| Columns |

Help! Our Drummer Is an Egomaniac!

Keep Dallas Observer Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Dallas and help keep the future of Dallas Observer free.

Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Hi Fan, We have an excellent drummer (most of the time, that is -- he has tempo issues sometimes, but that's another question) who insists on singing. And it is agreed among the rest of the band that he's truly horrible at singing. We have received an ultimatum from him, that unless he sings a certain percentage of songs, we can find another drummer. What would you advise? Thanks! Anonymous

Dear Anonymous, Seeing as your skinsman is the ultimatum type, being totally straight with him about his abilities (or lack thereof) might just be a dealbreaker. Issuing an ultimatum is his way of getting what he wants, or maybe he feels like no one is hearing him out -- or maybe he has no idea how unreasonable his request is and just thinks you all are being stubborn. With an "or else" in place already, there is no room for negotiation, so I am going to suggest other measures.

I want to make clear that I think being direct is always best even when it's difficult; being passive aggressive and pulling power moves will break up a band and are shitty to be on either end of. That said, my solution involves a discursive route along those lines and a show or two.

When you are on stage it's all vibes and perception and moments. What really happened is malleable, rearranged by audience reaction or the bartender or the opening band's compliments. Anyone in a band knows, there is no truth like the truth of the board tape. There is no more ungenerous version of a show than a board tape. I think this is where you gotta go with this one. Sometimes giving someone what they want most is the greatest punishment.

Let him do his percentage of songs. At the first show with those songs, have the sound engineer run a recording off the board -- and then listen to it together, as a band, as soon as possible after the show.

Perhaps he will make excuses about first show jitters or whatnot, but then and there is the place to confront him with the proof of his pitchy pudding. If his drumming was a shitty as his singing, there is no way it would be acceptable. Give him an ultimatum perhaps: If he wants to live his dream of being Karen Carpenter he needs to work on it solo or find another band because you will not be hostage to his mewling.

Good luck, J

See also: -The Top Ten All Time Best Replacement Lead Singers in Rock and Roll -Songs That Have Hidden Messages When Played in Reverse -The Ten Best Music Videos Banned by MTV

Keep up with DC9 at Night on Twitter or Facebook.

Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.


Join the Observer community and help support independent local journalism in Dallas.