Diplomacy isn't dead, but...

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
I hope everyone had great holidays.

Sometimes it's pretty hard to be diplomatic and tactful while dealing with an arsehole, particularly when you are around friends.

New Years Eve my wife and I were invited to a New Years Eve party right down the street from us. It was hosted by a couple who host regular acoustic Thrusday night jams at their home. We've gone to several of these and tt's always an eclectic mix of characters sitting around strumming acoustic guitars, string basses and playing Djembes and other handdrums and simple percussion instruments. Food and drink are always in abundance. Good times are had and some good soulful music is played.

So when we got the NYE invite, we thought it'd be fun again, right? No worries. Probably the usual cast of characters would be there hooting and hollering and having fun. So we decided to go and bring some drinks and snacks as cusomary.

Boy was I ever wrong. No sooner did we arrive and settle in than the horror started. You've heard the expression "there is always one in every bunch"? About 4 or 5 guitar players were sitting around holding the impromptu acoustic jam, several strumming, one playing blues harp, etc. I was encouraged to join in on my Djembe and maracas and tamborine. So we played a few songs and I got encouraging looks from people...smiles...head nods...except one guitar player. Sitting next to me.

I knew this guy since I had seen him gig several times. He's in an acoustic duo with his wife and they gig around the area often. They do what I would call mostly coffee house faire, etc. Good stuff if you in to that soft of vibe.

I don't know what this guy's problem was that night, but he felt the need to continually get on my ass about everything, from playing too loud, playing too soft, making sure I hit all the breaks, didn't play too many notes or fills, even the way I was playing and hitting the different parts of the head to make different tones. All the while ignoring the fact that several of his guitar strumming buddies were having difficulty with the chord changes and even knowing the songs they were playing. Mind you, this was supposed to be an informal acoustic jam where anyone could call out a song and it was played.

So after leaning over and trying to give me instructoin and offering his unsolicited "expert" advice once again - I'd had enough. (He did this to me on practically every song I played.) My first thought was to smash my $300 wood, rope tuned Djembe from Mali over this dude's head. Instead I gently set the drum down and walked off. Pissed.

My wife noticed what was going on and came over to me to inquire, counsel, referee, protect, etc. We agreed it was best just to leave the party and go home since I didn't believe it was going to get any better. So I walked outside to cool off, in more ways than one.

No sooner had I stepped outside than someone came out and told me the the group was wondering where there drummer was and looking for me. I politely thankded them and said were were leaving in a few....

So we got home before midnight and celebrated NYE in our own home, away from the BS. It was hard to be diplomatic when I really wanted to tell the guy what he could go do with himself, but some old friends were there at the party we hadn't seen in a while, so it was best not to make a big scene.

But once again, some arsehole guitar player thinks he knows all about drums and thinks he can dictate what a drummer does - even at an informal jam. It's funny, we get invited to all their Thursday night jams all the time and I'm encouraged to bring my toys along to jam also, so it's not like I'm sucking and ruining it. This one guitar player must have had an axe to grind with drummers or something.

Thanks for letting me rant a bit. Hope everyone has a great 2015.
 
Last edited:

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Some people take jams a lot more seriously than they need to. Perhaps in another scenario, he would be an excellent producer. But the fact that he doesn't know the difference is the problem.

Hopefully you won't encounter him again when he's holding a guitar, unless he's hired you, in which case you should cheerfully do what he says. :)

Bermuda
 

Frank2

Junior Member
someone came out and told me the the group was wondering where there drummer was and looking for me. I politely thankded them and said were were leaving in a few....

LOL, you have been a real gentleman, well done. And guess what, normally the least talented ones are the ones who try to boss you around...
 

Jankowske

Senior Member
One time I played Tornado on a practice pad for this dumb stupid idiot girl who used to play flute in the school band. She definitely knew more than I did. She butted in less than half a page in with "have you thought about playing this more dynamically? Like concert-band style?"

I said "Well, it's a rudimental marching snare piece. Also, this part is forte and that part was fortissimo...it gets to mezzoforte in a little bit."

She kept insisting that I should put more dynamics into it and play it less "marching-band style".

I asked her if she could play it for me.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I find that writing them nice letter often helps me explain how they hurt my feelings and how I did not appreciate their constant annoyance. It only takes me 5 - 10 minutes to key into the hood of their car, and I feel much better afterwards.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
There's the pecking order I have experienced and still experience sometimes. Part of me wants call them on it. Another part of me thinks I might be a baby for mentioning the indignity. Another part of me gets angry, and another part of me gets mad at myself if I don't say something. So I'm torn and probably would have done the same thing you did Rouge. The universe pays people like that back for their crap. You removed yourself, which is probably the most mature, but least satisfying way to go about it.

Better to explain the real reason to the others or even the offender, at a later date if asked. Then you can be less emotional about it.

Possible comebacks as it was happening...Excuse me but are you paying me to do this?

What harm could that do? lolo
 

JustJames

Platinum Member
Rogue, you seem like a nice guy who seems to get more than his fair share of assholery to deal with. If it's any consolation, it makes for great stories for the rest of us; I open your threads with great anticipation, and this one did not disappoint. (All meant in an encouraging sort of way, even if it doesn't read like it.)

