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#1
I'm at the point in my band where we're doing some good songwriting. Its going well, myself and the other guitarist gel extremely awesomely and are making some pretty cool beats. The other members, however, I can't say the same for.

I have no idea what the hell to do with my drummer.

Like, we'll be writing, and he'll just sit there. We'll pause to discuss, and later I'll have him telling me I should have sorted the song, and then he could come and play his beats or whatever, and thats just not good enough. He doesn't contribute that much because he feels that everything should be done beforehand, and then skips practices because "last time he didn't do anything".

This is coming from my last band with a different drummer. Albeit a guitarist predominantly, this other guy was productive, played a major part in songwriting and was awesome as ****. It just dissolved due to lack of motivation on some parties and a clash with the other guitarist. At this point in time though, I can't try persuade him to join.

I think I'll have to fire him - I need someone productive who actually helps write shit right? It's just awkward because he genuinely seems motivated, in his way of course, and sounds like he wants to contribute.

What should I do from this point on? I suppose this is an awkward situation for me because he hasn't openly been a massive douchebag giving me immediate grounds to get rid of him.

Thanks.
#2
Just had a similar issue with a previous drummer who we ended up getting rid of.

I always find it's easier to write guitar parts/songs on some music production software (Studio1, cubase etc). This allows you to to plan the structure & write the drums so the drummer has a better idea of how you want it to sound.
#3
Could you not differentiate your band sessions into rehearsals and song writing sessions and only ask your drummer to rehearsals? If the drummer seems interested, isn't being a douche and isn't exactly a naturally creative type, can you not first write some songs, drums and all without him there? Then you can have a rehearsal session where the drummer will have lots to do. You could then slowly start to try an include the drummer in the song writing stage. I'd only suggest booting him if he's completely against that sort of approach. It could be he's just not used to doing things 'your way' and needs time to adapt. If he's open to change, I'd keep him in the band.
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#4
Basically in my band it works like this:
I write the songs, then I show them to the band. They play along. It's that simple. I'll play riffs over and over for ten minutes if they want me to just so they can get their part down. I really should get a looper.
I'll also sometimes play stuff slower for the bassist. I'm the only guitarist in the band.
..I was watching my death.
#5
I'd just like to point out this has been going on for the past four/five weeks, since we asked him to join. It just really doesn't work with me - is it so bad for wanting all members to contribute? Fact is the other guitarist and myself are the core songwriting unit, but we cannot naturally do drums as we play guitar. It isn't possible.
#6
^ this. (what Timbit said)

Writing during practice IMO only eats up tons of rehearsal time with little finished product. Rarely have I gained anything with any "wow" factor.

Create rough demos. Share licks and recording ideas between writing participants. Program basic drum tracks on Hydrogen or other drum software. There is nothing wrong with putting down the groundwork, and then let everyone polish up their part. If you are a guitarist laying down drum tracks, I imagine your drummer would at some point want to outdo a guitarist on a computer. He might just take a very basic beat and turn it into something awesome.

Look at it from the drummers point of view: Let's say you are a punk band. His main beats are most likely going to be slight variations of a few different staple beats. Cut/paste in some standard fills and turnarounds at important changes, and his work is mostly done. His only creative options might be on his cymbal playing "DING ding DING-DING ding" instead of "ding DING-DING ding ding". Yawn...

Boredom is a drummer's worst enemy. Most of them are borderline psychotic and/or ADHD anyways, so it's a crappy formula. Have you ever wondered why a lot of beginner to intermediate drummers "overdrum"? It takes a number of years before many musicians figure out the concept of "less is more", and drummers are certainly no exception.

Maybe ask your drummer to not be a drummer for a little bit. See if he can give you input on what sounds better. "Hey... what sounds better for this chorus? A#, G#, D? or F, D#, D?"

Or, he may be impossible to please either way. Damned if you do, damned if you don't!
#7
And no, there's nothing wrong with wanting everyone to contribute. There's only something wrong with expecting everyone to contribute equally.

Would you rather have the drummer's half-assed participation and lame input, or leave him out of stuff that doesn't seem to interest him? He may just be a session player.

Open up a dialogue with him on these points. Is it something he wants to be a part of, or is he cool with not being a huge part of the songwriting?
#8
I think I need to say something more.

We'll go away, write stuff, and then come together at this practice thing to piece it all together and then jam on it and make it better. For the most part, it works. Its just, I dont know how I would involve the drummer more. Its like, he never comes in and is like "Yo, check out my beats I was jamming to last night". Nor, when we have a cohesive song plan layed out and then mostly all thats left are the drums, does he seem to want to put out any.

And, its not like I'm a punk band either. Its pretty open as to what direction his drumming takes.


