The Backline Situation!

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atldrummer
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Post Thu Oct 19, 2006 11:30 pm

Right now I'm bummed. I'm playing with The Swear this Saturday at the Underground Octoberfest. I was stoked! I got my Pork Pie's all shined up, ready to bling! and I find out today that they're making us all play a backline kit. Damnit! I had a friend coming out with cameras to get some new live shots of me playing, that's useless now, and I'm the 2nd to last of 12 bands so the kit will obviously be pummeled by time I get to it. I just don't get it. It takes me more time to adjust a backline kit to get it where I'm comfortable playing than it does to set my kit up. I can set my kit up and am ready to play in about 8 minutes or less. And the whole soundman thing I think is b.s. Every drummer hits different, he or she will be setting the backline kit up a little different, so the backline kit will sound different with every drummer and the mics will still have to be moved. It just really bums me out. I could understand if it was in a club where there's very little room for storage of gear (i.e. the hardrock), a flying gig, or if it was a cover gig, but when it's a outdoor all original band festival with tons of backstage area and an easy load-in and load-out, why not let each drummer use their kit? How would a guitarist feel if they showed up and they were made to play a Jackson guitar when they always play a Les Paul....do you think they'd bitch? It'd be guaranteed. I truly am sick of people not understanding that a drummer's kit is an INSTRUMENT. In fact, it's the First instrument! The look and sound of each drummer's kit is as much of that drummer's voice as a guitarist's guitar is. I play a 24" kick and I've even had backlines with a 20 inch kick. That's like playing Marshall normally and having to use a Pod all of a sudden at a gig. I am extremely proud to be a Pork Pie endorser but constantly don't get to use my kit on the shows when it can get the most visibility (Music Midtown, Octoberfest, etc) because they make us use a backline kit. Also, it'd save the promoter money to not have to bring in backline. It's just not very motivating to play an original gig on a kit that's not comfortable to play. I just needed to vent! Drummers unite or if you disagree with me....I don't care. I love my kit and and am happy to roll it from my car to the stage to rock they shit out of you on it!
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Shalaq
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Post Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:20 am

I agree. I don't like playing someone elses kit. Once I had to play a Yamaha with pinstripes on the toms(10 and 14- I usually play a 12 16) which were tuned really high. As my friends told me, when I struck them, they couldn't hear them. The owner of the drums told me after the show that you have to beat those toms like a hammer to get a proper sound. On my regular set I only need to touch my toms to get a full sound.
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Rob Crisp
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Post Fri Oct 20, 2006 8:23 am

I agree 100%!!

First off, there's nothing worse than sitting down behind a kit and not having everything exactly where you need it (because it's never quite the same), but secondly and this is what really bugs me, 9 times out of 10 the kit you've gotta use is a heap of s**t and out of tune!

Fortunately now I get to use my own kit the majority of the time, but then there's the fear that another drummer just won't respect it, as well as adjusting every friggin memory bolt on the damn thing!

There's no way my guitarist would ever play on someone elses guitar or amp, he'd flat refuse! if we refuse as drummers, we get abuse!

Vive la revolution!
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downshifter99
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Post Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:20 am

I understand 100%!

(A) I don't let ANYONE play on my set...EVER!

(B) I've done some auditioning for bands that had their"own"drums....Man,it's always like a hunk-o-shite!

(C) If I can't use my own drums(more so if I'm endorsed),then I don't play....PERIOD!

(D) Drummers NEVER get any credit at all....let me tell you something.Music is like a body....WE are the back-bone,without the back-bone the body cannot stand!

(E) If I knew the kind of set-up I was to play on(and there wasn't anyother drummers before me)then,maybe I'd do the gig.I would have to know how many cymbal stands(cause I'd use my own),ect...


I hate it also....do what YOU feel is right brother.
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devilspain
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Post Fri Oct 20, 2006 11:04 am

that is pretty lame! cant you argue about it ? say you want to use your own kit! unfortunally in belfast the music scene aint big so the local scene is usually small. so its usually the headliners kit used, each drummer brings own cymbals, snare and pedal.
well using my kit the band before beat the shit out of my drums heads. i was rather pissed but didnt say anything. but thats life.
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JonnyDaybreak
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Post Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:05 pm

i'm just glad i'm not the only one out there with this stupid problem. it just never made sense to me. biggest issues i've got with using house kits is that they never feel comfortable, it'll be close, but not the same. i think worst of all is that you never know how those drums are tuned. in my band, i tune my drums pretty low for good low end attack because the guitars are tuned down to C. so if i play with drums that are too small and are tuned too high, my bands music suffers. it just doesn't sound the way it's supposed to.
we all need to find the guy who thought of this idea and beat the crap out of him, hahahaha.
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m
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Post Fri Oct 20, 2006 4:36 pm

to me, it shows the real priority of the promoter, or whoever's decision it was to backline it. Get the bands in and out in a huge hurry, with no respect for their individuality or integrity. Get the money and go.
I'm sure that's no suprise, that's what promoters do it for.
Sure would be nice if they showed a little respect for the musicians though.

It's one of the reasons my band doesn't do festivals, and the ONLY time we've ever been in a backline situation we were able to insist on using my kit. I had to compromise my position onstage, but I got to use my setup, I was comfortable, and the backline kit broke 2 songs into the headliner's set anyway.

