Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Rhythm Section Must Not Be Resisted

What is it about vocalists that they can't be bothered to follow the rhythm section? Being in a band in the past has primed me to notice these things, and I can just about be assured that at any given worship service, the vocalists will start doing their own thing with regard to meter.

Is it that vocalists just stop listening to the rhythm section? Or is it that they develop their own collective opinion about what the meter should be, and decide to set it themselves? Whatever the source of this disobedience to the proper order of a musical combo, it makes me want to run up to the stage and shout, "OBEY THE DRUMMER, DAMMIT!" That's what he's there for. That's his job. Used to drive me nuts when I was playing bass, especially when the poor drummer started trying to strike a compromise, which just threw me off. My thinking was, if they start drifting we need to pump it up. Drag them back into unity, as it were. But today, at church, I heard it all over again. Is this one of the reasons I am struggling with church, maybe? Have I lost my patience with rebellion against meter? Meh. Maybe. But listen, no matter what role you might play in a musical arrangement, the rhythm section must not be resisted.


At 5:58 PM, Blogger ninjanun said...

unless, of course, the rhythm section can't keep rhythm. Or the drummer started the song too fast. Or too slow. Or the drummer is out-of-shape and can't keep the tempo of a very fast, rhythmically-complex song which he's already played three times during practice which he had to be at at 8am, and he was already tired because his wife kept him up till one the night before because she didn't eat enough dinner, so needed to eat right before bed, and then came to bed cold and achy and snuggled up against him and put her popsicle toes on his bum.

Not that I would know anything about that. ;)

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Zeke said...

Well, the drummer is actually a session player and all the vocalists with the exception of one are amateur volunteers. But you're a vocalist, Nun. Do you ever set your own meter and ignore the drummer?

At 7:48 PM, Blogger Craig Bob said...

Back when I was an in-fellowship worship leader, this is one of the primary reasons I eliminated the evangelical phenomenon that I like to call the "Bank o' Vocalists." You know: there's like 12 female vocalists and 6 male vocalists splayed across the stage -- they think they're The Archers or something. No force known to man can reign them in - not session drummers, not genius sound men ... hell, you could put Jaco freakin' Pastorius (RIP) on bass and they'd still be up there free-forming the big show. Not that I feel strongly about it or anything.

At 8:18 PM, Blogger ninjanun said...

I was NOT a vocalist. I was the "worship navigator." That means I got to tell everyone else where to go and how to get there. I chart the course, dammit! I didn't just sing; I played guitar (or dulcimer) and led from that instrument. And I have played drums, too. So often, I DID set the meter. And then the above would happen.

And no, I couldn't completely ignore the drummer, being married to him and all. But he ignored my "navigating" (i.e., leading) a lot.

I would often say "Respect my authority!" < /cartman voice>


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