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  #1  
Old 08-17-2017, 02:08 AM
fac fac is offline
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Default Singing lead and stage presence

Hey all.

I used to drum and sing backup vocals with my band until our lead singer quit about a year ago, so now I drum and sing lead on most songs.

Thing is, it's hard to engage with the audience when you're behind the drumset. Does anyone have any tips to increase one's "stage presence" as a drummer/singer.

Hiring a lead singer is not an option right now.
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  #2  
Old 08-17-2017, 03:36 AM
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Mongrel Mongrel is offline
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

I don't know what size venues you play, so this may or may not apply. Here is what came to mind:

If you haven't done so yet-strip your kit down to the bare minimum. If you are using a riser-take it away and put the kit right on the stage. Drop your toms, move your cymbals away from the front of the kit. If possible, move your kick forward a few feet closer to the audience. Trick is to see and be seen. Don't allow other players to stand center stage or otherwise block your view of the audience or their view of you.

Work on "eye contact" (I know you can't really see the audience most times if you are using stage lights or a platform...but at least "look" like you are looking).

Make your vocals-not your drums-the "priority" of your performance....

Good luck!
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:47 AM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Move the drums out front where the singer belongs, and demand double pay!
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:48 AM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

^ Thanks. Those are some good tips.

I'm currently using a Sonor Player kit, which has a 20" kick with a 10" tom and a ride above it, plus two crashes on each side. That should help with the eye contact thing. I'll tell my bandmates to give me some room and avoid standing in front of me.

And yeah, I've had to "dumb down" my drumming to be able to focus on the vocals and still can't sing half as well as when I'm just standing up, but can't do much more about it.
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Old 08-17-2017, 03:50 AM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Move the drums out front where the singer belongs, and demand double pay!
We are all university professors and mostly play for free on academic events.

But.... I do get to choose most of the songs, now. That's even better than double pay. :)
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  #6  
Old 08-17-2017, 04:20 AM
Matt Bo Eder
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Good advice given. Maybe you guys could set-up like Night Ranger - where the drums are on the side down front, but you're turned so when you face the mic to your side, you're facing the audience? I always thought that was a cool look.
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Old 08-17-2017, 05:51 AM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

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Originally Posted by Matt Bo Eder View Post
Good advice given. Maybe you guys could set-up like Night Ranger - where the drums are on the side down front, but you're turned so when you face the mic to your side, you're facing the audience? I always thought that was a cool look.
I just watched a video of Night Ranger live (never heard about them before). I think I might just try something like that. Thanks!
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Old 08-17-2017, 06:49 AM
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Super Phil Super Phil is offline
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Never heard of Night Ranger???
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  #9  
Old 08-17-2017, 06:51 AM
jornthedrummer jornthedrummer is offline
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Place your kit sideways on one side of the stage with your hihat facing the audience. Then everybody can see you and you can see them and good eye contact with he rest of the band.
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Old 08-17-2017, 07:05 AM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

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Never heard of Night Ranger???
Not until now. I guess they're not well known in Mexico. They do have some good songs, though.
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  #11  
Old 08-17-2017, 07:32 AM
Matt Bo Eder
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

You could check out some old videos of The Band. Levon Helm was a master at singing and leading from behind the drums - one of the firsts!
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  #12  
Old 08-17-2017, 04:02 PM
DrumWild DrumWild is offline
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Or like Gil Moore in Triumph. He sang some songs, and Rik Emmett was considered the front man.

I fronted a three-piece for a handful of years, quite by accident. Guitarist and I were both vocalists. Didn't know I was doing it until someone gave it mention. "Interesting how you are fronting the band from behind the drums."

I was caught off-guard by their comment, so asked what they meant. They brought up how engaging I was. During a bass drum-only break, I'd stand up and put my hand to my ear. I'd look at the audience. Point sticks at people. They said that when I sang, it was like I was "singing to them" while playing drums, instead of just singing while playing drums.

They also said that I was way more animated, in an engaging fashion. The bass player would have his moments where he jumped like a pogo stick. But as they said, "Most of the time, the other two guys look like they're falling asleep."

With regard to setup, we were about as close to being in a line as possible. I was dipped slightly back, so the front of my bass drum was about one foot off the line [if you made a line].

Looking back, I probably did it subconsciously because we didn't have anyone acting like a frontman. When there IS a frontman, I tend to not be so animated, and more carefully choose my moments.

A lot of it could very well be attributed to attitude. Those were the days.
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  #13  
Old 08-17-2017, 04:10 PM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

As previously mentioned, I love what Kelly Keagy did from Night Ranger.

He set up on the side, and he had a double kick pedal. On the songs he would lead, he would lock down his hats, turn his body to the left, and use his right foot on his on his left pedal.

