What was your toughest gig?

TomasHakkesBrain

Senior Member
So ive been rehearsing with a progressive rock/metal band for the past 2 and a half weeks. The songs are on average 8 mins long, have 10 to 15 time sig changes (which ive had to notate as the other band guys dont count much), tempo changes and 10 to 15 parts which rarely repeat.

They require various polyrhythmic shenanigans, breakbeats, overriding and double bass. i require to play via click and sync with e drums with backing despite some latency, and the rest of the band just follow me (tough for me to tell them they arent in sync when im far from perfect!). They are due to play a gig next week, but i dont want to attend without getting everything down probably within 5 to 6 weeks.

The band are a bit disappointed that im not getting up to speed in time for this gig. I have tried to emphasise that this is a tricky task, but because they have known the tunes for 3 years they are a bit frustrated. Even mapping the tunes was an effort. I think they also dont appreciate that the guitar parts are a lot easier than the drumming.

So firstly would you say this would be a tough gig for you, or do you feel this is easy? Secondly what is your toughest gig youve done?
 
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RickP

Gold Member
My toughest gig was subbing for a 21 piece Big Band with one rehearsal and having to sight read 35 songs. It was a definite challenge and flying by the seat of my pants. It worked out since they ended up using me for a few years as their main drummer.
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I was in a band like that once.

So, no, I wouldn't find that difficult per se, but I'd sure as heck need longer than than 2 and 1/2 weeks to really and fully digest an entire set of that kind of material.

There have been a few situations here and there where someone did ask me to do something like that on short notice, and all I can say is I'll give you a guys number who learn complex stuff on the fly, but you're going to have to pay him.

The toughest gig was once I was hired to do a last minute show with a soul band. No rehearsal, no set list, just show up and play. Which I was doing a lot of at the time. I was right around the same time I was doing an R&B 3 nights a week at the same bar, so musically, it wasn't that far off. But for whatever reason, these particular guys just hated everything about me. It was nothing but grief and dirty looks all night. Dumb thing is, a few weeks later, they asked if I could be on stand by in case their new "regular" drummer didn't show. lol.
 

TomasHakkesBrain

Senior Member
I was in a band like that once.

So, no, I wouldn't find that difficult per se, but I'd sure as heck need longer than than 2 and 1/2 weeks to really and fully digest an entire set of that kind of material.

There have been a few situations here and there where someone did ask me to do something like that on short notice, and all I can say is I'll give you a guys number who learn complex stuff on the fly, but you're going to have to pay him.

The toughest gig was once I was hired to do a last minute show with a soul band. No rehearsal, no set list, just show up and play. Which I was doing a lot of at the time. I was right around the same time I was doing an R&B 3 nights a week at the same bar, so musically, it wasn't that far off. But for whatever reason, these particular guys just hated everything about me. It was nothing but grief and dirty looks all night. Dumb thing is, a few weeks later, they asked if I could be on stand by in case their new "regular" drummer didn't show. lol.
Yeah not great when a paid gig is acrimonious. Getting on with bandmates at least on stage is really a basic level of professionalism.
 
My first gig was with my current band Our Past Days at the end of December. That was tough as I only had a month to rehearse with them. so 4 weeks to learn 9 songs for a 30-35 minute set. Didn't help when the start of three songs were all very similar in tempo and how they sounded haha.
 

Flareless

Member
As a kid and beginning drummer I played a lot of Kiss plus whatever rock and pop was common at the time. Bear in mind this is 36 years ago.

One day the guy who is known as the Best Guitar Player in the School comes over to jam at my place. He brings the albums 2112 and A Farewell to Kings by Rush. I'm told to learn Xanadu for our next weeks jam and that in 2 weeks we will be performing 2112's Overture at our Junior High assembly.

From Kiss to Rush in only 2 weeks? On my red sparkle Raven 4 piece kit? With the horrible sounding no-name cymbals (that often accompany a Raven drum kit)? No problem!

Who's going to be playing bass for this performance? The known Best Bassist in the School. Great.

