Having a hard time

MG1127

Well-known member
I'm sure folks here will argue against and scream "I'm an artist and I must present my art", but in reality, nobody cares. Once you realize what your role actually is as the drummer in the band, that kinda dictates what you should be studying, that is, if you want to work. Some folks are totally content with the WOW factor, and that's ok. But if you're looking to work, the less is more approach during an audition is good.
you nailed this right here Bo

but unfortunately the majority of drummers I see trying to get into the game would rather show us what they practiced.

I'm ok with that ... more work for me.

It's really simple.

If you are on a singer songwriter gig don't play like you are in Return To forever

Sounds like basic info right? ... you may be surprised how many players just can't resist the urge to squeeze in a Lenny White impression in spaces that would have been just fine being silent.

We are accompanists

Act like you know this
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
We are accompanists

Act like you know this

Bonham, Peart, Copeland, Weckl, Coleman, Paice, Garstka . . . . . "accompanists".
Not everyone plays in top 40 cover bands or light jazz and country bands as merely something for people to dance to.

But there's nothing wrong with being an accompanists, obviously. Some of the greatest drummers and bassists are just that.
 
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cbphoto

Gold Member
UPDATE!

My audition happened tonight and it was over within 45 minutes. Thankfully, the bass player did not contract covid, he said he just had food poisoning, and is feeling better. It was nice to hear that they liked my solid time, even as my vocal phrasing could go way outside where it should be. And they were understanding that I was tackling quite a few styles that were kinda tricky.

It was nice to hear what they weren't getting with their stable of subs they've been using since their regular drummer went back home - the age-old problem of young drummers not being able to play softly and steady, or when they play louder they go faster (and consequently when they get softer they slow down). They realize it's an age thing - so at my age, those problems just don't exist (it's been beaten out of me by now).

Of course, they want to discuss what just happened although they were all smiles after we were done, but it sounds like I could be the main guy if our schedules work out. Part of the discussion was gear - these guys just need to see four drums or less. They want a nice controlled sound, and I even used my Blasticks instead of regular sticks for this audition.

But this is such a lesson for the younger drummers out there, and it's very typical (I hear it all the time). Get close to the recording, but the time must be solid. In fact, don't play ANY fills. The band is looking for the glue that will hold it together, and they're not gonna get that if you're more concerned about the licks or fills you've been practicing. The bigger view is important: the audience wants to dance to the song, so give them the song. Being part of the team is what people are looking for in drummers. I'm sure folks here will argue against and scream "I'm an artist and I must present my art", but in reality, nobody cares. Once you realize what your role actually is as the drummer in the band, that kinda dictates what you should be studying, that is, if you want to work. Some folks are totally content with the WOW factor, and that's ok. But if you're looking to work, the less is more approach during an audition is good.
This is the result I was expecting. Way to go!
 

MG1127

Well-known member
Bonham, Peart, Copeland, Weckl, Coleman, Paice, Garstka . . . . . "accompanists".
Not everyone plays in top 40 cover bands or light jazz and country bands as merely something for people to dance to.

But there's nothing wrong with being an accompanists, obviously. Some of the greatest drummers and bassists are just that.
by all means go try to do what they did.

you'd be part of the .0000000001% of the population who can do so and I'd be your fan

for the rest of us who want to work and make a living ... yeah ... follow the post you quoted

and that does not only go for cover bands, "light jazz" ( whatever that is) country and dance bands ... it goes for music

why do people think accompanists cannot take chances ?

it's bizarre

Copeland, Bonham, Peart and Paice are some of the greatest accompanists of all time

know your surroundings that's it

for some reason drummers just can't do it ... they have to take the practice room to the stage
 
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why do people think accompanists cannot take chances ?
I listened to the entire studio output of Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet earlier this week, and the last track on their first LP, "Mood," hit me like a ton of velvet bricks, as it pretty much always does—it's just so damn gorgeous. But also that Tony Williams, having already started to light the jazz world on fire, and now at the ripe old age of 20, shows staggering taste and restraint on this track, sticking almost entire to brushes on the snare, with occasional rim clicks and (I believe) only ever hitting a cymbal (ever so delicately) in the very last few seconds of the nearly 9 minute song.


