ARE YOU A DIVE BAR DRUMMER?

opentune

Platinum Member
Hobby bands, playing local gigs about 6 - 8 times per year. No dive bars. I'm at a level of constantly learning more.
And you Goose? Am curious what your game is.
 

Jml

Senior Member
What's your playing level? Intermediate. Started late in life - at 49. I’m 51 now. Took formal lessons for a year.

What style do you play? Mostly pop and classic rock because that’s what my band plays. Would love to be good enough someday to play jazz.

Have I played dive bars? Yes. And slightly above dive bars.

What other venues have I played? Church. Played at different ones for over a year until the pandemic started. Doubtful I’ll be going back.

Have you been paid to drum? Yes - at church and the bar gigs.

Have you taught? No.
 

steadypocket

Gold 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.
Antonio Stradivari must have said the same about building a few violins.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known 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:
To me, being an advanced drummer means knowing what to play, when to play it, and how to do it with musicality and good taste. As you know, shredding chops on camera in an effort to generate followers does not a musician make. I don't even watch the show ponies on YouTube. It's a phenomenon that does nothing to intrigue me.
 

iCe

Senior Member
I consider myself a 'professional amateur'. And with that i mean that i pretty much know what my strong points are and what my weak points are. Corona aside, i'm not gigging or making any money with music. And that's fine by me. Becoming a pro requires some form of luck, but mostly dedication and playing your ass off. And that's not something i want anymore. I'm perfectly happy to play with a guitar player once every 2 weeks and make our own prog-rock-metal 'songs'. Last couple of years I've noticed that i don't care anymore if people like or dislike my music, so playing in our rehearsal room is enough for me. Probably could be somewhat successful if we put the time and energy in it, but we don't want that pressure.

My preferred type of music to play is progressive rock. It's challenging with the changing time-signatures and also doesn't restrict to 'standard' song structures. I find that playing pop music tends to be boring (simple and repetitive drum beats) and prog rock keeps me on my toes :)
 

justadrummer

Junior Member
Playing Level/Playing Experience: When I first started playing, a Cougar was car manufactured by Lincoln Mercury, and the Beatles were still a band. At that point I was mostly self taught. I started playing paying gigs in 1975. I moved from Pittsburgh to south Florida in 1979, I played everything from dive bars to high end hotel bars. I made decent money at the time. I had a bad motorcycle accident in 1991, had to start from scratch. I took lessons and used drumming as physical therapy. I was living in Pittsburgh again. I played in an oldies cover band band through the nineties until 2003. I got transferred to the Washington DC/Baltimore area in 2003 for my day job. I gigged a bit during the next five years, but not as much as I'd have liked. I had a demanding, high stress job. January 31, 2008 I had a major stoke. I was a mess. It took me a while to recover, and once again become a functioning member of society. Again I used drumming as part of my recovery. I retired from my day job in September of 2009 at the age of fifty, and moved back to Pittsburgh. I started gigging again in 2010. Mostly as a cover band drummer, some times as a bassist or hand percussionist. I stayed busy until the fall of 2019 I was in the midst of starting in a new band when Covid-19 interfered.

Style: Over the past forty-five years years I've played... Classic rock, when it was new music in the seventies. Country, Pop/Disco/Lounge, whatever made sense in the hotel bars of Miami to West Palm Beach in the eighties. Mostly I played oldies in a show band throughout the nineties. For the past twenty years I've played mostly in Rock or Blues cover bands. I did record a CD and and gig with an Americana originals band from 2010-2013 as a hand percussionist. I played in a busy rock and soul cover band from 2013 through 2019, and a pop covers band from 2014 through 2019.

Dive Bars?: Sure, I've played in dive bars at different times over the course of the past forty five years.

Other Venues: I've played in every thing from horrible dive bars to a lounge in the Fountain Bleu Hilton, corporate gigs, and festivals.

Paid? Playing hotel bars four nights a week in the eighties I made between $100 and $150 per night, which was pretty good pay at the time. As of last year I was making the same, no longer decent money. :D I have put a lot of what I've made over the years as a drummer back into drum gear. As such, I own some pretty cool gear.

Have you taught? Other than teaching the basics to two nephews, no.
 
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BruceW

Senior Member
I am (or at least was, pre 'Rona) a working weekend dive bar drummer. I'm not what anyone would consider to be an advanced drummer, I view myself as competent. There are many, many better drummers than me in our little geographical circle, and that's just in the folks I see playing out. It's quite likely there are many more that I don't know about.

