Feel or Technique, importance?

donv

Silver Member
Larry,

From what I've seen written here concerning Thomas Lang, "he's nothing but an emotionless machine," he'd be a good canidate.

I was thinking along the same lines last night, but a little broader. If you stick to just 2 drummers you have to ignore, or reject from the get go the idea that maybe "feel" or "groove" has nothing to do with drumming let alone technique. Maybe it's a predispostion people have to varying degrees. We may even be born with it.

I orginally minimized "groove" to people enjoying what they are doing and, "getting into it," and the resulting joy they felt. To me "groove" was an internal intangible that people were trying to transfer to the external. Is the added charge from "groove" something an average audiance could or would pick up on? If so, is it fair to an audiance to hope that they get to catch those fleeting nights when the "groove" is on?

With so many here, so adamant that "groove" is much more then my orginal assumptions, the emphirical evidence suggests I'm wrong.

Anway, with the number of drummers here, at all the differing skill levels and some in and some out of the music business, it seems there should be enough information available to actually organize emphirical data for some possible answers. Just have to figure out what the right questions are.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Hi Larry

Of course it's intellectual - we're drummers! Peepol only say whe're dum cos their jealus

I agree with Ringo and Mike Portnoy but I keep thinking Bernard Purdie, who has been schooled in drumming but when I see his vids he looks like an ultra-gifted novice, as though he just walked onto a kit and said, "Hey, I can do that. Whee! This is fun!".

This video of his is the most enjoyable and inspiring tutorial I have ever seen http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGXGpa458Ig. I'm not sure I'd like to play the music that suits his style but it would be great to be able to tap out those gorgeous little beats with my fingers and hands so naturally and with such a sense of fun ... that man has stuff that you can't teach, only refine, as per Don wondering if people are born with it. Atitudes vary.

Maybe that means we have more categories - mostly about technicality, mostly feel, and mostly about da grooove. Do we include compositional sense in "feel"? I think my head's done in :)
 
So, is your contribution here to make snide comments when someone believes your cynicism is pointless? I mean, all you ever seem to do on posts is say something unsubstantiated and cocky, wait for the response, then make a comment like the one above if the other guy dares appear more clever. This is actually a pretty good thread. I'm also a big boy who can take it. Why not talk nice and you'll get better responses.

Later.

.

Hmm. Interesting response. I believe you blanketed my original post in the thread as "labeling" and "lecturing" -- notwithstanding the general content of your own, where you proceeded to describe "groove cops" and delve into your own perceived drummer character archetypes --hence why I felt no need to address it. Have you noticed how many people on here you seem to get into arguments with (to the point of a thread locks, bans and the sort? ) Is it possible you may need to heed your own advice as pertains to "talk nice?" Is that why the first response in this thread is about a "Matt Smith" eagle swooping down on its unsuspecting victim? I know this will probably precipitate another caustic response, and I couldn't have an ounce more sincerity when I say you're more than welcome to it. :)
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Matt, yeah, this is a good thread, although not everyone likes it. It covers a lot of angles.
No it's much simpler than that. There are always a handful who are often the coolest on their block, and have a series of catchphrases they pull out around the Pepsi machine at music school or in a club. This is usually followed by the 6 dimwits at the same table laughing at the catchphrase without a clue of understanding what he meant. Then when that same guy babbles that nonsense around a lot of faceless people at a forum and people don't laugh like the dimwits, then he gets frustrated and goes negative. I don't mean this of everyone, but it is common.

I guess it could be seen as a manifesto against practice. It doesn't have to be, though. The Louie Bellson comment in one of Steamer's posts put it well:
I knew Louie Bellson pretty well Polly, and he practiced like a madman until the day he died. He especially amped it up 10 years ago when he was diagnosed with parkinsons. I saw him last 3 years ago, and although he couldn't remember anyone's name or keep his hands from shaking like crazy, he could still play on a very high professional level. There was only one reason for that.

