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Old 08-17-2017, 09:59 PM
ERock82 ERock82 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2017
Posts: 1
Default How do you cover band drummers learn a whole set list in just a couple of weeks?

So, I am wondering how a drummer would join up with a cover band in a short period of time, say 3 weeks. I am talking about an original drummer who is very skilled but has never been in a cover band and therefore will need to learn ALL songs from the bands set. I know this is usually around 40 songs just to play a gig. If you are working full time and want to jump in with a good cover band they will probably have gigs lined up in the near future. How do you compete with drummers that are switching from one cover band to another (who would already know half the current hit songs)?

I have learned cover songs before and it is usually an hour for 1 song and once played in rehearsal it is solid unless it's a more technical song. There's always super easy songs that take 30 mins but when thrown in with more technical songs I average an hour. If you add some breaks in the process, 45 hours would need to be set aside.

This seems to be a daunting task unless you are getting paid really well for the gig or really enjoy the company of the band members. It is a bit overwhelming to join up with a good cover band. I know lots of drummers write out charts but these take a good 20 mins to proficiently write out and then you gotta run through it a few times. I can't see how a drummer could learn 40 songs in 15 to 20 hours unless it's a mediocre band that doesn't care about any grooves being very close to the original and are simply okay with tempo, stops and transitions being correct.

The only way I can see learning a cover song in 20 or 30 mins would be to train myself to just hear the patterns and not be tempted to even try and get them that close but just get the feel and style right. Seems kind of lame to do that though.

I was told to learn a cover song for my original band recently and I was being lazy and just played through the song twice with no notes or chart. It was a simple song but once I played it with the band there I had to count out a few spots in my head to get transitions down. Luckily the other guys were just learning it too so I did not hold anyone up but I'm sure if I was a new guy then I would've held them up 10 minutes getting the transition timing right.

So, for you drummers out there that can do this, how do you proficiently learn songs under 30 mins? I've heard guys like Kenny Aronoff had to fill in last minute for someone famous and wrote out 20 charts, listened to the songs on the plane ride the next day, ran through some with the band backstage and played the whole set great in front of thousands. I can't imagine doing that.
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