So I've been in this band just over 3 years, and we just lost our 4th drummer. What the heck? We play 95% originals, and the arrangements don't seem (to us) to be that challenging. But we keep ending up with knuckleheads who either can't get it or self-destruct. Do we put too much pressure on? We rehearse twice a week and gig twice a month (when we're busy), but it's been a year and a half since we've had someone really reliable. We've even done gigs just with a stomp box ("make the harp player do it!"), which is kind of fun, but the singer hates it. She likes the big sound of a full band (we're a 5 piece).
If anyone knows a blues drummer in the Boston area, PLEASE send them our way!
After 40 year of playing music in band formats, I lost count after a few hundred, and that was about 20 years ago. You can never expect other musicians to be as passionate as you are about your music. If you pay well you can get the best but if a bigger offer comes along you can almost always count on them going with it. Being a frontman and keeping a band behind you is one of the hardest things to do in music unless you are a top earner. One of the main reasons I have gone to being a 1 man band is from the stress of keeping a good band behind me. I can't tell you how many times I had big stage gigs, tours, here and abroad, and the night before still no drummer that I could handle being onstage with. The stress of that gets to you. If you are going to be in a band, it will be an ongoing struggle to keep members. The exceptions tend to be people that play as a hobby and have played with the same people for years and the top earners that often stay together because if they leave they will immediately drop to bar room gigs - lots of cool stories but no more roadies, room service, big bus, big money, and not lots of applause.... Walter ---------- walter tore's spontobeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing. I record about 300 full length cds a year. " life is a daring adventure or nothing at all" - helen keller
What bonedog said. Unless your 2 gigs a month are extraordinarily well paying, it will be impossible to find a competent drummer who would be willing to put in that kind of rehearsal time every week just to play 2 gigs a month.
Last Edited by on Apr 26, 2012 1:34 PM
OK. Here goes. You know the old joke: What do they call the guy who likes to hang out with musicians?......... The drummer. Ta Da! (Ker-plash!)
I say this as someone who started playing drum kit at age 11 (welcome me to medicare this month), listening to my parents' "pop" music collection, which, as it turned out, was largely big band and vocal jazz. This was after having taken violin and piano lessons for some three years. But the drums were where my soul was, musically speaking, and what can you do about that? So I think all you real musicians will have to give us wannabee's some compassion and understanding. We just ain't like the rest of you, exactly.
On a more elaborated note: drums have been relegated to, at best, a second class status in Western "legitimate" music. This would of course not be the case, so much, in the more "primitive" musical forms, like jazz, and rock and all of its siblings. This is profoundly different from the primary role of drums and rhythm in ALL indigenous music, and most of "world" music. Think of Latin, Caribean, African, Native American, and East Indian music, where this is clearly the case. I'd say that this is often something that is unrecognized, or denied, a lot like white privilege, though it is clearly there. As a result, I think there is something of a legacy of inferiority and "outsider-ness" with drummers.
I've seen/smelled/felt/tripped over it as a drummer myself. I'm sure this does not explain all of the reasons for the phenomenon of drummer disappearance. There are also, no doubt, more practical reasons too, as have been mentioned. But I think it's worth keeping in mind as a significant contributing factor, perhaps. FWIW. ---------- Matthew
I appreciate you comments on percussion. I think drums are percieved as "easy". My 13 year old son chose drums when I pushed him towards and instrument but gave up when he discovered it takes work and practice. My younger son is haning in there on alto sax.
I just had a conversation here at work with someone who plays guitar. He told me he started on drums but he always wanted to play an instrument, so he took up guitar! In light of this thread I could not help but laugh and I had to explain why.
The cultural bias in your joke is real, but so is the power of skillfully played percussion.
it is actually a similar thing with harp and drums...
i had a guy ask me if harmonicas "actually play notes" i said not the way i play it..
we too have gone through more drummers than any other position,, two left town for faculty positions, one in columbia (the foreign country) the other in south dakota (also a foreign country). Our third one quit the band a few days before we were to play after a 3rd tier ball game in their beer garden because we were selling out the the man, the sports business machine.. current one has been around for a while, except when he is off in africa working with dancers or playing tympani in the pit for opera (where he actually does tune and play notes!)
