Thread: John Bonham
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Old 08-07-2005, 10:56 PM
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: london
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Default Re: John Bonham (Bonzo)

it is a mistake to use the words 'not' and 'skilled' in a sentence about john henry bonham. it reveals a lot about your ears and approach to drumming and nothing about the truth. john bonham is above negative comment here please.

like ringo and to some extent charlie...
don't bash bonzo.

no way, no how.

i have avoided describing my love for the guy but here goes:

John henry bonham.

probably the greatest rock drummer in history. his sound and approach are often shadowed by the sheer intensity of his choices. each song is a gem of drumming. you can listen to them over and over again and eventually you see how this genious drove the band...chose the unobvious and subtley made it obvious. everybody cites the moby dick, whole lotta love, levi breaks examples. but i have the complete boxed set and let me tell you there are those rarer songs where you see what an enormously creative guy he was.
listen to:

fool in the rain - one of the most beautiful purdy shuffles (better that roseanna IMO) that hi hat accent is perfectly placed and a bastard to mimick.

gallows pole - drumming only at the end of the song is an exciting blue grass (or is it motown?) that comes in on the off and then shifts back and forth like breathing.

stairway to heaven - also only near the end of the song some beautiful open grooving so orchestrated that no 30 seconds is the same. the figure he throws in at the end of that solo illuded me for years.

dazed and confused - the song that taught me blues drumming and also alerted me to the usefulness of triplets, starting huge fills in very odd places and riding on a crash cymbal.

good time bad times - the first song on the first record and look at how bonzo introduces himself to the world. a drummer's song. the broken one footed triplets, the power. the choice of groove.

black dog - did kieth moon ever do something so un-obvious? bonzo starts each phrase so off it is like a hiccup. then he releases the tension the third time around and goes on his ride. and then there those thunder crack like fills near the end of the song.

rock n' roll - a song with a hook of a start. and an ending that blisters the ear with enviable hand speed. best to watch it on disc two of the DVD. when robert plant grins and looks around at the end of the song it is becuase he knew his mate was about to do something awesome on a drum kit...

bonzo's montreaux - a more musical solo than moby dick. an everest for single bass-drum drummers to climb for sure.

four sticks - can anyone actually play this song? i heard even bonzo avoided it after he got it down on tape. its a monster.

heartbreaker - listen to the bass drum work in the fill at 2:00. wha? unfortunately badly recorded but listen carefully to how much is there.

celebration day - at 1:52 bonzo shows some masterful snare flams at incredible speed. the man was a master at rudiments.

rain song - for bonzos beautiful brushwork. a dynamics genious not just a basher. he uses brushes for the whole song even the parts where it sounds like sticks.

lemon song - beautiful gong start but LISTEN TO THE FILLS BETWEEN 5:13 AND 5:27 ... IF YOU ARE NOT YET A CONVINCED BONZO FAN, YOU WILL BE!!! According to the legend this was all done in one take and BEFORE 1970!

over the hills and far away - hi-hat foot work is exceptional. he holds it open for an unusual amount of time. and there in comes the groove. in this song his bass drum sound is wonderful. this is what i want my bassdrum to sound like. at 3:10ish you even hear his speedking squeak.

living loving maid - what a cool beat! i love the way the whole groove changes at 00:20, 00:54 and 1:27. this is a cool snare sound.

the crunge - odd times. 9/8 this is a terrible beat to try and copy.


the ocean - 17/8 (we've done for already but now we're steady and thyen they went one...two...three...four... what a count in.)

poor tom - i love this snare work and that bass drum punches it out undeniably. perfect control almost as if he looped it.

i could go on

and on...

he's my hero.
what can i say.

i don't model my drumming on bonzo (well not much). i model my creativity on him. when confronting a new song i think how bonzo would do it. i like to imagine he is watching me and that usually makes me kick up my drumming a notch.


Last edited by NUTHA JASON; 08-07-2005 at 11:52 PM.
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