How much have you changed?

aydee

Platinum Member
I guess this applies to us older drummers who've played around for a few years:

I was a part of a reasonably successful and somewhat known rock/blues band in the 80s.

Time and musical tastes marched on, and today my musical journey has brought me to jazz and funk, fusion and other more improvisation styles of playing.




So out of the blue I get a call from some event organizers who are doing a Reunion Rock series and want to re-unite the old band for a 1 off deja vu / nostalgia gig.

When these guys come over to hear me play, all of them think I'm not the same drummer from the old band. Some random remarks :

" You're so wristy, and jazzy". " Your playing has changed completely".. " If I wasn't watching you play, wouldn't have thought its the same guy".
" You play so light, now".

Though the comments were all complimentary, the unsaid part was " ARE YOU UP TO PULLING OFF A ROCK GIG?"

I was all excited about the reunion, but suddenly I'm not so sure how it will go down. I'm not so confident about my rock chops or playing music that I like but seem to have outgrown, playing -wise

I ask myself if I was a completely different guy/ different drummer back then?

Probably.
 
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Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
I was always told I was too much of a jazz guy for rock, so I know that feeling. But when I listen to Boz Skaggs Silk Degrees and hear Jeff Porcaro moving effortless ly between jazz and rock feels, or Steve Gadd moving from rock to Latin to jazz on Friends, I know that it's not only possible but the sign of good drumming.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Jeff Porcaro moving effortlessly between jazz and rock feels, or Steve Gadd moving from rock to Latin to jazz on Friends, I know that it's not only possible but the sign of good drumming.
Thanks so much , Kenny for putting me up there with Jeff & Steve ( yeah!!!! )


Seriously, I'll back myself enough to not embarrass myself on stage, but you know how it is.

I haven't played this stuff in a million years. Nowadays I play with my shirt on, I don't sweat as much, and I don't pummel my cymbals ( My ears hurt now ).

So which rock drummer really improved when he got older? ( None come to mind ; )
 
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Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
It would have to be Steve Smith. Max Weinberg is another example of someone who went back to the drawing board to reshape his style after his success. Certain guys like Kenny Aronoff or Jojo Mayer have continually developed technically throughout their careers. There are certain drummers in rock that I think have always been able to come up with innovative projects, like Bill Bruford, Mike Portnoy or Mickey Hart. I think you need a stable gig to reach any level of mastery in rock drumming, and I would wonder how much the same can be said for jazz in todays world. Look at Jeff Watts.
 

That Guy

Platinum Member
First off, congrats on the reunion gig Abe. You seem to be jazzed about it and your concerns are warranted. I would love to reunite with my old band back in Los Angeles but I would have the same concerns as well. I'm definately not the same drummer I was 13 years ago, not to mention 25 years ago when I started. Not only am I not the same drummer but my taste in music has gone a 180 along with my attitude towards drumming.

I tend to feel as we get older that if we as drummers didn't evolve somewhat from our original taste and style we wouldn't be sitting behind a kit this many years later. I think back and ask myself.. "if I was playing the same music today as I was in the early 90's would I be happy?" Even more so.. "Would I be drumming?" My answers is no. I know myself enough to know I wouldn't have been happy.

A couple years ago I started a thread when I ran into a wall with my drumming. I was self taught for 25 years at that point. I knew I was a good drummer and that my drumming evolved due to my taste in the arts but it still lacked something. Originality.

So, I started taking lessons about a year and a half ago. It was like learning how to walk again. I felt so dumb, though it definately helped me to fit the puzzle pieces together. Now, after a year and a half of lessons (twice a week) I'm not the same drummer I was a year and a half ago, let alone 13 years ago, even more so 25 years ago.

A drummer needs to grow and mature. I think we are programmed to by nature. If we don't we wouldn't be doing it today. That doesn't go for everyone but I think it does as a whole for drummers.

You were complimented for your maturity and evololution in your drumming. Stick with that. (I know you are) Of course the basic concerns are there and you won't have any issues. This gig is a time for you to be solid.. nothing more. Maybe if you had more time you could spice things up a bit and really tweak some old songs... but now is not the time.

