Aging

aydee

Platinum Member
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Nope. Not exotic woods, plys or weatherbeaten skins or even vintage drums.......how about vintage-ing drummers.....

I've played with a group of musicians off and on for many years now and we've always covered Billy Cobham's 'Stratus' whenever we've played together. We were going to do it yet again so out of sheer curiousity, I did an 'Occupy Youtube' the other night and went through his many videos of the tune from way back in 1977 to the present looking for a new way to play it.

Thats 35 years of Billy gigging with Stratus!!

Its was really interesting to see how the tune has evolved in the way he plays it. From the early years of bombastic and explosive fills and accenting of many of the sub- parts to now a more refined grove based approach with tasty understatement. Many of the sections are a lot now more laid back than the younger versions and I noticed that his playing was softer and he didnt fill many of the parts that he used to in the older versions.

While going through Billy's many versions, I also accidentally discovered Jeff Beck's version ( with Vinnie's hyper-explosive take on it ) and we played the tune again at a club this weekend... and naturally we do Becks version I & do my best Colauita impersonation..

Bad idea.

I came out of it, wounded. Physically, my hands hurt like they never had before and my ego took a bit of banging because the part in my head was a 16th note triplet whereas what came out was straight 8ths. I'm exaggerating but only slightly. The body was a step behind the mind. The intention was short of reality.

So Im saying to myself Im on the wrong side of 50 so I really shouldnt kill myself over it, but I did. It was a little deflating

Got me thinking about what an aging drummer feels and expresses. How he or she changes over time.
Is it an evolution of musical maturity, a refinement and a distillation of your lifes ideas or is it just well disguised fading skills?

Got me thinking..


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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Right there with ya' aydee. In fact, I was watching some of those same Cobham videos the last week as I prepared to pull the trigger on more drums, and you're right, I like the fact that the bombastic stuff is gone now.

But I don't think you should get so down about it. I know we're all aging (I'm at 45 now) and let's face it, we're getting closer to death than we were when we were immortal in our 20s. However, it might just be physical preparation talking. Out here in sunny Southern California there's no shortage of people in their 50s around here preparing for marathons or the next Iron Man competition and the one thing I've learned from these people is that if there's the desire to do it, you will do it. They're proof of that. They tell me that 50 is the new 30! One of them told me that everyday it's harder to get up and haul on your gear to go running, or whatever they do, but the nice thing is, we all feel that way. It's just how much you want to get up and do it.

I know when I got that gig at Disneyland, I knew it was not going to be for the faint of heart. When it was confirmed I'd be doing it, I started a bike riding regimen of riding for about 45 minutes up around the hills of my house about three times a week. I've slipped down to one time a week for now, but the maintenance is the important part. I don't know how physically active you are, but I find when I force myself into doing physical exercise, everything else tends to get smaller in physical challenge.

I'm doing my best to age gracefully and I'm not going to look back on my younger days with any kind of longing. I like to think I'm still looking forward - in getting my technique better and becoming more musically mature. I've heard things I did when I was younger and it just embarrasses me - regardless of the chops, I sounded so musically stupid. I like how I play today better than I did then ;)
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
You're being too hard on yourself! Did anyone else notice, or just you? Probably 99.9999% if not all 100% of the folks who heard you play the song never noticed. It's always the drummer - usually - who is his or her own worst critic. From reading your post it appears you won in that you recognized the fill and tried to play it. You're still young.

It just sounds like you didn't like how you played one song. You didn't mention how the others went. From reading your post it appears the other songs went well? Yes?

I think if one practices and plays - even occasionally - enough to kee the chops up, then drummers are like a fine wine or whiskey - they age gracefully and get even better with age musically and their maturity shows in their playing. :)
 

dmacc

Platinum Member
I'm 45 and can tell you beyond a doubt my warm-up time is no longer optional before I play. I used to be able to (or at least feel as if) I sit down cold and hit it running. No more.

