You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2014.

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Above: A rad pre-show pic from the glory days.

Below: A recent Twitter quote from Aaron Sterling.

Bonham is like Miles. So beyond revered that sometimes you even wonder if he’s overrated. Then you listen again and say, “Nope. Incredible.”

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1) Joey Baron – Down Home… I love Joey Baron. He’s one of my favorite drummers. And then put Bill Frisell and Ron Carter in the mix with him and I’m gonna dig it.

2) Bob Marley – Natty Dread… I’ve owned a handful of Marley records for years but have been revisiting them a lot lately. The rhythm section (brothers Aston and Carlton Barrett) is so sick on this album, and I really like the dry drum tones. I feel like there’s reggae, and then there’s Bob Marley…

3) John Hiatt – Bring The Family… JIM KELTNER, PEOPLE. JIM KELTNER.

4) Daft Punk – Random Access Memories… 2014 Grammy-winner for Album of the Year. JR Robinson and Omar Hakim split the drum duties and combine organic drumset sounds with the signature DP synths. Incredible feel on track after track.

5) Mehliana – misc Youtube clips… Is everybody aware of this Brad Mehldau + Mark Guiliana duo project? Holy cow. Their record is due out in a month, and the live footage from the recording session is incredible.

Paul Mabury showing us how the Moeller technique is supposed to work. And how locking an overdub take with a pre-recorded track is supposed to work. And how ghost notes are supposed to work. And how patience is supposed to work.

“The quickest way to get dumber is to find a Youtube video with more than a million views and read the comments” – me, after reading some comments on Youtube videos

The drumcam footage that I’ve posted recently has somewhat renewed my affection for Youtube. I’ve been checking out documentaries and bios and live footage and all kinds of worthwhile stuff. And then, beneath every video, is a mountain of not-so-worthwhile stuff. Online commenting is a massive part of the social networking culture, and commenters create a fascinating subculture of their own. I want to be forthright and say that typical Youtube commenting is utterly nauseating to the part of me that wants everyone to behave like decent human beings, but the armchair psychologist side of my personality is having a field day with it. It’s equal parts hilarious and intriguing to watch users passionately debate something they seem to know so little about. And the more commenting trends I observe the more I’m discovering metaphors for the music world.

Observations of Youtube commenting and how it correlates to music-making:

1. Commenters seem to often be most interested in having their perspective “win” the discussion. This is typical for human beings generally – we like to have our voice heard and deemed most important or most correct. But this is a TERRIBLE thing to do when involved in collaboration, like, for example, music. A rehearsal where your band is hashing through new songs, a studio session creating arrangements or parts, or even a sit-down meeting to form a live show set list… these are all situations that could be viewed as a competition for your ideas. DON’T DO IT. Don’t think of musical environments as having winners or losers. It’s problem solving! It’s a search for the most helpful answer! It’s not a battle where you need to prove yourself. You will help your reputation immensely by being a musician who contributes to finding solutions/decisions/conclusions while collaborating, rather than a belligerent ____ who has to have it their way.

2. This observation is very different from my first point: I notice that many of the comments I read seem to neither contribute nor detract from the video itself, almost as if the commenters merely want to post something in order to see their own name in print somewhere in the vicinity of the video. For example, that legendary “first” post, where a user simply types the word “first” on the latest cool video in order to show other users that they won the contest of who can type a comment fastest. This is so funny to me! The user has completely missed the point of video comments… TO COMMENT ON THE VIDEO. It reminds me of my instinct to play a variation in my groove just because I’m bored during the song, as opposed to intentionally structuring my parts to always enhance the moment. My fill or variation might not be “incorrect” or poorly-played, but if I play it for any reason other than the specific intention of helping the music than it ultimately only adds “noise” behind the real purpose of playing music in the first place – the song. My friend Matt Tobias says: a part is never neutral. It either adds or it detracts.

3. Reading some of the comments on my own videos freshly reminds me that real knowledge is always contingent on understanding the circumstances surrounding the facts. For example, using a click is, for most live performances, a way to enable to the band to stay locked with the backing tracks. If there are no backing tracks then a click is optional and is often only employed if the band is having a hard time hearing one another because of audio difficulties in the room. Either way, if a user doesn’t know the realities associated with what I just described then their perspective on why a band might use a click (or whether a click is a good thing) will be hugely flawed, ignorant, or naive at the very least. This whole thing makes me once again realize that there are a lot of things that I don’t know about the music world, and it motivates me to put my mind into a posture of learning instead of a posture of knowledge. I’m not in the game of music to simply observe what others have done and then decide if I like it. I want to grow in my understanding of the myriad of variables that makes music such a deep art form! I want to become a more knowledgable drummer, a more experienced performer, and a smarter musician generally. This causes me to approach musical situations with an intent to discover things that I haven’t yet discovered, instead of showing up and merely demonstrating the things that I think I already know.

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Oh no. Paiste has expanded the Masters line to include crashes and hats instead of only rides. There goes me saving up money for a foosball table…

Last year I began a series of posts revisiting some of my older blog content, and for this week’s installment I’m combining that idea with my usual annual highlight reel. These are my favorite topics and discussions and posts from 2013…

A recap and commentary on Steve Jordan’s rad Memphis Drum Shop webcast clinic

Part 2 of my posts on kick drum technique

Reflections on the idea that drummers should play “melodies”

Descriptions and examples of my song-charting process

The intersection of music and commerce: “You Cannot Serve Both Music And Money”

Drumcam footage from Sara Bareilles and Owl City, as well as a rudiment warmup video

Tackling difficult patterns and challenges: “It Should Be Easy”

A pdf of my Drumhead Magazine feature

An incredible series of in-studio videos from session legend Dan Needham

 

A deeply insightful and helpful article by Danny Barnes. Read it and learn. This is how to be in the sideman business.

HT: Mark Stepro

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