Enjoy it my friend. I would jump at the opportunity that you have.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
It would have to be Steve Smith. Max Weinberg is another example of someone who went back to the drawing board to reshape his style after his success. Certain guys like Kenny Aronoff or Jojo Mayer have continually developed technically throughout their careers. There are certain drummers in rock that I think have always been able to come up with innovative projects, like Bill Bruford, Mike Portnoy or Mickey Hart. I think you need a stable gig to reach any level of mastery in rock drumming, and I would wonder how much the same can be said for jazz in todays world. Look at Jeff Watts.
Ya Kenny, but Steve became a different drummer too. I don't think you could call him a rock drummer any more. If he played with Journey today, I think he would have that " oomph" ( cant think of another word ).

Arnoff is probably a good example ( ..Colauita? )...but these guys are so hardcore pro, and they are exceptions rather than the rule IMO. Max too. A goofier version of Vinnie Colauita. He can play ANYTHING under the sun, even though he doesn't look the part.

Let me get really controversial here ( good thing you cant throw tomatoes on the internet..: ) and say that Jojo, IMO is a clinician rather than a performing musician. I'm a huge fan of his and I like some of the Nerve d&b thing but he's a mainly a technician. Again, more at home with a particular style now, rather than the stuff he was doing with SHT earlier.

Jazz has more than few way- out cats stretching the boundaries, again IMO...and Jeff Watts isn't one of them , IMO ( Hope you appreciate the extensive use of IMO here. I'm so freaked about about saying anything too 'jazzy' on this forum )..

Prog & Metal came out of rock so I guess you are right about the broader point you make.

Rock is songs. Jazz etc. is ....aaa..................... not songs.


Big difference : )




This gig is a time for you to be solid.. nothing more. Maybe if you had more time you could spice things up a bit and really tweak some old songs... but now is not the time.

Enjoy it my friend. I would jump at the opportunity that you have.
Thats the best advice I could get, Cory, thanks. Ya, I think the KISS principle should be about right, here. Maybe we will try and 'modernize' the old material, and under that diguise, I shall validate my 'new' self : )
 
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Leadfoot

Senior Member
I've been gigging for about 33 years. There was a point back in the 80's when I had to walk away from it for a while, to get away from burnout & a lifestyle of drug abuse as well as the people that helped to sustain and enable it. I even went as far as selling every bit of my gear.
After a successful period of cleanup & refocusing I still had the bug to play, so I got out the tapes of my previous playing, scrutinized it & identified my strong & weak points. I then got a used set & did some serious woodshedding for about 3 months. After that I got myself into a busy working band that was completely different from my previous efforts & basically retooled everything about my drumming from what it used to be, best thing I ever did.
I have crossed paths with some of the guys from the old days, & have played with one of them a few times & he told me that I was a completely different drummer than I used to be.
I don't think I'd be interested in a reunion type gig doing what we did then, but if they wanted to do what I do now, that would be cool, at least with a couple of them. Another of them is in prison and yet another is dead. Drugs suck. Some folks don't learn that til it's too late.
 

RogerLudwig

Senior Member
Gene Krupa said it best,

" My job remains the same: to keep time, and to extract appropriate and supportive 'sounds' from the instrument. To be a musician."

However, my idea of supportive sounds has changed over the years as I have grown and matured.

Don't worry about labels. Everytime I go to a rock or blues audition, someone inevitably asks, "Are you a jazz drummer?" And then they hire me because I can elicit supportive sounds from the instrument and enhance the music they play; I hopefully make the other musicians sound better. At least I think that's why they hire me.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
In my short 12-year stint as a drummer, I've changed considerably as well, Aydee. Pretty much the same as you..."wristy", "jazzy", "light"--they all sound familiar to me as well. My friend that I played with about a year ago, for nostalgia's sake, told me all of these things about me and my playing. But, he also said I was much better, too. They are probably more concerned about the visual impact of your drumming from the audience's perspective. That's a legitimate concern, so maybe see what you can do about that...??? Just a thought.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
( Hope you appreciate the extensive use of IMO here. I'm so freaked about about saying anything too 'jazzy' on this forum )..