There seems to be much fewer gigs these days,for less money,so twice a week rehearsal seems like a lot these days,unless it is a passion project,or you are putting together a bunch of original music from scratch,or are putting on a really tight /intricate show and or you are trying to make it on a national/international level.
If you had a decent drummer and rehearsed him twice a week for a few months I would think you could go to one rehearsal per gig,that would be playing 4 times a month once the drummer was settled in.
Speaking from a drummers point of view,if your rehearsals are unorganized or random in nature that can be a deterrent.I know that when I have stepped into an original established original band,sometimes the other members can forget that they know the material in their sleep,and have played it hundreds of times,so I will ask them to list songs that previous drummers have had trouble with or that took longer to learn,asked for recorded material to work with on my own,and then come up with an outline/plan for rehearsals so I can get up to snuff as quickly as possible.
I think that Bonedog, hvyj, bharper, and KingoBad have identified the issue: too much rehearsal for too few gigs. 8 rehearsals for 2 paying gigs???
This would only work if the drummer was actively involved in writing songs and was passionate about band identity and the music. If the drummer believes that the band can make it big, he will invest the time and energy. If the drummer was brought on board just to drum, this is way too much work for too few paying gigs, unless these gigs pay A LOT.
To stay with a band with this much rehearsal time and this few gigs, the drummer really has to believe in the future of the band. ----------
Point taken on the rehearsals. We play 95% originals, so that's the rationale for two rehearsals a week. The singer insists that the drummers need the two rehearsals because none of them could get the songs, even then! My response has been that maybe it's the drummers themselves, because our songs are not that complicated. There's probably a reason why these guys have been available twice a week! A competent drummer should get the feel for the songs and be able to learn them with a once a week rehearsal, I think.
We don't make much money, and that's not why we do it. And we are looking for someone who can feel as passionate about the music and the art as we do. My suggestion was that we reframe ourselves as an acoustic quartet for coffeehouse gigs, and in the meantime keep looking for the right person. But the sticking point continues to be the twice a week rehearsal thing... Thanks, everyone! ----------
From a pro's standpoint, if you gig 2 times a month but rehearse twice a week, and even worse, if the gigs pay really crappy, then to any real pro, they just look at this as being a jam hack gig and not worth their while at all.
A classic sign of nonproductive overrehearsal that I've seen over the years kill bands every time is when during these rehearsals, you're spending more than 50% of the rehearsal time spent on the soloing aspect all the time, and even worse, you got a bunch of whining lead players obsessing that they can't get their tone (and that's REGARDLESS if they're a guitar player, harp or keyboard player or any other instrument for that matter), good players, especially real good pros are gonna leave frequently because, to be brutally honest about it, it's just too many rehearsal with no real focus at all.
From pro experience over 30 years is that in blues, finding TRULY good blues drummers is the single most difficult musician to find, and because the really good ones are in EXTREMELY high demand, they're the most difficult to hold on to and many of them don't need to be tied down to any single band to keep a gigging schedule of at least 10-15 night per month.
Fewer, but more HIGHLY FOCUSED rehearsals tend to work better and if there's soloing during the rehearsals, do not have more than ONE chorus because THE MOST IMPORTANT thing to get done first are the groove and the vocals and when you spend 50%+++ on the soloing, you're wasting a lot of time.
One thing to consider is that you need to know exactly what you're looking for in a drummer because what works with one band ain't gonna work in another and you really need to have laser focus on what your needs are and you may also be wasting too much time on drummers that really don't fit what you're doing and all your doing is just spinning your wheels accomplishing exactly nothing.
Trust me, too many lead players, especially the guys in the open jams really don't appreciate the value of a good drummer at all and in black music bands, they're the frequently the first hired as well as the first to be fired because the groove is EVERYTHING, and if you tend to concentrate far too much on the soloing and too little on the groove, plus you got a buch of players with crappy time, many drummers will leave in a NY minute.
