Michael Beinhorn fires drummers.

Came across this blog post over on The Gear Page wherein producer Michael Beinhorn writes about his reputation for firing drummers. What I got from it was two very valid points that really should be common knowledge for anyone aspiring to be a professional musician:

1- The drummer,and his performance, is the backbone of any great recording.

2- The producer's job is to facilitate getting the best recording possible of a band/ song, even if it means making difficult and painful decisions.

Here it is. http://michaelbeinhorn.com/?p=272 Hope it works!

From a drummers perspective, the question I'm left with is, if you were the drummer in a band, how willing would you be to step aside and let someone else play the drum tracks if you just weren't doing the job? Could you suck it up and take one for the team?
 

mrmike

Silver Member
Just remember the names Kenny Aronoff, Nigel Olsen and Michael Derosier. All of these drummers were replaced on their groups first recordings and went on later to do great recordings by working their ass off.

Kinda weird. I gave the same reply to a thread earlier today:)
 

MrPockets

Gold Member
Don't forgot Ringo either. Bernard Purdie was brought in late at night to ghost his tracks recorded earlier in the day. Ringo was not told, but you know he knew.

You know, because there is video, picture, and legal evidence supporting the claim.
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
This is the guy who famously booted Hole drummer Patty Schemel from the band when they hit it big. (She ended up becoming a homeless crackhead, but that's not his fault). See the movie "Hit so Hard." It details how they booted her and brought in Dean Castronova. (she makes fun of his "special drumming gloves" in the movie).

While I have mixed feelings about producers, click tracks and their effect on musician's careers, he does have a point. Patty Schemel is not a very good drummer. It's fine for a live show when everybody is drunk and loud, but not for the world of the studio.

I wonder how he would have treated "the Who" if had done their first album. Would be have fired Keith Moon, introduced a click track and hired Josh Freeze to lay down solid tempos and "appropriate" fills?
 

Garvin

Pioneer Member
I would feel weird if I couldn't perform the music we wrote. Usually, by the time a piece is going to be recorded, everyone has kind of put their individual stamp on it in terms of parts. I've had some rough tracks that took more than a few takes, but that's usually just studio jitters. I guess if I just couldn't pull something off that "had" to happen, then I'd have no problem letting someone else do it, but that's some other level "pro" stuff, so I wouldn't think it should be that big a deal for guys at that level either.

I've had to go back in and fix percussion parts, or fully record them for our live percussionist and it wasn't an issue (as far as I knew). Just get the most out of your studio time, and know when to call it quits I guess.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
Came across this blog post over on The Gear Page wherein producer Michael Beinhorn writes about his reputation for firing drummers. What I got from it was two very valid points that really should be common knowledge for anyone aspiring to be a professional musician:

1- The drummer,and his performance, is the backbone of any great recording.

2- The producer's job is to facilitate getting the best recording possible of a band/ song, even if it means making difficult and painful decisions.

Here it is. http://michaelbeinhorn.com/?p=272 Hope it works!

From a drummers perspective, the question I'm left with is, if you were the drummer in a band, how willing would you be to step aside and let someone else play the drum tracks if you just weren't doing the job? Could you suck it up and take one for the team?

I would walk. "Producers" are way to quick to boot the drummer because of this incesant need for "perfect" time. They will move heaven and earth to fix the singers and guitar players. Sooner or later we need to stand up for ourselves and take control of our music back. If the drummer is that bad it will be evident before they ever set foot in a studio.
 
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DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
Don't forgot Ringo either. Bernard Purdie was brought in late at night to ghost his tracks recorded earlier in the day. Ringo was not told, but you know he knew.

This has been discussed 100,000 times on here, and it's not true.

All evidence shows the American record company came across some early Beatles demos, hired Purdie to over dub on top of Pete Best's drumming, and then released them, passing off the old songs as "new" to an unsuspecting public, without any input from the Beatles themselves.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
And what if the band decided to only do live albums taken from tours. How would the producer deal with that, or could the band fire him?
 

Otto

Platinum Member
I'm the musician.

The producer is hired to assist me.

Getting it the other way around is what is ailing the current industry.
 

AudioWonderland

Silver Member
I'm the musician.

The producer is hired to assist me.

Getting it the other way around is what is ailing the current industry.

The producer unfortunately is hired by the label to produce a product (which the label is paying for) for them. My problem with it is how bands/musicians that incompetent are signed and put in a studio.
 

conTraption

Junior Member
Originally Posted by uniongoon View Post
Don't forgot Ringo either. Bernard Purdie was brought in late at night to ghost his tracks recorded earlier in the day. Ringo was not told, but you know he knew.

You know, because there is video, picture, and legal evidence supporting the claim.