Prog & Metal came out of rock so I guess you are right about the broader point you make.

Rock is songs. Jazz etc. is ....aaa..................... not songs.

Big difference : )
And rock came out of R and B, which came out of jazz. We're all one big happy family. :)

As far as Jazz on the forum, I think it's done, and I haven't seen our big jazz cats posting recently. I call the 'cats' because of the way they fight. :)
 

That Guy

Platinum Member
And rock came out of R and B, which came out of jazz. We're all one big happy family. :)

As far as Jazz on the forum, I think it's done, and I haven't seen our big jazz cats posting recently. I call the 'cats' because of the way they fight. :)
They are posting, just not about jazz. Yay :)
 
I would like to come right off the bat and say yes, I'm not as experienced as the previous guys on here. 3 years is where my limit cuts out, but I just right off the bat related to what you said. That you feel like you've "outgrown" or matured from what you used to be, and I haven't been around as much as you but I can def look back at my first year and now and say Damn, or for that sake about 6 months ago and say the same.

and what i believe is that it's the time of isolation from the band that has made them say this. Had you guys never stopped playing together and lets say for the sake of the argument you progressed the exact same as you really have I doubt they would have even noticed.

and drumming is kind of a one way bike ride. just because you've played that style before doesn't mean you can come back and jam it out like old times. Because whats happening is in your head you're really just critiquing everything you used to process and bringing it all a little bit more into your new terms.

and that's not bad at all in my opinion. because if you strip rock down you're going to come out with a major influence of jazz and blues.

but you did say that you've "outgrown" rock. or maybe you meant that under totally different terms, but I don't believe that you've outgrown it. maybe you're feeling like your old playing wasn't technical enough, or maybe just didn't flow right. Even so if that's the case and you make your changes and it fit well with the band, I don't see a single problem. If they want the old and after so many years you try and recreate that it's going to do two things. It's not going to feel natural, and two it's not going to do you and justice. You want to come back for that show and convince and show people you have matured in the since of style.

that's a lot, might be wrong, and if so I apolagize. But if it helps. go with it.
 

eddiehimself

Platinum Member
You've been playing clearley for a very long time so i'm sure you know your way round some drums by now! If you know what songs you are doing just practice them a bit and i'm sure you will be fine. Also remember to play LOUD! ;)
 

Steamer

Platinum Member
They are posting, just not about jazz. Yay :)
Yes more interested in other things like just the playing and recording of jazz music as my New Years resolution for 09. Discussing it seems to difficult with the "lost in the translation" element to frustrating on the internet for my personal piece of mind from my experience.

Good luck Abe with the reunion project getting back on subject.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
In my short 12-year stint as a drummer, I've changed considerably as well, Aydee. Pretty much the same as you..."wristy", "jazzy", "light"--they all sound familiar to me as well. My friend that I played with about a year ago, for nostalgia's sake, told me all of these things about me and my playing. But, he also said I was much better, too. They are probably more concerned about the visual impact of your drumming from the audience's perspective. That's a legitimate concern, so maybe see what you can do about that...??? Just a thought.
Ah, I'm not alone! Its the whole vibe, Caddy, the visual thing, the pounding toms, hair flying thing... which I would get off on, I'll admit back when, but now seems .. well..you know..

And rock came out of R and B, which came out of jazz. We're all one big happy family. :)
Kenny, when you write things like this, I say to myself " This forum is lucky to have a guy like you"


but you did say that you've "outgrown" rock. or maybe you meant that under totally different terms, but I don't believe that you've outgrown it. maybe you're feeling like your old playing wasn't technical enough, or maybe just didn't flow right. Even so if that's the case and you make your changes and it fit well with the band, I don't see a single problem. If they want the old and after so many years you try and recreate that it's going to do two things. It's not going to feel natural, and two it's not going to do you and justice. You want to come back for that show and convince and show people you have matured in the since of style.

.
Your are right. I haven't outgrown it, its just that my playing tastes have evolved in a different direction since. As far as technique goes, I look at it ( as do most drummers, I think ) as expanding your vocabulary. I guess it is difficult to go back to my adolescent vocabulary now that I'm an adult and speak differently.

