Yes, it's another hard-to-read set of exercises I made up. It's paradiddles between the bass drum and snare ( it sort of reminds me of Drummer's Cook Book or some of the Carmine Appice literature from the '70s ) but with syncopated open and closed hi-hat so it becomes more of a 4-limb thing.
Here's the scrap….. (P.S. All the examples are in 4/4, but I just wrote out the first 2 beats, because the last 2 beats of each bar are exactly the same.
Fortunately I filmed all the examples as well. Here they are in the order in which they appear….
As it says on the scrap, we can use all the stockings from the first 3 pages of Stick Control as source material for this. I quite liked the doubles, which gave these a sort of Tony Allen Afro-beat vibe.
This is probably my last post before the holidays so Season's Greetings, thanks for the gifts of love, family , and music and we'll see you in the New Year!
UPDATE: I totally forgot to mention I'll be performing the premiere of " The Saskatchewan Suite" in Regina on Dec. 28th. I'm very excited about this, but I'm almost as excited about having some time after the gig to check out Juliana Pizza; apparently where Regina style pizza was born! I think going to Ground Zero/Mecca of regina Pizza is going to be serious mind-blower! Stay tuned for further developments…………..
First the chocolate. Have you ever noticed that people tend to compare things to other things that are incomparable? They'll say something is "better than chocolate" but, if you like it, nothing is better than chocolate! For me, the same is true of cymbals. You'll hear a lot of people say something is "as good as an old K. Zildjian" but when you get a good one ( and they aren't all that way, believe me) there's nothing as good as an old K. Zildjian! I'm in the process of acquiring one more old K., and I believe my jazz set-up will be complete. I am very pleased about this!
Now the cheese! Anyone who has followed this blog knows I'm very interested in hybrid rudiments, and through social media I've been hipped to more of them. See below. As far as I can tell, a rudiment is labeled "cheese" if it has a double added to it somewhere. Is this nickname a punk Swiss rudiments ( Swiss cheese), or a reference to rudimental people in Wisconsin, or something else equally bizarre? No matter, here are the pages….
And, as if that wasn't enough material, I discovered a hybrid rudiments section on the Vic Firth site. I am currently working on the "Choo-Choo" ( There is also one called "Horsey". If the American rudimental dudes are really trying to appeal to toddlers, then well done, my friends! )
Finally, here's some inspiration from the great Antonio Sanchez. First here's an interview he did for the "Sessions" series……
He communicates extremely well whether he's playing, talking, or discussing the current political situation on Twitter.
As well, here is talking about storytelling for the PAS society.
The Art of Storytelling
What did John F. Kennedy, Demosthenes, Martin Luther King and Maya Angelou have in common? Why were all the greatest orators throughout history so powerful? What makes a speech engaging?
All these speakers knew how to tell a story. They understood how to keep an audience engaged. Riveted. At the edge of their seats. Likewise, they all employed two indispensable tools: content and delivery.
You can have something enthralling to say but if you’re a boring public speaker you’ll soon see people yawning in the crowd. All the same, you could be a very charismatic orator but if your content is poor and not properly laid out, your audience will soon be checking their phones to see if anything more exciting is happening elsewhere.
Music is no different.
Performing and improvising are the equivalent of public speaking. Composing is the equivalent of speechwriting.
If we think of improvising as basically composing in realtime, we will come to the conclusion that great composers, improvisers and orators share a lot of the same qualities and employ the same techniques and methods: Establish a theme so that people know what you’re talking about. Develop the theme further. Leave space. Reaffirm the original idea. Use the correct punctuation in the right places and the exclamation and question marks with conviction and subtlety. Introduce and develop more ideas making smooth transitions from the previous ones. Use dynamics and nuance carefully.
Getting into a consistent rhythm where an audience is going to be so enthralled that it will have no other choice but to listen requires intention, pacing, repetition, tension and release, dynamics, surprise, drama.
If we think of any great speech, any great performance, any great composition or any great improvised solo we will soon realize that they all use the above mentioned process to build their masterpieces.
Mozart, Ella Fitzgerald, Cicero, Miles Davis, Churchill, and Stevie Wonder might have more in common than we ever thought.
In my experience, telling a story while improvising in front of an audience requires a combination of right brain and left brain. A sort of Ying and Yang of creativity and instinct as well as technique and discipline.
When I start an improvisation, my first rule is to always try to establish my initial idea in a very assertive and memorable way. One of the reasons I do this is for my own sake - I need to remember what I played so that I can build on it.
If I play an initial phrase and I’m not able to recall it correctly (either because of lack of concentration or because it was too complex to remember it accurately) it would be the equivalent of me starting to say something and immediately losing my train of thought, abruptly changing the subject and start babbling as a result.
That’s why I tend to favor shorter and simpler phrases in the beginning -so that I can establish my idea quickly and convincingly.
After I’ve played my initial idea my second rule is to leave space.
Space can be such a wonderful, powerful and terrifying thing for most improvising musicians. A second of it can feel like an eternity so we tend to want to fill it at all costs so that we don’t have to bear that uncomfortable void around us. But, when used well, it can be as dramatic and effective a force as you can create.
One of the marvelous qualities of space is that it provides us with time. Time to think.
One might believe that it’s a counterintuitive concept to perform and improvise without thinking but believe me, it’s very possible.
As someone who has played for most of my life, I can play endlessly by reflex. Mainly using the left side of my brain. The side that has practiced countless hours of technique, coordination and metronomic timekeeping. No real intention or expression. Just notes being played articulately and correctly with no emotional spine to back them up.
This would be the equivalent of reciting words that are expertly pronounced but are lacking emotion and meaning.
Now, going back to the space and thinking part...What is it that I need to think about when I improvise? How can I think that fast? How do I organize my thoughts and how is leaving this excruciating space helping me in any way?
For me the answer is simple: the space gives me time to think about what I just played and provides me with a breath so that I can decide what I’m going to play next.
One thing I like to do is repeat the original idea so that I reaffirm it and establish it for myself and for my audience. Leave a brief space again, embellish the idea, expand on it, leave more space, make a smooth transition and introduce another idea...etc.
This applies to performing solo or with a group: The phrases we play inform the other musicians about what we're "talking about" and the space gives them an opportunity to answer and interact. There’s nothing worse than a musician that never leaves space or a person who is constantly talking and not engaging in actual conversation.
This kind of approach requires discipline and lots of patience. Patience to establish the ideas and develop them without rushing ourselves into a bout of mindless musical ranting.
