playing in an uninspired manner

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Hijacked from the OCDP Dead? thread...

There are many famous drummers, such as Ringo or Phil Rudd, who play in what I take to be an uninspired manner, whose tracks are usually barely audible and who had little influence on their bands' music.
You're entitled to your opinion about the playing styles of these drummers, true you never hear any technical fireworks from them (although good luck trying to capture the feel of Ringo, Bonzo, etc etc.)

As for the drum tracks being barely audible, please take into account how recording techniques and especially mixing preferences have changed since the sixties and seventies. You might as well also ask where all the low end is on most records from the '70s and prior!

But as far as influencing their respective band's music, do you think The Beatles or AC/DC would have been the same bands without those drummers? Should they have been doing something different? Should Bonzo or Keith Moon or Charlie Watts or Hal Blaine or Jim Keltner or Buddy Rich or Tony Williams have been doing anything different with the bands & artists they played with?

This has been discussed many times, usually in the form of 'what if Neil Peart had been in the Beatles?' There's a basic premise: if a particular band's line-up wasn't what we know it as, it wouldn't be the same band. If Keith Moon had played in the Beatles, John & Paul would still have written "I Want To Hold Your Hand", but it wouldn't be the same. Better? Worse? We'll never know, and I suppose it's fun to conjecture, but you must give props to each drummer (and bandmember) for influencing the band's sound, regardless whether you like the music, or that drummer, or feel he's not busy enough (or in some cases, that he's too busy.)

Bermuda
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
If you watch any of the documentaries on the Beatles and I own most of them, you will see just how much time they spent in the studio, and the amount of input each member had on the other band members and the band itself . Uninspired, I don't think so. At the time the Beatles were playing they had everything to lose and nothing to gain. When you are number 1 the only way to move is down. Because Ringo wasn't a drug crazed lunatic flying around the kit doesn't mean he was uninspired. And again, no one, no one, kept the beat as steady and dependable as he did. One day the drummers on this site will realize that keeping the beat is the number one responsiblity of the drummer and not to be a show-off with 15 drums and twenty cymbals. Less is more. Always has been, always will be.
 

Ethan01

Senior Member
Completely agree Bermuda. Songwriting above all. The reason those drummers were so successful and in successful bands was how much they understood that songwriting is above all. It's music, not a competition.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
Yep, too easy to miss the forrest for the trees. Drumming forums can be insular places.....we're all drummers discussing drums. That's fine in its own right but too often it appears as if the compositon is missed in order to pull the drumming apart. I've always seen music as the sum of many parts.....drums are just one of them. No more or less important than anything else that is contributing to the overall sound. If that particular "part" fits the "sum", then it's good drumming.......whether it be a chops fest or a money beat.

I don't listen to music in order to purely isolate drum parts......I listen to music to hear "parts" converge into a whole.......but that's just me.

Whatever the motivation, whether they "play in an inspired manner" or not..... all those guys you've mentioned have provided inspiration to me. At the end of the day, that's all I care about.
 

eamesuser

Silver Member
I have not seen a lot of the newer drummers playing,even if you catch concert footage you never seem to get more than 3 seconds focused on the drummer,or as a band as a whole so you can see what the drummer is doing.I think some of the new drummers could do a great job technically and musically if them and their bands had more of a chance to develop in the studio,without being constantly looped, triggered, sampled ,and replaced.Do you think pink floyd would have gotten to make Dark side of the Moon today?I don't think so,they would have been dropped after uma gumah for sure IMO.How many albums had AC/DC done before they hit with Back in Black? at least 4 or 5.Fleetwood Macs previous albums sold at between 150 to 200 thousand copies before Rumours,although they became much more commercial for that.I think it is tough on bands signed to major labels these days,they don't get time to create and can't take 30 per cent of an album and go outside the realm of what is expected out of them product wise.
 

Duckenheimer

Senior Member
There are quite a few bands and pieces of music which have truly uninspired drumming that would pretty much have been the same stuff with any number of thousands of drummers behind the stool instead, though this uninspired stuff may have been perfect for the music. Perhaps AC/DC would qualify, I'm not sure.

I don't think The Beatles is one of them though... I'm not a huge fan of Ringo, he's fine, I love the Beatles music, but his fills and beats are distinct and very tailored for the songs, I think things would be very different with anyone else behind the stool. The same with early Metallica, Lars wasn't a technical monster, or even a guy would would have done pro-level covers bands, but his drumming parts and the music evolved closely together and the songs would have been completely different with anyone else.
 

Retrovertigo

Senior Member
ringo and phil rudd do not play in an uninspired manner. (during their golden years anyway) phil's groove is ferocious and ringo's parts are so creative. nothing but world class musicians.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
It depends on what you want a drummer to do. If you're playing adrenaline-charged improv music in a three-piece group then you'll want a drummer who goes for it

However, many songs work best if the drummer just plays the song without trying to sound like "a good player", pretty well just letting the song play itself. Same goes for other musos. When players are determined to put their greasy little fingerprints over the songs rather than combine and cooperate, it can be like a chaotic conversation with everyone saying "Look at me!" ... "No, look at me!"

It seems to me that the other players in Ringo's and Phil's bands liked them being there. They belonged. I don't think "uninspired" is the right word. They aren't very nimble, but plodding drumming obviously works just fine in rock and pop ... it doesn't seem to have lost the bands any fans.

Personally, I like a bit of colour from drummers rather than constant hats/kick/snare (like I do most of the time haha) but I'm a drummer so I would say that ...
 
Last edited:

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It seems to me that the other players in Ringo's and Phil's bands liked them being there. They belonged.
Yep. Those drummers were there because the writers, singers, producers, labels, and public liked them there. The drumming and songs were exactly as they were intended to be heard... or else we wouldn't be hearing them. Granted, the 'state of the art' plays a big role, and it's an ever-changing concept. Techniques, sounds, and musical & social attitudes change, so what was cutting edge, current and absolutely fresh 40 years ago - or even 40 weeks ago - probably won't be viewed the same now. But we have to acknowledge that it was fresh at the time.

Take Ginger Baker. Please! No really, his solos were opening ears and turning heads back in the '60s, but listening now is almost a letdown. So much aimless pounding and looseness and rudimentary double bass stuff,... oh please! The only people doing that today are the kids wailing away at kits in Guitar Center! But he gets much-deserved props for what he did then, and my comparing that to today's mega-players isn't fair at all. His playing then was absolutely relevant, even if it wouldn't exactly hold up today.

So, back to the Ringo thing... his playing was absolutely relevant - cutting edge in many ways - to what the Beatles did then, and it cannot be diminished in hindsight.

I'll tell ya what, I still do a lot of very obvious Ringo-type fills on modern tracks, and they fit the bill perfectly. Anyone who ignores what he and other classic drummers did, is missing out.

Bermuda
 

mrmike

Silver Member
"There are many famous drummers, such as Ringo or Phil Rudd, who play in what I take to be an uninspired manner, whose tracks are usually barely audible and who had little influence on their bands' music."

That's just plain ridiculous from someone who does not know any better.

I have seen some people playing a gig and look at their watch, wishing they were through so they can go home. It definitely comes out in their performance. The only thing worse than than not being able to do something you love is when something you love becomes a drag for whatever reason. I always liked Robert Frip's quote " If the music does not interest me, I would rather read a book."
 
Top