This of course does mean the the rock vocabulary is any less. As Deltadrummer pointed out, there's a lot going on there. Its just that I expressed myself differently when I was younger, that's all.

If you know what songs you are doing just practice them a bit and i'm sure you will be fine. Also remember to play LOUD! ;)

Sure Eddie, thanks... sometimes its just as straight as that instead of all this teeth-gnashing : )........keep it straight, keep it loud. I'll remember that.


Good luck Abe with the reunion project getting back on subject.
Thank you, Stan. Do you see how my past is coming back to bite me in my keester?! ; )

However, my idea of supportive sounds has changed over the years as I have grown and matured.

Don't worry about labels. Everytime I go to a rock or blues audition, someone inevitably asks, "Are you a jazz drummer?" And then they hire me because I can elicit supportive sounds from the instrument and enhance the music they play; I hopefully make the other musicians sound better. At least I think that's why they hire me.
My idea of support has changed too, which IS the problem : ) ... I wish was as confident about powering a rock band now


After a successful period of cleanup & refocusing I still had the bug to play, so I got out the tapes of my previous playing, scrutinized it & identified my strong & weak points. I then got a used set & did some serious woodshedding for about 3 months. After that I got myself into a busy working band that was completely different from my previous efforts & basically retooled everything about my drumming from what it used to be, best thing I ever did.
Leadfoot, happy to hear that you're playing again. And drugs do most certainly suck.
 
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elpol

Senior Member
a lot: I suspect that all of the 'elements' that would bring sense to the changes have been there all along. it makes more sense to me to think of it as an 'evolution' - along the lines of what Ken said.

music really is probably the best example of cultural diaspora, isn't it?
 

Bruce M. Thomson

Gold Member
I guess I have gone in a slightly opposite direction, I am much more laconic in my playing; the whole less is more type of thing. It has some to do with getting older and a lot to do with not wanting to get in the way of the music I am playing as well. I still work the bass the same as always (maybe better) but now it has more impact. I was listening to a prolonged drum solo I had recorded back in 88 and I remember at the time I thought it was pretty cool but now I just feel that it is too busy and not defined, I also think in terms of full kit playing that it was my last solo. I also spend time working out with my Ashikos and other percussive elements so that has an influence as well. Oddly enough a band I have been working out with lately wants me to be more busy and I am having a hard time convincing the guitar player that the other way is the way to go but it is a good workout all the same.
 

mrchattr

Gold Member
Aydee, great thread, man!

I find that I have changed in the opposite way. I used to be a "jazz only" drummer. I thought that rock was just a waste of time, and jazz was the "real music." My playing was much lighter, I only used traditional grip, my left hand was constantly busy with ghost notes, etc. When I finally started playing rock, I used a lot of these techniques still, and also (thanks to a love of fusion, etc) found myself filling, messing with toms, etc, much more than was probably needed. As I have matured as a musician, and learned about playing for the music more, I have also had job opportunities in rock, gospel, blues...styles that, in general (at least in the areas I have played them) need a heavier hand, less (though I still use them a good bit) ghost notes, etc. I have worked very hard to keep my jazz feel strong, but I'm willing to be that if I sat down with the old cats I used to play with right now, they would give me a weird look.

The one thing that has been a saving grace to me in my career has been that in high school, I had to be a chameleon. I would play in orchestra and concert band with one type of sticks and volume at 8 AM, then jam with some jazz guys at lunch with lighter sticks but playing more freely, then play with the high school big band after school with sticks that were in between what I used at 8 AM and lunch, having to play jazz but with a lot less freedom (standard big band style), then head off to marching band with really heavy sticks and the control involved there. The end result was that for four years, I got used to keeping up with a ton of different feels and styles, and because of that, I am still able to move between different styles fairly well...but there's no denying that who I am as a player has changed a lot.

Enjoy this reunion, man. It sounds like a great opportunity, and may even inspire you to remember a few things about how you used to play...either to incorporate them into what you do now, or just to kick back and enjoy how much you've grown since then!
 
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