My band drama

Channing

Member
Yesterday at practice we had a talk and it went surprisingly well. I told them that I wanted to nail down all the song structures before our next show and play them just like the recordings, and everyone in the band agreed with me, even the singer!! So.. that was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Now just have to wait and see whether everyone does their homework or not.
 

TMe

Senior Member
Is this normal?
If you're in a garage band, it's completely normal.

He wanted me to play it so fast that I had to completely change the drum beat…
Most singers/musicians don't understand that a drummer can't simply play the same thing at a radically different tempo.

The same part at a different tempo might be outside a drummer's range, the same way a different key might be outside a singer's range. Even if the drummer has enough range to make the change, the same part might sound dreadful at a different tempo.

I explained to my band that I could write three different versions of every song, but then we'd have to practice all three versions of every song, and none of us has enough time for that.

The use of the word "no" is warranted here.
I attended a seminar where the speaker said the first rule of being assertive is "Never accept a no-win situation". If it isn't going to work, just say "No." That isn't being bossy or aggressive, that's just being realistic.
 
Last edited:

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
A couple days ago it was our last rehearsal before a show and we start playing one of the songs and he just keeps motioning for me to play faster, and I knew I was playing at the right tempo per a recording we’d made a couple weeks before for us to all practice to. He wanted me to play it so fast that I had to completely change the drum beat because the entire feel of the song changed. [...] with the new tempo I ended up playing just straight rock beat on the ride, so boring and way way faster and just totally destroyed everything cool about the song.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7o40za1wAlI


:)
 

DR650s

Junior Member
I've had this issue previously where the singer thought that we should be able to improvise changes to song structure based on some vague signals he would make up as he went along.
As the drummer I told him that I need to drive/signal the changes in the song and if i didn't know where these changes were I could not do what I consider to be part of my job, and we eventually agreed on the song structure, but eventually that singer was asked to leave the band as he had a real ego that out sized his ability.

As a drummer I feel part of what i do is build up the song before certain changes and then calm things down for say the verse. One of the compliments I have had about my drumming is that the rest of the band can follow the changes from what i play.

As far as i'm concerned I want to know the starts, the stops and transitions, these are the most important things for me after the groove. During a gig things will go wrong, the last gig i did i could hardly hear the lead guitar but the rhythm guitar was very loud and the last thing I want is the singer waving his arms around thinking he can improvise and everyone in the band will follow him. In that situation knowing the song structure meant we still stayed tight. Once a band has been playing together for years they will start to know where maybe they can start to lengthen a song if its going well or shorten it if its not, but they need to be playing together for years for this to happen, or be very experienced musicians.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I think a big part of the problem with the singer is that he's in multiple bands so he doesn't really want to take the time or put the effort into this one to memorize the song structures or listen to the recordings, so him being able to cue all the changes gets him off the hook of actually having to learn how the songs go.
I work with a singer that does the same thing. Or maybe she just forgets lyrics or when to start a verse. I learned to just keep playing. She will start singing eventually.
 

Channing

Member
Thanks for the great replies everyone. We played the show. It went ok, but we definitely had some train wrecks where people weren't playing the right part or didn't change over at the right time. I think that I'm going to have a talk with everyone in my band and just tell them all that I really don't like performing this way; I'd like to have the song structure nailed down before we go on stage and not deviate from it. If they want to practice trying to cue each other and change things up we can do that in practice but for now we aren't good enough at it to be doing it on stage, it's embarrassing because we mess up so much. A couple of my friends who were at the show and I trust enough to be honest with me told me they could tell we were struggling with the song structures.
 
Last edited:
While this is true, that band has been together so long that it's a different situation from the one that is the topic of this discussion. I don't think you can compare them with each other.

I think it's incredibly inconsiderate for anyone to even suggest such a thing....changing the song around...right before you go on? Really? They must be insane, right?

Again, no is your good friend here.
Yes, absolutely. Completely different scenarios . Can’t realky compare the two . You’re talking more seasoned professional musicians that have been together a long time and knew what they were getting into and have the same mindset . My guitarist brother and I played together forever from pre teen all the way up to his death at 37 18 years ago . We would change things up all the time and played together so long I actually could read his mind and or take his cues for stops , solo’s ( his and mine ) , choruses, bridges , and intros and outros. But that comes with hours of jamming and playing together . Barring this, It can be done , but should be worked on and discussed before hand and agreed upon and not last minute unless everyone is capable . In this case I have to agree with Larry, ....... No ( nicely and tactfully) is your friend here . Good luck .
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Some bands (Grateful Dead) change arrangements almost every time the perform the song. Maybe it takes a certain kind of musician to be comfortable with that.
While this is true, that band has been together so long that it's a different situation from the one that is the topic of this discussion. I don't think you can compare them with each other.

