The art of getting out of trouble

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Today Wavelength posted a great Billy Ward clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teR_A12OIiA

He was saying that he practices getting out of trouble and how it's useful because he's in trouble all the time. I sooo related to that ...though he looked pretty damn in control in the clip to me)

Back in some bygone era (when dinosaurs wore short pants) I was complaining about my regular stuff ups to a guitarist in an old band I was in. He said it was okay because I was good at getting out of trouble. That's the only other time I've heard anyone talk about it before.

I guess it's almost like a dirty little secret because we all like to appear as though we're in control. That's why people watch us play. Any tips or thoughts?

Edit: Oops, this belongs in Technique. Sorry Bernhard/DB
 

Skulmoski

Gold Member
I am always aware of the downbeat so I look for that. It is sort of an unconscious thing for me now (lots of years messing up).

GJS
 

VedranS

Senior Member
Yeah, I'm doing this all the time. One way for me to get out of trouble is to play the mistake again (and maybe again as the song calls for it). I think an important part of this is to be able to hear and remember what you're doing, so you can recreate it. A perfect example of this is in a song on my band's myspace (cough, "My Playing", cough) , "PCs in the BCs". At the time of recording, the song was extremely new. So, I thought it was going back to a quiet part where I lay out, but it was actually going into a kind of solo section. So, solo starts, and I'm not playing anyhting. So I just pretended it was a dramatic pause, hit a loud crash a measusre into it, paused again, crash again, pause again, crash again. Total mistake, but the cover-up sounded so good to me that that's how I'm playing it nowadays....

I think that another important thing in a band context is to have good eye contact/body language. That way, if theres a collective trainwreck for some crazy reason, people can look at each other and kind of do "big motions" and get back into it quickly using visual ques/musician esp. Another fun thing to do is if a bandmate messes up individually, to look at them and make like it was the gratest/most planned out there thing you've ever heard. I'll give a big smile and nod of my head, kind of going "oh yeah!" with my body language if that makes sense.
 

jer

Silver Member
I saw a Victor Wooten video where he was talking about how on the bass you are always a half step (1 fret) away from being in the right key.

I've related that to drums in the sense that you are always 1 beat away from being in/on time.

Applies best in 4/4 time - if I find myself off, I just add or subtract 1 beat to whatever I'm doing and it should put me back in place.

Good vid!
 

aydee

Platinum Member
....


All the spine tingling happens when you walk on the edge of a cliff.
And if if you walk there all the time, there is bound to be an accident sooner or later.. maybe thats why we humans inexplicably slow down near traffic accidents... it is morbid, riveting stuff.

Now, I'm not talking about the kind of music that needs to be played the same night after night, but more about the jazz/improv/solo space. For me its always the guys who push the limits that excite. Like Ward says the art of recovery is crucial skill to these players. To be able to whip around and grab a shrub and pull yourself over.

I find that limb independence, being able to accent any basic rudiments with either hand, and the ability to play hand/foot combinations, are great life saving skills on stage.

In the context of drumming, despite all the talk about control, tightness and underplaying being touted as great virtues there is another fearless, play-in-the-moment side without which we wouldn't have had players like Buddy Rich and Elvin Jones.

Man, I would have loved to have one of these two tell us how they got out of trouble and I'll bet they got into it all the time.... not that anybody other than themselves would ever know..

....
 

Davo-London

Gold Member
I thought that was what the drum roll was invented for?

Gets you out of any disaster.

Actually, that's Bill Bruford's advice!

Davo
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
In my guitar playing days, a drummer buddy said that I "played wrong notes better than anybody he knew". Somehow, I knew I was in trouble, but managed to get out of it often enough that folks would come up and give me protracted theoretical analysis of the jazz thing that I'd done. Sorry, I was just trying to get clever and mucked it up. I don't know enough to do that on purpose.

On drums, I tend to look at fills as I would phrasing a lick on guitar. Instead of subdividing and counting out each stroke in the measure. That way, if I find that I've gotten off, I can just leave off a note or add an extra note to make it come out right. Double strokes are a neat way to change something at the last minute to reverse the sticking or fill in a missing space. Worst case, you can do two crashes (and-one) or if you find yourself swinging at a drum with the one coming up, I always loved how Garibaldi would crash on the And after the one. Just smack that last drum for an accent on the one and then come up on a crash (One-and) and get back on track realizing where you are.

