Sitting in (deputising) for another drummer


Platinum Member
I agree with just about everything said here.Play for the music and don't overplay,keep your ears open,your mouth shut except to make cordial conversation,and thank everyone for an opportunity to play with such an excellent group of musicians.Have a pint or two and politely leave your personal info(a business card would be great) and consider yourself fortunate to be asked to play.You don't want to ruffel any feathers because bad news travels fast.Churchhill said"a lie travels around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on".Good luck.

Steve B


Gold Member
Do what is said here and you'll be fine. Don't go into it with the idea of taking the other drummer's gig. Would you like that if it happened to you?

Seriously, around D/FW there are some drummers who seem to want to do just that. Sub then start bad mouthing or trying to show off in hopes of screwing the other guy out of a job.

One drummer I went through all 4 years of HS drum line with flunked out of North Texas State's music department (now UNT) and went to Vegas, couldn't make it there, came back to D/FW and was such as jerk about trying to prove himself better than the other guy, nobody wants to play with him or wants him around.

Don't be that guy.


Silver Member
play your best, and look at her butt all night if she's good lookin'. :) if she looks like rosanne barr, just play your best. :)


Silver Member
As the others said it's not about you. In this case for you it's just about the money. I would ask questions pertaining to beginning/ending of songs and any cues their normal drummer provides for them. Beyond that I'd just smile and thank them for the money and leave your contact number when you go.


Silver Member
Depping is depping not trying to nick the other drummers spot and should be approached bearing that in mind.
Whatever the circumstances ie your own band, studio work or depping you're there to add and contibute to the music in the best way that you possibly can and keep time so if you think you play best with your own approach go that route.
If the band then want you play with them again that's up to them but it may just be they need a one off fill in for this paticular gig.
They may ask you to fill in regularily, they may not need you again or they may be having problems with their drummer and think this is a good way to try out alternatives
BUT you should be going in with a do the best you can approach for the music rather than "is this an opportunity" and see where it goes from there but may be nothing more than he just can't make that gig but he's firmly back in the saddle for the next one.


"Uncle Larry"
So it's a mixture of proving yourself and not wanting to be seen to be taking another drummers' place.
This is wrong thinking. It's not about you at all. It's about the music first and everybody else but you second. You're not even on the list. Just play the music as grooving as you can, smile and keep your mouth shut.

Do not try to impress, prove yourself or show off. Instead be humble, all ears, no mouth, with a can do attitude. Don't ask questions unless it's absolutely necessary, it can be seen as an annoyance.

If you play the music well and don't try to impress or prove yourself you will succeed in impressing and proving yourself. It's backwards.


Platinum Member
Agree with SOG. Just help get the music sounding good. That way everyone wins, no matter what.

Generally bands have built up relationships and, unless the group has had a problem with the drummer, then a fill-in will be just be a one-off ... hey we had fun, see you later. Whenever I've filled in I never thought about replacing the incumbent - I just turned up and did my best.


Senior Member
Networking is critically important in music just as it is in other areas of life, to me filling in for another drummer is a chance to do just that, network. Get to know the other musicians and establish you can play, not show off, but play for the music and the band you are subbing for.
Countless stories of successful drummers who got the "big gig" because they were heard, seen and considered professional and NOT pushy and a show off (just read Modern Drummer and the like).

I wouldn't go in trying to show how much better you are than the existing drummer, #1 - you don't know how good he/she is, #2 - you don't know his/her connections to the other musicians, #3 - you are the substitute, if you are indeed a better musician/drummer it will be obvious from your ability to keep time, play the music, get along with the band, etc.

Enjoy the opportunity, be confident in your abilities but don't go in with the aim of replacing anyone full time. If that is meant to be it will be the band's idea, not yours.

Have fun (too often forgotten)!


Gold Member
I was just wondering about the protocol. There is a covers band with a very very good lead female singer. The drummer can't make a company function and so I have been asked to deputise.

I don't want to blow the guy out of the water (I wish), but I want to be professional and fit in as well. So it's a mixture of proving yourself and not wanting to be seen to be taking another drummers' place. PS I don't know the other drummer at all.

Is it best to just do your own thing and play it cool, or is this an opportunity?