Chat about Equipment Info

Is one of the drummers over playing?

The one on the right's out of control.
The one on the left is out of control.
No votes
Both are just exactly perfect.
 #98797  by playingdead
 Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:15 pm
Our drummers are having their semi-annual debate about who's playing too much ... or not.

Seems like isolating the drums during a song is a good way to tell; this is Jack Straw from an April gig we did. All you're hearing is two kick mics, and two omnis, each kit panned hard left and right. Rest of the band is just stage spill.

Specifically, drummer in your left headphone thinks the drummer in the right headphone is overplaying. What do you think? Assuming you have nothing better to do with your time ... LOL

(If you are using Safari on a Mac, try Firefox instead, MP3 files are 44.1 kHz and Safari doesn't like 'em.)

You can hear the whole band doing Jack Straw here -- track 7 on the player: ... hnnydsset2
 #98800  by JonnyBoy
 Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:42 pm
They seem pretty in tune with one another, but one, I cant tell left or right (since my ear phones aren't marked), is a little louder, but at the volume you guys play it must be a hair splitting issue?..he is not pounding or hacking by any means, and is not so loud that it is poor taste playing.. I always noticed one drummer played a little softer than the other in vids, but the overall sound is great, and they seem to play well together overall. I hope they get it figured out... :lol:
 #98802  by Becker Guitars
 Wed Jun 01, 2011 10:58 pm
My headphones aren't marked either, but one drummer (my right at least) is definitely louder and playing more than the other. Not in a bad way at all, I actually liked his drumming better. I wouldn't call it overplaying, just that he is playing busier parts and a little bit louder. I think they play together nicely. I checked out the full version too, good stuff!
 #98804  by jester536
 Thu Jun 02, 2011 5:41 am
I think "overplaying" is "overstating" it by a long shot. One is definitely throwing in more fills but like the others here...I like it. I think they sound really good together. There may be times when both go to throw in a fill...and have different doesn't mix perfectly but that's going to happen...unless they find a way to share a brain. I really hope this isn't a big point of contention because they realy do sound great together. It's the type of thing where they wouldn't realize how good they had it until they were apart. Don't let either of them get away.
Very cool to have the mix isolated that was listening to the Dead that got me into doing that...pick a player and try to focus on that one part. Thanks man.
 #98806  by hogan
 Thu Jun 02, 2011 6:53 am
 #98809  by Rusty the Scoob
 Thu Jun 02, 2011 7:55 am
I guess I'm about as close to a drummer as you're likely to get here in Grateful Dead Equipment Discussion :lol:

It would be nice to balance out their volumes a little... some drummers are naturally louder than others. Just from meeting them, I'm guessing that Tony is louder than Brian?

Personally I'd say they're BOTH overplaying just a little... each one is approaching it mostly like a solo drummer would, wheras Billy was the timekeeper and provided the feel and Mickey was more the accent guy. (plenty of exceptions to this guideline but Jack Straw isn't really one of them that I've noticed).

But I definitely wouldn't have any trouble playing with them. It's nice to get the drums just exactly perfect but the reality is that they're pretty far down on the average listener's radar. As long as the feel is about right, the tempo is steady, and they nail a few key passages like Samson and Delilah, any drummer or combo of drummers is fine IMHO.
 #98811  by strumminsix
 Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:04 am
Rusty the Scoob wrote:Personally I'd say they're BOTH overplaying just a little... each one is approaching it mostly like a solo drummer would, wheras Billy was the timekeeper and provided the feel and Mickey was more the accent guy.
I agree. But to be clear I'm saying this to help your band grow not that I see their playing a problem

Right is way louder in the mix. It's odd, it almost sounds like a panned drum kit:
Right - snare and highhat
Left - toms and more toms

More importantly I'd say - they aren't playing off each other all that well.

If the Rt is supposed to be Billy then I'm hearing him doing a good job but it sounds like he wants to add more accents. The Left as Mickey he doesn't sound like he is playing the percussive additions just the 2 kit and the floor tom. Now I'm listening to the jam and it sounds like they are duplicate and switching roles.

 #98816  by Tennessee Jedi
 Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:16 am
Playing Dead has a great sound. It is unforced .... flowing ..... nothing cluttered sounding about them.
Maybe its just the killer mix of the vids bit really all the guys do a great job of playing together with a seemingly effortless skill - great BAND
Vic is pretty good too
 #98819  by playingdead
 Thu Jun 02, 2011 8:46 am
Well ... let's see. I didn't spend any time trying to get their volumes equal or mix them on this, it was just turn it up, pan each hard the opposite way and let 'em rip. If I remember correctly, each omni is positioned around the snare drum, so the drummer on the left side of the stage's omni will be picking up some of the right drummer's floor and rack toms (it's a very tight stage at that venue).

In general, Brian (he's on the right side of the mix), plays harder than Tony does, Tony barely moves his arms sometimes. There's no active "you be Billy, I'll be Mickey" vibe happening to my knowledge, but since Tony tends to play more passively, Brian tends to play a little more actively.

Each has their strengths ... Tony is very good with dynamics (although he never gets really loud), he's also good with little odd accents, like hitting a bell at an apt moment, grabbing a xylophone or some shakers, and so forth. Brian has better meter and is a more straight-ahead solid rock drummer. When we go with one drummer, Brian is more steady; you can play to Brian, where Tony plays more to you, if that makes sense. Brian is also much more of a student of the Dead than Tony is ... Brian's doing those Mickey-like 32nd tom rolls on the "gotta go to Tulsa" verse, for example. Tony is also prone to occasionally doing something weird and out of the Dead drummer realm, like playing a "freight train" rhythm on a snare all the way through a tune like Maggie's Farm or Cumberland. Usually a well directed glare will deter him. But not always.

We occasionally have some good drummers sit in for one or the other, and then it typically does become a too-much scenario, much as it would if Billy were to try to play like he did 72-74 with Mickey in the band. I think overall, Tony and Brian do a great job, but there are these little flareups. Complicating the issue is Jimbo, our rhythm guitarist, is also a good drummer and very much a student of Grateful Dead drums, so he likes to try to direct, even on stage, which Tony hates. LOL

Listening to this, I wouldn't say anyone's really dominating the drum conversation here.

Last edited by playingdead on Sun Jun 05, 2011 8:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
 #98824  by strumminsix
 Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:04 am
Now I listen to the whole band, and my review is different. They sound more locked in with the instruments and are doing some EXCELLENT things.

They still sound like they can be playing with/against/in contrast with one another better but, honestly, the whole band sounds looked and loaded into big picture of making great music together.
 #98825  by playingdead
 Thu Jun 02, 2011 10:13 am
Thanks, man ... all I'm saying is, let's all burn a fattie together and just try and feeeeeel it, let the music play the band.

 #98903  by zambiland
 Fri Jun 03, 2011 2:26 pm
The two of them together play about 1/4 of the amount that my single drummer plays. I'd be very happy to play with either or both of them. Their time is reasonable enough and their dynamics are good. Too often in my band I feel like I'm playing with a Mickey and no Billy.