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  #1  
Old 12-10-2013, 12:10 AM
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Default Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Isn't one drummer enough?

I met two drummers last week that are both in the same band. Seems crazy to me.
I can play and make it sound like there are two drummers if they needed me to.

The Allman (corrected) Brothers had two drummers. I say there is no need for two drummers.

Here in this recording you can hear where the drummers begin hitting on 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4 and they confuse the other band members.
The drummers have to drop a beat to get back on the vamp. It's at 3:20.
Maybe they needed a third drummer to keep the beat while the other two drummers messed around with solos, fills and such................

http://youtu.be/7TVTNl2C2iw

Why do some bands have two drummers? They never have two bass players..........


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Last edited by Hollywood Jim; 12-10-2013 at 02:42 AM.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:48 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Paging SmoothOperator. He made this thread http://drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?t=112275

I would say that two drummers can occupy a greater sonic range than two bassists, so the band is trying to get a more percussive sound.
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Old 12-10-2013, 12:52 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

I think it's for fun. I have seen stages filled with guitars beyond the lead, bass and rhythm.
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:17 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Two drummers work VERY well here. Actually, I don't know if they could have done the song any other way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oB64hmY9lc
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:28 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Two drummers work VERY well here. Actually, I don't know if they could have done the song any other way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oB64hmY9lc
Nicely done.
However, most decent drummers could reproduce the sound of both those drummers on a single set of drums with a maraca on a pedal played with the left foot.

One drummer and one utility percussion player work great together. I just don't see the need for two drum set players.


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Old 12-10-2013, 01:29 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Two drummers work VERY well here. Actually, I don't know if they could have done the song any other way.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2oB64hmY9lc
Was just going to mention Polica. I saw them live and it's obvious why they have two drummers. The live sound is simply incredible, it's like a wall of sound, just overtakes you. I've never heard anything quite like it.
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Old 12-10-2013, 01:34 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

A few reasons.

Maybe for power and appearance (eg. Adam Ant) - drummers are more dynamic to look at than others instrumentalists.

Or it could be for different textures, where drummers are playing very different kits with different sounds - the dynamic can be similar to drums & percussion (Bruford and Mastellotto).

Or it could be because a band or act has a strong drum emphasis (eg. Zappa's Roxy & Elsewhere). Why should a band only have one drummer. Why do countless bands need two or more guitarists? Todd Rundgren's first Utopia has three keys players. I imagine similar reasons in drumistic music.

Never quite understood the Allman Brothers having double drummers - maybe to distinguish themselves from other southern rock bands and extra fatness in the stage sound? Jim, not wanting to be a smart arse but I laughed at "Almond Brothers" :) I've done those typos too, where I replaced a word with something that sounds similar ...

Be interested in Bon's (Midnite Zephyr's) reply.
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

If you can't see it or think it's pointless, that's fine, but I don't need any reason beyond, "because it can be fun." If it does nothing to tickle your funny bone, that's cool too. No judgement here.

I saw Polica a couple weeks ago for the 2nd time and totally dig what those guys have worked out. Definitely not going to get that sound or vibe with just one drummer. But I also think they're sensitive to not doing it just because - they've thoughtfully worked out complimentary parts. I'm still more enamored with the bass player, but still ...

I thought the Melvins did an interesting job as well.

I was in a 2-drummer band for many years and we didn't try sitting smack on on another either. That was a lot of fun.

I agree that the 38-Specials of the world don't do enough interesting that makes it worth it, but I'm sure they had fun!
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  #9  
Old 12-10-2013, 02:51 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
A few reasons.

Maybe for power and appearance (eg. Adam Ant) - drummers are more dynamic to look at than others instrumentalists.

Or it could be for different textures, where drummers are playing very different kits with different sounds - the dynamic can be similar to drums & percussion (Bruford and Mastellotto).

Or it could be because a band or act has a strong drum emphasis (eg. Zappa's Roxy & Elsewhere). Why should a band only have one drummer. Why do countless bands need two or more guitarists? Todd Rundgren's first Utopia has three keys players. I imagine similar reasons in drumistic music.

