Songs With Bored Drummers

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Listen to a John Bonham shuffle on any song, then listen to Mike Portnoys shuffles on Chris and Kevins excellent adventure (from Liquid Tension Experiment). It sounds great until Portnoy ruins it with all this double bass and stacks stuff that just sounds awful. Are you seriously going to say that sounds great over anything Bonham has done which has served the song completely?
Portnoy had an amazing ability to completely muck up a groove with some random over the top fill. It was mind blowing how he felt the song deserved that particular fill and let it go to print.

At the same time MP had an amazing ability to also know when he is repeating himself in a particular song. He would intentionally change the way a chorus section was played because he played the first chorus section one way, and now the new chorus is in a different mindset/place from where the first one was, so it gets different drums. He would intentionally take straight 4/4 timing and syncopate over it with odd timing signatures, while maintaining the 4/4 groove with accents spattered throughout the odd signature. To me, thats fun playing. Playing a modified Roxanna shuffle for 4 minutes does not entertain me. Can I play a shuffle like Bonham? Dont know, I have never tried. It doesnt speak to me. Just like speed metal at 300 bpm, electrinic/DnB, or jazz doesnt speak to me. Fusion speaks to me. Weckl's playing speaks very much to me. Can I play it? I wish.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I'm not a massive fan of either MP or JB, both have merit to me though.
I agree, & admire both in their own way. I was just putting another perspective on MP's or MM's playing in the context of that band. Personally, it leaves me cold. I can happily listen to simple groove all day long. As others might want their expression & diversity lit up in lights for all to see, I find just as much going on in the interpretation of a simple groove but delivered as nuance.

DERAIL: ---- Can I just announce that Gavin Harrison & Todd Sucherman (amongst many others) are now confirmed for this year's even bigger London Drum Show :)
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
Back to the original question.

How can you tell if a drummer is bored?
I can tell if the drummer is bored if I am watching them play live. Otherwise it is impossible to know.

Here is a list of recorded songs with drummers that might be bored:
Every recorded song that I did not play on.


.
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
Playing "devil's advocate" here, I think MP played exactly what is needed for the song.
He was really good on awake and albums of that era.

Anyway, guns n roses, another band that I dislike - knocking on heavens door.

That fill... The one he plays 63 times. Aargh
 

TheHeelDrummer

Senior Member
Can I play a shuffle like Bonham?
No. You cant. So now you know.

There is a reason why all of the drum Gods site Bonham as a major influence and its not because he was boring... at least not to them. And its ok if you dont get it. Not everybody can get it. But to discount the artist as boring sounds, to me, as uneducated and ignorant. Now maybe you have heard a lot of the live Zeppelin stuff or maybe you havent. But the guy never played the same song the same way twice. The feel he brought with him is what made him special. Knowing what to play and what not to play. John Bonham was a huge influence on prog rock going back from Jeff Back Led Boots and it will last long after we are both dead. Songs like Achilles, Nobody's fault but mine, the Crunge... I mean... that is undeniable. I can say without a doubt that you are inspired by a drummer that was directly inspired by John Bonham.

And imagine for a second Ringo overplaying during Beatles songs and changing time signatures and stuff like that... he would have been replaced mid-set. The guy was a human metronome. I remember hearing that they could take pieces of any take and mix and match them because every take was exactly the same tempo. Thats amazing. To not be able to appreciate what he brought to the Beatles... man.
 
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tamadrm

Platinum Member
Hey, don't forget the Rolling Stone's discography!!
Millions would disagree.Charlie Watts is an excellent drummer,because he listens,and plays for the song.The Stones have made tons of money with Charlie on the kit.so he must be doing something right,and Stones fans love him

This isn't one of those silly more will always be more,and less will always be less is it?Good drummers play for the song,....period.If thats 2 and 4 or 17/8 polyrythms,then so be it.One is not better than the other,by sheer virtue of it existance.It's simply a matter of opinion and taste,not right ,wrong , good or bad.

Steve B
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
haha how quickly this turned into Bonham Vs Portnoy, Overplaying vs underplaying!
Heh...and Portnoy himself would say Bonham is the better drummer.


Playing "devil's advocate" here, I think MP played exactly what is needed for the song.
It helps that Portnoy helped write the songs he was playing to, and on many of the albums, Portny was co-producer, so he had control.