Agree with aydee in that not practising much is generally poor career move, but I don't think genius is necessary to succeed with a simple technique. It's more about finding a fit with a band with idiosyncratic appeal. Brian Eno was quoted as saying that his favourite musicians were those with either consummate technical skill or no technical skill because they were the ones who were most expressive; ie. technique is not an issue with them.
That's funny though, in that Eno always surrounded himself with learned, technique grounded musicians. Sounds more like a cool quote for Rolling Stone.

Ringo wasn't some genius with a vision to approach drumming with great musicality. He was simply down-to-earth and put the song ahead of his drumming, and he had a good imagination. He doesn't strike me as one who'd look for an opportunity to throw in his latest cool chops. It was as though he wasn't a drummer as such, more a listener who happened to play drums well enough to work in a few genres.
But he had trained technique, and I think that's been established on this forum many times before. I've never bought the existential organic angle with Ringo.

Still, I don't advocate anything over another in drumming; we all just follow our noses. No drama. I enjoy drummers who bring something a bit different to the table, who can bring distinctive and appealing "signature" patterns that capture the particular mood of a song - or create it, often by using space effectively. Maybe some drummers would benefit from including John Cage's 3'33" on their regular practice song list? :)
But let's agree that thoughtful practicing drummers do all the things you advocate. Besides even you would have to admit that Cage's use of space on that piece was even more than groove priests would advocate. Besides I could be wrong, but wasn't it 4.33?

As for competitiveness, I guess if money and/or prestige is involved then it's always there. Fair point.
Polly, prestige equals money. It's not about ego or false status, it's about making a living, so a musician can do all the things you advocate, right?.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Larry,

From what I've seen written here concerning Thomas Lang, "he's nothing but an emotionless machine," he'd be a good canidate.

I was thinking along the same lines last night, but a little broader. If you stick to just 2 drummers you have to ignore, or reject from the get go the idea that maybe "feel" or "groove" has nothing to do with drumming let alone technique. Maybe it's a predispostion people have to varying degrees. We may even be born with it.

I orginally minimized "groove" to people enjoying what they are doing and, "getting into it," and the resulting joy they felt. To me "groove" was an internal intangible that people were trying to transfer to the external. Is the added charge from "groove" something an average audiance could or would pick up on? If so, is it fair to an audiance to hope that they get to catch those fleeting nights when the "groove" is on?

With so many here, so adamant that "groove" is much more then my orginal assumptions, the emphirical evidence suggests I'm wrong.

Anway, with the number of drummers here, at all the differing skill levels and some in and some out of the music business, it seems there should be enough information available to actually organize emphirical data for some possible answers. Just have to figure out what the right questions are.
Just to play devil's advocate. Even as such, as much as Tommy is a technician, I wouldn't call it totally emotionless. But why does music have to be about emotion?I would add Lars Ulrich and Carl Palmer and maybe even Weckl to that list.

Much 'music' is not about music. it is about a host of other things. Many people today do look to jazz as a pure expression of music. and it can be couched in these very elitist terms But many of the players struggle to make ends meet, and they do it for the love. If Motley Crue had to play the jazz clubs of the lower west side, how long do you think they would last?

When you listen to the great jazz guys mentioned here, it is all about the music. Rock music is not always all about the music. Pop music a rarely about the music. I remember reading an article about how Brittany Spears listener were not all teenage girls but there was a large contingent of middle aged men who listened to her. Then when I left he library and got gas, there was this middle aged man blasting Brittany in his beamer. I don't know what he was getting from Brittany but it probably had more to do with wood than music.

I wanted to add to what Polly and Matt said about music being a competition. When I was a teenager, a local bar had a air guitar contest with Fender Strat as the prize. I wanted that guitar so I practiced for weeks and got every nuance of The Song Remains the Same with some Pete Townsend windmill moves and the like. It was really good. Some girl got up with a tennis racket and did Hotel California and started to take off her clothes. Who do you think won? That was my first lesson about competition, and it was a good one.
 

donv

Silver Member
Just to play devil's advocate. Even as such, as much as Tommy is a technician, I wouldn't call it totally emotionless. But why does music have to be about emotion?I would add Lars Ulrich and Carl Palmer and maybe even Weckl to that list.

