Before I get anyone trying to call bullshit on this, first you need to realize that I have already done articles on how to make your bass player and guitarist happy. Don't just read ONLY THIS article and decide I'm all biased or whatever. Read the OTHER articles FIRST if you are going to judge harshly. That way at least I know you will have LISTENED and proven yourself worthy of such harsh comments. All else will be considered ignorant douchbaggery and treated as such. As always, any logical and constructive criticism, negative or not, is welcome.
Also, there is one simple ground rule for this article: I am coming from the standpoint that your DRUMMER IS ALREADY A GOOD MUSICIAN. If he's not, I'm NOT talking about him and this doesn't apply. Mkay?
1) Follow your drummer: What I am NOT talking about is blind allegiance to the joker who hits the skins. I'm talking about LISTENING to the only member of the band that pretty much has the power to control the rhythm and tempo single handedly if he so desires. And if, for instance, you have a tendency to rush, you're not going to be able to drag a good drummer along. So just surrender to what he is doing.
2) Don't assume that, just because he doesn't change pitch, he has no clue musically: Believe it or not, I find the majority of drummers to be more musical than the majority of guitarists. NO. I am NOT saying ALL drummers are more musical. I am NOT saying ALL guitarists suck. I am saying that, in my experience, guitarists tend to be more lazy simply because they are usually more liked and have more to use in their arsenal. This is BY FAR not an end-all statement so don't treat it as such.
3) If you can manage to actually get louder than your drummer, you're just too loud, bro: This is pretty much a given. Flame me on it all you want. I don't care. Yes, there are situations where you might need to be, but it's usually not a good idea.
4) Unless your band was set up as a dictatorship, let the drummer have an equal say: This goes for ALL MUSICIANS in a band. Just because you may detest Rush or perhaps love only certain rock songs doesn't mean you should be a diva and not at least consider what he asks.
5) Learn his beats: This doesn't mean hop on a drum set and try to play them. It means LISTEN to where the beats land. Especially listen to the kick. It doesn't matter if your part has NOTHING to do with the rhythm of the drums. It's always better to understand the interplay between parts regardless. Percussion is no exception.
6) AS WITH ALL OTHER MUSICIANS, don't be afraid to help the drummer when he needs it: ALL musicians are going to need help at some point. Don't be a diva and decide you're only gonna be out for yourself, or JUST the guitarist or JUST the bassist. This goes along with general cooperation and being a non-douchebag.
7) Don't touch the drums unless he's cool with it: This usually isn't a problem. In my experience, most other musicians are respectful enough to at least ask. I am NOT talking about PLAYING the drums. I am talking about hitting the odd cymbal with your hand or whatnot while playing. For some reason, a lot of musicians seem to think the drums are somehow public property.
8) The drummer's job in most cases is more physically demanding than yours: So use some simple consideration before you go calling out 20 speed metal tunes in a row without asking first. Granted, your drummer might be on crack and WANT to play 20 speed metal tunes in a row. Drug habits notwithstanding, use a little common sense with this.
9) Your drummer is not your roadie: Well... unless he IS your roadie. If he isn't, respect the fact that he nearly always will be carrying more equipment than you. This doesn't mean that he necessarily WANTS to.
10) Don't piss your drummer off unnecessarily: Obviously, this ALSO goes for all members of the band. But we all know how some musicians can be vindictive little divas ...YES! That's the third time I've used "diva" so far!!!... And the drummer is special in the fact that he can totally screw your set if you are trying to mess with him. He can usually play louder, he has the control of the rhythm and tempo AND time signature, and if he's on an acoustic set, you CAN'T TURN HIM DOWN!
Thanks for reading.