Re: Todd Sucherman here!
Hey Todd, I'm having a problem lately that I think you might have some great ideas on.
I've been playing traditional grip in rock and funk bands for about 10 years now (after playing matched for the first few years). I love everything about the feel of trad, especially playing laid-back, deep-pocket backbeats. My groove is so much fatter playing trad, I think mostly because the whole motion feels more "natural" for me. Though there's plenty of people out there to dispute that statement, it works for me and I just go with it.
What's bugged me forever is playing in what I would call the highest gear - triple forte, with huge arm motions and sticks over my head. In the past I've always switched to match during these moments, because I didn't have the technique to keep the volume or the feel up in trad.
Lately though, I've been able to hit those huge backbeats in trad grip, and still keep my feel solid and my dynamics consistent (my right hand doesn't dominate in fills and such). Problem is, it's destroying my thumb - whenever I play like this for more than 10 or 15 minutes, I get a nasty blister behind my knuckle where it connects with the stick, and I think it may even be affecting the bone (the pain goes deeper than just the surface of the skin).
I'm backing off practicing this for now, but I don't want to give up on it completely.
Now, this is something that I think you're amazing at - playing aggressively and powerfully with trad - so I'm wondering if you've ever gone through something like this, or if you have any tips I might try. Unfortunately for me, there's no one in my area that plays trad AND loud, so I can't work this one out with a teacher without travelling about 1000 kms.
I'd love to hear what you think, because I know it's technically possible, and something I should be able to do for most of my playing career (like, how does Vinnie still play so freakin' loud?)