Much 'music' is not about music. it is about a host of other things. Many people today do look to jazz as a pure expression of music. and it can be couched in these very elitist terms But many of the players struggle to make ends meet, and they do it for the love. If Motley Crue had to play the jazz clubs of the lower west side, how long do you think they would last?

When you listen to the great jazz guys mentioned here, it is all about the music. Rock music is not always all about the music. Pop music a rarely about the music. I remember reading an article about how Brittany Spears listener were not all teenage girls but there was a large contingent of middle aged men who listened to her. Then when I left he library and got gas, there was this middle aged man blasting Brittany in his beamer. I don't know what he was getting from Brittany but it probably had more to do with wood than music.

I wanted to add to what Polly and Matt said about music being a competition. When I was a teenager, a local bar had a air guitar contest with Fender Strat as the prize. I wanted that guitar so I practiced for weeks and got every nuance of The Song Remains the Same with some Pete Townsend windmill moves and the like. It was really good. Some girl got up with a tennis racket and did Hotel California and started to take off her clothes. Who do you think won? That was my first lesson about competition, and it was a good one.
Ken,

I don't agree with what's been written about Lang either. I've just read it a lot here about him being emotionless. I will say though that his DVD is the first I drumming DVD I bought. There were parts of it I found disturbing. Some of what he can do seems unnatural. But, there is nothing wrong with being disturbed. It can be eye opening. Also, 2 years ago while in Virginia Beach by coincedence I met Lang while he was there for a clinic. He's an extrememly polite and sincere man. I think if his talent was something he could pull out of his pocket and hand out, he would.

It is odd concerning who likes what in music. My nephew is a very successful death/prog metal drummer and keyboard player who trashes everything that's not metal for being boring. That is except for Queen. In his eyes there has never been a better band. Go figure.

Your point on the air guitar goes with mine about what an audiance is hearing or perceiving compared to what the musicians might think they are. Obviously your experience is a little more base line, but is an audiance getting out of a performance the same result the performers imagine or hope they are? Or is a different dynamic going on?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Matt, re: Louis Bellson. He might have been a consummate technician but he wasn't saying that was necessary, just necessary for him in his genre. On a far less grand arena, many years ago an uncle said, "Oh, so you're a drummer, eh? I used to be a marching drummer. Get me a pair of sticks". So I brought out sticks and pad and he was abysmal. He'd lost it all. I promised that I'd never let my drumming go to that extent; it was a big motivator.

Eno always surrounded himself with learned, technique grounded musicians
Yes, and they accepted him - a self-profession non-musician - into the fold. A special case, admittedly. I love Michael Cotton's snyth work with The Tubes on their early albums. No beat, no melody. Just great sounds and textures that always added to the songs' sensations.

wasn't it 4.33
LOL! Touché (if we're being competitive *grin*). An ex partner would have dealt me out for that blooper! He probably wants to deal me out anyway :) Yeah, it's a tad long for any groovers but John just wanted people to stop and appreciate the qualities of ambient sound.


Much 'music' is not about music. it is about a host of other things. Many people today do look to jazz as a pure expression of music
Exactly Ken, and that's why it's a minority interest. My best guess is that music started because some people were hanging out and started singing and banging on rocks etc. Then some women started dancing with various body parts wobbling around enticingly for the boys. There was no "band" and "audience". It was just one big pow-wow - a community event where the musos just had a specialised role. Now we have "gods" onstage.

There are rewards for acquiring sophisticated taste, but it's not so popular. So you have all these talented musos having to keep their chops under wraps to make a living, frustrated that they can't make money through musically expressing themselves but no doubt pragmatically looking for the most fun parts in the commercial music they play. Often they look for side projects so they can stretch out.

