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  #1  
Old 08-28-2013, 10:37 PM
Joseph "Stix" Davis's Avatar
Joseph "Stix" Davis Joseph "Stix" Davis is offline
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Default Guest Drumming For A Band

Greetings Drummerworld!

I like asking questions. :)

This time I have a question regarding guest drumming. One of my musical goals in life is become a session drummer, but I need to establish a reputation for that.

I work at a radio station. We are involved in a lot of concerts and events. In a little over a week we are having a concert at our local Oktoberfest grounds. We are giving away a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle (we do this every year) and are having some bands play. Otherwise, Bobaflex, and Nonpoint are playing. I really like Bobaflex, and I will get to help them setup, take down, and hang out with them during the show. I think it would be a lot of fun to play a song on drums with them. I was thinking about sending them a email and asking them if that's possible and if they want to.

One of the last concerts that came to town needed a fill-in drummer (but the concert was canceled), so this would be a good opportunity to help me get out there in the local scene for other bands that may need fill-ins. Plus it would be a lot of fun!

I'm thinking, why not? I don't think it would hurt to ask.

What do you think?

I just really want to get out and play! :)
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  #2  
Old 08-29-2013, 12:17 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

Sitting-in is sometimes a welcome challenge, but it really depends on the band, and the gig. Not every band is in a position to call up guests, and some shouldn't at all. There's also a difference between sitting-in in a bar band, and doing the same in a featured band at a festival. It has nothing to do with whether the guest can play or not, it simply may not appear proper.

There are obviously exceptions. If Dave Grohl wanted to sit-in and play the Nirvana parody with Weird Al, that would be cool, as it adds to the show. But just having anyone come up for no apparent reason has no cool factor at all. It's also a different situation if you happen to know the band, and their audience knows who you are.

Basically, there needs to be some value in it for the band, not just for you sitting-in. It needs to be more cool for them to have you up there, than it is for you to be up there.

For example, if one of the air talent at the station sat-in with a band whose performance the station sponsored, the audience would probably dig that, and some bands would agree to that because they know they'd also look good for doing it. But that probably wouldn't work for just anyone at the station if they're not known to the listeners (audience.)

It never hurts to ask, but in this case, you're going to get more rejection than acceptance.

Bermuda
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Old 08-29-2013, 12:29 AM
denisri denisri is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

Fill-in work...is great and you should welcome it...if you can handle the style and material. Nothing like getting an MP3 of 45 songs week before the gig and learning them for the show! Great way to meet other musicians! Even more fun when you don't know any of them! Denis
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:25 AM
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konaboy konaboy is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

While yes it would be fun you might want to make sure the radio station is cool with you asking them as you are employed by the radio station and if this is a radio station sponsored event they may frown on asking the band to fill in.

Me personally if you want to get some fill in gigs I would start hanging with friends that are in local bands and sit in with them. If you want to get session work start getting some time in a studio making some demo's to pass out to local studios letting them know you are available for session work if they need someone. I don't know that I'd ever ask a band if I could sit in with them, especially at a festival. I just don't think it's fair to put them on the spot to have to say yes or no, especially one that doesn't know you. If unsolicited they ask you to play that's one thing, I just don't think it's right to ask a band if you can sit in for a song. After all they were hired to play this gig, the promoter didn't hire them to have you sit in for fun.

Just my .02. In all the years I played in bar bands and went to see my buds play I never asked if I could sit in, it's their gig. If they asked if I wanted to play I would.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:46 AM
Joseph "Stix" Davis's Avatar
Joseph "Stix" Davis Joseph "Stix" Davis is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
For example, if one of the air talent at the station sat-in with a band whose performance the station sponsored, the audience would probably dig that, and some bands would agree to that because they know they'd also look good for doing it. But that probably wouldn't work for just anyone at the station if they're not known to the listeners (audience.)

It never hurts to ask, but in this case, you're going to get more rejection than acceptance.
Bermuda
That's what I was thinking, because then I could promote the band when I'm on air for being so kind as to letting me play a song with them. I understand there's plenty of rejection, I'm not worried about that part. :)

-------------------------------

I'm not going to put anyone on the spot, this is just something I thought of. I never had an opportunity like this come before, that's why I wanted to ask. If by chance they ask me then I would definitely take it.

Maybe record some covers and send it to them or other bands for in the future? Since the show is only a week away, I'm not going to ask. Like I said, the idea just came in my head today.
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Old 08-29-2013, 01:47 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

Quote:
Originally Posted by konaboy View Post
While yes it would be fun you might want to make sure the radio station is cool with you asking them as you are employed by the radio station and if this is a radio station sponsored event they may frown on asking the band to fill in.
True, etiquette dictates that you don't overstep your bounds if it can jeopardize your situation, or the situation of someone who can in turn jeopardize your situation (the station manager, for example.)

That doesn't mean not to explore chances, just know that there's a protocol to be followed. Assuming it's appropriate to ask at all (do not ask to sit-in with Poison, Quiet Riot, etc.) you have to ask the right person, in the right way.

As I said, be prepared for more rejection that acceptance with the better-known bands.

Let's put it this way - if you were in a band, playing for a few thousand people at a concert, and someone connected with the logistics of the event wanted to sit-in, would you let him?

