Help me to get my new drummer playing way softer

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Quai34

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Hi guys,

Ok so, new drummer, he doesn't read, which is ok with me, my former drummer wasn't.
We have practice now 4 times. He's a rock drummer, I know it, he told me it and he used to bash the drums and smack them like crazy, this is how he learnt it and who is he as a musician he said when I asked him a hit to play more funk and less rock. He's ok to try but he "doesn't want to compromise on who he is as a musician".

So, he plays ALL I said ALL beat on the snare with crazy loud rim shots. In funk (see set attached), we don't need them a lot as I have claps that are running for all songs. I need more finesse and adaptability.

So, question one:
When you have learnt to play drums always with rimshot, is it so difficult to play without them? Or with them softer? Is a rimshot must be always crazy loud? As a cover band musician, should you not try to adapt your playing style to the music or should you always play like you used to?
If yes, how should I approach this with him? I don't think I should ask him again front of the band during practice because it might put him a bit too much on spot but for example, he was saturating the Hihats a lot and I saw that he was playing a lot with the biggest part of the shoulder. If you play a bit more with the end of the stick, on a 16th pattern, you will be lighter right?

When I asked him to play softer in order to not overload the Hihat (there is a -10 Dd pad in the mic and I'm already at the minimum on the gain in the Mackie) he said he doesn't know how to do it or he will need to play with spaghetti or remove the mic on the Hihat.... But we all need in Hihat in our IEM, if there is no mic on his Hihats, we have no click.

On top of that, I still want to hear my cracky snare and thus, not dampening too much or it changes the tone and I need that high end. I have one medium round gel from revolution drums, Truetone gel and the sound is great, when I play it, I have the crack and the tone and not too high in my IEM at all.

My former drummer was like that but when I was asking to play softer, he was able to do it. Should I tell him to laser physically the snare so he cannot do rimshot? They were not a lot of rimshot back in the days or more to put some accents just because the microphone couldn't handle them, right? Should I ask him to play with the grip closer to the tip or with a looser grip? Are you not supposed to be able to play as much groovy and same sound at low volume, medium volume and high volume? Am I asking too much? I know that on keys, it requires a lot of practice, discipline and control to do it but Piano is a percussion instrument and we learn to play triple piano up to triple forte...

So, any advices would be welcomed.

Setlist:
JSDB FINAL 6 ORDER FOR WEDDING SHOW PAGE 1.jpgJSDB FINAL 6 ORDER FOR WEDDING SHOW PAGE 2.jpgJSDB FINAL 6 ORDER FOR WEDDING SHOW PAGE 3.jpgJSDB FINAL 6 ORDER FOR WEDDING SHOW PAGE 4.jpg
 
Can't be done. He is what he is. You can't make a dog meow

Drummers and their volume man. Some drummers don't get it. I just saw a video with Tommy Iommi where he was talking about John Bonham and how he got fired from most bands before Led Zeppelin because wait for it...he was too loud.

Volume is one of the most important aspects of playing drums and the is the one issue that too many drummers don't have a handle on.

(I'm not taking a swipe at JB. The times he played in are different than today. It was way more raw back then compared to the slick productions of today)
 
Find a better drummer with better dynamic control. Don’t make this more complicated than it has to be.

Can’t really play weddings on full blast for every tune. You probably won’t get many bookings with Thumpy McHammerhands doing the rockstar basher thing all night long. If you find a good drummer, you’ll spend a lot less time micro-managing and obsessing with insignificant details.

Other options…learn how to play all the drums you already own or get a drum machine.
 
Find a better drummer with better dynamic control. Don’t make this more complicated than it has to be.

Can’t really play weddings on full blast for every tune. You probably won’t get many bookings with Thumpy McHammerhands doing the rockstar basher thing all night long. If you find a good drummer, you’ll spend a lot less time micro-managing and obsessing with insignificant details.

Other options…learn how to play all the drums you already own or get a drum machine.
Man, I'd change my UN to Thumpy McHammerhands if only I knew how! Lol.

Few things I've done to fight this issue while I was learning dynamics.


duct tape wallet to snare

Use coated heads on the reso and 2ply coated heads on batter.

Coated head on reso side of bass and probably 2 of the Evans eq pads, or pillows in the bass drum.

Purchase meinl extra dry cymbals. They worked well with stage volume.

Buy a smaller size drum shell package.

Duct tape on the underside of cymbals.


Have them invest in an Ekit.
 
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Steal his ear plugs?

Seriously, this is a problem that is common (at least in my experience) to drummers who have worn ear plugs from day one with the instrument. They have never learnt to play softly, because they can’t hear it…
 
Agree with all the others. Your drummer just doesn't seem to get it. Most gigging drummers will provide what's needed for the song, and not feel the need to "express themselves" all over the place.

And really?! Wanting to play rimshots all the time because he "doesn't want to compromise on who he is as a musician" is a pretty freakin' weird hill to die on. It sounds like he's lucky to have this gig...

Sorry, but this guy is just not a good fit for your band at all. A good drummer would actually know that, and not force his deeeply held hard rock beliefs on a funk band.
 
Steal his ear plugs?

Seriously, this is a problem that is common (at least in my experience) to drummers who have worn ear plugs from day one with the instrument. They have never learnt to play softly, because they can’t hear it…
I have always worn ear plugs an can play with any dynamic required.

More accurately, it sounds like some drummers just LIKE to play loud because it seems cooler or they think it's more impressive.
 
I have always worn ear plugs an can play with any dynamic required.

More accurately, it sounds like some drummers just LIKE to play loud because it seems cooler or they think it's more impressive.
Totally agree. I see alot of young YouTube drummers male and female just smashing stuff..double cymbal hits etc thinking they are burning (because) of it. I'm like...sorry..not impressed monster smash.
 
I got lost at “He doesn’t want to impact who he is as a musician.“. Same crappy argument I’ve heard when I’m trying out a new band and the volume goes to 1000 with the sloppiest playing ever. Any comment about toning down and playing with finesse is met with the above. haven’t been in any meaningful bands in years, because of this same dog crap mentality.

100% not interested in playing crap just to be playing. My last three meaningful bands were all about accuracy, musicianship and growth. I’m just not finding that anymore.

Get a new drummer. Someone interested in playing to the music and audience and pushing way beyond their current limits. A bit of humility goes a long way.
 
I was going to say: suggest he use lighter sticks. That’s what I’ve done to play with quieter bands. But from what you’ve indicated, he’ll probably think that’s compromising himself, too. So I agree with the simpler solution… find a new drummer! They’re out there. No reason you should spend your precious time and energy trying to pound a square peg into a round hole.
 
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