And on the other end of Tony's tenure with Davis is, of course, In a Silent Way, where once again perhaps the most incendiary drummer of the era pretty much acts as a(n awesome!) metronome for the first 31+ minutes of the 38 minute album. He then kicks out the jams for about 45 seconds...at which point he goes back to his rudimentary timekeeping role for a few minutes and then that's it.


Genius. If there's such a thing as Greatest Drummer Ever—and I don't think there is—my vote would be for Tony Williams. Nearly superhuman technique married to a voracious appetite, prescient vision and unsurpassed musicianship. And when a song calls for it, this monster drummer lays nearly all the way back and just adds basic timekeeping, and/or bits and bobs of color and texture. Phenomenal.

I suspect there's a lesson in there somewhere, but damned if I know what it is.
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
I listened to the entire studio output of Miles Davis' Second Great Quintet earlier this week, and the last track on their first LP, "Mood," hit me like a ton of velvet bricks, as it pretty much always does—it's just so damn gorgeous. But also that Tony Williams, having already started to light the jazz world on fire, and now at the ripe old age of 20, shows staggering taste and restraint on this track, sticking almost entire to brushes on the snare, with occasional rim clicks and (I believe) only ever hitting a cymbal (ever so delicately) in the very last few seconds of the nearly 9 minute song.


And on the other end of Tony's tenure with Davis is, of course, In a Silent Way, where once again perhaps the most incendiary drummer of the era pretty much acts as a(n awesome!) metronome for the first 31+ minutes of the 38 minute album. He then kicks out the jams for about 45 seconds...at which point he goes back to his rudimentary timekeeping role for a few minutes and then that's it.


Genius. If there's such a thing as Greatest Drummer Ever—and I don't think there is—my vote would be for Tony Williams. Nearly superhuman technique married to a voracious appetite, prescient vision and unsurpassed musicianship. And when a song calls for it, this monster drummer lays nearly all the way back and just adds basic timekeeping, and/or bits and bobs of color and texture. Phenomenal.

I suspect there's a lesson in there somewhere, but damned if I know what it is.

Great post. Buddy Rich's sets with Charlie Parker and Count Basie come to mind as well. He had technique and chops for days also but knew when to lay back and let others shine as an accompanist versus when it was his name on the marquee.

Tony's Lifetime fusion sets in the late 60s into the 70s were pretty wild where he demonstrated insane chops (as did Buddy as part of his own groups). The best technicians are musicians first and know there is a time and a place for flash.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
know your surroundings that's it

for some reason drummers just can't do it ... that have to take the practice room to the stage

Hey no argument here. There's no shortage of that. I don't think anyone would advocate overplaying. But playing something complicated or virtuosic is only "flash" if the song could do just as well without it. Otherwise it's just music.
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I’ve not read one post in this entire thread advocating overplaying at auditions (good luck getting gigs if that’s your approach). The music needs what the music needs right? It doesn’t necessarily follow that what worked for this particular drummer at this particular audition (“don’t play ANY fills”) should be used as a blueprint for all musical situations. I think that’s the point @J-W and @bud7h4 were validly making? :unsure:
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
I’ve not read one post in this entire thread advocating overplaying at auditions (good luck getting gigs if that’s your approach). The music needs what the music needs right? It doesn’t necessarily follow that what worked for this particular drummer at this particular audition (“don’t play ANY fills”) should be used as a blueprint for all musical situations. I think that’s the point @J-W and @bud7h4 were validly making? :unsure:
Yup. And to Bo's point (I think), better to let your new band (regardless of their style) suggest more on the kit than have them request you tone it down, which is cringy for everybody involved.
 

MG1127

Well-known member
I’ve not read one post in this entire thread advocating overplaying at auditions (good luck getting gigs if that’s your approach). The music needs what the music needs right? It doesn’t necessarily follow that what worked for this particular drummer at this particular audition (“don’t play ANY fills”) should be used as a blueprint for all musical situations. I think that’s the point @J-W and @bud7h4 were validly making? :unsure:
I'm asked to sit in and watch auditions all the time here in LA by friends ... at least a few times a month

I see almost constant overplaying and if not overplaying just out of context playing ... and these are fantastic players auditioning not some kids off the street

overplaying doesn't always mean 64th note fills around the kit ... What I see most commonly is ghost notes EVERYWHERE

like these guys have no idea what to do with their left hand if it's not playing a back beat so they fill every tiny space with ghost notes or little flutters on the hi hat.

