Deluding ourselves

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
So I had a gig on Saturday night, I thought we did pretty good as usual, but listening back I was finding little issues all over the place, slightly fast tempos, too many crashes, crashing too hard in some places, too much drums, not enough space...And I thought I was leaving space at the time! Arrrggghh! Frustration!

Making a drumset sound silky smooth is just so damn elusive!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Larry, I know the feeling.

When we do minor stuffups at gigs we sense it at the time but let it go immediately because we are moving along with the song. The feedback we get from audiences both in the vibe during the gig and in comments made afterwards is based on whether we get the vast majority sounding good rather than the small elements done sub-optimally. Recordings are less forgiving.

What can we do? I guess just hear the recording, note the things we want to improve and chip away at them. Once we get them sorted out there's *always* another batch of things waiting for us to work on. I'd worry if I thought I'd performed a song perfectly because then I'd be tempted to recreate that performance rather than doing a fresh one. Of course, there's no risk of that happening :)
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
That feeling never goes away Larry! Why do you think that they edit, overdub, and mix album recordings! There will always be that heavy blow to the snare or that uneven ride, etc,in a live performance.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I hear all of what you are saying, but it's the fact that at the time, I didn't realize I was playing to fast, too hard, too busy, too whatever. That's the part that bugs me. The not realizing it when it's happening aspect of it
 

razorx

Platinum Member
Recording yourself and then playing it back can help you find your faults as a drummer and as a band and then you can fix them. It works for me.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Oh heck, it just comes down to playing more, getting used to the whole thing of playing live and doing a good job. I don't think any amount of practice can prepare you for that.
All this theory about how drumming is supposed to be is pretty much useless when you're on the stand playing with a band. Getting that down is a whole other thing.
Don't kick yourself. The next time you're "out in the field" listen to what's happening and make yourself blend into it. Be a part of it. Lock in with the bass player. Stay where you are until you have to do something else. Simplify. Play musicially. Play for the music.
Don't play the drums, play the music.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Larry, are you sure you didn't notice or that you didn't remember noticing? Sometimes I think I've played a song well and look forward to hearing the tape and when I hear a blunder played back it brings back that little "oh faeces!" moment I felt when I did it.

Do you remember feeling any of those little moments of discord during the gig?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
On the songs I played too fast, no. On the songs I played too busy, no. On the songs I played too loud? no. Didn't realize it. Not present and accounted for. Mentally slacking, not where I should be.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
On the songs I played too fast, no. On the songs I played too busy, no. On the songs I played too loud? no. Didn't realize it. Not present and accounted for. Mentally slacking, not where I should be.
Okay. Why do you think that you weren't where you should be?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Don't kick yourself. The next time you're "out in the field" listen to what's happening and make yourself blend into it. Be a part of it. Lock in with the bass player. Stay where you are until you have to do something else. Simplify. Play musicially. Play for the music.
Don't play the drums, play the music.
A great thread topic and a great response. Lovin' it :)
 

harryconway

Platinum Member
......I was finding little issues all over the place.......
It's called "being human". 90+% of your audience probably never caught any of it. We are almost always our own worst critics (those of us that care, anyways). Just keep playing, and enjoy playing, and it'll all be OK.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
There's nothing as soul destroying as hearing yourself recorded for the first time.
...or the second... or third... or fourth...

Analysing my own performances is some of the most disheartening things I ever find myself doing. However, at the same time, it's probably the most constructive thing as well. I can hear clearly what I'm doing wrong (which in my case is usually timing issues on the kick drum and ghost notes, and seriously speeding up in fills, along with more general stuff like trying to improve grooves, dynamics and trying to come up with more inventive fills).
 

Dedworx

Senior Member
to me it sounds like maybe thinking of the drum part first, then the music as the whole second. possibly getting lost in your own playing, or fill, or drum part. if you hear the song you are playing as a whole, as your main focus, and then what you're playing as the next thing it might help you avoid doing the things you listed that you were unhappy with. you'll hear the whole tune speed up if it does, or hear more clearly whether its a moment to play something busy or to lay back to get the best feel.

if your focus is on the tune, you'll hear more clearly your effect on it and be able to react how you wish.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Okay. Why do you think that you weren't where you should be?
Because if I was, I wouldn'tt have issues with it. Hey, I'm not down in the dumps or anything, and I really appreciate everyone's comments, I just don't like it when I'm not aware when I'm doing something sub par.
Dedworx made a good point, about playing the song, not the drum part. At those times in question, I guess the big picture was out of focus.
 

dairyairman

Platinum Member
i kind of laughed when i read about the problems you're talking about. they're so minor! when i listen back to a live recording i'm usually pretty happy if there are no blown transitions, missed endings, missed backbeats, or other really glaring mess ups.
 
B

Big_Philly

Guest
Overplaying in a live situation is a very real danger, but I do think in a live situation it is harder to overplay than on a recording. At a live show, people will generally be more tolerant of "showing off" by any musician. Most people -if they even notice- will think about or talk about the drummer that showed off a little as a good thing.

As for the tempo, you could use a metronome to help you count off a song. Just look at the metronome for one or two bars, click your sticks along to it to get the song started and then go (understand what I mean? My english can be a little sketchy at times). What I usually do rarely fails for me: I take a second to play the song in my head and get into that tempo. this may be a small interruption in the continuity of your gig but that's not as big a problem as a rushed song.
But even for the issue of tempo's, most people won't notice or won't mind.

Dynamics is just the hardest thing ever for a drummer. We just have an immense amount of volume at our disposal and don't even need to break a sweat (or turn a knob) to overpower the rest of the band. In the heat of the moment when a gig is going well it's just too easy to let go and play too darn hard...
 

freebirdgdw

Silver Member
Because if I was, I wouldn'tt have issues with it. Hey, I'm not down in the dumps or anything, and I really appreciate everyone's comments, I just don't like it when I'm not aware when I'm doing something sub par.
Dedworx made a good point, about playing the song, not the drum part. At those times in question, I guess the big picture was out of focus.
I agree with playing the song not the drums. It shouldn't be:

'okay, right hand, 1, 2, 3, 4 on hi-hats, now apply pressure with right foot on the 1 and 3 and downward motion with my left hand onto the snare on 2 and 4. Four bars then fill.'

...etc, etc like a robot. Listening to the song as an audience member almost and looking around at what's going on will make it feel more natural.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Mentally slacking, not where I should be.
So describe, in your own terms, the place where you should have been.
I don't mean this as a challenge. I do think that if you can pin-point that place where you think should be then you'll have a much better chance of getting there, no?
 

RogerLudwig

Senior Member
...or the second... or third... or fourth...

Analysing my own performances is some of the most disheartening things I ever find myself doing. However, at the same time, it's probably the most constructive thing as well. I can hear clearly what I'm doing wrong (which in my case is usually timing issues on the kick drum and ghost notes, and seriously speeding up in fills, along with more general stuff like trying to improve grooves, dynamics and trying to come up with more inventive fills).
this couldn't be more right on. the hardest thing I do is listen to recordings of my band since I'm always my own worst critics. That said, I learn as much if not more from those experiences as I do from hours of practicing paradiddles. In a perfect world I would play the song, not the drums...but its hard to do. At least now you know what you need to listen for when playing.

Most of the listening public doesn't have a clue that you're unhappy with a missed snare pop or cymbal crash unless the error is terribly great, and if a fellow drummer hears it, well, we've all been there...fellow drummers should be the most forgiving of listeners if they have half a heart.
 
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