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Shoot the Drummer

PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2007 11:33 pm
by jeffl
On Saturday nite I went down to listen to some guys play that I've sat in with a number of times. Their frontman is a harper who numerous times has graciously confined himself to vocals while I've contributed on harp. They had a new drummer with a big rep in the regional scene, and I could tell immediately that he was a rock drummer. He had alotta ability, great hands, and overplayed all nite long. I got up and played a few tunes in the second to last set and jus' about went deaf, but it was fun. After the last set, the drummer wouldn't respond to a curtain call, claiming his hands were shot, so the harper sat down on the drums -- he had been the drummer for a great Minnesota blues band ,The Dust Bowl Blues Band for quite a few years. So, I got up and jumped in and we had a riot for about a half hour. I told the bass player, "Good luck on trainin' yer new young hot-shot there",lol!

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:41 am
by houserocker
Ah yes the drummer blues. :D

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 3:10 am
by texas blues
Two words....Charlie Watts. Kinda like the BB King version of drums. One note says it all. Too many drummers want to be Neil Peart but aren't. Guess they are trying too hard to get laid. Cheers, TB.

PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2007 2:13 pm
by jeffl
I don't know what makes some drummers play that way...I guess a little of it is inherent in the instrument, but I do know that the bandleader is very finnicky to work with in rehearsals. I've been to a handful of rehearsals with one of his other projects, a couple of years ago, and I really didn't like his rehearsals 'cuz he was pretty dictatorial about what he wanted, and he had a weird way of communicating about it....he didn't use alotta standard band terms, like "double stop" or "crescendo", but instead, he'd describe what he wanted. I thought he had pretty tight control of his product. I'm a little surprised that he hasn't quieted this drummer down a little, except maybe the kid (he's prob'ly 32 yrs. old) has just told him to take it or leave it. And the other possibility is that the crowds love the kid just the way he is, and the bandleader knows it......

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 1:44 pm
by bosco
Something I've noticed playing with dozens of drummers over the years, is that the more gear that they haul, the greater tendency they have to want to try and use it all.....with the end result being that they overplay, especially playing blues.

We had a drummer who insisted on doing rolls and crashes all of time, during solos and vocals, didn't matter. The rest of the band decided enough was enough, and before a rehearsal we literally removed two toms and two crash cymbals from his kit. When he arrived we told him that if he wished to remain part of the band, that was the kit he was going to play. His playing did improve, but his approach and attitude toward blues drumming didn't and he left the group a few months later.

Some of the best drummers I have seen could make an oatmeal box sound great and performed with a very basic trap kit. Hell, I've got dozens of harps, half a dozen amps and half a dozen microphones. But I don't insist on hauling them all with me and making an attempt to use every one.


PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2007 4:49 pm
by jeffl
I agree with you about the benefits of simplicity, Bosco. I think that maybe bands that book party clubs alot might be fine with the bang and crash drummers (and I like drumheads tuned for some punch), but some tunes and venues require more sublety. I've heard metal TV trays on metal legs, played with brushes, sound good, but for gettin' a crowd dancin' in a loud bar, that prob'ly wouldn't work. And this kid was young,too, so maybe hangin' around blues guys for a while will get him thinkin'. He's developed good hands and wrists, so he'll prob'ly develop the rest of what he needs to get some respect.

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:58 pm
by Ozark Bluesman
A lot of the problem concerns age...

I've been playing drums for over 40 yrs. and I know "back in the day" I used to over-play the hell out of songs. I used to use at least 6 mounted toms, 24" bass drum, etc. Nowadays I use a 4 pc. kit, and concentrate on tempo and staying in the pocket. "Less IS More"...

PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 8:08 pm
by ricochet
At the show I went to the other night in Kingsport I saw some fine blues drumming (and bass playing.) But the drummers and bassmen were older guys, like you said.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 2:05 am
by texas blues
If Hitler was your guitar player, Saddam Hussien your bass player....your gun only has two bullets....shoot the drummer...twice!!
Cheers, TB.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:13 pm
by jellyroll baker
bosco wrote:we literally removed two toms and two crash cymbals from his kit.

You're my hero!

That said, I once played with a rock 'n' roll drummer ('50s style rock 'n' roll that is) who insisted on using a double kick pedal. Man, he got the most amazing, funky grooves out of that thing.

PostPosted: Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:49 pm
by jeffl
I hate to even mention this, but I played with an old roommate of mine who had switched to digital drums, and the one thing I noticed as I'm standin' between him and the bass player on stage was that it was a helluva lot quieter up there: no ambient sizzle from the cymbals or snares. I liked that part of it. The jams I've played in normally rely on minimal drum sets...even smaller diameter bass drums, so I'm accustomed to that. I've played alot with guys just usin' snare and brushes, but if you're doin' dance music in a club..that doesn't go far.