Studio drummers a dime a dozen now. I had no idea...

drumstuff66

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
448
Reaction score
282
Location
Framingham, MA
Complete nonsense. If anyone here thinks that any of these guys are "studio" or "session" musicians, they're mistaken. And that guy's YouTube channel is yet more nonsense. I've tried to watch a few of his videos in the past, and it's really drivel aimed at uninformed people too lazy to work with a local, respected teacher.
Hope you're referring to the first video. The follow up consists of Nashville pros, as in pro "studio" or "session" musicians....Personally, I've learned as much from youtube guys as I have from face-to-face lessons (private, UCONN & Berklee). Sometimes it's what TO do, sometimes what NOT to do.

"That guy"'s drivel has over 250,000 subscribers. Those poor uninformed, lazy people who MIGHT not be able to afford private lessons must be getting something from him - for FREE!!

Man, this place has me shaking my head more & more.....
 

dsop

Very well Known Member
Joined
Nov 22, 2014
Messages
777
Reaction score
643
Location
Los Angeles, CA
Hope you're referring to the first video.
Correct.

The end is near. People spending more and more time on YouTube instead of with other humans. Granted, in the current climate, there's not much else to do. Unfortunately, people tend to confuse number of subscribers with quality or value.

As for YouTube itself, Google's executives should be put on trial and end up in jail for the damage they've done.

Shake away.

Going further, I honestly think that the future of music will require that it must be accompanied with a visual component. Whether it is video of the performance, or something else. I don't think audio alone will be enough anymore, thanks to mobile phones and sites like YouTube.
I can't count how many people I've seen walking down the street while communicating with someone via video. WTF?
 
Last edited:

Matched Gripper

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
381
Reaction score
309
IMO, when you call yourself a pro drummer and solicit work as such and accept money for a job the person paying you has every right to criticize your work - just like a "day job" boss. The drummers in the video put themselves out there as "pros". Don't like criticism don't put yourself out there for hire. The "youtube hack" (endorsed by Tama & a good player IMO) wasn't "given" the producer position, he paid for it. Any one of those drummers could've returned the money and said "no thanks" but they took it. They now have a boss. I do agree that if someone buckles under pressure or doesn't like people telling them what to play then professional studio work probably isn't for them. They wouldn't get many call backs anyway.

He who writes the check is the boss. Same goes for bandleaders. Unless it's just you and your buddies ripping through tunes at the local bar for tips while your other buddies tell you how awesome you are someone's paying you. The bandleader, the venue, the production company, whoever. They are your boss. Seems self-evident, but maybe not....

Here's follow up he posted. He hired three Nashville PROS:

LOL the way he treats the same approach to playing completely differently in the two videos. In the first video he criticizes for missing kicks, but, in the second video, he praises for leaving room for the music.
 
Last edited:

drumstuff66

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
448
Reaction score
282
Location
Framingham, MA
LOLthe way he treats the same approach to playing completely differently in the two videos. In the first video he criticizes for missing kicks, but, in the second video, he praises for leaving room for the music.
Aren't missing kicks and leaving room for the music two different things?

Serious question.
 

drumstuff66

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
448
Reaction score
282
Location
Framingham, MA
I think it depends on context. Isn’t leaving out kicks to leave room for the music the same thing as leaving room for the music?
Could be, absolutely - Unless, of course, the person paying you wants kicks hit without stepping all over everything else, which is a reasonable expectation. As a hired session musician you're not the arranger. I think my overall point here is there is that someone is PAYING you to do it their way - not yours.

Being paid to play when you are not a member of a band (freelancer) limits your artistic input unless you are hired specifically for your artistic input.

The likes of Gadd, Soan, Aronoff, Gordon, Porcaro (who famously took an earful from Rikki Lee Jones regarding his playing) - maybe they can/could call their own shots - most can't from my experience.
 

Matched Gripper

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 28, 2019
Messages
381
Reaction score
309
Could be, absolutely - Unless, of course, the person paying you wants kicks hit without stepping all over everything else, which is a reasonable expectation. As a hired session musician you're not the arranger. I think my overall point here is there is that someone is PAYING you to do it their way - not yours.

Being paid to play when you are not a member of a band (freelancer) limits your artistic input unless you are hired specifically for your artistic input.

