Band Not Wanting To Stay In Time?

EarthRocker

Senior Member
Let me start this by saying that I'm not bragging, but I was blessed with a good sense of time. And I believe that practicing with a metronome has only sealed my ability to know where the 1 is, and make sure it falls in the same spot every time.

So why in God's name, do so many musicians in my area not want to follow the time I keep!?
It's something I've been noticing for a long time, but it seems like they other musicians expect me to keep time with them moving up and down in bpm over the song? I mean for the most part I'm a simple drummer. There's not a lot of flare in playing. So if you're not going to follow my time, what is the point in me being there?

I honestly don't think I'm being unreasonable here. For example: the band I was playing with up until last month was a three piece. Our guitarist sang as well. He done a fantastic job of keeping in time with me, but the bassist just seemed to do whatever he wanted whenever he wanted.

Have things of similar nature happened to any of you?
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
People get caught up in their own lines and you'll find that bassists and guitarists will often rush runs which then leads them into a sped up momentum in the following bar - in the same way as drummers can rush fills and come out a bit faster.
 

groove1

Silver Member
Polly nailed it. It's important to "lock in" with a bass player. If that needs work, you two should work on it.
 

arthurk1

Senior Member
I play to a click 100% and won't make eye contact if I notice a player wanting me to budge. I once had a singer with LSD insist that I find the album tempo for every song, program my click and pull those tempos up live, only for him to realize they were WAY too slow that way and turns around flapping his arms and such,,,,,,,,, I just stared down at the floor and keep chugging away lol. He nicely asked me to not play to a click ever again with him.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I think LSD must be in concert with cocaine. Lead singers get so amped up that everything is too slow for them. From where they counted off to even if you give them a bit and pick up the song.

I've set my phone with the Live BPM ap off to the side and when the singer glares and yells that the song dragged, I'll show them that we sped up 5 BPM over the tune.
 

shemp

Silver Member
Maybe you should be playing with a higher caliber of players....as the heartbeat and foundation of any band, I feel we drummers should establish a leadership role with time and tempo....at rehearsal you could have an iPod with all the tunes and set the standard for tunes by quickly hearing part of each song....it's also ok to arbitrate and bump things up a bit if everyone agrees, but on stage in a club, etc, folks should be mature enough to lock in to the drummers cadence and discuss things offline if adjustments need to be made.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
This is one of the reasons I left the last band I was in.

The guitarist had such a crappy time feel it began to get on my nerves. I told him about it and he apparently started practicing the set daily to a metronome... that was good of him and there was an improvement but in the end still not enough.

I made sure both the other band members knew where I stood on the timing thing, and in a way they teamed up on me and said that I was being too anal... I wasn't being too anal (they were just shit) but I'm sure there is a point where you have to accept that other kinds of musicians just don't consider rhythm and timing as much of a priority and it's up to you to be the perfect foundation that they float around +/- a few milliseconds.
 

WhoIsTony?

Member
on most of the greatest records ever recorded the players are pushing and pulling all over the place....the key is that they moved together so the average ear never hears it

watch most of the best rock and jazz groups ever.....they pull each other around ...its fucking beautiful

being stubborn and feeling that your time is the only time is probably hurting the music way more than helping it

learn to flex with the emotion of the room

if these cats are doing a lot more than being emotionally elastic then I suggest you find some better people to play with
 

poika

Silver Member
I have three clocks in my kitchen, but only one of them keeps "perfect" time and that is the digital clock on the microwave oven.

The other two clocks are much more beautiful to look at.


Here's a nice little documentary clip called "Different Drummer : Elvin Jones"
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn1xMVmLbWk
 

mikel

Platinum Member
on most of the greatest records ever recorded the players are pushing and pulling all over the place....the key is that they moved together so the average ear never hears it

watch most of the best rock and jazz groups ever.....they pull each other around ...its fucking beautiful

being stubborn and feeling that your time is the only time is probably hurting the music way more than helping it

learn to flex with the emotion of the room

if these cats are doing a lot more than being emotionally elastic then I suggest you find some better people to play with
Yes...push and pull is what makes music beautiful. Rock, Jazz and even classical music has that aspect, but as you say its a subtle emotional feel. If the other guys in the band are simply poor timekeepers, then that is another story.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
OP, most bands are faced with these problems, occasionally if your lucky everyone in the band has similar sense of time and so it's not an issue.

