This next one is dedicated to my brother in drums, Syke.
Till now when I thought of Jeff Porcaro my mind automaticaly went to the 80’s and their cheesy drum sound. I knew he was the one that played in MJ’s “Beat It” and he had his own super cool version of the half-time shuffle in Toto’s “Rosanna”. What I didn’t know was that the man was a taste-machine as fas as session drumming goes.
By that I mean, that yes, obviously the guy could play his arse off anytime but when he went in the studio he chose not to. He rather prefered to show his skills by emphasising their absence (see what I did?). Example: this next song.
This song was released in 1982. Porcaro plays in this entire “If That’s What it Takes” record but the song that makes him shine the most is this one. I should point out that the 16ths on the hihat are played with one hand.
I repeat.. one.. hand. The recipe sounds dated now: slap bass licks, cheesy synth sounds and a “session” atmosphere in general. I don’t care. It’s captivating.
It also wasn’t the last time that beat would be heard on the radio. In 1994, the “I Keep Forgetting” groove returns in Warren G’s feat. Nate Dogg, Regulate:
And the story goes on, with Daft Punk’s 2013 “Random Access Memories”. There’s a track in there where Omar Hakim was asked to replicate the same groove. He, though, played it with alternate hands I think, giving the tune a more disco vibe with a push-forward from the tempo rather than the previous laid back approach.
This is one of the best live performances of the King. Judging from the set and Elvis’ physique the year must have been 1970 and the place Las Vegas.
When I heard the studio version of the song I kept on wondering why is the last verse so big (the fadeout starts after five repeats I think). I guess the reason lies here in this live version.
Ron Tutt is the drummer that toured with Elvis during the ’70s as a member of the TCB band. Ηe was notoriously known for incorporating Elvis’ body language in his own drum performance. Talkin’ bout havin a good relationship with the boss. His approach is perfectly demonstrated in this video.
Why Questlove? Because he is an academic. He represents the essence of true musicianship. Firstly as a person and then as a drummer. He can play, he can produce, he can lead a band, he can session and above all else the guy can talk.
He can actually inspire you to do things with your playing without even touching his sticks, and that’s something. This is a two-hour long interview he did explaining his background and history along with his introduction to J Dilla. Do yourself a favor and watch the whole thing. I suggest you do it in parts cause the info in this video takes some time to sink in.
Being obliged to play some gigs that involve the original term of “rock n’ roll” pushes you to learn some history about it. Gene Krupa’s innovating attitude is the prologue I think.
He swung, he rocked, he had style and complete self awareness. Given the fact that he had to shine among the legends of drumming during that time, Gene Krupa never cared about intricacy and “chops”, he just performed and entertained. Aren’t we all supposed to do that?
Everybody should give some time and watch the “Gene Krupa – Jazz Legend” documentary (link). In there I found this awesome version of Caravan. I really dig the interpretation on the “A” part of the song. Enjoy.
Whereswilder is a psychedelic rock band from Athens, Greece. I play the drums. We recently released our first full-length called “Yearling”. Here’s a track:
You can stream/buy the whole record here.
Yearling was recorded by four people playing in the same room with no metronome. This demanded minimum editing so the drum takes are more less the actual ones I managed to track during the four days of recording with a few mix/match scenarios (whole verses of choruses from specific takes) on some songs that it was doable.
The drum gear included:
-Ludwig 60s Club Date “Frankenstein” Kit (thanks to my dear friend Syke from Planet Of Zeus) : 20″ x 14″ B/D / 12″ Tom / 16″ Floor
-Ludwig Keystone Supraphonic “69 14″ x 5
-Bosphorus Cymbals: 15″ Traditional Dark Hats, 22″ Groove Wide Ride Thin, 20” Traditional Ride Thin
Now, as far as influences go. During the tracking period I was pretty much obsessed by Morris Jennings’ drumming found on Howlin’ Wolf’ s Psychedelic Electric Blues Record (1969) along with Mitch Mitchell’s performance on Axis: Bold As Love. I tried to combine these two references with a more personal snare sound.
Hint: Not even a single rimshot was recorded on Yearling.
It takes some time for a drummer to realize the beauty of Ringo Starr’s drumming. Yes, I realize that many even believe that its not actually him playing on various occasions due to his lack of technical skills. Personally, I think it’s all Ringo but even if I didn’t it wouldn’t concern me.
What I admire is the concept of Ringo Starr. He plays for the song, he makes people dance and he does all that by minimizing his playing down to the absolute necessary stuff. A great example for this, is the following track:
What you listened is actually the left channel of the stereo remastered track where the whole rhythm section happens to be mixed together. The original take was recorded in 1963 and was included in the album With The Beatles.
Now, lets break down what I find so amazing about this drum part. First of all, the verse pattern. It’s like a drum machine loop.. in 1963. No regular drummer would have chosen to play that during those days. The hihat located on the “and” of 2 makes the notes sound spaced in an unorthodox way. Yet, you can clearly hear that it blends perfectly with the rhythm guitar riff. There’s also no use of crash or any accent at all which makes it even more flat and machine-like. It’s pure pocket.
The genious of this drum take comes down to just one simple bar. It’s the one after every chorus (ex. 0.23 – 0.26) where the band stops and there’s a bloody hihat hit screaming alone. It’s like a drum machine was sequenced to start playing the pattern again starting from that pause. It’s freaking beautiful