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  #1  
Old 08-29-2010, 09:36 PM
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Default What to expect out of a drummer?

Long story short, I play guitar in a tribute band. Our drummer seems to be the weak link in the band. He says his technique for learning songs is just to listen to them and get an overall feel for them, and then go back later and listen to them some more and pick out anything he missed. He doesnt have a kit setup at home to practice on, so he basically does it all by listening to the cd's. On a lot of the songs we perform he plays incorrect beats and leaves out a lot of the signature fills and accents that put that makes the material shine. He also never cues the band at the end of songs, and correct tempo of the material is also another problem. While he does play something that will work, it just seems he does the minimum amount of work on preparation. I guess my question is, how do some of you prepare and what method do you use to learn cover material. I like our drummer as a person, I wish I could offer him some direction on relearning some of the material we perform.Thanks in advance for any input.
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Old 08-29-2010, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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Long story short, I play guitar in a tribute band. Our drummer seems to be the weak link in the band. He says his technique for learning songs is just to listen to them and get an overall feel for them, and then go back later and listen to them some more and pick out anything he missed. He doesnt have a kit setup at home to practice on, so he basically does it all by listening to the cd's. On a lot of the songs we perform he plays incorrect beats and leaves out a lot of the signature fills and accents that put that makes the material shine. He also never cues the band at the end of songs, and correct tempo of the material is also another problem. While he does play something that will work, it just seems he does the minimum amount of work on preparation. I guess my question is, how do some of you prepare and what method do you use to learn cover material. I like our drummer as a person, I wish I could offer him some direction on relearning some of the material we perform.Thanks in advance for any input.
At least you like him as a person! Some bands I've been in, I've hated the people, but liked the players. If you like each other as people, that's 90% of the battle right there!
It's just as difficult if you have a musically brilliant player who is socially challenged (to be nice about it).

When I get a gig, my job, depending on the band, is either to play it straight as expected, or to be able to improvise on top of it and communicate with the band as we stretch stuff out. Lotsa times I'm sight-reading too so that takes care of alot of the preparation too.

But perhaps you could talk with your drummer and air these issues. It sounds like he's not aware of what you want. If you like each other as people, it's definitely easier to deal with this than if you didn't like him at all. Communication within the band is key - it avoids all those future 'band meetings' you may have in the future....
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Old 08-29-2010, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

if you playing in a cover band then i learn it as is, i usually transcribe it with my own short hand then look over the transcriptions in practice until i learn it. if by chance i can find the score for the tune then i just sight read it at rehearsal until i know it.

if he cant keep time then it could be that the song is to fast for him to play so try a slower song or the same song at a slower tempo. if he cant keep time at a slow tempo then i feel for ya, thats tough.

just tell him that you want him to learn the exact fills and see what becomes of it, if he cant then maybe pick an easier song.

whats the song you are trying to learn?
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  #4  
Old 08-29-2010, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

It's not just one song, its a whole shows worth.30-40. I'll try and cite a few examples. Quiet Riots Metal Health starts off with a drum intro, our drmmer justs clicks it off with his sticks, CM Halens Dance the night away has breaks in the prechorus where the drums drop out , our guy plays right through them. Round and Round by Ratt has signature fills every time the verse turns around , he doesn't do em. You get the idea.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:21 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

The short answer is, you should expect the same from a drummer as any other musician. Explain exactly what's expected of him, & let him tell you whether or not he can step up to the plate. If you get on with him, & he has an interest in working with the band going forward, he should accept that without issues. It even sounds to me like he might be guessing his way through things, & would welcome the clarity. Good luck.
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Old 08-29-2010, 11:31 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

Next time you guys play Crazy Train or Sweet Child o' Mine or whatever else has a massively signature guitar riff, just play something else (but still in time). When he questions you about it just say "I learned it by watching you" :)
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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Next time you guys play Crazy Train or Sweet Child o' Mine or whatever else has a massively signature guitar riff, just play something else (but still in time). When he questions you about it just say "I learned it by watching you" :)
Yeah I had actually thought of that!
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:29 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

you could always pull a buddy rich on him :)
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  #9  
Old 08-30-2010, 01:36 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

