Drumming Free-Agent Woes

Well it’s been a few weeks since I’ve been an active "free agent" for drumming, looking for bands. Unfortunately things aren’t getting any easier. I’ve spent a lot of time in the musician section on Craigslist, responding to ads and replying to people who wrote me on my ad. Sadly nothing has really come to fruition. I definitely had a lot of prospects, but at this point they’re all pretty much prospects. I jammed with a few bands already, and they didn’t really seem to fit – and the ones that I really want to jam with have a hard time scheduling something with me.

Being that I’m anxious just to play drums and get back into the scene, I’ve been willing to make some concessions in my search. I’ve been a little more patient in the communication process, been accommodating to their schedules, and ultimately agreed to make a commute if I find something that really fits.

I’m willing to make concessions in order to find the right group, but I’m not willing to deal with the massive egos that some of these groups have. A few days ago I responded to a posting for an Ad called "Drummer Needed for Indie Rock Band". In the email I wrote:

I came across your ad on Craiglist this evening, and was very drawn that what you guys posted!

My name is Jeromey and I’m an experienced, well-rounded drummer. I’m in my mid-20’s and have played drums for over 13 years. I have extensive experience in many different genres which include: jazz, funk, ska, hip-hop, classic rock, modern rock, hard/heavy rock, and Christian/church music.

Three of my greatest strengths are my ability to tastefully blend with other musicians, build a foundation and hold a solid beat on the drums, and have absolute control over my dynamics – I can play quiet and not overpower! My influences include Stewart Copeland, Carter Beauford, Zoro and Danny Carey. I love all types of music!

I am located in Fort Collins, but willing to commute to the Boulder area. If you are interested please write me back!

I felt that I had written a very cordial thoughtful note. However the response I received didn’t share those characteristics:

Hey, all of this sounds good–but do you realize that the commute from Ft. Collins is about an hour each way? That’s a big commitment. Anyway I think the best thing to do would be talk about it, and then try to get you in for an audition. So please give me a call on my cell:

"Do you realize that the commute is an hour each way?" Shoot, when I wrote I was willing to commute in the original email, the distance between Fort Collins and Boulder must have changed. Or maybe I could have forgotten about the distance in the 25 years I’ve lived in Colorado, or the many times I’ve visited my sister – who lives in Boulder! Of course the band guy didn’t know those last two points, but he didn’t need to be so condescending about asking it, as if I thought Boulder was a five minute drive. Didn’t you read my original email when I said I’d be willing to commute?

"That a big commitment" – Oh, what are you – my dad? Well of course it’s a big commitment! Thank you Captain Obvious.

"I think the best thing to do would be to talk about it." Talk about what? How would the conversation go?

"Do you know that you have to drive to Boulder?" – "Yes"
"Do you know Boulder is an hour away?" – "Yes, you mentioned it in your email."
"And you want to drive?" – "Yes."
… – "Ok, thanks for having me call you. This conversation really cleared up a lot."

"… try to get you in for an audition." – For an audition?!? What are you – the London Symphony Orchestra? You posted an ad on Craigslist! People who write "Drummer Needed" on Craigslist don’t audition drummers – they jam with them to see if things fit. This may sound like a terminology issue, but to me the very term "audition" indicates some kind of superiority complex.

I realize I’m nitpicking this message, but if you post an ad, and someone takes the time to write to you a cordial message offering their services, the least you could do is be equally cordial Here is what a cordial response would have been:

Hey, thanks for your response! It’s great to hear that you’re interested, especially since you’re willing to commute an hour each way. Let’s see if we can set up a time to jam with the band and see if things work. Give me a call or shoot me back an email.

Simple, yet respectful: He would have accomplished the same things (implied that this was a big commitment, confirmed the length of the drive, show interest in holding an "audition" to see if things work.) Yet he would have offered the same respect that I gave in my first email.

In talking about this with my friend Matt, we had some fun about how I should respond to the email. We came up with some pretty clever one-liners such as: I’ll take my 15 years of drumming experience to a band that is seriously looking for a drummer, and not just throwing out ideas and seeing if Dave Grohl is looking for a side project; and my favorite – How about you guys come up here and audition for me and I’ll see if you’re right for me. As funny as they were, it wouldn’t properly convey my frustration and more than likely just piss them off. After a little discussion, I decided on a short and stern response:

Maybe you didn’t understand when I explicitly said I was willing to commute in my first email, but I was well aware of the time it takes to get to Boulder and I was aware of the commitment I was offering to make – but since you choose not to take my offer seriously, I won’t take your offer seriously.

Still a pretty strong tone of resentment, but it conveyed my feelings about their response.

So now it’s back to the drawing board in looking for drumming projects. The one good thing that came from this is that I learned about their egos without having to waste my time and gas money to head down to Boulder.