Never quite understood the Allman Brothers having double drummers - maybe to distinguish themselves from other southern rock bands and extra fatness in the stage sound? Jim, not wanting to be a smart arse but I laughed at "Almond Brothers" :) I've done those typos too, where I replaced a word with something that sounds similar ...

Be interested in Bon's (Midnite Zephyr's) reply.
Grea, I wasn't really going to comment on this thread because he was obviously biased against it.

But since you brought it up, it wasn't my intention to be in a band with another drummer. It just happened because I joined in a band with a few Deadheads. It was the band leader's idea. But I wasn't against it, and I think, all in all, it is a great experience. The other drummer has since moved on, but we kick around the idea to get another one a little.

It would have to be the right drummer. Both drummers have to have a keen sense of rhythm to gel with each other. Some guy/gals won't work even though they can play a very good kit. I've jammed with a few drummers now and it's usually the ones who have lots of stage playing experience are the best because it all comes down to the meter. You listen to some of our recording and you can't even tell there are two snare drums hitting at the same time because the timing is executed so well. When you listen to it live though, the sound is just so thick and full. I think it sounds great and I always look forward to a two-drummer jam at the studio, even if it is for a couple songs. There is one band that comes by once in awhile to the studio. The drummer for that band has jammed with me a couple times, but he is very busy and he is a touring drummer (only 22). Incredibly good drummer, graduate of PIT, and easy to jam with.

I think what made me and the other drummer work so well was that he had a lot of chops for the flash and I had a lot of deep pocket groove. No doubt he is a great drummer on his own, and I can hold my own too, but together we were a better drum sound than each as a solo. it just worked. From an audience's perspective, it sounded pretty awesome too.

For now I am the only drummer in the band, but I'm not against trying it again with the right drummer, but really I think I'd prefer a percussionist. Hard to say. We need a Mickey Hart. That would fit the bill nicely!

BTW...I think in that Alman Bros song the bass player was off first and the drummers did a great job of righting the ship by doing that. That's what good drummers do.
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Last edited by Midnite Zephyr; 12-10-2013 at 03:12 AM.
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  #10  
Old 12-10-2013, 04:59 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
The Allman (corrected) Brothers
:) I kind of liked Almond Brothers!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
... together we were a better drum sound than each as a solo. it just worked. From an audience's perspective, it sounded pretty awesome too.
Sounds like a good reason to me. No doubt an extra drummer would add presence live if you have the space. No doubt the logistics of micing two kits would turn many off. Twice as many unported bass drum heads to deal with ;-)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
... I think I'd prefer a percussionist. Hard to say. We need a Mickey Hart. That would fit the bill nicely!
I've had that in one band in the 70s and it was enjoyable. I've had many drum / percussionist jams and it's very enjoyable.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:59 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Having written an 'accompaniment solo' for two drumsets based around a marimba solo, I can tell you that it's tons of fun (and there's certainly stuff you can't do with one drummer). I agree that there's perhaps not a lot of practical reasoning to do it, at least not as much as two or three melodic instruments (and I think having three guitars is certainly practical enough if they are used well- Periphery!) but it's certainly fun and an easy crowd-pleaser when they duel fills as a little solo.
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:44 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Isn't one drummer enough?

I met two drummers last week that are both in the same band. Seems crazy to me.
I can play and make it sound like there are two drummers if they needed me to.

The Allman (corrected) Brothers had two drummers. I say there is no need for two drummers.

Here in this recording you can hear where the drummers begin hitting on 1 and 3 instead of 2 and 4 and they confuse the other band members.
The drummers have to drop a beat to get back on the vamp. It's at 3:20.
Maybe they needed a third drummer to keep the beat while the other two drummers messed around with solos, fills and such................

http://youtu.be/7TVTNl2C2iw

Why do some bands have two drummers? They never have two bass players..........


.
Usually and most likely in the Allman Brothers case and 38 Special, two bands merged and then had two drummers. However, it doesn't always work like and more often than not, one drummer loses out......

