There is a popular misconception in the music world that drummers are always the first to lose interest in a band’s musical direction. Maybe it’s because pop culture is filled with the tried trope of drummers running off to join another band that fills their needs. If you want the backbone of your band to stay, here are five easy tricks to spice up your relationship with your drummer.
1. Take it slow.
Too often drummers are expected to fill their stereotypical (and outdated) role as nonstop balls of energy that feel required to set the tempo for the entire performance. But what if you let your drummer breathe a little bit? Try writing a song with a slow build up and let your drummer set their own pace.
2. Attend one of their other band’s shows.
Drummers are always spreading themselves thin. Experts estimate the average American drummer is in 15-20 active bands and upward of 40 bands if the drummer is straight edge. Sometimes all they want is to be appreciated and supported as a friend, so going out to see the band you consider your drummer’s, “indie side project” that is significantly more popular than your band is a way to show them you acknowledge their talent and drive.
3. Set them up and break them down.
Drummers have a lot to load in. If you are the vocalist of a band and don’t have much to load in, try grabbing a bass drum or some cymbals and help set up. Your drummer will see your extra effort and be more motivated to stick with the band knowing they have a support system that is willing to help them set up and break down — even if they forgot how to play half of the songs.
4. Let them stand up front in promotional photos.
Drummers are consistently pushed to the back, rarely able to expose their faces to the world at large. Next time you convince your friend to borrow their father’s nice camera to take a couple of promotional photos down at the abandoned factory for the insert of your band’s 7” let your drummer stand up front with their arms crossed. It shows your drummer that you value them as an important contributing member of the band.
5. Take interest in their interests.
If you want your drummer to stay for the long haul, or at least for the SoCal weekend tour you have coming up, show them you care about the things they care about. Sure, it’s easy to zone out when they start talking about Keith Moon or the specific techniques to achieve the best gravity beats again — but if you want them to be happy you need to smile and nod like it matters. Bring up John Bonham at a time they’ll least expect it and watch their eyes light up. The little things go a long way with drummers.