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  #1  
Old 09-07-2012, 12:21 AM
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Default Fire the drummer.

I don't know if this has been talked about but here it goes. Is it just me or does it seem like bands change drummers as often as the wind changes. It seems like it's the drummer that always gets fired. Why is that? Are good drummers that hard to find?

I say this because in talking to fellow musicians and band mangers they tell me stuff like, They just got a new drummer, or this is this bands 10th drummer, etc, etc, etc. I know that was the running joke in the movie "Spinal Tap"but really.
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  #2  
Old 09-07-2012, 12:23 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

I know one thing. If I showed up and found out I was going to be their 10th drummer, I wouldn't even set up.
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  #3  
Old 09-07-2012, 01:13 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

The revolving door is hardly unique to drummers, all players, even singers, can come and go. What's more unusual is for a group to stay intact over time.

I think the drummers stand out because we're drummers, and are more focused and observant about what happens to other drummers. Guitar players might lament about the same thing among their ranks, same for bass players, keyboardists, etc.

Although it would be interesting to figure out which band or artist has had the most drummers. Zappa (at least 15 including live and studio work) and McCartney (6 or 7 or more, not including himself) come to mind. But Chuck Berry is reputed to have hired a local drummer for every show, so he undoubtedly wins the prize.

Bermuda
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  #4  
Old 09-07-2012, 01:42 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

I was the frontman in a band for over 15 years. We only 2 drummers but we had 7 bassists. :)
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  #5  
Old 09-07-2012, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

For a long time I found it easy to find good guitarists to play with, but they were all a bit nuts. So you'd play with one until he had his meltdown or ego breakout, and move on to the next nut job. I don't know if that's typical or I've just been lucky.
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  #6  
Old 09-07-2012, 04:41 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

I think it's more than just the drummer getting fired. If you think about the way music works, and what passes as legitimate solo work, most drummers are dependent on a good artist or band to advance their own careers, so sometimes the drummer may be moving on of his own free will to find something better.

The other thing (and this isn't just drummers), a band might not really know what they want out of a particular musician, so they keep going through them trying to find it....or, they do know what they want, but are tired of waiting for the right one to show up, which has some natural risks:) My band had a hell of a time finding a good guitarist. They were either scared off by our approach (yes, we are serious about this), or they simply did not meet our expectations, which were pretty clearly defined.

If you are noticing a lot of drummers getting canned, it might be worth it to see how they stack up against the drummers around you who are NOT getting canned.

/ramble
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  #7  
Old 09-07-2012, 05:27 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
The revolving door is hardly unique to drummers, all players, even singers, can come and go. What's more unusual is for a group to stay intact over time.

I think the drummers stand out because we're drummers, and are more focused and observant about what happens to other drummers. Guitar players might lament about the same thing among their ranks, same for bass players, keyboardists, etc.

Although it would be interesting to figure out which band or artist has had the most drummers. Zappa (at least 15 including live and studio work) and McCartney (6 or 7 or more, not including himself) come to mind. But Chuck Berry is reputed to have hired a local drummer for every show, so he undoubtedly wins the prize.

Bermuda
Totally agree with this one. We only care about which drummer is in which band because we're drummers ourselves. With rare exceptions I would say the general populace would only notice (and even then it's a maybe) if the singer/ frontman left.
Surely Megadeth is up there for revolving door drummers?
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  #8  
Old 09-07-2012, 06:59 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

I'd say one would have to distinguish between "fired" and "quit."

Just because a band is on it's 10th drummer doesn't mean the 9 previous drummers were fired, it could be the 9 previous drummers quit. Or some combination of.

It can also mean said band doesn't know how to hire, and keeps hiring drummers who don't fit the band, and only later realizes their mistake, and thus fire the person they should have never hired in the first place.
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  #9  
Old 09-07-2012, 10:00 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

The most succesful band I played with two major tours and records out went through five bass players and two guitarists but just one drummer, me!
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  #10  
Old 09-07-2012, 10:55 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
The revolving door is hardly unique to drummers, all players, even singers, can come and go. What's more unusual is for a group to stay intact over time.

