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Old 08-01-2013, 09:18 AM   #1
Tim-Blink182
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Sameness in songs?

So in my band we play I guess a couple of different genres of rock, from pop rock, to hard rock, soft rock, a little bit of prog.

Anyway the drummer always plays the exact same thing, the exact same way, with the exact same fills, EVERY time. The singer, bassist and I all don't do this and change it up every single time, and it's getting annoying how we try to tell him to change it up and he refuses to, saying usually in reference to repeating the same fill "it's my one part of the song to shine!" or something to that effect.

Is there any way to get him to know that sometimes difference can be good, instead of repeating the same thing?
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:45 AM   #2
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Some people can't improvise or jam like others can. The fills should be his time to experiment, try something new. Maybe he can't change it because he learned the song that way. There are a lot of professional musicians who can't change things in the songs they know. Even fills. They aren't wired the right way.
We had a genius of a lead guitar player in the last band I was in, but no one could change any bit of the song or it would totally screw him up.
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Old 08-01-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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sounds like you guys need a good jam, start up a nice groove and see how he follows, maybe your drummer is just a little scared to step out of his comfort zone, heres an example, jammin with my band, I present a riff, they follow, we see where it goes, keep it fresh, good luck with your drummer man --->https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K5X-ofcS9gg<---
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:12 PM   #4
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Sometimes planning your song really carefully makes it sound good. For example if your bassist listens to every fill your drummer does and comes up with parts that support the fills. That makes it sound more powerful. Doesn't work for every song. But not every song needs to be played the same way every time. And not every song needs to be played differently every time. Depends on the song.

For example if you play like Dream Theater, I'm sure they play their songs the same way every time. But if your music is a bit more free, you can experiment a bit more every time you play the song.
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Old 08-02-2013, 12:12 AM   #5
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^^^ If you want to be super tight, you'll have to play the songs almost exactly the same every time. Sure there's some space for improv, but that's restricted to fills/solos, and not even then.

I've played gigs with musicians whom have subscribed to the "never play the same thing twice" mentality and it's totally awful. It sounds like they're just making it up on the spot, because they are. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's a 50% performance. I want 100%.

As for the drummer in this band, he mayn't have learnt other beats. Find a song with a drum beat you like and get the drummer to learn it. Make a song based around the beat. It'll get him thinking differently about the drums. Also check out the book "Musical Drumming" which has heaps of different standard beats for different genres.
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Old 08-07-2013, 04:27 PM   #6
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Do you mean from song to song or within one song? Within one song that can be a good thing (to the extent of the song being the same each time you play it). If he dies the same thing on each song, then you might need a new drummer. Im not saying go kick him out, but if he doesn't seem to vary his playing and gets butthurt when you mention it then he possibly doesn't realize how similar all of his parts are. Also the butthurt thing is baaaad in a band situation. If you can't say 'hey, were not wildly keen on the way that beat/fill/solo sounds, do you have any other ideas?' Without him getting defensive, then you will never be able to write freely and let your songs be all they can be.
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Old 08-07-2013, 07:34 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AlanHB
^^^ If you want to be super tight, you'll have to play the songs almost exactly the same every time. Sure there's some space for improv, but that's restricted to fills/solos, and not even then.

I've played gigs with musicians whom have subscribed to the "never play the same thing twice" mentality and it's totally awful. It sounds like they're just making it up on the spot, because they are. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. It's a 50% performance. I want 100%.

As for the drummer in this band, he mayn't have learnt other beats. Find a song with a drum beat you like and get the drummer to learn it. Make a song based around the beat. It'll get him thinking differently about the drums. Also check out the book "Musical Drumming" which has heaps of different standard beats for different genres.

Yeah.

TS, I don't actually understand why you need to play it differently every time. It usually ends up sounding messy that way. At least you need to have some kind of idea what to play and where. We had this kind of problem with our band - we sounded really messy because we didn't think about what to play where. Nobody ever said "let's play this here". Now we have started thinking about it a bit more (that's also because we now have a keyboardist - with only three people playing at the same time it's easier to play a bit more freely, but with four people it really starts sounding messy if we don't know what we are doing - and we didn't actually know until we started talking about it).

Are the fills he plays lame or do they sound good? Because if the drummer has figured out that they are the best fills he can play there and they really sound awesome, why should he change them? Actually, I think you could take advantage of it. Learn his fills and compose parts that fit his fills and beats really well.

