Damn Drummers.....Quit OVERPLAYING.....or is it me....

Olderschool

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Spent the last two nights gigging with two different drummers. One I have known for years...and one I just met tonight.

First...last nights gig....We are playing outside for two hours at a business and the drummer (who I have known for years) is playing brushes with a full DW kit. That's fine but damn....he is beating the hell out of them and filling like a mad man. And don't even get me started about rushing. OH well....I didn't hear any other complaints from the rest of the band and the sax player was even complimenting him on his playing. I'm thinking WHAT? Does everyone think every song needs endless flams, triplet's, etc...

OK.....tonight I play at the Moose lodge. I notice we have a drummer (usually don't) and this is a really nice old man with a speech problem. He has a pancake kit which I have never seen before and was pretty cool. I thought....wow....this is going to be great because it will be quiet. HELL NO. This dude is going nuts! And believe me...we are playing a quiet jazz/light rock gig. The bartender even came up and asked us to turn the guitars up because the drums were drowning us out. But the band leader thought it was great and loved it :shock:

So....what happened to the less is more concept that I was taught? I was always taught that a simple, driving beat with dead nuts time will keep a drummer working and OTOH a drummer that plays to impress will be given the fast exit to the door.

I guess I have to start looking at myself. I have always thought of myself as conveying a pretty good feel of what a song calls for but I guess I am simply wrong. I now have to admit that what I have always considered overplaying is accepted as the norm and those older cats that I work with now seem to go for endless chops. Or I have to admit that what I perceive is overplaying is actually not. I thought I had a pretty good sense of when a song needs tasteful chops and when it doesn't but now I doubt myself. I also have to admit that I was too quiet of a drummer and while I used to take pride that I earned the reputation of being nicknamed the "human metronome", I should have learned to beat the hell out of my kit. I even got fired one time for not playing loud enough even though I play a Bonham kit with VF Rock sticks.

Anyway....just thinking out loud and contemplating my errant opinion of what a song needs to be classy. Does anyone else have this problem? Maybe as I am getting older I am wanting less and less noise? I dunno......
 

Tornado

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At some level some of this is subjective, but if the other band members are encouraging them, it's not going to stop, that's for sure.
 

dirtcity

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I think it really comes down to a case by case basis. Play what the song calls for. Sometimes, you need to be busier or louder. However, in these cases, I feel like I'd be with you based on how you described the music and the settings.

And this is coming from, admittedly, a very loud drummer.
 

p83

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i got a new gig and the bass player (who i like playing with, but just met) said to me after practice - ''i finally get a pocket drummer that does not play too much''. he gets me, and i could not be happier. so we are out there...........
 

lrod1707

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As I've increased in age my tolerance for noise has gone down (You mentioned age). I think as you get older that happens. I also think when you mature as a musician you realize that it's not about "high volume". It doesn't take slamming drums to sound good so you are totally right with how you felt. It's funny that you posted this because just recently I started to practice playing on my own in a much lower volume. I used to beat on my kit and have discovered that light playing brings out technique that I never had discovered before. I like it!
 

SteveB

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Just the other day a writer i know said in passing that he could stand to hear more playing from me...to mean more complex. I've worked with this guy for over 15 years and have done plenty of over the edge playing with him, The problem is that he is not writing material that warrants this approach. I tend to play like I'm making a record and that means I cut to the chase with my parts; just adding rolls and possibly double kicks is not going to make the tunes any better; In fact it would ruin them. I figure when he actually writes more edgy tunes I might cut loose a little.

What I see out there are a number of drummers trying to be the same exact thing...like playing outside the tune at the end with the all too famous quadruplet ending after everyone else has stopped. It gets old. There are a couple of guys around here that do this on every single tune...bu da ba dump! or bu bu dah!
 
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Marquisjohnson22

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There’s one part of your comment that no one has revisited... “or I have to admit that what I perceive as overplaying is not.” This just may be true. One thing that we all have to realize is that just because something is your perception, that doesn’t make it an absolute reality. I don’t mean to sound abrasive when I say that but it’s true. So many people feel like anything other than the most basic simple beats played for the entire song with simplistic fills is considered “overplaying.” Too many feel like the “pocket” is just a straight beat, when what’s considered the pocket can change from song to song.
 

Olderschool

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There’s one part of your comment that no one has revisited... “or I have to admit that what I perceive as overplaying is not.” This just may be true. One thing that we all have to realize is that just because something is your perception, that doesn’t make it an absolute reality. I don’t mean to sound abrasive when I say that but it’s true. So many people feel like anything other than the most basic simple beats played for the entire song with simplistic fills is considered “overplaying.” Too many feel like the “pocket” is just a straight beat, when what’s considered the pocket can change from song to song.
No offense at all...that's why I posted this. The thing is I am a drummer at heart and it's my first instrument. When I worked as a drummer instead of a guitarist, I always tried to play...as Steve said "from the record". I felt chops were nice and needed but sparingly and only if the song REALLY called for it. But I find most drummers are simply irritating as hell. It's not what "I" hear in the song. And again...maybe it's me.

