Drummer Terry Williams playing with Dire Straits - nice drumming!

philrudd

Senior Member
Love Terry Williams' drumming - I saw the 'Brothers in Arms' tour with him playing, and he was a powerhouse.

Having said that...I still prefer Pick Withers' original drumming on this song. It's so sultry and nuanced. Williams chose the thunderous route for the live version, and nothing wrong with that, but I've never heard anyone able to replicate Withers' delicate performance.

But tangentially, anyone know the deal with Terry Williams being replaced by Omar Hakim on 'Brothers in Arms'? I'd read that Williams actually tracked drums for the full album (those are his tom rolls at the beginning of 'Money for Nothing'), but the producer deemed the tracks inferior and brought in Hakim to do the final drum parts.

Now, Williams might not be the world's finest drummer, but I've heard enough of him - both live and recorded, like his work in Rockpile - to figure he's certainly world-class. I just can't wrap my mind around the idea that his tracks were so bad that they needed to be replaced. (Mind you, this was around the same time that Rikki Rockett was deemed suitable for airplay...)

Anyone with any insider info?
 

mpthomson

Senior Member
But tangentially, anyone know the deal with Terry Williams being replaced by Omar Hakim on 'Brothers in Arms'? I'd read that Williams actually tracked drums for the full album (those are his tom rolls at the beginning of 'Money for Nothing'), but the producer deemed the tracks inferior and brought in Hakim to do the final drum parts.


Anyone with any insider info?
From interviews with Omar Hakim and others that I've read over the years, it wasn't that TW wasn't a good drummer, it was that his feel wasn't right for the album and they wanted someone with a lighter, jazzier feel to record the tracks.

As you state the only bit of drumming of Williams' drumming on the entire album is the intro bit of Money for Nothing, until the guitar comes in. The rest is all Omar.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
Here's a pretty comprehensive explanation from the co-producer that I hadn't seen before:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may06/articles/classictracks_0506.htm

And this is from another site:

[Neil] Dorfsman notes that recording in paradise had its pitfalls, too: "I remember one day going out of the control room to page the band and they were all lying around the pool like beached whales. When I got them in the studio they were playing with towels around their waists, white cream on their noses, sunglasses and towels on their heads, and everything was like 60 beats per minute-it was so slow! I'm saying, 'Guys, we're making a record here!'" he laughs. "It was so much fun to be there that it was difficult unless you were incredibly disciplined. It was hard to focus exclusively on recording. But once you were in a creative mode it was great because it was quiet and relaxing. I did a record there subsequently with Sting [Nothing Like the Sun], and he was very, very focused. That project involved longer days and more concentrated work, and it ended up being a perfect place for him. For Dire Straits it was fantastic, but occasionally the band's energy got a little scattered, and it was hard to rein it in and keep things intense."


So it may have been more than just Terry's vibe...but as usual it's the drummer that gets the blame.
 

Kroy

Member
Love Terry Williams' drumming - I saw the 'Brothers in Arms' tour with him playing, and he was a powerhouse.

Having said that...I still prefer Pick Withers' original drumming on this song. It's so sultry and nuanced. Williams chose the thunderous route for the live version, and nothing wrong with that, but I've never heard anyone able to replicate Withers' delicate performance.

But tangentially, anyone know the deal with Terry Williams being replaced by Omar Hakim on 'Brothers in Arms'? I'd read that Williams actually tracked drums for the full album (those are his tom rolls at the beginning of 'Money for Nothing'), but the producer deemed the tracks inferior and brought in Hakim to do the final drum parts.

Now, Williams might not be the world's finest drummer, but I've heard enough of him - both live and recorded, like his work in Rockpile - to figure he's certainly world-class. I just can't wrap my mind around the idea that his tracks were so bad that they needed to be replaced. (Mind you, this was around the same time that Rikki Rockett was deemed suitable for airplay...)

Anyone with any insider info?
Yes indeed, Pick Withers' original playing is absolutely delightful - I love both versions.
 

mpthomson

Senior Member
Here's a pretty comprehensive explanation from the co-producer that I hadn't seen before:

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may06/articles/classictracks_0506.htm

And this is from another site:

[Neil] Dorfsman notes that recording in paradise had its pitfalls, too: "I remember one day going out of the control room to page the band and they were all lying around the pool like beached whales. When I got them in the studio they were playing with towels around their waists, white cream on their noses, sunglasses and towels on their heads, and everything was like 60 beats per minute-it was so slow! I'm saying, 'Guys, we're making a record here!'" he laughs. "It was so much fun to be there that it was difficult unless you were incredibly disciplined. It was hard to focus exclusively on recording. But once you were in a creative mode it was great because it was quiet and relaxing. I did a record there subsequently with Sting [Nothing Like the Sun], and he was very, very focused. That project involved longer days and more concentrated work, and it ended up being a perfect place for him. For Dire Straits it was fantastic, but occasionally the band's energy got a little scattered, and it was hard to rein it in and keep things intense."


So it may have been more than just Terry's vibe...but as usual it's the drummer that gets the blame.
I've heard a lot of Terry's output and to be fair to him, the playing on most of BIA isn't his bag at all. The producer wanted a jazzier feel and sound for the album and as good a pop/rock drummer TW may be, a jazz drummer he ain't.

He's not blaming the drummer, it just wasn't the right material for him on the record.
 
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