To see it in action, click on this video, and ffwd to 18:58 (I hope the link takes you straight to it). I used to have this on VHS and I'm pretty sure I wore the thing out.

https://youtu.be/wfcBfLogsOA?t=1138


Dang, that fill at 20:44...while singing. I don't know how many times I rewound that as a kid.
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  #14  
Old 08-17-2017, 04:58 PM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Bo Eder View Post
Good advice given. Maybe you guys could set-up like Night Ranger - where the drums are on the side down front, but you're turned so when you face the mic to your side, you're facing the audience? I always thought that was a cool look.
I'm trying to talk my band into this arrangement now. Reason is that there are three members that sing leads and I only sing backup and a couple leads and the guitar player doesn't sing at all. So putting myself and guitar on each end in the back makes sense. I also feel like I could connect when singing much better that way.
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  #15  
Old 08-17-2017, 05:05 PM
Macarina Macarina is offline
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Just make sure all your future venue's are in-the-round.

But seriously, I've seen several concerts where they during the middle of the show, the band breaks it down 'acoustically', much like that new band Night Ranger, where they just line up with the drummer at one end, turned slightly. They present themselves well.
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  #16  
Old 08-17-2017, 06:58 PM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Check out some old Rare Earth videos from the early - mid 70's. Pete Rivera seems to have his kit set up front and center with drums and cymbals set low. Might be sitting "higher in the saddle" too. Here's one:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5LIDNbFadU
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  #17  
Old 08-18-2017, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Bo Eder View Post
You could check out some old videos of The Band. Levon Helm was a master at singing and leading from behind the drums - one of the firsts!
The Band rules. Either member could sing and front.

We often play "The Weight" in our main set list.
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  #18  
Old 08-18-2017, 09:54 PM
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Les Ismore Les Ismore is offline
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
As previously mentioned, I love what Kelly Keagy did from Night Ranger.

He set up on the side, and he had a double kick pedal. On the songs he would lead, he would lock down his hats, turn his body to the left, and use his right foot on his on his left pedal.

To see it in action, click on this video, and ffwd to 18:58 (I hope the link takes you straight to it). I used to have this on VHS and I'm pretty sure I wore the thing out.

https://youtu.be/wfcBfLogsOA?t=1138


Dang, that fill at 20:44...while singing. I don't know how many times I rewound that as a kid.

Cool vid, and he played in his pajamas! All he needed was a HH for his left foot.
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  #19  
Old 08-18-2017, 09:59 PM
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Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Move the drums out front where the singer belongs, and demand double pay!
I played in a band that did this once and hated it. They liked to put me up front and have them be behind and offset. Partial reasoning was there was a media show from a projector behind us, but I hated not being able to see the other players and not being all comfy in the back of the pack. Seems like it confused people a bit, and I could always tell who the drummers were in the crowd because they'd come close to where I was setup and bunch up.
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  #20  
Old 08-19-2017, 04:24 AM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
I could always tell who the drummers were in the crowd because they'd come close to where I was setup and bunch up.
That's why I like seeing that kind of setup. Some people are very interested in watching the drummer work, not just drummers. IMO, its one of the more entertaining things to watch with live music, the drummer. I think big concerts should have constant video of the drummer....shot from behindish/sideish....so you can see the footwork, for the people who get off on seeing the nuts and bolts of the foundation of the song. It's not like it's been done to death either. I'd like to see every player have their own video screen on the big shows, constantly.
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  #21  
Old 08-19-2017, 06:47 AM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Check out Cowboy Mouth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pvOUPMsxOS4
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  #22  
Old 08-19-2017, 09:06 PM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Thanks for all of your suggestions! Next gig's in a few hours. I'll try to engage more with the audience and will let you know how it turned out.
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  #23  
Old 08-20-2017, 08:55 AM
Matt Bo Eder
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
That's why I like seeing that kind of setup. Some people are very interested in watching the drummer work, not just drummers. IMO, its one of the more entertaining things to watch with live music, the drummer. I think big concerts should have constant video of the drummer....shot from behindish/sideish....so you can see the footwork, for the people who get off on seeing the nuts and bolts of the foundation of the song. It's not like it's been done to death either. I'd like to see every player have their own video screen on the big shows, constantly.
The drummer being on-screen for the whole show should've been a requirement at every Eagles and Pink Floyd concert. Without the drummers, there's nothing else to watch!
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  #24  
Old 08-21-2017, 04:17 PM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

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Wow. That dude is amazing and a total inspiration. Thanks for that.
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  #25  
Old 08-21-2017, 05:10 PM
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Default Re: Singing lead and stage presence

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
I played in a band that did this once and hated it. They liked to put me up front and have them be behind and offset. Partial reasoning was there was a media show from a projector behind us, but I hated not being able to see the other players and not being all comfy in the back of the pack. Seems like it confused people a bit, and I could always tell who the drummers were in the crowd because they'd come close to where I was setup and bunch up.
My idea would be that I am still in the back just off to the side and nobody directly in front of me.
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