We do this with speech in a constant basis. When we converse with others we don’t know exactly what we’re going to say or how we're going to say it but somehow, we manage.
We use pauses and breaths to help us put our thoughts together. This happens in a matter of milliseconds and most of the time we don’t realize we’re doing it -and that’s because, throughout our life, we do it so much in so many different contexts that it becomes an automatic and natural action. Ideally, we should get to that point with our instruments as well.
Now, we have to make a distinction between merely putting words together and the art of telling a story. To me, that is the difference between craft and art.
I‘ve encountered so many musicians throughout my life that are extraordinary craftsmen and crafts women but are not artists -and the main distinction is usually storytelling. You can go on most of your musical life improvising without ever saying anything too deep or meaningful and to me, improvisational ranting is musical death -and it should be avoided at all cost.
When I've done masterclasses throughout the world, I've seen musicians discover the beauty and excitement of storytelling through their instruments in realtime. It can seem difficult at first but they soon realize that they had stories to tell all along. They just needed to give their thoughts and ideas a sense or organization.
You can too become one of the great musical orators. You just need to give it a shot and begin telling YOUR story.
This is a new feature on the blog. Occasionally I'll be looking at drum sets that have more than one user and commenting on aspects of them that may be set up problematically. Obviously there are many ways to get a drum kit ready for playing, but I will point out things I find that may hinder a player's sound or progress. Here's the first instalment…….
So, please ignore the manic camerawork and delivery. My Zoom was out of juice and I had to do this in a hurry on my phone. Also at the end I meant to talk about the snare strainer being on the left side of the drum but I said right. My apologies. Okay, I hope this is helpful;. I'll revisit it from time to time.
UPDATE: I got a comment from great drummer/percussionist Brian Barlow. He mentioned that in situations where one is following a conductor, it may be best to have the music stand in front of the small tom. He's absolutely right so keep in mind what I'm suggesting here is general information and specific situations may require something different. :)
As promised, here's more content and in direct contrast to the Scraps post, this is relatively readable. I mentioned earlier in the "Hipifying the Rudiments" post, one of the two main problems with unaltered rudimental material is that they are too downbeat oriented, and too symmetrical. Recently, i was working with a favourite rudiment of mine, the Flam Accent. As you can see in Ex. 1, it's just triplets with a flam at the beginning of each set of three. I may have mentioned this before, but I like also putting the flams on the third triplet of each set (Ex. 2) and the second (Ex. 3). I show them in this order because most people find the second triplet the "weirdest" of these three, and thus the hardest to feel.
Okay, so that takes care of the constant downbeats, but what about mucking about with the evenness of each of these patterns? Ex. 4 shows a 13 triplet note pattern, so it is guaranteed not to fit into a bar of 4/4 evenly. Now, it may look complicated but it really is just a case of playing a bar of triplets in 4, and then adding an extra 8th note with the bass drum. The trick is of course that it isn't 13/8, but just a 13 note pattern that moves through the barline. It's recommended that you play through each measure separately, then start putting bars to together until you can hear how the pattern goes over the bar and still keep your place in the four bar phrase. Also, note that I haven't written out the pattern until it "resolves" or starts back again on 1. I think it's more useful to hear the phrase as it moves through the barlines rather than artificially counting to 13. Unless you're playing a thirteen bar tune, I think that would be confusing and extra work.
After we get handle on the phrase with the bass drum playing the "extra" triplet, I wrote it out so the left hand plays the thirteenth note. (Ex. 5). In this case, you could play a light 4 on the bass drum, and in all these examples, hi-hat on 2 & 4.
The last two examples are just like the previous ones except it's a shorter seven triplet pattern.
(Note: When I worked on these odd patterns, I preferred to start with the flam on the upbeats, like example 2. That way the "hand" part with the last flam is immediately followed by the bass drum. You might want to experiment with this.
(Note Note: I couldn't figure out how to write the grace notes in the stickings so whenever the flam says "R" the left hand is playing the "little" note and for all "L"s, this is reversed.
This was inspired by some hybrid rudiment stuff I've been working on. It's paradiddles on brushes with a rim buzz on the last note of each 4 8th notes and a legato slide across the drum on the 2nd and 6th 8th note. try it with different foot patterns, as the paper says, it works great as a tango.
Okay, I realize there has been a LOT of posting video and not a ton of new content, but I have lots of things planned so, stay tuned. In the meantime here is Cedar and Clifford's quartet with Buster Williams and BILLY HIGGINS! It's so great to watch him play. I only saw him live once but it was life-changing just the same! Enjoy....
Okay, the title is VERY ironic! I got married in June and have never been happier.
No, I'm talking about single strokes. The first rudiment. In my opinion, the most challenging rudiment. Lastly, in my playing it's the rudiment I'm most dissatisfied with.
So.... were a little early here, but I think 2020 is going to be the year I focus somewhat on my single strokes. meaning, I'm going to practice them every day and try and find new ways of applying them.
Couple of other things.
-I'm going to attempt to increase my relaxation as the tempos go up.
- I am going to completely forget about it when i go play with people.
- At the end of 2020, I'm going to take stock, and see what ( if any) progress I have made.
Here's any early set of exercises I'm doing. The first one is pretty commonplace, but I think the 2nd one is mine. It seems easy to look at but it's certainly challenging for me.
Okay, that's it. I'll keep adding exercises and let you know how it's going.
Here's some video of Ted Quinlan's quartet recording the title track to our new recording " Absolutely Dreaming" with Brian Dickinson and Kieran Overs. It's always a little surreal to watch myself play, especially while recording, but hey, aside from the fact that I don't look like a matinee idol, I'm okay with it, and the recording turned out really well!
Check out Scott K. Fish's excellent blog! Especially his recent post on Karaoke Drumming. He nails it! I couldn't agree more! Also, a great twitter post from drummer Phil Gould (Level 42, etc. ).
"I hear all these great drummers, from all over the world, playing with such freedom & ideas. But you know what I’m not hearing? Unique sounds! Everyone seems to be going for the same tight snare, clear heads on the toms. How can you have a voice without having your own sound?"
We live in a world where folks who go on the road less traveled are often ignored. Thanks to Mr. Fish and Mr. Gould for reminding me what's important!
So, here's an interview with Jimmy Cobb that's part of the same series that the DeJohnette interview I posted recently was from. If they could manage to talk to Al Foster, Billy Cobham, and Billy Hart, I think they'd have all the surviving drummers that recorded with Miles Davis. (Just a suggestion.) Anyway, despite the fact that Kind of Blue is over emphasized, like it always is, there's a lot of good information here…….