To be honest, Joshnat, the way you guys are approaching it, it unfortunately comes off as just too much jamming more than anything else to most pros and there's not enough real focus, and tho I'm not a drummer (but understand the value, plus what I want to hear as well as what I do NOT want to hear), from a pro standpoint, I'd bail out on you too. I can't help but wonder if at the time you audition the drummers, you don't go thru at least 20 tunes with grooves similar to what you want and REALLY pay extremely close attention to what they can do and how much they know about these grooves. In any audition I would do with a drummer, I have at least 20 different grooves of varying tempos and I expect EVERY drummer I hire to know at least 18 of them and won't except any excuses for not knowing them and the least important thing about drumming are the solos. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
Last Edited by on Apr 27, 2012 10:04 AM
Bob, what you're describing is not the case in our band. We have about 40 tight, original songs. There is no jamming, no noodling and no prima donna behavior in the band. Our practices are focused as we work through the material and prepare for gigs and recording. The drummers leave because for whatever reason they are unable or unwilling to learn the arrangements, and/or they have personal issues that prevent them from spending time focusing. Let's be honest, nobody gets rich playing blues anymore, and if that's what you're after, you need to pick a different genre. The non-drumming members of the band know the tunes cold. The double practices are for the drummer(s) to get up to speed, which they never seem to do. Maybe they're bored, maybe they're not interested, or maybe they're deficient in some way.
But making the assumption that we're jamming around based solely on the fact that we rehearse twice a week is incorrect. None of our songs has a solo that lasts more than 12 bars, and none of us considers ourselves to be virtuosic on our instruments. We play straightforward blues songs where the focus is on the song, not on the players. ----------
Last Edited by on Apr 27, 2012 1:59 PM
being an amatuer band has its ups. Many guys stay together forever out of friendship as well as a common music love. The best drummers, the ones that make a living playing, will never rehearse with a blues band unless yo have them on salary and a good one at that. They can flow with just about anything if one of the bandmembers gives them a heads up as to what is coming. The best thing you can do is find someone who you like, who has no ambitions of moving up the music career ladder, and teach them to play the drums. I had some of the greats back me. Francis Clay, Jimmy Carl Black, Chris Layton, Dave Sanger, Uncle John Turner, Walter Shufflesworth, Ernie Duwara, Frosty, Doyle Brahmal, george rains, kevin norton, and others as good but not as famous. They all had one thing in common-there were more people wanting them to play each night than they could ever get to. The money, timing, and your sound has to interest them. Otherwise you end up with mediocre players that have baggage to boot. Get use to being forever in search of drummers and bassists if you are a frontman :-) Walter PS: I often have paid the drummer more than I made. If you want to see the world in a blues band, become a good drummer. The odds are you will get there and if you are a frontman the odds are you never will. ---------- walter tore's spontobeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing. I record about 300 full length cds a year. " life is a daring adventure or nothing at all" - helen keller
BBQ Bob : " finding TRULY good blues drummers is the single most difficult musician to find, and because the really good ones are in EXTREMELY high demand. . ."
Amen to that. Blues is the easiest in form- and therefore the hardest in practice to keep interesting. The groove is IT. A good drummer drives the rhythm, keeps it interesting, listens and responds to what everyone else is playing - all in time and WITHOUT OVERPLAYING . These cats are not easy to find and when they are really good - everyone wants them.
And lucky bastard that I am - I get to play with Norm DeCarlo - WEST COAST BLUES HALL OF FAME & AWARD SHOW "Blues Drummer of the Year 2011" I'm not worthy . . . but I'll keep playing as long as they'lle have me.
Joshnat, that posting is not aimed at you guys personally, but more to a larger number of bands that I've seen over the years, so don't take offense to that. I do stand by the fact that finding a truly good blues drummer is extremely difficult and the vast majority of rock drummers who try to play blues often can't cut it at all, especially if you play the classic behind the beat groove, which has a lot more space involved and the vast majority of rock drummers are usually gonna try and fill every hole and they will screw up those grooves in a hurry.
Trolling open jams to find a blues drummer is often times fruitless because most of the drummers there are awful.
Waltertore is telling you the truth about blues drummers just from his experience alone and a lot of that mirrors mine as well.
One thing you gotta remember is that your guys have been together for 3 years and they should know it cold but whenever someone new is brought in, there's always gonna be the lag in the learning curve, but when you have a REAL blues drummer that knows the genre COLD, those sare guys that will need very little rehearsing and the main things for them is knowing the intros and endings as they will usually have the basic groove down easily unless there's something that you want a little off the beaten path to be put in there and the reallty good blues drummers will usually pick them up quickly.
