#1
Hi all,

couple of quick questions, i have a bit of a dilemna here...

I've (guitar/vox) been playing with this drummer for 7 months now. We practice 2/3 times a week and have played a couple of gigs. We have a bassist who only joins us for gigs and doesn't get involved too much as he's in several bands..

We have become really good friends and have a great relationship, which is smth that i've found is not always easy to find when you start playing with people that you don't know, we clicked pretty quickly and we laugh a lot and enjoy what we do, which is great.

However, even though he's a pretty decent drummer (and could be really solid if he practiced more), he still makes too many mistakes, nothing huge, but considering how many times we've been practicing some of these songs, it's starting to really frustrate me...I know they're my songs and i know them inside out, but i still practice a lot in between every rehearsal so that i'm ready when we meet up as this band means a lot to me.

Also, he has some tempo issues (song accelerating/slowing down), which is frustrating.

We kind of always laughed at those things but it's getting to the point where, as much as i like him, it's getting in the way of moving forward. Sometimes I get nothing out of rehearsals and it's mainly HIM practicing his drums to the songs. It just seems that it's too difficult for him playing a 45 mins set without making mistakes..

I get it, he has kids and a family and doesn't have as much free time as me, but should I compromise quality of music over friendship..? And yeah, we're only at the local band stage, but i'm very wary of what i put out there for people to see, even if they don't know as much as i do the mistakes he makes..


I kinda also jammed with another drummer, he is not that much better, but his tempo his solid, we had one practice. Didn't really hit it off that much but he's a better drummer and has more time to promote the band etc unlike the other drummer and that also makes me feel like i'm struggling with my current drummer to fit everything in like promoting the band, writing/arranging songs, getting gigs etc..it's just a lot of work for just one person...


So my question is: friendship over talent? and what would you guys do in my situation?


Is it worth starting all over again from scratch and throw away all the hard work done so far, or stick to our friendship and hope that the musical side will improve?

Which also brings the question: what's the most important thing for you in choosing a band member when your dream is to take your band as far as possible? One thing is clear for me: you cannot do it all on your own.

I'd really appreciate your views.

Thank you.
#2
"but should I compromise quality of music over friendship..?"

No. You said you want to take your band as far as possible, so you need the musicians who share your way of approaching the band and who put the same effort as you in it.

"what's the most important thing for you in choosing a band member when your dream is to take your band as far as possible?"

In my opinion, it's to learn to kick out people who does not fit the band. Also, don't waste time with people who obiously aren't reliable (or does not put much effort in music/the band).
I mean, I don't want to sound like a bastard, but seriously, I know very few people who can tell a person he has to leave the band.
I would like to play in a band with people, as I said, who share my points of view, the majority of music tastes, and who want to work hard to get some results as a band; so that's what I would look for when searching other players.


Also, you still can jam every now and than and keep being friends, but seriously, if he's not a good player yet, and he aleady has family and kids; I don't think he is going to be the man you are looking for if you want to take the band far.
Last edited by Michele_R at May 6, 2013,
#3
if you want to take your band as far as possible sometimes oyu have to remove people or replace them when they cant or wont do whats neccesary

it soudns bad i know but he sounds like hes busy he has his own life already with kids and whatnot he doesnt soundlike what youre lookign for

you have to decide whats important freidnship or band
but ill tell you this much id rather be with decent bandmates who i get along with than amazing musician who iv eno chemistry with
#4
It's possible that having no bassist is causing trouble for the drummer. My band recently rehearsed without our bassist and I think we made mistakes we wouldn't have had the bassist been there. Also, practicing 2-3 times a week is a bit excessive, unless you're using your practice time to sit around writing songs. You might be better off practicing once a week. That would give the drummer a bit more time between practice to work on the songs. And if you're only practicing once a week you can use your extra time to pursue other projects, such as working on something with the other drummer or joining another band.
#6
Thanks for the advidce guys.

It's a tricky one, I had a chat with him yesterday and told him how i felt about the situation. He took it pretty well and recognized that he needs more practice and said he's trying to make as much time as possible for the band.

I do really wanna keep playing with him because our relationship is great and makes playing music fun, and that's a motivational factor too. I was in a band before that was pretty tight but we didn't particularly get on that well or had fun rehearsing , it was more like "work", and whilst this was ok, I didn't feel like it was my ideal band either, so I've experienced both sides..

The problem is that I do believe that he could be really good if he knew the songs inside out, however do you believe that a drummer can sort out tempo issues, even at this stage?

Oh, regarding the bassist situation - I agree partly, the bassist does help, but again when we play with him, my drummer still has a few timing issues.. nothing huge, but the more i play the more i realize that a solid rhythm section is at the core of a good band!

Anyways, as some of you have mentionned maybe I should more harsh and less optimistic towards the situation and find somebody else. Whilst it hasn't been wasted, it's always annoying to throw away 7 months of work and start again from scratch..
#7
Quote by pako82

I do really wanna keep playing with him because our relationship is great and makes playing music fun, and that's a motivational factor too. I was in a band before that was pretty tight but we didn't particularly get on that well or had fun rehearsing , it was more like "work", and whilst this was ok, I didn't feel like it was my ideal band either, so I've experienced both sides..


Yeah, that's why it's difficult to have band that really fits you.

Anyway, if he said he is going to work harder for the band, I think you should keep playing with him for 1 or 2 months and see if there are any improvements...to me it seems like you really want to keep playing with this drummer, so why not?
Also, as others said, since you already know the songs, you could practice only once a week with this guy and start another band with guys you think has better skills...

By the way, what kind of music do you play (I mean, with this drummer)?