Now on to the 16ths. I recently heard this tune by the late great Michael Jackson.
Now even though Bryan Loren is listed as playing "drums", I'm not sure how much live drumming is actually on this. It did though, get me thinking about 2 handed hi-hat grooves, although I'm not even sure that's what's going on here. Regardless, it reminded me that I'd like to be more fluid with this stuff, so I made up some exercises to work on it. In all examples, the sticking is alternating strokes starting with the right hand.
The notation is fairly standard except for the hatched note that's one leger line above the staff is the left side cymbal, and two leger lines is the right side one.As always, there are some extra wrinkles we can add to make it more challenging. We can do the following bass drum variations: 1) 4 quarter notes to the bar. 2) Dotted 8th-16th every quarter note ( pseudo samba feel ) , 3) ah of one and 3, + of 2 and 4 ( pseudo salsa feel ). Also try accenting the + of every beat with your right hand. This one seems to be particularly tricky in the examples where the RH isn't on the hi-hat for every +. True confessions, I've spent about 2 hours on this so far and haven't gotten beyond beginning example 6. But I view that as a positive. Why? Well, I'm working a lot harder to make sure the examples feel good and I can groove on them for awhile without stopping. One always knows how long to spend on something when we use our ears, not our ego!
Finally, I wanted to post a link to a great documentary about the Clash, hosted by Chuck D of Public Enemy
As problematic as it is for me to promote something that Spotify is responsible for, it's a great podcast and contains a lot of information about one of the greatest rock bands of all time. Although he didn't say it here, it reminded me of a great quote from guitarist Mick Jones gave when he was asked if he though the Clash's experiments later in their career weren't " Punk Rock" enough. He simply said " It's all Punk Rock to me ". To my ears, that's a variation on the Duke Ellington "good music and bad music" quote. Why put limits on ourselves when we're sculpting in sound?
Sorry that I'm mainly just embedding videos these days but I promise there's more new content coming soon. This is really cool though. I got hipped to this via social media, Here's footage of the great dancer/actor/singer Fred Astaire playing the drums in his bedroom during an interview.
And thus the connection between dancing and drumming is further proven. If you ever see any footage of Mr. Astaire tap dancing, you'll realize how great his time was. Also, is this where Tony Williams picked up the 4 on the hi-hat thing? :)
Okay. Terrible jokes aside, I stumbled onto this DeJohnette interview. Wow! I love how he views piano and drums as completely related. Or drums and tap dance. Or drums and life! Such a intelligent and creative person. Great advice at the end. So much to learn….
Here's a concert from awhile back with John Tank's quintet at the Registry Theatre. Sorry that some of the audio is out of sync with the images. ( Why oh why in this day and age does this still happen? )
The video is an hour and a half long so, unless you're my Mom, i don't expect you to watch the whole thing! :)
Hey all, here's a brush pattern in 3/4 using my "brush flams" concept where one brush runs over the other. Here's the notation.....
Can't make heads or tails out of it? Good! Me neither! It's probably best to just look at the video......
Couple of things, please ignore my messy coffee table and Max the curious puppy. Also, for the brush flam on beat 2 I find it easier for the left brush to run over the right, but that may not be the case for everyone. Okay, Have fun!
What is this, looking like the proverbial dog's breakfast? Just some stuff i was working on the other day. Let me try and explain. In the top left corner is a 12/8 beat written out between the hands and the RH plays the bell pattern and the LH fills in the rest of the triplets. The rest of the page are possible BD/HH patterns to play with it. On the top right side of the page is an unrelated idea of playing the last 3 16ths of every beat with LH on open snare then the next 2 strokes w/ RH playing a stick shot. ( RH on left stick ) with a salsa BD pattern and a 3 16th note HH pattern.
I KNOW this is super hard to read, but that's good for us to do sometimes.
I'll leave the final word on this to BartholeMEW MURRay Warren. Bart, what do you think?
Scraps? More like CRAPS! Now, don't bother me! I was napping!!!!
Well, there you have it. Everyone's a critic! Until next time......
What can you say about Sonny in his prime, especially in a trio format? Here he is at his most ferocious, throw-down, stream of consciousness best, aided beautifully by Gilbert Rovere on Bass and the incomparable Art Taylor on drums! Fantastic!
I know, I know, modern laptops don't have a CD port, vinyl is supposedly coming back, and nobody wants to pay for music anymore! despite all this, I am offering 2 recordings I have played on for sale Ted's Warren Commission's " The Great Regina Pizza Debate" and "Two of Clubs' by Broadview.
They can be obtained directly online through CD Baby or you can buy them from me. if you order them from me, you pay whatever you want to! ( Within reason ). The within reason part is you have to pay at least enough to pay shipping if I'm sending it to you. Otherwise, if you see me at a gig and you offer me $2, I'll take it. If you offer me $10,000 , I'll take it. It's just that I feel these are good recordings and I don't want to be eventually buried with them! :) Good talk!
P.S. Please direct all inquiries about purchasing CDs from me to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks.
As someone who came up in an era when the "studio" musician was the pinnacle, versatility was seen as a great attribute. ( Truth be told, when I was in high school, I had planned to become a studio player, and then got super into playing Jazz. ) To be clear, it's important to be able to play a bunch of different styles and feels effectively, but I think it's also important to eventually decide on what sort of player you're going to be and be committed to that. When I was in university I was trying to play Rock like John Bonham, Pop like Ringo, modern Jazz like Elvin Jones, etc. But, if we look at any of those instantly recognizable players, they are known for doing very specific things. Bonham possibly could have been a great brush player, but that wasn't what put him on the map!
It's interesting, getting back to the idea of a studio player, because even someone like Steve Gadd, who was seen as the ultimate studio chameleon, actually has a very recognizable style. In fact, I think Gadd almost singlehandedly created a style where the studio influenced every other style of playing he did. Studio influenced big band, studio influenced small group jazz etc.
Sorry that was a slight tangent!
Anyway, I think partially what I'm getting at is, while you're working to be the best musician you can be, accept that there are going to be things you are going to gravitate towards, both physically and musically. Don't be afraid to embrace those, and especially to cultivate the scene that contains the music that fills your heart and imagination!!!! If you want to play Blues, meet the people in your town that play that music! If you want to play Death-Metal, find other death metal people, jam with them , AND SEE THEIR GIGS!!!!! Of course, you can try and cultivate all the scenes in your locale: just be aware that you could spread yourself too thin. Also, realize that where ever you are, people will tend to pigeon hole you, depending on what they've heard you play. I tend to do more Free Jazz-type things in Guelph, because I joined a freer band in that city, and we've played a fair amount of local gigs, whereas in Toronto I think I'm perceived as more of a straight ahead ( and possibly big band ) player. Please note that other's perceptions of you may have nothing to do with how you feel you play a certain music. It's just good to be aware of it.