The likes of Gadd, Soan, Aronoff, Gordon, Porcaro (who famously took an earful from Rikki Lee Jones regarding his playing) - maybe they can/could call their own shots - most can't from my experience.
I think we are having 2 different conversations. I was just pointing out an apparent discrepancy in the two videos.
 

RIDDIM

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
4,069
Reaction score
815
Location
MD
Complete nonsense. If anyone here thinks that any of these guys are "studio" or "session" musicians, they're mistaken. And that guy's YouTube channel is yet more nonsense. I've tried to watch a few of his videos in the past, and it's really drivel aimed at uninformed people too lazy to work with a local, respected teacher.
- Evidently there are a lot of those.
 

MaskingApathy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
154
Reaction score
44
Complete nonsense. If anyone here thinks that any of these guys are "studio" or "session" musicians, they're mistaken. And that guy's YouTube channel is yet more nonsense. I've tried to watch a few of his videos in the past, and it's really drivel aimed at uninformed people too lazy to work with a local, respected teacher.
This is part of the reason I called him a YouTube hack. Nothing about him makes him comes across as a proper professional drummer (unlike those Nashville pros in that video).
 

MaskingApathy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
154
Reaction score
44
And just because he has a Tama endorsement, that doesn't mean anything. I personally know people who have various endorsements yet I never see them out on the road or actually doing things that professional musicians do. In these kind of cases they sign endorsement deals because they have a lot of YouTube and social media views so it's advertising for Tama. Has nothing to do with him being a professional drummer or not.
 

swarfrat

tympanus laqueus XV
Joined
Dec 15, 2014
Messages
5,736
Reaction score
926
I almost like some of his videos, but he talks way way way too much. Not nearly as annoying as Jared though, by a mile.
I do find it ironic given the jist of the video, that he's in effect pretending to be a producer while judging people pretending to be session drummers.
 

franke

DFO Star
Joined
Aug 10, 2005
Messages
6,279
Reaction score
362
Location
Los Angeles, CA
YT "how-to" videos tend to show a thing and then set about showing how (if one follows certain steps and has access to the necessary materials and settings, i.e., drums and practice room, tools and a workshop, cooking equipment and a kitchen, etc., ).

I think Stephen Taylor is a competent musician who could handle most professional situations. He doesn't give "lessons" in the strictest sense; rather, what he offers are what could best be described as "tips": short presentations centered around an idea that could improve one's playing. Real drum "lessons" presented in real time would not make particularly good entertainment and would likely not hold one's attention for very long since the viewer cannot participate in what is being presented. Yes, they could "follow along", but they cannot ask questions or get feedback. Lessons are often structured around a performance and a review of the last lesson before moving on to the next idea that the teacher may demonstrate before assigning it to the student to learn for the following lesson. Granted, not all lessons are formatted this way, but the majority of them are.

Stephen's "experiment" was more about all the different ways that one could interpret a particular piece of music than a demonstration of the differences between "semi-pro" and "pro", though its not hard for those who are drummers to come away scratching their heads at some of these "pros".
 

Old Drummer

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
504
Reaction score
359
IMO, when you call yourself a pro drummer and solicit work as such and accept money for a job the person paying you has every right to criticize your work - just like a "day job" boss. The drummers in the video put themselves out there as "pros". Don't like criticism don't put yourself out there for hire. The "youtube hack" (endorsed by Tama & a good player IMO) wasn't "given" the producer position, he paid for it. Any one of those drummers could've returned the money and said "no thanks" but they took it. They now have a boss. I do agree that if someone buckles under pressure or doesn't like people telling them what to play then professional studio work probably isn't for them. They wouldn't get many call backs anyway.

He who writes the check is the boss. Same goes for bandleaders. Unless it's just you and your buddies ripping through tunes at the local bar for tips while your other buddies tell you how awesome you are someone's paying you. The bandleader, the venue, the production company, whoever. They are your boss. Seems self-evident, but maybe not....

Here's follow up he posted. He hired three Nashville PROS:

And whoever captures anyone in a military invasion has the right to enslave them. This was the reigning ideology before it became "whoever pays the piper calls the tune." While the current ideology is preferable, it's still just an ideology. Humanity can do better.

I'm thinking of how much work and overhead the drummers had into their auditions. Although I could slop my way through that piece cold, if I were auditioning, I'd put at least a few hours work into it. I'd also have the cost of my equipment, space, and video recording to consider. If I were paid $37 or so, my earnings would be less than minimum wage. Yet for that paltry sum, the "boss" is entitled to humiliate me in front of 250,000 YouTube viewers? No way.

