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Finding drummers is a nightmare.
There's like a 50:1 ratio of guitarists to drummers, at least a 10:1 ratio of shit drummers to good ones, and of those good ones, finding one is both available and wants to join your specific band is about as likely as winning the lottery.
We recently lost our drummer, and in the past two months this has been my experience:
- 99.9% of the drummers I contacted were already in about nine bands apiece so couldn't commit to another.
- One guy said he might be interested, then just started totally ignoring every message I left him.
- One guy showed up for an audition with about £3k worth of DW gear, claimed to have "really nailed" the songs and then played like he had never heard them before. Or seen a drumkit before.
- One guy asked me to get in touch with him, then when I did he said that he'd changed his mind about being in a band as he wanted to go play drums on a cruise ship.
- One guy wanted to join, then couldn't because of availability, then decided to make himself more available, then after three rehearsals his job got moved two hours away so he can't rehearse.
- One guy was really lukewarm about auditioning, then two weeks later he heard our recordings and texted me that he was really keen, just as the previous guy said he'd join, so I thanked this guy but said we were sorted. I called him back when the above guy pulled out, and now he's lukewarm again and doesn't sound like he'll be interested.
- On Thursday we're auditioning a guy who, as it turns out, lives in another town and doesn't drive. Apparently he's a good drummer, and if he turns out to be really good then I guess the lack of car isn't a terrible terrible issue, but at this point I'm choosing to be pessimistic to avoid disappointment.
Good luck, man.
Fender Wayne Kramer Road Worn Stratocaster
Fender Classic 50s Telecaster
Marshall JCM2000 DSL100 & 1960A
Yeah there's a shortage of drummers everywhere and they can afford to be picky.
It can be very difficult to interest a good one at the rehearsal stage unless he's either a pal or at least knows and respects your abilities by reputation.
Playing a musical style with "interesting" drum parts can help attract a drummer - I've know good drummers who normally only get motivated by hard cash join frankly shit jazz-funk fusion bands because it gives them a chance to NOT play the solid, unflashy stuff they'd have to play on a paying gig. But this isn't much help if you want an audience for your band that goes beyond the regulation 9 nerds one of whom has unaccountably managed to score a girlfriend.
One option is to rehearse as best you can without a drummer until most of your set is ready - so basically you're a couple of rehearsals with a drummer away from being gig ready. You've more chance if you can promise you'll be gigging within a week or two rather than at some indefinite point in the future.
A more extreme version is to rehearse (and even play a few gigs) with a drum machine or computerised drums. Again the advantage is you can offer drummers the opportunity to join a gigging band. As a bonus, the fact that you can gig without a drummer means you can be a little bit choosier about who you hire rather than feeling forced to accept the first semi-plausible candidate. Hard fact is that the quality of your drummer will probably affect the quality of your sound more than any other instrumentalist, so there will be a long-term cost of settling for just-about-adequate when you weren't in a position to be choosy.
I find the best mix to attract drummers is 3/4s of a cold 12" pizza hut meat feast pizza and a slightly relic'd copy of Razzle - no serious sticking of the pages.
Attracting them is one thing, keeping them is entirely another matter
I like to get into established bands myself. It's much better than trying to start up a group when it can seem like no-one has a clue what to do. It's nice to be in a fairly established band where they have a following, and there is a direction.
Drummers can really change the sound of your band though, so it can be a tricky situation to be in.
Food and women can be a great start to the attraction process, but I like to see clear ads for bands where you can see what kind of music they want to play, who's already in the band (if you're a guitarist angling on your own - forget it) if there are demo's already recorded, and all that sort of thing.
I have various profiles up on various sites, and I get asked to look at all kinds of stuff which is very nice. It means I don't have to trawl through loads of ads to see if there's something interesting up on a board, and it also means you are willing to try to push your band forward.
Drummers generally are in a great position - we can really pick and choose what bands we want to be in. That's mostly due to the fact that it's expensive, lots of heavy lifting and really antisocial activity to practice, and I'm assuming you want someone who has practiced.
I'm in a pretty nice band right now, so I'm not really looking for a band at the moment, but the first place I'll look is my email inbox, not joinmyband or bandmix. Having said that, I'll always have a look at any new emails that get sent to me, if nothing else it's polite
There is that moment when the drummer auditioning for you hits the snare drum for the first time and you realise he doesn't know how to tune the £800 DW snare drum he has brought and your heart sinks when you realise you have to spend 3 hours playing with a guy who has a £4k drum kit and no idea what to do with it.
I find a drop of beer behind each ear works.
But there are ways to get a good or great drummer. One is to post some kind of local classified ad, online or if your local music store has a bulletin board for such things as "drummer wanted", post one there too. It will reach the largest amount of people. It cost a little bit of cash but you should get something out of it.
Or you could also hang out with musicians you like and ask for recommendations. Not always an easy thing to do if you're just starting out, but when musicians are looking for other musicians, they always try to get players they already know and use ads as a last resort.
Just don't forget to list your qualifications.
Last edited by butlersdog; 30th April 2012 at 06:25 AM.