My general approach is to simply find which ever instruments time is closest to mine and really lock with them, more often than not it is not the bass player but the keyboards. Then politely ask the other members to play to your united time. I agree with the earlier comment that guitar players tend to speed up on certain riffs and the following section.The only exception to this is if the band is in the traditional singer song writer format, in which case I just go with the singer song writer- and don't let go on no matter what. Eventually the singer song writers time will get better.

You are in it together.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Another take on this could be a cultural one. Back in the day (I know, yawn) I never had a problem with the bands I was in staying in time with each other. Ever.
Could this be because the opportunity to woodshed an instrument, especially drums, was not an option for the vast majority of drummers or other musicians. The first step, after learning the basics, was to play with a band as it was usually the only way to get to play the kit in anger. So we were all learning our instruments as we went along, but, also learning to keep time as a group.
I would count in, 1 2 3 4, or whatever, and we were off. I was keeping the time and the rest were following but there was a lot of push and pull as the emotion of the music took over.

Now, with the luxury of electronic kits and even home practice spaces, guys can woodshed for years, many hours per day If they wish, so the need to play with others has diminished. So it may be possible that by playing to a click/metronome, or playing along constantly to MP3 players, you are in effect always following and never leading. So when it comes to band playing any fluctuation in timing by the other members is going to throw you as, In effect, your backing track is fluctuating.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
My general approach is to simply find which ever instruments time is closest to mine and really lock with them, more often than not it is not the bass player but the keyboards. Then politely ask the other members to play to your united time. I agree with the earlier comment that guitar players tend to speed up on certain riffs and the following section.The only exception to this is if the band is in the traditional singer song writer format, in which case I just go with the singer song writer- and don't let go on no matter what. Eventually the singer song writers time will get better.

You are in it together.
Agreed on this. One of my current playing situations is a husband/wife team; he plays acoustic guitar too fast (and with only one rhythm), while she sings too slowly. Very often I've got him nearly muted out of my monitors and her just enough to hear which phrase she's on, and lock in with the piano and bass.

Ultimately, it is every musician's responsibility to keep time accurately. Drums are just the most obvious place where time is played in most circumstances. Your band and playing situation may vary, and if time is going to do strange or unorthodox things, let it be because you're all that good, not because you're all that bad.
 

CreeplyTuna

Silver Member
I played with a band for a few years in middle and high school, and we had a really weird sense of time. Sometimes the guitarists wanted me to follow them, and others times they followed me. For us, it totally worked. Of course, everyone different, but the we just clicked perfectly. If we were on separate pages trying to do our own thing, that's a whole other story.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Re: doing the cover songs faster than the original tempo because there's not enough energy. That's a crock.

Those songs worked at the tempo it was recorded at. Making it faster only detracts. Needing the song to go faster than the recording is a sure sign of someone who is not comfortable with space.

I think the main thing is the song ends up at pretty much the same speed as when it started. I will compare the front of the song to the back of the song. What it does in the middle....human time is not metronomic. The way humans feel musical time varies. Push and pull feel good. As long as the song doesn't run away. Push and pull are almost unavoidable. Speeding up over the course of the song however is a different thing. Generally not a good thing.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Not saying it's not done. Look at James Brown. Just my opinion. I like it when the band can capture the vibe that sold a million.

A rework is different too. But a cover band trying to copy a song...that's what I am talking about. It's just a preference. My point is that the original tempo doesn't lack. People who can't do it at the original tempo are deficient in some areas, JMO.
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
Larry, it can depend on instrumentation. If the band covers a tune where the original has with horns and the full monty then it can sound rather thin played at low volume by us at the original tempo. We've found a number of our tunes have benefitted from a bit of a giddyup.

In my experience it's been more important that everyone in the band is comfortable with a tempo with the lines they have (especially singer and lead instruments) than for the tune to be played at the correct tempo - at least in non-art music. It all about da vibe, mon.

My 1c.
 

Grolubao

Senior Member
Man, just came from a gig which was great but the band insisted in rushing the time so i really had to contain them which by consequence will sound weird, I guess people are just caught up in the adrenaline. I get the adrenaline as well, but I try for it not to afect the timing.


What do you reckon is the best solution? Go with them or just force the time? I really don't know
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Aretha Franklin's "Respect" is one song that I hate hearing sped up. The original was so perfect...you cannot beat it. I feel that way about a lot of songs.

We do "The Weight" in my trio. It's too fast. It misses the vibe. Leaders choice. I just don't like when people "white" the music all up.
 
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