That being said, since having kids I have let myself go a little and really need to change that quickly.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
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@ Bo- I like my musical 'now' than my musical 'then' too. Not being able to pull off something Im assuming in the musical moment that I can is a little new to me. Was I was a little to tight, too tired, too stiff too old.. dunno? ( pick one ).. You are right about fitness ( Im a B+ there ) and yes..Sunny Cali is a few thousand miles away. ( I once asked a hotel clerk in LA what the weather was going to be like that day as i was stepping out.. he said " You must be from out of town, sir" ! )

@ Rogue- You are right, it was an internal thing. It wasnt that I played the gig badly, its just that I could'nt pull off what I was going for which was unnerving.


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aydee

Platinum Member
If it makes you feel any better, Vinnie has to ice his hands each time he plays..
Right, thanks Thaardy!!!! The Vinnie comparison stopped with me checking out the vid, period. Though Vinnie isnt a young buck anymore he must be mid 50s..?

PS- the hands still hurt 3 days after the gig.

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ddrumman2004

Senior Member
I'm approaching age 60 and as bad as my joints feel during the day at times, I often worry about how it will affect me come time to play a gig. I can also sit at my practice kit and try to play some songs that we do and find I get really tired before I finish.

Now at a gig? I rarely get tired before the last set and then it's mostly my right leg. Playing "Wipeout" at the end of a 5 hour gig really wears my arms down.....but yet...somehow I always make it through.

I am finding out that the older I get....the phrase "Less is more"...really applies to me. One day I will hang up my sticks and call the live gigging quits. But now I can only thank my maker for allowing me to keep playing, even though my body says otherwise.....both physically and mentally.

From what I have been told.....I am my biggest critic.
 

MaryO

Platinum Member
Hmmm...so wondering what this means for someone like me who is just starting at 44? Yikes!
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Yeah aydee, you're being your own worst critic. To be truthful, I've been cheating all my life anyway - I know what the real fill is supposed to be, but it gets twisted around and I just keep playing it that way which is easier for me - so everybody else, including myself, thinks that's how it should be ;)

As it was pointed out about Vinnie, I recall a Jeff Porcaro interview where he said he had to ice his forearms after a show for some tendinitis condition. Phil Ehart (from Kansas) was already doing that when his band hit the big time, and he even admitted he had to use two different-sized sticks because of a bursitis condition, back then. They still do shows today. Be positive and have fun. As Tony Levin said once, they're just notes, and they go into the air and go away.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Hmmm...so wondering what this means for someone like me who is just starting at 44? Yikes!
It means you're probably learning the right technique from the outset - you probably won't develop any of the bad habits we've had to work through! You'll be playing into your 90s!
 

rdb

Senior Member
I'm with you, Mary. Starting at the age of 47 (well, I was 46 when I started). And maybe Bo is right that we'll be happily playing into our 90s. That would be nice. And I have modest expectations. Mostly I love the process of learning; I want to have some fun with it; and as my young kids are learning music, I want to be able to play with them. You know, family togetherness.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
You can't use the age excuse Abe. Not yet. Louie Bellson and Elvin Jones were well past 50 and playing dizzying stuff. I don't think you really want to believe that just because you're past age 50 that your skills are declining. I refuse to accept that from you Abe. I can't relate to having my hands hurt days after a gig, but I can relate to not going for the fill with the verve you had at age 30. The Eye of the Tiger is all in the mind.

I am 53 in a few days. From about age 51 to about 1 month ago I was definitely depressed about how my youth is gone and things won't be the same from now on.

That was a grieving phase that I think many go through around this age. I'm past it now and I am looking forward to the very best years of my life.

My point is don't believe the crap you are trying to feed yourself about your age.

You latest incident is actually just a kick in the pants, a wake up call, not the decline of Abe's abilities. Do you want to decline? Then you'd better cop a different 'tude lol.
 
D

Doctor Dirt

Guest
In the beginning we learn what to do, how to add...........................towards the end we learn what not to do, then subtract. Doc.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Well, I'm 53 now, and I never played better in my life as a drummer, especially since I had to rearrange my setup and review my approach to drumming just over a year ago due to back problem (hey, yes, old age bring new items in your life).

