More existential stuff

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
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The difficult part for me is; when we drummers are on stage and we want to show some emotion, or more exactly if we want the band to show more emotion,
it is difficult for the drummer to raise the emotion level of the song. (Although I have done it.)


Is it wrong for me to gripe about this?
Yes Larry. You are "Sucking all the fun right out of life...."


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greenstar323

Senior Member
There's a solution for that.....
LOL

Forgot to mention I'm from New Jersey, but the good part of Jersey aka North Jersey ;) so there ya go Larry it's not intentional. Maybe that's just how a lot of people are in these parts!!

Kidding aside.. I go to lots of open mics in the area and people get really into it.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
Well maybe they were taken back by that piece of crap drum kit you brought with no ride cymbal-LOL-you should have brought part of Rolanda-kick, floor tom and snare and a dang ride cymbal you can crash. Some folks have lost the fun of playing. I guess I'd have more sympathy if you didn't own two Guru drum kits-and now we see you don't even play them.
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Well maybe they were taken back by that piece of crap drum kit you brought with no ride cymbal-LOL-you should have brought part of Rolanda-kick, floor tom and snare and a dang ride cymbal you can crash. Some folks have lost the fun of playing. I guess I'd have more sympathy if you didn't own two Guru drum kits-and now we see you don't even play them.
HA! You just created a great image in my mind.
Imagine Larry, the host drummer, brings his Guru drum set to the jam. And a 6’ 5” dude with huge arms gets up with his 2b drum sticks to play the drums……. LOL


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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I guess outwardly it just doesn't come out the way I think it does.
Yes what's in your mind and what the audience is experiencing....the closer together you can get them, the better. Some people, not just drummers, are legends in their own minds, and there's a big disconnect with what they think is happening, and what is actually happening. Again, the recorder is the remedy to this.

Kamak, you're probably right about that. I'm 48, and I hate playing the blues. 1 or 2 songs, sure, but after that, ughh. And if there's 2 or three guitarists on stage, they all have to take a couple solos each, so every song is 12 minutes long. Ackk!
And I bet it's all at the same dynamic, front to back. It's the deliberate ups and downs, and transitions to ups and downs....that's where blues takes on more than 2 dimensions. Only the whole band has to understand. That's why it's so good when it's good, there's a noticeable musical communication going on.

Well maybe they were taken back by that piece of crap drum kit you brought with no ride cymbal-LOL-you should have brought part of Rolanda-kick, floor tom and snare and a dang ride cymbal you can crash. Some folks have lost the fun of playing. I guess I'd have more sympathy if you didn't own two Guru drum kits-and now we see you don't even play them.
I never attended this jam before and had no idea the kit was lacking basic necessities. I figured I'd go in and use what's there, to take me out of my element a little. Well I was a little too far out of my element. All I really needed was a couple cymbals, I decorate the song with my cymbals. I can make do with no toms. There was only a steaming load of crap sounding floor tom anyway, no racks.

HA! You just created a great image in my mind.
Imagine Larry, the host drummer, brings his Guru drum set to the jam. And a 6’ 5” dude with huge arms gets up with his 2b drum sticks to play the drums……. LOL
I would have no problem with that. But I would be watching my cymbals like a hawk.
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
host drummers who don't bring a functional drum kit should be embarrassed. One of the local guys didn't bring a ride on a night that 3 bands would be using his kit. He got paid to provide the drums and knew it in advance. I gave him a ton of crap about it, and he's reluctantly started bringing one.

Hey if I'm a host drummer and don't use a kick drum, I better bring one anyways if I'm a host.
 

whiteknightx

Silver Member
oh and Larry, you're totally right. No dynamics in blues songs ever around here. Just 3 guitarists fighting over who gets to solo louder than everyone else.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
So last night I attended a jam for the first time in a while. I was really underwhelmed by the attitude of most of the jammers. There seemed to be no joy, no involvement, not injecting one ounce of something resembling emotion, they just stood there like mannequins doing what seemed to me as little as possible.

Me, I was playing on camber hi hats, an over-stuffed bass drum, and a floor tom that sported death by tape. No ride, and the only crash was a 15" china. The snare I got sounding good. So to me I was just keeping time, which always works, but I couldn't do much shading without a ride or crash. I felt like I needed to drill a hole and all I had was a hammer.

But the other players might as well have been asleep, it was so ho hum. Hollywood's sig came to mind, playing a wrong note is excusable, playing without passion is inexcusable...something like that.

I just want to go up to these people and shake them, then slap their faces lol. Playing out is the highlight of my life. I just can't relate to 'barely there' playing. It's not what you play, it's how you play it that comes through. Nothing came through. To be fair, not everyone was like that, but most were. Like I don't even want to go to that jam anymore, it was a waste of my time almost. I'm wondering if it's my problem, but I don't think it is. I do feel spoiled and jaded though. Thoughts?
Your'e the only one who's not jaded here. Thats the sad part.

So many play because playing live is also an ego massager, a self esteem thang, a showing-off opportunity ... etc

I call it my gooseflesh test. Everytime you play at home or on stage, you've got to turn yourself on till you can see the goose pimples on your forearms. And that can only happen is the others you're playing with are equally turned on..

thats when music happens.. the rest is all crappy posturing..


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WalterKohn

Senior Member
Larry,

I feel your pain. I too am in the Northeast. I am in South Jersey so not to far from you. I went to a open mic Sunday night at a place in Berlin, NJ called the Golden Nugget. It was my first time jamming outside of my garage in a long time. Kit was a Tama superstar so not a bad kit per say, but the tuning was horrible. Snare was tuned so damn tight I couldn't get any dynamics out of it. Everyone seemed non-enthusiastic while playing as well.I feel your pain brother I really do. I go out to play because I want to get into it ya know... Feel the music etc. The guy running the open mic I used to be in a band with years ago so I thought it would be better....
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Jam night is when I can just hang out and play music. I'm not really worried about it, I play fills that I might not normally try even in rehearsal, I overplay, I drink, I jam the same tunes each week with mostly the same people. I still like it. I just enjoy playing music with other humans.

