Originally Posted by billy ward
Hey Thomas - I'm just back from DrummerLive (and totally jet-lagged...been up for more hours than I can count) but thought I'd try to respond. First of all, thanks!
About the WFD - I tried to get in there to post some comments (this was perhaps two years ago or more) to try to explain (defend) that i thought that Ron Spagnardi was being unfairly attacked. simple as that.
He was simply saying that music matters the most. He was a great guy. We drummers owe Ron Spagnardi alot because of his pursuit of having a durmmer's magazine - the very first magazine dedicated to drummers. This must not be under-appreciated!!! Mod. Drmr was the first!
AS far as the WFD goes... I think excellence in ANYTHING is worth noting / enjoying / complimenting. OK? I'm down with that. Many of the drummers who participate in the WFD are noted-great technicians, yet I personally have never heard most of them play in a band/play music - so I can't really comment on them as musicians. Have you heard them play in a band? Would you mind recommending a record to me of their playing? I'd enjoy listening to it.
My perspective is:
I am a drummer that is out there doing gigs mostly - recording/touring...
stuff like that. Lately, I admit to receiving great joy from my teaching - whether it is articles in MD mag, or clinics or masterclasses. I'm feeling warm and fuzzy to speak with you and others who look in on this discussion! My perspective on the speed thing is that it is good to go for speed - who could argue otherwise? But eventually, once some facility is achieved, tone and music will matter more. As for me, I am personally comfy with my speed. If I were to measure my single stroke roll solely for speed (which is something that I haven't practiced with a focus on speed for more than thirty years..I'm looking for tone when I play a single stroke roll) I'd guess that I can do somewhere around 800 strokes per minute - give or take a hun. That's a guess and frankly, I have no idea whether that would be considered good or bad by the WFD. But I'm very content with what I can do speed - wise. It works for me. Somedays, I hit an obstacle with speed and I THEN try to get faster with whatever I think I need.
HOw about this? Maybe it would be cool for the WFD to expand out of the single stroke roll and, for instance, see who can play the Long Roll while accenting the second note. Open to closed and back to open. Who would sound best doing that? In fact.. how about a contest where the long roll with the accented second note has to happen on a loosely tuned flappy floor tom instead of a tightly tuned snare drum? I mean, THAT takes chops!!!! Just a crazy thought...
I honestly think it is great that the WFD is helping to keep sticks in the hands of drummers that might not otherwise be too interested in spending the time it takes to have some chops. If striving for speed makes that happen, I think that is wonderful. Like I said before, excellence in anything is a great thing. I remember trying to get faster with my 26 rudiments when I was a kid. But, regarding speed or tempo, I'm glad that Led Zep/the Beatles/Creme/Jimi Hendrix/the Who/Radiohead/Miles Daivs/James Brown/Styevie Wonder and a million other musicians were not ENTIRELY concerned with speed. I love their chosen tempos on those songs!
So hopefully this is clear (which my not be the case because I am so tired now and sleep deprived)
This seems to me to be an over-discussed topic. Should we start a campaign against Jim Keltner because he doesn't fill enough? Speed is simply one isolated aspect of drumming - one isolated aspect of MUSIC. I have no idea what moves this WFD discussion forward. it makes me think of Monty Python's Life Of Brian - where some are following the sandal..others the gourd... I figure I'm definitely NOt making sense anymore - so I'll sign off. This is more than I typed on my OWN website tonight!!! :D
best wishes. (and going to bed now)
Billy thanks for the reply, especially as tired a you were. Hope you got some rest. I agree with you and was hoping that was kinda the way you thought about WFD. Most people seemed to have gotten hung up on the word Speed and forgot that it is really all about technique.
Did you read the latest (sept issue) issue of MD going inside the WFD article? If so what did you think of it? Did you think it explained WFD and possibly cleared some misunderstandings?
Who are you playing with now? Still doing some stuff with Joan Osborne? I love your work with her. So tasty.
Thank you for taking the time to respond and hope you're feeling better.
ps. Also really enjoy your articles in MD.