Other Drummer Syndrome


Senior Member
HAs anyone had other drummer syndrome in a band?

Im currently in a metal band, and the lead singer had played with another drummer for quite a few years, got used to his style and stuff, so he expected it from me.

The first few jams were "Well OtherDude would have played it this way" and asking me to do things i either didnt enjoy playing or thought i could do better. I finally pulled him aside and told him "Im going to get a shirt made that says IM NOT OTHERDUDE! Let me do my thing, youll like it if you back off"

He backed off right away, still offers (and i ask for it) creative, constructive criticism, and last night we worked on a new song, and he approached me after saying that the other drummer couldnt touch what i had put to the song, and he was telling me how he appreciated my style and what it adds to the music.

On the other side of the coin is the band mate who sees another drummer do something that you cant do yet and goes "Well X does that" I was recording for my first time ever with a punk band i was in, the producer guy was also a drummer so offered me some advice on how to make a certain part better, so we re wrote it and he played it so i could get the idea. After that recording session the lead singer was going on and on "Wow, Producer was so awesome, the way he wrote that drum part, hes so cool, i bet you wish you were that good"

Needless to say he got a good smack in the jaw and i left that band instantly, packed up my gear from our jam spot and moved on lol.

Anybody else have stories about "Other Drummer Syndrome"


Platinum Member
Yep.....walked into that one more than once.

Just keep playing your thing mate. It eventually passes. They have no other point of reference, so as frustrating as it is for you, it's only natural.

I used to accomodate them to a point initially (unless I just flat out thought what they were suggesting sounded dink) and as they became more familiar with me, I'd throw in my own spin on it. It won't last forever.

The funny thing is when I left one of those bands, I organised for a mate of mine to take my spot....he called me after the first rehearsal and said "dude....all they want me to do is play like you!!"
Kind of, I was in a school band (quit because the guitarist and drummer were douchebags). I did percussion and the drummer (who isn't a patch on me says many people from my school) never showed up for practice and we had a Battle Of The Bands coming up, I'd always jump on the kit and then they'd be like "Your not playing it the way ... plays it" I said "And? Is his way any better?" they said "He plays it faster" I said "So? I like to put loads of skill into it to make it sound better"
But it was like only 5bpm slower and it was quite a slow song. I quit the band after the Battle Of The Bands and started my own band who are a progressive speed band. And the singer/guitarist is a really good snare drummer and one of my best friends and we learn from each other. We get much more hype than the other band I was in, and the other band I am in had that same drummer and they said he's no patch on me. They were impressed and I think they're proud of what I did to the drum beats instead of keeping them straight but making them more Grohl-like. Which they really wanted :)


Senior Member
I don't expect compliments on my drumming, I know it's not awesome, but when my band tells me it is, it makes me feel damn good inside. My singers old band was on the radio the other day.

Stitch Kaboodle

Senior Member
I've played a few instruments in bands and I have to say this is very common, even amongst really experienced players. Drums are such an influential part of the band in many ways (tempo, dynamics etc.) and some guys have trouble adapting to any change. These players don't like to be out of their comfort zone and would prefer if you just played exactly like the last guy. That way they don't have to use their ears and can just go through the motions. You'll find the good players can cope with the challenge. That's why they're good players.


"Uncle Larry"
When anyone mentions former drummer X, one thing you could do...visibly tongue in cheek and obviously humorous....is to say, yea I was thinking something similar about your part, because former musician Y used to do it different than you too.

It will hold a mirror up to him.



I did vocals for a band once where one of the guitarists thought he was professional at every instrument, so from time to time he'd kick the drummer off the set for a minute and show him how he thinks it should sound. (P.S. NEVER KICK A DRUMMER OFF A SET DURING PRACTICE TO SHOW HIM WHAT YOU THINK IS RIGHT) It was hard to watch, the kid was a douche bag and nonetheless that band died. In a way I guess it's relevant because he thought he was another drummer and had control issues, but he also used to say OMG THE OLD DRUMMER USED TO PLAY IT LIKE THIS SO GREAT MAN.


Platinum Member
Yes, it's happened.

I joined a band in the 90's. The singer had used the drummer from her last band on the album, and he was going to continue to be the drummer in this band until he had some legal issues. So they had a long standing working relationship in two bands.

Here I was coming in and having to replicate his parts from the album on top of being "the new guy". And yeah, some dumb, unfair things were said here and there about how he would have played this or that. But after a few gigs, eventually he was forgotten about out, and the "he would have..." were never brought up again.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
PFOG is right - you just gotta walk through that stuff. It will eventually pass and the people who brought you in have no point of reference so they may not even be aware they're insulting you.

I think it's OK to state your case about being the new guy and that this is how you do it, but I don't think flying off the handle will get you anywhere, either. You'd be surprised how quickly bad news flies around as opposed to good news!

