Less Playing = More Kudos

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
You know how drummers are treated in a band, for the most part? Well, I'm no different, I get it too. And sometimes I get a little perturbed at a couple band mates now and then, so I say to myself, "Screw you guys, I'm just gonna play what I have to just to get through this song. Just 1, 2, 3 & 4 and nothing fancy. No extra energy is going into playing through this song."

Those are the songs I get the most kudos and atta boys on. Go figure...
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
But I think your approach should be that regardless of the band. You do that for the music and the audience. I've been doing this a lot on my latest gig and the results are just much better. I haven't gotten females throwing their under garments at me yet, but it feels like I'm moving in that direction ;)
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
A great approach is to play with brutal simplicity for 98% of the gig but sprinkle the set with brief moments of un-adultered flamboyance :)

No extra energy is going into playing through this song."
You really hit the target when you do put more energy into playing simplified parts. Just because you're playing the bare minimum notes, shouldn't detract from the passion transferred to your performance :) Perhaps, by default, that's already happening when you take that playing decision, hence the kudos.

I haven't gotten females throwing their under garments at me yet, but it feels like I'm moving in that direction ;)
A most noble quest sire ;)

The spaces are just as important as the notes!
No, they're more important! ;)
 

8Mile

Platinum Member
A great approach is to play with brutal simplicity for 98% of the gig but sprinkle the set with brief moments of un-adultered flamboyance :)
Yeah, I have to agree with this. I do this with a couple of bands I play with and the response is always positive. As long as you limit the areas where you cut loose, even the rest of the band digs it. It's like you've set aside a few places to do your thing, but they don't have to worry about you stepping all over them.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
There was another thread like this a little while ago. Drummers tend to lose sight of the fact that they are a msuician too, and instead like to just show off chops in songs. We really want to play something that makes sense musically and interacts with the other players, which usually means more controlled subtle playing.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
There was another thread like this a little while ago. Drummers tend to lose sight of the fact that they are a msuician too, and instead like to just show off chops in songs. We really want to play something that makes sense musically and interacts with the other players, which usually means more controlled subtle playing.
Yes this is true. In general, our role in the band is a little bit different than other instruments. We as drummer need to accept the fact that we are the foundation of the song and our part is to support the melody, singer and soloists.

Every song that I play has a solo in the middle of it. Guitar solo, Keyboard solo, harmonica solo, brass solo etc. Of course the rest of the band plays while the soloist is playing.
There is never a drum solo unless I ask for one. And even then the band leader usually forgets about the drum solo. This is difficult for me when jamming with other musicians because the band leader goes around the band one at a time pointing to each player to take a solo. But very rarely do they point to the drummer for a solo. This bothers me, but I know it shouldn't. I guess I have a big ego.

One reason for skipping a drum solo is that the band has to stop playing for the drum solo. And very often the drummer does not want a solo. So I can understand why drummers generally don't get solos.

What I'm getting at here is we as drummers have a supportive role in the song that is different than the other instruments. And it is difficult to accept that role if you, as a drummer, want to show off your chops during a live performance. While the other instruments get to do it.

All of the other musicians get to have egos but the drummer has to put their ego in their back pocket and live with that.


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Duck Tape

Platinum Member
I actually do that and several ppl in bands I play in have said they'd like to see more "action", go figure.

But - I got positive feedback from an older professional last Saturday. I didn't know who he was or that he was watching but he came up to me as I was packing up and said "you're a smart drummer, you sit back and play the accents that need to be played". I like that he said that and I think it's a good way to describe what pop drummers should do. And drummers know better than any other instrumentalist.

I do some flashy fills at appropriate times but more than ever I think it sounds dumb when you throw in fills "just cause".
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
But I think your approach should be that regardless of the band. You do that for the music and the audience. I've been doing this a lot on my latest gig and the results are just much better. I haven't gotten females throwing their under garments at me yet, but it feels like I'm moving in that direction ;)
I agree. Especially where cover bands are concerned. It's like I do a better job when I don't try so hard. I thought I was playing "less is more", but even less than that turns out to be even better. Haha!