If there's any way to diplomatically insist on using your own kit, it's worth looking into. That's one reason I use a lot of electronic components on mine- a typical backline kit won't work for us.
All comes down to how badly they want you on the bill...
Chad Scott
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Post Sat Oct 21, 2006 4:02 am

It would be cheaper to have people use their own drums---I think what they are thinking is pro sound, pro gear and quick set up times...It would be nice if they would just accept the fact that every drummer has his/her sound & if you change that sound it will change the song--That alone throws me off, even when I know the song in and out! I'm one of those drummer's that will not play without my set up! I can't play my songs without the set up I have--too weird....Some promoters just don't understand drum sound & feel importance. I'm sorry that you have to deal with a company setup...
If your going to do it---good luck and rock the house!
P.S. I would be pissed & sad but if we were already booked I would argue, argue some more--If no I would probably do it but only play our simple songs & covers...I'll pray for ya & good luck again!
just another drummer who wants to become better,learn more and play more than most..
if you can help please do!!
etw487
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Post Sat Oct 21, 2006 1:55 pm

Quit complaining. At least if theres backline you dont have to pull your gear out. Play New York a few times and you will be thankful there is a backline. And Atldrummer, if you are complaining about playing a 20" kick then I think you must be lacking something in your pants. 24"? why do you need a kick drum that big?
atldrummer
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Post Sun Oct 22, 2006 10:01 pm

1st off etw487, I have played NYC and did use a backline kit once. also played NYC using my own kit while on tour. But if you'd read the post, this show is not in NYC it was in my hometown of Atlanta. 2nd off, a 24" kit has a completely different feel and sound when you play it from a 20". I also own a kit with a 20" and it doesn't fit the music I'm playing and it also feels very different to play. Imagine Bonham playing a 20". It'd been sac-religious. And 3rd, my band had 2 national magazines taking photos of our show (which I did use my kit btw, the head of prod. knew me and knew it'd be fine) so it was important for me to use my kit beings a photo might show up and I'm a true believer in promoting my companies that endorse me. As far as what's in my pants.....well, we know what's on your mind now. That is, other than the immaturity.
Dale
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Post Mon Oct 23, 2006 8:03 am

I hate to seem a bit negative, but that problem is nothing at all. If and when you ever go on a long tour, chances are you will have to use many kits, both good and bad.

Your friend isn't going to film you because you wont have your shiny Pork Pies??? Cripes alive.

I think an attitude adjustment is in order.

You think you've got a problem? Just wait until you spend months touring and then get screwed around for money. Or the record label chief of staff asks for a blow job to secure a deal.

If this minor problem is such a major issue, you're in the wrong business buddy.
I don't know what I'm talking about!

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Dale
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Post Mon Oct 23, 2006 9:49 am

My post above seems a bit harsh. I'm sorry for that, but the fact is that this is a very, very tough business and your problem is incredibly minor. Anyone who says show business is easy is either pig ignorant or a liar. Show business chews up and spits out people in huge amounts. Realising this fact shows just how minor your problem is.

My thoughts on your original post is that first of all you have a responsibility to your band to play well. Regardless of the equipment you must use. The fact that your friend is no longer filming makes me question your priorities. Was he going to film the band's performance, or just the drummer?

If you are worried about playing an unfamiliar kit, there is a way to deal with this. Use practice time to set up your kit in different configurations. Don't become a slave to one set up. The reason for this is obvious; i.e. you wont always be able to play your kit.

The simple fact of the matter is that you have a gig. This fact needs to be appreciated.

Break a leg.
I don't know what I'm talking about!

"Don't play FOR people. Play WITH people."
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Angotti
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Post Mon Oct 23, 2006 11:42 pm

I feel your pain guys, playing an unfamilair kit is the worst thing in the world. I played a gig at the house of blues down in New Orleans, drove for 16 hours hauling all of the band gear, including my kit. Once I got there, they wanted me to use some turd rocket, at the time i was using a dw, so,,yeah,,,go figure. Anyway, after some heated words with the house sound guy, how come they always have shite personalities by the way??, I ended up setting my stuff up and rocking.
changlab
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Post Fri Oct 27, 2006 5:20 pm

Dale wrote:My post above seems a bit harsh. I'm sorry for that, but the fact is that this is a very, very tough business and your problem is incredibly minor. Anyone who says show business is easy is either pig ignorant or a liar. Show business chews up and spits out people in huge amounts. Realising this fact shows just how minor your problem is.

My thoughts on your original post is that first of all you have a responsibility to your band to play well. Regardless of the equipment you must use. The fact that your friend is no longer filming makes me question your priorities. Was he going to film the band's performance, or just the drummer?

If you are worried about playing an unfamiliar kit, there is a way to deal with this. Use practice time to set up your kit in different configurations. Don't become a slave to one set up. The reason for this is obvious; i.e. you wont always be able to play your kit.

The simple fact of the matter is that you have a gig. This fact needs to be appreciated.

Break a leg.


I agree compleatly...
I play in several bands some I play a big kit(9pc dbl bass)
others(Johnny cash tribute) I play a small kit.
the Cash gig is useually backlined I never know what's gonna be there when I show up so I bring my own cymbals,throne,snare,sticks,pedal... so in all actuality I'm using thier kit for looks as there are not alot of tom fills in Cash's music.
I used to get very upset about my kit setup or the monitor mix but as I became more "seasond" i realized that it was immature to do so.
now I do my best to make my band(s) sound the best they can and put on a good performance.
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Jiggarelli
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Post Wed Nov 01, 2006 8:17 am

I feel that this is what being a chameleon is all about.
You know what else, view it as a challenge as oposed to a disapointment.
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