Originally Posted by finnhiggins
There's a couple of quite arguable points in there. I don't think that Virgil is the one pushing the envelope, or rather - I don't think he's pushing the right envelope. To my ears, he is to the great, genre-defining drummers of the past (or even present) what a modern-day mountain climber is to somebody like Captain Cook. In one fairly small area he's managing to do a lot of extremely detailed exploration which must be quite rewarding both for him personally and for other people deeply immersed in the highly specialised area of, say, double kick technique. But when it comes to actually expanding the world of drumming in a useful way... he's not doing it for me.
I actually do think there are "groove players" out there who are expanding drumming much more than he is, I'd offer Matt Chamberlain as an example. He's taking everything that used to look like a threat to expressive drummers - loops, drum machines, studio-perfect timing and dynamics - and turning it into a weapon he can use to make himself even more awesome. Plus he has great chops, even if he's not a Donati-esque soloist. So no, I don't have to understand that the "Groove guys" are sitting still while Donati rages ahead into the future - I think you're wrong. From my perspective he's more of an Yngwie Malmsteen - popular for a while, but it'll fade once enough people realise that what he's doing just not really musically applicable in any style. Or at least, not applicable without turning the music itself into a house for virtuosic show-off playing that doesn't appeal to anybody other than a rapidly shrinking crowd of chop-heads, very few of whom are attractive or female.
I don't like his stuff. But seriously - it's not to do with his technique. I don't have anything much against Thomas Lang or Grant Collins, or indeed Vinnie Colaiuta, Buddy Rich, Nat Townsley or any others amoung the millions of drummers I can't keep up with in terms of chops. I just have a serious dislike of what he does as a musician, and that's been true since I first saw one of his videos back in the 1990s.
And hell yes, I'm envious - I would love to have his chops. But that doesn't discredit my points - I would also love to have Matt Chamberlain's chops, yet you don't see me up in arms about the guy. Ditto virtually any of the other guys with a page on Drummerworld. If you want to make an analogy to Vinnie, where's Donati's "Ten Summoner's Tales"? Or, indeed, his "Joe's Garage"?