The hard part about being in a band AND being friends is that.....the band comes first or the the band sucks. Being a "tribute band drummer" I say that if he cannot cut the mustard then he is out. You have no "product to sell" if he cannot do it. Being in a band is hard, I know. So is raising children, putting food on the table, and going to work every day. Will you go hungry and die if you replace the drummer??
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  #10  
Old 08-30-2010, 01:50 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

I am wondering how close to the original you guys try and stay when covering another artists song. I mean it might not be a big deal if you are doing Mustang Sally, but if you are in a hairband tribute and dressing up in costume I would think you would try and stay close to the original.
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  #11  
Old 08-30-2010, 03:37 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

He sounds lazy and I'd can him. He's not going to improve fast enough for you from the sounds of things. How long are you willing to hold this guys hand?
I'd give him another chance at the next gig to fill in all the missing colors and if he doesn't he's being replaced.
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2010, 11:42 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

A while back when i did not have a kit i used to do the same thing. Listen to the song / CD over and over again. What i would do is get my drum sticks and tap on my leg simulating the hits etc. Though its far from on par with practicing on a normal kit it helped me a lot untill i got something to hit on.

So if he doesnt have a kit i understand if he isnt doing very well. But if he has time to practice the songs its simply because he is 1) lazy 2) not good enough.

Simple as that (I think)

Good luck!
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  #13  
Old 08-30-2010, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

If he lacks the chops to play a specific fill or intro - he may need to develop an alternative, i.e. a simplified version of the part that's true to the overall feel of the original part. Just clicking sticks or ignoring fills is pretty lame.

If you record your practices (or shows) - you could use one of your practice sessions to just review the tape and analyze everyone's parts, even possibly comparing and contrasting to the orginals. By critiquing everyone, it may keep him from feeling singled out, but at the same time - it will make it clear what standard is expected from everyone as far as fidelity to the original recordings.

If he still doesn't get it and won't develop his parts, than it might be the time to find another drummer. It's the nature of the beast that it's rare for all the musicians in a band to be equal in ability, so somebody's gotta' be the weak link. Of course if you upgrade enough people, the next thing you know - you're the weak link.
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  #14  
Old 08-30-2010, 06:15 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

I think everyone here has given you great advice already. If he's a good friend then he'll listen and understand that you are not trying to insult his playing, but are simply giving constructice criticisim. I would like to also add that if he hasn't been playing very long and there's a big difference in ability, this may become a constant problem. It's really not fair for those ready to move forward to be held back because one member doesn't have the ability quite yet take that step.
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  #15  
Old 08-30-2010, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

Well, the common-sensical thing is that you guys need a band meeting where you talk about what's expected of everyone. If he's not willing to do what's expected of him, then you need to find someone else. OBVIOUSLY, do not do this when you've got a gig on the slate and may not be able to find a replacement in time.

And you really should have gone over that kind of stuff before the band even started. I have a whole big checklist of points to go over with any bands I might be joining, before we ever play anything together--because if that ideological stuff isn't agreed upon, then it's pointless.

Just speaking as a drummer with opinions on this stuff, for a tribute band, I would want the band to have the same line-up as the band we're recreating, as well as a similar look, similar instruments, similar mannerisms, etc., and part of that would be expecting everyone to learn the songs so that they could play them just as the original band did--which could include not always playing them the same, depending on the band (for example, a Zeppelin or Allman Brothers or Grateful Dead tribute band wouldn't always do tunes the same). I'd only be interested in this, by the way, when the original band is no longer around, or when we'd be recreating a period that the original band no longer bothers with (for example, say we were doing an exclusively 80s-Kiss tribute band).

For just a plain old cover band, however, I'd want to make the songs "our own", which would mean NOT just playing them like they are on the records. I'd have an approach more similar to your drummer's--I never learned anything note-for-note for cover songs when I was in cover bands, and as a matter of fact, I HATE when the actual bands play things note-for-note live. If you played something like "Talk Dirty to Me" very different on guitar, I'd prefer that. When I'm doing originals in bands, I do the same thing. What I played on a record isn't going to be what I'm playing live down the road. I don't even remember exactly what I played on records, and purposefully so. I like songs to gradually evolve over time.

From your descriptions, it sounds like you're somewhere between a tribute band and just a plain old cover band--because you're not just recreating everything about a particular band. So I'd probably take something of a middle approach, too. As long as we're doing things that are characteristic of the genre, I'd not expect everything to be note-for-note. I'd probably want to move to more of almost a parody direction with it, actually, but that's just me.

