my previous bands- it just clicked and there was nothing to think about.

 

Then again, I'm in a "side-project" of sorts where I just DO NOT get the drummer's style. We play our own -mellow- version of really mellow songs (guitar player/singer picks 'em).

 

Drummer is a music-school graduate, but couldn't keep time to save his life (or my groove), never remembers what he just played (which is a shame) and we simply do NOT connect, no matter how hard I try. Well, he doesn't say anything of it but then again he's a drummer ;)

 

[edited because of a grammatical error :D ]

"I'm a work in progress." Micky Barnes

 

The Ross Brown Shirt World Tour

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It's good to know that I'm not the only one who's going through this. :D

 

I remember ConnieZ's post about the first time she was in the pocket. I wanted to be in her band so bad, even if we both played bass.

 

Originally posted by wraub:

It's more about the communication, the conversation the two of you can share within the music.

And a good conversation is usually worth listening to.

At the end of the night, I mentioned how we ended each song together, and sounded really tight, the low stage volume, and Mike said something about open communication being the key.

 

I've read about it here, now I really know what it means. Saturday was a huge learning experience, and I hope all you other newby's get there sooner than later.

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Allow me to take a cue from Jeff Foxworthy here:

 

If the drummer starts dropping names about everyone he's played with from the moment they shake your hand...it may be a grooveless gig from hell.

 

If the drummer says their primary influence is Neil Peart...it may be a grooveless gig from hell.

 

If the drummer's kit has more than five pieces...it may be a grooveless gig from hell.

 

If the drummer says "I'm not into the rudiments"...it may be a grooveless gig from hell.

 

If the drummer has a tambourine permenently mounted on his hi-hat stand...it may be a grooveless gig from hell.

 

If the drummer brings a woodblock or sets up a set of chimes when you can't remember a single tune where either would be appropriate...it may be a grooveless gig from hell.

 

If the drummer says "people are always talking about the pocket--what does that mean, anyway?"...it definately will be a grooveless gig from hell.

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Originally posted by Gimmegroove:

[QB] Mmm, I was just thinking of that situation 20 minutes ago. I'm playing at a boarding school, and we were playing a cover of "Hallelujah" (Cohen/Buckley...)...

 

THE DRUMMER COULDN'T SHUT UP!!

 

Um, "Hallelujah" dosen't have drums in it. Jeff Buckley right? Matt Johnson did a superb job of resting through that entire song! Matt used to come watch me play when I was in highscool, & he was in jrhigh. Now I watch him play. He went to HSPVA & got really good @ the open handed jazz stuff. Would love to play w/ him again.

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Originally posted by PAYSON:

Um, "Hallelujah" dosen't have drums in it. Jeff Buckley right?

Well, you're right, it doesn't have drums in it, but we made an alternative arrangement, with drums, bass (me), 2 singers (one of them being me), vibraphone and keyboard... the point is, that the drummer simply couldn't understand the song... he said it himself, that he was itching to get to play all those fusion fills...

Current set-up:

 

Ibanez SR3005 into a Mesa WalkAbout head with a Mesa 2x10 Powerhouse

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I once heard it said that a band can only get as good as it's drummer.

 

Here are some tips from my experience that have helped me stay in time on stage.

 

First I get as close as I can to the drummer if possible and make eye contact with him as much as I can since we will be setting the tempo and dynamics for the whole band.

 

Second, if I'm struggling to keep the grove I forget about singing and basically tune out all the vocals.

 

Third, if I'm having trouble hearing myself and the drums (which happens in some clubs and can really make it difficult to find the pocket) I will put an earplug in one ear, usually the one away from the drummer, this will tune out some distractions.

 

Fourth, if you are picking cover songs and the drummer just can't seem to grove to it ( a simple song to the rest of the band can be difficult for the drummer e.g. STP's Vasoline ) then just delete from your set list and move on.

 

Also I've had such great experiences with some drummers and have seen other ruin a set that I've become somewhat of a control freak / hermit and started doing my own programming with an alesis sr-16 drum machine. This little tool helps with timing and all that.

 

I hope this helped.

Rob Robitaille

 

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"So that's what it's like to lock in, be in the pocket, lay down a groove, and every other cliche you can think of! Woooohoooooo!!!!!! Pressed ham!!!!!!

 

It's not me, it's the drummer's fault!"

 

Well, of course.

 

I just dropped in to take a break from the, um, supercharged air of the guitar forum and saw this. In my brief sojourn as a bassist there was no greater joy than to lock in with a good drummer, and no hell on earth quite as anguishing as to play with a non-good drummer. (I was going to say "talentless hack" but that would be unkind.)

 

'Nuff said. Now I'm going to go back to reading posts by people who can actually read music and count to four on a regular basis...

 

 

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Originally posted by chad:

I just dropped in to take a break from the, um, supercharged air of the guitar forum

:D

 

'Nuff said. Now I'm going to go back to reading posts by people who can actually read music and count to four on a regular basis...

 

Tympanists?

 

Peace,

 

wraub

 

I'm a lot more like I am now than I was when I got here.

 

 

 

 

 

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