Disciplined vs. Loosey-Goosey

We all need to feed our head (and hearts) with music.  Don’t forget that.  There have been times in my life that I have been so upset that I denied myself one of the things I love the most; Playing music and listening to music.  Why?  Who knows.  One general concept of living well holds true, and that is

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william ward 1 Comment
Baseball & Music

I strayed away from baseball after the Big Red Machine days in the mid 70s but as my career in music unfolded I began noticing the Zen-like abilities of baseball players.  Watching Jose Altuve bat for the Astros in this current World Series is not unlike seeing Vinnie Colaiuta play with Herbie Hancock.  Vinnie is a perfect example so I’m going with it.  Both Jose and Vinnie are well trained, with so many gears of auto responses studied and embedded into their bodies, hearts and minds.  Baseball has more rules about “what ifs” than any sport.  It is a game of anticipation, not action. 

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Halloween. Really?

Halloween is coming up in a week or so and it has led me to thoughts about drummers that work on fills in isolation from groove or music.  Drummers that only work on the fills themselves are playing a facsimile of music, just like a Halloween costume.  I mean, “Wow, listen to this guy playing a Bonham (Batman) fill!”  

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The Hard Part

I think that is one reason I will frequently reach for a tambourine or shaker mallet in my right hand instead of a drumstick at times.  Having a limitation can be freeing in terms of creativity.  This is also why I dropped the two-rack tom setup.  It is simply too easy to repeat things from one drum to the next when they are right next to each other.  That extra drum (cowbell) stares at me, “Play me, you fool!”

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william ward 3 Comments
Goin' Fishing

Big Time. Many times in my instructional “Big Time” as well as numerous clinics or appearances, I’ve talked about playing the space between the notes.  About loving that space.  Big Time teaches how to be self reliant in playing the space, by wiggling in time, breathing in time.  Sometimes the rest of the band or at least a crucial player has time that is

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Your Fully Integrated Beauty

I love reading creative quotes from interesting people and since I’m somewhat brain dead with flu, I thought this was a fun way to splatter some thoughts your way. Feel free to share some of your own thoughts or stories after reading, and don’t forget to tip the waiters.

"One of the perks of being an unemployed musician is that you get to play much less bad music."  -Jack Daney...

 

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Music Is A Very Hard Instrument. -Vido Musso

This happened some time after I was in The Knack and before working with Chris Whitley as well as continuing numerous Gary Chang feature film sessions.  Gary Chang had worked with Robbie on his first album that Daniel Lanois produced and Gary was instrumental in my meeting and then playing with Robbie.  Apparently Gary called Robbie and apparently said, “You’re an A-hole if you don’t check out this drummer from New York, Billy Ward.”  Robbie responded

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william ward 2 Comments
Socialize

It was a breakthrough for me when I realized that great beats don’t all have to contain busy hi hat and snare notes.  The drums are not the only instrument in a band that supplies rhythm to a song! This is one reason why I believe too much time alone on the drum set, without band mates, can turn your playing toward destructive tendencies.

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All You Need Is Love

I have plenty of problems.  You see, when I am driving through a parking lot and looking for a space to park, if there are lots of available spaces, I can’t decide where to park.  I keep driving around until my wife says, “That’s the one!”  Then I thank her and park the damn car. 

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william ward 1 Comment
How I Got Here - Technique part 3 of 3

I was a practicing monkey in my early 20s, playing 8 hours a day while dropping out of two music schools.  Not being in a band tilted my attention to freer forms of music, Coltrane, Anthony Braxton and others.  Have you heard Jack DeJohnette play drum solos?  I was into that kind of thing.

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Steering the ship. Two things

Here’s a couple of stories that might influence you in some way.  I’ve made plenty of mistakes, but wouldn’t change any of them because, well... here I am.  There isn’t an artist out there who doesn’t have a list of failures equal to his list of accomplishments.  Your drumming heroes may not speak of the failures but they happened. So… two things...

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You've gotta put in the work

Hello everyone!  I’m here at www.billyward.com as well as facebook.com/billywarddrums. 

As I envision this unfolding series of blogs, future topics will include the following and likely more:

- Technique.  Both physical as well as “life chops”

- Gear.  Possibly how to record drums as well as drums          (I’d appreciate feedback on that)

- Occasional rants   :)

- True stories from my career.  Some funny, some simply odd...

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Three Suggestions for your daily musical growth...

Hi everyone.  I'm going to be writing a few tips every once in a while.  Feel free to respond with your opinions here or on my facebook page "billy ward drums". 

 

Now to it...  Music is a part of my life everyday.  Here's three things I do that maybe you can get into and incorporate it into your daily or weekly activity.

ONE.  Listen to music.  I go to my music service online (so far it is Tidal but I may change at some point) and float around with searches and see what I can find that I've not heard.  Sometimes it's yet another jazz record from the 60s or 70s that I once listened to, such as Jimmy Smith Trio with George Benson - highly recommended for tasty feels to copy as well as understanding when to do that fill...  Other times it's something I haven't heard - today was the Luminaires.  Pretty sweet record. 

Thinking about music and how to approach it as an author of drum parts is crucial for growing...

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favorites

We found the following buried deep inside the old website I hope you enjoy it. BW. 

THE FOLLOWING LIST WAS MADE OFF OF THE TOP OF MY HEAD AND WRITTEN DOWN IN ABOUT AN HOUR ON A RAINY THURSDAY WHEN THE YANKEES GAME THAT I WAS GOING TO WAS RAINED OUT. THESE ARE SOME OF THE MOST INFLUENTIAL ARTISTS I REMEMBER LOVING. IN MANY CASES, I STILL LISTEN TO THIS STUFF.

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Welcome to the all new BillyWard.com

Hi everyone! 

Welcome to my new site. 

There's lots more to come, but for now, I'm off to NAMM for a few days to hang out.

Please say hi if you see me there.

Until then, please have a look around, connect with me.

You can hear all about what I've been up to in a recent interview...

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william ward