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drummer wanted
why you should never, ever start a band
by joe procopio (@jproco)

Drummer wanted to complete three-piece rock group. Well, it's kind of alt-rock, but not all moody and down, nor is it grungy, punky, jangly, or powerpop. But it isn't classic rock either and it certainly isn't hard rock or metal.

Wait, it might be a little hard.

I mean, if your notion of regular everyday pedestrian rock is Coldplay or Radiohead, than this is a little harder than that. But there's no screaming. Or grunting. And none of that way-too-serious faux-metal. Like, if we ever make a video, it won't be raining during the whole thing with the singer shouting at the heavens with arms outstretched to show off the upper body. He'd pull something if he did that. Likely a hammy.

So it's rock. You know. ROCK rock, the kind nobody listens to anymore. We want to play that kind of rock for handfuls of people at bars that normally don't have bands so that said handful will be upset that they can't talk about what bands they would be going out to see if they felt like going out to see a band tonight.

Now that we've determined we'll be rocking, we need to do that thing where we talk about which bands we sound like so you can make the determination as to whether or not we align musically. This is a total exercise in futility.

Like we'll put down the Police because we're a three-piece. But our singer is not going to sound like Sting, because no singer ever sounds like Sting, they sound like a singer trying to hit high notes that they can't hit. And if you don't sing like Sting, you really don't sound like the Police.

We'll put down Foo Fighters because every rock band looking for a drummer puts down Foo Fighters because they are the current rock band safety standard as well as the current drummer talent standard. Them or Red Hot Chili Peppers, but we plan on keeping our shirts and pants on for the duration of our careers.

We'll put down the Hives because even though we don't dress up in suits and put on an all-out show instead of just getting up there and playing, we'd like to someday. Plus, one of us is really into the new CD kind of sheepishly and thinks it might make you think we're cool. Either that or you'll think we're 13-year-old girls.

We'll put down Air Traffic because we want you to know that we still have some sense of what's up-and-coming and we're not trapped in a certain niche or genre. You won't know who they are, and you probably won't look them up. We're sort of counting on that.

Just to sum up, we won't sound like any of these bands, nor will this particularly help you determine if you want to be in our band. Let's face it, with musicians, we'll take any chance available to list bands we like.

We are VETS of the LOCAL scene. This means we used to be in other bands. And this means squat. The sad statement of why we don't list those bands is that if you did recognize any of them, we probably already know who you are and you've likely already turned us down.

So that's us in a nutshell. And since you now have no more idea of what you're getting into than before you started reading, we're going to make a bunch of demands about what you should be like, even though we know drummers are impossible to find and even though we know most drummers are certifiably batshit insane and we expect you not to be. It doesn't matter, six weeks after this ad first appears and we have no responses, we won't care about 90% of these.

Let's talk about age. Not age in terms of how old you are, because that's sort of irrelevant, but we'll need to know your rock age. In other words, it's OK if you're in your forties if you don't get winded easily and you're not constantly trying to get us to play the Rolling Stones. Same thing if you're in your teens as long as you understand that we're not ever rapping. We don't care how well it fits into the song, there will be no hip-hop influence. We're old enough to remember when everyday rock bands tried to rap, culminating in the middle section of Rush's "Roll The Bones," the worst rap ever recorded, and marking the first ever appearance in rap of the words "parallax," "abstraction," and "Nome."

You need to have the crush of John Bonham and the ear of Stewart Copeland. Have a lot of drums, but don't hit all the drums all the time. Like, you should have a cowbell, but we should only hear it once a week. You can have a drum solo if you'd like, during which you can go nuts, because we won't even be listening.

Along those same lines, we need you to play perfectly what we hear in our heads as we write songs (without writing the actual drum parts). You'll have musical freedom, so long as you play it RIGHT. Of course, since you are the drummer, the band can't function without your comfort level with the beat, but you're going to get little to no direction - and when you do get it, it will be spoken, like "you need to play it DUM! da DUM! da da da DUM! da WHACK!"

Remember, you will be a full member of this band. As such, we'll be looking to you to help us find gigs, hang up fliers, carry equipment, bring people to shows, make phone calls, etc. However, you should know you are the third member of this band, so keep your trap shut.

If you're interested, and who wouldn't be at this point, we'll have you come and sit in on a rehearsal. This won't be an audition, but we will be scrutinizing and judging your every move from how you shake our hands to the faces you make while you're desperately trying to figure out DUM da WHACK while we play inordinately loudly over you and glare at you because you're not keeping up.

If you do well there, we'll give you a CD with our old drummer playing and we'll expect you to learn it all and play it very differently while keeping it almost exactly the same.

If we don't like what we see, we'll just never call you again, ignore your messages, and pretend not to remember who you are when we see you out at bars. Then, a few months later when we catch your new band at a local show, we'll try to convince you to join our band instead.

Because drummers are impossible to find and for the life of us we can't figure out why no one is responding to our ad, which we've now changed to: DRUMMER WANTED! MUST NOT SUCK!

Thanks, rip one of those strips with our phone numbers off the bottom of this flyer and give us a jingle. You never know, we could be the next Coldplay...

...only, you know, a little bit harder but without all the screaming.


Joe Procopio trades in pop culture and tech culture, allowing him to poke fun at so many things. He's written for a number of online and offline publications from the late, lamented Smug to the fancy-pants Chicago Tribune and also for television. He's a novelist, a shredder, a joker, and a family man. Scoff at joeprocopio.com or follow on Twitter @jproco.

more about joe procopio


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by joe procopio
topic: music
published: 7.1.05

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burning airlines live at the cradle
by joe procopio
topic: music
published: 7.16.01


adam kraemer
5.2.08 @ 10:06a

Nice job on the column.

There are other reasons, of course.

The last band I was in in Boston, we discovered only after two months of rehearsal before the first gig that our lead singer was perfectly fine in the bassist's garage, but had no stage presence whatsoever.

Then, while the bassist was perusing the classifieds looking for a new lead singer, he found an add placed by the guitarist looking for a new band.

That's when the drummer quit.

daniel castro
5.2.08 @ 10:33a

What, no Nickelback?

russ carr
5.2.08 @ 1:02p

Less "Joe's drummer." More "Joe Strummer."

joe procopio
5.2.08 @ 1:30p

I think I nailed Nickelback perfectly in the 3rd paragraph. And to answer the emails, yes, I am really looking for a drummer.

jeffrey walker
5.2.08 @ 3:06p

I'm telling you guys: Indaba, Kompoz, ejamming; pick one, load some riffs and maybe some lyrics, and I'm all over it.

robert melos
5.2.08 @ 11:38p

Two words. Night Ranger.

Just kidding. I was always into 80s hair bands.

dan gonzalez
5.7.08 @ 2:27a

You need a fucking Mexican drummer. That's it, and don't be confused by Ricans, Cubans, or goddamn Brazilians (who are really Portuguese pretending to be real Latinos).

It just so happens that I happen to be one (I have two 'z's' in my last name to prove it), and I am also probably the baddest-ass drummer your honky ass could ever imagine.

Admit it, you douche-bags need me, even though I'm almost better at guitar than my beloved drums nowadays.

I need a day job in RTP, maybe I'll call my Uncle Cisco up and see.

dan gonzalez
5.7.08 @ 2:56a

One more thing, I'm sure your tutti-frutti originals are great and all, but I'm not joining your band unless to agree to cover 'Story of my Life' by Social D. (It's G-C-D, you can doo eet!!)

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