Making Your Drummer Happy

This is pretty much about what the title says.

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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.

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    YesterdaysToday
    Hey nice column! You forgot one thing though, drummers are like dogs, if they're nervouse, they will bite.
    joeythedrummer
    Thank you for point #7! Nothing pisses a drummer off more than someone choking his cymbal. Remember, drum sticks make great projectiles when someone needs to be told to smarten up
    seemeel
    Also, on the topic of drummers who are musical - I can't believe no one has mentioned Portnoy yet. He writes a good deal of DT stuff, moreso than any of the others. And he is about the best drummer ever.
    seemeel
    Haha, drummer not the roadie: the last few gigs I have done have had the drums already there - our drummer was the only one NOT to have to bring any equipment! Drums occasionally do have it easier than guitarists/bassists for lugging shit around.
    Aliens-exist182
    jthm_guitarist wrote: #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. Yeah, it might be fun for the guitarist to practice the fastest song a dozen times in a row but remember to allow breaks for the drummer.
    Umm did u miss the fact that, this sentence implies that?!
    Echoplex
    OhhEnd wrote: Echoplex wrote: That's funny, he implied that drummers are musicians lolololol.... Then again, I've never played with a really good drummer who could actually keep a beat while maintaining tempo. Well that's sad! Actually I've been playing drums and guitar for about 5 years now and I THINK (because you don't) that i'm a musician. So you're been just too rough with that comment! That you can't find a good drummer that doesn't mean they don't exist!
    I beleive they exist, but I've never seen played with one.
    Goose Catcher
    Good article, but I'd like to add one more. #11) Don't have sex with the drummer's sister. Seroiusly, this one's gotten me in a lot of trouble before. Just dont't do it... epsecially if you're the drummer.
    theogonia777
    you should do one that is general stuff for the whole band, such as not touching other people's stuff without asking, not showing up to practice with guests without asking, or trying to show off when someone is soloing.
    DroogieSteve
    DrZaiu5 wrote: Some good advice here. You should make one just for slipknot "Making your guy who hits stuff randomly happy".
    Making your guys who whack tin cans happy
    DrZaiu5
    Some good advice here. You should make one just for slipknot "Making your guy who hits stuff randomly happy".
    theogonia777
    Jonthecomposer wrote: Considering I don't really play much folk and don't really have enough experience with it other than the common sense type of things, you probably won't get an article about folk instruments.
    i was kind of half joking about that, but it would be kind of cool.
    Count Orlok
    I'm always friends with the drummer. I find that drummers tend to understand my way of thinking a lot better than the bassist or other guitar player.
    GidBass
    Nice tips! I knew most of it, but it still is pretty useful. #11: as a bass player (or any member of the band, but most likely the bassist), don't stand to close to the drums at all times. especially when playing a lot of fast songs, I got two drumsticks in my face as a result (by accident, of course...)
    Jonthecomposer
    Agent_Shagwell wrote: I didn't want to read all this because it was just you defending your own opinion on every point, sorry man.
    Not really. If you had read all of it, you would have realized that it wasn't ALL opinion. Actually, a lot came out of experience. And a lot was just common sense mixed with some things people just miss.
    Agent_Shagwell
    I didn't want to read all this because it was just you defending your own opinion on every point, sorry man.
    Jonthecomposer
    @Agent_Shagwell Why WOULDN'T anyone want to defend their opinions ESPECIALLY if it was with logical argument?
    Jonthecomposer
    @sebak95k I may or may not. Sure, it would be a nice addition to the rest of the series, but singers are quite literally the least "bound" of the musicians. They have the most freedoms on stage, get noticed the most, and can usually get away with telling the rest of the band what to do in the eyes of the audience ---even if they have NO CLUE! I'd rather make an article about how a singer should make the band happy.
    Jasonbts
    Just because you may detest Rush
    Haha. That's awesome. Thank goodness we all love Rush! Me (bassist) and the drummer are the biggest fanboys of the band! haha.