Anyway, obviously not everyone has the same approach, the same ideas about this stuff, which is why it's imperative to discuss it from square one. It sucks if you guys can't come to some agreement and you really like the drummer personally/he's a friend, but unless you're just doing something as a casual hobby, the band is a business, and business needs to come first in that situation.

However, if he's really a good friend, also consider whether you think the drummer's approach is hurting the band's business (and taking into consideration what you're trying to achieve as a band)--is your attendance and word-of-mouth not what it could be because of what the drummer is playing? If it's not really affecting audience opinions, maybe it's just the guys in the band being persnickety about it when it's not really that big of a deal. You'd need to try to talk to some random folks in the audience about what they like and dislike about the band to know. It might be a good idea to get a crew member, manager, or even just a friend, etc. to mingle with the audience after you've played some. Have them pose as just a normal person there to listen to the band. Other folks are more likely to give honest opinions in that case.

Last edited by BrewBillfold; 08-30-2010 at 09:22 PM.
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  #16  
Old 08-30-2010, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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He sounds lazy and I'd can him. He's not going to improve fast enough for you from the sounds of things. How long are you willing to hold this guys hand?
I'd give him another chance at the next gig to fill in all the missing colors and if he doesn't he's being replaced.
I have to agree here, Larry. If you are in a tribute band you need to be doing accurate renditions of the material. That means listening carefully, transcribing, working out the parts on your own, and memorizing the parts on your own.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

The band will sound like it went up 5 skill levels with a competent drummer at the wheel. Not many players have a global effect on the bands overall feel like a drummer.

Audition time. No excuses for not playing the material properly, it's job one. Ameteur hour is over.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:40 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

I thought tribute bands played stuff and acted like one perticular group. You mention a few different ones and to me that sounds like an 80's cover band. Nothing wrong with that but by definition, you dont sound like a tribute band.
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Old 08-30-2010, 09:45 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

I don't think it matters much that he doesn't have a kit to practice on.

I just auditioned for a band and had to learn 3 songs of theirs with odd times and strange changes with no opportunity to try them on an actual drum kit first. It's amazing what just listening to CDs and air-drumming / tapping-it-out-on-the-steering-wheel-while-driving can do.

I nailed all 3 songs first try when audition time came around, but only because I put in the time and brain power to learn the roadmap and key spots. I can play drums, and so can he (in all likelihood), so it really comes down to how much time and brain power is he willing to put into the effort.

He sounds lazy to me. I agree with Larry: amateur hour is over. Get a drummer who will make it a priority to get the material right.

Unfortunate about the friendship, but he's the one sabotaging it. Hopefully it's strong enough to survive this bump in the road.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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I thought tribute bands played stuff and acted like one particular group. You mention a few different ones and to me that sounds like an 80's cover band. Nothing wrong with that but by definition, you don't sound like a tribute band.
Sounding like a tribute band is the key here. In the strict sense, you are right. But you can have a tribute band that plays tribute to an era or type of music from that era, like '80s hair metal or '60s guitar rock. My friend had a band like the latter, he is now in a Yes tribute band. In the '60s band, they used Rickenbacker's, Vox amps, period drums and used the types of arrangements of the music that is associated with '60s guitar rock. IN a tribute band there is also hair style, clothing, make-up, scenery and other things that can be part of the show.
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  #21  
Old 08-30-2010, 10:04 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

Oy--guys, it's not necessarily indicative of being lazy that you don't play something exactly the same, and it's not more right or proper or whatever to play it the same. Those are ridiculous statements.

It just depends on what someone has in mind to do.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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Oy--guys, it's not necessarily indicative of being lazy that you don't play something exactly the same, and it's not more right or proper or whatever to play it the same. Those are ridiculous statements.

It just depends on what someone has in mind to do.
It's not just that he's not playing things exactly the same. The OP sounds frustrated because the guy's not even close and cites several examples.

You're right: he may not be lazy; he may just be incompetent.

If it were me, I wouldn't be in tribute / cover band as those aren't my cup of tea. In the audition scenario I described, I didn't learn the exact drum parts either, but I did cop enough of the gist of it and setup and make all the changes. In the case of an original band audition, I always assume they want to hear what I would do with the material rather than just ape what the guy before me did because, presumably, there will be writing happening and I want to give a flavor for what my contribution will be.