Like it or not, what Waltertore is telling you is the real deal in the genre and that's where always having a roster of phone numbers becomes necessary and also you may not want to have overly complex arrangements (that is, if this is what you have) so you don't have to worry too much because blues, much like jazz, has a huge mercenerial aspect to the musicians.
There are plenty of drummers who can only cut certain things well, and trust me, I've seen this by the TRUCKLOAD over the years. The one most common groove that I find drummers have a tough time playing are the flat tire grooves, and many drummers only know of one type where the snare is on the upbeat of all 4 beats, but there's many more versions of the flat tire groove than that, and this groove is extremely challening because most drummers will either speed up or slow down big time and lose the tempo often quickly.
On top of that, many drummers, if you're the type that uses dynamics frequently, often times when you bring the dynamics down, a lot of drummers will slow down and when the dynamics are brought up, a lot of them will speed up, and there are plenty that can't do dynamics PERIOD, and you'll find guys that play too loud or too low for certain grooves or for everything.
I demand EVERY drummer that works with me knows that I want the groove 100% BEHIND the beat and I won't stand for anything else because antyhing else just ain't a blues groove or black music groove at all and finding drummers that can cut that is a challenge by itself that's always going to be ongoing, like it or not.
Joshnat, it's good that your band has the more focused rehearsals, but if and when you audition a drummer, I would avoid using most of those originals and maybe think about using covers that have grooves similar to what you do and maybe vet these guys a bit more in some ways that I've mentioned, but just remember, dion't be surprised to go thru drummers quite often even if you eventually find the right drummer.
Nearly every band has gone thru the same thing, even among the big name pros all the time. Little Charlie/Rick Estrin and the Nitecats have gone thru tons of drummers over the years, but that band not only has the overall musicianship, but also the kind of gigs that can keep people around a lot longer than someone on a more local level, but they all eventually leave and it's a fact of life, like it or not, and I've gone thru plenty of drummers over the years so, like it or not, it's part of the deal.
Just because a drummer sounds great in someone else's band doesn't mean they'll sound right with yours and one classic thing I've heard not only with drummers, but with musicians who play other instruments as well, is that statement "I'll change and do just what you want." Lord have mercy how many times I've heard that and tho they seem to adjust for a couple of months, their old habits that don't fit what you're doing come back to rear their ugly heads show themselves.
Finding TRULY good blues drummers is a never ending battle, even for the big name pros as well, and eventhe old blues guys I've met over the years will tell you that too, so unfortunately, it's a fact of life you gotta get used to. It sucks, but it's the truth. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
"The best drummers, the ones that make a living playing, will never rehearse with a blues band unless yo have them on salary and a good one at that. They can flow with just about anything if one of the bandmembers gives them a heads up as to what is coming."
"guys that will need very little rehearsing and the main things for them is knowing the intros and endings as they will usually have the basic groove down easily unless there's something that you want a little off the beaten path to be put in there and the reality good blues drummers will usually pick them up quickly."
Amen. The only recurrent problem is that not all pro jazz drummers can carry a steady groove in the pocket for an entire tune--a lot of them can and do it extremely well, but there's some who struggle with that. So you have to be careful hiring a sub who is a pro but is also working with jazz bands. Otherwise, what Walter and Bob are saying is dead on.
If you are gigging regularly for $ you are inevitably going to find yourself on gigs with musicians you've never played with before. You've got to be able to handle that and adjust your playing accordingly. It ain't like playing to pre-recorded back up tracks. An entirely different skill set is required. You've got to be able to play "in the moment."
"Why not just find a few guys you like and then hire them as needed for gigs?"
Yep. That's how to it. Have a regular drummer, a first call back up and some others you can call if needed. Of course, your gigs have to pay enough $ for a pro to want to play them with you.
