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Old 01-16-2010, 12:56 AM
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boomstick boomstick is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 506
Default Re: Sorry guys i dislike terry bozzio.

This thread got me thinking a lot about the role of the kit drummer in popular music today.

The kit drummer is generally not a solo performer. Very few people would buy a CD or watch a show of just one drummer playing for an hour or two. We are really dependent on other instruments being played along with us. So, as I see it, our role must be evaluated primarily on how it fits into a band context. The kit drummer provides one component of a whole (the song), and how that component supports and enhances the overall song is of primary importance.

Now, I believe this presents somewhat of a conundrum for drummers like Bozzio whose abilities begin to exceed the limits of what works in a band context. Here's a guy whose abilities are pretty extraordinary, so much so that I think a band context can actually be constraining for him.

Take the first Missing Persons album, "Spring Session M." If you listen to the songs that were intended to be singles like "Destination Unknown," "Words," and "Walking in LA," you will notice the drumming is pretty simple and straightforward. Bozzio understood that such an approach was necessary for audience friendly/radio friendly tracks. But he's a guy that's not content to limit himself to that realm. So, other tracks on the album feature much more prominent drum parts with more complex rhythms and monstrous fills. Since I am a drummer, I love listening to them. But at the same time, I wonder at what point they become less a song and more of a showcase for Bozzio's drumming abilities.

Such an approach works better in a less conventional band, progressive or whatever one might call it. It's generally not my thing, but I do think it's admirable. It likely won't have as broad of an appeal a the simpler, pop sound, so I think such musicians are generally pursuing their art first and their commercial ambitions second. Bozzio has explored such genres with Zappa etc. But I think even those bands may have been somewhat constraining for him at times. I think his abilities and ambitions as a drummer eventually exceeded what was possible in a band context.

So, he decided to become a solo act, composing and performing entire "songs" on a drum kit, albeit a very large one. In doing so, he is really taking the drum kit into new and uncharted waters, pushing the limits of what's possible with a drum kit. I give him a huge amount of credit for this. He could have nearly any band gig he wants, but he chose to follow is own artistic path, even though it may have been less lucrative for him money-wise. He certainly had more commercial success with Missing Persons, for example.

But now, taking this back full circle, what about the drummer who enjoys a more radio-friendly, pop style of music? This is the kind of music I like, and it's the kind of music I want to play. But there's not much room for drumming virtuosity in this format. However, this does not mean I'm content with learning some basic abilities and putting on the cruise control. I still practice with enthusiasm, always wanting to improve my playing, even if it is fairly simple.

Well, I don't know if I've come to any real conclusions here. These are just some thoughts I had. But I do agree that the whole simple vs. complex argument is kind of pointless. I can probably draw inspiration from any pro-level drummer, even if their overall style isn't my cup of tea. Diversity in music is a good thing. What could be more boring than everyone doing the exact same thing?
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