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  #1  
Old 12-07-2016, 10:23 PM
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Default When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

As drummers, when the band makes a mistake do you go along with them or do you stay the course and make them adhere to the correct structure?

For example, over the weekend I was playing a show with my Zeppelin cover band and the singer and lead guitar player started a chorus four bars early. I couldn't hear the rhythm guitar player or the bass player to know if they also jumped ahead, but I decided to stay the course and didn't transition into the chorus for another four bars. Fortunately the vocal part drops out as soon as the chorus begins so the only thing the audience really should have noticed was a change in the guitar part.

So which is it? Do you join in on the mistake and guide the band moving forward, or do you make them come back to you?
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

At a gig I try to cover other's errors by going along with the flow, but I'll mention it on break to make sure there was awareness of what happened. And to double check that I'm not in error.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:28 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Originally Posted by TheElectricCompany View Post

So which is it? Do you join in on the mistake and guide the band moving forward, or do you make them come back to you?
If it's during practice, call them out...but don't be an a-hole. :)


If it's live, join in what everyone else is doing. Even if you're "right," and the rest of the band is "wrong," the audience doesn't know that and always thinks the odd man out is incorrect.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:32 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Originally Posted by TheElectricCompany View Post
As drummers, when the band makes a mistake do you go along with them or do you stay the course and make them adhere to the correct structure?

For example, over the weekend I was playing a show with my Zeppelin cover band and the singer and lead guitar player started a chorus four bars early. I couldn't hear the rhythm guitar player or the bass player to know if they also jumped ahead, but I decided to stay the course and didn't transition into the chorus for another four bars. Fortunately the vocal part drops out as soon as the chorus begins so the only thing the audience really should have noticed was a change in the guitar part.

So which is it? Do you join in on the mistake and guide the band moving forward, or do you make them come back to you?
During a performance, the idea is play for the music. I will do whatever it takes to get the whole band back in sync. It isn't about who's right or wrong. Usually that means keeping with the majority of the band.

That may include playing a big fill to keep out of a train wreck. Keep going if most of the band keeps going or changing with most of the band.

You had a real tough one if you couldn't even hear the bass or rhythm player.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
At a gig I try to cover other's errors by going along with the flow, but I'll mention it on break to make sure there was awareness of what happened. And to double check that I'm not in error.
Quote:
Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
If it's during practice, call them out...but don't be an a-hole. :)


If it's live, join in what everyone else is doing. Even if you're "right," and the rest of the band is "wrong," the audience doesn't know that and always thinks the odd man out is incorrect.
Thanks for the feedback. To top it off, after this misplaced chorus which should have been the end of the song, they somehow went into an additional verse and chorus. I went along with those, but I wasn't happy about it!
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:45 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Unfortunately in my last band that kind of thing happened a lot. I always go with the flow. Stubbornly staying with the song when everyone else is off doesn't work. And to be fair, I have on more than one occasion ended a song before it is supposed to end. Everyone followed me.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:48 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

I'm with the others. In a live situation, follow along with what most of the band is playing.
Talk about it with them later.

Sorry, but your job is to help make the rest of the band look and sound good.

By The Way. You can't hear the bass player!?!?!...... Noooot gooooood.


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Old 12-07-2016, 10:57 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Originally Posted by AZslim View Post
During a performance, the idea is play for the music. I will do whatever it takes to get the whole band back in sync. It isn't about who's right or wrong. Usually that means keeping with the majority of the band.

That may include playing a big fill to keep out of a train wreck. Keep going if most of the band keeps going or changing with most of the band.

You had a real tough one if you couldn't even hear the bass or rhythm player.
This is the second show in a row it's happened, but this time was much better than last. The first show I had nothing in my monitor for half of the set and the sound guy couldn't figure out what to do about it. Eventually he put a single guitar in my monitor and cranked it up to eleven, which made things much, much worse. Now instead of faint stage noise I have a screaming loud rhythm guitar and I'm having to sing the songs in my head to keep us together. After all, I can only remember so many measure counts in a two-hour show.

This past Saturday I told the sound guy to give me an audience mix minus the drums because I wanted to be able to hear everyone. It comes time for the soundcheck and I have nothing in my monitor. I stop the song and tell the guy I can't hear anyone, so he just gives me bass drum. I stop us again and we have to go instrument by instrument with me telling him to turn everything up. We get to a good level and once the show starts it's all out the window. No bass, one guitar, and none of the guest artist's instruments- save for one guitar player- and it's constantly changing. One song I can hear the vocals fine, the next song they're gone. Leads are dropping out in the middle of the solo and the rhythm's getting turned up.