Some girl got up with a tennis racket and did Hotel California and started to take off her clothes. Who do you think won?
There. You learnt that more people want to be touched than impressed and guys like jiggly things more than guitar impressions. Attitude ... the confidence to let go in front of an audience ... is huge when it comes to popularity. Many years ago I was bemused when we supported the Hard Ons at a pub. We were refined and eclectic compared to their thrashy bombardment while wearing monster masks - but guess which band got the punters going? We could all these things that we knew they wouldn't be able to do but, in hindsight, they really rocked and we were staid by comparison. They made it big in Europe and we went nowhere. We had no attitude; we were just musicians.

Music is one of the joys of life, but only one of them. Tick the extra boxes and you win the Strat :) You might have spent some of that time practising buffing up at the gym beforehand, done a slightly less commanding air guitar performance AND taken off your clothes. If you threw packs of salted nuts into the audience you would have been home and hosed :)

As for the list, I was thinking about Bill Bruford as a techy but I think his main attribute was imagination. Alphonse Mouzon for the tech camp and Nigel Olsen for feel? Where does Paul Cook from the Sex Pistols fit in? Surely not "feel"! Maybe we can have an "attitude" camp as well? Keith Moon would fit well there too.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Attitude is an important component. and in popular music is might actually be the important component. For Bertolt Brecht it was the most important actually. He thought that's what popular expressions, not art, not even expressions were all about. And I think he was right.For Brecht, aesthetics was just elitist nonsense. There's always another way to look at things; but he is still one of the greats if not the great playwright of the twentieth century. He was certainly prophetic in that regard.

I think the drummer who invented feel was Art Blakey, and of course Elvin. They at least took it to a whole new depth. You have to regard all those great NO drummers Earl Palmer, Herlin Riley, John Vidocovich, Zigaboo Modeliste and Stanton Moore as the masters of feel.
 

brittc89

Pioneer Member
Much 'music' is not about music. it is about a host of other things. Many people today do look to jazz as a pure expression of music. and it can be couched in these very elitist terms But many of the players struggle to make ends meet, and they do it for the love. If Motley Crue had to play the jazz clubs of the lower west side, how long do you think they would last?
I think you might be idealizing jazz a little bit. Its not as black and white as you make it, for the love of the music. Yes, there are plenty of players who play for the love of the art and thats when its the best. But there is also ego involved for some people. Go to a NY "cutting" session and tell me its about the love of the music. There are plenty of jerks out there who could care less about "music" and are only trying to get their rocks off and have people worship them on-stage. Its what gives jazz the bad name it has today.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Moi, idealistic about jazz? I'm idealistic about everything. I am not going to suggest that every jazz musician is more sincere and a better musician than every rock or punk musician. I am stating that there are a lot of people who look to jazz for musical expression and it is a good place to look. You can go down to the Village Vanguard just about any night of the week, and be impressed at what is happening there. I used to see Billy Higgins and Jack De Johnette there back in the day.

For me, technique is not playing fast or doing so much that your the guy being heard. For me, like I've stated before, technique is about sound. What John Riley talks about a lot, and he can speak for himself, it is about the interaction. He talks about the drummers job being able to support the guys in the band. He talks about knowing the tradition and understanding the players that your players are emulating so that when they go there, you know where they are and you can help them to realize their vision. I think that is helpful in any group experience.
 
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VedranS

Senior Member
But I will say this and as someone who has been doing the forum thing for awhile, it really is the truth. Guys like Jeff and I are usually minding our own business when yet another presents a thread like this, essentially reading as a manifesto against practice, in hopes that some extra dimensional spirituality premise will eliminate enough work to make a beginner sound professional.
Holy crap Matt, I swear to god you're reading things into this that are either not there or that you're placing more weight in than they deserve. I don't know about everyone, but I do know that it was never my intention to write off the value of practicing. I'm pretty sure that Pollyanna, Ian, and others have also not meant for this. I'm simply hoping for there to be some kind of room or space to discuss ideas and abstract things. Right now it seems like whenever you bring up "feel", the topic gets squashed by you and others immediately, as if you feel like trying to bring up abstract concepts is going to cause everyone to forget rudiments. I'm just saying, I brought up a couple of ideas I had, a couple of people responded with interesting posts of their own. Then, like the figurative raptor, people suddenly descended in the defense of practicing. However, I don't know what you saw, but I didn't notice any kind of anti-practice mentality rising up before a big deal was made out of defending its virtue.
 