Here you go...
sgtpepper_purdie.jpg
 

Zero Mercury Drummer

Senior Member
Producers are really an outgrowth of the record labels, not musicians.

I had a friend who was in a band that signed to a few major labels, back in late 90s when nu-metal was kicking.
They had a record deal for more than $500,000 with a major label (not sure how much was an advance), but there were a few kinks:

1. They had to hire "Famous Producer Joe" and pay him like $250,000. (So in essence, the record company laundered its money through the band to pay the producer).
2. Fire the drummer. (of course- they managed to not do that).
3. Re-record your album with two dudes you never met on vocal. (a pet project of the record company that wasn't selling).
4. Wait a year for the label to release the record.

They went from a huge regional act making tons of money, playing to huge crowds, to being deeply in debt and having all their music changed to please the record company. A year later they were done.
 

SpareRib

Senior Member
Thanks for posting that article. I think this is a great discussion. Ultimately, I feel it is my responsibility to myself, the band, and the music to be prepared mentally and physically going into any performance situation whether in the studio or live. I also hope that I would have taken the initiative to have a discussion with the band members before touring, signing a contract and recording to go through possible scenarios or what if situations.

That's my perspective and every situation cannot be predicted but creating an open dialogue with the band can help to create a cohesive decision making process when those unforeseen bumps in the road arise.

Just my two cents.

Thanks!
 

RockNGrohl

Senior Member
I've always wondered how producers and labels can do that. I'm with Patty Schemel. I've seen her movie. Makes Bienhorn seem like kind of a jerk. I hear stories of control freak producers who have bands use their amps, guitars and drums. But replacing members? jeez.. I think some of these guys need to realize it's the band's performance and not his "production". They hire him for guidance in getting the best out of themselves, not being replaced and told what to do by a "nazi" (What Courtney Love called Beinhorn later.. lol.. not my opinion) I still wonder about the sixties practice of using session guys on band's albums. "Just send in the singer Thank you!"


I think the Scandal story sticks out to me the most.. With Patty Smyth. I think their keyboard player Benjy King was fired by phone without the band's knowledge or explanation, and one by one all the original members left until it was just Patty and Keith Mack the guitar player. The videos,look, and sound seemed to be all the record labels doing. I could never understand why a label would sign a band and then change everything about them. Did they think they were signing just Patty and using the band as backup? She still seems bitter about it to this day. She even said "I hated the Warior video! I wanted a big rock performance video and what I got was ..this thing. And we had to pay for it too!" The video itself is one of those wacky awful eighties clips with Patty's big hair and over the top new wavy makeup and "Cats" style dancers prancing around.
Or Chicago in the eighties, when they hired David Foster and basically all the Toto session guys were the band recording the songs on the albums. It seemed as if none of the band members even played on their own music and it was just Peter Cetera and David and the studio guys. Danny Serraphine was replaced with Carlos Vega and Jeff Pocaro.

I always wonder about bands that will do whatever the producer or label says to have a hit at all cost. I thought a band was meant to be itself with its own sound made by its own members, not a moldable hit machine.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
I think a lot of producers these days "listen with their eyes". Case in point- I did a record last year with an artist and Andy Williams + Mikal Blue produced it.

They said "This guy could be a monster if he'd play simpler". Man I was playing so reserved on that album! What I got back was something that sounded like a machine, having been hacked/looped/cut and spliced.

Producers these days end up staring at waveforms on a screen and those little ghosty notes look like garbage to them. All they want is the big fat blobs and nothing more. Sorry, but my playing comes with all the grease and grit, not just some of it. Of course I can play EXACTLY what the song needs or the producer wants, but I like to think I get hired for the art I bring to the table, so to speak. I have done the whole "play exactly what you're told" thing but am too much of an 'artist' to want to sustain that for a long period of time.

As to being replaced, I've been replaced and have been the replacement so it's all apples & oranges to me. If someone thinks they can do a better job than me within the music that I've helped to create then by all means, step on up. :D

Funny story- Ike Turner used to try to make me uneasy by getting three or four younger drummers to come in and play while I was at rehearsal, in an effort to make me feel less than. But really, what those cats didn't know is that playing Ike's music was only part of the equation. Putting up with Ike was the real job. And Ike knew that too! :D Hee Hee. I loved that man though. :D
 
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GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I watched the movie about Hole and Patty Schemel last night and she was pretty much a train wreck and he did let her stay in the studio forever before sacking her. a battle of the wits. It is a business, and the band and the producer both work for the label and the label will win everytime.
Remember Steve Jobs was once fired from Apple. A company he founded. This is what happens when you get big and need a board of directors. You started the company, but to be incorporated needed a board, and said board thought the Corp. would do better without you. You have investors to answer to at times. Record buyers are the investors for music and if the product could be better then the producer has no other option.
 
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