Am I really just setting too high the expectation with the experiences with the previous guy, and am deluding myself?
#9
Through a series of grunts, clicks and gestures.
Last edited by Hydra150 at Aug 30, 2012,
#10
Quote by Spaztikko
Am I really just setting too high the expectation with the experiences with the previous guy, and am deluding myself?
The main thing to ask is how the other guys in your band feel? If they feel the same, boot him. If they think you're being OTT, then maybe you need to re-think your position.
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#11
Well i think the problem is with your drummer, obviously.
The way it goes with me and my drummer is, when i write a riff/song, i either play it at the rehearsals, which he immediately adds drums to it. Sometimes its not good and changes it later but he does his job. Because he wants to play lol, i get more trouble trying to stop him then trying to make him play =D. The other way is, i record it with my shitty mic, then send it to him. Then he works on it, palys at rehearsal, or records drums over and send it back.
#12
Have you told him this, that you appear to be unhappy with his creative side and lack of input?
Not everyone is Dave Grohl and can drum and write hit songs. It would be nice that he contribute, but if it is not in him, you aren't going to change that.
Maybe he is actually unhappy as well and doesn't want to let you guys down by quitting? Maybe he is forcing you guys to make a move.
Perhaps he really doesn't have a clear idea what is expected from "the drummer" in your band?
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#14
Am I missing something or is the drummer writing the drum parts and not any other parts? Well that isn't his job is it? Try coming into practice with rough demos instead of writing at rehearsal because he isn't going to have anything to do for most of the time.
Hey there.
#15
Quote by G-Dog_666
The main thing to ask is how the other guys in your band feel? If they feel the same, boot him. If they think you're being OTT, then maybe you need to re-think your position.


I've had a chat with the other guitarist, and he is driven as much as I am. He's told me that if someone more motivated turns up, then we should kick the current guy.

Does he play the same improvised drum fills when he plays along?


I can actually think of one time where he's actually played along for about five minutes. When we all try to discuss things to make the song seem better, he just sits there. Thats when he turns up.

Am I missing something or is the drummer writing the drum parts and not any other parts? Well that isn't his job is it? Try coming into practice with rough demos instead of writing at rehearsal because he isn't going to have anything to do for most of the time.


Well, in no way do we turn up with the finished product, but we have semi-developed ideas that we then craft together and modify to sound good. So it's not like all we do is write in these sessions.

I thought it was fair though to think he would come up with drum parts, but he doesn't. He'll just sit there.
#16
Its not practice. Its songwriting. You and the other guitarist should do songwriting in your own time and leave practice time for practice. Imagine how you would feel if you spent your free time lugging your gear somewhere just to watch two other guys scratch their heads, look at each other, and ask "what should we do here?"

Sorry to be harsh bro.... work on polishing full songs at practice... not songwriting...
Quote by AlanHB
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#17
I'm the bassist of my band, me and the the guitarist write all the music away from rehearsals, then bring it to the drummer for him to put his parts to. When we rehearse with the drumkit and amps, its to either run over covers or already written originals, or to discuss and work out half written songs. We never just start writing in the rehearsal, at least 50%-60% is done unplugged/without our drummer. He contribute lyrics and writes his drum parts, which I see fitting. But I agree, working on riffs/chord structures at practice will leave him with nothing to do. We have the bass and guitar parts pretty much done (sometimes lyrics are done too) and then he adds his own drum parts. It's kind of a "bring everything in and see what happens" scenario, just more structured.
Last edited by Haydenr25 at Aug 30, 2012,
#18
When I write riffs, the drummer contributes beats as quick as I can write. It really helps actually haha.
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#19
How should a drummer interact with the band during the writing process?

The standard procedure is to constantly drum away as loud as possible even when you and the other musicans are trying to discuss how the song should go and working out the structure.
-Mithaearon-
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#20
Quote by Mithaearon
How should a drummer interact with the band during the writing process?

The standard procedure is to constantly drum away as loud as possible even when you and the other musicans are trying to discuss how the song should go and working out the structure.


"the typical rock band consists of 3-4 musicians and a drummer"
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#21
Wait, so does yr drummer just not want to write his own parts or what? If that's the case then that's kinda lame.

But if you mean he won't help with the actual songwriting, then it's no big deal. Like you can't expect someone to help write songs if they don't want to.
#22
Me and my bands drummer are the ones who write everything, so I guess we're a bit different in that sense. I write the melodic instruments and he arranges stuff, throws out ideas and writes the rhythmns
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#23
Quote by due 07
Wait, so does yr drummer just not want to write his own parts or what? If that's the case then that's kinda lame.

But if you mean he won't help with the actual songwriting, then it's no big deal. Like you can't expect someone to help write songs if they don't want to.


