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I was discussing “hook fills” with a student the other day.  The term “hook” refers to a melody or part that really grabs the listener, in a way that the melody/part becomes the song’s identity.  It’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a particular song, and it’s the thing you hum to yourself to remind yourself of the song.  That’s what a hook is… and it’s a big part of the pop music world.  Like I said, hooks are mostly found in the melodic side of things, but a fill can be hooky too.  In fact, it’s not a bad idea to try and be hooky with every fill you play, because it will help you avoid drummer disease.

Anyway, I always immediately think of Dave Grohl when I think about hooky drum parts.  The guy just knows how to grab a listener with a fill (and grooves in general).  Nirvana’s stuff is obviously a great example of this… like the intro fill for “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”  Everybody recognizes that fill, regardless of whether they’re musicians or not.  Another great example in the Nirvana catalog is that tune “In Bloom.”  That’s the example that came to my mind in the lesson the other day, so I quick looked up the song on Youtube so the student and I could listen to the fill in the lesson.  I had never seen the official video for that track, and it’s pretty funny…

Do you hear what I mean about Grohl’s fills being super catchy and “singable”?  So great.  Long live Dave Grohl.

 

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I’m a Nirvana fan, because I have ears, but also because I love Dave Grohl. However, many people don’t know that Nirvana had a different drummer prior to Grohl, a dude named Chad Channing. Channing played most of the tracks on Nirvana’s debut record Bleach, and was fired shortly after… kinda like the Nirvana version of Pete Best or Dave Krusen.

If you’ve ever wondered why you don’t like the drumming on Bleach as much as the later Nirvana recordings, Channing is why.  To quote my good friend Chris Morrissey: “Chad Channing makes Meg White sound like Manu Katche.”

Here’s a cool interview with my former teacher, David King. I found it the other night. In it he discusses an avant garde piano trio he’s in, The Bad Plus, and their adventures with record labels.

Notice toward the end of the clip when the interviewer completely botches her facts on the Nirvana cover that The Bad Plus did on their first record. Awesome.

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