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First time performing with other people. Need advice

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  • First time performing with other people. Need advice

    While I did play drums in high school, I don't really consider it because it was more goofing around than really playing. I have been now playing "for real" for over a year and have been told by a few people that my playing is intermediate to advanced (I'm going to record something soon and see what you all think).
    At the end of this week I will be trying out for a local band. This will be the first time ever that I have played with other people. Not to mention complete strangers. They sent me a CD of the cover songs they play and they do everything from old CCR to modern rock from country to motown. My Vdrums will be perfect for this because I have a seperate kit for each style so it will sound more like the originals.
    Is there any advice anyone can give me. I'm a little nervous and really don't know what to expect.

  • #2
    It is always difficult if you're going to be judged on your skills (any). If there is any advice that I can give you I would say the following:

    Take your time. Chat with the other people first until there is a relaxed atmosphere.

    Don't try to impress too much. Play what you know and know what you play. Ignore any mistake you make.

    Familiarise yourself with the CD and be prepared to play some of the songs... maybe the more challenging ones for drums?

    Listen! Being a good musician is more about listening than it is about technique. Pay special attention to the bass player and make eye contact with all band members during playing.

    Personally, I have a lot more difficulty playing for musicians than with musicians.

    Rob

    [This message has been edited by Pleiadian (edited December 11, 2001).]

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    • #3
      I would suggest not switching kits for every song. I'd pick one kit (I like Realdeal in my expanded TD-10) make a few modifications when you first set up to get the right balance for the room and volume of the other players, and just use that. If you start changing kits every song, you are likey to get some wierd outcomes and possibly freak them out. Remember most guitar players are not used to electronic drums in the first place. You'll be nervous enough, so I would suggest minimizing the changes you need to make with your module. After playing with them for a few weeks or months, you might want to try some different kits or sounds, but take it easy or they might not like it and fire you. We have had people in our band that only lasted a few weeks, and I have tried out several times for bands that I didn't get into, so it can happen.

      If you drink and they drink, have one or two, but don't get drunk whatever you do. You can always do that later if you all become buddies.

      Also, if they gave you a CD, and you have practiced those songs, try to get them to play them in the order they appear on the CD. The human brain functions much better in sequence as opposed to randomly. If they ask what do you want do do, just say "why don't we just run them down like they are on the CD and see how it goes?" Don't respond with "whatever you want to do."

      I also try to get to auditions, rehearsals and gigs early, because some (most) guitar players hate it when they come in and you've got your cases and cables spread out all over the floor and they can't walk in directly to their amp with their ax. They act nice and you may think they are kidding when they make sarcastic comments about taking up the whole floor with all of your crap, but deep inside they don't like drummers getting in their way. I own and operate all of the lights too and they even get cranky about that if I set them up where they think the PA Mains should go. sheesh!

      Above all, have fun and don't rush. If you don't make it, there are other opportunities out there and this will help you get ready for them.

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      • #4
        Keep it simple. Concentrate on playing good time & listening to the other guys. Don't worry about fills; they are relatively unimportant. If you are counting off the tempo, figure the tempo, then start off just a bit slower than you think it should be. When you are nervous, one tends to play a little faster. Relax.

        Don't be too chatty, but be friendly & listen. There's more of them than there are of you, so let them do most of the talking.

        Don't try to impress anyone with cool licks - just play good, solid time and don't overplay. That usually gets less attention from other drummers, but more appreciation from other musicians!

        Like already mentioned, show up on time, make sure you have all the gear you'll need, and don't noodle around (make noise/play by yourself) in between songs. Nothing is more irritating or more unprofessional.

        Have fun! That's the most important part. Going from playing all by yourself to playing in a group is a big leap, but will be most rewarding. Your learning curve will go way up, and you'll learn to make fun of guitar players...

        -Danny
        -Danny

        Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

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        • #5
          I'm in the same boat as you. Although I've played in many bands before I seem to have taken a hiatus from it and am now looking to get back into it.

          The only personal advice I can add to the others is that things sound different live, sometimes ALOT different than they do on a CD. It's good that they gave you a disc of what they play so you can familiarize yourself with it. I always ask bands if they can give me a list of covers they do, or if they aren't a cover band at least a list of songs they maybe would like to cover. It kind of gives you a jumping off point and gets everyone on the same page from the get-go. My idea of "hard rock" or "alternative rock" may be WAY different than what someone else's may be (and it usually is). At least with a song list I can get an idea.

          Anyway, back to sounding different live. What I mean by that is when you play live you may hear things in a song that you haven't noticed before. I know from past experience that when even mixed good live, you may hear a guitar riff or bass line and think, "What in the hell song is this guy playing?". But if you go back and listen to the song it's there but it just may be set back more in the mix. So from that stand point my advise to you would be to listen to the songs (preferably through headphones) and instead of just focusing on the drum part or prevalent instrument(s) listen to what the guitar or bass is doing in the background. That way when you get to the audition you won't be suprised if you hear an instrument that is louder than what you heard on the CD.

          Good luck. And remember most of all have fun. That's what it's all about.

          -Kevin

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          • #6
            Smile a lot. Smile even more when another musician plays something good, and make eye contact with him. People love to play with musicians who enjoy themselves and who appreciate their licks.
            Immensely powerful yet with a liquid cat-quick elegance

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            • #7
              Thanks for all the advice. I'm going this afternoon. I'll let you know what happens.

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              • #8
                I got the gig. The guys loved the drum kit. They liked the idea of different kits for the different styles. Thanks again for the support.

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                • #9
                  Congrats, man. Much success.

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                  • #10
                    Hey FloridaDrummer

                    Congratulations! Hope you enjoy playing with your new mates.
                    Immensely powerful yet with a liquid cat-quick elegance

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                    • #11
                      Congratulations on getting the gig, man! Enjoy the ride...

                      -Danny
                      -Danny

                      Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.

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                      • #12
                        Hé F.D. You did it!! I know you could!!
                        Concrat!!!!
                        Glad that the guys loved your kit.
                        What outboard did you finally use?

                        Groeten,

                        Peter

                        ------------------
                        Meneer Van Zanten (sorry, in Dutch)
                        My bands: Meneer Van Zanten and The Shed (sorry, both in Dutch but you can see the pictures, videoclips and listen to our songs)

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                        • #13
                          Congrats FL Drummer. Rock on!!!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by mrVRock:
                            What outboard did you finally use?
                            I got a Mackie SRM450 with a sonic maximizer and a Mackie 1202 mixer.

                            Thanks everyone!!! I'm having a blast. These guys are real good and experienced. The only problem I'm haveing is lugging that big rack around. I already put some serious scrathes on it. I haven't found a way to carry it around yet.

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                            • #15
                              Congrats! I think playing music with and for other people is what its all about. Remember, though, there will inevitably be band politics, disagreements, whatever. Just try to take it lightly and learn to laugh about it. Our motto is "the weirder the better!" I'm surprised that changing kits for every song worked for you, but I'm glad it did. Maybe I should loosen up and start using some different kits. Iused a slightly modified "Rosewood" kit for a while then switched to a seriously tweeked "Realdeal" because the snare is a lot punchier, but maybe I should start branching out for certain songs.

                              PS, I bought a separate rack and keep it at our practice site. That's the rack I take to gigs too. Its getting beat up, but my rack at home is still pristine. I know it's extravagant, but its just one less bulky thing to lug around and makes me feel better that my "real" rack is not being destroyed.

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