However, this IS a tribute / cover band, so there is a certain expectation (that may need explicit articulation to the drummer) that key elements of the drum parts need to be maintained somewhat intact.

Then again, if he needs to have that explained to him, he may not be the right guy...
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:36 PM
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Oy--guys, it's not necessarily indicative of being lazy that you don't play something exactly the same, and it's not more right or proper or whatever to play it the same. Those are ridiculous statements.

It just depends on what someone has in mind to do.
If he's not putting in the time to learn the correct parts the way the band want's though, that is being lazy. Band members need to agree on what level they want to be true to a song. Some don't mind not playing note for note and some do. Also, maybe his skill level isn't up to playing those dime a dozen drumming songs in which case, start auditioning.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:37 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

One of the bands I run now is a cover band, but the idea is that the songs are NOT going to be the same as the originals--rather, they're going to be quite different, and that's basically a requirement. Occasionally we'll have someone play a part similar to the original, but only because it would sound weird against the things that other folks are playing instead.

As I mentioned, when I was in more normal cover bands when I was younger, I didn't play anything exactly the same either. I just played things that more or less had a similar feel, and I'd regularly stretch the acceptable boundaries of that for the band. It wasn't due to laziness or incompetence. It was due to not caring for the idea, from a philosophical perspective, of playing things "note-for-note".
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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If he's not putting in the time to learn the correct parts the way the band want's though, that is being lazy.
You're not lazy just because you're doing something that's different than what other people want you to do! lol It can be an ideological disagreement. You don't know until you talk about it.
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Band members need to agree on what level they want to be true to a song. Some don't mind not playing note for note and some do.
That part I definitely agree with.
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Old 08-30-2010, 10:50 PM
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You're not lazy just because you're doing something that's different than what other people want you to do! lol It can be an ideological disagreement. You don't know until you talk about it. .
Your right, calling him lazy isn't faar. As far as the ideological angle, it may not be that deep.
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Old 08-30-2010, 11:20 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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You're not lazy just because you're doing something that's different than what other people want you to do! lol It can be an ideological disagreement. You don't know until you talk about it. That part I definitely agree with.
I think it's the degree to which you don't play things the same that's the issue here. It sounds like the cover band approach you take is a lot more liberal than most (and one I might do if I were inclined to do covers).

Of course I agree that not playing parts exactly the same doesn't necessarily make one lazy, but the tone (and username) of frustrated indicates that the expectation conversation is past due.

The closest I came to playing in a cover band was a band I joined after they'd put out 5 albums. There were 20 or so songs I had to learn for shows, and while I didn't try to reinvent the wheel, I didn't feel compelled to stick with the original version to the nth degree either. I had quite a bit of latitude to make myself at home with whatever worked for me and that didn't upset the songs, or peoples' expectations of them.

It can be a fine line and one that needs to be established early on.
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:24 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

he probably just isn't experienced enough to play the parts. fairly common,
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:46 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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One of the bands I run now is a cover band, but the idea is that the songs are NOT going to be the same as the originals--rather, they're going to be quite different, and that's basically a requirement.
So if you are covering Phil Collins, "In the Air Tonight" are you saying that you won't do the famous fill?

Bummer dude.
Like it or not, that's what the audience wants to hear. That doesn't matter?
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Old 08-31-2010, 01:53 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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So if you are covering Phil Collins, "In the Air Tonight" are you saying that you won't do the famous fill?

Bummer dude.
Like it or not, that's what the audience wants to hear. That doesn't matter?
This guy that comes to my clinics plays reggae. I was were talking about rhythms and specifically reggae, and how you can hear those rhythms in The Beatles. I go to his show and they're doing a reggae version of the tune I was talking about.

Tribute is great and fun. And it is a lot of work getting all those details down. But musical styles are pervious and for me that is the whole idea of popular music, that there is not guy at the top with a magic wand saying do the music this way.
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:43 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

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So if you are covering Phil Collins, "In the Air Tonight" are you saying that you won't do the famous fill?