Last Edited by on Apr 28, 2012 9:17 AM
Barbeque Bob explains in much better detail than I do. The top tier blues drummers tend to move around in the top tier. They tend to move from band to band because of ego conflicts, pay increases/decreases, and how the music hits them at a given time. The guys below the top tier are of no interest to me. They play too stiff and are not experienced enough to flow with unorthodox changes and tempos that occur without warning. One other thing. Many players think themselves much better than they really are and instead of looking at their own shortfalls, blame others. Also they try to cover way to many things to be good at any of them. I know I am simple player but I get around real good in my groove. I would never try to be a SRV or John Popper. The greats were mostly very one dimensional compared to most bar blues bands today.
hvyj: Jazz drummers can be great. I use to use Kevin Norton. He was playing with Milt Hinton at the time I used him. He could play great blues. When I lived in Belguim Philip Catherine's backup band wanted to back me up. They had a tour lined up and wanted to rehears. I said I don't rehearse but they insisted so we met at Le Travers club in brussels one afternoon. they couldn't stick to the beat. they kept moving all over as I did. I explained I needed them to stay solid with the grooves. The guitarist went ballistic claiming blues was so simple he mastered it at 12. Long story short I nixed the tour. Walter
---------- walter tore's spontobeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing. I record about 300 full length cds a year. " life is a daring adventure or nothing at all" - helen keller
I'll second what many have already said: rehearsing twice a week is way too much. The only time professionals do that is when they've got a really, really big gig coming up, or when, as a group, they're getting ready to record an album and want to be in tip-top shape for that. Ah, and one more time, perhaps: when a band has just come together and has a gig or two coming up.
But other than that, my experience accords with BBQ Bob: only amateurs rehearse that much as a regular practice. When I say amateurs, I mean people who are playing primarily for the love of playing, rather than for a desire to play actual gigs. I've known bands that rehearsed that much because nobody in the band was quite up to gigging-level and they were trying, through rehearsals, to lift themselves to that level.
Blues professionals often don't rehearse at all, just talk things through--"This is a 12-bar shuffle in G with a quick four and a couple of stop times in the middle"--and then play the gig. I've played gigs where I didn't even get that much. The guys just said, "I'll call out the keys. Watch me for the cues and listen to the rhythm section for the groove."
On the other hand, when I played the big show in London recently, each of the pros was being backed by a pickup band, and they worked through various elements of the 4-6 songs they were going to play, often redoing beginnings or endings a few times until it felt right.
Certain kinds of original rock bands require a lot of rehearsal. A blues band really shouldn't--unless the band is more of a social club than a band, where the rehearsals are just as important a scene of fellowship as the gigs. The drummers may simply not care as much about the fellowship. They may view the band as a moneymaking proposition--a gig-supplier--and the rehearsal-to-gigs % may seem much higher than optimal. By that standard==as an investment of time in an effort to make money through musical performance--it definitely is too high.
What you've discovered is quite possibly the fact that your drummers are professionals who consider your band a bad investment of their time. I'm saying this--venturing this educated guess--because you've come here to share your pain and it seems as though you're searching for the answer.
Adam: My experience is if there is a rock connection spearheading the event there will be rehearsals. The rock guys are seeped in rehearsal and when they get together with blues players for a big show they always want to rehearse. It is in their wiring. Walter
---------- walter tore's spontobeat - a real one man band and over 1 million spontaneously created songs and growing. I record about 300 full length cds a year. " life is a daring adventure or nothing at all" - helen keller
A lot of times too many people, and I find this especially true with whites, is that if you can play jazz or classical, you should be able to play anything, which SHOULD be true THEORETICALLY. However, in the real world, and just from personal experience alone, often times that has NOT been the case. If you have a jazz drummer where their experience comes more from playing old school big band jazz or swing, you've got a pretty good chance of getting a drummer that can adapt to blues because the greatest blues drummer of them all, Fred Below, was origianlly a jazz drummer, heavily influenced by two big band drummers named Chick Webb and Gene Krupa, and so he created the standard that EVERY blues drummer is judged against to this day.
As hvyj points out correctly is that not all jazz drummers are good at carrying a groove, and with blues as well as any other black music in general as well, that is the single MOST IMPORTANT aspect that is absolutely vital and soloing is the LEAST important thing.
From experience, you gotta have a phone book with tons of players on your roster to use because having to find subs is part of the deal because, just like jazz, with blues there is a huge mercenerial aspect to things.
Overrehearsing can quickly lead to boredom, especially if its just the same stuff night after night and the number of rehearsal far exceeds the number of gigs per month, and the only time you should have more rehearsals is when you're introducing new material or you're getting ready for a recording session as part of the preproduction necessary to get as much done in the studio with the least amount of time wasted (remember, time is money when it comes to that).
