The worst gig of my life

drummingman

Gold Member
So last night I show up at the venue my band is playing at. As soon as I get there I find out 2 things: Our set time has changed, and the club wants all the drummers to do a drum share. I go to talk to the sound guy to find out if the drum share thing is true. I ask him if I can use my kit. He proceeded to give me a huge attitude about it. My band is looking at me all freaked out cause this is a big club and our first time playing there. So I agree to do the drum share.

When its our time to play, we were forth up, I start walking to the stage with my throne. Some goofball had put his cup of beer on the floor in the hallway on the way to the stage. I did not see said beer. I boot it with my left foot and soak my left foot, shoe and leg with beer. Then I get on stage. This guys kit is nothing like mine. Its on a rack and everything is memory locked in place. I can barely move anything. Meanwhile one of the clubs stage hands is rushing me because the sound guy is a time natzi about starting and stopping set times.

I try to get things adjusted but its all jacked up. My parts in my bands songs are very orchestrated. So my fills and beats are pretty much written out note for note. As soon as we start playing I know its gonna suck. Throughout the whole set, which is only 30 minuets but feels like 2 hours, Im flailing around like a toy monkey trying to play my parts on this jacked up kit. I cant get to the ride bell cause its up underneath a crash. The other crash is to far away so evertime I swing for it I feel like Im gonna lose my stick. The rack tom is 8 feet deep and the kick is a 24. So the tom is a mile to the left of the kick cause I cant move it any closer without hitting the kick with it. The bass drum also felt like crap to play. The monitor mix was awful and I could not hear hardly anything besides the bass drum.

I played the worst I have ever played in my life on a gig. I was so embarrassed that I wanted to crawl under my drum throne. I could not even remotely play the parts I created on that kit. So Ive decided to always insist on using my own kit from now on no matter what.

I was fumming when I came off stage. But on the drive home I got more perspective on the situation. I realized that I cant let the sound guy, my band, or anybody else pressure me to do something I don't want to do again. I have to be comfortable while playing or Im just not going to play well. I consider this a big lesson learned. So at least that one good thing came out of this whole crappy situation.
 
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SquadLeader

Gold Member
Sorry mate...is this the only time you've ever gigged and had to use someone else's drum kit or a venue's back line ??

My advice for next time...if you need to, drop a song, and give yourself three or four minutes to adjust the cymbals, etc. and basically to compose yourself and get comfy.
 
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mikel

Platinum Member
If its a kit share.....Its a kit share, end of story, you have to make the best of it. I have not played my own kit for three months, nothing but rehearsal studios with supplied kits, I am getting good at playing odd, to me, configurations.

If you go onto the stage with the mindset that everything is wrong, it "will" be wrong. A lesson learned, possibly?
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
If its a kit share.....Its a kit share, end of story, you have to make the best of it. I have not played my own kit for three months, nothing but rehearsal studios with supplied kits, I am getting good at playing odd, to me, configurations.

If you go onto the stage with the mindset that everything is wrong, it "will" be wrong. A lesson learned, possibly?
+1

In my 3 years with the band I'm in...I'd say I've used my kit about one in every 5 gigs.

It's become the case that it's a luxury. I love using my own kit.
 

Superman

Gold Member
I'm sorry you had a horrible experience. I've never done a kit share but apparently it is more common than I realized. I wonder what I would be expected to do since I'm a left handed drummer.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I'm sorry you had a horrible experience. I've never done a kit share but apparently it is more common than I realized. I wonder what I would be expected to do since I'm a left handed drummer.
Err...I'm not a leftie...

But a leftie did once use my kit for a charity gigathon.

He took my floor tom...and moved it over to the left.

The rack tom...he took off the left cymbal stand and connected it to the right...

You see where I'm going with this :) :)
 

Daisy

Senior Member
I know this doesn't help Drummingman because he didn't know it was to be a kit share, but I've done a few and I always find out who's kit I'll be using and check it out - via the band website or Youtube - and familiarise myself with the configuration in advance.

I did once discover that a band we were opening for and who had offered a kit share, had a leftie drummer with leftie kit. No-one had thought to mention it. (I arranged to take my own and set it up in front of theirs: luckily the stage was big enough).
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
I know what that feels like. I had a nightmare gig like that a long time ago. You get through it the best you can. Simplify your parts where possible. Insisting on using your drums in the future may not be realistic, unfortunately. Sometimes that fight is not worth the trouble or is just a non-starter.

