good drummer or not?

mauskopf

Junior Member
Hi there!

I'm a bit confused here and hope you guys can help.

I'm setting up my band at the moment, everyone is very experienced and talented and I desperately need to find a distinctive drummer to get a deal with a label.

They have requested a demo, the sound quality didn't matter to them, as all they wanted to hear was the basics and then get us recorded professionally after.

I had never played with this drummer before, we booked a rehearsal room and tried to do a rough recording of him with a laptop and dynamic mic and headphones.

The drummer totally sucked! Nothing got done despite spending hours there.

We then gave him the boot, but he claims that it's virtually impossible for a drummer to record a drum track over an existing guitar and vocal...this doesn't really make sense to me. I have worked in a recording studio about 5 years ago and don't remember anyone ever complaining about this or saying they can't do it.

What do you guys say? Am I being unreasonable or is he being a weirdo?

Sorry about the long message, I'm grateful for any help!
 

pwrplay

Junior Member
Am I correct to assume all the time was spent trying to record from pre-recorded guitar and vocal tracks? If no time was spent rehearsing the song together with the band and he had no charts to work off of, it can be difficult , but not impossible depending on the complexity of the material.

Did he have a click track to reference during recording? That would help allot.
 

mauskopf

Junior Member
Am I correct to assume all the time was spent trying to record from pre-recorded guitar and vocal tracks? If no time was spent rehearsing the song together with the band and he had no charts to work off of, it can be difficult , but not impossible depending on the complexity of the material.

Did he have a click track to reference during recording? That would help allot.
Yes, all the time was spent just to record drums. He had all the tracks sent to him weeks in advance to practice along to.
There was no pre-rehearsal, as we needed to get this demo out quite quickly, but the drummer had a choice of click track as well as drum loops which we used to record the songs to begin with.
I wouldn't say the material is overly complex either, we have catch pop melodies, guitars are heavy though.
 

pwrplay

Junior Member
Ahh.. Well if he did have the tracks well in advance to practice and he had loops and a click track to reference for tempo, then I'd say keep looking for another drummer.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
This is a situation most of us would be happy to find ourselves in. Drumless tracks that are pre-arranged are definitely not impossible to play along to. I would even venture to say they are not even very difficult to play to. With several weeks to work with the tracks a good drummer should be able to knock them out of the park.

Maybe a good way for you to go would be to find a drummer with a studio and give him the tracks. Let him play along to them and get creative without people standing over his shoulder. You may get better results that way. Remember, the guy who records the drum tracks on the demo does not have to be the guy you hire as the drummer in your band. The label will never know the difference.

Good luck.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
You should have been able to come up with a drum track that was good in a short while.

I have people that I play with email me tracks of drummer-less songs with a click track frequently.
I use garage band and just a single usb mic to add some pretty good drum tracks.

We learn new songs this way.
We email the song around to everyone and we all add our parts.
We then share the completed tune with each other.
Its fun!
This way when we meet at practice to play, we all know the new song.

It's not hard at all for us to experiment with the tune for a while on our own until we come up with a good track of our part.
It is actually easier because you don't have the distraction of having the whole band there.
 

Travis22

Senior Member
You should have been able to come up with a drum track that was good in a short while.

I have people that I play with email me tracks of drummer-less songs with a click track frequently.
I use garage band and just a single usb mic to add some pretty good drum tracks.

We learn new songs this way.
We email the song around to everyone and we all add our parts.
We then share the completed tune with each other.
Its fun!
This way when we meet at practice to play, we all know the new song.

It's not hard at all for us to experiment with the tune for a while on our own until we come up with a good track of our part.
It is actually easier because you don't have the distraction of having the whole band there.
Not to get off the topic, but Bob that's a great idea! We record our practice sessions with an 8 channel recording board, but when we are taking a break or on vacation, it's always a stand still for a few weeks. Doing this would be a great idea to help that, plus it'll help when it does come time to record the songs for real.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
View attachment Summertime w drums.mp3
Not to get off the topic, but Bob that's a great idea! We record our practice sessions with an 8 channel recording board, but when we are taking a break or on vacation, it's always a stand still for a few weeks. Doing this would be a great idea to help that, plus it'll help when it does come time to record the songs for real.
Here is a song that was sent to me that I put a quick drum track on.
I spent just a few mins on this tune just to get something down.
 

Attachments

PQleyR

Platinum Member
The only thing that would make this difficult is poor headphone monitoring. If you can't hear what you're playing along to, then it is quite tricky.

Otherwise, though, if you've got a click there's no excuse. Even without a click you can put down a decent track, I've done that before with perfectly good results.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
A lot of ifs here, but....

...IF the tempo on the guitars and vocal tracks was faltering all over the place...
...IF the drummer could not clearly make out what was going on in the piece...
...IF the recording situation was not conducive to creative expression...

