Very well put Larry. Love the "lines down the road analogy", gonna pinch that for a discussion with one of my bands (definite time issues to sort out) tomorrow.Even though it's not an ideal situation, learning to play behind players that are lacking...that can really strengthen your thinking on the bandstand. It sucks to have to endure others shortcomings, but it ideally strengthens a drummers resolve.
I've been in jam situations where the 2 guitar players were all lacking in the "team player" skillset....playing for themselves...with a bass player that would play so far ahead of the beat, it was almost a full 8th note ahead lol. In that situation all I personally could do was to not clutter things up and JKT. (just keep time), and utilize dynamics.
Afterwards, I was complimented by a truly great bass player, and I was like "really?" All I could do was not add to the chaos and try to keep it as steady as I could.
The moral of the story is that everyone can kind of suck, as long as the drums aren't part of that, it can still carry the whole band. I tell you what, JKT gets a bad rap. Which is completely backwards. JKT is one of the best things a drummer can do. Also elusive, because drummers think they have to do more, and they mess it up because they think they aren't trying hard enough or something. I went through it too, for many many years.
Playing with unconscientious players sucks, but it can make you a stronger drummer, if you are a conscientious drummer, which it's clear that you are. Attitude is everything. Your powering through everything undeterred is an inspiration to the players who need help, even if they never say that to you.
Also of note, I recorded the playing situation I described above, and listening to it on the drive home, with the drums as a common thread, the lines down the highway, everyone's individual shortcomings became less noticeable when combined with everything else for the total net sound. Onstage I was noticing individual stuff and not necessarily realizing that it wasn't as prominent as I thought it was while playing. Perception and all.
Drummers. Making lemonade out of lemons every second of the day lol.