Is this sacrilegious or what?

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
You know, I love drums, and drumming, like everybody else here. But with the invention of the computer and digital audio, and especially Mac computers that come installed with GarageBand, I did something sorta' sacrilegious. I took Billy Cobham's album Spectrum, and edited out all those little drum solos he played before each song starts. I even edited out the rubato piano solo before 'Le Lis' too.

All these years listening to that album, I just wanted to hear what it would sound like without all those rattling drum solos he played. Billy Cobham is a strong composer and the songs stand up well without the drum solo interludes. Of course, without the solos, the album is quite a bit shorter now, but I like just listening to the music and the grooves he played on them.

Being the drummer that I am, you'd think I'd want to hear him playing solos. I guess this proves that I'm more into the music than the flashy drum stuff. In fact, I'm of the attitude that if you didn't have good music, you wouldn't need a drummer in the first place. Weird, huh?

Try taking your favorite drum album, and if there are drum solos on it, edit them out and see if the song doesn't stand up all by itself. Funny that I should bring this up in a drum forum.
 

Too Many Songs

Senior Member
I saw Billy Cobham in concert last year. And he started the second set with a long drum solo. And it was boring. OK I'm biased here in that I'm on record as saying that I find all drum solos boring. But the point it this - someone like Billy C must feel under enormous pressure to produce all the soloing because that is somehow linked to his 'reputation'. I'm willing to bet that the record company wanted more drum in Spectrum and the tour promoter wanted a drum solo of at least 15 minutes at the start of the second set.

So cutting the solos out - who knows - you may be closer to BC's original vision of Spectrum than you think.
 

Duckenheimer

Senior Member
I wouldn't dare on, say Countdown To Time In Outer Space with Joe Morello... the drums and drum soloing are arguably the most expressive, dynamic parts of that album. But hey, how many drum solos are as catchy as Morello's? Or Tony Williams Live In New York... But as a soloist Tony always had something to say. If the drum solo IS deeply a part of the music, hell no, but if it's just flashy fun, like seemingly in 95% of them, sure.... I could definitely do with trying this method on most of my fusion and rock albums!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I've done the same thing - faded out at the start of the shredding at the end of Stratus. It just detracts from a fantastic track IMO. Rattling" is a good word for it - when it comes to drum raves I prefer the rounder tones of this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VT2J1Ot9N5c.

For the record, I also cut out the last 5 or 6 minutes of Melanie's Candles in the Rain.

Just thinking ... Moby Dick would be pretty short without the solo :)
 
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mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
I wouldn't dare on, say Countdown To Time In Outer Space with Joe Morello... the drums and drum soloing are arguably the most expressive, dynamic parts of that album. But hey, how many drum solos are as catchy as Morello's? Or Tony Williams Live In New York... But as a soloist Tony always had something to say. If the drum solo IS deeply a part of the music, hell no, but if it's just flashy fun, like seemingly in 95% of them, sure.... I could definitely do with trying this method on most of my fusion and rock albums!
I am in total agreement here with you.

I think there was a range of drummers in a similar era (late 50's to 60's) that could play a solo and make it really mean something. I've mentioned it several times in the last few days but Rashied Ali was another one that could really make a solo work dynamically and phrase things in such a way that you want to listen to it.

Cobham I have nothing but respect for but his solos just do nothing for me. Most of the time I just don't want to listen to drum solos. I don't think drums often work as a solo instrument. The worst are the 'pre-composed' solos; I think solos should be at least partly improvisational and reactionary (as should a lot of music in my view).

Polly, I did get your PM but was in the middle of making breakfast when I got the last one yesterday. I'll reply at some point in the next day or so but I'm catching planes and awkward things today! Not in the UK at the moment!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I think solos should be at least partly improvisational and reactionary (as should a lot of music in my view).

Polly, I did get your PM but was in the middle of making breakfast when I got the last one yesterday. I'll reply at some point in the next day or so but I'm catching planes and awkward things today! Not in the UK at the moment!
In saying that solos should be at least partly improvisational and reactionary ... that's about the kind of energy projected, yes? An extra edge?

No drama re: the PM. I'm so used to being dissed I take it for granted :) Interested to know your views on my little conundrum, though. No pressure, some time when you're not jetsetting ...
 
