Thread: John Bonham
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:22 AM
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theduke86 theduke86 is offline
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Default Re: John Bonham

Man, you Bohnam-ites need to chill. John Bohnam is my favorite rock drummer and in my top ten drummers of all time. That being said, his chops are not insurmountable. Most of his stuff is pretty basic conceptually. He pulls his right foot stuff off cleanly and extremely effectively, and all in a great pocket- I love his drumming. For pure chops, many, many drummers have bested Bonzo. At that time, for example, Tony Williams could probably double his right foot (let's not even talk about the left foot) dexterity. Does that make John Bohnam worse? No way! He's a legendary drummer! His work stands alone despite that people have done better.
What I love about him is his groove- he's got one of the best pockets I can think about.
It has been stated earlier in this thread that John Bohnam cannot be analyzed because there are way too many secrets in his drumming. Not so. I've heard some drummers do an awesome John Bohnam impression. I don't think there is any drummer that is stylistically untouchable, except Elvin Jones. I've heard two drummers do a good Elvin impression. Roy Haynes and Ian Froman (who's a teacher out at berklee- incredible player and teacher) could both cop that vibe well- but not exactly like Elvin.
Bonzo has been copped many times. He's such an influence, I can't even begin to name some of the drummers. I'll start. Jeff Porcaro, Carlos Vega, Abe Laboriel Jr. , Josh Freese, Simon Phillips and MANY others could do a Bonzo impression very closely. I've never heard them do an intentional Bonzo impression, but I'm positive they could if they wanted. Nearly EVERY good rock drummer in the world today has gone through a John Bohnam worship stage. Every good drummer been checked out and analyzed. Actually, John Bohnam's been analyzed more than any drummer except possibly Steve Gadd or Tony Williams. If you transcribe and listen to enough of a player, you can sound very close to him after a while. If you are dedicated, have the help of a teacher if you need it and if you go through and transcribe the player's body of work in a logical order, and study his influences, you WILL end up sounding like him.
You want to sound like Vinnie? Go through the Gary Chaffee books, get great drum-corps hands, transcribe a ton of Tony Williams and Alphonze Mouzon, then get the new Randy Waldman book that'll give you Vinnie exercises and transcriptions. Then go and transcribe all the Zappa, Sting and Karizma stuff. Then, go develop ADD. Then you'll probably sound a lot like Vinnie and people will love you. Five years and thousands of hours of practice later.I can go through a few drummers like this- Tony Williams, Dennis Chambers, Weckl, and so on- I can even go through horn players like this. Want to know how Chris Potter got as good as he did? Go transcribe John Coltrane, Sonny Stitt, Wayne Shorter and Michael Brecker. And so on.
You want to be John Bonham? Get a nasty right foot, learn your rudiments, learn to play blues and old school rock extremely well, then transcribe all the beats and fills you like from his performances.
None of these guys, except for Buddy Rich or Elvin Jones is untouchable. Buddy because he's a chops virtuoso and Elvin for his concept of time. You can analyze Elvin's solos easily enough- it's his time playing that gets me. Likewise, given very hard study for an endured period of time, you can learn to play exactly like John Bohnam.
M. Andrew Dyrda
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