I think the drummers stand out because we're drummers, and are more focused and observant about what happens to other drummers. Guitar players might lament about the same thing among their ranks, same for bass players, keyboardists, etc.
I think Bermuda's got it. However, here's an alternative theory:

Bands are often formed by groups of friends, and most young guys play (or want to play) guitar and/or sing. That means that finding a friend who plays guitar is often easy, and finding a bass player is usually just a matter of finding a guitar player who is willing to play bass to be in the band (in some cases you might even find someone who actually plays bass *gasp*).

However, drummers are a bit more rare, so the guys might have to search for one outside their circle of friends. That means that the drummer may often end up being a bit of an outsider, which means that he might be more prone to being fired or leaving. And once that happens, you will most likely get a new drummer who is even further removed from your circle of friends, and so on. That means that the core of the band will forever be the group of friends who play guitars, bass and sing, and then the outsider behind the drum kit.
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  #11  
Old 09-07-2012, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

In my absolutely humble opinion....

Drummers are a very convenient scapegoat when a gig goes wrong. I've been there and seen it with my own eyes.

A fairly competent covers band I was in a few years back basically rang me to tell me the band were holding me responsible for a poor gig. So I took the message and walked.

In fact the gig had been ok...the sound systems were poor with no mixing to speak of...the gig was lukewarm. I'd heard stuff going awry during the gig. The singer wasn't on song, and the music just didn't come together. My drumming wasn't good...I'd tried to speed some of the songs up because they were empty and dull...and that was a mistake which I admitted to. But, really, as a whole, the gig was just a damp squib...the first of about a half dozen successful gigs where the drummer was 'raved' about.

It pissed me off and still does. Band split up for good a couple of months later when they'd tried a couple of drummers out which hadn't worked.

Not that I was interested....but it made me feel better about things.

The other thing I've noticed with experience of age...drummers tend to have the best 'ears' in the band. Other members, singers, guitarists, etc. tend to be more 'excitable'. They'll think 'that' recording is the most amazing thing since the invention of electric...where the drummer will listen and think it's "too slow"..."lack dynamism"...."isn't well recorded" etc. etc. ad nauseum.

And part of me thinks that this can sometimes turn bands against drummers who appear sometimes as being somewhat negative when, in most cases, it's our attempt to be constructive.

Oh, and of course, singers are invariably egotistical self-serving shites, where drummers tend to be in a band mentally.
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  #12  
Old 09-07-2012, 03:22 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SquadLeader View Post
Drummers are a very convenient scapegoat when a gig goes wrong. I've been there and seen it with my own eyes [. . .] The other thing I've noticed with experience of age...drummers tend to have the best 'ears' in the band [. . .] this can sometimes turn bands against drummers who appear sometimes as being somewhat negative when, in most cases, it's our attempt to be constructive [. . .] Oh, and of course, singers are invariably egotistical self-serving shites, where drummers tend to be in a band mentally.
Yes, yes, yes, and absolutely yes.

Seen it happen a billion times: band not getting gigs? Sack the drummer; That demo didn't come out sounding so good? Sack the drummer; The guitarist can't string more than 2 chords together and the singer simply cannot turn on a mic without piercing feedback? Oh well . . . SACK THE DRUMMER.

I still think a lot of the problem - especially with bands that write their own material - comes down to ownership. I don't fully know the ins and outs of IP law but as I understand it drum parts are not automatically subject to copyright - or something like that. Essentially, unless it is specified in advance, a drummer has no right to claim any part of authorship of a song from his playing alone - it has to be formally agreed and written down. The practical upshot of this is that drummers are still seen as disposable and 2nd-rate musicians to those who don't know anything about anything.
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  #13  
Old 09-07-2012, 05:25 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
The revolving door is hardly unique to drummers, all players, even singers, can come and go. What's more unusual is for a group to stay intact over time.