Just last Sunday I had to talk to this kid who was a really great player who was auditioning for a fantastic high paying pop gig.

I said ... my man, its ok to play 2 and then not play the snare again until 4. No one is going to think you can't play if you don't play every possible ghost note in your arsenal .

he listened and sounded great ... he later admitted that it felt odd and he really felt like he needed to be playing more

This is extremely common and the majority of drummers I see are highly guilty of this

Don't get me started on the linear fill guys ... that's another discussion
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Great outcome Bo!

On the subject of the original post of how to approach this...

Without actually having done it, I think I would set a metronome to duplicate 2 and 4 snare with a timbre coming as close to my snare as I could.

Then I would practice rotating my upper body around an axis running vertically through my center of balance at a pace that resolves to the same position every 2 beats...but in one instance slightly before the 2 beats resolve and in another where I resolve my upper body position slightly after the 2 beats...all while keeping my breath cycle resolving to my upper body rotation not my symmetric drumming.

I would then try to mix it up to different patterns...2 ahead, 1 behind, 1 ahead 2 behind...etc

Could then try breaking it down to half circles over 1 beat to give a wider range to select from when constructing the loping feel.

After internalizing this non-symmetric upper body rotation and breathing with symmetric drumming locked in with the 'nome(so I can't hear a flam) I would start adding vocal phrases that move with my upper body.

That's a lot of effort to get to that loping feel but would really be an accomplishment.

(sorry rhumbagirl...I re-wrote some of it to try and make it clearer...not sure I succeeded)
 
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Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
Well, we all knew you'd kill it, congrats!

Sometimes musicians get a heavy dose of experience with the wrong drummers, and this experience colours the band's expectations, to the point that they'll even decide how many drums you're going to bring to the gig. In this case, it sounds like a handful of amateur-level drummers have made it so that the gig requirements have become quite particular: no fills, 4 or less drums, sing lead on some tunes, etc.

I wonder, if they had been working with better sub players, would they have become so particular about having, say, three toms? Would they mind the occasional fill, if they had experienced many fills that were tasteful and delivered in time? Would they be so sensitive about the drummer's volume, if they had experienced a well-balanced combination of tuned drums and high-quality cymbals?

IMO, the lesson here -- for young, aspiring drummers that want to get out into the world of professional, paid gigs in front of an actual audience -- is to really dig deep and find out what the band wants from you, and do those things. It's a job, after all.

(The ability to play steady, whether quiet or loud, is particularly difficult for young drummers to learn. Prescription = lots and lots of metronome, of course.)
NO fills? Seriously?
Is that even possible over a whole gig?
 

Al Strange

Well-known member
I'm asked to sit in and watch auditions all the time here in LA by friends ... at least a few times a month

I see almost constant overplaying and if not overplaying just out of context playing ... and these are fantastic players auditioning not some kids off the street

overplaying doesn't always mean 64th note fills around the kit ... What I see most commonly is ghost notes EVERYWHERE

like these guys have no idea what to do with their left hand if it's not playing a back beat so they fill every tiny space with ghost notes or little flutters on the hi hat.

Just last Sunday I had to talk to this kid who was a really great player who was auditioning for a fantastic high paying pop gig.

I said ... my man, its ok to play 2 and then not play the snare again until 4. No one is going to think you can't play if you don't play every possible ghost note in your arsenal .

he listened and sounded great ... he later admitted that it felt odd and he really felt like he needed to be playing more

This is extremely common and the majority of drummers I see are highly guilty of this

Don't get me started on the linear fill guys ... that's another discussion
Absolutely…audition 101 is not to overplay. The purpose of an audition, amongst other things, is to weed out the guys who lack musical awareness/maturity… :unsure:
 

MG1127

Well-known member
Absolutely…audition 101 is not to overplay. The purpose of an audition, amongst other things, is to weed out the guys who lack musical awareness/maturity… :unsure:
100%

but many times it's small pieces of advice to a very good player that makes the difference ... like the above story.

But I guess that's why they hire me to be there ;)
 
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