There's only so many times you can take a second between songs and have someone with a mic tell the sound guy everything is still wrong before it makes the band look unprofessional.

It sounds completely insane, but I know others here have had experiences like this or worse.
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Old 12-07-2016, 10:59 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
I'm with the others. In a live situation, follow along with what most of the band is playing.
Talk about it with them later.

Sorry, but your job is to help make the rest of the band look and sound good.

By The Way. You can't hear the bass player!?!?!...... Noooot gooooood.


.
That's a good point. In the moment I was debating whether I wanted to make the singer and guitar player look right, at the risk of selling out the rhythm player and bass player who I was sure would be right.
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:03 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Ugh, we were playing a song and i purposely played an extended fill that i started early in the measure but still ended correctly. i threw off the singer who also plays guitar. he gave me a look because he could tell something was off, but before we locked back in, he started singing the next verse, it was terrible and i could have killed him for not waiting till we were all back together before singing a verse where the beat didnt match up. we didnt discuss it later but what an idiot for singing over that mess.
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  #11  
Old 12-07-2016, 11:07 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Everybody is there to make the songs as good as they possibly can.

Points scoring about who made a particular stuff up is irrelevant, because over the course of a few songs, everybody will make mistakes.

There are two things that I particularly like about my band. The first is that there's a real sense that we're all in this together, and are there to support one another when we play.

The second is that our lead guitarist is super-critical when we rehearse (because that helps us to improve), yet always positive after a gig (because it's done, and there's nothing to be gained by crying over split milk).

The only thing I would add, is that it's worth agreeing that it's important not to look surprised when the band goes off piste.
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Old 12-07-2016, 11:52 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Go with the flow at a gig. Then bollock them after :)
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  #13  
Old 12-08-2016, 03:38 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Fire your sound guy, he's a putz.
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  #14  
Old 12-08-2016, 04:43 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

I don't play music that can be right or wrong ... it's just music and it can go where ever it wants.
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Old 12-08-2016, 04:58 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

If 'the band' is wrong, then it's up to 'the band' to sort it out during rehearsal. Who screwed up is arbitrary except for when 'the band' is considering giving 'that member' the boot.
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:19 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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I don't play music that can be right or wrong ... it's just music and it can go where ever it wants.
You make a very good point. The band has the power to take a song where ever it wants.
And those band members who resist may be the ones who need to loosen up and go with the flow.

I was playing at a jam the other night. I was playing with players that I had never played with before. I could not hear them talking so I did not know what song they were going to play. The bass player started out playing a funky sounding groove. So I started playing a really funky beat. I mean really really funky, like James Brown funky.

By the second verse I realized that they were playing and singing "The Thrill is gone" by BB King. I then knew I was playing the wrong groove for that song. Well, The bass player and I just kept that funky groove going through the whole song. After the song the lead guitar player and singer turned around and said, "wow, that was really great!" And the bass player turned to me and simply said "Thank you".

The song did not go where one would expect, it just went where we took it.

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Old 12-08-2016, 07:04 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Originally Posted by TheElectricCompany View Post
Thanks for the feedback. To top it off, after this misplaced chorus which should have been the end of the song, they somehow went into an additional verse and chorus. I went along with those, but I wasn't happy about it!
Follow the singer. They can't skip a bar or repeat it without looking stupid.
If no vocals, follow the lead guitar. He won't grasp what's going on before the song is over :P

About the addl verse and chorus: hey it's called improvisation! Consider it a challenge to make it sound as if all is well and afterwards casually tell your fans, "oh that part was completely improvised" and they will be impressed like you wouldn't believe it :)
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Old 12-08-2016, 08:28 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

It doesn't matter who fluffed and who was on it what matters is that your band is able to recover and that the issue is solved in a nice easy way so that everyone is happy. Do not persecute the offenders as we all know what goes around comes around.

Singers often need really obvious queues to know when to come in, in some bands 60% of my fills are placed not for musical texture but to simply sign-post to the singer a change is coming. THis is particularly true if they don't play an instrument, unless you are a Bruford or Bonham this is an important part of your job. Every singer I know wants a clear groove that has obvious sign post fills.