I also want to note that, just because you may never play a certain style of music, doesn't mean you won't get a lot out of studying it. i have spent a fair amount of time practicing "World" styles from Cuba, Brazil, and Western Africa etc. The closest I have come to playing any sort of gig in a non-North American style was with a Chilean singer, and she fired me before she even heard me!
So, work on ALL music. It's good for your brain. But don't be afraid to pursue the music that feeds your heart and soul most! Also be aware that in any music style that you view as just "my R n' B bag" for example, is never going to be as true and authentic as someone who has dedicated their life to that particular music! People who "discover their Jazz side" after they realize they are middle aged and haven't become a big Rock star a special pet peeve of mine!
Speaking of Gadd ( again ) . Let's dig his version of a Mozambique on "Late In The Evening ). He ( and his leader in this case, Paul Simon ) is a great example of getting lots of input and influences and filtering it out through your own style! :)
Although I have a complicated relationship with social media, it was through the former that I was hipped to this great clip of Oscar Peterson's trio, with Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen, playing "Moanin" with Lee Morgan! Spectacular! Enjoy!
A couple of observations....As a Canadian, i will probably be drawn and quartered for this, but I really prefer the OP trio when they are backing someone else. The piano tends to be less busy and Thigpen seems to always play more aggressively! He sounds like Art Blakey on this. Ferocious!
Another short post today. Here's Captain Beefheart's 10 commandments of guitar playing.....
.1. Listen to the birds.
That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.
2. Your guitar is not really a guitar Your guitar is a divining rod.
Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you're good, you'll land a big one.
3. Practice in front of a bush
Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush dosen't shake, eat another piece of bread.
4. Walk with the devil
Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the "devil box." And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you're bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.
5. If you're guilty of thinking, you're out
If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.
6. Never point your guitar at anyone
Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.
7. Always carry a church key
That's your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He's one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song "I Need a Hundred Dollars" is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty-making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he's doing it.
8. Don't wipe the sweat off your instrument
You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.
9. Keep your guitar in a dark place When you're not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don't play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.
10. You gotta have a hood for your engine
Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can't escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.
...Couple of thoughts. Obviously, most of these principles work for any instrument, or vocals for that matter. If one was super "book learned" it would be easy to write these nuggets of wisdom off, but that would be doing yourself a major disservice. It's unfortunate that we live in a world where people have little patience for people who teach by metaphor and allow us to find our own answers. That is what I'd like everyone to take away from this.
Although I'm not sure it's readily apparent from listening to me, Captain Beefheart's music was a big influence. So, let's conclude with his masterpiece, "Trout Mask Replica".
Quick post today. Just wanted to point out Vinnie Colaiuta's great podcast.
"Breakfast with Vinnie" didn't kill me at first, but I think I just had to get into it, because I'm really enjoying it now. Particularly interesting to me is the current episode "Amateur or Professional, Who's Happier". This hits home because I am currently facing the reality that I need to look at other avenues of income other than playing or teaching. That said, I think whatever happens, I will consider myself a professional musician. I feel a professional musician is anyone who treats music ( and conducts themselves ) in a professional way. Anyway, that's a much bigger issue, that I might get more into at some point. In the meantime, dig Vinnie. He's a smart guy we all can learn from, whether he's playing drums or talking. :)
Boston is a pretty amazing place. It has been the birth place or primary residence to such great musical artists as Roy Haynes, Bob Moses, Benny Sharoni, Bob Gullotti, Tony Williams, Alan Dawson, Jerry Bergonzi, and of course the great George Garzone. Here's a great recently released doc about him. Enjoy!
These are indeed interesting times to be a drummer. More and more, the jobs I play involve "ear" work or at the most reading lead sheets. The only regular reading I'm guaranteed to do is once a month with John MacLeod's big band at the Rex, and even then, it's reading charts, which arguably require as much interpretation as reading.
So, should a young drummer not learn to read music? Nope, and I'll tell you why.
1. As reading is required less, it's also becoming a rarer commodity.
Being able to read music is one way of distinguishing yourself from other players, especially in situations that don't involve much rehearsal. Remember, if you can read, you can cut a lot of your heroes on the first run through of a piece of music. ( Admittedly, the second time might be a different story, but you get my point. )
2. If you need to learn something or remind yourself of something quickly, reading is the way to go.
If you want to have something be a part of your playing forever, by all means learn it by ear and memorize it, but sometimes we want our musical experience to be more ephemeral. Sometimes we're forced to record music we really DON'T want to remember! :) Reading helps with this.
3. Reading is not a difficult skill to learn and keep up.
The analogy has been made many times, but reading music and reading any language are the same thing. if you are literate, you certainly have enough brain power to learn to read music. Get a book and/or teacher and get it together, it can only help you.
I find personally that my reading can atrophy if I'm not doing it much, but I find it very easy to get it back in shape. Read classical snare drum etudes. The rhythms that you're reading are way more challenging than anything you'd see as a drum set player, and they usually have a lot of dynamics. ( Which you should be sight reading as much as the rhythms. )
This one I particularly like, but any orchestral snare book will work.
So, in conclusion, definitely use your ears etc, but don't be afraid to work on your eyes! :)
So, I'd like to mention a recent incident that proves the power of positive character.
Enter exhibit A, no stranger to this blog or fans of fine musicianship, Jerry Bergonzi.....
I have been extremely fortunate to have worked with Jerry along with Brian Dickinson and Jim Vivian for over a decade now. As well as being a fantastic musician, Mr. Bergonzi has always been a great example of how to be in the world. He isn't impressed by money or fame, he is impeccably honest and respectful of others, and it's always about the music, which he loves. This past summer Jerry was offered a gig in the Montreal Jazz Festival. He was given the chance to choose anyone to work with him, and I don't think it would be out of line to suggest the festival probably hoped he would choose some big, well-known players to accompany him to help promote the event. Instead, he insisted that he play with Brian's trio with Jim and I. Why? Well, he mentioned how much work Brian had created for him in Canada over the years, and he thought it would be fair to give Brian another opportunity. I believe he also realized that with Brian's trio he would get high level accompaniment, with no egos or bs, and that we had played together a lot so there would be a band concept, unlike playing with a bunch of big names he mightn't have worked with previously. This is class folks! And the thing is, this is not an unusual story about Jerry. No one who has worked with him ever has anything bad to say about him, because his ethics are impeccable! THAT is the kind of reputation we should all be striving for!