I have gain maturity, musicality, creativity, played various styles of music through my experiences and influences as a musician over the years and I certainly believe that my playing of "today" is better than my playing of some years ago.

Yes, I don't play with the same "fieriness" as in my youth, especially in a "rock" setting (I haven't play in a rock band for years) but I'm enjoying myself better than ever :))

Now as far as the classic Cobham's Stratus is concerned, I own almost all of Billy's version, live or studio, and I've seen many version of Cobahm on YouTube too. But somehow, I don't like Vinnie's version, it's a bit over the top for my liking, yes it is very impressive, but I don't think it suit the song that well, that's just my humble opinion though, I adore Vinnie Colaiuta, notably for his work with Sting, but on this one, sorry, I pass.

BTW, Larry's right, there's an awful lot of "old" players out there who are still very much in the game, Simon Phillips, Steve Gadd, Peter Erskine, Billy Cobham, David Garibaldi just to name a very few, you are still very young with many years of happy and rewarding drumming in front of you...
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
I am 53 in a few days. From about age 51 to about 1 month ago I was definitely depressed about how my youth is gone and things won't be the same from now on.
Thanks Larry. I'm 51, so I've got another two years of grieving to look forward to? = Bloody great :{

Abe, I had the same experience last week, but that was due to illness. That said, because I came back after such a long time off the throne, I'm still winging it now. My brain knows the moves, but the body dictates the interpretation. Funny thing is, the body seems to be the smarter musical decision maker :)
 

aydee

Platinum Member
great thoughts, guys.

@ Bo- love the Levin quote.. yea, you're right, I do get the 'look at the bright side' argument, but moment of loss in real time is painful.

@ ddrumman- damm right, the drummers you mention should be inspiration enough to take into our 50s and beyond

@ MaryO- well, you could always look forward to starting the thread along these lines..? ; )

@ Larry- I didnt expect anything less than you kicking my butt on this one. I going to think very hard about what you said. Honest. I appreciate it.

@ Andy- You DO get what Im saying. The body 'interpretes'. Ok, that a nice spin on it ; ) I gotta make myself believe that.

@ DocDirt- wisdom of the ages, sire. Well said. But on some occasions I think there is only so far you can go. There is a point when a Rock/Jazz tune like Stratus becomes a lounge tune even if its original creator is playing it at the age of 65...

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Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Abe, I agree with others that it's no biggie if you failed to pull off a lick. As long as what you played was in time and didn't clash. There's always the option of shedding the lick until it's easy again.

Me ... I lost some and gained some. Young me couldn't play what I'm now doing with the same feel at very low volumes. I didn't want to - I would have found it boring.

Today I can't play as hard or as fast as before. Doesn't matter. I'm not interested in frenetic rushing about - not as a listener or a player. I'm looking for more lyricism, style and depth.

The biggest ageing issue I'm confronting now is caring for my ageing father. He can't look after himself any more so I had to move in with him. I can't practice any more - apart from being time and space poor, Dad can't tolerate it.

A new phase of life ...
 

keep it simple

Platinum Member
Abe, I agree with others that it's no biggie if you failed to pull off a lick. As long as what you played was in time and didn't clash. There's always the option of shedding the lick until it's easy again.

Me ... I lost some and gained some. Young me couldn't play what I'm now doing with the same feel at very low volumes. I didn't want to - I would have found it boring.

Today I can't play as hard or as fast as before. Doesn't matter. I'm not interested in frenetic rushing about - not as a listener or a player. I'm looking for more lyricism, style and depth.

The biggest ageing issue I'm confronting now is caring for my ageing father. He can't look after himself any more so I had to move in with him. I can't practice any more - apart from being time and space poor, Dad can't tolerate it.

A new phase of life ...
Pol, so sorry to hear of your father's challenges, & hence, your own. I nursed both my parents for two years in their own home. Not an easy juggle. Thinking of you at this time.

Anyhow, what's a late spring chicken like you doing chiming in on an old fart thread?
 
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