Other reasons for drummers constantly leaving outside of low paying gigs or too few with too much rehearsal would be:
1.) the bass player constantly screws up the time 2.} bass player refusing to lock in with the drummer 3.) Seeing the classic white musician mentality of the rest of the band, and most ESPECIALLY the bass player, following the guitar even when theyt screw up with things like speeding up, especially during the solos and so the groove constantly winds up being a mess 4.) An entire band having really crappy time where the drummer is forced to anchor them all or everything falls apart 5.) No one in the band can PROPERLY communicate what they want or need from them
I'm not a drummer but one thing I have learned is that you do need to know how to properly communicate, and by that, I don't mean just give them recordings and expect them to learn it from there, but learn the drummer TERMINOLOGY as to what you want, like for example, the flat tire groove that often appears on many of T-Bone Walker's recordings, where what happens is that the snare still hits on the 2 and the 4, but all of the upbeats are played on an extremely loose high hat symbol and a really good drummer would know exactly what you're talking about (most drummers doing a flat tire groove would usually do far more often, hit the snare on ALL the upbeats).
Just because someone is great behind a SRV type is NOT going to mean they're gonna sound great playing Chicago blues or jump blues or something more funk oriented because they are VERY different in sound and approach and too often, many people don't properly vet their candidates for their bands very well but to do that, you yourself HAVE to be very knowledgable and VERY TOGETHER as a musician yourself or all you're gonna do is spin your wheels to nowhere. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
We need a way to signify "golden" threads. This one is fantastic. I am quickly learning how scraping together a band for a gig works. I can't really be a part of something permanent, but am now associated with a lot of musicians that both ask me to help them out, as well as helping me out when I need them. I've had some fantastic and ecclectic experiences. This thread helps in a big way. I actually do not have a lot of drummers to go to yet, so I'll keep all of this in mind... ---------- Danny
One thing I should mention is that when I mean very together as a musician, it's MORE than just your soloing ability and too often, for the vast majority of jam hacks, soloing ability is largely their ONLY definition of being togerther or even what good musicianship is all about, because it is MUCH MORE than that. One of them is VERY BASIC knowledge of music theory and EQUALLY important, your own TIME, and too often harp players have horrible time, and if you don't work on it, how are you gonna be able tell if anyone else's time is good or if it sucks?? Obviously, you can't, but once you take the time to learn it, which too many players are too lazy to take the time necessary to do so, you will ALWAYS notice who's got the time straight and who's royally screwing it up and the usual jam hack's attitude that it's the drummer's job alone, to put in the most brutally honest way possible, is flat out DUMB AS THE DAY IS LONG.
Some of the things I mentioned in my previous post, even as someone who by trade isn't a drummer, red flags go up in my head (or any other pro's head for that matter) and that's a big time alert that the band flat out sucks BIG TIME and I'd bail on that ASAP. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
Last Edited by on Apr 30, 2012 9:56 AM
Practical tip: If you live in an area where there's a university with a music department nearby, music majors (especially jazz studies majors) and music grad students are a very rich source of gig worthy musicians. A lot of these types gig quite a bit and are proficient in multiple styles, including blues. Being students, they appreciate the extra work and often have very positive attitudes about getting the idiom right. Of course, you have to know enough theory to be able communicate with these guys.
Last Edited by on Apr 30, 2012 3:03 PM
OK you rehearse twice a week. Geez, that's intense. I'd never do it. I got a family. That might have something to do with why you keep getting goobers. If you're good musicians you don't have to play that much to get tight and Id say you guys are all strong musicians. A lot of good musicians - also me - would say to hell with this and find another band because playing that much is a huge sacrifice. Could be you're getting the goobers because they have nowhere else to go and non-goobers are not likely to put up with it. I am in no way saying you and the guys who stay are goobers... I am only saying that this rehearsal juggernaut is a goober-retention system for drummers. You're playing 10 nights a month. That's a 1/3 of a person's days, 1/3 of one's life devoted to the band. BUT: Question, would you rehearse that much if the drumming didn't suck?