Most drummers are playing to songs others have written, and/or are working with a producer who has an influence on the drum parts.

Anyway, guns n roses, another band that I dislike - knocking on heavens door.

That fill... The one he plays 63 times. Aargh
I think you are referring to "November Rain" with the repeating drum fill.
Which Matt has very upfront that he played same fill over and over again because that's what Alx asked him to do. And Axl apparently wanted the fill to be a repeating rhythmic hook.

Love or hate it, you have to admit, if any drummer played that fill with no music, you'd know it was that song. So, for what ever it was worth, the intention worked.

But the point being, a majority of the time, the drum tracks we hear are at least in part being determined by factors other than what the drummer is thinking.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
This is probably a generational thing, like how old people say "back in my day, we didnt have all this fancy hulla-baloo." Maybe progressive music is a lot of fancy hulla-baloo, but the old classic stuff is just not doing it for me. Its simple, straight forward and mostly boring to me.

So is the implication that there is no 'old classic stuff' in prog rock?
Ever heard of Yes, King Crimson, old Genesis.....?
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I play in a band that thrives on groove. We get locked in and ride it for as long as we can. I will tell you from experience that it is not boring at all. In fact there is nothing better than getting locked in with the bassist and just riding the wave. The crowd starts to move, heads start to bang, feet start to tap, you can feel the whole audience riding it with you. You know what screws it up faster than anything? A 4 measure fill. The crowd stops moving, feet stop tapping, heads stop banging, and suddenly the crowd is just staring at the stage like "what the hell?"

What is boring is a crowd full of people who are not feeling the music, standing there watching the band. When Led Zeppelin played "all of my love" the crowd was feeling it, I guanantee it.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
Tommy - so you find '21st Century Schizoid Man', 'Red', 'Fracture' and 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic Pt. II' boring? They are many things but 'boring' is not a word I'd use. I'd cite Portnoy as the most boring drummer I've heard.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I can say without a doubt that you are inspired by a drummer that was directly inspired by John Bonham.
I have no doubt thats true, but that doesnt mean John Bonham has to be an influence of mine. Buddy Rich was an influence of Bonhams, but do you hear many rock drummers site Buddy Rich as an influence? Not really, but they do site Bonham a lot.

I dont ever go out of my way to listen to a Zepplin song. I mostly get it shoved down my ears twice an hour, every hour, every day of my life due to the radio. I have heard lots of their work and quite frankly I now try to change the station when I hear them come on. I am not attracted to their music and thusly towards Bonham's playing. Maybe if he were in a different band I might have been more attracted to his drumming, but thats not the case. Is this ignorance talking? No, its my opinion from years of hearing their music each and every day. Im just not a fan.

I am a fan of Portnoy, Mangini, Weckl, Gavin Harrison, Mark McLean, Benny Grebb, and lots of other drummers who's playing inspires me to be better.
 
M

Mike_In_KC

Guest
I play in a band that thrives on groove. We get locked in and ride it for as long as we can. I will tell you from experience that it is not boring at all. In fact there is nothing better than getting locked in with the bassist and just riding the wave.
Sorry for the long winded post - I have had a few days with the proverbial duct tape on my forum mouth as a self imposed "punishment" we'll say for indiscretions committed by my keyboard. Yeah...

I missed the boat on this concept originally - a few months ago I posted a thread about losing my concentration while playing "Green Onions" by Booker T and the MGs (Al Jackson). The beat throughout the song is super easy and there are no complicated or even simple fills on the recorded version of the song. I was thinking that the beat was to "boring" and I would drift during the song because I was not dialed in concentration-wise. I asked the forum what I could do with the beat to keep it interesting - isn't that funny? What can I, drummer of a few months do to make AL JACKSON's groove more interesting? . Several players more advanced than me framed it properly and kindly - and now I appreciate the fact that there is a skill to making a "boring" beat groove. In the thread I posted one of the forum members posted a video of his kid playing the same "simple" groove for 5 minutes straight and invited me to do the same thing. I thought it would be pretty simple but when I did it the first time I realized how hard it is to really groove for an extended period of time. Now almost every time I practice, the very last thing I do is a 5 minute groove - using some beat that I was working on during that session. It is a super cool exercise and is almost like meditation. At about the 3 minute mark you start to kind of hear things and almost have an outer body experience type of deal.