Myself and the core group tries to get up in-between the new guys or less experienced jammers so we can keep things relatively competent through the night, but encouraging new players to get up there is what public jams are about. Doesn't matter if they ain't got no skills, what's important is playing music with others.

When we fall into ruts, I like to put "holds" on playing anything from a certain band. I'll say, "we are not going to play the beatles tonight" or "let's not play any of the usual Modest Mouse for a few weeks". It gets us out of the routines and forces the melodic players to think of something different to play.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't fault the new players, that's a whole different story. It takes a while to find one's legs. It's guys who have been around. I know they've been around because I used to jam with them over 10 years ago. I would hope people improve with time, not go backwards. Maybe I expect too much. It seems this is one of the best parts of their life, and this is what they give to it? Really?

Going through the motions is a disservice to the people who come to listen to the music. The live music business is in peril. I can't help thinking that maybe it's because the standards seem so low to me. Playing live is near and dear to my heart, and to see the apathy...it pisses me off.
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I don't fault the new players, that's a whole different story. It takes a while to find one's legs. It's guys who have been around. I know they've been around because I used to jam with them over 10 years ago. I would hope people improve with time, not go backwards. Maybe I expect too much. It seems this is one of the best parts of their life, and this is what they give to it? Really?

Going through the motions is a disservice to the people who come to listen to the music. The live music business is in peril. I can't help thinking that maybe it's because the standards seem so low to me. Playing live is near and dear to my heart, and to see the apathy...it pisses me off.
Yeah, I'm in agreement here. I love the newer people coming in and stretching their wings. But a lot of these folks have been doing the jam circuit for the 20 years I've lived here.

I also agree the standard is pretty low. On the other hand, bars don't pay enough to draw really good musicians. It's a vicious cycle. Whatever the cause, the effect is that I often see substandard bands playing in bars.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I would hope that because the pay is so low, that's why the standards are low. Unfortunately I don't think that's the case.
 

BruceW

Senior Member
We have a jam here every week that is quite a bit of fun, and I believe thats part and parcel of our musical community here. Granted, this isnt high level stuff, but we are fortunate to have folks that play in local bands that come out, some beginners, some friends who like to give it a try, and occasionally some newcomers to the area and want to meet some local musicians.

We have enough folks who know each other that we can (usually) come up with combinations that keep things moving. Occasionally full bands will drop in and play 3-5 songs, a good way to work stuff out.

Our regulars are very supportive of each other and our guests, and it really is a great atmosphere. Again, no one will confuse this with high level stuff, but you know that everyone is trying to make a good sound, and everyone is enjoying themselves. Perhaps its a generational thing....while we do have some younger folks there, the core group ages 40's to 60's, and we just love to play. Its very much a musical family.

I'm sad more of you don't have something similar.
 

calan

Silver Member
I like blues jams. I went to a weekly jam religiously for years. I'm not a frequenter as much anymore, but I do periodically sub in as the house drummer.

They can be a mixed bag in many ways. Sometimes you get local/regional pros, sometimes you get clueless novices, mostly somewhere in between. The kit is always a mixed bag too. At the defunct jam I went to for years, there was a stage custom kit with XS 20 cymbals. Nothing special, but very playable and well maintained. One of the guys around here bring an old Export (not bad in and of itself) with the toasted stock heads with some laundry duct taped to them with toms at craigslist angles and almost unplayable cymbal placement.

Back to the playing, I really enjoy the idea of jamming. Sometimes in practice it isn't so great, but it's variable on the rest of the talent. When you have good talent, people who know the basic form well enough to play with it, then it's super fun and you end up creating these ephemeral moments that are unique to that time. Even the Stormy Monday example, I've played that so many times and in many different ways. What makes these things work is being able to use dynamics, breaks, stabs... little things like that. I've even done it as a boogie and 4/4 funky blues type of feel, or even switched to a swing feel over some solos.

But sometimes you get people who don't know scales or can't follow the chord changes, or get a drummer who can't do a basic shuffle. Sometimes you get players who, for whatever reasons, have eyes only on what they're doing. So much of jam is cooperative and communicative, and if you're closed to that, the entire experience suffers.

Then there's a delicate balance. If the quality of the music isn't very good, then the higher level players are less inclined to get out there. But the higher level players are the ones who can make the quality better. At the same time, you need to allow the less talented players to get up there, because that's how they get better, and they'll stop coming if they can't play. If there's no crowd, the bar isn't making money, and they could just do karaoke instead.
 

wsabol

Gold Member
Hey Larry. Tough break bro. I'm hearing this from a different point of view, so I thought I'd chime in.

In my experience with jams, aside from surface things like exposure and contacts, musicians go and participate in jams to feel something and to have an 'experience'.

That's all well and good, but sometimes the attitude is slightly different. Sometimes someone might go to a jam to get inspired or to have an experience happen to them based on the chemistry on stage or the virtuosity of the players or whatever. Maybe for these older guys, they wanted to feel that mad hunger of youth again, and were hoping it be brought out on stage.

Again, there's nothing against that per-se, but when you have a stage full of musicians waiting to be inspired everyone else, you get flat jams.

You need to people to be open and receptive to the ques others are giving at jams, but you also need to interject and stir the pot. Even if you are recycling old licks, they can still be powerful, in the pocket, and get some momentum going.
 
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