    Jonthecomposer
    Count Orlok wrote: I'm always friends with the drummer. I find that drummers tend to understand my way of thinking a lot better than the bassist or other guitar player.
    Hey, I like drummers too. I'm a bass player and they seem to just "get it" a lot more easily. But as I've said before, that's just with my personal experience.
    HendrixClaptonP
    guusw wrote: HendrixClaptonP wrote: Good article, maybe not as good as the last two though. IMportant point also is taking cues off your drummer for DYNAMICS!!! They control the dynmaic level of the band. Like to see an article for singers on "keeping your band happy", alot of vocalists I have worked with have little understanding of how the rest of us function, or little thought for things like chord charts for complicated material in jam/opn mic night situations etc. And knowing basic music theory, like what key they sing a song in! Couldn't agree more, in my point of view vocalist are the ones who don't understand anything about the rest of the band (most of the the times). Especially regarding the drummer and bassist. Or when to sing or most importantly NOT sing. We had one that found it necessary to sing through my lead guitar solo. What some drummers do that pisses me off is bashing and smashing on their kit if it is already set up, while me and the bassist are checking our pedals, cables, amps, and sound. YOU CANT TURN OFF AN ACOUSTIC DRUMKIT! What all members need in a band is the same amount of dedication, empathy, loyalty and respect to one another. I think there should be no me in anything that is a team or band.
    Agreed. Had a singer do the same thing, or the singer wants to front the band, but cannot direct/lead the band through a song. Most annoying thing for me that a drummer can do is BASH THE KIT ALL THE TIME AND NEVER USE DYNAMICS OR NEVER ADJUST THIER VOLUME FOR THE ROOM SIZE, see how annoying that was to read? Well a drummer who bashes regardless of the song, the room etc is just as annoying, subtlety is not a dirty word! Also respect is a great point, I repesct the drummer and bass player as equals, sure I can do fancy lead work etc, but it's meaningless without them, like a painting with no backdrop, and I really enoy playing with good musos, can't beat it! And when you get that rare occasion to back a great singer who fronts well, repsects thier musos and knows what they are doing, combined with other good musos in the band and its all cooking, its one of the most awesome experiences you can have in my book.
    Jonthecomposer
    anorexorcist15 wrote: 1 thing that annoys me....if im trying to explain to my bassist how to play a certain riff the drummer goes pounding away while im trying to talk and no one can hear a friggin thing!
    Good point. But for me, it has usually been the guitarist doing that.
    travislausch
    anorexorcist15 wrote: 1 thing that annoys me....if im trying to explain to my bassist how to play a certain riff the drummer goes pounding away while im trying to talk and no one can hear a friggin thing!
    I had this problem with my drummer for years.
    anorexorcist15
    1 thing that annoys me....if im trying to explain to my bassist how to play a certain riff the drummer goes pounding away while im trying to talk and no one can hear a friggin thing!
    jthm_guitarist
    #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.
    Yeah, it might be fun for the guitarist to practice the fastest song a dozen times in a row but remember to allow breaks for the drummer.
    Jonthecomposer
    @Danjo's Guitar Thanks again! Good points, too. Yeah, I always try to make it a point to help the drummer carry his stuff unless it's agreed otherwise beforehand.
    Lord_Vhailor
    Series of nice articles man. Already knew some of these hints, but it was pretty useful. Damn you, UG, there's no subscribe button...
    sammo_boi
    Danjo's Guitar wrote: And I think with point 9, really, the rest of the band should be the drummers roadies. You have you're guitar and an amp to take care of...
    Hold on a second A cabinet, a head, one or two pedalboards fill with pedals and cables plus multiple guitars. Life is hard for us guitarists too Great article. Some very useful points!
    Echoplex
    That's funny, he implied that drummers are musicians lolololol.... Then again, I've never played with a really good drummer who could actually keep a beat while maintaining tempo.
