Friday, October 8, 2010


Hi folks,
I would like to discuss a personal pet peeve. I hate the term "kick drum". In fact, I rarely respond when it's called that. It's a bass drum folks, and I'll tell you why I feel that way.
Kick drum is a term I associate with live sound engineers. These are well meaning folks but their concept of the drum set I often find quite disturbing. Part of the concept is that drums sound one way. That there's one way for a BASS DRUM to sound. When I hear Tony Williams', John Bonhams', or Dave Grohls' bass drums, they all sound great to me even though they sound totally different. The other problem is the sound people view the drum set as a collection of disparate instruments. The drum set has many components but it is indeed one instrument. When does a soundperson say to the bass or guitar player, "Let's hear your E string, now play your A string". They get the musician to play and balance the WHOLE instrument as they play it. That's the way the drums should be listened to. In fact, I've been on a few recording dates where the engineer listens this way, and the drums have sounded like they were a collection of different instruments. Sometimes they don't even sound like they've been played by the same person!
Lastly, Kick drum sounds derogatory to me. Jack DeJohnette doesn't kick his bass drum. He plays it, just as Glenn Gould played the piano or Charlie Parker played the saxophone.
Sorry to get a bit rant-y folks. Just wanted to get that off my chest.

I promise the next post will be very positive.


1 comment:

  1. I cringe when I read or hear someone using that pretentious moniker for a bass drum. Certainly no self respecting percussionist would use it.