Dave, as usual you hit the nail on the head. The drummers we've been getting are goobers because they are available twice a week. Or, they're available twice a week because they're goobers. Truth be told, when I joined the band, I told them once a week was as much as I could do because I have a family and a dojo to run. And I was able to learn the material. Eventually.
I've been fighting with the singer about this because she insists that even at twice a week our goober drummers couldn't learn the songs. And the rest of us are bored silly because we're not writing new material, and we're tired of going through the same stuff, day after day. Just to get the drummer up to speed. I really think we need to try once a week and advertise that, and see who we get.
The fact is, we're not a pro band. We're amateurs, as Adam said, and we write and perform music to have fun and make a few bucks (very few). Nobody drinks (except me) so free beers don't give us much, and the guitar player's a vegan, so the BBQ joints we play do nothing for him. I think the singer thinks there may be a payday some day, but I believe that's pretty naiive. We enjoy each other's company, but we're not really friends. We very much enjoy performing and we had started recording our 2nd album when the drummer(s) exploded.
This is a good thread, and very instructional. It confirms the suspicions I had going into it, and I appreciate everyone's participation. It's a shame to see a band die, especially when there's good material and good art. I'm not sure how we'll pull this one out of the nosedive.
@joshnat: It's not so much a question of pro or amateur. It's a question of playing ability and musical experience.
But, if you are working up all original tunes, that does require more rehearsal time, even if the players are pros.
The guitar player in my blues band (who is a full time pro), was in another band that did mostly originals. He would constantly be bitching about how what the gigs paid was not enough to cover the time he spent rehearsing. Part of that problem was that the leader would book a disproportionate number of low paying gigs, but you get the idea.
Btw, I am not a pro. I am a hobbyist. But I gig regularly and I am fortunate enough to work with full time pros (for the most part). From experience, though, i can tell you that rehearsing with pros is a VERY different experience than rehearsing with amateurs. Amateurs tend to repeat the same stuff over and over. Pros run through a tune and then work on very specific things and move on--they get more done in a whole lot less time because the know WHAT to work on and what not to worry about.
Last Edited by on May 01, 2012 6:59 AM
Hvyj's last paragraph is dead on the money here and like I said, the only other time to do any kind of rehearsals that are more often than your gigging schedule is happening is when you're getting ready to go to a studio to record, where EVERY screw up is impossible NOT to noice. If I'm around a band that gigs 2 times a month or less, but rehearses 8++ times a month, plus it's the same thing repeatedly, from a pro's standpoint, it's 100% rank amateur and decidely more like a bunch of jam hacks and I'm gonna bail in a hurry.
Even if you were gigging even for crappy money, a minimum of 4-15++ nights per month, you would at the most, need to rehearse not more than 2 times per month, mainly to quickly tighten a few things and introduce new material. Rehearsing that much says NEGATIVE volumes about your band to any pro.
Regardless of genres played, music business is ALWAYS a tough business and there's tons of stuff you have to deal with that the general public is totally clueless about, ESPECIALLY the business side of things.
Joshnat, I've gotta ask, what's the actual playing experience OUTSIDE of jams does each member of your band have, regardless of genres?? Why?? It can explain a whole lot of everything in a nutshell.
Some of that overrehearsing thing comes from the rock experience where there's gonna often be at times more complex arrangements where more rehearsing can be a necessity, especially if you're gonna get ready to record, but even if you're playing in a blues band, ESPECIALLY with horns, where the charts and arrangements are gonna be more important and constant jamming can clearly work against you as musicial discipline is gonna be VERY important, if you're with real pros, they will largely have a basic idea enough about things so that they need a minimum amount of rehearsing, and if you were doing studio pro gigs where you have read off the chart, you don't have that at all.
From reading about your vocalist, I doubt she has much real pro gigging experience to speak of because when as a pro, you may often be doing gigs with musicians you've never worked with or heard of and you gotta be ready for anything and if things get messed up, you cannot panic and just learn to go with the flow to keep it as tight as possible. It sounds like she's trying to escape the crap of constantly going to open jams, but needs a better way to get things together for herself.