I was working a part-time job in an oil field tooling shop will playing in a road band (that ought to let you know how little money is left in road gigs right there!) when I met a guy by the name of John. John was from the deep south and had also done some pretty remarkable things such as build recording studios for a couple of the BeeGees and worked in a recording studio in New York City. He came in my office one day and told me about how he was in a band that had a guitar player and the other rival band in the town had a bass player. The solution seemed simple enough; the two bands could merge and become one band and have everything, including two drummers.
One drummer played well enough but the other drummer wanted to play everything really fast. A vote was taken and John was elected the drummer who played fast. John said that the next the he saw that drummer, he was playing on-stage for Ozzy Ozborne.

John fired Tommy Aldridge!

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  #13  
Old 12-10-2013, 07:00 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Grea touched on the 90s-reincarnated King Crimson and I also thought that was brilliant. Bruford had his parts and Mastellotto had his parts. They'd even break up beats between the two of them on simple stuff - very cool. It never sounded sloppy because they weren't playing in unison most of the time.

And that band did have two bass players, and two guitarists, just so you know ;)
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Great post, great story, Skitch! Just goes to show that being sacked isn't the end of the world.

Bo, the BB and PM partnership was an odd one - being Fripp's conception and as far as I've read, Bill wasn't thrilled about playing with a rock basher like Pat, given that he was planning to go more or less in the opposite direction. ThraK was a good album though - huge sound at times.
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:45 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Grea touched on the 90s-reincarnated King Crimson and I also thought that was brilliant. Bruford had his parts and Mastellotto had his parts. They'd even break up beats between the two of them on simple stuff - very cool. It never sounded sloppy because they weren't playing in unison most of the time.

And that band did have two bass players, and two guitarists, just so you know ;)
That was actually what I drew my "dueling solos" reference from... saw Crimson Projekckkckct live and they did that. Unfortunately only saw about 15 minutes but it was still great stuff.
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Old 12-10-2013, 07:54 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Layering. Similar concept as a rhythm guitarist supporting a solo guitarist. Think of the layered guitars on Beast of Burden.

GJS
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

So, I've been working on the Martha Reeves version of Heatwave. Anyone who's seen Standing In The Shadows of Motown knows that there were two drummers. On this song, one is playing a fast shuffle and the other is digging coal. Net result is far too many notes for me to accomplish any sort of groove on.

Sometimes it's subtle, but the folks who know how to make it work can add just the right color to the other player to make it sound like one integrated piece.

Ever see a salsa band? There's as many people banging on things as there are playing everything else.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:07 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Isn't one drummer enough?

http://youtu.be/7TVTNl2C2iw

Why do some bands have two drummers? They never have two bass players..........


.
In one word ....interplay
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Old 12-10-2013, 02:43 PM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Having written an 'accompaniment solo' for two drumsets based around a marimba solo, I can tell you that it's tons of fun (and there's certainly stuff you can't do with one drummer). I agree that there's perhaps not a lot of practical reasoning to do it, at least not as much as two or three melodic instruments (and I think having three guitars is certainly practical enough if they are used well- Periphery!) but it's certainly fun and an easy crowd-pleaser when they duel fills as a little solo.
We have 3 guitarists in the band, and with 3 guitars, having 2 drummers giving that full layered drum sound really rounds out the whole vibe. Toolate thought it was great. I can see why the Allman Bros would do that.

The main problem with having 3 guitars in my band is that one is not as practiced as the other two. So in a way, it's like having two different bands. Guitar player 3 is a founder of the band, but he only shows up once a week on Tuesday mostly. He doesn't know his scales and modes as well as the other two, just plays mostly pentatonic blues scales. So on Tuesday we just play mostly songs and work on some originals. On Thursday night, he is not there and we have these amazing jams that are really starting to take off and evolve. We really can't do this with the third guy there. At least not quite as well. The better I can do on the drums, the more these guys can do, and vice-versa. It's really a lot of fun. But we play our gigs with the third guy, and he is sticking around.
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Old 12-10-2013, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Theoretically, it doubles the chances that your rhythm section will be on time for the gig. OK, maybe not.

I have enjoyed playing drums alongside another drummer (when they can play). I believe that artistic contributions can be made from this configuration.

In my neck of the woods, musicians' gig pay is at an all time low. On simple economic terms, each added band member pushes your cut take further down.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

I think it universally detracts from the music. As a player you have to constantly keep a check on the other drummer rather than focussing on the music. You can't so easily take the music in a different direction and you can't respond so easily to the other musicians.