Were there a few kits to choose from? 'Cause choosing the kit on a rack to share wasn't the best idea. When lots of drummers are sharing a kit it's best to go with a simple set with individual cymbal stands so everyone can get comfortable quickly. I played a gig on a provided Pearl Masters this week and it was a breeze to adjust. But that kit didn't belong to anyone so there was no one to bitch about me adjusting stuff.
 
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DPTrainor

Senior Member
I did this kit share thing a few times but I don't really like it. I enjoy playing my own instrument. So, I prefer not to play someone elses. So, that kind of share situation is way down my priority list. Instead, I choose to do what I do enjoy. But, thats just me...
 

FiveString

Member
I used to loathe using backlined kits. Then I saw a drummer get up on a truly terrible shared kit and absolutely rip. The crappy kit didn't phase him a bit. He got up there and played beautifully.

That's when I realized that playing a backlined kit is all about confidence, the ability to make due with what you have, and flexibility. It's a skill just like anything else in music. A lot comes from attitude. If you think you're gonna have a crappy gig before you start playing, you probably will.

I look at backlined kits as a challenge and an opportunity now. The goal is to look and sound as comfortable as possible, no matter what the conditions are.

The problem is when you see the backlined kit as an obstacle. You're guaranteed to sound like crap.
 

drumdevil9

Platinum Member
I used to loathe using backlined kits. Then I saw a drummer get up on a truly terrible shared kit and absolutely rip. The crappy kit didn't phase him a bit. He got up there and played beautifully.

That's when I realized that playing a backlined kit is all about confidence, the ability to make due with what you have, and flexibility. It's a skill just like anything else in music. A lot comes from attitude. If you think you're gonna have a crappy gig before you start playing, you probably will.

I look at backlined kits as a challenge and an opportunity now. The goal is to look and sound as comfortable as possible, no matter what the conditions are.

The problem is when you see the backlined kit as an obstacle. You're guaranteed to sound like crap.
I agree but it's not just about the quality of the kit but your ability to set it up comfortably that is the difference maker. We've all (or most) come across drummers who have everything at odd heights/angles and are sticklers about stuff being moved. Hard to have a stellar performance in those conditions.
 

Jankowske

Senior Member
You should have kicked that beer all over the sound guy's rig. Oops; now he can't use his gear tonight and no one warned him.

This has inspired me to make a soundguy thread.
 

SquadLeader

Gold Member
I used to loathe using backlined kits. Then I saw a drummer get up on a truly terrible shared kit and absolutely rip. The crappy kit didn't phase him a bit. He got up there and played beautifully.

That's when I realized that playing a backlined kit is all about confidence, the ability to make due with what you have, and flexibility. It's a skill just like anything else in music. A lot comes from attitude. If you think you're gonna have a crappy gig before you start playing, you probably will.

I look at backlined kits as a challenge and an opportunity now. The goal is to look and sound as comfortable as possible, no matter what the conditions are.

The problem is when you see the backlined kit as an obstacle. You're guaranteed to sound like crap.
I'm the fat bastard whacking six shades of shite out of a crappy backline kit in Blackpool, Lancashire (enjoying ever second lol)

This was our second gig, mine after a 10 year hiatus from drumming :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImR3Nlr9VVA

The only part of the kit that is mine is the cowbell....

This thread dragged my memories up. That kit was so shit...and so were we hahaha
 

FiveString

Member
I agree but it's not just about the quality of the kit but your ability to set it up comfortably that is the difference maker. We've all (or most) come across drummers who have everything at odd heights/angles and are sticklers about stuff being moved. Hard to have a stellar performance in those conditions.
Yeah. You definitely need to make sure you can set up a reasonably playable kit.

I touch base with (and thank) the drummer who backlines before I go on stage. I also politely ask if I can move stuff around. I've never had someone tell me I couldn't.

Backlining is the absolute norm in Boston. I haven't played my own kit at a gig in several months. I make the assumption that the kit I will be playing is junk. I bring hats, a ride, left side crash/ride along with pedal and snare. My setup is super simple and fast. That way I have time to fuss with the kit. My focus is snare height/angle and seat height. If those are right, the rest is gravy.

Would I rather be on my own instrument? Hell yes. Would I play better? Oh yeah, no doubt. But what are you going to do? You gotta make the best of a bad kit.

For an exercise, at home take away all toms but the floor. Only use hats and a crashable ride for bronze. Run through your material with a super stripped down setup. It'll prep you for that terrible backlined kit with the rack tom at the stupid angle and the unadjustable left side cymbal stand.

I actually am delighted not to have to bring my kit to a show. Easy load in, and I don't have to worry about a basher shredding my heads/bearing edges.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
You should have kicked that beer all over the sound guy's rig. Oops; now he can't use his gear tonight and no one warned him.

