Having a hard time

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
My apologies to all the new folks we have here just struggling with their love of "just drumming", but I think I've hit a brick wall. I'm up for an audition this weekend in a heavy working covers band and one of their tunes they asked that they wanted me to do with them is Sublime's What I got. The other seven songs they asked for are pretty straight forward so I figure those don't need that much time spent on them. But this tune, originally done with a drum loop, allowed the singer/rapper to kinda go in and out of time to make his word phrasing fit.

Well, here I am, tackling the song as both the singer/rapper, and as the drummer. I almost want to protest and tell them I'm bringing a drum machine for this one. But I know how much more impressive it would be if I played it in perfect time, and sang/rapped it like the original recording. Combine this with the fact that I've never really rapped before, well, you know where I'm at with it. I'm taking a break to let my neural network process what I've just done, but it's no where near perfect. For some reason, give me a song that needs to be sung, and I have no problem playing around with the phrasing while I'm playing. Give me a rap song and that should be easier since I no longer have to worry about being in tune or anything "musical" - I should be able to push the phrasing around at will. I think I hit this wall because the words don't necessarily make any sense - I could be reading the telephone book - so I can't make it flow.

I'm sure we must have drummers here who've done this same kind of thing. How did you get around it? Is using a drum loop the only way? Perhaps if I give myself a few more hours on it I'll get it. But right now I'm taking a break!
 

Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
Realistically, and in the short term, I'd imagine the vocal is going to need to shift a bit to follow the drumming. I don't know of any singing drummers that would/could float over their own timekeeping like that.
 

Paul Blood

Junior Member
Yep. You sing that one too?
No, i just wasn’t familiar with the song and i thought a link maybe would help others that may not know it either. Regardless, I’m sure it would be a challenge. I’d say simplify the drum part if need be, or throw in a loop for the rap part. Good luck with it!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Realistically, and in the short term, I'd imagine the vocal is going to need to shift a bit to follow the drumming. I don't know of any singing drummers that would/could float over their own timekeeping like that.
I'm slowly getting better at it. BUT - in my realistic mind I don't see how anyone can expect someone to nail this. The band I'm auditioning for admits to altering songs to fit them, and from what I've heard, most of their catalog is close, but not exactly perfect in practice - so perhaps they'll be cool if I get close and at least get through the song. On songs I do regularly, I'm used to nailing it (after 20 years they should be perfect), but learning something new that may not even be possible is frustrating.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
No, i just wasn’t familiar with the song and i thought a link maybe would help others that may not know it either. Regardless, I’m sure it would be a challenge. I’d say simplify the drum part if need be, or throw in a loop for the rap part. Good luck with it!
I was going to go in arguing that the tune is a drum machine song, so here's my drum machine! But that might not be cool when meeting a new potential band. The opposite could happen as well: they may call different songs and we may never even get to this one. I just hate going in with it not prepared.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I just listened to that again, envisioning singing it...I can understand where you're coming from. Still, most of the phrases seemed to be in time, not off-beat, at least none that stood out in a signature sort of way, so I expect after a few more run-throughs, you'll get it.
 

Paul Blood

Junior Member
I was going to go in arguing that the tune is a drum machine song, so here's my drum machine! But that might not be cool when meeting a new potential band. The opposite could happen as well: they may call different songs and we may never even get to this one. I just hate going in with it not prepared.
Furthermore, I recommend that you don’t get stressed out trying to copy just like the recording. I bet the original artists take lots of liberties when they perform this live. Put your on stamp on it. If the client wants a carbon copy they can hire a DJ. If your grooving and having fun with it , I’m sure your audience will too.
 

Rattlin' Bones

Gold Member
Heavy working cover band isn't a band I would want to be in.

Does this sorta band actually appeal to you? Like it will be fun?

I think you're better than relegating yourself to a cover drummer/singer in a heavy working cover band.
 
I hear it as being a lot more sung than rapped, and even the rapped bits have a melody, albeit one that stays within about a half an octave. If you think of it as being something like "Subterranean Homesick Blues" meets the Doobie Brothers' "Black Water," it might come a bit easier.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Heavy working cover band isn't a band I would want to be in.

Does this sorta band actually appeal to you? Like it will be fun?

I think you're better than relegating yourself to a cover drummer/singer in a heavy working cover band.
It’s all fun when you get to do what you love for a living. It’s been that way for me since I was 19.
 

incrementalg

Gold Member
I'd work on it and get the best version you can for now. Bring a drum machine if you have one and do it both ways with the band if they're open to it. If they have musical acumen you should be able to explain why this is a challenge while drumming. Ultimately, its about how the song sounds as a whole and shouldn]t matter whether your drumming if the band sounds good. No one in the audience will give a crap if you're up front doing the vocals if it sounds great. You're a sound guy too, right? Show em that you can seamlessly transition to the drum machine for this tune and back to the set for the next. You have an edge that you may be overlooking.
 
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cbphoto

Gold Member
Can you put your own spin on it? In a manner that permits you to rap to it?
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
If a guitar player can strum chords, or play a riff, while singing this tune, then you can manage a drum beat while singing, too.

Practice slow, and you’ll learn fast. Slow the tune down, and figure out when syllables line up with drum hits, or fit between. It’s a big project, for sure, but feasible. How long do you have to prepare?
 

BGDurham

Well-known member
I agree with others that you can probably make some minor adjustments in the vocal flow that allow you to keep good time while honoring the song. Or maybe you sing the sung parts and another band member raps the rapped parts?
 
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