Maybe I'm lucky, being visibly left-handed, what I do doesn't even look like what the other guy did. It must be strange to watch and get used to. Before your old drummer is centered to his left with the hi-hat on stage left. I come in and it's all backwards! Funny I never thought of that before....


Senior Member
Yeah, its happened.

First time it happened I was trying out for a well established touring band with a CD and extremely talented guys. So I pretty much had to be the "other drummer." The reason I didn't mind too much though, was because I knew after the first day I was way in over my head. These guys were PRECISE, being they had written, recorded, and toured the same songs for almost two and a half years. And I took no offense being that they were nice enough to keep me and double their practices for me.

When they asked me to play my groove ideas though, everyone was into them except the band leader. And that's when I realized the band wasnt for me. I'm not sure if he was uninterested, or just unimpressed because he was the only one who "couldn't play along" to it. And most of their songs are odd time stuff so I found it hard to believe he couldn't play to a 4/4 groove.

So IMO, sometimes you have to be the other drummer, because even though that band broke up it was a good challenge and made me better. But in a situation when you're suppose to express you're fully but are confined. Then its time to reevaluate


Platinum Member
That's always the possible downside of joining a band who's drummer has quit. It's happened to me, too. To a certain extent, I just let it roll off. If it becomes too much of a issue, then I tell them that I need to play the parts that come most naturally to me and that floats my boat. If that isn't what interests them, then they should look for someone else.

I should say that I'm not trying to be everything to everyone. My primary motivation is to serve the music in the way that makes me happy. It's not that I'm a flashy showboater or anything, but sometimes muso's have crazy ideas about just how basic a rock drummer should be.

It's good to address those creative issues at the outset. I'm not out to rewrite the existing song's drum parts, but the way I see it is if I'm going to be the drummer moving forward with the new material then I need to be the guy coming up with the drum parts (although I'm not opposed to constructive input). Otherwise, I'm not going to be happy with the project and will end up leaving prematurely, wasting everyone's time.

I once joined an established band with a bit of history behind them and although I wasn't anything like the previous drummers, I was given complete creative control over my parts. That they (and their fans) really liked what I brought to the table was very gratifying.

Stick to your guns. It's worth it when it works out.


Platinum Member
I'm not out to rewrite the existing song's drum parts, but the way I see it is if I'm going to be the drummer moving forward with the new material then I need to be the guy coming up with the drum parts (although I'm not opposed to constructive input).
That's the crux of it right there, in my experience. And I guess that's where I've always found that the comparisons stop.......once you start on new material, what "the old guy used to do" becomes somewhat irrelevant......that's when you find your freedom.......at least I've always been lucky enough to.


Gold Member
I have this problem currently with the band I'm in though its a little different...my Guitarist/vocalist recorded an album a couple years ago and hired a really great bass player and the drummer was an aquaintence that was a beginner descent but a beginner..We take turns picking songs (like any good democarcy band) and he will occasionally pick one of his originals from his album..The songs are great but the drumming is way to simplictic...they are progressive rock songs with "Phil Rudd type drumming"...I love Phil but he wouldn't be a good fit for say Dream Theatre..not that my guitarist stuff is that great but you get the point,,we have come to an agreement where about 60% of the song (what he feels is key drumming from his recording) I do note for note(yawn) and the other 40% he gives me free reign to be creative..so far so good..he's now wanting "us" to re-record his album


Silver Member
Anybody else have stories about "Other Drummer Syndrome"
Yeah this happens all the time, they're always telling me the other drummer's nowhere near as good as I am and I'm doing a much better job :) :)

Now that you've picked yourself up off the floor and stopped laughing, the band I'm in used Nick D'Virgilio as a studio drummer to record an album before I joined them so kind of large boots to fill !!!!!

The guy who's band it as from day one has gone out of his way to say you do it your way, he said at the beginning of one of the songs Nick overdubbed it and there's no way it could be recreated in a live situation but I'm not totally convinced and think he's just being kind.

The one thing I think they really appreciated though and I believe earnt me huge kudos with them, I went away and really learnt all their original music and whilst I'm not able to / can't play some of what's on the album I get it as close as I can and knew every start / stop and break in the songs from the 1st proper rehearsal to the extent we could of gigged some of them that night.

Whilst I know the difference and my playing and it isn't nearly a patch on Mr D'Virgilio's the band leader has nicknamed me Neville D'Virgilio mainly though in recognition of the amount of work / effort I've put in and I think his whole approach to make me feel it ease and not intimidated is extremely professional.

I've also been in the situation as we all seem to of been with "the other drummer did" personally I don't take it to heart.
I think you get used to something in a certain way and human beings generally don't like change, if you'd been the 1st drummer in the same band, left and they got a replacement for you, I'll put any amount of money on it they'd be saying the same thing to him instead of you.
You could also say you bumped into their old drummer the other day at a jam night and he said he'd left because the vocals became stale :)