Using a Click with Cover Band

Uncle_MC

Member
Just want to do a quick survey of how many drummers are using a metronome when playing live. I've seen numerous old threads on this topic, but I'm getting the impression that they are becoming more and more common, so I wanted to make an updated thread.

Me? At this time, I play in one alt-rock/pop-punk band and at one church that use clicks live. The church uses backing tracks and the cover band does not. I play at another church and with several other bands that do not use a click at all. I'm comfortable playing either way and love to just show up and do my job, with or without the click, but I personally enjoy using one. Thoughts?
 
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Winston_Wolf

Platinum Member
I just joined a new band and I think I'll be using a click in a few songs. I want it mostly to keep me dead on for a couple of "uncomfortably medium" tempo tunes. They can rush when the chorus kicks in and I don't want there to be any problems.
 

Tony_H

Member
Our band does not use a click when we play live. It's not right or wrong, just our preference I guess. We do speed up/slow down individual songs a little depending on the energy in the room and how we feel going into the song.

If they wanted me to drive the tempo with a click, I wouldn't argue about it and just embrace it as something that makes us "that much better" in the long run I guess.
 

Chris Whitten

Silver Member
I use a click all the time live (from the SPD-SX).
It depends a bit on the music. Some music needs to change tempo a lot. I'm also not sure if 'pop-punk' needs to be strict tempo.
If I was playing in a top40 style cover band I would definitely use a click, 100%.
 

Uncle_MC

Member
We do speed up/slow down individual songs a little depending on the energy in the room and how we feel going into the song.
That's how most of the bands I play with feel. With the one cover band that uses one, however, the general belief is that we are responsible for the energy in the room. If the energy isn't there, we create it, and do not bend to the crowd: they are there to see us and our image and our energy. The click is a tool that serves to that purpose. Its interesting being on both sides of it with different bands. There are other factors, too, of course, but I should note that that band is my most successful one...
 

Uncle_MC

Member
I'm also not sure if 'pop-punk' needs to be strict tempo.
If I was playing in a top40 style cover band I would definitely use a click, 100%.
It's not exclusively pop-punk, we also do a lot of alt-rock and some poppier stuff as well, where the lines blur. Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Blink-182, Green Day, Taylor Swift, Foo Fighters, Weezer, etc.
 

TMe

Senior Member
I've tried using a click repeatedly. All that did was convince me that nobody is listening to the drums, which was rather discouraging. If I want to use a click, I have to bash the hell out of the drums, play from memory, not listen to the band, and act like a little Mussolini while I'm playing drums. No fun. I think I'd need to be playing with much better musicians before I could use a click.
 

Tony_H

Member
I've tried using a click repeatedly. All that did was convince me that nobody is listening to the drums, which was rather discouraging. If I want to use a click, I have to bash the hell out of the drums, play from memory, not listen to the band, and act like a little Mussolini while I'm playing drums. No fun. I think I'd need to be playing with much better musicians before I could use a click.
haha, I feel your pain! If one or both of my guys of the 6-string persuasion is ahead or behind the beat, I look at their IEM mix and immediately notice ALL of my drums are zeroed out in their ears. And I know that there is some residual bleed from the drums coming through from just the stage noise, but we specifically mic'd the hi-hat so everyone had a good reference they could keep at a conservatively low volume but still be heard.

The good thing is the bassist and I stay locked in with each other. If one of us is just a bit off, we have this non-verbal queue with each other to correct it.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
We don't use a click, I think it would be a challenge for our group to learn that skill. Recently some of the gang had mentioned to me about some songs speeding up mid-song, so I started using a BPM app on my phone, so I could monitor it. I became very aware of some of the bad habits I had fallen into. After a few weeks of using it, I found that I was paying too much attention to it and not the songs, so I stopped. I think I have a better handle on the tempos than before as a result of having used it for a while, tho
 

JimmyM

Platinum Member
I have at times but only the drummer gets it. Thank God I play bass on those gigs ;)
 