VedranS

Senior Member
..


My submission quite simply is that being equipped with 'technique' is something that enhances that rather than takes away from anything.


....
Beautiful point Aydee! I completely agree, and yes I can empathize with Matt about this. There are drummers around here (Iowa), one in particular that I can think of, that say that practicing or lessons will somehow cramp their style or something, take away from their "creativity". It's utter insecure ego crap, I know. I understand the value of practice, and that a technical foundation can never take away from your ideas, individuality, or expressiveness.

The only point I've been trying to make, however, is that that technique should be in service of your creative ideas, or what I would call "feel", though that's a personal definition. I'm simply interested in trying to discuss some of these things that make up these ideas, this feel, this expressiveness, you know? Whatever, it's like I'm surrounded by mechanics...
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Holy crap Matt, I swear to god you're reading things into this that are either not there or that you're placing more weight in than they deserve. I don't know about everyone, but I do know that it was never my intention to write off the value of practicing. I'm pretty sure that Pollyanna, Ian, and others have also not meant for this. I'm simply hoping for there to be some kind of room or space to discuss ideas and abstract things. Right now it seems like whenever you bring up "feel", the topic gets squashed by you and others immediately, as if you feel like trying to bring up abstract concepts is going to cause everyone to forget rudiments. I'm just saying, I brought up a couple of ideas I had, a couple of people responded with interesting posts of their own. Then, like the figurative raptor, people suddenly descended in the defense of practicing. However, I don't know what you saw, but I didn't notice any kind of anti-practice mentality rising up before a big deal was made out of defending its virtue.
Yes, I agree that I don't see anyone here extolling the virtues of not practicing. But let's face it, you can take lessons from the greatest teachers in the world and practice for ten hours a day, but that alone is not going to make you a "musician," I'm sorry but it just isn't. I'm not going to say that some have it and some don't, but there is a "something else," a motivation, a desire, a hunger, something, that has to come into it somewhere, I think.
 

VedranS

Senior Member
Yes, I agree that I don't see anyone here extolling the virtues of not practicing. But let's face it, you can take lessons from the greatest teachers in the world and practice for ten hours a day, but that alone is not going to make you a "musician," I'm sorry but it just isn't. I'm not going to say that some have it and some don't, but there is a "something else," a motivation, a desire, a hunger, something, that has to come into it somewhere, I think.
That's what I'm saying mang, there's some affinity for abstraction, some empathatic thing that, at least to me, is what really makes me notice a musician. So, what is that? What's "musicality"? What's "feel"?

To me, an understanding, or "feel" for tension and release are a large part of what make me notice a musician. The way that Gadd sets up his solos, for example, really gets me. He places his chops in a context. He creates a picture or universe, using sensitive dynamics and a sense of space that makes any chops he plays seem so much more significant. For example, his crazy army solos always have a sense of buildup where I can almost see a large military body advancing on me. Then, when it breaks into something else, it's like battle has exploded. When he plays a shuffle, on the other hand, there's a heaviness and a mean kind of drive to it that I don't hear in other players. I know, it can be broken down to technical specifics, but it arises from a sensitivity and empathetic feel for musical communication and expression.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I saw a lot of good bands around the Sydney jazz club scene in the late 70s and early 80s because my older sister was going out with one of our top jazzers at the time. I came to divide them into two camps in my mind - those who "spoke" to you and those who didn't.

Jazz drumming at it's best has the most fantastic feel, with many subtle variations of sound just between snare and ride, the gradations of ride-to-crash sounds that come out of the ride; on the snare you have all those gradations of ghost notes and accents when comping etc, never mind the various things they pull out of the mounted tom and hats. Warren Daly was maybe the outstanding big band and combo drummer in Australia at the time. He swung like mad and basically had it all.

