Dear Heavens, WHAT Have I Gotten Myself Into?

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
So I turns out that I'm functioning as an emergency fill-in drummer for a mid sized music festival. I found out about it this evening, and I'm playing the concert TOMORROW. I've had about one hour to practice with the band, they don't have any recordings I can listen to. I don't think we'll have a bass player there, and the songs are originals. Even better, the music we're playing is in styles that I have never performed before. For example, one song has a one-drop reggae feel, and another one is a black-church style gospel tune. I'm familiar with the grooves and feels, but I have never played them with a band before, so its not completely comfortable yet.

The worst part though, is that I doubt the preparedness of the front person. She's not entirely on top of these songs; we had to drop one of the songs because she didn't feel comfortable with it! I'm just hoping and praying that we can get through it, and that I can keep the band together. If not... we have a disaster in the making! My only hope is the fact that we've got a killer keyboard player. He sounds great, and if we can lock in nice and tight, it should be ok!

I guess I look at this a little bit like a test of my ability to improvise and keep my cool under difficult situations, a trial by fire if you will! Anyone have any encouragement? Either that, or some horror stories to rattle my nerves even more? Haha ;D
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Luke, if the singer is unsure, then if you make a mistake you won't be the only one :)

Just keep it simple and your ears wiiiide open, groove when you have the chance, and that's as much as you can do. Have fun!
 
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LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Luke, if the singer is unsure if you make a mistake then you won't be the only one :)

Just keep it simple and your ears wiiiide open, groove when you have the chance, and that's as much as you can do. Have fun!
Thanks for responding Polly! I plan on doing a whole lot of listening, haha.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
Keep it simple, play with confidence whether you feel it or not, and like Polly said, ears wide open. And be ready to laugh at mistakes, because there will be some, and they aren't really a reflection on your ability, you just haven't had time to prepare. It is what it is, so have fun!
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
In a case like that, if the roof doesn't fall in on the band, it's a success. I would look for allies in the band to help you with cues and to shout back styles and grooves to you. Bass or keyboard player most likely. If you have horns, those guys are usually on top of their game and can be great allies.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Keep it simple, play with confidence whether you feel it or not, and like Polly said, ears wide open. And be ready to laugh at mistakes, because there will be some, and they aren't really a reflection on your ability, you just haven't had time to prepare. It is what it is, so have fun!
Yep, listening is the biggie. May I add that even better than laughing at mistakes is covering them - even if it means repeating the blunder so it sounds like an "artistic decision". I've actually learnt some new tricks like that :) Speaking as one who has been pretending to play drums for many years, I feel well qualified to speak on the ignoble art of bluffing and BSing through confusing musical situations ...
 
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azrae1l

Silver Member
when you leave for the festival drive by the singers house and pop her tires. once you get there slip the guitarist a mickey so he's completely unable to play. then go and steal all the keyboardist's power packs. then you go on, appologize to the crowd that the rest of your band is complete losers, forgot their stuff, got drunk and didn't bother to show up but since your such a dedicated musician your going to perform by yourself for the crowd since they are all expecting a show and you just can't disappoint an enthusiatic fan.

now you can play whatever you want, doesn't matter if you know the songs or not and you come out looking like a hero...









or do what polly said, which ever works out best for ya!
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Thanks for all the advice guys, I'm already feeling a tad better about it. However, I have decided to go along with azrael1l's idea, it strikes me as having the greatest potential for personal gain ;)
 

Chonson

Senior Member
As everyone's said, ears wide open. It's a challenging situation but as long as you play a supporting role and listen for the changes as they come, you can bluff through reasonably well. People are there for the band, not the drums, so, don't sweat it. :)

And on the mistakes thing - don't beat yourself up; if you go in knowing that you will make some since you've had little time to prepare and aren't familiar with the material, it won't be as bad.

(Don't underestimate the repeat-a-gaffe to sound intentional.)
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Yes, I have become fairly adept at repeating mistakes to where they sound like I did it on purpose :D Its a handy tool, and makes for some good laughs afterwards as well, haha!
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Hey Luke, remember when we were discussing what beats someone needs to learn, and how I said you can through entire gigs based on just a few?

It's from gigs like this that you learn such lessons. I've had gigs where you just show up, no one's ever met, there is no set list, the people who hired you aren't very good themselves, but you just go.

Just play the right beat, keep time, and it will all be fine.

Even if everything is falling apart around you, as long as you're solid, the band will sound fine.

Good luck and knock 'em dead!!!!!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
You'll do fine. Just go in and do what you do. With only an hour's worth of practice and the band not really together with the singer especially, how much worse could it get?

You didn't say if you were making an outrageous sum of money, so it's not like Earth, Wind & Fire are asking you to save them, eh? I was asked to do something like this with an original band the day-of, and what I did in the hour or so before we played, I got the song list and jotted down notes on the list of what to play and what tempos were important. Kept my ears open on the performance and it wasn't bad. Since everyone else has said this, I'll say it too; just keep listening and be the glue for the band.

