Band drama

Patoloco714

Junior Member
Hey guys, I’ve been a casual drummer for years but have found myself playing in a mediocre cover band. I admit I’ve played to a metronome about a total of a dozen times in my life and know 0 rudiments. I do sing, play guitar, bass, uke, etc. so I feel like I have a decent ear for music. A member of the band has been hinting at me not keeping the beat and honestly I think it’s him;not me. We’ve gone toe to toe with a metronome before and I’ve been right. I’m willing to practice to a metronome but this guy refuses to give me BPMs for the songs. As soon as I play to a BPM he says he likes, we get to the chorus or the bridge and he says are we still on beat? Yes, yes we are. I’m super annoyed. What do I do??
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
Plug in your Metronome into a speaker and play it when the band plays.

Also, but more drama, tell your band leader not being perfectly on tempo is human and sometimes better.
 

Patoloco714

Junior Member
Yeah I can’t possibly be playing in PERFECT time but I really don’t think anyone in crowd could possibly notice....but now I’m self conscious.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
I once played in a band where the other band member sense of time was totally awful. Even when everything was in perfect time they would swear that it was speeding up or slowing down. They we're always wanting to change tempos to songs and always complaining about the tempo that we were playing at. Even if I put on a click and played to it through my headphones and knew that I was on they would still say it was speeding up or slowing down. When this first started happening I started to become tremendously self-conscious about my sense of time. I remember thinking to myself that I had never had any other band members complain like they did and I started to wonder if my time had become all shaky. In the end it was not me it was them. Granted, I'm not a machine. I have my moments where I push and pull a bit. But it was not nearly as often or drastic as they were saying it was.

I suggested many times that we all wear isolation headphones and play to a click as i knew this would kill the argument. But they did not want to do that funny enough! Those guys drove me nuts lol!

In this kind of situation you either have to be able to ignore what they are saying if there's no validity to it or if you can't take it you just have to leave the band and move on.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Have them play the song to a drum backing track, just for fun. You know like your not playing drums at all. Maybe one time or until they get the idea that their timing is off.

Also record your self playing (rehearsal) just to make sure it's not you!


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mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
Have them play the song to a drum backing track, just for fun. You know like your not playing drums at all. Maybe one time or until they get the idea that their timing is off.

Also record your self playing (rehearsal) just to make sure it's not you!
In a former band I played in, the other guys did just that (without my knowledge) and it was decidedly so that their timing sucked.

They kept blaming me for the slow downs or speed ups, but all I was doing was trying to keep the song where it was supposed to be. It's incredibly difficult to play at the correct tempo when the others are all over the place.

Now, was I always perfect... No. But I was always in an acceptable margin of error.
 

Patoloco714

Junior Member
Have them play the song to a drum backing track, just for fun. You know like your not playing drums at all. Maybe one time or until they get the idea that their timing is off.

Also record your self playing (rehearsal) just to make sure it's not you!


.
I record everything!
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
First, you have to get the guys to agree that the metronome is the LAST WORD on tempo.

Period.

Only if they agree to this will they stand a chance of successfully running a metronome through the PA.

They also have to be open to the possibility that their sense of time needs work. Tact would be a good thing to use there. Unless a person studies perfect time regularly.... chances are that person's timing needs work.

Everyone should just assume that everyone's time needs attention and be humble about it.
 

Patoloco714

Junior Member
First, you have to get the guys to agree that the metronome is the LAST WORD on tempo.

Period.

Only if they agree to this will they stand a chance of successfully running a metronome through the PA.

They also have to be open to the possibility that their sense of time needs work. Tact would be a good thing to use there. Unless a person studies perfect time regularly.... chances are that person's timing needs work.

Everyone should just assume that everyone's time needs attention and be humble about it.
Well said. I actually was expecting everyone to be blaming me. Glad to hear a lot of very similar situations here. I’m open to improving my own time for sure.
Just hate feeling self conscious about something I simply don’t hear when I air-drum to my rehearsal recordings.
I really feel like because the vocalist hasn’t taken the time to decide what BPMs satisfy both the verse and the chorus, he’s just gonna be unhappy when the chorus feels rushed and the verse seems sluggish. This is kind of a common complaint of his. But I’m only as good as the tools I’ve been given. Find me the tempo and I’ll play it. Hate being bitched at when we’re working with “feels” instead of absolute numbers (BPMs).
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I really think a lot of "other" players use the drummer as a scapegoat to shift the blame away from them.

Unless the person critiquing you has beautiful time....meaning they can play to a metronome easily and effortlessly all the time, don't even listen to them. They will only make you question yourself. Questioning your own time is a surefire recipe for disaster. If a person with bad time is critiquing you, they need to prove their superior sense of time to you. (use tact) Ask them play their part alone to the metronome. In fact everyone should play their part alone to see where the problem lies. If they resist, or won't agree to that.... that's when I would totally go on the (tactful) offensive. I'd call them out on that and NOT allow them to get away with it. It's just not right. 100% honesty and accountability about individual time skills is the only way this problem will work itself out. I'm betting egos will be a major obstacle. There should be a rule that the metronome is the final word. Time is a touchy subject. It's a minefield.
 