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mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Mostly, yes. I'm not saying that pre-composed music lacks energy or edge (far from it, seeing 'The Rite of Spring' this summer was the most energetic and edgy thing I've ever seen - even the ballet!) but when it comes to drum solos there are certainly small, microtonal things that are new to you every time you play. Each time I hit my snare, it sounds slightly different. I think it's important that we leave room to react to that even if it's within a pre-existing framework. Otherwise you're not playing in a reactionary way.

You can react within a very tight framework but using that tight framework makes it more difficult - especially if you're being specific about the time you want to use to play the solo.

Needless to say that when it comes to the drums, I don't like rigidity.
 

Toolate

Platinum Member
Sounds more like a confession to me. Except not for somehting you dont feel bad about....

THat is a natural move to me. The consensus on drum solos, as far as I can tell, is that they are self indulgent and I tend to agree. I have never heard the songs you are talking about but anything longer than about 10 seconds might get boring to me after a while.

THe only song that comes to mind (are you ready for this?) is Van Halens Hot for Teacher and I must admit that even that gets a bit old after a while. Not sure if I could jsutify editing it out tho. Interesting thought. Great groove though and sometimes you just want to hear that without all the bells and whistles...
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Mostly, yes. I'm not saying that pre-composed music lacks energy or edge (far from it, seeing 'The Rite of Spring' this summer was the most energetic and edgy thing I've ever seen - even the ballet!) but when it comes to drum solos there are certainly small, microtonal things that are new to you every time you play. Each time I hit my snare, it sounds slightly different. I think it's important that we leave room to react to that even if it's within a pre-existing framework. Otherwise you're not playing in a reactionary way.

You can react within a very tight framework but using that tight framework makes it more difficult - especially if you're being specific about the time you want to use to play the solo.

Needless to say that when it comes to the drums, I don't like rigidity.
Okay, similar wavelength. There's an element of hit-or-miss either way. In pre-composed music some days you can hook into the feeling of the piece and at other times it's more painting by numbers. In improv you can flubb or just miss the boat with the flow.

I don't have much choice - if a solo isn't short, very obvious and linear I'm not going to remember it :)
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
Who let all these damn guitarists on the site. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh! :)
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
I'm like Bo, when I burn my compilation CD's with Cobham's songs, I edit both drum solo at the begining of Red Baron (Snoopy's Search) and Stratus, so it goes straight the music, however, unlike Polly, I don't fade out the "rattling" at the end of Stratus :)

I've done some song editing even if it's not a drum solo, an overlong keyboard intro is just as boring for me, but I only do this on my compilation CD's, the original version is still within the media player of my computer.

And nowadays, it's so easy to manipulate the music, back in the days, with the audio tapes, it took such a long time to make a compil, left alone the "editing" of some tracks, remember? the tape player on "pause", db potentiometer at zero, start the song you wanted to edit and at the right moment, you released the pause and increase slowly the db potentiometer, if you missed it, you had to start all over again... :))
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
Cassettes? They were hard work. I have heaps of old compilation tapes. Transferring some to digital - quite a trip down memory lane.
Yep, but the real hard work was removing the tape stuck in the tape player in the car once you've ejected the cassette, and once you finished, everything went to the dustbin, charming... :(
 
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mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
I did a lot of my last composition works on tape. I loved using it again, reminded me of my childhood. I used to have a small cassette player next to my bed and I would lie in bed listening to audio books. After a little while I could operate the player without looking.

Good memories.
 

Nuka

Senior Member
You could likely edit out all the drums and put in program beats. The song will still work (if you could be bothered doing it!).

The reason we're still around however, is cos we make mistakes, we improvise, we solo, we know tech stuff, we're that human element.

I've teched too many shows at work and the drums have been basic, but exciting: because it's a live player (even pop songs need this!). And then of course mid set for Saxon. An epic drum solo.

Drummers = win.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Good to know I'm not alone. I am not a big fan of Billy's solos - although I love some of his music.

Part of me is thinking now that I've said this, Billy's gonna start stalking me around town like Chuck Norris (they did a fairly successful ad-campaign with Chuck recently stalking guys who made fun of him on the 'net).

I'll also be the first one to admit when Neil's solo came up on the R30 DVD set, I skipped that one too. Sorry.

But, Joe Morello, Buddy Rich, Louie Bellson? Those cats I can watch all day....
 
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sticks4drums

Guest
I'll take Peart over all four of them, and anybody else you can come up with. :) What is it about this place that it seems to be a pre-requisite to diss good ol Neil. Can someone help me out with this?
 
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