... then yes, it would be very difficult (note I didn't say impossible) to lay a drum track over that preexisting drumless track.

However, reading your post carefully, it seems that you had all these bases covered. The guy who you had in there looks to me like he said "this is impossible" because HE couldn't do it.

Bermuda hosts threads right here on the forums where he posts drumless tracks for people to play along with. If it were "impossible", what would be the point?

Hopefully you didn't burn too much money on studio time with this guy. I'm with Eclipseownzu - find a reliable studio drummer. Or simply PM Bob or me or somebody to do it for you with our setups. I myself do the same thing... dynamic mic straight into Audacity on a laptop. Then look for a drummer to play with you live... and he might be the guy you take into the studio for real.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
I'm setting up my band at the moment, everyone is very experienced and talented and I desperately need to find a distinctive drummer to get a deal with a label.

They have requested a demo, the sound quality didn't matter to them, as all they wanted to hear was the basics and then get us recorded professionally after.

I had never played with this drummer before, we booked a rehearsal room and tried to do a rough recording of him with a laptop and dynamic mic and headphones.

The drummer totally sucked! Nothing got done despite spending hours there.

We then gave him the boot, but he claims that it's virtually impossible for a drummer to record a drum track over an existing guitar and vocal...this doesn't really make sense to me. I have worked in a recording studio about 5 years ago and don't remember anyone ever complaining about this or saying they can't do it.

What do you guys say? Am I being unreasonable or is he being a weirdo?
I probably don't need to suggest that in the future you don't go into the studio with musicians who are totally unknown to you. Recording that way is not exactly standard practice, but it's not impossible, especially if there's a click. I have done it without one, and I remember having to thread a couple of needles to get a decent take- the other tracks were less than 100% on the money, and there was an unusual tempo change.

I'm curious how this thing with the label came about, if you don't mind me asking. It's unusual for a legitimate label to request a demo from an unrecorded, apparently non-working band. It kind of sounds like someone fishing for business, honestly.
 

mauskopf

Junior Member
You should have been able to come up with a drum track that was good in a short while.

I have people that I play with email me tracks of drummer-less songs with a click track frequently.
I use garage band and just a single usb mic to add some pretty good drum tracks.

We learn new songs this way.
We email the song around to everyone and we all add our parts.
We then share the completed tune with each other.
Its fun!
This way when we meet at practice to play, we all know the new song.

It's not hard at all for us to experiment with the tune for a while on our own until we come up with a good track of our part.
It is actually easier because you don't have the distraction of having the whole band there.
Hello Bob,

thanks for your help, that's exactly how I work with my band, we all add our bits at home and practice at home, THEN meet up for rehearsal.It's much more effective that way and saves time and money. Just need to find a drummer who is happy working this way too. The drummer I mentioned doesn't have the facilities to practice outside of rehearsal, I guess that doesn't help with trying to record, though he should have mentioned that to us before.
 

mauskopf

Junior Member
I probably don't need to suggest that in the future you don't go into the studio with musicians who are totally unknown to you. Recording that way is not exactly standard practice, but it's not impossible, especially if there's a click. I have done it without one, and I remember having to thread a couple of needles to get a decent take- the other tracks were less than 100% on the money, and there was an unusual tempo change.

I'm curious how this thing with the label came about, if you don't mind me asking. It's unusual for a legitimate label to request a demo from an unrecorded, apparently non-working band. It kind of sounds like someone fishing for business, honestly.

Hi, the drummer wasn't totally unknown to us, he did send a recording before we went to record him, on which he sounded fine. He didn't however tell us that those recordings were only good because he went through weeks and weeks of rehearsals with that band to make it sound this way.He doesn't have proper recording experience, and can't practice at home. The entire band practices at home and we know our stuff before we go to rehearsals, so his way of working wasn't like ours and would slow us down. What annoyed me was that he said he could do it all and clearly couldn't keep a tempo, so the whole meet up was pointless.

The thing with the label & publishing company is a long story. I'm a vocalist and songwriter and worked with this A&R throughout this year. He's never "stolen" any of my songs and I have had several meetings with him before this band. I guess it's sort of like a good contact I have now. He sees potential in the songs and knows all it needs is a good act to perform them. So after lots of meetings and talks we came to the conclusion rather than finding an artist to perform the songs I wrote, he said I should get my own band together and send him a demo. If we manage to hit the nail on the head he's going to help us record a decent demo and then send it off to his contacts.

So don't worry, this is sort of like a favour he's doing us, that's why it's unusual. My part of the deal is to get the band together and write good songs and sing them.

Hope this makes sense :)
 

mauskopf

Junior Member
Just wanted to say thanks again for everyone's replies and help!

I found exaclty what I was looking for, decent drummers to confirm the way we work is not impossible or way too hard to do for a drummer.

This drummer couldn't record to a click, plus the tracks we provided him with were all in perfect timing as we used a drum program to record them, so there really wasn't an excuse.