Jazz drumming at its worst is cluttered and self-indulgent. The cool little tonal variations are still there but without the instinct to put them in spots where they harmonise. One time, Steve Hopes, a rock session player picked up a fill-in on one of those gigs at the last minute and you could tell his playing had fewer dimensions - less sounds - than the real jazzers, but the music still sounded great because he played cleanly and crisply, which subtly moved the emphasis more to tenor/alto and the piano.

Vedran, I know what you're saying but, as I said, with power comes temptation. IMO technique without taste, musical maturity and instinct = clutter.

As for the extra-musical aspects of rock, it's a huge range. At one end you'll have a band like King Crimson, who were intensely music-oriented and at the other you'd have the Sex Pistols, who were all about protest, having fun and working through their neuroses.

So Ken, I'd just like to add that there's a lot of rock out there where the music is more important than the extra-musical. How about The Tubes before they went commercial? They didn't just have a stage act; it was a full production, but the music and musicianship were first class. Frank Zappa, Led Zeppelin, The Police, Tool, Roxy Music, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, The Stranglers ... lots of fine rock bands with a great sound and/or high skill levels - and with plenty of extra-musical content.

I get bored listening to bands with a strong emphasis on the lyrics when either they don't have the vocals up high enough in the mix (duh!) or the singer has poor diction (double duh!) or, in the case of rap, only young people seem capable of working out what they are saying. Easily my favourite rap video is here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6H0i1RAdHk - go on, click the link, I promise you'll enjoy it :)

Jazz and its, um, offspring can also incorporate the extra-musical. Steely Dan's Babylon Sisters, for example, has it all - beautiful music with a brilliant lyric. Look in YouTube for Joni Mitchell playing Goodbye Pork Pie Hat. It's my very favourite recorded jazz performance - fine lyrics (rather than the usual blues Dear Dell approach to lyrics), wonderful singing, top-drawer musicianship and the tastiest band I've ever heard in a jazz band.

When you marry the musical and the extra-musical it generally means the music must be less complex because the focus shifts somewhat. That's where taste and judgement come in.

Technical shortfalls need not be fatal. A major clanger is no big deal if the rest of the performance is performed with heart and inspiration - and the player has the attitude to carry off their blunder as though they meant to do it (that's a knack I want to develop LOL). John Cale does a wonderful version of Heartbreak Hotel here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73Bn0Kq7rls) despite singing a hideous out-of-tune note during the first chorus. He sure makes up for it afterwards.

John Cale might have a classical training in viola but he sure as hell isn't trained as a vocalist. So what are the elements that he has that makes up for his vocal technical shortfalls? It seems to me he just "gets it" and I think that "getting it" - understanding what the song is about and having a creative vision for a song - is a HUGE aspect of effective musicianship, but not often talked about.
 
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I agree with VedranS, Pollyanna and many others. Feel and Technique are the main topics to be discussed, Practise/Practice which is a very important contributing factor in drumming, is out of the question.

Best Regards,
 

con struct

Platinum Member
I agree with VedranS, Pollyanna and many others. Feel and Technique are the main topics to be discussed, Practise/Practice which is a very important contributing factor in drumming, is out of the question.

Best Regards,
Practice, what to practice, how to practice, these are things that are discussed in great detail on other threads here.
It is naturally assumed that all musicians practice their instruments.
This thread is about something other than practicing.
Hope that clears things up!
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
You're talking to somebody who just spent the last two hours playing an hour of jazz and then watching The Dave Matthews Band while turning to Luciano Pavarotti during the commercials and then back during the pledge breaks. There's a lot of music out there. You seem to be framing me as somebody who wouldn't have those Steely Dan and Joni Mitchell records on vinyl. I do. My band is doing a jazz salute to Steely Dan. I am someone who understands that jazz was a popular music and however esoteric and wonderful it can get in the hands of a Bill Evans, Miles Davis or Mingus, I still love Ella, Johnny Hartman, Glenn Miller, Harry James and Benny Goodman. If I remember, there were some great drummers in those bands. Joe Morello says, "If it weren't for Gene Krupa, none of us would be here."