I think it's incredibly inconsiderate for anyone to even suggest such a thing....changing the song around...right before you go on? Really? They must be insane, right?

Again, no is your good friend here.
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
Some bands (Grateful Dead) change arrangements almost every time the perform the song. Maybe it takes a certain kind of musician to be comfortable with that.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
If I was into drama I’d be an actor-music can be dramatic but drama with musicians would be counter to such goal. I’d mention I’m not a mind reader either.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..Well then, for the show's purpose, I'd probably have to go along with it.

But I guarantee it will be discussed on break..

From what i understand the gig from thread starter still has to come, but personally i am definitely not a fan of having arguments or big discussions when the show still has to go on after a break..

Such things can ruin the rest of the gig pretty big in my experience..

Maybe other people have better results with this, but i would not recommend that..
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
The use of the word "no" is warranted here.

Just no, period.

You won't take part in it.

It's for the greater good.

Ask him to change the lyrics 3 seconds before he sings them and check out how he behaves.

Why do we think we need to go along with this craziness? We don't.

No is a great word.
If no doesn't work then there's and old two word saying that centres around sex and travelling. Ends in off!

Another case of lead singer disorder!
 

cbphoto

Gold Member
If you’re newer at being in bands, and really enjoy it, it’s easy to get into the “get along to go along” habit. But unless you’re a hired gun, or earning a living at it, it’s better to gently but firmly stand up for yourself.

If the band goes long term, and you set the trend of never putting your foot down, you're gonna be building up some serious resentment. It’ll come to a head someday, and probably at the worst possible moment.
Dang! Wise words here. ^
 

Jbravo

Senior Member
If you’re newer at being in bands, and really enjoy it, it’s easy to get into the “get along to go along” habit. But unless you’re a hired gun, or earning a living at it, it’s better to gently but firmly stand up for yourself.

If the band goes long term, and you set the trend of never putting your foot down, you're gonna be building up some serious resentment. It’ll come to a head someday, and probably at the worst possible moment.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
You learn it one way and you want to change it now? Really? No fn way. It's completely unprofessional, so no.
Exactly. There's no excuse for not behaving like a pro. It has nothing to do with the amount of money (if any) being made - it's respect and commitment to the songs, and fellow players, and audience that every band wants to attract and impress. It has little to do with age or experience either. It's about caring, and that's rooted in us long before we get into bands.

Bermuda
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
When certain things cross your own personal lines, if they are not respectfully called out, and you accept them, you feel scummy.

He is majorly affecting you at the worst possible moment. He is the offending party here, not you.

There's a better way. Go on the offensive. Nicely of course.

This is a perfect opportunity to rightfully empower yourself. I highly recommend it. Stand up.

To be fair, I learned this just recently and have just started employing it this year.

It feels good.

Finally.

People treat you...how you treat yourself, for real.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
That's great in theory, but what do you do if the singer decides at the show to start off the song at his own pace and not at the tempo the song was written and rehearsed at?

Well then, for the show's purpose, I'd probably have to go along with it.

But I guarantee it will be discussed on break.

But if it's discussed first? You learn it one way and you want to change it now? Really? No fn way. It's completely unprofessional, so no.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
The use of the word "no" is warranted here.

Just no, period.

You won't take part in it.

It's for the greater good.

Ask him to change the lyrics 3 seconds before he sings them and check out how he behaves.

Why do we think we need to go along with this craziness?

No is a great word.
That's great in theory, but what do you do if the singer decides at the show to start off the song at his own pace and not at the tempo the song was written and rehearsed at?
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The use of the word "no" is warranted here.

Just no, period.

You won't take part in it.

It's for the greater good.

Ask him to change the lyrics 3 seconds before he sings them and check out how he behaves.

Why do we think we need to go along with this craziness? We don't.

No is a great word.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
There are actually bands that improvise live outside of jazz, but that's a conscious decision and the members all know what they signed up for. It also involves an incredible amount of communication, musicianship, maturity, and lack of ego to make it work properly.

As the 'forward face' of a band, singers and/or guitarists often assume they're the leader, even if it's completely unwarranted for them based on lack of any or all of those previously mentioned attributes. You should be crystal clear with him about your perspective on the experience you mentioned, and watch what the response is. In his mind he may have had a good reason for doing what he was doing and honestly couldn't see what it did to your part. It's also possible that he didn't care at all, because as far as he's concerned it's his show.

Either way, be up front with him is my advice.
 
Top