I imagine there is also a skill to making a hard beat sound boring but I still laugh at myself for wanting to change Green Onions to be more interesting....

MM
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
So is the implication that there is no 'old classic stuff' in prog rock?
Ever heard of Yes, King Crimson, old Genesis.....?
I have heard of these bands. Again, they are not bands I deliberately seek out to listen to, but if they come on the radio, I dont feel compelled to change the station. I will listen to them.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
Tommy - so you find '21st Century Schizoid Man', 'Red', 'Fracture' and 'Larks' Tongues in Aspic Pt. II' boring? They are many things but 'boring' is not a word I'd use. I'd cite Portnoy as the most boring drummer I've heard.
I take it these are Zepplin songs? If so, I dont go out of my way to listen to Zepplin, so unless these songs are played twice an hour every day on the radio, I probably havent heard them.

If you think Portnoy is boring, thats cool. Its your opinion and you are entitled to that.
 

philrudd

Senior Member
Some of the best advice I've ever received: 'You're only as BORED as you are BORING'.

If you're bored with a performance, it's convenient to blame the performer...but it's more likely saying something about you.
 

_Leviathan_

Senior Member
I thought the initial topic was drummers that seem like they are just phoning it in or seem bored to us as drummers. Now it seems like the discussion is more about what drummers find exciting or what is exciting drumming, not about the mindset of the performers that may or may not appear bored. Someone may play the same fill over and over, but because it fits so well, may enjoy it, or may find themselves wanting to stretch out. I'm not a mind reader so I wouldn't know which way they lean. I do know that the parts we choose are all based on the situation at the time and are all about being musical and appropriate though.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I take it these are Zepplin songs? If so, I dont go out of my way to listen to Zepplin, so unless these songs are played twice an hour every day on the radio, I probably havent heard them.

If you think Portnoy is boring, thats cool. Its your opinion and you are entitled to that.
Nothing to do with Led Zeppelin. Those are King Crimson songs. 'Progressive' music from the same era as Led Zeppelin that is the basis for almost all of the modern 'progressive' bands.

Take Tool. They admit a huge King Crimson influence. Dream Theater also, to a lesser extent. Porcupine Tree wear it on their sleeve (and Steve Wilson actually remastered most of the KC back catalogue) and a huge number of modern metal bands are quite obviously influenced by King Crimson more than most other 'progressive' bands of the time.

Listen to 'Red', for instance:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OeMgyzzeQZU

Aggressive, powerful, cacophonous, muscular, angular and exciting.

Thing is, the music sounds just as fresh and exciting now as it did when it was released forty years ago. 'Progressive' 'interesting' music is nothing new and dismissing 'older' music as boring (which seems to be what you're saying) is a false dichotomy. There is plenty of older music I don't care for - I don't like Rush at all for instance - but not all of it has to be 'boring'.

This 'modern' idea that you have of 'progressive' music isn't new at all. In fact, it's nearly 50 years old.

EDIT: I am not saying that King Crimson are the 'original' 'progressive' band but they were one of the first and certainly one of the most influential.
 
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Hey, don't forget the Rolling Stone's discography!!
That is true! I forgot about Charlie Watts' open distaste for his rock band. The funny thing is, while Charlie looks bored in the videos, I always get a sense of 'feel' from his drumming.

And just for the record, I wasn't trying to bash on Bonzo or "All My Love", it just struck me that he sounded bored on the song. Made me think of a show I went to a few months back with a jazz musician whose drummer looked sooooo bored through the entire show. If I hadn't been watching him, I wonder if I would have 'felt' his boredom coming through ...
 

Nancy_C

Senior Member
if it did .... that would mean Dave Grohl was bored out of his mind here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbgKEjNBHqM


side note.... this Tommy D guy cracks me up

I'm off to play 37 grooves in one chorus
I do that before breakfast every morning.

This reminds me of how some guys (usually young men) will drool all over Yngwie Malmsteen, whom almost no one can actually listen to for any length of time. Meanwhile, Blues Boy King can hold and bend one or two notes across four measures and communicate more than YM ever will with his unlistenable, uninteresting, masturbatory "shredding."

But, you know ... to each his own, and all that.
 
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