you play too loud...you don't play loud

Frank Godiva

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Once you allow yourself to the be recipient of the beating stick, you will get beaten every time something isn't going well, whether it's your fault or not. Often times, it has nothing to do with your playing, but more to do with you upsetting the applecart. I've seen it where it had more to do with the ego of the band leader(s) than anything about the actual playing. However, there's virtually no undoing it once it's been set into place. Sometimes it is warranted, but often times it is not. When you are in a band with one or several unhappy malcontents and you become the target of their unhappiness, the best thing to do is leave the band because they won't stop until you are gone. I've seen it happen dozens of times with bands that I knew well or with bands that I recorded in my studio.

For example, I joined this high paying country band back in the late 90s after they recorded an album in my studio. There were lots of "problems" with their drummer and they constantly on his arse for everything. The poor guy got to the point where he didn't even know how to hold his sticks anymore. It was horrible. Well, after I joined the band and the honeymoon period ended, the bass player started with me and was constantly telling me that I was speeding up and slowing down. Having played to a click since the mid-80s, I knew that this wasn't happening. But, he kept on with his shite creating problems in the band and I was the recipient of his not true. Eventually, I started recording the gigs and playing them back on our drive home (this was a road band that often played gigs that required 8-10 hours of driving)...anyway, upon listening back, it was obvious that I was rock solid and that the bass was all over the place. He had terrible time and he would come in out of breaks early or late...no rhyme or reason...he just had horrible time when playing on stage with the band. It was the bass player who created the strife in the band and he was the main offender of what he was accusing me for! He got fired after a few more weeks of this and eventually all of his complaining got turned back on him and three guys were on his shite non-stop until he was let go. A new bass player came in, did a great job playing flawlessly.

Years later, upon reflecting back, I realized that it mostly had to deal with power struggles within the band. It had to do with insecurities and egos and the power struggles that come along with this emotional strife, making the working process nearly impossible to fulfill. It was a shame because the guitarist had a serious thing for songwriting and eventually moved down to Nashville where he's had quite a few hits as a songwriter for other artists.

bet he used this pedal
44062FD1-EE08-4346-8732-3D51153CA8F9.jpeg
 

Rich K.

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the only feedback I ever got was that it was great...the groove was always locked down...hell it's a blues gig...the guy who made the decision to not use me anymore used to introduce me as "the Shuffle King"...this whole weird thing came out of the blue for me...it was disrespectful as far as I'm concerned...
I've heard you play. I'm guessing that band was intimidated (or jealous) of your talent.
 

Matched Gripper

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The fun part is when the big band conductor yells "I can't hear you!" And the trumpet section collectively turns and gives me the stink-eye silently saying "don't."
 
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Cauldronics

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Last week at rehearsal one of the guys said, "Wow, that snare drum is loud."

It was the Noble & Cooley SS Walnut 3 3/8" X 14" snare that I had just bought that day. I didn't strike me as a particularly loud drum. (Although it does have some serious dynamic range.)

The kicker is that the snare I'd been using at rehearsals for the past few months in my Gretsch USA Custom Bell Brass 6 1/2" X 14".
After a long band hiatus last year, I brought in a snare that hadn't been played with the band. It was no louder than any other snare and I wasn't playing any louder than usual, but the guitar player covered his ears a couple times during a song and complained "wow, that snare is really cutting!"

I said it's average for snare volume and shrugged. His ears probably hadn't adjusted to being in a room with a drummer during the time off. By the next practice, it was like he never said it, and had readjusted.

Who knows what goes through a guitar player's head, or anyone's, for that matter? <shrug>
 

kevinyarger

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I tend to always play to the room. Big room/sound system, I usually am playing pretty loud. Coffee shop, small venue/sound system for vocals only, I'm bringing down my volume. That said, the last group I played in that played some decent sized rooms kept complaining about my snare or cymbals being too loud. It became a running joke almost. I went through a bunch of different snares, wood snares seemed to get less comments of too loud vs. metal snares, the less overtones the better. Switched cymbals that would sit lower in the mix.

Turns out the singer, to conserve his vocals for a long three hour set would sing at the same decibel as a conversation in a car. Sound guys were cranking up his vocal which was picking up everything on stage. There were shows my sticks clicking to count in a song were causing feedback from his microphone. Luckily his head blocked a good chunk of the direct stage bleed but it was a tough gig near the end of its run when I kept getting the suggestion of using a roland V drum kit for gigs, which probably would have figured out a way to cause feedback with some of those rubber pads.

Like someone else mentioned their plight with a tempo critiquing bass player I played with a song writer who complained about the tempo in our final years working together and as a drummer I took it to heart because we weren't playing to a click live and I knew that some songs I was sure I was naturally pushing. So knowing this group would not being into using in ear monitors and a click track I started tempo marking all of our songs and I was going to use a click to prevent songs getting away from us. Joke was on me when I realized 75% of this artists songs had him starting the song without any count in. He was setting the tempo, I was following and then when he realized it was too fast, blamed me.