Plus, the humiliation wasn't even "criticism" of the sort that can be rebutted. It was snarky comments and facial expressions. Something's seriously wrong with labor/management relations when the payment of $37 or so allows a guy to do this.

We also see from the "boss's" playing in this second video that he's only average. Of course, he calls his own playing a musical "interpretation." He's kinder toward himself than he is toward his employees.

One thing I've always liked about the music business (and I suspect part of its appeal to others) is how entrepreneurial it is. Your background, degrees, etc. don't matter. If you can get together with some others who will have you and put on a good party or attract some fans, you succeed. If you can't, you don't. It's really straightforward, no nonsense, even very free market.

Unfortunately, because there's money to be made in the business, it also attracts a lot of middlemen and hangers-on hoping to scarf it up. This guy is a middleman, using his ability to write $37 checks to make more money at the players' expense.

Of course, this is part of the business too, given the reigning ideology, but it's a part that should give people pause before they go into it full-time. Do you really want a boss like this?
 

MaskingApathy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 2, 2019
Messages
154
Reaction score
44
And whoever captures anyone in a military invasion has the right to enslave them. This was the reigning ideology before it became "whoever pays the piper calls the tune." While the current ideology is preferable, it's still just an ideology. Humanity can do better.

I'm thinking of how much work and overhead the drummers had into their auditions. Although I could slop my way through that piece cold, if I were auditioning, I'd put at least a few hours work into it. I'd also have the cost of my equipment, space, and video recording to consider. If I were paid $37 or so, my earnings would be less than minimum wage. Yet for that paltry sum, the "boss" is entitled to humiliate me in front of 250,000 YouTube viewers? No way.

Plus, the humiliation wasn't even "criticism" of the sort that can be rebutted. It was snarky comments and facial expressions. Something's seriously wrong with labor/management relations when the payment of $37 or so allows a guy to do this.

We also see from the "boss's" playing in this second video that he's only average. Of course, he calls his own playing a musical "interpretation." He's kinder toward himself than he is toward his employees.

One thing I've always liked about the music business (and I suspect part of its appeal to others) is how entrepreneurial it is. Your background, degrees, etc. don't matter. If you can get together with some others who will have you and put on a good party or attract some fans, you succeed. If you can't, you don't. It's really straightforward, no nonsense, even very free market.

Unfortunately, because there's money to be made in the business, it also attracts a lot of middlemen and hangers-on hoping to scarf it up. This guy is a middleman, using his ability to write $37 checks to make more money at the players' expense.

Of course, this is part of the business too, given the reigning ideology, but it's a part that should give people pause before they go into it full-time. Do you really want a boss like this?
I agree with all of this.
 

NewBeat

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 31, 2018
Messages
125
Reaction score
78
He has videos of the same thing using and bassists and guitarists as well.

I very much like the concept, contrasting the various musicians' approach to the same bed track. I find his comments appropriate, and he does try to be constructive and respectful while pointing out his preferences.
 

dcrigger

DFO Master
Joined
Aug 5, 2005
Messages
5,460
Reaction score
1,894
Location
California
Been reading this thread and pondering how I wanted to chime in... so many different angles being discussed.

So first - regarding MaskingApathy's concerns... I really doubt that anyone was taken advantage or otherwise abused in any way. Anyone that would hire folks on Fiverr to record a track, then turnaround and make them the subject of a video like this would be really putting themselves on very shaky ground... from a libel stand point. And there would be no reason to - as getting volunteers to participate would as easy as pie. Why?

500,000+ views!!!

Many of those players have probably not had 5000 people hear them play since they started. So an opportunity to be heard by 100x that many.... heck yeah. Thing is, even if he doesn't like my playing and is critical of it (though overall he really was quite respectful throughout) - one or many of those half a million viewers might simply disagree and love what I did - a tan-dah... the by-product of exposure....

Not saying I loved the video overall- but I really don't think anyone was taken advantage of.

Anyway - different topic...

This kind of session work in general...

90% of the time - it really isn't the best idea - it has few, if any, musical advantages... and some gigantic disadvantages... It really only exists (pre-Covid) as a function of budget and logistics.

