Should I stay or should I go?

Shane247

Active member
I am new to the forum thing so I hope I'm doing this correctly. I am very fortunate to have the time, the space and the money to dedicate myself to playing almost constantly. I Play from about 10 in the morning to around 2 in the afternoon. I take a two hour break and resume around 4 PM, then play until about 8 PM. This has been my schedule for the past 3 1/2 years, which is when I started playing drums. I recently started working on a project with a guitarist that was raised in the Nashville music industry, His father had a record deal and released a few albums. My thinking is that is the person to be working with. Now, every time we get together or when working on the projects I can not play in time, He would stop playing and tell me that I'm way off and that the only purpose for a drummer is time keeping. Then he would send me home with his recordings to practice. I would TRY to practice with his material but I sound TERRIBLE. I stopped playing for a whole week, because I thought that I just don't have it. I decided to conduct an experiment, and recorded his track with a click. WHOA! This guy is all over the place. He would stat out at 87 BPM, be up and down in time, and end at 101 BPM. No wonder I sounded bad, It was him. So I don't know how to bring this up without hurting his "I'm Nashville" pride. I don't want a conflict, because I can get pretty hot and I'm afraid it could get out of control. I have some of my equipment at his house and I want to recover it and this is what I need help with. How should I address this with him? Any Suggestions, Ideas, Comments - positive or negative, I'm ready. Send them to me, Thank you.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I hate to say it, but this is what the majority of musicians have to deal with.

When I get a scratch track from someone, I re-record it in it's entirety to a metro. Guitar, bass, drums, etc. If you don't start with a clean slate, and lay the foundation properly, the house will fall before construction is even completed.

I know that not everyone can play every instrument, but it doesn't take a lot to lay the foundation. You can simply create a new track at the proper tempo, rough out the flow/arrangement with a keyboard, and lay down the drums. You can then send the project to the other musicians and have them lay down their tracks to your perfectly-in-time drums.

The other thing I want to mention is that: If you record your drums at 24b/96khz, you can speed up and slow down the tempo by ~10% without artifacts and uncanny-ness. For example, You can record at 100BPM and the producer can choose 90 or 110 bpm if it is a better fit for the song.

Last note: If you want a critical analysis of your situation, post a (unlisted) link to something you're currently working on.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
I would not get with this guy, especially if he can't take the honest criticism. I passed on many gigs/studio sessions when I was dealing with people like this. I would bring a met to practice. or have them play to the click...the reaction I usually would get from the guys who I did not want to work with was :"man, that sound is bumming me out" or " I don't need a click. It is too mechanical"... I would politely tell those guys i did not want the gig.

It always seemed like it was country singer/guitar type guys/girls who were the worst at this..."crooners". And i am not talking like 3-5 beat shifts...I am talking leaving 2- 3 beats out of a measure sometimes. Or having no rhythmic cadence to their lyrical delivery. 100% of them could not speak in musical, or even slang musical terms. I would rather have lost the money, than spend the time dealing with a "sinking ship in port".

Others might have aa different take. I would see if the guy is amiable to hearing his recorded stuff with you tapping the pulse on a met to show him that he is in error here...
 

Shane247

Active member
I hate to say it, but this is what the majority of musicians have to deal with.

When I get a scratch track from someone, I re-record it in it's entirety to a metro. Guitar, bass, drums, etc. If you don't start with a clean slate, and lay the foundation properly, the house will fall before construction is even completed.

I know that not everyone can play every instrument, but it doesn't take a lot to lay the foundation. You can simply create a new track at the proper tempo, rough out the flow/arrangement with a keyboard, and lay down the drums. You can then send the project to the other musicians and have them lay down their tracks to your perfectly-in-time drums.

The other thing I want to mention is that: If you record your drums at 24b/96khz, you can speed up and slow down the tempo by ~10% without artifacts and uncanny-ness. For example, You can record at 100BPM and the producer can choose 90 or 110 bpm if it is a better fit for the song.

Last note: If you want a critical analysis of your situation, post a (unlisted) link to something you're currently working on.
Thank you for your insight
 

Shane247

Active member
I would not get with this guy, especially if he can't take the honest criticism. I passed on many gigs/studio sessions when I was dealing with people like this. I would bring a met to practice. or have them play to the click...the reaction I usually would get from the guys who I did not want to work with was :"man, that sound is bumming me out" or " I don't need a click. It is too mechanical"... I would politely tell those guys i did not want the gig.

It always seemed like it was country singer/guitar type guys/girls who were the worst at this..."crooners". And i am not talking like 3-5 beat shifts...I am talking leaving 2- 3 beats out of a measure sometimes. Or having no rhythmic cadence to their lyrical delivery. 100% of them could not speak in musical, or even slang musical terms. I would rather have lost the money, than spend the time dealing with a "sinking ship in port".

Others might have aa different take. I would see if the guy is amiable to hearing his recorded stuff with you tapping the pulse on a met to show him that he is in error here...
Than you, my wife thinks I should leave too. She says I'm better than that anyway.
 

Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Well-known member
Than you, my wife thinks I should leave too. She says I'm better than that anyway.
yeah...just cause his dad or whoever had a record deal, does not meant that that will trickle down to you...especially if this guy is as bad as he seems. Definitely not worth the headache - at least to me - that would ensue.

for me it was never about "being better" than the singers, but it was me thinking, "man, this is going to be X amount of time of constantly being told I am wrong by a guy who doesn't know that he is wrong, and then everyone trying to find a jillion ways to solve a simple problem because no one will just address the real issue" . No thanks.
 

Shane247

Active member
yeah...just cause his dad or whoever had a record deal, does not meant that that will trickle down to you...especially if this guy is as bad as he seems. Definitely not worth the headache - at least to me - that would ensue.

for me it was never about "being better" than the singers, but it was me thinking, "man, this is going to be X amount of time of constantly being told I am wrong by a guy who doesn't know that he is wrong, and then everyone trying to find a jillion ways to solve a simple problem because no one will just address the real issue" . No thanks.
Well, I thank you again. Maybe it's also the reason his last drummer quit him.
 

Shane247

Active member
Thank you for your insight
I hate to say it, but this is what the majority of musicians have to deal with.

When I get a scratch track from someone, I re-record it in it's entirety to a metro. Guitar, bass, drums, etc. If you don't start with a clean slate, and lay the foundation properly, the house will fall before construction is even completed.

I know that not everyone can play every instrument, but it doesn't take a lot to lay the foundation. You can simply create a new track at the proper tempo, rough out the flow/arrangement with a keyboard, and lay down the drums. You can then send the project to the other musicians and have them lay down their tracks to your perfectly-in-time drums.

The other thing I want to mention is that: If you record your drums at 24b/96khz, you can speed up and slow down the tempo by ~10% without artifacts and uncanny-ness. For example, You can record at 100BPM and the producer can choose 90 or 110 bpm if it is a better fit for the song.

Last note: If you want a critical analysis of your situation, post a (unlisted) link to something you're currently working on.
Can you be more detailed about your last note above? I don't quite understand.
 

vindrums

Senior Member
As someone who has worked with a countless number of singers, I would recommend that while rehearsing, you point out the sections of the song that have a tendency to either push or pull the time. If you bring it to his attention that he is deviating from the click, you can simply ask very polite questions like "do you want me to follow you there?" or "was that intentional?". Most likely, he has no clue that he is doing these things and will become aware of them when you point them out. Try to avoid getting confrontational with these little questions. Don't stand up in the middle of rehearsal pointing a finger and yelling"YOU SPED UP!" Just make polite inquiries about his musical choices.

I remember reading an interview with Matt Chamberlain many years ago about how difficult it was to follow Tori Amos because her compositions had a tendency to move and shift within the time, and to loose or gain the occasional note here or there...he wasnt complaining about it, he was simply talking about how sometimes the gig calls for an elevated level of sensitivity to what the vocalist is doing.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
It would probably be fair of you to at least try to explain it to him, rather than just dump him without any reason. Unless you believe he's going to be unreasonable, in which case I'd certainly avoid the drama, as well. Maybe if you play his tape for him, with a metronome, he'll see the difference, and maybe want to try and work on it.

Then again...maybe that's just wishful and optimistic thinking on my part. ;) Good luck.
 

Shane247

Active member
As someone who has worked with a countless number of singers, I would recommend that while rehearsing, you point out the sections of the song that have a tendency to either push or pull the time. If you bring it to his attention that he is deviating from the click, you can simply ask very polite questions like "do you want me to follow you there?" or "was that intentional?". Most likely, he has no clue that he is doing these things and will become aware of them when you point them out. Try to avoid getting confrontational with these little questions. Don't stand up in the middle of rehearsal pointing a finger and yelling"YOU SPED UP!" Just make polite inquiries about his musical choices.

I remember reading an interview with Matt Chamberlain many years ago about how difficult it was to follow Tori Amos because her compositions had a tendency to move and shift within the time, and to loose or gain the occasional note here or there...he wasnt complaining about it, he was simply talking about how sometimes the gig calls for an elevated level of sensitivity to what the vocalist is doing.
He stopped playing and immediately pointed me out saying I cant play time. He asked if I ever play with a click. Uh, yeah all the time. Says my hi hats make him feel rushed. I'll let him listen to himself with the click recorded together. I'll bet he says I slowed it down intentionally.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Can you be more detailed about your last note above? I don't quite understand.
Pull your guitarist-provided scratch track into a DAW
Record something over it.
Upload as unlisted/unsearchable/private to soundcloud/youtube/etc
Link here to see if there's a consensus on the issues you face.

Whenever I've posted something, the feedback is quite good. I'll post something like this, and everyone will tell me not to overuse the cymbals in the chorus, and on a re-listen, I realize they're right.
 

Shane247

Active member
It would probably be fair of you to at least try to explain it to him, rather than just dump him without any reason. Unless you believe he's going to be unreasonable, in which case I'd certainly avoid the drama, as well. Maybe if you play his tape for him, with a metronome, he'll see the difference, and maybe want to try and work on it.