Here's a short video of Jerry explaining a way of using triad pairs. It's a little advanced for where i am harmonically, but I believe it's important to have some thing to work toward.
So, in conclusion, behave like Jerry Bergonzi and the world will be a much better, more moral, and way hipper place!
Okay, I think this is the last of these I'm going to post but this is an interview with engineer Bradley Cook on his work on the Foo Fighters "My Hero". I've always loved this tune and Dave Grohl's monster drumming on it, so it was nice to get some insights about it's creation and recording.
Recently great bassist ( and neighbour of mine ) Jason Raso posted this on social media
A musician recently sent me the following message in reference to my videos... “You’d be better off if you took your music and your image more seriously. Stop joking around.” Well, he might be right, but I am what I am. Honestly, I don’t take myself that seriously, but make no mistake - I am dead serious about my music! It’s still ok to have some fun with it though.
SERIOUSLY? ( Said ironically! )
I can vouch for everything Jason says here. He is a hardworking, dedicated musician who is always trying to improve. He sets an example that I always find inspiring! He is also, not averse to poking fun at himself. He has some great videos where he poses as the disgraced owner of his record label, complete with fake moustache, and they're really fun! I think it's also important to note what he said about being himself. I think if one has a bit of a goofy personality ( and I'm now referring even more to myself than Jason ) letting it come out is the most honest thing you can do with your audience. I also believe this combination of seriousness about the music/ not serious about myself that has helped me survive in a tough business for 40 some years now!
In short, be like Jason. Try your best but make sure you have fun too.
I couldn't find any of Mr. Raso's "acting" videos but here's him playing a tune I've always loved, Sam Cooke's "Cupid" on solo bass.
Many students have mentioned to me Tommy Igoe's " Great Hands For a Lifetime " book so I decided to check it out, having worked through his first "Groove Essentials" book and quite enjoying it.
All in all, it's a very helpful book on rudimental playing, well written and presented. I don't agree with everything he writes, but having played drums for 44 years this coming fall, I rarely agree with anything ANYONE writes! :)
One thing that struck me during my first cursory glances was that he talks about converting the rudiments to drum set ideas, but doesn't really offer any method of doing so. I plan to cover this in greater depth and send as a possible article, but for now I thought I'd offer some general principles that help me make rudiments hipper and more useable on drum set. Okay here goes....
1. Corrupt the symmetry.....
I've mentioned this before, but one of the things that makes the rudiments seem very square is this " 4 on the right, 4 on the left" quality they have, due to trying to make the hands equal. This makes sense from a physical conditioning sort of way, but results in very predictable boxy, phrasing. So, a very easy way to create interest is to take away or add a note to any rudimental idea to make it odd numbers.
Let's take a paradiddle- RLRR LRLL, and take away the last stroke. Now we have a 7 note idea. Now when we play this idea in 8th notes or triplets, it will go over the carline and give us some really cool textures.
Now, how about we add a note- RLRR LRLLL . This create a cool 9 beat idea. Again, it will go over the barline in 4/4 or it WILL fit into a bar of 3/4 as triplets, but that could also be cool as we spread out the hands between two surfaces so it could be used in a jazz waltz or a afro-cuban 9/8 groove.
As I just mentioned, our lowly paradiddle starts to sound more interesting not only with a note missing or added, but also as we put our hands to 2 different drum or cymbals surfaces. Here's just a few ways we can create interesting tonal ideas from RLRR LRLL
a) R on Hi-Hat, L on snare
b) " "", L on rim click
c) "" , L on small tom
d) "" , L on floor tom
e) "" , L on any combination of above
f) R on floor tom, L any combination of above
g) R on Ride Cymbal, L ""
h) R on any rim, "" ""
Phew! And I just said I was going to mention a few. Anyway, check out how these different combinations sounds and don't be afraid to experiment with any possible sounds. You'll likely find you discover some favourites. Good!
3. Change the home rhythmic grid.
We've already seen that we can change any 8th note idea to triplets to make it more compelling, and the opposite ie true as well. We can also, however, change any idea to an odd grouping, and that really starts to sparkle!
If we again take RLRR LRLL and play it as 2 sets of quintuplets in a bar of 4/4, the quintuplets themselves don't go over the barline, but the sticking does! This sounds really cool, especially when we again orchestrate the hands. In fact, a favourite exercise of mine with "Stick Control" is to take the first 3 pages and play the stickings as quintuplets, septuplets, and groupings of 9, all in 4/4. That's definitely something you'll never hear a drum corps play! :)
4. Change the attack
Now let's take RLRR LRLL and....
a) Buzz the first L
b) Buzz all Ls
c) Deadstroke the first and 5th notes
d) Deadsroke all Rs
So, here all we're doing is not playing all the notes as regular strokes, and again this creates interest.
5. Add accents, especially in unusual places
Take the paradiddle and accent other notes the than the first set of each 4 ( the standard way ) and you'll get some very cool textures, especially accenting either the first or second note of a double. This is also great for your hands!
6. Substitute feet for hands in a portion of the lick
Some possible ways to evolve the feel in our paradiddle
a) RF L RR LF R LL
b) RF LRR LRLL
c) R LF RR LF R LL
d) RL RF RF LR LF LF
So, plenty of linear trouble was can get into with this one.
Obviously, working on rudiments and rudimental ideas ( I make that distinction because although paraddiles are a great lick and a great example to use, I actually don't think of them as rudiments per se.) are a great way of helping us create quality sounds, but to a drum set player, they are just the beginning and a mere means to an end. So, don't be afraid to take these building blocks and do something creative. That's what it's all about.
Quick post. Here's engineer Shelly Yakus talking about his work on Tom Petty's "Don't Do Me Like That" with the great and underrated, in my opinion, Stan Lynch on drums.
Man, I love those splat-y 70s snare drums! It's interesting to note that producer Jimmy Iovine tried to replace Stan Lynch on this recording, but couldn't find anyone who fit the band and the recording better. I can't really imagine anyone else playing drums on this! Keep that in mind if ever anyone tries to replace your track, it might be just as likely that the producer doesn't know what he/she is talking about and are trying to justify their existence as the actual drumming isn't making it. :)
I'm sure many of you have seen this type of video on youtube, and probably the "drummer on the wrong gig" is now an official sub-genre.
So here's the one that started it all. Drummer Steve Moore playing with a cover band at a fairly low-key gig somewhere.