Quote by pako82
Anyways, as some of you have mentionned maybe I should more harsh and less optimistic towards the situation and find somebody else. Whilst it hasn't been wasted, it's always annoying to throw away 7 months of work and start again from scratch..


It's annoying, but sometimes it makes you spare other 7 months of work for nothing
#8
Quote by pako82

The problem is that I do believe that he could be really good if he knew the songs inside out, however do you believe that a drummer can sort out tempo issues, even at this stage?

Oh, regarding the bassist situation - I agree partly, the bassist does help, but again when we play with him, my drummer still has a few timing issues.. nothing huge, but the more i play the more i realize that a solid rhythm section is at the core of a good band!
Start playing with a metronome. When we're getting down new songs, my drummer has headphones in under his ear muffs with a metronome going. It's also a really good way to practice for shows where you have a very strict set list time.
#9
honestly, your chances of 'making it really far' as a band are pretty slim, so if it was up to me, I'd focus on the band lineup which feels good, is entertaining and motivating, makes me laugh and want to go to practice. It's important to be on the same level and be able to discuss these things. You seem to have all that and that's what'll keep the band together in the long term.

Your drummer might wanna work with a metronome, and simplify what he is doing so he can avoid dropping the beat. Practice on getting it solid rather than being flashy with fills. Finding the right people to click with is important I think. You are all there to learn and grow, right, so encourage the drummer to do the same.

If a band feels like work, it better be paying.

By the way, have you tried playing some drums yourself? Try to keep a steady tempo while a guitarist wanks away and never listens to you. It's a pretty tough thing to land a good fill and really nail dropping back into the groove. If you haven't tried it yourself it might help you understand his position and help you be more patient. Setting demands and skill level requirements on your bandmates is a bit harsh.
Last edited by innovine at May 13, 2013,
#10
It's hard to tell without seeing videos of you playing. Sure you may think he plays out of time, but he may think the same of you.

Don't try to take this personally, but the fact you guys have been playing together for a year and have not picked up a bass player simply reeks of amateur. Before anybody starts shouting "White Stripes!" or "Black Keys!" at me, they are the exception to the rule, and a result of a combination of great production and lots of work on their respective sounds.

The pure fact is that the vast majority of the time it'll sound like something is missing. That something is a bass.

So keeping this in mind, that you don't have a bass player, there's a very real possibility that your sound is very empty too, but you haven't cared to address this. So I'm thinking that you may both be out of time.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
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#11
Quote by innovine
honestly, your chances of 'making it really far' as a band are pretty slim, so if it was up to me, I'd focus on the band lineup which feels good, is entertaining and motivating, makes me laugh and want to go to practice. It's important to be on the same level and be able to discuss these things. You seem to have all that and that's what'll keep the band together in the long term.

Your drummer might wanna work with a metronome, and simplify what he is doing so he can avoid dropping the beat. Practice on getting it solid rather than being flashy with fills. Finding the right people to click with is important I think. You are all there to learn and grow, right, so encourage the drummer to do the same.

If a band feels like work, it better be paying.

By the way, have you tried playing some drums yourself? Try to keep a steady tempo while a guitarist wanks away and never listens to you. It's a pretty tough thing to land a good fill and really nail dropping back into the groove. If you haven't tried it yourself it might help you understand his position and help you be more patient. Setting demands and skill level requirements on your bandmates is a bit harsh.


This, and other statements are pretty much dead on.

Make sure it isn't arrogance that is impacting drummer development. This applies to all instruments as well. Sometimes people get cocky, thinking that because they've played through the song successfully 3 times they no longer have to practice. How many times have you seen a guitarist learn the rhythm part of a cover song, and then improv a sloppy contrived lead during solo time? A cocky player who does just enough to get by will find themselves dragging down the whole band. It's kinda like the kid in school who does NO studying before the big test, and thinks he's pretty cool for getting a D+ with no invested effort.

Playing with a metronome or a click track is absolutely vital. IMO, timing is what separates a sloppy amateur high school band from a band that will have any chance for mass appeal.

I have played with drummers on both ends of the spectrum: one is a douche in most phases of life, but is a phenomenal drummer with incredible timing. Another is a great guy, but doesn't practice enough and needs to drink less Monster Energy Drink before practice (really spastic, always rushing fills, etc.).

I find myself in the recreational hobbyist phase, so having a bandmate you get along with carries a lot of weight. Having a good friend who has a renewed commitment to improvement is a plus.
#12
In the end, this question is essentially "hobby vs career?". Do you want to continue to play music with a friend, but be held back by his incompetence? Or would you rather find somebody more professional, who you might not get on as well with?

I've had to get rid of friends from my band in the past. It's had a multitude of different line-ups, with only me as a regular member since it's foundation. Of course, you're going to have to use friends to start up your band. But unless you're lucky, they'll probably need replacing at some point. Look at bands such as The Arctic Monkeys. The rhythm guitarist (Jamie Cook) is absolutely appalling. He can't sing, he can't really play guitar. The band would sound better if they acquired somebody who's better at those things. But then, they've got this far with Jamie, so why get rid? He doesn't bring them down to a point where he has to go. He just screws up a lot. The only people who notice are those watching on YT who play an instrument, and the band itself. Everyone else is having a good time.

If you do find yourself having to dumb down parts to compensate for other band members; it's probably time to find a replacement (unless the part in question is extremely difficult). Honestly, most bands will get by with fairly easy parts for most instruments, and a sloppy guitarist or singer isn't going to make much of an impact on your sound. If it's constant issues, have a word. Drummer is a different story. Tell him he needs to get tight. The drummer is the foundation and you can't be having timing issues. Sloppy rolls and such, you can get away with.

In the end, it falls down to what you're happy with. If you feel he's holding you back, get rid, but be aware that by sacking a member you can potentially ruin the entire band.