However, I can play with other people reasonably well. Not trying to be any sort of virtuoso, which is fortunate as I'm not capable of it. However, if you can play with other folks, you can work, especially in the dive bar music biz. It doesn't hurt that I sing, as well. Both lead and backup/harmony, so I provide some added value, I suppose...

I don't get paid terribly well. We play at the same old band rate per man, most gigs. Some we do better, some not quite as well. We used to make it up in bulk, lol. We're having fun, and getting a little beer money.

I'm no teacher. I'll gladly share what little I know with anyone who asks, but I'm not qualified to truly teach anyone beyond the most beginning beginner.
 

moodman

Well-known member
I'm not defined by the venue I play in, as a drummer (that plays out with humans, for humans) I've played in many diverse settings. Too many stereotypes around, I'm just an experienced drummer.
 
Played cruise ship gigs for the last 7 years until now. Post-Covid - unemployed other than a few remote recording jobs.
Before that I played in several cover bands. Mostly wedding type gigs, festivals etc. Really good part-time $
Before that.... I toured Canada, and Northern USA playing bars, festivals, fairs with a few original acts. Really crap full-time $
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Playing Level/Playing Experience: I guess I'm at an advanced level, I have letters after my name thanks to my drumming, I've been playing since I was 4 (32 years), studied with great teachers. I play corporate gigs, weddings and functions for my bread and butter. I've done bike rally's, pubs, original stuff, festivals down the years. Am I as good as I want to be? Nope and I don't ever want to be!

Style: I'm a poor mans Jeff Porcaro/Hal Blaine/JR/Purdie/Roger Hawkins. Any kind of pop/rock. I love my prog but unfortunately the paying public aren't so keen on prog :)

Dive Bars?: Yep, well they're pubs here. I cut my teeth doing pubs while I was at uni. Best grounding you can do, teaches you to deal with the public and makes you appreciate the well paid gig for sure. I still play the odd one with my beer money band but we only gig at pubs where we're good mates with the landlords and we get a good turnout including beer buses.

Other Venues: Far too many to mention, done biker festivals in huge marquees that hold 2000 people, stately homes, played a few Castles too. The grand hall at Warwick Castle was pretty cool. Holiday parks, conference centres and I've even done driveways, back gardens and front rooms.

Paid? Always it's makes up a nice chunk of my income, unless I know you incredibly well and there's a pint in it.

Have you taught? A little bit here and there, I'm not a good teacher at all, I'm a far better player.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Dive Bars?: Yep, well they're pubs here.
Ah, I drew a distinction between a likely interpretation of a British pub & my understanding of the US descriptive of a dive bar. In my mind, if I relate dive bar to some British pubs, I'm thinking about the pre club crowd high street low rent variety.

Pubs, I still play, but only decent ones, and increasingly infrequently.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
Playing dive bars was one of the main reasons I turned the last band down. I haven't gigged for a decade or so. Prior to that, I was in original bands. We got booked in decent places, even if they were coffee shops and restaurants. They had stages and would get packed. We played a lot of events like festivals and events where there were multiple bands throughout the day. We even played state fairs opening for other bigger named and sometimes well known acts. These were gigs where the backline kits were top of the line DWs. Fast forward to today and dive bars with 1:00am tear downs just don't appeal to me. Especially doing it twice or more per month.

I was doing that when I was an intermediate player at best. No one knew, because I just played to the song and didn't try and stand out. Today, I still won't try and stand out, but can play far more technical things than I used to and have put in way more time mastering stuff. I'm sure I'll find some opportunity to sink my teeth into at some point, but playing pffffree bhhhhhird to a bunch of drunks is just not my thing!
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
In my mind, if I relate dive bar to some British pubs, I'm thinking about the pre club crowd high street low rent variety.

Pubs, I still play, but only decent ones, and increasingly infrequently.
The former are the ones I cut my teeth in with a guy who was on Star in Their Eyes as Noddy Holder :) What a character!

The latter is what I do now for beer money and a few ales, but they're tiny so I use a yamaha table top kit with kick tower and hat trigger.

Apologies, I'm generalising which is an insult to the good pubs!
 

J-Boogie

Gold Member
Not a dive bar drummer. My band is older ladies and gentlemen who have professional careers outside of music that just do it for the fun, buzz, and love of playing. We usually shoot for the nice places where us older folks would be happy to attend. We were just getting up and running and had a bunch of gigs lined up. Ive been practicing like I never have before and hope the guys and gals are too so we can come back strong. But no dive bars. In my mind Im an amateur intermediate with a heck of a lot to offer the music in terms of feel, groove, and excitement. Many of you on here, rightfully so, would probably laugh at that and say, "aww how cute, he thinks he can play!"
 
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