Bermuda
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  #7  
Old 08-29-2013, 01:54 AM
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bermuda bermuda is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph "Stix" Davis View Post
Maybe record some covers and send it to them or other bands for in the future? Since the show is only a week away, I'm not going to ask. Like I said, the idea just came in my head today.
You're (probably) not going to get into trouble for asking, but it's really not something that's done, unless the person sitting-in is 1) invited, and 2) there's a reason to have him sit-in, such as, does it help the band look cool. I suppose another possibility is if, as a condition of payment, the band had to let someone play a few songs with them.

Suppose the Rolling Stones are playing, and Ringo sits-in. No question that would be cool and the audience would love it. Suppose Vinnie sits-in. Would anyone care? Well, maybe a few dozens drummers in the crowd, but generally, there'd be some boos. Suppose their monitor guy sat-in? the reaction would be merciless, the Stones would suffer the wrath of the people that had paid to see Charlie play, or at worst, another drummer of his widespread notoriety. There are only a few that would fit that bill. Ringo, ... ummm... okay, only one.

Bermuda
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  #8  
Old 08-29-2013, 03:54 AM
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Pocket-full-of-gold Pocket-full-of-gold is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

This reminds me of the guy who staggers up at the bar gig, tells you he used to play and asks if he can sit in for a song or two. It's just on a grander scale.

Given it seldom cuts in with a bar band on the local circuit, I can't see it playing out at a festival with a headline act.
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  #9  
Old 08-29-2013, 05:30 AM
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alparrott alparrott is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

As a band member, I wouldn't be cool with it in the situation you described. As an audience member, I really wouldn't be receptive.

The only time I remember this working is Green Day grabbing three guys out of the crowd at a show in Seattle to play a song (kind of an extended vamp really) for them.
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Old 08-29-2013, 06:06 AM
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IDDrummer IDDrummer is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

Sometimes the contract a band signs won't even allow them to let someone sit in. Some of the promoters I've worked for include this provision to protect their own reputations. I assume the radio is the promoter and that you will be able to check the contract.

As others have said, the chance of rejection is high, but if it doesn't appear to be a conflict of interest it probably doesn't hurt to ask.
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  #11  
Old 08-30-2013, 07:23 AM
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Aeolian Aeolian is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph "Stix" Davis View Post
That's what I was thinking, because then I could promote the band when I'm on air for being so kind as to letting me play a song with them.
I take it from this that you are already an on the air personality? With a following on the station? Then as said, that changes things a bit. Are you MC'ing part of the show? Is the local audience coming to see you almost as much as the band?

Maybe have the on-air sidekick (weather, traffic, news, whatever) drop on air hints about you playing drums. Maybe mention bands or gigs you've played recently. Don't mention any sitting in unless it's already set up though. See if the band's management gets wind of these bits (I assume that as an on-air personality you know how to do this) and see if you can set it up in advance. Meet and greet the band and be exceedingly modest. Don't talk the drummer's head off with gear talk. Leave it up to them to invite you on stage. Don't hover in the wings looking anxious. The show is for the audience. Treat it like any other show you do. And remember, even if you play great, you're still the dancing bear act. Local minor celeb playing rock star with the big boys (even if they aren't the Stones, you act and treat them like they are, but you already know this). If it happens, have fun with it and be a part of the positive energy. Good luck.

Personally, I never ask to sit in. If asked I might depending on what kind of gig it is. I've invited other folks to sit in on my gigs. But they were people I knew would add to the show. My experience is that people who ask to sit in, usually shouldn't. I understand a lot a great players got a break by being bold enough to ask to sit in, and hanging. But boy, if you go ask cold, you better be able to kill it.
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  #12  
Old 08-30-2013, 01:46 PM
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eclipseownzu eclipseownzu is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

Since your motivation for wanting to do this is to get your name out there for session work, I really think this can backfire on you. You want everybody to associate you with being a professional guy who is easy to work with. By asking a headlining band, out of the blue, to sit in with them, you become associated with fan boy who put the band in the ackward situation of having to tell you no. Not at all a professional way to act.

Be careful during the set up and tear down as well. Listen to the full time roadies and techs and dont try and get to chummy with them or the band. They have a job to do and really dont need you getting in their way. If, at the end of the tear down, you have an opportunity to talk to somebody you feel can get your name out there, band drummer, drum tech, tour manager, etc. Make it short and sweet. Remember, for you its a chance to hang out with a band you like. For most of them its a job they do to pay the bills.

/end rant
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Old 08-30-2013, 03:45 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default Re: Guest Drumming For A Band

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aeolian View Post

Personally, I never ask to sit in........

.........My experience is that people who ask to sit in, usually shouldn't.

Amen to this ^

About asking to sit in....From the other drummers POV..... This is his gig, he earned it. He might not appreciate it. I mean if you are just using the opportunity to showcase yourself, that's kind of douch-ey. Sorry, I mean no disrespect, but I must call them like I see them.

I wouldn't ask. The best thing you could do is to somehow try and will the other drummer into asking you. Then it's completely different. And you had better be really friggin good too. Sounds like a bad idea to ask. It could put people off, shooting yourself in the foot in the process. If you want to do session work....(which is kind of a deluded goal, sorry) this is not a good way to kick things off. Plus from a professional POV....I don't see how this can look professional. You won't have any rehearsal with the band, and this is just not a sit in type of gig. Just a bad idea all the way around. You will be putting people on the spot, and there's more chance of things going wrong than the opposite. It's not in your best interest to sit in.
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