Patoloco714

Junior Member
I really think a lot of "other" players use the drummer as a scapegoat to shift the blame away from them.

Unless the person critiquing you has beautiful time....meaning they can play to a metronome easily and effortlessly all the time, don't even listen to them. They will only make you question yourself. Questioning your own time is a surefire recipe for disaster. If a person with bad time is critiquing you, they need to prove their superior sense of time to you. (use tact) Ask them play their part alone to the metronome. In fact everyone should play their part alone to see where the problem lies. If they resist, or won't agree to that.... that's when I would totally go on the (tactful) offensive. I'd call them out on that and NOT allow them to get away with it. It's just not right. 100% honesty and accountability about individual time skills is the only way this problem will work itself out. I'm betting egos will be a major obstacle. There should be a rule that the metronome is the final word. Time is a touchy subject. It's a minefield.
You touched on the biggest obstacle of this band in general. EGO! I’ll leave it at that. 😬
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If you are actually the problem....them playing without you...to a click...should prove that out, one way or the other.

Oh they can't play without a drummer? Why not? They are supposed to be able to play their part without anyone else.

If you are sure the major time fluctuations are not your doing, then they need to man up here. You are the only one who can (nicely) force that issue, unless they are cool and realize it on their own.

I'm guessing that's not gonna happen.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
Music, being a cooperative conversation, the other members of the band might be trying to interpret a different feel from what they are hearing.

Since it's a cover band, the BPM can be easily found from the original. Use the LiveBPM app.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Man this reminds me of my last "band" effort. Whatever you do stick to your guns keeping good time. The last band I was in the singer and I decided if you can't beat them (after trying and trying) join them which just made it all worse-we both quit after a few sessions of that-we recorded it and the bass player and guitar never really noticed just how bad it was. I've noticed some people grab an instrument and they start playing for them (you are just peripheral noise) others pick up one and play with you-wait did that come out right? You know what I mean. Hopefully
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Music, being a cooperative conversation, the other members of the band might be trying to interpret a different feel from what they are hearing.

Since it's a cover band, the BPM can be easily found from the original. Use the LiveBPM app.
Yes, download LiveBPM to your smart phone. I use it when ever I play with musicians I have never played with before. Especially at rehearsals.
It helps me maintain the tempo. Or at least I know that the tempo has changed a bit.
Don't stress out about a 2 or 3 Beats Per Minute variation at like 80 BPM.


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Patoloco714

Junior Member
Music, being a cooperative conversation, the other members of the band might be trying to interpret a different feel from what they are hearing.

Since it's a cover band, the BPM can be easily found from the original. Use the LiveBPM app.
Ah, if only it were that easy. This guy refuses to play the “cover” songs at the normal speeds cuz “people like to dance”. �� he likes about 5 bpm faster. ����*♀️
 
If your sure you playing in time , stick to your guns . Everyone has to be willing to figure out the problem together. They even have you questioning yourself so at least your open to the fact it might be you. But going on the info in your post alone it probably isn’t . Sounds like you all need to sit down and talk. It can be a rough go sometimes but if your sure it’s not you, you gotta make em see it . All else fails , hang this poster behind your kit , or it also comes as a t shirt .
 

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brentcn

Platinum Member
Ah, if only it were that easy. This guy refuses to play the “cover” songs at the normal speeds cuz “people like to dance”. �� he likes about 5 bpm faster. ����*♀
Well, 5 bpm is a bit much, but he actually makes an excellent point. Most bands speed up tunes slightly in a live setting, because it does add some energy. Two to four bpm is usually enough, but it really depends on the song. Some songs have syncopated, funky rhythms and really shouldn't be sped up much, if at all, because they loose their groove. But most rock/disco/pop tunes that have primarily 8th note rhythms -- yeah you can speed those up a few bpms. Inexperienced bands will do this instinctively, but to an annoying degree. More experienced bands will speed or slow down, but to a lesser degree.

It's perhaps beyond the scope of this discussion, but it's pretty common these days for songs to have choruses and bridges that are 1 or 2 bpm faster than the verses. Lady Gaga is a good example. So when your guy feels like there should be a bit of an acceleration at the chorus -- that's a very reasonable thing. Big name artists and high-end corporate/event bands are known to design their backing tracks so that they speed up a bit during the more energetic parts of the songs.

It's pretty easy to create metronome tracks that have slight tempo changes throughout the song. But, of course, it will lock the band into playing the exact same arrangement, night after night.

I do sing, play guitar, bass, uke, etc.
The band that has a drummer who also plays something else is very lucky!
 
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