Bummer dude.
Like it or not, that's what the audience wants to hear. That doesn't matter?
Yeah, in the band I'm referring to, although we don't do that song, if we did, we'd maybe do it as a polka in 17/16 or something. We might reference the fill in some way, but maybe everyone would stop and we'd do something like that rhythm on duck calls or something, and the lyrics might instead be something like, "Icon dealers GUIs that are full of sprites, click on" (rather than "I can feel it coming in the air tonight, hold on"), or maybe a trombone would play a melody using a plunger mute or something instead, etc. . . . which sounds kind of parodic, and lots of things we do could be taken that way--we intentionally court absurdity, but the principal idea is not really to be a spoof band. It's more like a surrealist/dadaist/Residents/Zappa kind of thing.

Obviously it's not a normal cover band, and it's not a band that would be playing in bars where people are expecting to hear Bachman Turner Overdrive and Van Halen songs that they're going to sing along with and dance to. The music is more like we're doing originals--especially since it would often be the case that it would be difficult to figure out what tune we're doing, we do a lot of obscure things, etc. A typical set might be:

1. "Ragtime" - Igor Stravinsky
2. "A National Acrobat" - Black Sabbath
3. "Roly Poly" - Bob Willis
4. "Vulcan Worlds" - Return to Forever
5. "Say You'll Be There" - Spice Girls
6. "Parde mein rehne do" - Asha Bhosle
7. "Deep Deep Down" - Ennio Morricone (from Danger: Diabolik)
etc.

The only requirements are that (1) we didn't initially write the song/piece/etc. and (2) we're doing at least some weird things with it--it's more like we're rewriting them. Sometimes the songs are recognizable if you know them well, of course, and especially when it's something like "Deep Deep Down" that has those really cool chromatic-oriented changes on the verses, we make sure we retain that rather than reharmonizing it away (on that tune, we instead add lots more similar changes elsewhere--exaggerate them, etc.), and likewise, the "Roly Poly" lyrics don't change much, but we still do weird things to the songs in other ways.

Last edited by BrewBillfold; 08-31-2010 at 02:55 AM.
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:13 AM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

If I seem small minded, it's only because I am taking an average non musicians view on things in this particular scenario. If I'm just your average patron, I wanna hear the songs how I know them. It's disappointing and too artsy for me otherwise. I probably wouldn't get it. I want what I know. It's reassuring to me. That way I can sing along.

From a musicians point of view, intrepret away, but how often do you play for a room fullI of musicians?...If you took a poll I'd bet that the civilians wanna hear it like they know it.

I have to wonder how in demand your band is Brew. I mean of course I hope you are well in demand, but from everything I've gathered about audiences, I found that they like what they're used to, which makes me wonder how your band is recieved.
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:34 AM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

I like Larry's approach here. If the job is to "give it to the audience the way they expect it", then that's where I'd approach it from. There are a number of bands, like Dread Zeppelin, or Me First and the Gimme Gimmes that do their own spin on otherwise famous songs. As much as I enjoy it, it does get annoying sooner than later, and regardless of how intricate the music gets (and I can be accused of being a muso), I start to hate it and can only view the band doing it as a spoof band, and depending on my mood, may take it with a grain of salt and attempt to enjoy it, or just walk out in disgust. Usually it's the latter.

That said, if I wasn't in the mode of playing for money all the time, I'd probably play in a band like Brew's. But it's been a long time since I was 16 and living at home ;)
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:55 AM
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Aeolian Aeolian is offline
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

I've seen this discussion on other forums as well. There is a big difference between being able to play the original part and chosing to substitute something else, and not being able to play the original part at all. Either because of lazyness or inability. The trend seems to be that the ones that cry most about being just a record player being beneath them, and needing to put their own stamp on something, are the one's most likely not to be able to nail the original part. As someone pointed out, from Led Zeppelin to Earth Wind & Fire, many groups never played things exactly like the record, or even stayed with the same arrangements year to year. Sometimes things mature over just one tour.

Adding something to it is great. But no excuse for being too lazy to learn how to actually play it. Back in the late 70's I was playing the dance music of the time (mostly disco) with a bunch of jazz folks as there weren't enough jazz gigs to go around. Traveling bands would come into other clubs in town that were often self taught rockers playing the same music we were. Only without the music education, or the interest in learning about music, these three chord folks would simplify and water down the tunes to things that they could understand. Or maybe they really couldn't hear the sophisticated jazz harmonies and arrangements that were in a lot of that music. No wonder they hated the music so much. The way they played it there was nothing there. Then on their off night they would come in our club and be dumbfounded. "What are those chords? I didn't know that was a bass on that song" (something like the harmonics chords on Boz Scaggs Harbor Lights) and so on.