This has inspired me to make a soundguy thread.
Thats exactly how I felt. How would he have felt if I woud have met him right before the show and been like "hey, here is a sound board you have never used and now you have to use it or else everyone is going to get mad at you. You got 10 minutes to make it work for you and make all the bands sound great. Good luck!" Im sure I would not get as good a reaction that I gave him when thats what I heard about the kit.

I plan on standing my ground on only using my gear. I know that a guitar is way more portable but can you imagine if the band your playing in showed up to a gig and all the guitar players found out they all had to use the same guitar and just make due! I don't think that we as drummers should have to put up with that just because our rig takes just a bit more time to set up. I can get my kit set up and ready to play on the stage in 10 minutes. Just because the sound guy is lazy and does not want to move his mics is a pretty lame excuse.

When I do tour overseas I plan on doing all I have to do to make sure a kit that works for me will be waiting for me. Ill just set up a rental kit for the dates from a cartage service. I can always bring my cymbals and pedals.

But while playing in the states I need my own gear to play my parts well. I really don't think that is to much to ask.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
Thats exactly how I felt. How would he have felt if I woud have met him right before the show and been like "hey, here is a sound board you have never used and now you have to use it or else everyone is going to get mad at you. You got 10 minutes to make it work for you and make all the bands sound great. Good luck!" Im sure I would not get as good a reaction that I gave him when thats what I heard about the kit.

I plan on standing my ground on only using my gear. I know that a guitar is way more portable but can you imagine if the band your playing in showed up to a gig and all the guitar players found out they all had to use the same guitar and just make due! I don't think that we as drummers should have to put up with that just because our rig takes just a bit more time to set up. I can get my kit set up and ready to play on the stage in 10 minutes. Just because the sound guy is lazy and does not want to move his mics is a pretty lame excuse.

When I do tour overseas I plan on doing all I have to do to make sure a kit that works for me will be waiting for me. Ill just set up a rental kit for the dates from a cartage service. I can always bring my cymbals and pedals.

But while playing in the states I need my own gear to play my parts well. I really don't think that is to much to ask.
No one likes playing backline kits, we all want to be comfotable, but thats not the point. The point is sometime you have to play a backline kit and you have to make the best of it.

Its not the sound guys fault. If there is a running order then everyone is under pressure to stick to it, includig him.

Its a mindset, you have to make the best of any situation, the other drummers at the gig did.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Thats exactly how I felt. How would he have felt if I woud have met him right before the show and been like "hey, here is a sound board you have never used and now you have to use it or else everyone is going to get mad at you. You got 10 minutes to make it work for you and make all the bands sound great. Good luck!"
That does happen. All the time. There's no point in antagonising sound people, they'll just give you a crappy mix. You're working together to try and give the best show you can to the audience.

I plan on standing my ground on only using my gear.
Good luck if you ever play in the UK. That almost never happens.

But while playing in the states I need my own gear to play my parts well. I really don't think that is to much to ask.
Then that overseas tour is never going to happen if you can't adapt. One of the skills in playing at a good level is to be able to adapt to situations. May I suggest that a good drummer can adapt their parts if necessary and a really good drummer would be able to play whatever was put in front of them?

It is a lot to ask, actually. If you were a sound engineer sticking to a strict running order with ten minutes between bands (and the bands only turning up in the evening) would you like to mic and sound check every single kit before they started playing in front of an audience? No. No you wouldn't.
 

drummingman

Gold Member
No one likes playing backline kits, we all want to be comfotable, but thats not the point. The point is sometime you have to play a backline kit and you have to make the best of it.

Its not the sound guys fault. If there is a running order then everyone is under pressure to stick to it, includig him.

Its a mindset, you have to make the best of any situation, the other drummers at the gig did.
I made the best of it. So did the other drummers. But it still sucked. Im sure it did for most of them as well.
 

Captain Bash

Silver Member
There is a lot of good advice below. The trick to kit shares on a small stage setting is not worrying about the 5 % of your music that can't be delivered but instead getting the basics right. In order of importance:

1) throne height
2) snare and kick sound
3) cymbal numbers & location
4) lastly toms, not really that important in the bigger scheme of overall sound

The fact is that a few bad drummers can ruin it for everyone else either by being way to fussy (having over-evolved set-ups out of all proportion for their 45 minute set) or not actually having their technique and knowledge down enough to play on a regular four or maybe five piece kit. On the flip side, I have come across drummers who have adapted their hardware so nothing is adjustable: this is just plain mean. The worst situations arise where you have bands of conflicting styles, which in turn have different requirements.
 
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