in my last band, i did all of the singing because i was the only one who had a good sense of pitch haha. i don't have a great voice but i can hit notes. there is a band called Bubblemath and their drummer does some singing, and also, Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater does a lot of back-up vocals as well!
btw, i've experienced that for me...if i am singing the whole song, then my crowd interaction and my visual in playing isn't nearly as good as when i don't have to worry about singing while playing at the same time...i would just rather sing during vocal harmonies and play the rest of the time!
also, go to www.myspace.com/bubblemath to check those guys out...kind of jazzy/prog rock/experimental....they are different and i like that!
I think it's an asset to your playing to be able to sing as well. Where I'm at, a singing drummer is a definite bonus. If you are looking for work and a band knows you can sing, that's a really good thing. Even if it is just back-up vocs, the voice is an instrument that comes in handy. I had to sing a lot in the old band and even do some rap. I'm glad I had to because that made me more musical, forced me to listen, and thus made me a better player. Good Topic!
I do back ups all the time and love it, some of it is leading at times. It does take work. But it sucks when you realize you're a better singer than the vocalist you're working with, it's like what the fuck, do I have to do everything.
Not too many singers play the drums at the same time or vice versa. I always thought the reason for this was it is really hard to get a mic stand angled right to stay out of your way. but hey thanks to modern technology, you can simply wear a head mic and strap it on around your ears. When I was playing guitar for other bands I used to think drummers were lazy when it came to singing but I have totally changed my mind. There is enough to keep up with let alone have to remember song lyrics.
I find that being a singing drummer has lots of benefits, especially in harmonies for the band. A band that can harmonize well can go very far.
However, the stigma in the music "business" is that a band with a lead vocalist / drummer is not appealing and is not viewed as "marketable". I have been told on several occasions that there is not enough faith that a frontman drummer can entertain the crowd like a frontman that runs all over the place. They like to see movement.
A few notables are Don Henley; Fred Leblanc from Cowboy Mouth; Chris Cornell from 1984's version of Soundgarden (had to move out front though); Kelly Keagy from Night Ranger (not a fan of their music that much though);
It is a task to sing and play drums for 4 hours though.... good excercise.
One other tip that I can offer: buy a Cough Drop. It's a great foot-operated switchbox from ProCo that interrupts your mic feed so you can clear your throat as need be. And they are only about 75 bucks US.
I did all the clean singing in my last band. I still do a lot of the gutteral screaming in my current band. I found that using a headset mic , instead of a boom stand is waaaaay easier. You can keep looking forward when you sing. In my case the guys in the band razzed me and called it my britney spears mic. So that sucked...always gotta talk shit