    Jonthecomposer
    Frank_Black wrote: I never really think about point number 8, I guess that's why our drummer seems more willing to take breaks.. One thing drummers do that drives me crazy is when they don't leave enough time before a show to set up their kit, it always takes longer than you'd think. Anyways, good article.
    Thanks. Yeah, I never thought of that. But you are right. Some drummers do that. Of course, they aren't what I am talking about specifically here, but nevertheless, you are right.
    KlinikaNekros
    Looking forward to reading making your keyboardist happy,making your vocalist happy and whatnot.
    Frank_Black
    I never really think about point number 8, I guess that's why our drummer seems more willing to take breaks.. One thing drummers do that drives me crazy is when they don't leave enough time before a show to set up their kit, it always takes longer than you'd think. Anyways, good article.
    KlinikaNekros
    Well,I can't say I agree with everything on your article but alas,if a way to make a lead signer happy exists someone oughts to write it down.
    Danjo's Guitar
    A very good article again. My drummer and I tend to kinda follow eachother to set a good pace (I'm the lead guitarist, but also a bit of a drummer, so I know what he's doing), which sometimes leads to both of us playing way to fast, haha. Point 3 is very true, but I also think its very important for the drummer to not be too much louder than the rest of the band (depending on your musical style). If your music is very guitar based, but you can only hear the drums, its going to sound awful. Nothing makes your guitar parts sound muddier than only being able to catch the occasional note over the drummer. And I think with point 9, really, the rest of the band should be the drummers roadies. You have you're guitar and an amp to take care of, but he has his kick drum, toms, hi-hat, and several other cymbals to deal with. Help him get his stuff where it needs to be (if he lets you touch it, that is.)
    theogonia777
    KlinikaNekros wrote: Looking forward to reading making your keyboardist happy,making your vocalist happy and whatnot.
    i want to see these, plus as a folk matal banjo player, i want to see some about making the folk instrument players happy. i liked this one a lot better than the bass and guitar ones though.
    DoubleyouW
    joeythedrummer wrote: Thank you for point #7! Nothing pisses a drummer off more than someone choking his cymbal. Remember, drum sticks make great projectiles when someone needs to be told to smarten up
    Agreed! I don't want people choking my cymbal so it could crack... :@ xD Well written!
    OhhEnd
    Echoplex wrote: That's funny, he implied that drummers are musicians lolololol.... Then again, I've never played with a really good drummer who could actually keep a beat while maintaining tempo.
    Well that's sad! Actually I've been playing drums and guitar for about 5 years now and I THINK (because you don't) that i'm a musician. So you're been just too rough with that comment! That you can't find a good drummer that doesn't mean they don't exist!
    HendrixClaptonP
    Good article, maybe not as good as the last two though. IMportant point also is taking cues off your drummer for DYNAMICS!!! They control the dynmaic level of the band. Like to see an article for singers on "keeping your band happy", alot of vocalists I have worked with have little understanding of how the rest of us function, or little thought for things like chord charts for complicated material in jam/opn mic night situations etc. And knowing basic music theory, like what key they sing a song in!
    syke5
    cheesecakes4 wrote: Three musicians and a drummer walks into a bar ...
    i bet that hurt.
    guusw
    HendrixClaptonP wrote: Good article, maybe not as good as the last two though. IMportant point also is taking cues off your drummer for DYNAMICS!!! They control the dynmaic level of the band. Like to see an article for singers on "keeping your band happy", alot of vocalists I have worked with have little understanding of how the rest of us function, or little thought for things like chord charts for complicated material in jam/opn mic night situations etc. And knowing basic music theory, like what key they sing a song in!
    Couldn't agree more, in my point of view vocalist are the ones who don't understand anything about the rest of the band (most of the the times). Especially regarding the drummer and bassist. Or when to sing or most importantly NOT sing. We had one that found it necessary to sing through my lead guitar solo. What some drummers do that pisses me off is bashing and smashing on their kit if it is already set up, while me and the bassist are checking our pedals, cables, amps, and sound. YOU CANT TURN OFF AN ACOUSTIC DRUMKIT :