Forgive me, but I’d like to begin and again encourage people to play with other people. Everybody is making videos these days. So many drummers post videos of themselves playing alone on YouTube and Facebook. I wonder who are these people are and why they would do this. Is this “Look what I can do”, or “Look how easy I can make this look?” “look.” “LOOK!!” Or is it meant to teach? What is gained by making a video of you only to receive empty replies such as “likes” or “Wow, I’ll never be able to do that.” For me, as a viewer on Facebook, I have an empty feeling when I add my “like” or even “love’ to a musician I wish to encourage. I also feel a bit empty when I receive a like. If you are posting to teach something, does “like” work for you? How do you know if the light bulb has gone off in the viewer’s head? Social media concerns me. Am I showing my age? “Get off my lawn!”
Sharing brings happiness. It is a crucial expression of love. It’s not so good if you are only in your own personal bubble and not playing with others. It really is awesome when a band member is looking back at you with such intensity as you OWN the groove and you’ve got the entire band in your care and they are as happy as humanly possible.
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!” Who’s Captain America? Vinnie or Gadd? When I get better maybe I could be Ant-Man. Love that guy! Be careful about which licks you get friendly with. You might not want to wear that costume on all of your gigs. If fills are words spoken, rather than notes played, and if those same words are not relevant to what else is being said, then those words are mumbo-jumbo! Nonsense really. I’m talking about CONTEXT. I know plenty of swear words in French – some real nasty ones too that even the French themselves won’t say out loud. Does that mean I speak French?
Work on fills if that is what you want to do, but study how to get into them and out of them without ripples or without speed bumps, definitely without pooping in your pants. Continually check out how to place those movements in context, perhaps with other objects instead of sticks (mallets? Brushes?) Or dynamics. Tempos.
I promised some snippets about drum gear. I’ll start with what is an odd irritation to me. People, stop listening with your eyes! I’m not talking about judging a drum track in the studio by watching it to see if it lines up with a perfect grid. I’m talking about seeing a drum with a deep shell and saying, “man, I want some deep drums!” Really?
It is my opinion that drum manufacturers or designers that use their ears to design drums (perhaps with less marketing concerns) would agree with me that a deep drum does not mean a deeper sounding drum. My 4x15 DW Maple mahogany, or same size Craviotto Walnut, or same size 1920s Ludwig standard brass ALL have more bottom than any 6.5 X 14 snare drum because less deep shells resonate longer. The top and bottom heads enjoy each other’s company more! If you really want deep go an inch wider! With my own personal taste or choice, I hardly ever go lower than 5.5 deep snares because I LIKE that “oomph” on the bottom, though I enjoy my Joyful Noise 6.5x14 brass. My 6.5s have more mid frequencies. I suppose this could be the way I tune. Yeah, it’s only music and there are always exceptions to any rule in music. Let’s talk about toms. The 10x10, 12x12 will sustain less than 7x10 and 8x12 sizes, right? Right! The floor toms tend to be longer and that is a good thing – because the notes are bigger and sustain longer due to the size of the drumhead! Unless it is a solo drum performance (and don’t get me started on that) you can’t have a floor tom that sustains forever. This is why speed metal drummers have toms that are deep in depth. They play a kazillion notes so they need attack and not so much sustain. Of course, 10x10 & 12x12 toms look cool, or at least they once did. There’s more to this topic of course but I at least wanted to touch upon it.
“There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major.” - Sergei Prokofiev-
I feel this way about 4/4. Thanks so much for your responses and shares.