How would you handle this?

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
A friend and fellow musician (guitar player) who has his own successful band in the city invites you over to lay down some drum tracks at his home studio. He tells you a friend of his needs some drum tracks for a demo CD.

You ask what type of tracks? Country? Rock? Jazz? Funk? Disco? Salsa?....

His reply: "Just come on over and we'll see what happens?"

You ask again the type of music being played and what drums they are looking for? Congas? Drum Set? Djembe?....

His reply is for you to just bring your kit and come on over Saturday and then proceeds to hang up the phone.

So you show up with a small kit. Surprise! It's all orginal progressive country songs, you've never heard before, already recorded but with a drum machine laying down the drum part. You are expected to match what the drum machine has perfectly or come up with something better "on the fly" without so much as a rough demo to go by for any prep work. And be expected to do it in one or two takes then quickly move on to the next song.
Granted, they guy asking me was a good friend, but Dude, ya gotta give me something here. Geez!

How would you guys handle this?
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
I would listen to the song once or twice
write out a quick chart
and track the tune

this situation is what I run into more than half of the time during record dates

do what you do and kill it
 

topgun2021

Gold Member
I would be all, "I am not going to help you like this anymore on the fly, I require more information and tracks to practice with in order to do what I am asked if. If this situation comes up again, I am willing to go in blind if I am not under stress again."
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
He's a mate so I would "go on over and see what happened". Then I'd lay down his tracks the best I could.

If he liked them and used them, well and good.....I'd be happy I was able to help him out and then it would be off to his beer fridge for a couple of ales and a catch up.

If he didn't, I'd figure it really wasn't any skin off my nose and then it'd be off to his beer fridge for a couple of ales and a catch up.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I would listen to the song once or twice
write out a quick chart
and track the tune

this situation is what I run into more than half of the time during record dates

do what you do and kill it
Yup.

Granted, such a situation hasn't happened to me too often, but it doesn't sound all that unusual.

In way, there is less pressure this way, because you're not expected to know every little quirk of the song, so just play with an open mind and see what happens.
 

mikeyhanson

Silver Member
What Gvda said.

I like these kinds of challenges. Chances are your buddy heard the stuff and thought that you could likely handle it without much problem, and just made a kind of a game of it. Who knows. Either way, going into something cold can open up a world of interesting stuff.
Heck, maybe he's auditioning you for his next band. Never know.
 

Slippy

Member
do you best and if he says it isnt good enough then tell him to let you take the tracks home work on it a few days then redo the recording..... if he refuses becuse of time tell him good luck finding someone that will be willing to do it in that time frame and by the time he does fine someone you would probably of already had it done.... and chances are the next guy wont do any better then you would have done on the fly.
 

SkaaDee

Member
If I was being paid I'd do whatever they asked.
If I was doing it for free I would approach it in the way I felt comfortable,
such as taking more time to come up with a part.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I would just roll with it. Maybe the guy wanted spontaneity and that's why they didn't disclose anything. Maybe your friend didn't know what kind of music it really was but didn't want to appear uninformed, who knows? No big deal. I would however make it a point to not inject any negativity whatsoever. That's where your reputation is built, situations exactly like this. I know he's your good bud but it still applies. A positive, can do (right now) attitude is probably the best way to handle it. What goes around comes around.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
"You are expected to match what the drum machine has perfectly or come up with something better "on the fly" without so much as a rough demo to go by for any prep work. And be expected to do it in one or two takes then quickly move on to the next song."

Well, of course you are!. I love that kind of work, but then I've always enjoyed studio work and this sounds like your typical recording session scenario. Not a big deal at all. Listen to the track, take a few notes and that's about it. You're a drummer, right?
 

Muckster

Platinum Member
You've been complimented! Your friend obviously thinks highly of your playing and feels you can handle it.

Yeah, most of my playing situations are like that. Quick run over of the tune, chart out a map and hit record.

Don't worry about chops just play the tune how you feel it.
 

marko138

Silver Member
He's a mate so I would "go on over and see what happened". Then I'd lay down his tracks the best I could.

If he liked them and used them, well and good.....I'd be happy I was able to help him out and then it would be off to his beer fridge for a couple of ales and a catch up.

If he didn't, I'd figure it really wasn't any skin off my nose and then it'd be off to his beer fridge for a couple of ales and a catch up.
I like this thinking.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
He's a mate so I would "go on over and see what happened". Then I'd lay down his tracks the best I could.

If he liked them and used them, well and good.....I'd be happy I was able to help him out and then it would be off to his beer fridge for a couple of ales and a catch up.

If he didn't, I'd figure it really wasn't any skin off my nose and then it'd be off to his beer fridge for a couple of ales and a catch up.
I like Pocket's approach,

Either way, you end up with beer!
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
If I can remember, we did celebrate with a few cold ones. I rolled with it and was very accomodating to what they wanted and played as best I could. But afterwards I did the 20/20 hindsight thing and started second-guessing myself on the drive home. My wife asked me how it went and I had to reply I wasn't quite sure...but I think they were happy with it. They were smiling.

It was a good lesson for me though. Ha!
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
What would Hal Blaine do? Or Earl Palmer, Steve Gadd, Jeff Pocaro? Okay, maybe none of us here are Steve Gadd. But maybe that's what your buddy was thinking. That what you do would be right for what he was trying to accomplish. From Jimmy Cobb on Kind of Blue to Steve Jordan on Tiger Walk, folks have been looking for spontaneous magic by bringing in a player they dug and seeing what happens in the moment. Pretty tremendous compliment.

OTOH, you buddy could be completely clueless and think you just go boom bap and it's done.
 

tamadrm

Platinum Member
I've benn through the same thing,and when I asked why there was no heads up,I was told that I'd rather go with you playing my music by feel ,then over thinking the drum parts.I have known this guy since high school,and had been in a band with him before,

I hadn't seen him in years,and since that time,he had gone through a few drummersand none of them played like I did..He said he just loved the way I served his music.The same thing happened with the next band I was in.It was just ....a fit.

I tend to think,something similar is going on here.You're probably better at thinking on your feet than you know.Better still,he trusts you.That's pretty rare mate.Don't second guess this one,and have a beer on me.:)

Steve B
 

NerfLad

Silver Member
What would Hal Blaine do? Or Earl Palmer, Steve Gadd, Jeff Pocaro? Okay, maybe none of us here are Steve Gadd. But maybe that's what your buddy was thinking. That what you do would be right for what he was trying to accomplish. From Jimmy Cobb on Kind of Blue to Steve Jordan on Tiger Walk, folks have been looking for spontaneous magic by bringing in a player they dug and seeing what happens in the moment. Pretty tremendous compliment.

OTOH, you buddy could be completely clueless and think you just go boom bap and it's done.
Boom BAP!
Money please :)________________
 

con struct

Platinum Member
I hope you had a click track. Overdubbing drums without one is a bastard, no matter how good the time on the track is. I've done it, but it wasn't any fun.
 
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Anthony Amodeo

Guest
This. Usually, they have charts ready, though.
even if I walked in and they hand me a chart I like to walk through the tune and jot my notes on it

it's usually a piano chart of some sort or a chart a guitar player or producer made so I prefer to just make my own on a blank sheet in my little short hand that I have developed over the years
 
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