The spaces are just as important as the notes!
This is true and often overlooked.

A great approach is to play with brutal simplicity for 98% of the gig but sprinkle the set with brief moments of un-adultered flamboyance :)
Yep. Give them just enough for the songs. It's hard to do, but it's a lesson learned. I guess if you play enough, you'll eventually draw this same conclusion.

There was another thread like this a little while ago. Drummers tend to lose sight of the fact that they are a msuician too, and instead like to just show off chops in songs. We really want to play something that makes sense musically and interacts with the other players, which usually means more controlled subtle playing.
Exactly. Creative wizardry in a controlled, simplistic approach.

And now you know the secret to being a working drummer. Shhhh, don't tell too many people!
Your secret is safe with me. :)

I actually do that and several ppl in bands I play in have said they'd like to see more "action", go figure.

But - I got positive feedback from an older professional last Saturday. I didn't know who he was or that he was watching but he came up to me as I was packing up and said "you're a smart drummer, you sit back and play the accents that need to be played". I like that he said that and I think it's a good way to describe what pop drummers should do. And drummers know better than any other instrumentalist.

I do some flashy fills at appropriate times but more than ever I think it sounds dumb when you throw in fills "just cause".
Yeah, fills "just cause" is really not a mature approach, and that's what we all eventually learn, as far as cover bands are concerned. In my jam band though, the band leader calls me lazy and wants more from me. He tells me specifically "less is more" is not the way to do it in that band.
 

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
Ok. We just started playing Behind Blue Eyes. What kind of approach would you take for a song like that? Because we all know KM never took a less is more approach. That song is practically all drum fill. I can't play it exactly like him, but I certainly have a go at it.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Ok. We just started playing Behind Blue Eyes. What kind of approach would you take for a song like that? Because we all know KM never took a less is more approach. That song is practically all drum fill. I can't play it exactly like him, but I certainly have a go at it.
I think the meat of it is mostly the snare roll at the end of the measures. Nail that down, and improvise on it a bit, and I think you're gold.
 

MCM

Senior Member
I love it. It's a rebellious thing for me. It makes the song groove better which is the point. Players that play a lot or just plain goofy
 
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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I agree. Especially where cover bands are concerned. It's like I do a better job when I don't try so hard. I thought I was playing "less is more", but even less than that turns out to be even better. Haha!
And another thing I've thought about - it saves alot of energy too. I'm approaching 50 and I'm all about taking it easy. I look back on how I used to play and so much of it was just wasted energy. I mean, I don't want to play like a zombie, I'm having a good time, but learning how to let go of the "I must fill after every four bars" mentality has really freed me to have a much better time, and to provide even better time for the band and the dancers. I'm enjoying this role much better than when I was that out-of-control mouse ;)
 

Anon La Ply

Renegade
And another thing I've thought about - it saves alot of energy too. I'm approaching 50 and I'm all about taking it easy. I look back on how I used to play and so much of it was just wasted energy.
Not wasted, Bo. The punters love a bit of energy output from a lively young muso. I often found that the more out-of-sorts I felt, the more kudos I got. I used to imagine that audiences were basically sadistic and they fed off my sweat and struggle :)

But the more the drums lay out, the more emphasis there is on the melody. At the same time, most audiences love a bit of primal rhythm here and there. Most of us are very interchangeable. Backbeat. Backbeat. Backbeat.
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
This reminds me of being invited to "jam" by a guitarist. And they play eight measure of a blues riff then go off on a guitar solo over your drumming. Nothing sounds dumber to me than this scenario.
"Serving the song" is great, but there is also an aspect of servitude to it. Sometimes people will praise you for playing simply because it makes them look good, and gives them more room to express themselves. I'm not a huge fan of that attitude. It's like "know your place, drummer, and that place is making me sound as good as possible."
 
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