Sounds like a great stylistic mash-up.
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Old 12-08-2016, 10:59 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Singers often need really obvious queues to know when to come in, in some bands 60% of my fills are placed not for musical texture but to simply sign-post to the singer a change is coming.
This :-)
I have a "Magic Snare" and I'm sure Captain Bash does too. When rehearsing if there's something in a new song that needs a cue because people aren't certain of the structure then I'm always asked, or a band member tells everyone else in the band, "Woolwich can use his magic snare there". It can be activated by a flam, 2 hits, a 4 stroke roll or anything really. No one ever talks about my Magic Hi Hats but they are activated by lifting my foot off them to make them a bit sloshy or by moving from my ride cymbal over to them. Like the Magic Snare they give an obvious yet subtle enough signal that a change in the song is due.

As to the bigger question, if a mistake happens I'll go with it and do my best to avoid the human nature action of staring at the person who made it or pulling a face, sometimes easier said than done. No one but the band notices or cares especially about these mistakes so I just play the song and enjoy the off piste moments. I'm not perfect and I've gone early at times and because my band mates follow me then all is well :-)
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Old 12-08-2016, 05:29 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

The OP poses only half the question. The other half, obviously, is what does the band do when the drummer gets lost.

Assuming a band of equally capable players where everyone makes roughly the same number of mistakes, it's just as impotant to have damage control skills as it is to know the material.

Those damage control skills ideally get honed in the practice room. One of my bands is fairly adventurous and we make a ton of mistakes at practice, but the atmosphere is such that we laugh at brilliant recoveries as much as the brilliant experiments that actually work, which is great because nobody's freaking out about mistakes. They come with the territory and it's just good practice. When we stuff something up at a show, we're pretty good about getting things back on track with confidence and a sense of amusement.

Mistake recovery is something that gets better with practice.

One thing we've worked out is that if I botch something and come back all weird, it's best if they follow me rather than have the drums upset the flow a second time to get back to what's correct. That's too noticeable.
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Old 12-08-2016, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

If the whole band makes a mistake at the same time, and you're right, I would assume it's actually the rest band who are right and you're making a mistake. That, and the fact that it doesn't matter as long as the audience thinks it's supposed to be like what they're hearing, so I would ajust to the band in stead of "correcting" them. I also try to record every gig and encourage everyone in the band to listen after the gigs. That way each individual member can sort their own stuff out and no one needs to blame another. We all make mistakes, but once on stage, it's all about helping each other.
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Old 12-09-2016, 12:26 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Bearing in mind how much a garbage monitor mix risks ruining a gig I'm surprised how often 'sound guys' neglect it, arguably it's 50% of their role rather than the afterthought they sometimes give it.

Big cheesy fills (ie that everyone in the band instantly recognises) have always helped me save things.

I'm so grateful I've never had to worry about any form of backing track!
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Old 12-09-2016, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Originally Posted by TheElectricCompany View Post
This is the second show in a row it's happened, but this time was much better than last. The first show I had nothing in my monitor for half of the set and the sound guy couldn't figure out what to do about it. Eventually he put a single guitar in my monitor and cranked it up to eleven, which made things much, much worse. Now instead of faint stage noise I have a screaming loud rhythm guitar and I'm having to sing the songs in my head to keep us together. After all, I can only remember so many measure counts in a two-hour show.

This past Saturday I told the sound guy to give me an audience mix minus the drums because I wanted to be able to hear everyone. It comes time for the soundcheck and I have nothing in my monitor. I stop the song and tell the guy I can't hear anyone, so he just gives me bass drum. I stop us again and we have to go instrument by instrument with me telling him to turn everything up. We get to a good level and once the show starts it's all out the window. No bass, one guitar, and none of the guest artist's instruments- save for one guitar player- and it's constantly changing. One song I can hear the vocals fine, the next song they're gone. Leads are dropping out in the middle of the solo and the rhythm's getting turned up.

There's only so many times you can take a second between songs and have someone with a mic tell the sound guy everything is still wrong before it makes the band look unprofessional.

It sounds completely insane, but I know others here have had experiences like this or worse.
You can't get anything out of stage volume? Maybe you need to have someone that you want to key off (most likely the bass player) point their amp at you. That would help cover for the times the sound isn't up to snuff.
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Old 12-09-2016, 11:15 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Depending on mood, we tend to hear tempos differently at different times. If we are excited then everything seems slower and if we are tired, vice versa.

So, if the rest of the band thought I stuffed up then I probably did. More than once there were debates at rehearsals where either I or someone else was accused of "tempo crime" and, on hearing the playbacks, the band's majority view tended to be right.
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Old 12-10-2016, 06:11 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Fire your sound guy, he's a putz.
This. What a dolt.