This is a personal view, but I've seen it only twice live and I'm constantly questioning; why?

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Old 12-10-2013, 05:42 PM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

I posted this several months back on a similar thread about why two drummers. Given the discussion about Mastelotto and Bruford, it is pertinent. Note too that the next incarnation of Crimson will be using three drummers!


Pat Mastelotto is a drummer who paired with Bill Bruford, Gavin Harrison, and Tobias Ralph in his tenures with King Crimson and The Crimson ProjeKct. Each one of these pairings worked very well in my opinion and added color, depth, and yes the occasional bombast beyond what a single drummer of any skill level could provide.

He tells a story of the time when he first joined King Crimson at Robert Frippís behest and Bruford, having been the only drummer in that group in its incarnations dating back to 1972, was NOT amused. BB gave PM a list outlining how two drummers could possibly work together successfully. It went something like this with 1 being the most preferable and getting worse from there:

1. Neither drummer plays
2. Bruford plays by himself
3. Mastelotto plays by himself
4. Bruford and Mastelotto play together but in totally different yet complimentary styles

I cannot remember the next several but at the bottom of the list was the two of them playing together like the drummers in the Allman Brothers Band: essentially playing pretty much the same style over each other. Pat and Bill managed to make #4 work very well. Bruford said that Patís was the big beat that connected them to the audience freeing Bill to play over / under / around the beat to add color and nuance.
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Old 12-10-2013, 05:56 PM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
BTW...I think in that Alman Bros song the bass player was off first and the drummers did a great job of righting the ship by doing that. That's what good drummers do.
Definitely. The guitars stayed in time during the breakdown, but the bass player came back in one beat too early, and everyone adapted quickly. It happens, and they got back in sync quickly and seamlessly.

Now back to the regularly scheduled "two drummer" discussion, already in progress...
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Old 12-10-2013, 06:01 PM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

I'm not a big fan of dual drummers either. To me it's like driving a car with a person on the gas and brake and another person on the steering wheel (and the radio!)

Drummer and percussionist is a different story. I don't prefer 2 drummers, heck, in bands with just one drummer sometimes it sounds like there's too much drums in there. I don't like clutter. I love a 3 piece band. Everyone has their own freq range. It's easier on the ear, well my ear anyway.

Even percussionists...if they are great, it's great. Anything less can be pretty bad. There used to be a percussionist that attended the open mics I used to be a part of. Generally speaking, there's little to no percussion in most Blues. I would be trying to play a nice shuffle song, and he would always play the entire shuffle pattern, and then some, on a metal guiro stroked with an afro comb. What a grating, "get on your nerves" type of tone for a shuffle. Ugh. OMG it sounded so bad. He was a bad percussionist. He didn't have a sense of choosing the right tool for the song. Plus what he played...it sounded like a first grader trying to play along to a band.

One time he lamented to me why he doesn't get called to play, or even treated that good at the jams. I told him that basically, there's no percussion in Blues. He makes it sound unauthentic, and that's the main reason people shy away from his playing. Now if he had taste and restraint, and a better handle on tones that work and tones that don't, I'm sure he could add to things. Well maybe not him, but a better player could. If he were a chef, it would be the equivalent of him dumping 10 lbs of pepper on a sweet pudding. Pudding doesn't even taste good with pepper, let alone 10 lbs of it! Lol. Give me one great drummer, per band that's it.
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Old 12-10-2013, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

I like it on some songs, but not a whole show.

One of my bands want to double track some drums to add more of a percussive element but when we have tried it in demos it doesnt work. Has to be right for the song. I must add though I recently did a double drum duet at the Guru stand at the London Drum Show with very own PQleyR and it's a lot more harder than it looks! (wouldnt mind having another drummer in one of my bands so I can have someone else to geek out over gear)

Done well and for the right song it adds a lot. Done for the sake of it it's just a gimick.