Sausagetoad

Active Member
It's a double-edged sword. I like it because small bands can have all the keyboard parts and other backing tracks, and as long as you have good players it's not a problem. It becomes a problem if you have players that rush or drag.
But overall, live bands tend to play stuff too fast, even the original artists when performing live. A click will give you a more accurate rendition of the songs if you Google the tempos and play them as they were originally recorded. The number one complaint of dancers is that live bands play stuff too quickly. I always have the click and the backing tracks in my in-ear monitors, so at least those things are in sync. If it's a fast song like Rebel Yell (166 BPM) then the click keeps ME honest, because it's so easy to fall behind.

I adamantly resisted using a click for most of my career, but after becoming comfortable with it I felt as if I'd been doing things all wrong most of my life. I play with a lot of energy, but I tend to gain a few BPM from the start of a song to the end, which is not uncommon, even though I have fairly solid meter. The main thing I had to get used to is not overtaking the click. I was always 'chomping at the bit,' as they say....

Other players used to tell me that I was speeding up, but I didn't think so. I was doing it so gradually, that I didn't feel it. When I first got with a click, it seemed as if it was slowing down. But that's impossible. I had to re-program my whole approach. Now I play at home with 'tracks minus drums' with a click and it's fine.
 
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Xstr8edgtnrdrmrX

Diamond Member
as I mentioned in another thread, I would never use a click live with people who are: baffled by/refuse to acknowledge/ or don't get why a click is used in rehearsal....

It would be like herding cats
 

lefty2

Platinum Member
I use one with my country band simply because the leader thinks I play better with 1 and I agree. Now that I've done it for a while I actually like it. I use in ears with the band and the click mixed together. I also play in a classic rock band and I think I'm going to start using it in my ears with that band also.. So far I've only used it as a visual reference with the rock band mostly to start the songs off at the right tempo but it's much more difficult to play with just watching it.
 

BobC

Member
I have used a click on sessions, but never live. If you are playing current Top 40, using a click is very helpful, so you can recreate the tempo and feel of the original drum track, which is probably software, or a drum machine.
 

Bozozoid

Gold Member
Don't use one live and I'm glad. I don't need some polygraph showing everyone my true identity. I prefer living in denial..noone says anything so everything must be perfect..right?. First guitar bit--that suggests we use one I'm outa there.
 

Quai34

Junior Member
I use a click all the time live (from the SPD-SX).
It depends a bit on the music. Some music needs to change tempo a lot. I'm also not sure if 'pop-punk' needs to be strict tempo.
If I was playing in a top40 style cover band I would definitely use a click, 100%.
All the drummer I met where I was looking for one for my Funk dance band where the 2 first sets, 32 songs were post 2000 or in the vein of Chic, didn't want to do the claps and some extra percussion so, I programmed the drumbox and thus, I put them on metronome from the drumbox. One day not was really at ease with that, all the other ones were not able to be very confortable with it, even when they had a small mixer with the choice of the emetronome, the claps, the kick and the Hihat and all being mixed at will for them
But you're right, top 40, with all the samples I run and effects played from my keys, we need the click, I would say 75% as set 3 and encore are more Toto and Prince stuff plus indie rock.
 
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Quai34

Junior Member
That's how most of the bands I play with feel. With the one cover band that uses one, however, the general belief is that we are responsible for the energy in the room. If the energy isn't there, we create it, and do not bend to the crowd: they are there to see us and our image and our energy. The click is a tool that serves to that purpose. Its interesting being on both sides of it with different bands. There are other factors, too, of course, but I should note that that band is my most successful one...
I'm NOT surprised of it being the most successful, the cliclick forces you to be at your best, you cannot cheat, you have to nail,your parts perfectly, and all have to let their personal beat grooving while strictly following the clcik: this makes you a better musician. I have no problem working in a click, bout in keys and drum set, I started at age of 6 with scales and arpeggios at the priano with a metronome, the pendulum one, I still have it, works like a charm...
 
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