I was very entertained by this video, as were most of the drummers I showed it to. I do however, think it's mislabeled. How is he on the wrong gig? Try just listening to it and ignore all his visual stuff. Guess what? He's playing the gig! The drums sound appropriate, and the time feels good. Mr. Moore is doing his job! If he wants to add a little flash for his own amusement, as long as he plays the music, it's his prerogative!
Okay, here's a bit more suspect example.
Hmmm. Well how about our white haired friends? Is the volume appropriate? No. Is the time solid? Not really. Are the visuals getting in the way of the sound and consistency of the drumming? Definitely. Maybe he did steal the show, but crime doesn't pay!
Finally, here's a more current ( currant? ) example.
Look, I get it. It's a sort of dumb gig and the drummer is even in disguise. But if you want to play Speed metal, Mr. Giant Bird or whatever you are, get a Speed Metal band together. maybe it was his or her last day on the gig.
I also really dislike how this is labeled. Overqualified? You mean to play with taste? Playing appropriate is just as much a technique as playing fast, probably more.
This is something I used to do all the time. Put stupid things into the music that didn't belong there. It's egotistical and immature. remember, do anything you want, but PLAY the GIG!
I shouldn't have done this, but I was procrastinating, trying to avoid working on my Masters thesis. So, I went on Instagram and looked at some drum videos. I know! I should have known better. ( Hey! That would make a good tune title! Fabs rule! )
I've probably mentioned this TOO much but, once again, these people seem to mainly play some complicated beat they've memorized and play it like they're a robot. They don't really develop ideas, and everything is a beat or a fill, and never the twain shall meet!
Are you talking about me again Ted?
Anyway, thanks for your input Ilene! So, I was thinking that these people always play "compositions" that exist only so they can show off some drum stuff! Fear not, you will never get the melodies to these stuck in your head, because these tunes don't have melodies! So, henceforth, I will call this egregious sonic experience "Chops Justified" Music, because the only reason it exists is to show off how fast you can play! NO THANKS!!!!
Now, I make a very important distinction between "Chops Justified" music and what I know as Fusion. Good fusion takes the compositional ambition of Modern Jazz and mixes it with the excitement of Rock and is beautiful and powerful indeed. I never listen to Electric Miles, Weather Report, Metalwood, or Alan Holdsworth ( to name a few ) and think they are justifying anything but making beautiful music.
So, in conclusion, I thought I'd post something that is blatantly NOT "Chops Justified" music. Here's Jason Raso, Stu Hamm, and Marito Marques playing Jason's super fun tune, "The Pork Chop Express"
So, why is this true fusion and not Chops Justified? Well, there is a lot of humour. CJ Music tends to be really self-important! It is concise. It says what it needs to say without a lot of extra fireworks or anything. It utilizes the 2 bass thing in a collaborative rather than competitive way. Finally, it shows a lot of humility and lack of ego. ( Full disclosure: Jason is my neighbour and he'd never make me coffee again if I complained about him! )
All joking aside, I'm really looking forward to playing some real Fusion with Mr. Raso later this month. I just have to convince to change the title of his tune to "The Pork (Non-) Chop(s Justified) Express. Just rolls off the tongue, don't you think? :)
No, I'm not getting all poetic, just posting two videos related to Soundgarden's "Black Hole Sun". A great 90s track with some KILLER drumming from Matt Cameron on it.
Here's an interview with the producer, Michael Beinhorn.
One of the takeaways for me, aside from what mics were used on the drums because admittedly, I need to learn more about that side of it, is that the musicians recorded their parts separately. I never would have guessed that because it sounds very live and natural.
And here's Matt Cameron's track, semi-isolated. Phew!
This post is influenced by Dan Weiss and Sonny Rollins. Why? Because both articulate on their respective instruments in a lot of interesting ways. This is something I think a lot of drummers ignore. Namely, how are you attacking the drums? There's a lot of different ways to do it, and that creates variety.
So, this is pretty simple. My apologies for the size of the pic. We're just taking a paradiddle, and doing different combinations of buzzes, dead strokes, and regular strokes. I find when both hands are changing their techniques of sound production in a short period of time, it can be quite challenging. I also have some other variations suggested at the bottom of the page. Very simple in conception, but challenging in practice. Speaking of practice, that's what I should go do now. Happy trails folks......
Okay, this is going to sound very egotistical, but I was checking out a video of myself the other night. What struck me most about it was how much it captured where I was musically at the time. ( It was filmed about 10 years ago. ) The cool thing is, listening/watching old recordings can hip you to things you were doing and didn't quite develop, or how your sound has changed and why. Also, if the recording is old enough, one tends to forget all the subjective stuff around it and it can be listened to like it's someone else. I always encourage young players to record themselves and then check it out for what they like and don't like. It's one thing for ME to tell you what I like in your drumming, but your taste and aesthetic might be quite different than mine, and it's what YOU think that really matters here.
In short , it's good to occasionally review things you've done musically, so you can see where you've been and where you're headed......so, get going! :)
I once had somebody come up to me at a gig and say that he was sorry I had to play so much brushes that night. Now, the gig was with a vocalist, but I don't ever recall her telling anything about how to play, let alone what implements I should use. Nope, I would say a good 90% of the time, I'm plying brushes because I want to. I may want a quieter groove or I may just want a different colour for that tune/intro/soloist. I'm not sure if I've made this abundantly clear but there are way more sounds available to us with brushes, and barring buzz strokes, we can also play all the stuff we play with sticks as well. Some of the things we can do are....
Articulated taps ( "whipping" the drum with the brushes )
Legato taps ( playing toward the drum horizontally as well as vertically. Jeff Hamilton is a master of this. )
Other legato shapes ( lines, triangles, z-shapes, all usually done while staying on the drum. )
Rolling the brushes across the drum to make the brush almost act like a rolling pin.
Accents created with the handle of the brush while still keeping the wires on the drum
Creating "buzz-like' sounds by hitting the rim of the drum with the handle, then bringing down the wires as they rebound.
Brush flams ( running over one brush with the other )
Choking up on the brushes a la Vernell Fournier to create less sweep sound but a more stick like sound and response.
Depend on the type of brushes, using the handle to create rimshots ( in the case of wood or extremely hard rubber), mallet type effects ( with softer handles ), or triangle imitations ( with the metal handle).
I'm not actually going to post any examples of these types of playing, but I would encourage you to seek them out. ( Hint: some of them are even posted on this blog ). Have fun!