Sometimes, when the zone is just flowing, I'll deliberately do something wrong, just to invent a way out of it. On those magical days when things are going right, you are in that one half step away from right note space.

Vic Wooten talks more about this in his book The Music Lesson. If someone is thinking of only one right note to play (the one they intended) or a basic fundamental note like the I, III, or V, then landing in the wrong place leaves them lost. Where was that "right" note? But if they let go of there only being one right note, then they are only one half step (one fret on a bass or guitar) from something that is in the key of the song (or chord center at the moment). And often that "wrong" note is just a "blue note" or passing tone to some diatonic resolution.

With time (as opposed to notational value as in percussion instruments) that hit in the "wrong" place may also be part of a triplet, 5 over 4 or some other advanced polyrhythmic concept. So there really are no such things as "wrong". You simply have to resolve them in some manner that gets back to the song. That takes keeping your internal clock going so that you can come back to where everyone else is. Or trusting that your band hasn't followed you, finding and rejoining them. Then it's just "Wow! What was that Dennis Chambers lick you did in there?" ;^)
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
As a one trick pony rock drummer, I've never been in a situation that two with the left hand hasn't been able to get me out of. If I ever start playing some improv jazz or the like, I'm sure it'll be a different stroy.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
I saw a Victor Wooten video where he was talking about how on the bass you are always a half step (1 fret) away from being in the right key.

I've related that to drums in the sense that you are always 1 beat away from being in/on time.

Applies best in 4/4 time - if I find myself off, I just add or subtract 1 beat to whatever I'm doing and it should put me back in place.

Good vid!
Yes, but those half steps away are often the worst IMO. I'm not really into that philosophy actually.

And in relation to drums: I think it depends whether it's a fill/impro/free part or a groove. If a stroke is out of place in a groove context, the groove gets disrupted, period. If it's a fill etc, well maaaaybe one could hear it in a new place. But I think good ears will find out in most situations, if it was a "mistake" or intention.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Yeah, I'm doing this all the time. One way for me to get out of trouble is to play the mistake again (and maybe again as the song calls for it). I think an important part of this is to be able to hear and remember what you're doing, so you can recreate it. A perfect example of this is in a song on my band's myspace (cough, "My Playing", cough) , "PCs in the BCs". At the time of recording, the song was extremely new. So, I thought it was going back to a quiet part where I lay out, but it was actually going into a kind of solo section. So, solo starts, and I'm not playing anyhting. So I just pretended it was a dramatic pause, hit a loud crash a measusre into it, paused again, crash again, pause again, crash again. Total mistake, but the cover-up sounded so good to me that that's how I'm playing it nowadays....
Haha, well done! I think mistakes at the start of a section can often be spun as a dramatic pause. It can make you sound more sophisticated :) I'm a big one for repeating mistakes too. It helps the passage make musical sense to me. Otherwise the boo boo just sounds odd.

Matthias, I agree that sharp listeners will pick up mistake cover-ups but, when we err, all we can do is salvage what we can ... we can't expect a perfect solution. The main thing is to hide the blunders from the crowd haha. If I had a dollar for every time a band member, friend or a punter's said to me "I didn't hear anything wrong" I'd be sipping pina coladas in Fiji. But deep down, I know the truth ...
 
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toddbishop

Platinum Member
I thought that was what the drum roll was invented for?

Gets you out of any disaster.

Actually, that's Bill Bruford's advice!
I believe he was paraphrasing a swing-era drummer- maybe Sid Catlett? I need to dig through my old Modern Drummers...

My friend Steve Pancerev, a great improviser, has a little variation on this: when in doubt, breathe.
 

bobdadruma

Platinum Member
I always refer to it as, "Avoiding Tying Myself Into a Knot!"

I go for something and I realize that it isn't going to happen, so I bail out with a double hit with one of my hands, or a cymbal smash, or something like that.
Anything that is in time to try and get out of tying my arms into a knot! LOL
 

LukeSnyder

Gold Member
Haha, well done! I think mistakes at the start of a section can often be spun as a dramatic pause. It can make you sound more sophisticated :) I'm a big one for repeating mistakes too. It helps the passage make musical sense to me. Otherwise the boo boo just sounds odd.