Love this example though, Paul Weller doing Instant Karma with Steve and Alan White drumming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FstSULkrwS4
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Old 12-11-2013, 01:01 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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...I'm still more enamored with the bass player, but still ...
It's funny you mention that because I feel the same way, though I'm not sure exactly why. I mean, he's not the most technical guy I've heard, but there's something about his playing that draws my ear in. I guess it's the way he constructs his parts - kinda the same reason why I like Peart so much. He's not the most technical drummer, but his parts are constructed nicely.
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Old 12-11-2013, 02:19 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
The main problem with having 3 guitars in my band is that one is not as practiced as the other two. So in a way, it's like having two different bands. Guitar player 3 is a founder of the band, but he only shows up once a week on Tuesday mostly. He doesn't know his scales and modes as well as the other two, just plays mostly pentatonic blues scales. So on Tuesday we just play mostly songs and work on some originals. On Thursday night, he is not there and we have these amazing jams that are really starting to take off and evolve. We really can't do this with the third guy there. At least not quite as well. The better I can do on the drums, the more these guys can do, and vice-versa. It's really a lot of fun. But we play our gigs with the third guy, and he is sticking around.
Yeah, I meant more in the more complex orchestrated kind of genres. I think as one starts to approach peak "three chords and the truth"-ness, three guitars becomes more of a liability (especially with differing skill levels or commitment levels).
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:27 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Love this example though, Paul Weller doing Instant Karma with Steve and Alan White drumming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FstSULkrwS4
That's a monstrously fat beat from the double drummers! I was hoping to see what each was doing but the camerawork was diabolical, seemingly done by, um, excited camerapeople.
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Old 12-11-2013, 04:48 AM
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

I think if Captain & Teneill's Muskrat Love had two drummers, it would've been an even bigger hit ;)

And I'd take that to the bank!
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Old 12-11-2013, 05:12 AM
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Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

Thank you for all of your input on this topic !

I still feel apprehensive about two drummers in a band. However, some of your comments have opened my eyes to the idea that two drummers could make some good music if they have a plan and they work out some parts and techniques that compliment each other.

And I always love it when a band has a drum kit drummer and a percussionist. I think that works the best.


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Old 12-11-2013, 07:49 PM
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brady brady is offline
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
Thank you for all of your input on this topic !

I still feel apprehensive about two drummers in a band. However, some of your comments have opened my eyes to the idea that two drummers could make some good music if they have a plan and they work out some parts and techniques that compliment each other.

And I always love it when a band has a drum kit drummer and a percussionist. I think that works the best.


.
Same here. I think a percussionist with a drummer is a much better combo.

Two drummers seem to work in only a few situations. (Like the Allman Bros.and a few others.) .38 Special? Not so much. For me anyway.

I recently saw a little bit of Joe Bonamassa live where he had two drummers. In that scenario, I couldn't really see the point of two drummers. Maybe I didn't watch enough of it but from what I saw, the music could certainly have been handled with only one drummer.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:34 PM
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Juniper Juniper is offline
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
That's a monstrously fat beat from the double drummers! I was hoping to see what each was doing but the camerawork was diabolical, seemingly done by, um, excited camerapeople.
It's very poor camera work and even more horrible, out of sync editing. The MP3 is good for a listen though.
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Old 12-12-2013, 02:25 AM
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Midnite Zephyr Midnite Zephyr is offline
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Default Re: Why Do Bands Have Two Drummers?

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Originally Posted by porter View Post
Yeah, I meant more in the more complex orchestrated kind of genres. I think as one starts to approach peak "three chords and the truth"-ness, three guitars becomes more of a liability (especially with differing skill levels or commitment levels).
Nothing was ever planned when we did solos. It probably would be much better if there was a chart for certain parts. I've always been too lazy to write music or read it for that matter, but I know how to and I can look at a few lines and figure out the drums because I played trombone and did some drumline in High School.

I wouldn't mind another drummer in the band again, but it is easier just playing by myself. I don't have to think as much. ha ha. But ya, I'd prefer a percussionist and a full-time keys player.

As far as the guitars go, we had a short practice and a long talk after Guitar #3 left. He is always the first to leave. Gotta get back home to Wifey-poo before she gets mad, I guess. We decided that he needs to be seriously on the same page with us or move on. It sucks, but we want to play festivals and blow people's minds.
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Last edited by Midnite Zephyr; 12-12-2013 at 09:29 AM.
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