Then again...maybe that's just wishful and optimistic thinking on my part. ;) Good luck.
He knows I have very little experience playing with a band. He is a bit intolerant of suggestions. Its his song, Play the drums to him attitude.
 

Jhostetler

Senior Member
He knows I have very little experience playing with a band. He is a bit intolerant of suggestions. Its his song, Play the drums to him attitude.
This right here should be a major red flag. A good artist should be welcoming to new ideas and collaborations. If you don't leave this band for musicality reasons, you should be thinking about leaving for reasons of not being in a hostile environment. You'll be so much better off playing with other musicians who enjoy your company and your ideas.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
He knows I have very little experience playing with a band. He is a bit intolerant of suggestions. Its his song, Play the drums to him attitude.
Use this to your advantage. I dare you to say, "Do you mind recording me your vocal and guitars with a click track? This will help me when I practice on my own, and it will help me understand what tempo you want your songs at." You could even offer to record him at your place if you have the capabilities.

Then sit back and see what happens. I would almost bet my next paycheck he won't produce you anything.


Oh, BTW, there's a local guitar player in my town who is an absolute P R O, like he's been in Guitar Player magazine, and you know those types of shows on TV where there's like a million guitar players up on stage and everyone takes a lead? Yeah, he's done some of those with some pretty famous guitarists in the industry. The problem? He's a complete psychopath, and NO ONE in town will work with him. Like, even little local churches won't let him play because he's crazy due to substance abuse issues and chemical imbalances.

If you carry on with this guy, I'd be ready to walk at any moment.

I said all that to say that even IF this guy you are telling us about is "Mr. Nashville" and has impeccable timing, he may just be hard to work with. In regards to his dad, pardon that bad analogy but just because you were born in a garage don't make you a car.
 

Shane247

Active member
Pull your guitarist-provided scratch track into a DAW
Record something over it.
Upload as unlisted/unsearchable/private to soundcloud/youtube/etc
Link here to see if there's a consensus on the issues you face.

Whenever I've posted something, the feedback is quite good. I'll post something like this, and everyone will tell me not to overuse the cymbals in the chorus, and on a re-listen, I realize they're right.
Thank you again
 

Shane247

Active member
Use this to your advantage. I dare you to say, "Do you mind recording me your vocal and guitars with a click track? This will help me when I practice on my own, and it will help me understand what tempo you want your songs at." You could even offer to record him at your place if you have the capabilities.

Then sit back and see what happens. I would almost bet my next paycheck he won't produce you anything.


Oh, BTW, there's a local guitar player in my town who is an absolute P R O, like he's been in Guitar Player magazine, and you know those types of shows on TV where there's like a million guitar players up on stage and everyone takes a lead? Yeah, he's done some of those with some pretty famous guitarists in the industry. The problem? He's a complete psychopath, and NO ONE in town will work with him. Like, even little local churches won't let him play because he's crazy due to substance abuse issues and chemical imbalances.

If you carry on with this guy, I'd be ready to walk at any moment.

I said all that to say that even IF this guy you are telling us about is "Mr. Nashville" and has impeccable timing, he may just be hard to work with. In regards to his dad, pardon that bad analogy but just because you were born in a garage don't make you a car.
You could even offer to record him at your place if you have the capabilities.
I've offered that and I have the ability, but it's DAW and beneath him. He has REAL recording gear, no records out though. Hmmm.
 

Shane247

Active member
This right here should be a major red flag. A good artist should be welcoming to new ideas and collaborations. If you don't leave this band for musicality reasons, you should be thinking about leaving for reasons of not being in a hostile environment. You'll be so much better off playing with other musicians who enjoy your company and your ideas.
I think I will just walk. I do have to retrieve my gear though. too much money to walk away from.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
Here is a short clip


I'll see what I can do with it.

Just to confirm, "you" put the metronome in, correct? The artist on the track doesn't have horrible time. There's no wow/fluter/warble. His tempo drifts his rest is dirty, and I cannot imagine he is playing to a metro.

You can either start fresh from a metro or learn the ancient art of smearing/fudging/smudging your time to cover over the drift.... Or you can call it quits if the singer (or you) is unwilling to reconcile this difference in philosophy. Personally, where collaborative-distance-recording is concerned, I am firmly in the metronome camp.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The subject of tempo/meter could be the hardest thing to communicate with others about.

It's almost like if you don't see eye to eye about this really important subject, it not something that can be resolved. It's an impasse in many cases due to certain parties closed minded-ness, and not taking responsibility at all for the time feel. It's majorly inconsiderate on his part to the rest of the players who are supposed to be on the track.

I just listened to the clip. A drummer can't adjust to that drag, it plain can't work. You can't put drums to it until it's steady. It has to be a solo piece if he wants that drag in there.

What if you gave him an out of time drum part for him to play to? Is that OK too?

I'd send that guy this clip and tell him you can't work with the track until it's recorded in time. Since he is the track everyone will be adding to, he is responsible for the tempo and meter, period. You can't make a drum track work if it has to follow his draggy time, no drummer can. He has to record it to a click. When that's done he can call you. I'll be shocked if that happens, but I hope it does.
 
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