I spent the first 10 years of my drumming life identifying the flashiest elements of songs I played, and charting my performance around those accents. What this meant is that I found myself following the guitarist a lot of the time, following the lead vocalist some of the time, and following the bassist very little. I'm sure we tended to be in synch some of the time by nature of the format of the song; but I feel I alienated myself from my bassists because I didn't pay much attention to them in those years.
In recent years I find myself paying the majority of my attention to the bassist. I do this now out of a sense that it is the "right" thing to do, and also because I find that recently my bassists have been able to adjust and ruff off what I am doing.
In talking to many other musicians, it seems the consensus is that it is the drummer's responsibility to stay tethered to the bassist. It does make sense somewhat, because the guitarist(s) will play over the top of what the accompaniment is doing.
But now I wonder if I am getting away from the drummer I was in my formative years. I listen back to my recorded material and hear the fearless musician I once was. I can also hear in these recordings where I am essentially leading for most of the song.
So I pose to you all: Does your drummer annoy you when he does not follow the bassist? Does he have to?