He does **** all, will hear our parts we've already written and then sit there.

I had to ****ing ask him to go get sticks twenty minutes in last time. We had all our parts, played it through once, and then realised he hadn't hit shit.

Quote by corza334
When I write riffs, the drummer contributes beats as quick as I can write. It really helps actually haha.


And this is what I wish mine did. Now imagine how amazing the last guy was, when he could write the melodic stuff AS WELL!

Guess I can't get hung up on that though.
#24
Quote by Spaztikko
He does **** all, will hear our parts we've already written and then sit there.

I had to ****ing ask him to go get sticks twenty minutes in last time. We had all our parts, played it through once, and then realised he hadn't hit shit.

But when he does play, does he write his own drum parts?

It sounds like he's just frustrated due to boredom and not being interested in the writing process. Just write and finish songs as much as you can before practice or like guitarpro yr songs and send them to him so he's ready beforehand. IDK bruh, he sounds annoying.
#25
Sorry man...I'm gonna press on here.... playing devils advocate... nothing personal...

What exactly is "writing" for a drummer? Its beats with fills in between. Not saying he wont come up with a sick sounding beat/fill that inspires everyone.... but generally speaking he really needs a complete song structure so he can work out where he can place those fancy bits of playing

When he does play, is he good? If yes...then hes waiting for the song to be ready for him to start adding his parts.... or theres a personal thing going on. If no... well...that comes down to whether anyone is in the band or not...can they do the job?
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
#26
Yes. Basic beats are basic beats, and it usually comes down to the fills that make a drummer earn a couple of stripes.

Sometimes drummers can be a PITA. It makes ya wonder if a band might be better off with a backing drum track playing while a mannequin sits behind the kit. But I guess that wouldn't be very metal...
#27
^^^^ Sounds like you guys haven't played with many drummers, or at least good ones.

The pairing of a drummer and bassist is integral to any band if you want it to have any sort of pulse or movement. People don't bob their heads to a strummed chord, they don't dance to 8 fingered tapping. A good drummer will determine whether your band is tight or not either, they're the person who know how fast/slow the song goes. They can place greater emphasis on different parts of the song too.

So their portion of writing is really giving the overall song feel, and their part can determine whether your hardcore thrash thing is actually a country song.

As for the actual issue in this thread, with the internet being what it is, there's no need for you guys to write together, to expect people to come up with their parts from the start. If someone writes a riff, chord progression or a full song they can record it and email for everyone to work on for next practice. Works well with my bands. That way practice time is used for practice, not writing.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#28
We've come to the conclusion to fire him, as soon as we find someone else, and we aren't going to tell him in case he gets off his arse and becomes drummer-jesus in the interim. Sure, probably a dick move, and I hate dick moves, but he hasn't written anything to my established pieces and its been longer than I thought - We first recruited him in May or something. He hasn't been seen for like three weeks at practice and then he's in my class straight after, present.
#29
Quote by Spaztikko
He hasn't been seen for like three weeks at practice and then he's in my class straight after, present.


Yep that's a good enough reason to fire him, he's already pretty much quit.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#30
Yep I would agree. Whilst looking for a new drummer you can always Big Black it.

During the writing process your drummer and bass player should be working to together to get the bounce of the song right. This is the bit that will move the crowd. My process is to come up with a bare basics of a song, the chords, basic melody and working lyrics, we then play through it a few times so that each member can work out their basic parts, recording it. The band members take that away and work out more detail parts ready for next session where we go throught it again adding in the more detailed parts, repeat time and time again until the song is complete. this way there shouldnt be any one member not doing anything at a song writing session. Sure the first few plays throughs of a new song and going to sound very basic as each person hasnt had time to get their parts down pat but it soon all comes together.
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#31
I dont actually have a bassist, instead experimenting with a guy on piano and ideally always running through ableton, using vsts and the like (it helps he is an electro producer as well), to, you know, give originality. Its a cool challenge. The drummer just isn't working though, so yeah.
#32
Quote by AlanHB
....The pairing of a drummer and bassist is integral to any band if you want it to have any sort of pulse or movement.....

Agree.... but the point I was making (albeit oversimplified a tad) was that the drummer needs a template to work with...where the changes happen...where the bridge is... where the 8 fingered tapping happens etc....
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
#33
Quote by 91RG350
Its not practice. Its songwriting. You and the other guitarist should do songwriting in your own time and leave practice time for practice. Imagine how you would feel if you spent your free time lugging your gear somewhere just to watch two other guys scratch their heads, look at each other, and ask "what should we do here?"

Sorry to be harsh bro.... work on polishing full songs at practice... not songwriting...



