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Topic: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

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  1. #1

    Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    A few months ago I was hanging out at a local studio, just checking out a friend's recording session .. there were live musicians performing most of the tracks in the studio that day.

    One song was kind of a slow LA shuffle thing, and the drummer was fine, but on this particlar tune his playing sounded just a hair less confident than his performance on the other tunes. This was not very obvious, in fact it wasn't mentioned in the recording room at all - no exchanging of looks between people or anything like that. Everybody seemed pretty comfortable with it anyway. Of course, not everybody in the room might have picked it up from the same angle that I did, or maybe not all all - who knows.

    But the drummer came in to the recording room and said that "hey guys, I can't do this kinda of tune, or at least do this groove any justice. I'd like to call in John to do it for me. Are you ok with that?" And everybody was, and this other drummer John showed up to do one tune and he did that groove a bit better.

    Now, seen from the "employer's" point of view, how do you guys look upon such a thing? Sure enough it was humble and a rather cool thing to do. This other drummer John, was nobody that was a friend of anybody in the studio that day and of course the first drummer got to pay him a bit of the money he was getting for playing. Bringing John in caused a delay of about 1 hour but getting a better track down on tape and the first drummer also made the producer shine more.

    Would we, as composers or arrangers do the same thing? bringing another guy in if we thought he might do just this one thing better then ourselves, to hopefully make the producer shine more? or would we be cautious to not introduce another talent to our employer, a talent that possibly could take our place if the producer wanted some work done while we're on Hawaii for a week? I've never done it myself, and I'm not sure I would.

    This kind of scenario should also be happening in similar ways in other situationes .. so feel free to speculate ..
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

  2. #2

    Re: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    First of all, IMHO someone contracted the wrong drummer for the session, period. The studio is NOT the place to find out that someone can't cut it. Secondly, if there was any doubt of the abilities of the contracted musicians, then the producer (or whomever was in charge) should've scheduled a prior rehearsal elsewhere in a less costly environment, if only for the rhythm section.

    As far as calling in the other drummer: IMHO the original drummer lost any future callbacks when he proved his inability to play the tune in the first place. Bringing in the second drummer at least showed that he had the integrity to try and save the session. But regardless of whether or not he called in the second drummer, he blew it. Unless he's spectacular at everything else he plays. I'd be afraid to call him again.

  3. #3

    Re: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    The ultimate responsibility is the producer's, not the drummer.

    It's not the drummer's fault that he wasn't an expert at all the styles needed, it's the producer's for calling the wrong guy. That said, there have been a million instances like this through recording history where other guys are called after the intial session to replace parts done by others who were fine musicians. Sometimes it's just a vibe or a sound difference, and that isn't a mistake on anyone's part, that's just the way it goes sometimes.
    McCartney did it on RAM with a couple of top session guitarists.

    There are drummers I'd use for some things, and not others, same with sax, etc. You just have to know your "weaponry" as Monty Python might say.

    Simply because the drummer wasn't as good at one style as another wouldn't stop me from calling him again. The studio time wasted is on the producer for not having the right guy, not the drummer.

  4. #4

    Re: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    Tom,

    I don't disagree. But there's a definite distinction to be made between hiring another player for a different interpretation, as opposed to having to hire another player because the first guy couldn't competantly do the job he was hired to do in the first place.

    But yes, the ultimate responsibility is the Producer's, assuming that he was the one responsible for the hired personel on this session.

  5. #5

    Re: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman
    Tom,

    I don't disagree. But there's a definite distinction to be made between hiring another player for a different interpretation, as opposed to having to hire another player because the first guy couldn't competantly do the job he was hired to do in the first place.

    But yes, the ultimate responsibility is the Producer's, assuming that he was the one responsible for the hired personel on this session.
    Yes, you're right....these are bumps in the road that we all go through at some time or another. At the very least, it was hopefully a valuable learning experience....