Your wife sounds like a keeper.
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
Rogue, you have the worst experiences. I think my built-in arrogance must protect me from stuff like this, because I never have things like this happen. I think taking the high road was appropriate considering the setting and the company.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
Sounds like a nice neighbourhood, minus guitar arse. Good for you, you were magnanimous (my word for the day)....but some devilish part of me wanted the story to end with the Mali djembe skin and rope draping around this guys head.
 

SmoothOperator

Gold Member
Seems like a prime application for sheet music, fake books. I have several, blues, rock, bluegrass, jazz... It takes the pressure off knowing what's where and how, and if your part isn't written it isn't written.
 

Beam Me Up Scotty

Silver Member
You definitely did the mature thing, so congrats on that.

I wouldn't have taken any of that BS from him, and would have straight up told him off... You weren't trying to tell him how to play guitar, so why was he telling you how to play your instrument? Arrogance is highly unbecoming in a musician.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I tried to tell a guy in our band once how to play his washboard. He listened a little, but next rehearsal he started telling me how I was missing a sixteenth note on the bass drum while we were playing For What It's Worth. I told him he was dead wrong, and I had a recording to prove it. I decided to stop critiquing his playing and he hasn't said a word about mine. He has annoyed others in the band too with his percussion playing and now he has toned it down a lot to better serve the music.

So try to remember something sucky about his playing and next time that you see him, bring it up with a gleem in your eye. :)
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I just seem to be able to tell people to f*** off with a nice enough smile to keep me out of trouble, lol. I wouldn't have left, I would have told him it was just a jam and to chill out. But I wouldn't have really got mad about it, either, and since you did feel angry, you did the best thing for your situation, I think.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I hope everyone had great holidays.

Sometimes it's pretty hard to be diplomatic and tactful while dealing with an arsehole, particularly when you are around friends.

New Years Eve my wife and I were invited to a New Years Eve party right down the street from us. It was hosted by a couple who host regular acoustic Thrusday night jams at their home. We've gone to several of these and tt's always an eclectic mix of characters sitting around strumming acoustic guitars, string basses and playing Djembes and other handdrums and simple percussion instruments. Food and drink are always in abundance. Good times are had and some good soulful music is played.

So when we got the NYE invite, we thought it'd be fun again, right? No worries. Probably the usual cast of characters would be there hooting and hollering and having fun. So we decided to go and bring some drinks and snacks as cusomary.

Boy was I ever wrong. No sooner did we arrive and settle in than the horror started. You've heard the expression "there is always one in every bunch"? About 4 or 5 guitar players were sitting around holding the impromptu acoustic jam, several strumming, one playing blues harp, etc. I was encouraged to join in on my Djembe and maracas and tamborine. So we played a few songs and I got encouraging looks from people...smiles...head nods...except one guitar player. Sitting next to me.

I knew this guy since I had seen him gig several times. He's in an acoustic duo with his wife and they gig around the area often. They do what I would call mostly coffee house faire, etc. Good stuff if you in to that soft of vibe.

I don't know what this guy's problem was that night, but he felt the need to continually get on my ass about everything, from playing too loud, playing too soft, making sure I hit all the breaks, didn't play too many notes or fills, even the way I was playing and hitting the different parts of the head to make different tones. All the while ignoring the fact that several of his guitar strumming buddies were having difficulty with the chord changes and even knowing the songs they were playing. Mind you, this was supposed to be an informal acoustic jam where anyone could call out a song and it was played.

So after leaning over and trying to give me instructoin and offering his unsolicited "expert" advice once again - I'd had enough. (He did this to me on practically every song I played.) My first thought was to smash my $300 wood, rope tuned Djembe from Mali over this dude's head. Instead I gently set the drum down and walked off. Pissed.

My wife noticed what was going on and came over to me to inquire, counsel, referee, protect, etc. We agreed it was best just to leave the party and go home since I didn't believe it was going to get any better. So I walked outside to cool off, in more ways than one.

No sooner had I stepped outside than someone came out and told me the the group was wondering where there drummer was and looking for me. I politely thankded them and said were were leaving in a few....

So we got home before midnight and celebrated NYE in our own home, away from the BS. It was hard to be diplomatic when I really wanted to tell the guy what he could go do with himself, but some old friends were there at the party we hadn't seen in a while, so it was best not to make a big scene.

But once again, some arsehole guitar player thinks he knows all about drums and thinks he can dictate what a drummer does - even at an informal jam. It's funny, we get invited to all their Thursday night jams all the time and I'm encouraged to bring my toys along to jam also, so it's not like I'm sucking and ruining it. This one guitar player must have had an axe to grind with drummers or something.

Thanks for letting me rant a bit. Hope everyone has a great 2015.
It would have irritated me and I'd have ended up spoiling the night for everyone. So well done for not doing so and being the bigger man.

God, I hate bellends like this guy you described.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I would have simply smiled and said "You play the guitar and I will play the drums". I would not have spoiled my evening by leaving, he was the one with the problem. At worst I would have moved my stuff away from the d**k and played on with my good friends and musicians.
 
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