If you're going to do covers, you need to decide on what you're going to do with them, and have everyone in agreement. I've played in bands that hung very close to the original parts and arrangements, and in others that used them like jazz standards, a framework to take off and improvise on.

But I firmly agree, even if you're going to turn something inside out, you should be able to do the signature "parts" that bring the song home to the audience. I did a sub with a group that played Alicia Keys' "No One" (an amazing boring song that my old cover band gave up on as we couldn't get it to go anywhere) as a reggae. So I did the synth arpeggios on overdriven guitar to get some flavor of the original song. There really isn't much else to that stupid tune that's signature other than the sampled crash cymbal.

I would emphasize to this drummer that certain signature parts are expected. Maybe he doesn't have to get every aspect of the pattern exact (the bass player in my last band was a stickler for the kick patterns being exactly like the record since he was playing the bass parts exactly, even if we were stretching or otherwise jamming on the song) since getting the groove is more important than stiffly hacking though an awkward pattern. But you should strive for the essence of the song.

One song that's kicking my ass is Maroon 5's Sunday Morning. Getting the feel of the shufflish kick pattern and the groove of the rest of the pattern really takes some independence. I've heard them live and the new drummer really doesn't get the feel of the record. To me this feel is an essential part of the song. And I won't play it live until I can make that pattern groove. There are some cool fills in this song but to me they are less important than that kick pattern. Play that right and folks will instantly recognize the song, even before the other instruments come in. That should be the goal of a cover band. To take the audience someplace familiar so that they have a good time. It doesn't mean playing a dead nuts transcription of the original, but it should be recognizable.

My way of looking at it is to strive for the impression that the audience is listening to the original band stretching and taking liberties with their own tune. Combine this with the 20-40 different artists you will be covering in a given night and there is a lot of work to pull this off.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:06 AM
eamesuser eamesuser is offline
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

If your drummer does not have a lot of cover band experience,or doesn't have the enough technical expertise to play the parts or has to be able to practice on his own to get them close within his skill level,and has no place to practice, that makes it tough.If it can be arranged that he can practice on his own where you are rehearsing and he is motivated that could help.But if the rest of you have a similar commitment and skill level and he does not,you will only be as good as the least committed/ skilled player will let you be.Ever.I went through the same thing with my weekend warrior Classic rock/variety band. Our bass player books most of the gigs and has the rehearsal space and wants to pick the songs ,arrange the sets and direct rehearsal.He is not a good bass player and has no conception of how a band works or how a performance should be paced,and when he practices tunes I believe that whatever he comes up within 20 minutes is what he plays whether a reasonable facsimile or not even close.So I spend rehearsals listening to the guitar and vocal and ignoring him.I tried to explain as nicely as I could what he could do do improve but he just says uh huh,and I got it I got it and does the same thing.So I just explained that I would not rehearse any more until something changed,which it won't.They have not fired me yet,but they might.So you might have to sit down with him and find out what the issue is,and go from there.Sometimes people that are not competent or committed won't admit it,and if that is the case either everyone will accept it,or others will start playing down to his level or quit,or you will have to find a new drummer.
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Old 08-31-2010, 07:33 AM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

Aeolians post pretty much sums up how I feel about playing covers. I learn the song as close as possible then changes just tend to slowly happen over time. I always hated auditioning for already established cover bands b/c they play the tunes so diffferently that they don't even know how the original song goes.

Signature fills, groove, & tempo are things that should be consisten to the regular tunes. With drums their is a little leeway with some of the generic fills that get played on mainstream rock songs. If you are serious about making a band work you have to make sure everyone is doing their part. Just tell the guy the truth, in a civil manner of course. No reason to beat around te buh though. Someone has to step up & do it. For some reason its always been me in the groups I have played with. I recently had to start the conversation with a vocalist that "were getting a new singer." It wasn't fun but I had to do it or we would have wasted each others time & money.