Maybe you'll be the new drummer after the show! Good luck out there! Break both legs!
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Hey Luke, remember when we were discussing what beats someone needs to learn, and how I said you can through entire gigs based on just a few?

It's from gigs like this that you learn such lessons. I've had gigs where you just show up, no one's ever met, there is no set list, the people who hired you aren't very good themselves, but you just go.

Just play the right beat, keep time, and it will all be fine.

Even if everything is falling apart around you, as long as you're solid, the band will sound fine.

Good luck and knock 'em dead!!!!!
The trick for me is going to be nailing the reggae tune, haha. Its not a feel I'm particularly comfortable playing, so we'll have to see how it goes. It would be different if it was a rock band or something, but it just HAD to be reggae and gospel! Haha :D Thanks for the encouragement DrumEatDrum!

You'll do fine. Just go in and do what you do. With only an hour's worth of practice and the band not really together with the singer especially, how much worse could it get?

You didn't say if you were making an outrageous sum of money, so it's not like Earth, Wind & Fire are asking you to save them, eh? I was asked to do something like this with an original band the day-of, and what I did in the hour or so before we played, I got the song list and jotted down notes on the list of what to play and what tempos were important. Kept my ears open on the performance and it wasn't bad. Since everyone else has said this, I'll say it too; just keep listening and be the glue for the band.

Maybe you'll be the new drummer after the show! Good luck out there! Break both legs!
To be perfectly honest, I didn't even have time to talk about payment. I'm going to discuss it today, but I have a sinking feeling that I'm going to be playing this gig out of the goodness of my heart, LOL. However, I'm going to focus on it as an opportunity to make new contacts, there are going to be like 5 other local bands there, so I'll get to meet some new musicians in the scene here.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
This is a prime skill sharpening situation you have coming. In addition to keeping the ears wide open, same goes for the eyes. You need all the sensory input you can get so you can feel your way through the unfamiliar territory. I'm sure this will come automatically because you will be clinging to the others who know the songs. Ask for cues from the most approachable knowledgeable member, ask him to help you out.
When someone asks for help, most good hearted humans oblige. Luke, you will do fine, you have the right attitude. Trust that your ears guide you.
I know what you mean about the reggae stuff. I'm not good at it either. Unfamiliar feel to me.
Any mistake you might make won't be nearly as noticeable to the audience as it is to you.
 
C

Crazy8s

Guest
You've got nothing to worry about Luke. Festivals are filled with drinking and socializing people and the opening acts don't need to be the most well-rehearsed and spotless acts. It only matters if you are having a good time up there and enjoy playing because that is what the crowd will energize on.

Smile and rock it out as best you can and you won't go wrong.

Rock!
 

KBadd

Silver Member
Cliche I know but......keep it simple. "Boom-chick", daddy-momma, ding ding da ding....go man! Make a recording!
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Me too, I haven't even had a chance to discuss the payment! Haha, that was my mistake :p
Hee hee...let's hope you actually DO get paid! Often times, bands don't get paid for festivals. Well, they get "paid" in exposure and the chance of increased merch sales. "Mid-sized music festival"? Hee hee...

But, yeah: listening is key!
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
This is a prime skill sharpening situation you have coming. In addition to keeping the ears wide open, same goes for the eyes. You need all the sensory input you can get so you can feel your way through the unfamiliar territory. I'm sure this will come automatically because you will be clinging to the others who know the songs. Ask for cues from the most approachable knowledgeable member, ask him to help you out.
When someone asks for help, most good hearted humans oblige. Luke, you will do fine, you have the right attitude. Trust that your ears guide you.
I know what you mean about the reggae stuff. I'm not good at it either. Unfamiliar feel to me.
Any mistake you might make won't be nearly as noticeable to the audience as it is to you.
Absolutely, I've already talked to the keyboard player a little and set up some queues, and the vocalist is going to signal the end of the songs. That should take care of the big problems, haha.

You've got nothing to worry about Luke. Festivals are filled with drinking and socializing people and the opening acts don't need to be the most well-rehearsed and spotless acts. It only matters if you are having a good time up there and enjoy playing because that is what the crowd will energize on.

Smile and rock it out as best you can and you won't go wrong.

Rock!
I plan on being happy, smiley, and loud, haha :D

Cliche I know but......keep it simple. "Boom-chick", daddy-momma, ding ding da ding....go man! Make a recording!
You got it ;) I don't think I'l be doing anything really fancy, haha.

Hee hee...let's hope you actually DO get paid! Often times, bands don't get paid for festivals. Well, they get "paid" in exposure and the chance of increased merch sales. "Mid-sized music festival"? Hee hee...

But, yeah: listening is key!
Yeah, there's only gonna be like 6 bands, its a 3 or 4 hour deal, I believe. I'm pretty sure by now that this band isn't getting paid anything at all, aside from whatever merch they can get moved. Its just a local artist starting out. But hey, you never know! I might get something for it, haha :D
 
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