I'm gonna have to keep looking, if anyone happens to look for a band and lives near Bristol, UK, give me a shout! :)
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
Hi, the drummer wasn't totally unknown to us, he did send a recording before we went to record him, on which he sounded fine. He didn't however tell us that those recordings were only good because he went through weeks and weeks of rehearsals with that band to make it sound this way.He doesn't have proper recording experience, and can't practice at home. The entire band practices at home and we know our stuff before we go to rehearsals, so his way of working wasn't like ours and would slow us down. What annoyed me was that he said he could do it all and clearly couldn't keep a tempo, so the whole meet up was pointless.
Right, I figured you called him for a reason. Time to beef up that rolodex, I guess!

The thing with the label & publishing company is a long story. I'm a vocalist and songwriter and worked with this A&R throughout this year. He's never "stolen" any of my songs and I have had several meetings with him before this band. I guess it's sort of like a good contact I have now. He sees potential in the songs and knows all it needs is a good act to perform them. So after lots of meetings and talks we came to the conclusion rather than finding an artist to perform the songs I wrote, he said I should get my own band together and send him a demo. If we manage to hit the nail on the head he's going to help us record a decent demo and then send it off to his contacts.

So don't worry, this is sort of like a favour he's doing us, that's why it's unusual. My part of the deal is to get the band together and write good songs and sing them.
Good, glad to hear it. I keep hearing about fishy-sounding deals from marginal industry people, aimed at ambitious but inexperienced musicians, so I'm a little wary of anything out of the ordinary. Best of luck with this!
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
Yes, all the time was spent just to record drums. He had all the tracks sent to him weeks in advance to practice along to.
There was no pre-rehearsal, as we needed to get this demo out quite quickly, but the drummer had a choice of click track as well as drum loops which we used to record the songs to begin with.
I wouldn't say the material is overly complex either, we have catch pop melodies, guitars are heavy though.
This "drummer" sounds pretty worthless. You sent him the tracks weeks ago and he didn't learn the songs??? Then feeds you this line about no one being able to record over prerecorded tracks?

I am surprised you still want a real drummer after this. A drum machine can do a decent enough job for many kinds of music without the stunning incompetence this clown showed.

You need to think also about your professional standards. If you truly are at the threshold of something big, consider how you go about finding other musicians who are ready for this. How did you find this "drummer" and what criteria did you use? You sound inexperienced but you have some blame in this as well. This has Craigslist fiasco written all over it.
 

mauskopf

Junior Member
This "drummer" sounds pretty worthless. You sent him the tracks weeks ago and he didn't learn the songs??? Then feeds you this line about no one being able to record over prerecorded tracks?

I am surprised you still want a real drummer after this. A drum machine can do a decent enough job for many kinds of music without the stunning incompetence this clown showed.

You need to think also about your professional standards. If you truly are at the threshold of something big, consider how you go about finding other musicians who are ready for this. How did you find this "drummer" and what criteria did you use? You sound inexperienced but you have some blame in this as well. This has Craigslist fiasco written all over it.

Like I said. We need a drummer to complete the band. We recorded the demo without him, yes that's easy enough. But what about gigs? I may come across as inexperienced to you, I may be in some ways when it comes to gigging but in others I am not. I have years of studio work on my back, am a professionally trained vocalist and songwriter. The rest of my band is well experienced in their areas, but how can you know that someone can't pull off in the studio what they claim to have done on recent tracks they have sent you? There is only one way, to actually meet up and hear it and record it. And it failed. So I'm not sure how we are to blame in this? I'm sorry. I disagree. You can't really be saved from liars,

We placed ads for drummers locally, on the net and everywhere, clearly stating they need to be able to record to clicks, learn tracks in their own time...obvious stuff really.

Since I am not a drummer, I came here to ask around how others work, to proove to this guy that he is wrong. It makes more sense when drummers confirm this than just me saying it if you catch my drift.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
A lot of ifs here, but....

...IF the tempo on the guitars and vocal tracks was faltering all over the place...
...IF the drummer could not clearly make out what was going on in the piece...
...IF the recording situation was not conducive to creative expression...

... then yes, it would be very difficult (note I didn't say impossible) to lay a drum track over that preexisting drumless track.

However, reading your post carefully, it seems that you had all these bases covered. The guy who you had in there looks to me like he said "this is impossible" because HE couldn't do it.

Bermuda hosts threads right here on the forums where he posts drumless tracks for people to play along with. If it were "impossible", what would be the point?
Al, I agree with this.

And yes, it's a whole lot easier to sound good with heaps of rehearsal than not. Mauskopf, if I was in your situation I'd have set up some auditions before recording so the drummer/s could get a feel for the way the band plays, and also it would help you work out if the chemistry was there.

Otherwise, for a one-off demo you'd do better to hire a local session player. If the takes were recorded with a click, then that's a session player's bread and butter.
 
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