My band drama

No Way Jose

Silver Member
I think a big part of the problem with the singer is that he's in multiple bands so he doesn't really want to take the time or put the effort into this one to memorize the song structures or listen to the recordings, so him being able to cue all the changes gets him off the hook of actually having to learn how the songs go.
I work with a singer that does the same thing. Or maybe she just forgets lyrics or when to start a verse. I learned to just keep playing. She will start singing eventually.


Junior Member
I've had this issue previously where the singer thought that we should be able to improvise changes to song structure based on some vague signals he would make up as he went along.
As the drummer I told him that I need to drive/signal the changes in the song and if i didn't know where these changes were I could not do what I consider to be part of my job, and we eventually agreed on the song structure, but eventually that singer was asked to leave the band as he had a real ego that out sized his ability.

As a drummer I feel part of what i do is build up the song before certain changes and then calm things down for say the verse. One of the compliments I have had about my drumming is that the rest of the band can follow the changes from what i play.

As far as i'm concerned I want to know the starts, the stops and transitions, these are the most important things for me after the groove. During a gig things will go wrong, the last gig i did i could hardly hear the lead guitar but the rhythm guitar was very loud and the last thing I want is the singer waving his arms around thinking he can improvise and everyone in the band will follow him. In that situation knowing the song structure meant we still stayed tight. Once a band has been playing together for years they will start to know where maybe they can start to lengthen a song if its going well or shorten it if its not, but they need to be playing together for years for this to happen, or be very experienced musicians.


Platinum Member
A couple days ago it was our last rehearsal before a show and we start playing one of the songs and he just keeps motioning for me to play faster, and I knew I was playing at the right tempo per a recording we’d made a couple weeks before for us to all practice to. He wanted me to play it so fast that I had to completely change the drum beat because the entire feel of the song changed. [...] with the new tempo I ended up playing just straight rock beat on the ride, so boring and way way faster and just totally destroyed everything cool about the song.



Senior Member
Is this normal?
If you're in a garage band, it's completely normal.

He wanted me to play it so fast that I had to completely change the drum beat…
Most singers/musicians don't understand that a drummer can't simply play the same thing at a radically different tempo.

The same part at a different tempo might be outside a drummer's range, the same way a different key might be outside a singer's range. Even if the drummer has enough range to make the change, the same part might sound dreadful at a different tempo.

I explained to my band that I could write three different versions of every song, but then we'd have to practice all three versions of every song, and none of us has enough time for that.

The use of the word "no" is warranted here.
I attended a seminar where the speaker said the first rule of being assertive is "Never accept a no-win situation". If it isn't going to work, just say "No." That isn't being bossy or aggressive, that's just being realistic.
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Yesterday at practice we had a talk and it went surprisingly well. I told them that I wanted to nail down all the song structures before our next show and play them just like the recordings, and everyone in the band agreed with me, even the singer!! So.. that was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Now just have to wait and see whether everyone does their homework or not.