On a normal in-person session, the normal flow goes shooting like this... 1. Client/producer/artist shares info with the session player(s) - they might play a demo, or sing and play the guitar, there might be a chart and there's likely to be a lot of verbal instructions/descriptions as well. Then 2., we play through the song... then 3.... there's feedback "Maybe more like this" or "Not so much of that", etc. then 4, play it again, the 5... more feedback, maybe even between the players as well - and in the meantime, with each playing, the players are making a million micro-adjusts to make their parts work better with each other - with no discussion at all. Then we'll record one... then listen back... then more discussion... try it again... more discussion.... more takes until... "That's great - let's move on to the next tune"

And oftentimes, everything I described above will only take about an hour. Other times, maybe three... all depends...

The thing is - there's a million different "right" ways to approach playing a song. The constant task of the session player is to - as quickly as possible - figure out what these people want their music to sound like. And then help them accomplish that. This is literally the MAIN gig for session players - figuring out what people want. The whole being able to execute that for them is sort of considered a given...

Not that every session player has that kind of range of abilities. Though some of the total A-list guys are beyond amazing in this regard. But still, most players are still chosen because they are known for a range of skills that will serve the music at hand.

So what happens with remote sessions? Well basically there's step 1 and step 2 (from above) - and that's it. Sure I can play the tune as often as I like until I'm happy with my performance - but I will no more feedback on my approach until I submit something. So I'm living or dying on that first communication and whatever my first guess is at how to approach it.

On a regular session, I might drastically change my approach for each of the first three run-throughs (usually not, but sometimes).

And re-dos are problematic... on a regular session, I can adjust tuning, move mics, pull up different snares, cymbals - then we have at it until we are done. But on a remote session - if I take my shot at it and the client needs changes (which is completely understandable... musically) - I have to then try and match that previous set-up. Because this change request might come back days later - meaning I've gone on to other work in the meantime.

Plus all of this is taking time - and at a certain point...I'm not really making much in the way of money.

So though I've been recording at home remotely for clients for almost 20 years - very little of it has been for clients of the "artist recording three new songs for an album or demo" variety. It has been way more for clients doing productions on a schedule - where they are needing lots of stuff played, quickly, that sounds good with very little oversight. This could be for commercials, or film stuff or production shows... Lots of this work is still working on per project or per song/cue rate - but much has been paid hourly. Which makes the occasional re-do not a problem at all - as the clocks ticking no matter what they want me to work on.

And the - because everything isn't about making money per se - there's longer term artistic projects - where working at home provides the gift of time.... time to experiment... try things.... without out blowing through money paying for studio time. All still a double edge sword... on the one hand, there's the freedom to just go for things - even if it means making mistakes, sounding horrible as part of the process - without anyone looking over your shoulder. The downside of that is that - by myself - it is very hard to conjure up that "gun to the head" rush while going for the killer take with everyone watching and that expensive clock ticking.

Anyway back to the video - I have a feeling that so many of the things he talked about being "missing" from performances were things that he didn't communicate as being "important". Best example - that "big drum fill in the middle". There's absolutely nothing about that track or arrangement that screams "there has to be a big drum fill there". I would never, ever, everas a session player just jump in and fill that space - unless someone specifically told (or wrote on a chart) that they wanted a big ass drum fill there.... or they wanted time to continue.... or not... Not communicating that stuff - up front - in a remote session situation is just a recipe for wasting your player's time. A client - for a flat fee - is just not going to get to go 4, 5 or 6 times - like a regular session.

Again one of the painful realities of these sort of sessions - clients have to be very clear and thorough in their communication - or just be willing to except what they get. Because even the best session players are not mind readers.

And there is always a bazillion choices - and the best session players are able and willing to play any of them. But they aren't mind readerers.
 

Old Drummer

Very well Known Member
Joined
Jan 14, 2019
Messages
504
Reaction score
359
Been reading this thread and pondering how I wanted to chime in... so many different angles being discussed.

So first - regarding MaskingApathy's concerns... I really doubt that anyone was taken advantage or otherwise abused in any way. Anyone that would hire folks on Fiverr to record a track, then turnaround and make them the subject of a video like this would be really putting themselves on very shaky ground... from a libel stand point. And there would be no reason to - as getting volunteers to participate would as easy as pie. Why?

500,000+ views!!!

Many of those players have probably not had 5000 people hear them play since they started. So an opportunity to be heard by 100x that many.... heck yeah. Thing is, even if he doesn't like my playing and is critical of it (though overall he really was quite respectful throughout) - one or many of those half a million viewers might simply disagree and love what I did - a tan-dah... the by-product of exposure....