What kind of band are you playing in? Genre?
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine : 08-07-2013 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 08-07-2013, 08:04 PM   #8
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I'm confused; there seem to be a couple different possible interpretations of your post. Do you mean that you want your drummer playing a single song, let's call it "X," a different way each time, as the rest of you do? Or are you saying that he repeats the same beats and fills in every song you guys play, refusing to play something different? A "one-groove drummer," so to speak?

If it's that second thing...yeah, that's terrible. If it's the first possibility, I agree with everyone else; you really shouldn't try to improvise "X" a little bit differently from the last time you played it. Aside from the sloppiness, imagine you've gotten really big. Imagine a fan who's grown to love your music as recorded on an album, right? And you finally play in an area where he can go see you. And this one particular choice of like, three notes, just means the WHOLE WORLD to him, and he can't wait to hear that beautiful melody live...and then you guys change it up on him. He's crushed
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:00 AM   #9
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I'm glad you guys are on my side with the "never play the same thing twice" thing. Wait until you start playing with university trained jazz musos whom subscribe to that theory. They'll have the best technical skills in the world to play any beat, but will refuse to respond to direction. It's quite frustrating to say the least.

I actually looked into this "never play the same thing twice" theory at one point. From memory it's a mistranslation of something Miles Davis once said. He actually said "never play something the same way twice", which still doesn't make sense. Just youtube him playing multiple versions of the same song live and you'll find they're vastly the same (with the exception of the designated improv parts of course).
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Old 08-08-2013, 05:22 AM   #10
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I'm glad a couple other people said it before I did; I hate being the bearer of bad news Though it's only speculation until the OP responds, I'm quite concerned by the possibility of my other interpretation; that the drummer's only got one set of grooves he can play and tries to paste them into every song. That...would be pretty bad. If that's the case, OP, it may come to either dropping him or some other band member ends up writing his parts for him
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Old 08-12-2013, 11:44 AM   #11
Tim-Blink182
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I did mean in the same song originally. I do get where you guys are coming from and it's actually opened my mind a lot more, and i've noticed a couple of times where we've tried to get him to change it up in a song that the song gets messy. So yes you guys were right about that.

However due to the responses i've now noticed in most songs it's the same fill. It is pretty much that he tries to copy and paste every groove into each song. In one of our songs originally he just stopped playing during a couple of bars, and it gave the song a bit of room to breathe and was a good effect, and then I noticed he started putting it into every song. It's like he only knows two fills, one for faster songs, and one for slower songs.

For the last few songs i've tried to get him away from his standard approach, even just by doing simple things that aren't really "new" but are new to him, like a beat based on the floor tom and things like that. I guess the best course of action is to talk to him about it, maybe recommend him a few different drummers he should listen to and listen to their grooves/fills.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:05 PM   #12
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You could also write some fills for him if you don't like his fills. For example sing a drum fill for him. For example: "I want you to play something like this badumbumbum here" and make him play it. And if he can only play like two beats, sing a beat for him. Or make him listen to the bass guitar or something.

Fills aren't as important as drum beats. Sometimes no fills sounds better than lots of fills. Maybe make him play less fills. You don't need to play fills everywhere. IMO fills need to have a meaning. They kind of add some more emotion to the song. But if you just play them all the time, it's the same as shredding. You don't want to shred with your guitar all the time. Have one short really fast run in the end of your guitar solo and it sounds awesome. But if the whole solo is fast, the fast ending doesn't stand out. Similarly if you play lots of fills, the best fills don't stand out. But if you only play two fills in a song and both are freaking awesome, they really stand out and take the song to another level. Sometimes not playing is better than playing. And fill in the wrong place ruins the song (I have sometimes told our drummer not to play a fill on some part because it didn't really fit there - I think it was in the middle of the phrase so it would have really sounded out of place there).
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Last edited by MaggaraMarine : 08-12-2013 at 07:07 PM.
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Old 08-12-2013, 07:22 PM   #13
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I mean, fills are pretty essential in terms of transitioning between song sections, in my opinion, But only because they break the pattern. They really don't need to be anything fancy, but there should definitely be something to signify, for a split second, that yes, we're about to explode out of this verse into a big catchy chorus.
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