Perhaps what people are asking about is imagination. Imagination is the ability to create and evoke images, image-making. Some people have the imagination to make a song work, others just never will. There's also charisma. I met Pavarotti at Tower Records many years ago. He was the most charismatic man I have ever met in my life. You could feel his presence from afar and up close he just sucked you in. On stage he was a magnet and he dwarfed most everybody as far as talent goes. But he also had flawless technique. Elvin always said John Coltrane was an amazing 'presence.'.

There's also a certain connection to the music that great musicians have. I always think of Max Roach when I say that. I first saw him as a teenager and for me he exemplified 'the musician as artist.' As Vedran has brought up several times, we can imitate Max, we can imitate Art, Bonham or Steve Gadd. But they are the inventors. They are the creative forces behind the music. The have the technical ability and then take it to a new level of expression. Sometimes it seems so obvious you think, why didn't I think of that. Some call them a node that the tradition passes through. There are always going to be those stars. Beethoven of all of the composer writing at the times, revolutionized music. Many rock drummers look back to Bonham as a starting point. Punk drummers look back to The Pistols. (They should look back to Moe and The Velvets.)

I think you need to practice creatively. First sit with a basic groove for five minutes and make it something for the complete time. Then use basic ideas and creatively work them around the drums as new beats or fill ideas. Always be challenging yourself creatively. The greats have that spark that suggest to them that they do just that.

I had this wonderful little boy student years ago. I gave him a basic beat for the first lesson I walked in and he said to me, look what I did with it. He created a two beat phrase bring in eighth notes on the bass drum. He was eight. He has it. He can take an idea and just run with it. He could hear the implication of what the beat was saying. You can also exercise that by listening to others. I asked Steve Gadd if he could elucidate his creative process and he told me that he can think about how other great drummers would approach the music and then work off that. Perhaps I could add that he working at many levels simultaneously, and 'he' is the least important thing going on at the time.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Ken, I going out now but just a quickie to clear up one thing. I never intended to frame you as someone who wouldn't enjoy those groups; I was just expanding on what you and others had said. I really enjoyed your post.

'later
 

donv

Silver Member
That's what I'm saying mang, there's some affinity for abstraction, some empathatic thing that, at least to me, is what really makes me notice a musician. So, what is that? What's "musicality"? What's "feel"?

To me, an understanding, or "feel" for tension and release are a large part of what make me notice a musician. The way that Gadd sets up his solos, for example, really gets me. He places his chops in a context. He creates a picture or universe, using sensitive dynamics and a sense of space that makes any chops he plays seem so much more significant. For example, his crazy army solos always have a sense of buildup where I can almost see a large military body advancing on me. Then, when it breaks into something else, it's like battle has exploded. When he plays a shuffle, on the other hand, there's a heaviness and a mean kind of drive to it that I don't hear in other players. I know, it can be broken down to technical specifics, but it arises from a sensitivity and empathetic feel for musical communication and expression.
The conductor looks to the snares and says, "Your staccato is suppose to be marching boots on a cobblestone street and I'm hearing a lay up in an Air Jordan commercial I know. Can you give me boots on cobblestone?" He then turns to the tympanis and says, "You're suppose to be with the woodwinds. These eight bars for you and the woodwinds do nothing but create anticipation for the next movement, but it's understated to the chaos everyone is giving us. Can you do that?" Next he turns to VedranS and says, "Thank you! I asked for an advancing army, and you delivered an advancing army." VedranS says to himself, "Thank you Mr. Gadd." Others were thinking about how much they were groovin. The conductor is wondering just how much "feel" do they have for their instrument.

I don't think anyone should answer this, but how much feel do you(generic) really have for your instrument? Can you put your "feel" aside and give someone else the "feel" they are demanding of you? Is someone who plays without "feel" so they can do their job, reach into their bag of tricks and pull out the "feel" someone else is asking for a non-musician or a selfless musician?

VedranS, I think you are the first person to bring up music being able to take them to someplace out side of themself. I can only speak for myself, but that's what music is for me.
 
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