Re: rods for lower volume?
Musicians have to adapt to the style of music. A "one approach fits all" is bound to bite back sometime. Most drummers have to walk through that door at some point on the journey.
For me it was a security issue. I thought if I was not giving all I had, like all the time, I wasn't doing my best. Lol. That is just wrong on so many levels. It's not about me, it's about the song. I just wasn't comfortable with time or space or headroom yet. I would feel ill at ease playing simply. It's boring right? NO, IT'S NOT!
If it's boring, you're doing something wrong. You are not feeling it deeply enough. Not you personally, you know what I mean, speaking to everyone. Playing softer... more accurately blending, and playing straight ahead with no lone drummer detours..., generally speaking, that is what works in blues. 99 percent beats, 1% fills, only when necessary. Support your singers and soloists, they need you to provide a somewhat predictable framework so they can weave in and out of it. You don't want to get "creative" with the pulse lol. You do listen to the soloists and comp by playing to their spaces a little, that's where your creativity comes in, how well you hear what the soloists are doing so you can predict where they are going so you can help them get there. You will be very much in demand if you do that.
You also shine on the transitions, endings, and especially dynamic buildups/dropdowns, and really, just keeping an unwavering pulse. The beats can be rich and chock full of nuance, but don't do a fill unless the song really has to have one there. Harder than you think, straightening out your thinking. Not your thinking, you understand lol.
So it's pretty much the polar opposite of what you are accustomed to. In Blues, you never want to be the loudest guy on the stage. People playing blues need to understand that playing less and playing underneath the singer and slightly under the soloist volume-wise....sounds friggin phenomenal. So you get to sound great and physically work less hard. I for one was not comfortable with that when I started playing Blues, as I came more from a rock background. But once you understand what the music requires, then you really start to understand the beauty of simplicity.
If you haven't recorded yourself you should. In Blues, if you start out like me being a really hard hitter and trying to impress, you get better by subtraction not addition. It's backwards. But it's the truth.
This is one subject that's close to my heart, I'm just sharing how I had to do a similar thing that you are going through now, I'm trying not to be preachy about it. Probably not doing so well lol.
Great art is born out of great pain.
Last edited by larryace; 12-12-2013 at 08:33 PM.