Awhile back I was complaining about the sort of drum-related dreck one often sees on Instagram, but like most things on the internet, there is another side to this. One of the the drummers I love following on IG is the great Dan Weiss. His posts are always interesting and thoughtful, and he often posts excerpts from his online lessons (available through Patreon ) which look amazing.
One post that really spoke to me is this recent run down of his practice schedule. Check it out......
Now, that's a lot of material, but when he writes "all day practice", he really means it! When he did this, he started at 7:30 AM and ended the session at 8 PM ! Think about that the next time you think you've "practiced hard" ( I'm mainly speaking to myself here, truth be told! ) It just goes to what's possible if one is dedicated to one's art form. Dan's a monster, and part of the evidence for this is right here. I'm not suggesting we're all physically and mentally capable of practicing this long ( again, I'm speaking about myself as much as anyone ) but I think we can all agree it's likely we could be practicing ( or playing, or listening ) more. Thanks for the kick in the behind, Dan Weiss! :)
1. Is my dynamic correct for what's going on?
2. Am I playing too busy, too sparse?
3. Am I playing appropriately for the style?
4. Does the time feel good?
5. How does this piece start? How does it end? Am I helping it get there?
6. Am I contributing positive energy to this situation?
This has nothing to do with the above: I just think it's awesome. Here's Bill Evans, Eddie Gomez, and Alex Riel, rehearsing and then taping a tv show. Thank goodness for European tv or we'd never see any of these great musicians in their prime!
Music is great! Also, I need to check out more Alex Riel........
Here's a quick bit of great advice from Vinnie Colaiuta. I love everything he says about drums almost as much as I love hearing him play. His responses are unfailingly intelligent and insightful. Even his response to this frankly drum jock/nerd question gets to the heart of the matter! Inspirational as always......
Yikes, this weather isn't endomorph friendly by any stretch of the imagination! Regardless, while sweating in the apartment I came up with this very simple yet (imho) effective 12/8 pattern on brushes. it uses the brush "buzzes " again and does them whenever there's a capital R in the sticking.
I can't remember if I've mentioned this before, but I grew up playing in marching bands. I played bass drum, snare drum, tri-toms, cymbals and glockenspiel in my time with the Lions Band. The Lions Band was not a drum corps ( as we still had reed instruments ) but in the early 80s, the band certainly had drum corps aspirations. I must admit, at first I got caught up in it, but after awhile, I started to see elements in it that were problematic. Let's look at a few, shall we?
1. Drumset is an instrument born of individual, not group thinking.
The trap set's early objective was to take a role that was performed by two drummers, that is, badd drum and snare drum, and have an INDIVIDUAL perform this function. Drum corps, with it's emphasis on uniformity, is the antithesis of this. I personally don't think it's always healthy to have stickings to a particular passage dictated to us. Stickings are a mode of expression, and the main reason I switched to glockenspiel was that, even within the confines of the marching band, i got a bit of my individuality back, as no one else was playing my instrument.
2. Drum Corps values technique over sound.
Modern American marching snare drums tend to sound ( and feel ) like tabletops. The harder (tighter) the drums surface, the more bounce. The snares are on super tight, creating a super dead, dry, sound that helps show off the uniformity of the players. To me, it's a very uninspiring sound, and all the Corps' drums tend to sound the same.
3. Only certain techniques are valued.
Ever notice how none of the lists of rudiments has any buzz rudiments ( other than the one buzz roll ) or any dead stroke rudiments. Why? Because most of those lists are decided by DRUM CORPS instructors, and buzzes and dead strokes sound crappy on the table top sounding drums when 20 people are playing them out in a field. But you know what? Those are very valid ways of playing a drum, and classical and drum set players use those techniques all the time!
4. Timekeeping in undervalued.
My experience is that ham-fisted playing with massive sticks on the table top drums generally doesn't involve the concept that time-keeping is an art form. In the band I was in, there were times when some snare drummers were asked to play quarter notes and couldn't keep them in time! That's as fundamental as any rudiment, as far as I'm concerned.
5. If you think the employment opportunities for a drum set player are limited......
I had peers that went to the states to join DCI ( Drum Corps International ) bands after they finished high school, to spend their summers playing in football fields and sleeping in school gymnasiums. That's all good if you have a passion to do that, but it really doesn't lead to anything career-wise except a lot of student debt. At least if you play with a local country band between semesters of university, you come back with experience and a bit of money in your pocket.
So, if you feel compelled by the competition, patriotism ( something Americans are VERY good at ) and all that implies ( Don't get me started on the whole colour guard/rifles thing. Shudder! ) go for it. Just don't be surprised if, in the process of becoming a sensitive, original, light-touch drum set player, that you might have some unlearning to do afterwards.
Please note that the opinions expressed above are mine only. Don't send Tom Float over to my place or anything.........
I was recently practising something quite challeging ( it was in 9 ) and utilizing a paradiddle variation ( RLRLLRLR ) that i don't use as much and was trying to get it to feel more instinctual. I really wasn't getting anywhere with it, and I realized that I had to get the sticking naturalized in 4, before I attempted it going over the barline in an odd time signature. This is something that, not long ago, i would have been annoyed with. You know, I don't want to play in 4, i want to be "hip and modern". It was quite a silly way to think. I wasn't performing for anyone, and if I really wanted to get this together, I needed to stop trying to do so many complicated things at once. Any issues I had with this were just ego. This used to happen to me a lot while practicing. I would start working on idea A and while I was playing it I would be thinking about the next 4 steps, and sometimes trying to incorporate them while I was still playing the first idea. I wasted a lot of time with this. Don't be like me!!! Start whatever you're working on in a reasonable space, and add things only after you're comfortable with the first thing. If the first thing is giving you a lot of trouble, simplify it! There is no shame in this!
Okay, just because it's awesome, here's Thelonious Monk's band in '61 with the great Frankie Dunlop on drums. The ballad gets cut off, unfortunately, but it's still great stuff. Enjoy!
P.S. Happy Canada Day!
P.S.S. I'm playing with Jerry Bergonzi and the Brian Dickinson trio at Upstairs in Montreal for the Jazz festival tonight. Come on by if you're in the neighbourhood!
Here's a couple of examples of playing straight and swung rhythms concurrently. In the first one. I'm playing Afro 12/8 in the right hand, straight 8ths in the left, generally playing a one handed paradiddle between the cross stick and small tom, bass drum on 2 & 4, and the hi-hat starting out in straight 8ths notes, but moving to quarter notes as I originally intended! ( Nobody could ever accuse me of over rehearsing these examples! )
In the second example. I'm playing straight 8ths in the right hand and the second 2 notes of an 8th note triplet in the left, bossa bd part and on again/off again 7 beat pattern in the left foot.
