This week, Alex wrote a drummers guide to keeping everyone on side.
About ‘A Drummers Guide’
Drummer jokes have been around as long as bands have existed. We’re a strange bunch and we play the most complicated of instruments to get set up. It’s no coincidence that we became the butt of the jokes.
It turns out there’s a whole host of things drummers do that wind people up when it comes to gigging and recording. Let’s look at it from some different perspectives.
(By the way, I’m guilty of some of these, and I bet most drummers I know are too… It’s not just drummers either… Parallels to guitarist are easily drawn)
OK, so firstly in ‘A Drummers Guide’, let’s talk about that grumpy fella sat behind the flashing lights, knobs and buttons. Him, he’s your sound guy for the gig. You’ll want to keep this guy happy if your band stand a chance of sounding good. They know how to work quick and hate when musicians slow them down with avoidable trivia.
Lee Marchment from Esk Audio runs sound at festivals and venues all over Europe. Here’s some stuff that he suggests that will drastically reduce the sarcastic overview of tub-thumpers.
1. Unless you’re playing jazz, cut a mic port in the front head of your kick drum
Seriously, the difference in sound clarity is immense, makes mixing the band a much quicker job.
2. During soundcheck hit one drum, playing crotchets unless told otherwise
Sound guys need to hear the full sustain and decay of each hit so they can reduce feedback and overtones. This is not time to practice your chops.
3: No one thinks two kick drums are cool or that scaffolding shit you use to hold the toms up
OK, that’s debatable from my perspective, but when you are playing festivals and gigs where there is a shared kit and short changeover time. Your band will be mighty pissed off when the stage manager chucks you off stage before the last song, so you need to get the set started on time. Sound checking an extra bass drum or messing around with changing clamps and things on a rack system will probably double your change over time. Save that shit for when you headline Wembley.
4: Forget your hi-hat clutch at your peril
It’s an insignificant looking piece of kit, but if you have ever had to play without it, you’ll know how bad it sounds and feels. Don’t rely on other people to bring the essentials.
Hopefully following these points will keep the sound guy working efficiently and save you and your bandmates from his ranting and general sarcasm. I’ll be back next week with some points for ‘A Drummers Guide to Surviving the Studio’, courtesy of Tim G from Bigtone Studios.