I need help..not with drumming, but 'being in a band'.

Morrisman

Platinum Member
I was in a band with a really annoying leader/guitarist who liked to micromanage everyone in the band, tell us how to play, etc. but he was respected around the venues and got us quite a lot of gigs. Then there was a change of direction, new singer, lots of rehearsals to learn new songs, less gigs, and still he was annoying to work with. I finally decided enough was enough and gave notice.

Then I felt FANTASTIC!! Soon found a new band, nice people, good music, earning money, having fun.... Best decision I ever made.
 

iCe

Senior Member
Being in a band is more than 'being in a band'. It needs to gel... i quit a couple of bands before because my heart wasn't in it (anymore) or i felt it wasn't worth hanging out with some people anymore. Took me some time to realize though. Drumming should be fun and if i feel like i'm not enjoying it and rather be at home than in the rehearsal space or on stage... time to call it quits.

Now i play with a guitar player and we write our own stuff. No bass player, no singer, no keyboards etc... we gave up trying to find a bass player, because we just don't feel like become the next big thing and always when we find someone that want to gig as much as possible. Takes loads of effort and considering we play some obscure heavy prog metal the targeted market is very small. So we just enjoy playing, eventually record something new and just enjoy writing our own songs. That and that we don't care if people like it or not, we do it because we ourselves are our biggest fans hahaha
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I'm in a band that never rehearses together. We just show up and play, and do new songs cold. We all just take an agreed upon version of the song, learn it separately, and air it out on stage. It normally works fine. There's no hanging out, we just show up, set up, play, get paid and split. Even on breaks we go different places.

I kind of like that scenario.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Possibly.

The other post asked where I am located. I'm in West Michigan..
Currently filled with gentrified areas i/e craft beer and wine places; and dive bars. Not much in between. There might be room for an originals band in the classic rock style (Greta Van Fleet, etc..) so I'd like to try that maybe. That'd be my wheelhouse.

I see some originals bands around, but I don't 'get' the music at all. Neckbeards and washboards and fiddles and bongos.
Hey there, I'm on the Metro Detroit side of MI.

I audition, rehearse, and perform on house and/or band kits regularly, but the kits are usually adjustable. I bring my own stands, pedal, and cymbals, and snare -- but I'll only add to the kit as needed. It's just something I've gotten used to. I draw the line at e-kits, though; it's just not the same instrument.

As far as West MI goes, it seems to me that there are more "roots" and "jam" bands over on that side. A classic rock cover band may not have an audience in that area, anymore. I'd check to see what sort of bands are playing at Founders Brewery, and maybe develop or join something that would work for that crowd. I've played there in the past with a reggae band, and a Zappa tribute. So it seems they prefer oddball stuff.

The guitarist that joined a cover band and turned it into an original music project, really changed the goals and processes of that band. In an original project, it's expected that individual parts will be adjusted by other members. Usually, the drummer isn't offering ideas on how, for example, the guitar parts should be played, due to lack of guitar and theory knowledge. So in those original music situations, it's expected that you'll take input from other members, and be able to give it, constructively, if you have something to offer. By contrast, in a cover band, the goals are more clearly defined. The parts are known ahead of time, and individuals do their best to figure out how to play the parts. Not much to argue over, musically speaking, if everyone is doing their homework.

In general, just take these experiences and get on with it. Check out EVERY band in the area, in person. By a drink. Applaud. Smile. (Even if you don't dig the music.) Introduce yourself, and ask if they know any bands looking for a drummer.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
In general, just take these experiences and get on with it. Check out EVERY band in the area, in person. By a drink. Applaud. Smile. (Even if you don't dig the music.) Introduce yourself, and ask if they know any bands looking for a drummer.
This can, under normal circumstances, be a very effective method of discovering opportunities. For over three decades now, I've carried business cards that read "Session Drummer." Handing them out to other musicians has been very beneficial over the years. Word of mouth is always the best means of promotion, and people are more likely to remember you if they possess a conversation and a material item as reference points. Direct contact is powerful advertising.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
I'm in a band that never rehearses together. We just show up and play, and do new songs cold. We all just take an agreed upon version of the song, learn it separately, and air it out on stage. It normally works fine. There's no hanging out, we just show up, set up, play, get paid and split. Even on breaks we go different places.

I kind of like that scenario.
We were doing that last year (learning a new song individually and playing it cold at a gig), and into the beginning of this year (before Covid). It was a lot of fun. We were playing so often that we really didn't rehearse.