Not saying I loved the video overall- but I really don't think anyone was taken advantage of.

Anyway - different topic...

This kind of session work in general...

90% of the time - it really isn't the best idea - it has few, if any, musical advantages... and some gigantic disadvantages... It really only exists (pre-Covid) as a function of budget and logistics.

On a normal in-person session, the normal flow goes shooting like this... 1. Client/producer/artist shares info with the session player(s) - they might play a demo, or sing and play the guitar, there might be a chart and there's likely to be a lot of verbal instructions/descriptions as well. Then 2., we play through the song... then 3.... there's feedback "Maybe more like this" or "Not so much of that", etc. then 4, play it again, the 5... more feedback, maybe even between the players as well - and in the meantime, with each playing, the players are making a million micro-adjusts to make their parts work better with each other - with no discussion at all. Then we'll record one... then listen back... then more discussion... try it again... more discussion.... more takes until... "That's great - let's move on to the next tune"

And oftentimes, everything I described above will only take about an hour. Other times, maybe three... all depends...

The thing is - there's a million different "right" ways to approach playing a song. The constant task of the session player is to - as quickly as possible - figure out what these people want their music to sound like. And then help them accomplish that. This is literally the MAIN gig for session players - figuring out what people want. The whole being able to execute that for them is sort of considered a given...

Not that every session player has that kind of range of abilities. Though some of the total A-list guys are beyond amazing in this regard. But still, most players are still chosen because they are known for a range of skills that will serve the music at hand.

So what happens with remote sessions? Well basically there's step 1 and step 2 (from above) - and that's it. Sure I can play the tune as often as I like until I'm happy with my performance - but I will no more feedback on my approach until I submit something. So I'm living or dying on that first communication and whatever my first guess is at how to approach it.

On a regular session, I might drastically change my approach for each of the first three run-throughs (usually not, but sometimes).

And re-dos are problematic... on a regular session, I can adjust tuning, move mics, pull up different snares, cymbals - then we have at it until we are done. But on a remote session - if I take my shot at it and the client needs changes (which is completely understandable... musically) - I have to then try and match that previous set-up. Because this change request might come back days later - meaning I've gone on to other work in the meantime.

Plus all of this is taking time - and at a certain point...I'm not really making much in the way of money.

So though I've been recording at home remotely for clients for almost 20 years - very little of it has been for clients of the "artist recording three new songs for an album or demo" variety. It has been way more for clients doing productions on a schedule - where they are needing lots of stuff played, quickly, that sounds good with very little oversight. This could be for commercials, or film stuff or production shows... Lots of this work is still working on per project or per song/cue rate - but much has been paid hourly. Which makes the occasional re-do not a problem at all - as the clocks ticking no matter what they want me to work on.

And the - because everything isn't about making money per se - there's longer term artistic projects - where working at home provides the gift of time.... time to experiment... try things.... without out blowing through money paying for studio time. All still a double edge sword... on the one hand, there's the freedom to just go for things - even if it means making mistakes, sounding horrible as part of the process - without anyone looking over your shoulder. The downside of that is that - by myself - it is very hard to conjure up that "gun to the head" rush while going for the killer take with everyone watching and that expensive clock ticking.

Anyway back to the video - I have a feeling that so many of the things he talked about being "missing" from performances were things that he didn't communicate as being "important". Best example - that "big drum fill in the middle". There's absolutely nothing about that track or arrangement that screams "there has to be a big drum fill there". I would never, ever, everas a session player just jump in and fill that space - unless someone specifically told (or wrote on a chart) that they wanted a big ass drum fill there.... or they wanted time to continue.... or not... Not communicating that stuff - up front - in a remote session situation is just a recipe for wasting your player's time. A client - for a flat fee - is just not going to get to go 4, 5 or 6 times - like a regular session.

Again one of the painful realities of these sort of sessions - clients have to be very clear and thorough in their communication - or just be willing to except what they get. Because even the best session players are not mind readers.

And there is always a bazillion choices - and the best session players are able and willing to play any of them. But they aren't mind readerers.
Great insider's perspective on this. I liked the commentary anyway, but I admit to especially liking the part about the drum fill. This was exactly my thought. If the SOB wanted a drum fill there, he should have said so in advance, not criticized the players for failing to read his mind. This tidbit aside, I really appreciated your take on the whole thing.
 

Latest posts



Top