Re: DRUM INSTRUCTION DVD & BOOK REVIEWS
John Blackwell: Technique, Grooving and Showmanship
# # 1/2 out of 5 stars
Great drummer, below average teacher
Cons: I bought this dvd with a series of other dvds when I was in an intense drumming craze. After viewing it for the first hour I searched for some drying paint for some excitement. Then six months later I picked it up again. And I put it back down. It isn't that John Blackwell isn't a great drummer, as stated above. No, it seems that the main problem with this dvd was its lack of focus, script writing, and overall vision. John Blackwell speaks horribly slow with long pauses. Everything he says seems completely unrehearsed and that is the same feel I get when watching this dvd. When I said the target audience was "all" it was because I couldn't find which target audience would benefit from this dvd least. Every once in a great long while he will show you something amazing that will help with your drumming but the intervals between are long and insufferable. Most of what you learn is simply by copying what he is doing through what visuals you have witnessed. There are no explanations. To illuminate, some quotes from John Blackwell:
On how to create a solo:
"I used to plan my solos... but it never came out the way I wanted it to come out... don't plan the moment, live the moment."
On how to practice:
"I go in and try to discover new things. Sometimes they come out... I screw up and stumble into something new." PERIOD
This is mostly because, as John Blackwell has stated, he has been playing drums since the age of 2. I don't remember how I started walking at that age and it is apparent that he doesn't remember anything from that age either. I would not consider this an instructional dvd as there is no instructions. This dvd isn't going to help you learn to play drums the way a dvd by Steve Smith, Erskine, or even Wreckl would.
Pros: I have to give credit from John Blackwell's extensive knowledge of drumming influences throughout the years. And that he always gives credit where credit is due. He seems like a humble gentleman and every approachable person. He is not arrogant; he is very down-to-earth. He loves what he does and you can see it.
I feel like this dvd will give you a close look into the personality of John Blackwell. It will make you a fan. I saw him on tv in some music show with Prince and was happy to recognize him. However, this isn't a good instructional dvd. On a different note, although the box says that the dvd is two complete disk, the second disks contents are listed as bonus material and is mostly live footage. I am probably going to keep my copy but never watch it again.