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Percussionists - argh!
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Poster Percussionists - argh!
paul

paulmiller



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Joined: Jan 23, 2005
Location: Lewisville, Texas, USA
No. 1 Posted on Mar 13, 2013 3:22 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
I've been blessed/cursed to work with several percussionists over the last few years, and am frankly sick of most.

For example, they all seem to want to play congas for everything. The perc in my church band has a whole array of toys, including stand mounted tambourine (something else I hate), cowbell, agogo bells, wind chimes, maracas, other shakers, guiro, and vibra-slap. All of it is mostly unused. The cowbell he plays whenever I play one, and the tambo comes into play whenever I remind him there's a tambo part in the song. That doesn't mean it'll be played right, though.

The perc that used to play in our big band wanted to play congas on everything, regardless of whether they were called for in the music. He never brought anything else to gigs or rehearsals. To make things worse, he only had one pattern he played on everything. Holy monotony, Batman.

The new guy in the big band brings more stuff, but can't seem to find the right thing to play sometimes. To be more annoying, when I play a fill he'll either play his own fill on top of mine, muddying things a lot, or play a fill after mine, when the band is already into the next section. Drives me nuts.

Another perc I worked with in a small group also only played congas and always played the same pattern. To make things worse she plays on every song. Sorry, but congas are rarely appropriate on ballad style arrangements of Round Midnight.

I've heard great percussionists who really use their ears and skills to add color and depth to the music. The perc in my rock band has memorized the correct parts for every Santana song we play, and really adds to the music. But most I've worked with are just lame.

Thanks for reading. I just had to rant.



The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely preferable to the presence of those who think they've found it. - Terry Pratchett

Just Add Sticks


technique2012





Posts: 287
Joined: Aug 11, 2012
Location: Illinois, USA
No. 2 Posted on Mar 13, 2013 3:26 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
I rant tons about certain people I have to work with in the Concert Band percussion section. One time, someone was wearing the triangle on their head. Another, they were making inappropriate noises. Another, they were dancing while they weren't playing during the song.


"Anyone can make the simple complicated. Creativity is making the complicated simple."
-Charles Mingus
StillKickinIt

Poopeye



Posts: 1985
Joined: Jan 17, 2005
Location: Orygun - The Beaver State - USA
No. 3 Posted on Mar 14, 2013 7:24 AM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Seems to me, a worthy percussionist would be communicating with you about parts and how to deal with fills etc.

Has such communication not gone well, or just hasn't been approached?

I had one two-night opportunity to fill in as a percussionist and it was a virtual toy store!! I loved it....but I also played timbales, blocks, cowbell and other toys besides the congas and never stepped on top of the drummer. I assumed my job and goal was to compliment, not drown out, the drummer.

I wouldn't mind doing that again. I do own an old fiberglass pair of congas and enjoy playing them when possible....been a while.

Did your band director/leader know of this issue? Seems he/she would have heard the conflict and corrected it.

Hope you have better luck in the future!! Smile



Kick me...beat me....hit me with sticks....
OldFart

Mapex



Posts: 6674
Joined: Apr 2, 2007
Location: Peoria, AZ
No. 4 Posted on Mar 14, 2013 11:13 AM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
technique2012 wrote:
I rant tons about certain people I have to work with in the Concert Band percussion section. One time, someone was wearing the triangle on their head. Another, they were making inappropriate noises. Another, they were dancing while they weren't playing during the song.


That part wouldn't bother me, actually.

The inappropriate noises would bother me - and does. That's rude.


OldFart edited on Mar 14, 2013 11:54 AM

Mapex Saturn * Paiste
Terry Bozzio Single-Ply Coated
OldFart

Mapex



Posts: 6674
Joined: Apr 2, 2007
Location: Peoria, AZ
No. 5 Posted on Mar 14, 2013 11:53 AM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
I've played with a percussionist only a handful of times.

The first couple times I was the culprit, having stepped on their parts in somewhat caveman-like fashion. It took some doing to come to grips with finding my rightful spot in the mix. So the onus was squarely round my neck.

I ultimately figured out how NOT to work with them. That's not to say everything was simply Peachy afterward, but it was considerably better than before.

I've never worked with a percussionist so much that I could claim that 'I got it' where coordinating with them is concerned. So, I can't respond fully to Paul's lament - but what I was able to do showed me how a more full-bodied sound could be realized with greater individual awareness and emphasis on control over the dynamics.

I was never a hard-hitter. I've heard more players ask that I put more oomph behind my playing than those who've asked that I tone it down. But the first few times the band was accompanied by a percussionist - or simply a Conga player - I'm the one who rained on the parade.



Mapex Saturn * Paiste
Terry Bozzio Single-Ply Coated
Andy





Posts: 1724
Joined: Jan 16, 2005
Location: Rockford, MI
No. 6 Posted on Mar 16, 2013 5:29 AM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
As a bar band drummer, I rarely work with a percussionist. The few times I did, it was very similar to your experience. They didn't "color" the sound but instead played ALL THE TIME. The only thing that helped is convincing them that they sounded "really good" on whatever was the quietest instrument in their arsenal. For example, I pointed to the slightly out-of-tune muddy sounding bongos and said "man those sound great". That way I was able to pretty much drown out all their crap. Ha ha!



