googled06bb313055e587a.html Rock N Roll Rehab for the Control Of Rock and Roll Starring Greg Piper and The Tooners: The Third of Several Blogs on Having a Successful Band – Drums

The Third of Several Blogs on Having a Successful Band – Drums

 In the previous blog, I discussed the importance of the kick drum matching the tempo set by the bass. This combination is the foundation of making the band cook. The drummer is not the timekeeper. The bass player is. The drummer sets up the emotional energy for the piece being played. The drummer accentuates the current section of the song by understanding the importance of different phrases and making them sound better by doing things that only the drummer can do. When passages get excited and the energy begins to flow, the band will frequently start to rush. This is when the bass player and drummer should make eye contact and lay down a particularly clear beat. If you’re in rehearsal, the errant players should be told of their tendencies and to watch out for them. Once you’re on stage you can either speed up to catch him or her or him make a fool of himself. It depends on the importance of the gig.

A drummer who understands the importance of lead-in’s and creative expressive is priceless. If they don’t, you may as well be playing with a rhythm track or drum machine. A drum machine can’t listen, express or create set-up’s and lead-in’s. The drummer is also an important backer who has more expressive freedom than anyone else in the band. He also has the ability to cover a myriad of errors by the band. A great drummer will make you wonder how you lived without him or her. The Beatles chose Ringo over Pete Best because Ringo made them sound better. John Bonham walked onto the Led Zeppelin stage and told them that he could blow their drummer off the stage, and then proceeded to do it. Having balls is one thing. Being a good listener and making the band sound better, is another. A big ego gets you in the door. A small ego keeps you in the room.

I want to discuss lead-in’s and set-up’s. The two best drummers that I’ve ever worked with were Ronnie Tutt and Chuck Brougham I’ve played with hundreds of drummers and percussionists and these two stand out as the best. I was with Ron while touring with Elvis. Listen to the Elvis at Madison Square Garden CD and you’ll hear how he impacts the band. If your watch the video of Elvis on Tour 1972 (same tour), you’ll see how he also amplifies the performance of Elvis. I don’t care if you’re doing heavy metal, zydeco, jazz or country, the concept is the same because the human brain is looking for the same things, despite the difference in audiences. They want the big build-up of tension and then a release. Think of it as sex. It’s the nature of music. The big band work of Chuck Brougham is particularly brilliant because of the way he sets up the band entrances. His simplicity, clarity and energy at these moments is untouched. Even the best players have a bit of fear of coming in at the wrong time. But when the drummer sets up the entrance clearly, the band hits together confidently and comes in harder.

What is a lead-in? For example, let’s assume, that we have a chart where the band comes in hard on the second beat. A really good drummer will hit clearly on the first beat, leading the band confidently to their entrance.

From another angle, it’s not uncommon for players and particularly soloists to get lost in a song, especially during longer solos. Here, the drummer can clearly define “one” and the beginnings or ends of eight, twelve or sixteen bar phrases and save the player’s butt, for which the player should be eternally grateful to the drummer.

Randall Peede


Directors Clip, Inc.

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