I think the drummers stand out because we're drummers, and are more focused and observant about what happens to other drummers. Guitar players might lament about the same thing among their ranks, same for bass players, keyboardists, etc.

Although it would be interesting to figure out which band or artist has had the most drummers. Zappa (at least 15 including live and studio work) and McCartney (6 or 7 or more, not including himself) come to mind. But Chuck Berry is reputed to have hired a local drummer for every show, so he undoubtedly wins the prize.

Bermuda
OK, my McCartney knowledge finally, FINALLY comes in use (I'll tell my wife that later..she'll be happy)

McCartney Drummers post-Beatles

1970-71 McCartney
1971-72 Denny Seiwell
1973 McCartney
1974-75 Geoff Britton
1976-78 Joe English
1979-80 Steve Holley
1980 McCartney
1981-88 various session guys, no touring
1989-91 Chris Witten
1993-95 Blair Cunningham (my favorite)
1999 - today Abe Loriel Jr.
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  #14  
Old 09-07-2012, 06:06 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryz View Post
OK, my McCartney knowledge finally, FINALLY comes in use (I'll tell my wife that later..she'll be happy)

McCartney Drummers post-Beatles

1970-71 McCartney
1971-72 Denny Seiwell
1973 McCartney
1974-75 Geoff Britton
1976-78 Joe English
1979-80 Steve Holley
1980 McCartney
1981-88 various session guys, no touring
1989-91 Chris Witten
1993-95 Blair Cunningham (my favorite)
1999 - today Abe Loriel Jr.
Pedant alert...
It's Abe Laboriel Jr.
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  #15  
Old 09-07-2012, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Drummers are frequently expected to be subserviant...

...which we all know is constitutionally counter to what we do.

Mix with egos that usually accompany "lead" musicians...and so the cycle goes.
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  #16  
Old 09-07-2012, 09:07 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

I recall being the scapegoat on a few occasions.Over the years I've been blamed for just about everything except the Kennedy assination.:)

Steve B
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  #17  
Old 09-07-2012, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bull View Post
I was the frontman in a band for over 15 years. We only 2 drummers but we had 7 bassists. :)
My band has been going for over 8 years. The frontman/ lead guitarist and me have been there from the start, currently on bassplayer no 7. We're always nice to them, but it seems they just don't like us!
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  #18  
Old 09-08-2012, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

All the bands I've left or been fired from just fizzled out shortly thereafter. They were on an upswing while I played with them, but I guess they thought a drummer can be easily replaced.
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  #19  
Old 09-08-2012, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

You just need to be the founding member of the band then it's your band and you do the firing
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Old 09-08-2012, 08:05 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

...or maybe drummers are more discerning about who they play with and leave bands. couldl be another reason a band is on their "10th drummer" etc.

AnonLaPly - know what you mean about guitarists, they all seem to meltdown every little while.
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  #21  
Old 09-09-2012, 11:32 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

At least two people have to be on and together for there to be a groove. The drummer and bass player. Since the drums have a more definitive snap to where they put the beat, they stand out more than the rumble of the bass. So if the foundation isn't there, the drummer is often zeroed in on as the reason. I have a few friends who'd entire criteria for taking a gig is "who is the bass player?". Singer can be a total joke, guitarist can be a complete wanker, but if the money's decent and there's a good bass player on the gig, no problem. Have a great frontline but poor bass player and they'll pass. I had the good fortune the other day at a blues jam to play with New Orleans bluesman Kenny Neal. The good fortune was that the bass player on that rotation was someone who is all about locking with the drummer and making it work. Kenny made it fun for the audience, the bass player made it fun for me.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:40 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Well, honestly .... If you join a band .... you're not a founding member. If you start a project, then chances are very good you're not gonna get fired.
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Old 09-09-2012, 11:55 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

I've never been 'fired' from playing, but in my area drummers are very few and far between, especially good ones. I've had the bass player goof at a jam session, and me get called out for his mistake. A great example of this was one night we were trying to play a waltz. Rather than play 3/4, the bass player kicked us into 4/4 time.