Matthias, I agree that sharp listeners will pick up mistake cover-ups but, when we err, all we can do is salvage what we can ... we can't expect a perfect solution. The main thing is to hide the blunders from the crowd haha. If I had a dollar for every time a band member, friend or a punter's said to me "I didn't hear anything wrong" I'd be sipping pina coladas in Fiji. But deep down, I know the truth ...
You want a dramatic pause that actually works? Check out this video ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btx2SDBkY3s
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
If I had a dollar for every time a band member, friend or a punter's said to me "I didn't hear anything wrong" I'd be sipping pina coladas in Fiji. But deep down, I know the truth ...
Yeah, sometimes I honestly think the audience must be deaf, dumb and blind!! :)
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
You want a dramatic pause that actually works? Check out this video ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btx2SDBkY3s
haha I had a feeling it was going to be that one, Luke :) I noticed that just before hitting him, after he'd been talking to you, you really stomped your kick drum when playing a crash ...


Yeah, sometimes I honestly think the audience must be deaf, dumb and blind!! :)

... or they're just trying to be nice.
All they notice from drummers is the general sound and vibe. If the general sound and feel is appropriate people will say it's good. If the drummer also has spot on timing and groove, then they say it's great. If the drummer ticks the above boxes and also plays flamboyant fills then the drummer is amazing. Travis!!! :)
 

brittc89

Pioneer Member
I really like the idea of having your ear "be in charge on the creative side" and using you internal time pulse to make that a reality. Thats when things like behind the beat on top of the beat swing straight all go out the window, its just music at that point. Your just becoming one with the ever passing time that we as humans are always facing, the fear of death can easily be called the fear of time. You can almost think of music as a constant dance with death, a realization and acceptance of mortality, an acknowledgement of the passage of time. And thats the internal time feel, time will always pass no matter what I play and if I can be a part of that bigger stream of consciousness I wont ever find myself in trouble because every moment is a musically clean slate. You cant stop forward momentum, potential energy, gravity and thats what propels music. The realization of the passage of time.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't play the type of music that I consider easy to get in trouble with. The only thing I could call trouble is if I try to execute a figure or fill and I miss it...then I just kinda play less notes and get through it however I can. Even when I mess up with my hands, my internal metronome doesn't usually suffer (luckily) and I just wait for the next grab-able beat to get back on the train. (hopefully the rest of the band can keep themselves in time for the half a second I'm away lol) If I have to stop momentarily, I do...and even though it feels like a really long time, it's not and goes by pretty smoothly. Covering one's missteps without being noticed is an advanced skill. I tend to play within my comfort zone, so it's usually not an issue.

I have another gig where I am house drummer for an open mic blues gig. Nothing is scripted, so that's a situation where it's easier to get into trouble than on a cover band gig, but it's still blues, and blues drumming is mainly about the groove and drive, 2 things that sound better with more space than notes.

Seems like Jazz/Fusion/Progressive are they types of music where you can get into big trouble. Rock and Blues, not so much. JMO.
 

Spectron

Silver Member
here is an example how how I got out of trouble in my otherwise best studio performance to date.

at 2:07 my stick hits the rim DOH!- anywhere else in the song and it would have been a disaster - but here it kind of worked and I flowed with it for a couple measures.

This performance here is a milestone for me in both my drumming and production.
Working with a click track really takes some getting used to and on this track to really line up with the feel of the rythm gtrs the drums had to have some swing...
Don't mean thing if ain't yeah yeah...

I know most of you here could nail this song first time but I struggled with it for about
7 days and today I got everything ready, tuned up nice mix in the phones and no warm up just took a deep breath - said a lil prayer and hit record.....

Somehow I was able to hit it from a fresh perspective and correct some things I didn't like in my previous attempts - like choking up on the hi hat quicker...hittng the cymbals less and less kick drum hits - and less fills and all added up to what I consider my best effort yet although slight timing issues in the beginning still bother me and that stick miss...oh well

One thing, I was so relaxed while I played and it made a huge difference.
 

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