I'm a guitarist and vocalist and the few recording sessions I've done have been with drummers in my bands...not session artists (except one other drum session recently).

So now I am a solo artist (and producer for my new album). I have a bunch of songs with just guitar and vocals and am just finishing the scratch tracks.

Tomorrow I am recording the drum tracks with a top-of-the-line professional drummer. This guy has recently appeared on a highly rated album by a big name artist (you would have heard of him, old school rock/blues). The session is for tomorrow.

When I asked him to do it he didn't give me details of how he normally does a drum session! I'm not normally a producer so I don't know!

He does not have the tracks in advance of the session, except I emailed him one sample last night (one of my better recorded scratch tracks) and haven't heard back yet.

At the session we are using the tracks with
1. lead and rhythm guitars (no bass),
2. vocals
3. electronic drum track (same beat all through).
4. click track obviously

I do not have sheet music--should I have some kind of tracking sheet or something on paper or is that waste of time? I did ask him if he has any special requests before the session and he hasn't mentioned anything.

He agreed he's probably going to use the studio kit (the studio owner is a drummer and has good gear there) and bring in some of his own cymbals etc.

What else would be good to be prepared?

Am I being lame not having a more complete drum track (last time I programmed the drums with fills and stuff? (I could still do that over the next several hours)
These are questions that you should've asked him when he was booked. Though I'm sure being a session he'll be able (and depending on what you're paying him, very willing) to work around whatever circumstance you should have for him.
i would suggest showing him ur recording and then telling him where you would like changes from the repetative drum track to be made, if ur clear about what u want, sheet music or a more accurate recording would not be necessary, even a hindrance to the creative process
Cool, thanks guys for the input.

Right now I am making some notes for him... a sheet with the lyrics at least and some additional notes (such as, here is the chorus, here is a part where the drums drop out 20 seconds for an middle/interlude etc.)

Hopefully, that will work! I kind of lucked into this on short notice so am just going with the flow....I'll post back how it goes, or if anybody has ideas I'll check back in the morning (California time)... thx!
I had another idea: record a separate track with direction of what's coming up--like a running commentary. Not sure if that will help but it's easy...
Hi everybody, just wanted to let you know the session this thread is about went...in one word:


I didn't want to jinx my session by mentioning too many details but this guy has a 2007 Grammy and traveled the world for several years backing one of the great rock-and-roll, blues and funk legends of all-time!!!!

Not only that... but the session has 2 of the best, mainstream songs I've ever written, one of which is a bluesy song which fits into what this drummer is most known for, the genre where he won the Grammy (I mostly do more indie/alt rock so that's a departure for me). Plus, he said he could probably do another session in a few weeks.

To say the least the studio owner was surprised when I told him the background of who was coming in (I gave him no advanced notice until about 10 min. before).

The drummer loved that I gave him outlines for each song, even writing some funny captions.."dark, brooding, steady, don't spazz out"....

Also on every track he utilized and appreciated a "direction" track which I recorded which was like a running audio commentary of what's coming next (ie ok here comes the chorus in 4 bars, buildup to right here.....ok explode"). This was a separate tracks that could be turned on or off by the studio engineer.

Everything went perfect, the playing, the rapport. I only stuck my foot in the mouth once and he kind of gave me a quixotic look that made me feel like a rookie (well, compared to him I am come to think of it)...but mainly I just shut up and listened.

I feel like I'm on my way, besides having awesome drums this is a huge boost for my project and adds a lot of credibility...when I get this all mixed, mastered and ready in the coming weeks, I'll post some clips!
Last edited by superportal at May 16, 2008,
Oh yeah, and I forgot to address a couple details mentioned in my original post:

1. No, he did not play with the studio kit. What happened was he came in checked the kit. It was nice kit, DW... I don't know much about drums but the studio owner is a drummer and he said its a top kit. He didn't like the sound so he had brought in his own kit. Which was specifically a smaller drum kit, he said smaller drum kits record better, veen though he said he only paid $700 for it. He also had a customized snare with a titanium head from some guy in Canada. And his own cymbals, one of which was cracked in half.

2. He did not want to hear my recorded electronic drum track. He turned it off immediately without listening. This was different than the other drummer I had a session with before, who in my opinion played along too carefully with it. I was pleased actually he turned it off, because he didn't want to be influenced by it in any way, he had his own ideas.
Nope, mainly I just wanted to update the thread with how it worked out and pass along the info and experience...if at some point somebody has a similar situation, they will find it and possibly get some advice. At some point I'll post my songs with my band name and players...

Sorry, didn't mean to come off as gloating, I'm a solo artist so don't have too many other musicians to share it with at this hour 3:45am CA,USA (I don't sleep well)
Wow, I'm really curious now as to who the drummer is. You can't just leave us hanging like that man. At least give us a hint.

Also, your profile is bare and empty.

Irrelevant quote from obscure person
Obnoxious statement regarding size of e-ween
Italicized text indicating bandwagoning masquerading as deep thought
ASCII graphic that will take over the world if you put one in your signature
Made up statistic
Ok, I feel bad to keep you hanging, I hate when people do that...I'll give a few hints for fun:
1. The drummer himself is not a "name"-- ie. you probably haven't heard of him...he's not a celebrity, hasn't recorded an album under his own name, he won a Grammy as part of a group.
2. His occasional side project is drummer with Frank Zappa's guitarist who also played in bands with Steve Vai, Robert Fripp.
3. He has videos on YouTube doing amazing drum solos at Montreaux Jazz Festival and North Sea Jazz Festival.
4. His former boss is credited with one of the first rock and roll songs....ever. And first mainstream track...ever... with distortion. (old school, the amp fell and they recorded with it)

Like I said, I lucked into this, I'm no virtuoso, just a Songwriter doing my best...he's an amazing player and an even better person (easy-going,chill,like your best friend just showed up for a gig)

When I mix the trax in the coming days I'll add it to my profile (I have to mix it soon to market it to a top producer and other session players). Very distinctive track, I'm confident you will like, or else I wouldn't be spouting off.... Yesterday I had a harmonica player in....and he was in awe...and I to this moment I didn't tell him who was on drums...he doesn't know, I didn't want to make him nervous...The drums sound like Bonham reincarnated. Dark. Obviously I'm stoked and am not sleeping well....Cheers, Chris
Last edited by superportal at May 18, 2008,