StillKicken





Posts: 2338
Joined: Jan 16, 2005
Location: Buda, Texas
No. 7 Posted on Mar 16, 2013 9:13 AM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Since high school I never played with other percussionist in a band but I have had bad experiences with others that want to keep time from a side table. LOL!!

While playing at a Senior Activity Center (you get the picture, we all seniors) our Band leader would let a gentleman play tambourine while playing a rock song. One night he let a lady play washboard. You guested it, neither one of these people could keep a steady beat. I can handle one song for fun but the bass player knew the lady and had eyes for her so enticed her into playing more songs while the gentleman was banging on a glass from a side table and to top it off the bass player was trying to keep up with the lady. I almost became UNGLUDED that night!! Later I told the bandleader; please only one song for these people. LOL!!

sherm



K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple System
Andy





Posts: 1724
Joined: Jan 16, 2005
Location: Rockford, MI
No. 8 Posted on Mar 16, 2013 12:52 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
StillKicken wrote:
I can handle one song for fun but the bass player knew the lady and had eyes for her so enticed her into playing more songs while the gentleman was banging on a glass from a side table and to top it off the bass player was trying to keep up with the lady. I almost became UNGLUDED that night!! Later I told the bandleader; please only one song for these people. LOL!!

sherm


I feel your pain. One "percussionist" I jammed with was so out of time you could have sworn he was keeping time to a different song! Smile




paul

paulmiller



Posts: 2692
Joined: Jan 23, 2005
Location: Lewisville, Texas, USA
No. 9 Posted on Mar 16, 2013 1:18 PM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
A couple of years ago I played a regular gig at a pizza joint. There was a couple who were there every week, sitting at a front table and getting pretty hammered on a Tuesday night. Our sax player (it was a rock band with a lot of improv, and a blues jam) let the drunk lady play claves a couple of times and she came to expect to play them all night whenever they were in attendance.

Needless to say, she had really bad time that got worse as the night wore on. I wanted to feed those claves into a wood chipper.

There was a percussionist in a jazz quartet at a local club who played a triangle A LOT. It got to a point where everyone in the band and staff wanted to bend that instrument into a knot. He didn't last long.



The presence of those seeking the truth is infinitely preferable to the presence of those who think they've found it. - Terry Pratchett

Just Add Sticks


Andy





Posts: 1724
Joined: Jan 16, 2005
Location: Rockford, MI
No. 10 Posted on Mar 17, 2013 4:11 AM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
paul wrote:
A couple of years ago I played a regular gig at a pizza joint. There was a couple who were there every week, sitting at a front table and getting pretty hammered on a Tuesday night. Our sax player (it was a rock band with a lot of improv, and a blues jam) let the drunk lady play claves a couple of times and she came to expect to play them all night whenever they were in attendance.

Needless to say, she had really bad time that got worse as the night wore on. I wanted to feed those claves into a wood chipper.

There was a percussionist in a jazz quartet at a local club who played a triangle A LOT. It got to a point where everyone in the band and staff wanted to bend that instrument into a knot. He didn't last long.


Ha Ha! During my combat tour in Iraq, we started a little on-post band. One day we let an Indian guy (one of the foreign contractors) sit in on percussion. He was absolutely terrible. Funny thing is, he was such a nice guy and a great friend that we enthusiastically invited him every time. Sometimes the music is really less important.




StillKicken





Posts: 2338
Joined: Jan 16, 2005
Location: Buda, Texas
No. 11 Posted on Mar 17, 2013 9:12 AM Profile | PM | Email | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Andy wrote:
Sometimes the music is really less important.


That's true!!!

sherm



K.I.S.S. = Keep It Simple System
knightcrawler





Posts: 207
Joined: Aug 23, 2008
No. 12 Posted on Mar 18, 2013 11:20 PM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Lol, haha! I got asked to play percussion at my church because I'm not a percussionist, but I do play with (and I have recorded) other percussion toys. For example, I use the shaker, cowbell, woodblock, rainstick, rain makers, tambourine.

I also have a bass drum and a tom set up for a tribal thing.



pwc





Posts: 9917
Joined: Jan 16, 2005
Location: Pattaya, Thailand
No. 13 Posted on Mar 30, 2013 2:31 AM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
I am trying to see if I can get past the "too many re-directs" issue of past months ...

One of the best stories I ever heard was a club that actually handed out bits of percussion - maracas, bongos etc - to patrons at the door. Anyone could use them at any time. the catch was that were made of foam rubber and were noiseless !!



Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.
OldFart

Mapex



Posts: 6674
Joined: Apr 2, 2007
Location: Peoria, AZ
No. 14 Posted on Mar 30, 2013 11:20 AM Profile | PM | Quote | Search | Copy | Favorite
Glad you shared that one, Peter, as I think that's a fantastic Hook for an establishment.

Bet they get more audience participation - and thus band awareness - than their competition.



Mapex Saturn * Paiste
Terry Bozzio Single-Ply Coated

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