So, I'm hoping the obvious question now is, so??? That's certainly valid. Any "regular" situation utilizing bossa or 12/8 rhythms would not be well suited to playing this stuff. ( Unless you want to get fired! )
These rhythms, by their very nature, are not smooth or neat and tidy, but I believe there are instances where we want to play rhythms that are jagged, ...angry even. That everything doesn't always line up is one thing that makes beats like these cool. It also gives a much more loose "ensemble" feel because it sounds like more than one person playing. These will also help you feel both straight and swing rhythms at the same time. Check it out if you like. It's a free country ( at least for now.....)
What Better way to celebrate Dad's day than with the God FATHER of Soul singing " Papa's Got a Brand New Bag? But, do yourself a favour and watch it to the end when James Brown plays some DRUMS! Fantastic, and tellingly, he plays with the groove much more than he ever let Stubblefield of Sparks get away with! So cool! I had no idea he was such a powerful drummer. And was he a lefty?
Today I'm bringing you an idea that came to me while practicing, or more accurately I should say came back to me. I endeavour to review things I've worked on, use ideas I've created etc., but I've been playing and practicing for almost 44 years now, so it's impossible to recall everything all at once!
Anyway, I stumbled on to this 7 beat idea between hi-hat, bass drum, and snare drum. It's just RLRLRLF ( The F stands for feet as in its first incarnation, the right and left foot are playing together. ) I liked it. I thought sounded pretty slick. Then I realized that particular combination I had been playing for decades ( I can vividly remember playing it with Mike Murley's band) except I had never voiced between hats, snare, and bass drum. I more used it open handed with RH on toms and LF on hi-hat. Anyway, here's a quick video on the original idea. Note that even though I start between hat and snare, it's not until I play the idea with the hands alternating on the hats that I get to the current lick I stumbled on.
I generally play it as an over the barline thing in 4, with the bd on all quarter notes or a samba bass drum part, although you could keep it in 7 as well. Also started moving the RH around at the end.
The second video is the same idea in triplets in 4, with either quarter notes or a shuffle on the bass drum. By the time I get over to the ride the pattern has essentially fallen apart but I kept it in because I thought it was funny! ( Don't try this at home folks! )
Believe it or not, my whole point to this post wasn't to show you these ideas, although I like them and they might prove useful to some of you. No, what I'm getting at is what I experienced with this "old" lick that I thought I had forgotten. I really believe that everything we work on in music is stored SOMEWHERE in our mind. ( Barring traumatic head injury, etc. ) I like to think of our brain as some sort of dusty attic full of treasures we may have temporarily forgotten. But sometimes on the way to find a sweater from high school, we might find a cool vintage fan that we thought we had gotten rid of! Our mind is like that too. So, sometimes when you're practicing, don't be afraid to let your mind wander a bit, and you might rediscover something!
Have fun! Love yourself and others!
Sad news out of Toronto this week. Veteran Jazz drummer John Sumner has passed. John was one of the many great older generation of drummers I checked out when I got to T.O. Here he is playing in Mark Eisenman's band.
This rhythm section, Eisenman-piano, Steve Wallace- bass, and John Sumner on drums played together A LOT. That trio had a definite "thing" like no one else. That's what happens in this music when you log so many hours together with simpatico spirits. I was reminded upon Mr. Sumner's passing that we don't have that thing anymore ( at least in the live sense ) and my sadness about this was mitigated by the fact that I heard it in the first place. RIP John Sumner, and thank you for the music.
I love vibraphone! It's an instrument that often doesn't get the respect it deserves. ( I had a friend who called it "the rolling doorbell" ! ) Even though I don't play it myself, it does seem to be that middle ground between two instruments I do play, piano and drums, and many drummers do double on vibes.
I recently got to record with great ( and now local ) vibist Dan McCarthy, and through serendipity, found this great interview with vibraphone pioneer Gary Burton in which he looks back on his career.
Check it out!
An important takeaway for me is that he talks about not being obsessed with playing his own music in his band, but rather finding the best tunes, no matter who wrote them. Even though this makes recordings less lucrative ( your own tunes mean you get the mechanical royalties' proceeds.) and more expensive ( you have to pay to put standards etc. on a recording ), this is something I plan to consider. I already have gotten a lot looser on how many originals I feel I have to play on gigs, and I think my earlier insistence on my own tunes was ego, more than anything. Oh well, another way I'm a work in progress. :)
It's been a while, so it's probably time for a rant.
I recently did a workshop at the venue Silence in Guelph. They have a house kit. A really nice Gretsch Catalina kit ( a very good value for the money. I've tried two sets and they both have very gutsy bass drums! ) Unfortunately, it's only about half useable because a lot of the drummers that have played it and used it moronically!
So, let's discuss good house kit etiquette. Because, you know what? If you treat a house kit with care and respect, if it's a decent set of drums at all, it will last FOR YEARS and you won't have to drag your drums in. Also, do you think the club is going to invest in more drums if you destroy them? Not likely.
So let's get started, and I apologize to all my "good guest" friends.
1. Do not over tighten stands
If the stands start new, they just have to tightened enough to stay in place. House cymbal/snare stands by their very nature are going to get moved up and down a lot. You can extend their life by quite a bit by not tightening the crap out of them. Plus it's a major drag to adjust them if you play at a club after some Edward Wrenchands......
2. Do not lose cymbal felts, hi-hat clutches, and sleeves/ wing nuts.
Do us all a favour. Put up and take down each cymbal separately, being careful to put the felts, sleeves and wing nuts back properly BEFORE you go on to the next stand. Cymbals without sleeves get cracked easily, so don't be selfish and in a hurry and mess it up for the next drummer. If you bring your own hi-hat clutch, put the house clutch somewhere safe and put it back afterward, and if you're using the house clutch, IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS HOLY PUT IT BACK ON THE STAND AFTER YOU'RE DONE WITH IT!!!!!!!
3. Leave the drum heads as they were
If you must put duct tape, duck ponds, paper towels, paper moons, or blue gummy bears all over the drums, please take them off afterward. Some of us are into that "non-cardboard box" sound! Same goes for putting things in the bass drum, and for Pete's sake, don't cut a port hole into a solid bass drum head! Believe it or not, not everybody is into that!
In closing, if you treat house drums with respect, you demonstrate you respect the music and your fellow drummers. If you don't, well, you are not welcome in my house (drums! )