ARE YOU A DIVE BAR DRUMMER?

GOOSE72

Well-known member
I would like some input on your drumming level. Are you in your basement playing as a hobby? Do you make money playing if so please share. Any input would be appreciated. I hear a lot of folks talk about the skill levels they have and "I'm a working drummer" ETC.. I also hear a lot of folks talking about the best way to teach and gear and what not. Give it up and let us all know what style you play gear you play and what level you think you are at regarding drumming and why. Anything goes but please keep it civil. Appreciate you all.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Not any more. I gigged from 94-02. I've played dive bars, festivals, theatres, ballrooms etc. all over the midwest. Band went on and got signed, I dont feel bad in the least. I still play regularly in my room because I want to.
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
Yammyfan summed it up for me. "I'm an intermediate drummer. I play bars, corporate gigs and small festivals. I use my earnings to buy progressively better gear"
I usually make between 100 and 200 a night with my Country band. Our band leader tries real hard to get us the most money he can. But we don't gig as much because a lot of places around here (Kansas) won't pay what he he's asking. I mostly use my pay to get more gear.
 

TK-421

Senior Member
I've been playing for nearly 40 years now, and in all that time I haven't been in a single cover band/dive bar band. 100% originals, ranging from punk rock in my earlier years to progressive rock, straight-ahead rock, singer/songwriter, jazz/bop standards and big band. Not to mention marching and orchestral bands in high school and college. The only exception to my "no cover band" claim is a Tears For Fears tribute band I did for a few years (the guitarist from one of my original bands put it together and invited me to join).

There is a difference between being in a tribute band vs. a cover band (at least in SoCal)—mainly the level of musicianship, the types of venues you play and the amount you make per show. The venues we played ranged from 80s bars (maybe 50-200 people) to larger clubs up to the size of the House of Blues (maybe 1000+ people). We usually made anywhere from $200 to $1200 per band member per show (typically around $200-400 each). The $1200 per person show was actually some casino near El Paso that flew us out, put us up for 2 nights, fed us and paid us each that amount. Wish we could have gotten more of those! Oddly enough, we got stiffed on our House of Blues Hollywood show, even though it was at (or near) capacity. And I somehow lost a cymbal stand on that gig. But we also played the House of Blues San Diego a couple times and made some decent money if I recall.

Anyway, I consider myself to be a fairly advanced player, as are most of the players in the bands I've been in.
 
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cbphoto

Gold Member
In my teens I played dances, debutante balls, weddings, bar mitzvahs, and fund raisers. A normal weekend gig would net me $200. My dad thought I was slinging dope cuz of the wad of cash I’d have. Then, one day, the band chose to play bars and in California I wasn’t allowed in, so that was the end of that. The band didn’t last long after that.

Fifteen years later I walked into a church, saw this killer Yamaha 7-piece kit and played in churches for the 25 years. Didn’t get a dime, but it was an easy gig.

About fifteen years ago a church buddy (bassist) asked me to play for a fundraiser. It was classic rock, played on a stage in a bar and I had a blast, so I let my name out there and eventually fell in with a 4-piece. They were all my age and we all agreed to play the “early shift” at bar gigs. No 2am load outs. It was great cuz those guys were excellent musicians. An average bar gig netted me $50. When we played festivals, my take was $200+.

Now I play in a 9-member funk band. Been with them for 5 years. Bar gigs net me $40 and events $100+. I do it cuz the mates are a great hang and the music makes women dance real pretty.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Here's a summation for you, Goose72:

What's my playing level? Advanced. I've been drumming thirty-six years, I'm formally trained, and I've always taken the instrument seriously.

What style do I play? I consider myself an eclectic drummer, though country is my favorite genre. Metal and jazz are two categories I haven't invested myself in, but I've dabbled in both.

Have I played dive bars? Yes.

What other venues have I played? A very wide variety: Large arenas, festivals, clubs, stages at Mardi Gras, parade floats, weddings, corporate events, private parties, restaurants, dancehalls, saloons, and studio sessions.

Have you been paid to drum? More often than not, yes.

Have you taught? Yes, for two major music stores. I no longer do. I like drumming more than teaching.
 
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Rotarded

Senior Member
Playing Level: Ape
Style: Eclectic. Primarily Funk and Rock.
Dive Bars?: Sure
Other Venues: Everything from small clubs, private events, weddings, to music venues, festivals, casinos....etc.
Paid? Yes.
Taught? No
 

Woolwich

Silver Member
After looking at several online thesaurus' for more accurate ways to describe myself on my CV under "Hobbies And Interests", because "plays drums in a pub covers band" didn't sound great to me, I've come to the conclusion that I meet the dictionary definition of "semi professional musician".
Yes I was more surprised than anyone to learn that. I did you with the definition I created of "semi amateur", but hey it's a CV it's not lying so I am semi pro!
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I earned my living as a drummer late 70's through early 80's (about 5 years), then disconnected from music entirely for 24 years. Took up playing again 2007.

I play occasional paid sessions, and since 2009 play with a reasonably well regarded covers band - mostly medium size festivals & events. The band is able to charge a respectable fee. I haven't played dive bars since 1983.