Stage setup? Oh, we don't get to play on the stage. They carved out a small place in the centre of the auditorium between all the seated people.

Fun? Wow! It sounded awful but we managed to pull it off. I've carried the trauma of that show with me for the rest of my life ; )
 

BFrench501

Senior Member
Some of these sound awful experiences. Some guitar players are so ignorant and overly expectant of drummers.

The worst concert I have played, is one where the new bass player got stagefright and clammed up after playing the first song perfectly!

He literally sat on the side of stage while we did our thing. It was horrible! He tried to get on stage for a jam at the end of the gig but there was no way to redeem things, it was an embarassment. :-(
 

MileHighDrummer

Senior Member
. So firstly would you say this would be a tough gig for you, or do you feel this is easy? Secondly what is your toughest gig youve done?
No it doesn't sound easy but what is your rehearsal schedule. Two weeks sounds very doable. Back in the day, when I was playing regularly, I would run rehearsals 6-8 hours a day 4-5 days a week until things were near perfect. How much time are you guys working?
 

ncc

Silver Member
So ive been rehearsing with a progressive rock/metal band for the past 2 and a half weeks. The songs are on average 8 mins long, have 10 to 15 time sig changes (which ive had to notate as the other band guys dont count much), tempo changes and 10 to 15 parts which rarely repeat.

They require various polyrhythmic shenanigans, breakbeats, overriding and double bass. i require to play via click and sync with e drums with backing despite some latency, and the rest of the band just follow me (tough for me to tell them they arent in sync when im far from perfect!). They are due to play a gig next week, but i dont want to attend without getting everything down probably within 5 to 6 weeks.

The band are a bit disappointed that im not getting up to speed in time for this gig. I have tried to emphasise that this is a tricky task, but because they have known the tunes for 3 years they are a bit frustrated. Even mapping the tunes was an effort. I think they also dont appreciate that the guitar parts are a lot easier than the drumming.

So firstly would you say this would be a tough gig for you, or do you feel this is easy? Secondly what is your toughest gig youve done?
You ask a hard question I think. Perhaps I am missing something, 8 min songs with 10 to 15 time sig changes seems a bit excessive. While there are exceptions, it seems that listening span of a song is 3-4 minutes and even one time sig change is a song is not that common. (maybe this is not true in progressive jazz?)

Anyway, I believe learning *all* new material to do a 3 or 4 hour gig within 2 weeks is tuff for anyone who does not play music for a living; and even if it is all charted it may not be easy.

You asked about worst gigs... I am sure we all have had several - be it filling in with people who overplay, or with bands that had expectations 'that since they knew the material you as a drummer should as well, cause 'it is just a beat''. The worst though, is the going out to a gig before a band is ready, which is a 2 sided sword. Playing front of people make the band tighter, but too many mistakes and that band wont be asked back.
 

TomasHakkesBrain

Senior Member
You ask a hard question I think. Perhaps I am missing something, 8 min songs with 10 to 15 time sig changes seems a bit excessive. While there are exceptions, it seems that listening span of a song is 3-4 minutes and even one time sig change is a song is not that common. (maybe this is not true in progressive jazz?)

Anyway, I believe learning *all* new material to do a 3 or 4 hour gig within 2 weeks is tuff for anyone who does not play music for a living; and even if it is all charted it may not be easy.

You asked about worst gigs... I am sure we all have had several - be it filling in with people who overplay, or with bands that had expectations 'that since they knew the material you as a drummer should as well, cause 'it is just a beat''. The worst though, is the going out to a gig before a band is ready, which is a 2 sided sword. Playing front of people make the band tighter, but too many mistakes and that band wont be asked back.
Yeah it is excessive imo, but i like the music. It just needs to be adjusted so stuff is played for musical purposes not to show off.

The songs go for example

4 (4/4)
6
5 3 5
9
4
6
4 tempo inc
9
7
5 3 5
4
6 tempo inc
7

Also we rehearse 6 hours a week.
 
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