I tried desperately to make the 3/4 work, but it was impossible, so I had to play 4/4 right along with him. I was the one to get chewed out for it afterward. It really wasn't my fault.
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:30 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

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Originally Posted by SticksEasy View Post
I've never been 'fired' from playing, but in my area drummers are very few and far between, especially good ones. I've had the bass player goof at a jam session, and me get called out for his mistake. A great example of this was one night we were trying to play a waltz. Rather than play 3/4, the bass player kicked us into 4/4 time.

I tried desperately to make the 3/4 work, but it was impossible, so I had to play 4/4 right along with him. I was the one to get chewed out for it afterward. It really wasn't my fault.

how in the world do you play a waltz in 4/4?

something I have honestly never heard
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Old 09-10-2012, 12:39 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

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Originally Posted by Gvdadrummasum View Post
how in the world do you play a waltz in 4/4?

something I have honestly never heard
It wasn't a waltz when we played it in 4/4. The song was titled 'Tennessee Waltz' and the only think that stayed Waltz were the words to the song. Nobody even tried to waltz to it.

So technically, you still haven't heard a waltz in 4/4 time.
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Old 09-10-2012, 03:42 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

It's funny, we're always looked on as neandarthals who hit drums with wooden sticks 'cos we're dumb, but we're often the ones who are really trying to listen to the band and make it work as a whole.

Not to say that other instrumentalists don't, of course - the first ever jazz jam I did was with a bunch of really nice guys and everyone rotating around knew to listen to each other. The youngest one there, I felt like I was a little kid playing on giants!
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  #27  
Old 09-10-2012, 03:32 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

The only band where the drummer can do whatever he wants is a band formed by the drummer himself.....or Keith Moon era The Who or The Rolling Stones. or Rush....or bands where the drummer really made some impact on their success.

Steely Dan or any Ritchie Blackmore bands...no way!
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Old 09-10-2012, 05:37 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

I think you're all over-sensitive : )

I've never been let go as a bassist or a drummer. Your statistics don't impress me!

Some people fit and some don't. You can be the best drummer in the world and get fired. If you're more hassle than it's worth you'll find yourself being let go.

I think the opposite is true and here is my hypothesis: we are too tolerant of inept musicians and should be more fussy about who is in "The Band".

Peace
Davo
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  #29  
Old 09-10-2012, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Davo-London View Post
I think you're all over-sensitive : )

I've never been let go as a bassist or a drummer. Your statistics don't impress me!

Some people fit and some don't. You can be the best drummer in the world and get fired. If you're more hassle than it's worth you'll find yourself being let go.

I think the opposite is true and here is my hypothesis: we are too tolerant of inept musicians and should be more fussy about who is in "The Band".

Peace
Davo
This hits the nail on the head. A lot of times you'll get replaced just because your playing style doesn't fit. The band I play for is 80s punk, and some modern pop punk-ish music. The former drummer was a graduate of LA music academy, and was a hellacious drummer and percussionist. They replaced him with me because I have the aggression and style that they wanted in a punk band. It's true I am a bit more educated and play more options than a punk drummer usually would, but the former drummer attempted to play Hardcore-ish songs with a jazz feel, and the others just didn't like it.
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  #30  
Old 09-12-2012, 12:59 AM
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Default Re: Fire the drummer.

Thanks for the replies. The reason I mentioned this was because I was talking to the manager of a local rock band that has two national hits and is about to make it big. I will not mention the name of the band.

They fired their original drummer and hired a new guy. Sort of like what the "Beatles "did to Pete Best and hired some guy named Ringo. Anyway, I started thinking, which is dangerous, that this seems to happen to drummers a lot. You're right about this happening to guitarist, singers, keyboardists, etc, but being a drummer myself, I pay more attention when it happens to the drummer.
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