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Old 12-10-2016, 08:22 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Originally Posted by PorkPieGuy View Post
If it's during practice, call them out...but don't be an a-hole. :)


If it's live, join in what everyone else is doing. Even if you're "right," and the rest of the band is "wrong," the audience doesn't know that and always thinks the odd man out is incorrect.
This. If you make the rest of the band look bad, chances are their new drummer wont. ;)
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Old 12-11-2016, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Just pull it all together, and never settle for a poor monitor situation. If you can't hear the whole band, what's the point in playing? I'm there to become part of something big and musical. If I can't hear it, what's the point?

There is an exception, when I play with the wedding band, which uses sequences. The sequence is like the one ring that rules them all, and must be held to. So when someone gets off time, I play something that gets them back on real real fast. Like loud four on the floor, or just loud snare. If they drop a few bars or come in early, I have to play with the sequence, not them, and that's when we get (usually) singers turning to me and the keyboard player who runs the laptop that runs the sequence, and wait to get counted back in to the next line.
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Old 12-11-2016, 07:14 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

There's no hard and fast rule for this. You have to evaluate the situation on the spot and react to it. I sing, so if the lead singer forgets the words or something like that, I'll "hop in' and keep singing until he jumps back in. But if it's a "train wreck" with the rhythm section, I'll usually just go with it until we can bring it back around to an identifiable point, like a chorus, etc.....
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Old 12-12-2016, 05:51 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Every band should have a "leader", someone who everyone should follow if things get messed up.

Usually it's not the drummer, so I'd figure out who the leader is (singer? Guitar?) and make sure to go with them, even if they are wrong. After the gig, or on break, you can bring up the issue and discuss it, but the important thing while on stage is to listen and play with the band.

I make a living working with singers, and (no offense to any singers out there) they seem to LOVE messing up the form. The band just has to go with it. Instead of AABA, the singer might go AABB, and there's a few seconds of WTF, but if a band is listening to each other, they should be able to recover before the audience realizes something went wrong.
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Old 12-12-2016, 06:38 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

One of my favorite stories was about a guy playing with miles (i can't remember who it was.. but he was being interviewed and told the story..) and said he hit a note so vile and wrong he thought he would be kicked off stage but miles played like 3 notes instantly and brought it all back around..and it was forgotten and everyone was happy :)

Point is to me at least.. try to get through it with grace and make it sound as good as possible together.. then go all buddy rich on them after the show :)
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Old 12-12-2016, 11:50 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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I make a living working with singers ...
My deepest condolences. It must be awful!

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Old 12-12-2016, 11:53 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Realistically, only one person is wrong. The rest of the band is typically not making the same mistake. In that way, I put the onus on the guy who isn't doing what everyone else does.

Having a whole band adjust to one guy making a structure mistake sounds horrible.
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Old 12-14-2016, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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I make a living working with singers, and (no offense to any singers out there) they seem to LOVE messing up the form.
I think that when they practice, they leave out the rest on the end of lines, and then go off and play some solo piano & voice gigs, skipping those same rests. Then next thing you know they have a drummer who counts all the way to four, and they're bailing at 3, and the groove gets turned around backwards, and they're looking at you like you're the problem ha ha.
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Old 12-15-2016, 07:35 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

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Originally Posted by TheElectricCompany View Post
This is the second show in a row it's happened, but this time was much better than last. The first show I had nothing in my monitor for half of the set and the sound guy couldn't figure out what to do about it. Eventually he put a single guitar in my monitor and cranked it up to eleven, which made things much, much worse. Now instead of faint stage noise I have a screaming loud rhythm guitar and I'm having to sing the songs in my head to keep us together. After all, I can only remember so many measure counts in a two-hour show.

This past Saturday I told the sound guy to give me an audience mix minus the drums because I wanted to be able to hear everyone. It comes time for the soundcheck and I have nothing in my monitor. I stop the song and tell the guy I can't hear anyone, so he just gives me bass drum. I stop us again and we have to go instrument by instrument with me telling him to turn everything up. We get to a good level and once the show starts it's all out the window. No bass, one guitar, and none of the guest artist's instruments- save for one guitar player- and it's constantly changing. One song I can hear the vocals fine, the next song they're gone. Leads are dropping out in the middle of the solo and the rhythm's getting turned up.

There's only so many times you can take a second between songs and have someone with a mic tell the sound guy everything is still wrong before it makes the band look unprofessional.