I will re-iterated this and I think it's needed. The last two nights...both drummers were "new" to us. I think being a drummer for a new group tends to cause many to impress. I was always the opposite type. When I play at jams with new people...I play damn near straight ahead because I am very cognizant of being afraid of overplaying and annoying. I was taught that simple playing is what keeps a drummer working and overplaying will kill your chances. But again...maybe it's what people want nowadays. I honestly don't know.

Now having said that...I have work a little bit with another drummer in the area and while he is busy....he is damn tastefull and not so loud. He has chops to spare...and will show them off but he is a dream to listen to and play with. So I am not against chops.....One thing for sure is that it is a lesson for me because I don't want to be the drummer I wouldn't want to play in front of :)
 

BennyK

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I write .

The simplest complete statement consists of a noun and a verb .

Adjectives,pronouns,adverbs punctuated correctly may present a more engaging description , but the complete idea should never be lost in them .

Yes, too many chefs may spoil the soup , but leaving the pot on the stove unattended is just as bad . It won'r cook itself .

Creating a balanced and tasteful groove is not and should not be the sole responsibility of the drummer . He or she needs something to push against or the instrument, by its sonic nature , will usually overpower the others .
 
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Tornado

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No offense at all...that's why I posted this. The thing is I am a drummer at heart and it's my first instrument. When I worked as a drummer instead of a guitarist, I always tried to play...as Steve said "from the record". I felt chops were nice and needed but sparingly and only if the song REALLY called for it. But I find most drummers are simply irritating as hell. It's not what "I" hear in the song. And again...maybe it's me.

I will re-iterated this and I think it's needed. The last two nights...both drummers were "new" to us. I think being a drummer for a new group tends to cause many to impress. I was always the opposite type. When I play at jams with new people...I play damn near straight ahead because I am very cognizant of being afraid of overplaying and annoying. I was taught that simple playing is what keeps a drummer working and overplaying will kill your chances. But again...maybe it's what people want nowadays. I honestly don't know.

Now having said that...I have work a little bit with another drummer in the area and while he is busy....he is damn tastefull and not so loud. He has chops to spare...and will show them off but he is a dream to listen to and play with. So I am not against chops.....One thing for sure is that it is a lesson for me because I don't want to be the drummer I wouldn't want to play in front of :)

Context matters. At some jams, some cutting loose can be expected, people are there to have a good time, get to know each other musically, or even to show what they've got. Some band situations are the same... If I go see music in certain genres, I'll be pissed if the drummer didn't play his ass off and play fills that would make a top 40 cover band drummer cringe. So it depends on the situation and expectations.

But most complaints about overplaying are about BAD overplaying. Drummers trying to pull off things they really can't, doing it loud, without finesse, and out of time. Some of the busiest grooves ever have the greatest pocket and don't sound overplayed because the drummer was actually able to do it.
 

Bandit

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Context matters. At some jams, some cutting loose can be expected, people are there to have a good time, get to know each other musically, or even to show what they've got. Some band situations are the same... If I go see music in certain genres, I'll be pissed if the drummer didn't play his ass off and play fills that would make a top 40 cover band drummer cringe. So it depends on the situation and expectations.

But most complaints about overplaying are about BAD overplaying. Drummers trying to pull off things they really can't, doing it loud, without finesse, and out of time. Some of the busiest grooves ever have the greatest pocket and don't sound overplayed because the drummer was actually able to do it.
I was afraid to reply, but this is pretty close to how I feel.
 

Barden

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My goals are to be able to play the simple/tasteful, complicated/overplaying/busy, loud, and quiet all with excellence and precision. And have the musical maturity to identify when each is merited. If feedback from other musicians is requesting more volume, here it comes! If there is an imbalance in the sound, everyone in the band needs to be communicating on how to achieve that balance. Otherwise efforts are being squandered.

A little while ago another drummer was organizing an event and "asked" to use my drums and for me to run sound. I find out from him that yet another drummer will be playing as he is running the event. But I am supposed to be reassured by the comment, "he's really good! He's loud!" [Forehead slap]

Well over ten years before that I entered a musical scene where there were several drummers and became preferred because I played out with confidence (loud?), but the venue seemed to call for it. When I heard other drummers play the same gig they were nearly inaudible and didn't keep the band together.
 

tommykat1

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Man, Olderschool, I'm right there with you. A really great keyboard friend of mine said to me years ago, "drums are meant to be felt, not heard." I've always loved that quote.

I recently quit my three piece band in which I had always played 90% brushes, 9% hot rods and 1% jazz sticks. The new drummer does not use brushes. I recently saw them, and the band seemed really happy with the new sound, especially the band mom/leader's wife. I, on the other hand thought the drums were too loud and way too busy. I think they will tire of this quickly, but who am I to say.

Bottom line, I sincerely think you have the right approach.
 


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