As I've said before, the best drummers are always in constant demand and don't need to be committed to ANYBODY and yet keep a full gigging calendar of at least 8-15 gigs per month (and more than a few may have as many as 3 in a single day, and that's no BS), and crappy drummers are always available, and the easiest place to find them is at an open jam. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
Last Edited by on May 01, 2012 8:48 AM
"the best drummers are always in constant demand and don't need to be committed to ANYBODY and yet keep a full gigging calendar of at least 8-15 gigs per month (and more than a few may have as many as 3 in a single day, and that's no BS)"
Yeah. Sometimes they have to "double kit"--get to each gig way early to set up a drum kit so they can make it from gig to gig on time without having to worry about having enough time to get set up. Good drummers are a blessing.
She's convinced drummers can't learn the songs at two nights a week even? Hmmmm... There's a hint of another problem... The problem behind the curtain, perhaps?
You run a dojo? That is awesome - I'm playing a slideshow in my head of every cool Kung Fu movie dojo I've seen.
Im glad you posted this.This is a question I wonder... Most bands I've been in we played a lot of new arrangements of all this stuff from the 1920s that was so obscure, it might as well be original and I usually brought a few I'd written or maybe another guy would step forward with something he'd written. We rehearsed to get this stuff tight or make up a new arrangement or something. We never rehearsed enough to write songs together. So when it's over, there is no question of ownership. So in a band like yours where guys are writing a lot of songs together, when it's over, what happens with all these songs? ---------- David Elk River Harmonicas
I didn't want to say it, but since elkriverharmonicas borught it up with the very first paragraph of his last post, it does sound like more than just meets the eye, and the problem has more to do than just with the drummer alone and it could be the singer, different and/or all of the members of the band or all of the above complicating matters that you may be either completely unaware of or not paying remotely close enough attention, so some very hard investigating is defintely needed here and not jsut lumping it all on just having a hard time finding and keeping drummers alone. I know this may be something you may not want to hear, but you may need to do so and possibly reconsider how you're doing things.
Since you guys are3 doing mainly originals, I hope you guys were smart enough to make sure you filed copyrights on them with the Library of Congress, because if someone uses it on a recording and you don't have it properly on file, you don't have any real legal proof of copyright in case you may need to take someone to court for things like plaguerising, infringement, etc., and your word alone ain't gonna be worth a damn, and having a hand written paper with the circled C on it is hardly worth much at all and often doesn't mean squat in court of law and getting an actual certificate of copyright carries FAR more weight in court. (BTW, you don't have to file a seperate onefor every tune and can lump them together like an album, but when filed, not only the sound recording or sheet music is to be included, but also the lyric sheets as well).
Hvyj, I once worked with a drummer that used only 1 kit and had 3 gigs in a day sometimes as often as twice a month, but when I was watching him set up and break down, I never saw any drummer set up and break down so quick in my life and drummers take a fairly long time to do so and I timed him at exactly 5 minutes right down to the very last second, and plus he was ALWAYS punctual and hated being even 30 seconds late, and whenever he worked with me, 1 hour early was very late for him, and that's truly a freaking pro in more ways than one. ---------- Sincerely, Barbeque Bob Maglinte Boston, MA http://www.barbequebob.com CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/bbmaglinte
Last Edited by on May 02, 2012 8:30 AM
Hey, BBQ Bob.... Lighten up! Joshnat posted a topic that is pretty common among bands and you go off on him like he and his band are worthless wannabes. Methinks you protest WAY too much, straining too hard to appear superior.
Bob, I've heard your music, and it is pretty common bar band stuff, nothing to get too excited about. Your website has been down for some time, not a sign of success. You seem to traffic on your back-in-the-day stories nobody remembers.
Since you are so fond of offering ALL CAPS advice when it sounds like there is "more than meets the eye," let me offer my advice under the same circumstances. The readers here at MBH should ignore Bob's decrepit ramblings since he is obviously more interested in insulting others (as a way to pump up his own weak ego) rather than being helpful or encouraging.
BBQ Bob: I've worked with a guy like that. Most efficient set up and load out I've ever seen. Amazing. This guy would beat me loading out every time, and i just had an amp, mic and pedalboard. Damn good drummer and a super nice guy.
You know, though, what you and Walter Tore keep saying about "top guys" is pretty much routine behavior among many experienced competent pros. I'm fortunate enough to work with some really good musicians, but none of them are at the top of the profession.