Exactly what that guy said. Theres no right or wrong way to do it but for me any chemistry I ever had with my bands was when the guitar player laid out the songs for me and I come up with some beats influenced from that.

I can come up with beats just randomly based off of my personal influences but I used to try that with my older guitar players and they could never write songs based off of a beat. The only people I have known that ever could were 2 guys I collaborated with on ultimate guitar.

I feel like the guitar player is the most important aspect of the band. Without the riffs you don't have much of an idea. I also play some guitar im working on a solo album and even I have to write out all the riffs before I think about touching the drum kit or it doesn't flow.

The next time this dude hauls his kit to practice I suggest being ready to show him new songs. If you are just doing improv it probably wont flow and only sound like noise.

In my last band my guitar player would get together with the other guitar player without me and teach him the songs. Thay way when they had the material down and I was jamming with them I had a lot of fresh ideas as opposed to playing random shit and not knowing what they are gonna do next.
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#34
I don't think it is fair or reasonable to expect the drummer to contribute to songwriting. Some people are songwriters, some aren't. The fact that the songwriting process bores him doesn't make him a bad drummer.

The bigger issue is that he's not showing up all the time, but that's obviously connected here. You guys need to decide in advance, "Are we doing songwriting today or are we doing practice?" and let him know - if he doesn't want to contribute to songwriting, don't try to force him to be there.

That way, he can know what he's in for when he shows up, and he can make an informed decision.
#35
Quote by HotspurJr
I don't think it is fair or reasonable to expect the drummer to contribute to songwriting. Some people are songwriters, some aren't. The fact that the songwriting process bores him doesn't make him a bad drummer.

The bigger issue is that he's not showing up all the time, but that's obviously connected here. You guys need to decide in advance, "Are we doing songwriting today or are we doing practice?" and let him know - if he doesn't want to contribute to songwriting, don't try to force him to be there.

That way, he can know what he's in for when he shows up, and he can make an informed decision.

Yeah, typically the drummer has to have a set idea to come up with his beats. Many drummers can help with arrangement, but some are destined to just drum. In my band, we write and arrange the songs, and give them to the drummer, who comes up with his beats, or learns the ones we wrote, depending on the song.
#36
I know you seem to have already made up your mind about firing him but I'll give my opinion anyways. First off I am a drummer, and I am in a band. Let me first ask you this, has he been in a band before? I've played with several people who were great players but had never played in a band before, and just like your drummer, they had no idea how to write with other people, it's a harder skill to learn than you'd think.

So you say he doesn't play his drums when you are writing? So then when does he play the drums? When does he come up with his drum parts? He has to be doing some sort of playing other than just playing the song for the first time at a gig. I would definitely speak with him first. You really have to understand that drums are a different animal. It's hard to work out a drum part when the guitarists are trying to talk to each other. Or when the guitarists are working out their parts and trying to piece together the song, ya there isn't much for the drummer to do at that time.

What I try to do is to just help be another decision maker when writing. I'll try to tell the other guys, this sounds good, maybe do this here, that there etc. Then really not until the entire song is pieced together do I start playing drums with everyone. And no I don't really spend a lot of time writing my drum parts. I pretty much just listen to the guitar and bass as they are writing it, get the feel and tempo down, and then play the song all the way through. And usually I won't change much from what I did originally. So what I'm saying is I can kind of see his point about not having much to do while you guys are writing.

I would talk to him and say that you want him to help make decisions about how the song will be pieced together, it's actually really good to get a drummer perspective on the song, instead of just the guitarists who may miss some stuff the drummer might catch. But anyways, talk to him, don't be an ass about it, and really stress that you need him to contribute more or else.
#37
I forgot to post back. We fired him, we agreed we fired him and felt that rather than keeping him and waiting around for someone else we ask a bro to take an indefinitely temporary position until we feel he and the other guitarist won't esplode each other or find someone else. It could turn out ideal, or esplosion, and this guy writes drum parts and stuff, and he works really well.
#38
Despite my espousing the opposite view.... I wish you and the band all the best. Hope it works out
Quote by AlanHB
It's the same as all other harmony. Surround yourself with skulls and candles if it helps.
#39
Well, I haven't worked with many musicians, but I believe that most (good) drummers help arrange songs, write drum fills, and help with lyrics. Also, some drummers may play other instruments so they can help out with guitar/bass parts.

Now, if your other guitarist and you are the primary songwriters, you should write music on your own time without the drummer there.
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#40
It's pretty simple really, the rest of the band write the music and the melody while the drummer writes the beats that accompanies them.

Now, fair enough, you may consider that you've done your drummer's job for him by telling him what time singature the song is in, but there's a lot more to drumming than just following a basic time signature.
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