I would describe my ability as musically experienced, technically intermediate, and of fairly limited repertoire.

I've built a few drums.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I’ve been playing for 25 years. I played about 60-70 paying shows last year with about 4-5 different bands. Living within a music scene that hates drummers (bluegrass is strong here) and never having taken a single formal drum lesson, I feel I do ok.
 

KJIB

Active member
Playing Level: Single cell organism, I've been learning for about 8 months now.
Style: Anything the computerised lessons throw at me, blues, rock, hip hop, jazz, soul etc. Actually I found the styles of music I wouldn't normally listen to can be really good fun to play. Note; at my level, any musical "style" is barely recognisable as all the lessons are so basic.
Dive Bars?: Nope, but once a year in May, except this year due to the virus, about 500 bands descend on our city so I go in those places to see what they can do, (it's called The Great Escape festival). That's probably what influenced me most into trying the drums to start with.
Other Venues: As above.
Paid? Ha ha haaa. Someone might pay me to shut it!
Taught? 4x 1 hour face to face lessons, I want more but, you know, the virus. The rest of the time I use the computer lessons on "Melodics" which it reliably informs me, I've spent 220 hours of my life doing!
Now that I don't have to commute, I spend the hour before work (that I'd otherwise burn pointlessly going to work), on the drums. After work I then do the same. So that's something good for me that's come out of this pandemic. I don't have a plan with the drumming, I discovered that I like it so I keep doing it, much to the dismay of my wife and one of my daughters who has a bedroom right above where I practice. Mwahahahhaaaa....
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
What's your playing level? Fairly advanced - I always hate saying that though because there's this whole segment of young guns out there that can odd-time-linear chops-unhumanly fast-shed to death: but I've been playing for about three decades at professional level with about 50% of my income generated (well previously generated before COVID haha) from shows and music related things and the other 50% from a business I started.

What style do you play? Primarily Funk/Hip Hop / Jazz....but I can play pretty much anything, my gig for about the past 8 years has just been in the aforementioned genres. My first big gig (Kevin Eubanks) was that jazz/funk thing so I guess it stuck.

Have I played dive bars? Not many - totally not my scene.

What other venues have I played? We do a lot of performing arts centers, theaters, festivals - that kind of thing. Our music has cultural spin to it - so we've also done a lot of cool things like The Smithsonian both in DC and NYC, art galleries, shows with wind symphonies with our suite of original tunes that were turned into symphonic arrangements (it's wild to hear a bass line that you wrote in a living room being played by like 20 cellist in a hall), we played in these ancient ruins once, we've done a TED X thing - lots of diverse stuff.

Have you been paid to drum? Yeppers.

Have you taught? I was adjunct faculty at a college for exactly 1 year and it turns out that teaching is an entirely different set of skills than playing and I do NOT like or do well teaching. Lesson learned!
 

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adamosmianski

Senior Member
there's this whole segment of young guns out there that can odd-time-linear chops-unhumanly fast-shed to death
This makes me feel old, because my immediate though is "so what?!" Those kids are very impressive, and seem to be having fun, but so many of them will end up with exactly zero gigs. They'll just be showing us their gospel chops on Instagram. (But more power to them if they're happy)

Now get off my lawn, and if that balls comes over the fence into my yard you're not getting it back!
 

NouveauCliche

Senior Member
This makes me feel old, because my immediate though is "so what?!" Those kids are very impressive, and seem to be having fun, but so many of them will end up with exactly zero gigs. They'll just be showing us their gospel chops on Instagram. (But more power to them if they're happy)

Now get off my lawn, and if that balls comes over the fence into my yard you're not getting it back!
Ha - yea I get that.

A lot of the kids I'm talking about already have cool gigs and are endorsed etc.

It's more a generation gap - they approach the instrument different than I do and I think of lot us that a little older do. It's just the evolution of the instrument - which I'm sure everyone generation has experienced. I bet people that grew up swinging with dance hall bands probably hated fusion and said the the same thing about Gadd and Weckl, etc.

I just feel old when I hear them play - but luckily I can always practice what they are doing :) It's just not built in.
 

adamosmianski

Senior Member
A lot of the kids I'm talking about already have cool gigs and are endorsed etc.
Yeah, the "game" has definitely changed, hasn't it. There are people with endorsements who ONLY do Instagram. Wild. But hey, more power to 'em.

It's more a generation gap - they approach the instrument different than I do and I think of lot us that a little older do. It's just the evolution of the instrument - which I'm sure everyone generation has experienced. I bet people that grew up swinging with dance hall bands probably hated fusion and said the the same thing about Gadd and Weckl, etc.
Totally. When watching some of these kids I'm starting to hear myself say, "That's stupid", and have to remind myself, no, "That's different".
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
I am nowhere close to being a full time musician, or even considered a part-time musician, but I have made a fair bit of money from drumming on musicals, both the high school level and also semi-pro local productions. I was on a bit of an upward trajectory here when the pandemic hit. I'm also in a Lady Gaga tribute band that I run that gigs maybe once or year, I make "okay" money from that (between $40-100 a gig) but due to its infrequency, its hardly a liveable wage. Any other band I've played in is essential "Dive Bar" music and I make enough to buy me a drink.
 
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