Since Covid, we've actually gone to rehearsing once a week, working on some original material, and trying to run stuff that we haven't played in a while. We've done a Facebook live show, with another one later this week, so its giving us something to dig into.

Still, the "playing one without rehearsing it" is scary and fun all at once. I look forward to getting back to needing to do it that way again.

Sorry for the derail. OP, I wish you luck...you've been given plenty of good advice. Getting a group together that can coexist can be a challenge
 

Auspicious

Well-known member
Start your own band. Problem solved.
What the hell, I was never in a band before and I find this to be the vest best solution in this thread 🤣. Auditioning in rigid condition for a bunch of morons, I am happy this is just a hobby for me.

I love my drafter job.
 

MntnMan62

Junior Member
Some good advice here. First, as was said, bands are nothing more than a group of people. Music is a creative art and the people in a band need to gel. If they don't, that creates tension which is not conducive to creativity. And with a band doing originals, it becomes even more important. If all you are doing is covers, there still may be some creativity to it but far less than doing originals. I've always approached playing in existing bands as me being the "hired help". It's up to me to try and fit in with the group since they existed before me. That's not to say that I stifle my individuality. I just am more careful about how, when and how much of it I let them see. If I sense some people in the band that are close minded or overly rigid, I drop it and run. No point in wasting my time. So, if they are so focused on you staying on the rug, how are they going to produce original music that's worth anything? Not gonna happen. I'd say premadonnas. The most important thing I learned over the years (I'm 57) is that to become better at playing the drums I had to put myself in situations that were outside my wheelhouse. When you are forced to do things you aren't necessarily comfortable doing, that's how you learn. That goes for styles of music as well. The more of those situations that you can excel in, the more versatile you become and the more situations you will ultimately feel comfortable in. And if you feel comfortable, more than likely the people you are playing with will feel comfortable. As Larryace said, you don't all need to be best buds. You just need to play music together.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I feel that if a band is auditioning a bunch of drummers, they should supply a functioning kit. I've seen it both ways, either works. Consider it a test of your gamesmanship to be able to make any situation work. It's just an attitude adjustment on your part. I learned it when I went to take some lessons and the first thing the teacher said was don't adjust his kits, learn to play whatever is in front of you. That's a skill that will help you rise above many obstacles. Look at the bright side: if you get the gig, you'll have a set at the rehearsal space that you can adjust to fit. That is worth its weight in gold imho.

The other essential skill you're learning the best/hard way is interpersonal skills. One, never blow up, lose your cool, rant, etc. Be easy to work with, while holding your ground and expecting mutual respect. Also, don't talk negative about yourself. Like saying to your band "I'm new to originals, it'll take me a bit to get this". Don't sell yourself short, and fake it til you make it, brother! They won't even know the difference. Instead say "These songs are great, really great. This is gonna tighten up quickly."

Last, on the change of direction the band took: we've all seen it before, the band schizophrenia. It started as this, evolved to that, and then it died. Beware the ever changing band scheme, when possible go into a project absolutely clear about what it is. For instance, when this guitarist auditioned and then started lobbying for a new direction, you might have said "look, we are a cover band. I wish you luck on your other band though". Hold the line hard regarding what it is. I had a Steely Dan cover band morph into a wedding band, that no longer rehearsed on a day I could host so i had to play an electric kit at rehearals in a lousy location, and then the band blew up because the people who needed all the concessions had more endless issues. All in a couple months. Classic story.

Good luck! Remember, clear direction, be fun to work with, be prepared, and most of all enjoy yourself!
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I'd try to work on getting over that mental block of "I must use my own kit" personally... For a show, whatever, I guess I sorta see why people care about that (I don't)... But for a rehearsal it doesn't really matter if your stuff sounds top shape, honestly the sound of the drums is one of the least important aspects to live band sound. As long as they're audible it almost never matters.

It'll also get you used to it for those times where you CANNOT use your own kit, and I've had plenty of gigs where the house kit is the only kit... Often in downtown areas or places without a lot of room in general, or when fast band changeovers dictate.
 

Armor of Light

Senior Member
I'd try to work on getting over that mental block of "I must use my own kit" personally... For a show, whatever, I guess I sorta see why people care about that (I don't)... But for a rehearsal it doesn't really matter if your stuff sounds top shape, honestly the sound of the drums is one of the least important aspects to live band sound. As long as they're audible it almost never matters.