  6. #6

    Re: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman
    As far as calling in the other drummer: IMHO the original drummer lost any future callbacks when he proved his inability to play the tune in the first place. Bringing in the second drummer at least showed that he had the integrity to try and save the session. But regardless of whether or not he called in the second drummer, he blew it. Unless he's spectacular at everything else he plays. I'd be afraid to call him again.
    So you think every musician should be able to pley every style in order to get your business? You seem to be implying that if a producer of a classical style score hires a jazz trumpeter to play in his session, and that trumpeter suggests a classical trumpeter would do a better job, you would never hire that trumpeter again. Then you go on to say that you agree that it is the producers responsibility to hire the right musincian. Sounds like you're contradicting yourself and failing to give the drummer the credit for his integrity. If you have some other reason for not hiring the guy again (besides his inability to play a particular style), please explain.

    IMHO this guy is a professional who did the right thing and saved the session for an inept producer. I would hire the guy.

  7. #7
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    Re: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    To imply a musician should be good at every style is kinda silly IMO .

    Can you imagine Tony Rice playing death metal ? I sure as hell can not .

    I think the drummer is the type of person you would want if you want your work to get to the next level . I would not want one's ego getting in the way of my music .

  8. #8

    Re: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    Interesting to read the comments.

    Music or performance, or even professionalism doesn't need to be the best it can be at all times, and most of the time it isn't - to be frank. I mean who knows what another guy might have come up with instead of my contribution. Most of the time it's the guy the producer knows best (in combination with a comforting level of abilities) that usually gets the call. And music - or any kind of craft - is not usually a religion, where you absolutely need to do something the right way or do it to a level that would please the Man upstairs or He will come down and sending your butt to the man downstairs. To a certain extent it is also a way to pay your bread and butter.

    Sure enough it was a "Noble" thing to get another guy, but was it smart? The thing that has been bugging me, though, is the simple fact that the first drummer actually got the job done even better than the producer figured it would be done. Now, if I would be a producer and hire a film guy to do a 5 min film for me, I would probably find alot of comfort in knowing that if I call the "first drummer" type of guy then the job will actually get done, no matter if he does it or if he brings in another guy .. the job will get done. If I would call someone that is not "the first drummer" type of guy, and he can't cut it or does it poorly but doesn't wanna loose his face, then I have to go with what I get OR I'd have to find another guy and start over.

    I'm thinking the question sort of narrows down to how the individual producer/employer will interpret the situation and what conclusions he makes out of it. Those conclusions would be especially important to any musician if we're alking about it as the bread and butter income - we all need that.
    Kid: When I become an adult I wanna be a musician.
    Parent: Son, you cannot become both.

  9. #9

    Re: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    Amb,

    If someone accepts a job playing on a recording session, that person should be qualified to play what's asked of him, or he shouldn't have accepted the gig, don't you think? No one said that they hired a metal drummer to play jazz or anything outlandish like that. I have no idea what your third statement about the "next level" meant. If you hired a drummer to take your music to the next level, and he couldn't do it, how would you feel? Particularly when you're paying for studio time by the hour?

  10. #10

    Re: Would you call another guy in to do it for you?

    Tomke,

    It all comes down to the perception of those involved. For instance, from the Artist's perspective, he was wronged by both the producer and the drummer. To him, his music is The Single Most Important Thing On Earth, and anything that compromises that is a major offense. If you were the Artist in question, wouldn't you be upset over this whole situation?

    Now the Producer's perspective: If the producer really had the low expectations that you infer, then he's really the big culprit here. Not only did he knowingly hire a drummer that may or may not be able to cut it, but was pleasantly surprised at a performance that even the drummer himself felt was unsatisfactory.

    If we were talking about a recording session for a major label, all of your initial scenario would be a disgrace. And I think that that's what accounts for the disparity of answers here. Some of us are thinking in terms of a local demo recording at a semi pro studio, while others of us are looking at it from the standpoint of total professionalism.

    I don't find the drummer's perspective in this scenario all that important in relation to the wrongs done by the producer. Now that you've shed more light on the circumstances, it almost seems like the drummer was a victim to a certain extent too. A less than total pro thrust into a recording situation that he was evidentally unprepared for.

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