Sorry for my long winded response, regardless it's hard to please everyone and I feel as long I make a valiant effort to address any concerns with my volume or tempo or whatever complaint that it's up to the group if they want to deal with my perceived shortcomings or find a replacement that better suits their needs.
 

hsosdrum

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this guy...a 21 year old kid...is a tremendous talent with incredibly 4 albums to his credit...what you said about "ego" hit the nail on the head.
my brother,a very good blues guitarist,saw my last gig with this guy.for this gig a phenomenal guitarist with Intl Blues Challenge victories under his belt was on it.
BUT...it was the piano player's gig so he DIDN'T feature the guy except to solo on tunes...I picked up on that "snub" late in the first set.My brother pointed out that the applause,whistles,etc for me when introduced were a little too much so that played into the guy to get rid of me...whatever...he's the star...thanks to all for weighing in...it's been therapeutic!
The same thing caused the rift between Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa back in 1938. Benny resented all the attention and adulation that Krupa was getting from audiences at gigs, so he leaned on Krupa more and more until Gene finally got fed up and said to Benny "Eat sh*t, Pops!*" on stage during a show at the Earle Theater in Philadelphia and walked off the bandstand. Krupa quit and formed his own band.

*All the more jarring because Krupa rarely swore. ("Pops" was Goodman's nickname.)
 

Ludwigboy

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Personally, as a drummer, I thought I should be able to move between playing loud and soft in a given song or on a song by song basis. I have always been amazed by those drummers with a "feather touch"
I usually play quieter but when it is an energetic song, i get excited and play louder....
 

AtlantaDrumGuy

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The ability to play soft to loud is an important yet “difficult” skill. (I’m still working on it). It’s hard to play both ends of the spectrum. I think Dave Grohl can play loud and be relaxed…hard to do. I think Gadd can play soft yet maintain intensity…also hard to do. Anyways, I’ve been in both situations where I was asked to play a little quieter, then other times where I needed to actually play a bit louder. So you just make the adjustment and move on with the gig.
 

CherryClassic

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I think the greatest compliment I ever received; playing with a new band on the first night after the first song the fiddle player commented to the others: "Wow, he's the quietest drummer I've ever played with."

Many years ago, I realized no mated how soft you play there are very few times the audience will not be able to hear you.

Being able to blend with a band is an acquired skill you'll have to develop over the years by constant concentration of knowing the music and listening to all instruments while playing. Complimenting the lead player to make him/her sound better is a another acquired skill that should be developed.

sherm
 

little rock

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Guitar players wife kept saying it was too loud. I used a set of brushes on “Great Balls Of Fire. Got fired. It was a two hour drive each way, four hour gig, set up and tear down time for $35 and two free drinks. Really hated to lose that gig. VFW gig backing a no talent female singer. Lol
 

RIDDIM

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I’ve spent most of the past 2 years working on burnin’ at lower volumes and paying attention to dynamics. I grew up playing unmiked and having to fight guitar amps, so this has been a real eye opener.

To the band that didn’t give you feedback, the other way to look at it is that you could ask. No one wants to give critical feedback, so I always ask: tempo ok? Dynamics ok? How was that last song?

Also, do you record the gigs you're on? If not, this would be a good time to start.
 

RIDDIM

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The ability to play soft to loud is an important yet “difficult” skill. (I’m still working on it). It’s hard to play both ends of the spectrum. I think Dave Grohl can play loud and be relaxed…hard to do. I think Gadd can play soft yet maintain intensity…also hard to do. Anyways, I’ve been in both situations where I was asked to play a little quieter, then other times where I needed to actually play a bit louder. So you just make the adjustment and move on with the gig.
Exactly. Part of the job. Give the music what it needs, no more and no less.
 

CC Cirillo

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Sometimes it’s best to let the audience decide.

Played in a cover band that often gigged a bar with odd acoustics. No PA provided and we weren’t the best at managing what we brought. No stage and just one of those sonic mystery rooms.

Before one gig I asked some different friends in the audience to give me some feedback how things sounded out front.

After the first song two separate people came up behind me to offer opinion on our particularly rambunctious version of Cheap Trick’s “Surrender” which I seem to recall involved heavy train wheels working loose and destroying lengths of rail and ties.

One said: Drums too loud but you guys were tight.

The other said: That was all over the place and the drums need to be louder.

The fans have spoken.
 

trommel

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I’ve experienced that both good and bad players can be ridiculous to deal with …
True. Oftentimes it has to do with ignorance of music, their own inexperience & exposure to different genres. and a low IQ.
 

notINtheband

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With these unreasonable bandmates, I think it almost always goes back to ‘fear’.
They are upset because they fear they are being judged negatively and they deflect any and all responsibility toward another band member. Sometimes warranted, often not.
And as mentioned before, the further up the talent ladder you go, the less this is likely to occur.
Accomplished musicians, in my experience, have more self confidence, less fear, and more patience and understanding when they encounter something lacking in the mix. They know it’s a solvable problem and don’t automatically invoke defcon 5 on a band mate to resolve the issue.
 

Downbeat

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My main gig has been with the same two cats for 26 years now. No egos, and never a cross word between us. We all know what to expect from each other on stage.
I do a lot of pick-up gigs with different artists and genres. Sometimes it clicks right away, other times it may take a few songs to get dialed in. It all comes down to listening. What are your ears telling you?
Then there are times when no matter what you do, someone's going to complain.
 


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