It'll also get you used to it for those times where you CANNOT use your own kit, and I've had plenty of gigs where the house kit is the only kit... Often in downtown areas or places without a lot of room in general, or when fast band changeovers dictate.
If most drummers don't care, then I will really really try to get over it.
 

Armor of Light

Senior Member
I feel that if a band is auditioning a bunch of drummers, they should supply a functioning kit. I've seen it both ways, either works. Consider it a test of your gamesmanship to be able to make any situation work. It's just an attitude adjustment on your part. I learned it when I went to take some lessons and the first thing the teacher said was don't adjust his kits, learn to play whatever is in front of you. That's a skill that will help you rise above many obstacles. Look at the bright side: if you get the gig, you'll have a set at the rehearsal space that you can adjust to fit. That is worth its weight in gold imho.

The other essential skill you're learning the best/hard way is interpersonal skills. One, never blow up, lose your cool, rant, etc. Be easy to work with, while holding your ground and expecting mutual respect. Also, don't talk negative about yourself. Like saying to your band "I'm new to originals, it'll take me a bit to get this". Don't sell yourself short, and fake it til you make it, brother! They won't even know the difference. Instead say "These songs are great, really great. This is gonna tighten up quickly."

Last, on the change of direction the band took: we've all seen it before, the band schizophrenia. It started as this, evolved to that, and then it died. Beware the ever changing band scheme, when possible go into a project absolutely clear about what it is. For instance, when this guitarist auditioned and then started lobbying for a new direction, you might have said "look, we are a cover band. I wish you luck on your other band though". Hold the line hard regarding what it is. I had a Steely Dan cover band morph into a wedding band, that no longer rehearsed on a day I could host so i had to play an electric kit at rehearals in a lousy location, and then the band blew up because the people who needed all the concessions had more endless issues. All in a couple months. Classic story.

Good luck! Remember, clear direction, be fun to work with, be prepared, and most of all enjoy yourself!
I really appreciate this. I need more things to say. I say wrong things all the time apparently. If I talked the whole band into doing some Michael Schenker and the lead guitar had never heard Schenker...I'd kind of expect them to say "jeez this is all new to me so it'll take a minute". I go into these situations, and I have to learn 90 percent "never played" material (and I already know/play a shit-ton of music) so yes I'm a little sensitive to the grumblings.

"Like saying to your band "I'm new to originals, it'll take me a bit to get this". Don't sell yourself short, and fake it til you make it, brother! They won't even know the difference. Instead say "These songs are great, really great. This is gonna tighten up quickly."

What does this say to the band..? That I'm too nervous?
 

Armor of Light

Senior Member
Hey there, I'm on the Metro Detroit side of MI.

I audition, rehearse, and perform on house and/or band kits regularly, but the kits are usually adjustable. I bring my own stands, pedal, and cymbals, and snare -- but I'll only add to the kit as needed. It's just something I've gotten used to. I draw the line at e-kits, though; it's just not the same instrument.

As far as West MI goes, it seems to me that there are more "roots" and "jam" bands over on that side. A classic rock cover band may not have an audience in that area, anymore. I'd check to see what sort of bands are playing at Founders Brewery, and maybe develop or join something that would work for that crowd. I've played there in the past with a reggae band, and a Zappa tribute. So it seems they prefer oddball stuff.

The guitarist that joined a cover band and turned it into an original music project, really changed the goals and processes of that band. In an original project, it's expected that individual parts will be adjusted by other members. Usually, the drummer isn't offering ideas on how, for example, the guitar parts should be played, due to lack of guitar and theory knowledge. So in those original music situations, it's expected that you'll take input from other members, and be able to give it, constructively, if you have something to offer. By contrast, in a cover band, the goals are more clearly defined. The parts are known ahead of time, and individuals do their best to figure out how to play the parts. Not much to argue over, musically speaking, if everyone is doing their homework.

In general, just take these experiences and get on with it. Check out EVERY band in the area, in person. By a drink. Applaud. Smile. (Even if you don't dig the music.) Introduce yourself, and ask if they know any bands looking for a drummer.
I gave up drinking 20 years ago (yes..I know that might be my problem!) and I never was a bar hopper. I have to be "on" at my job (Engineer) and that social interaction drains me. Maybe I should start drinking again...seems to loosen people up. Yeah..West Michigan is really big on "Americana" and "Roots" music for some reason. It's Michigan. There are many bands out now that I'd call NWOCR (new wave of classic rock) so I'd like an originals project in that vein.
 
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