A young drummer asked me yesterday about a particular confrontational situation he had experienced at a venue recently. I’ll share the jest of it with you.
Just suppose….you’ve walked into a venue to get ready for a performance situation and while you’re setting up your gear, someone you’ve never met or had any previous conversation with says:
“Oh Jeez man, I hope you’re not one of those drummers who…”
Now pick from the list
· Uses one of those awful Chinese cymbals
· Uses more than two toms
· Has a solid head on the bass drum
· Thinks he’s Neil Peart (or substitute another name)
· Is going to be hard to get along with
· Turns the beat around all the time
· Thinks he has to tune his drums
· Has “that drummer” attitude with real musicians
I think this is a rude way to confront anyone. It doesn’t ever happen to me anymore, but I do remember how I decided to handle those situations, back in the days when things like that did occasionally happen to me.
I might chose to say: “Sir, we haven’t met before have we? My name is Ken Sanders and I was hired by (the name) to be here tonight. Since I don't know you, you'll have to tell me who you are and what your connection with (the name) is tonight?”
From there I would have time to gather some options on just how to appropriately handle this person and their rudeness. There is also a chance that I might even need to develop a working rapport them (i.e sound tech, producer, venue owner).
I know...gag, puke.....but someone with a mature, cool head HAS to deflate the tension. It's most likely going to have to be YOU!
The best answer was usually something like, “Well, I was hired by (the name) because they wanted me to help (him or her) sound really great tonight. I’m here to do that and I’m planning on using the gear and techniques that will work best for them in this venue. Now, since we've never met, exactly what is your actual concern about me in particular?”
All of this with a confident, firm, and very sincere, business demeanor. Your voice should indicate nothing condescending or tense.
I believe the basic game plan to calm the situation is to assure this initially rude person (if they are indeed in an official capacity with the event) that you are a professional and want to be treated as such. Also, that you will in turn, show the same respect to him.
If the person is not in an official capacity that truly concerns you, and is just being a butt....then calmly just say…”I’ll think about what you said and deal with it later. Right now, I am very busy trying to get set-up on the schedule I was given.... so please be courteous and excuse me.”
Above all, keep your cool and you won't regret it. Let the OTHER person look like the rude crude dude.