Brew, that sounds like quite an interesting set. I am not sure what I would do if a band down here broke into some of those tunes, the way you described. Also Do you have any mushrooms or acid left? j/k
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Old 08-31-2010, 02:57 PM
Witterings Witterings is offline
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

One of the bands I was filling in for whilst they were between drummers I go so much praise from the band members for learning the parts as close as possible it isn't true. Things like the where the drums come in and the Rhythm in Sex On Fire and even bought the Hi Hat mounted tambourine. They found a permanent drummer who's good but they still keep saying I wish he'd learn the parts like you did and he just says that's not how I play it.
The band that I'm now in have recorded a couple of CD's and they used Nick D'Virgilio as their session drummer and whilst it's original material so not know by audiences at gigs I've learnt the parts as close as I possibly can and whilst not absolutely 100% exact it's so close a none drummer wouldn't be able to tell the difference. Again I get so much praise from from the other band members for having done so it's made all the time and effort worth it!!
It's often the drum part that gives a song it's "feel" so if you're doing covers I think it should at least maintain a similar feel unless you've all agreed that you're going to "Make it your own" in which case you've pretty much got a blank sheet of paper to see what works but it doesn't sound like thats' what the OP's band are trying to do.
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:19 PM
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Ian Williams Ian Williams is offline
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

To be a musician, as well.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:09 PM
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BrewBillfold BrewBillfold is offline
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
If I seem small minded, it's only because I am taking an average non musicians view on things in this particular scenario. If I'm just your average patron, I wanna hear the songs how I know them. It's disappointing and too artsy for me otherwise. I probably wouldn't get it. I want what I know. It's reassuring to me. That way I can sing along.

From a musicians point of view, intrepret away, but how often do you play for a room fullI of musicians?...If you took a poll I'd bet that the civilians wanna hear it like they know it.

I have to wonder how in demand your band is Brew. I mean of course I hope you are well in demand, but from everything I've gathered about audiences, I found that they like what they're used to, which makes me wonder how your band is recieved.
Yeah, the three bands that I run currently (with many overlapping members, but they are three very separate ideas, so we keep them separate) are definitely not designed for "maximum commercial potential", and none of them have made a ton of money. They are also side projects for everyone involved--most folks in them, including me, make the bulk of their living in other musical situations (no cover or tribute bands for me, though, there--as I've mentioned, I'd only do that in a normal way if I were making a LOT of money for it). So we do not always get to spend a lot of time on them, either. We have to work around folks' schedules for making money in their other situations . . . although that's also a reason that there is a more open-door membership policy in the bands. We can go with whoever is available and interested in doing it at the time.

However, a lot of those other situations are not very artistically rewarding for the people involved. It's more like having a day job. Those gigs often little resemble why we got into music in the first place--we got into music to create music that we love ourselves. The bands I'm running are intended to be artistic outlets, and the gist is to create music for people who enjoy the kinds of things we're doing. That might be a relatively small number of people, but that's fine. That small number of people likes that kind of stuff the best, and there aren't a lot of people providing that kind of music for them--I know that because as a consumer myself, it's quite a search to find music that I get really excited about (even though I at least moderately like the vast majority of music; thats different than finding stuff that I get very excited about). We're glad to be of service as we are able to.

One good thing for us is that we're located in New York City rather than someplace like Fort Dodge, Iowa. It's a bit easier to do something unusual and have people be interested in it here. I also ran a similar band (one that kind of combined the three ideas) as a side project when I was based out of South Florida instead, and we much more often only received bewildered "wtf?" reactions there . . . although that was kind of fun in itself, lol.
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Old 08-31-2010, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: What to expect out of a drummer?

Quote:
Originally Posted by theindian View Post
Brew, that sounds like quite an interesting set. I am not sure what I would do if a band down here broke into some of those tunes, the way you described. Also Do you have any mushrooms or acid left? j/k
haha . . . that's long been one of my constant goals, to make things seem kind of acid-trippy, with a combination of both disturbing and humorously absurdist elements. That's the kind of stuff I tend to like the most as a consumer, too, hence why I'm a huge fan of musical artists like Frank Zappa and the Residents, etc. Even most of the more "normal" seeming artists I love tend to have elements of that in their music. For example, I'm a huge Todd Rundgren fan. People who only know Todd from his radio hits wouldn't be aware of this, but he's done a lot of very trippy stuff on his albums.
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