It sounds completely insane, but I know others here have had experiences like this or worse.
This sounds like 90% of the gigs I've played. I learned to stop relying on a monitor mix quite early on in my touring days. I started forcing myself to become comfortable hearing only parts of certain instruments, and trying to pay attention to visual cues. It's paid off immensely, not only in band cohesion but lessening mental anguish.
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  #35  
Old 12-16-2016, 02:34 AM
SmoothOperator SmoothOperator is offline
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

This happens often when you have sections, brass or strings. I like to throw in a totally off crash that's not in time with what I'm doing or what their doing.
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  #36  
Old 10-28-2017, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

As a BP I work like a team with the DR. Drummers should be signaling repeats or section changes with rolls, splash or snare whack. Bass players should play four note lead-ins to pivotal chords or bass runs into section changes. Together, drum rolls, bass runs and lead-ins prevent train-wrecks... IFF the front-line is listening to their rhythm section!

Jazz and blues incorporated the definite two bar turnaround just for that, whereas rock music dropped it for the most part, hence bigger train-wrecks! Tell 'em to listen to the back-line, after all, that's what we get paid the big bucks for!

Visual signals can help enormously. Band members can exaggerate movements to what they are singing or playing so all band members can see and synchronize. Hand and eye signals. Choreography relies on visual cues. Ever see a flock of birds on a tear? Heads-Up Please!

Prepare for train-wrecks in advance by agreeing on the singer or soloist as the default, so if they go astray, everyone knows in advance to get in synch with them. If not the singer, then select somebody else. Often, singers may have a lapse and default to the first thing that comes to mind to avoid looking bad at centre stage and we end up with AABBA instead of AABA.

But nothing replaces practice! Rehearse exactly as you play on stage. Stopping for errors at rehearsal is a discontinuity that ruins retention. Better to recover quickly, Keep Calm and Carry On! Recording rehearsals and gigs with a cheap recorder does the trick with no fuss and memorizing lyrics is helpful, but practice at home is most important. One great little device is a TASCAM CD-BT2 Portable CD Bass Trainer with headphones or line out. It loops, changes key/tempo independently, boosts/cuts the CD bass and mixes bass to CD levels. There's no excuse for me not to know that tunes.

Now get out there and play safe! And be a lert! The stage needs more lerts!
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  #37  
Old 10-28-2017, 10:33 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Thanks for the advice!
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  #38  
Old 10-28-2017, 11:38 AM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Good Evening, I guess... It's morning here. Well, I'm retired... What else can I do... Lot's to learn about here. Lot's in common BP-DR.

I doubt if the drummer is wrong, because everything should be based on the drummer's time. If people listened to the rhythm section there'd be less tense moments. I guess we get caught up in the music and forget about the roles. When other players hijack the time keeping role from the drummer, only chaos can result.

I've been in bands like that and drummers should be aware that it is their role and not to follow but to lead when it comes to meter, time and tempo. The drummer counts off the song, thereby synchronizing the start and giving the tempo to be followed. They signal song changes throughout - especially the finale. Because that's what they do. It was set up that way. I'm looking forward to input on bass playing from the drummer's perspective.

Best Regards!
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Last edited by StringNavigator; 10-28-2017 at 08:29 PM. Reason: counts off the song - synchronize start - set tempo - signal changes - especially finale.
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  #39  
Old 10-28-2017, 05:40 PM
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Morrisman Morrisman is offline
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Had a couple last gig which I salvaged:

In the intro to one song, guitar starts, then bass, then drums. (I think it was long train running) Guitar and bass were a beat out from each other, but couldn't hear each other well enough to work it out. So I made a really clear downbeat and crashed on beat 1 for a few bars. Guitarist looked baffled at first, but it came together by the time the singer came in.

The other one was 'Valerie'. The singer skipped an entire verse - chorus cycle, and was jamming away on the ending way too soon. Most of the band hadn't realised. I caught the singer's eye and she looked stressed like it was the end but we weren't ending. So I slowed it down and dragged it to a halt. Sounded perfect, the audience didn't know any better. But we talked afterwards to work out what went wrong, so it won't happen again.
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Old 10-28-2017, 07:16 PM
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Default Re: When the Drummer is Right and the Band is Wrong

Happened to me last night. We were covering "Burning Love", a song that might as well be etched into my bones, but less familiar to the other guys. The solo break happens over the chorus structure, and so I was starting to play that, only to hear they'd decided to solo over the verse structure instead. Rather than step on the soloist, I dropped back and listened. I will mention it the next time we get to rehearse, and we'll work on it - but I'm less inclined to make a mess of things than to die on the hill to be right, and lose the audience.
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