Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum
How can you write the perfect drum part for the song if you don't know the song?
I'm with Larry, I'm a little disappointed in the general attitude about the lyrics shown. I always assumed my fellow drummers were more interested in what they were doing, and not filling in the stereotype that we just play beats and fills and go home.
Perhaps I'm biased. I was a Rush fan before I took up drums, so I was aware Neil wrote lyrics from an early age. So I have always tended to tie lyrics and drums together. Even in bands where the drummer doesn't write lyrics, I can't imagine Larry Mullen Jr, Steve Smith, or Keith Moon coming up with the great parts they did in their respective bands without being aware of what the song was saying.
I guess I've never viewed the lyrics as integral to writing a drum part, and I don't really know how my drum parts in a song would change based on its lyrical content... I obviously try to find the best grooves, fills and flourishes that will compliment the melodies and riffs, but I must admit I never factor the lyrics into this.
It might be a genre thing though, or even a band thing. In my band, the music is written first (which is, as far as I know, the most common way to write rock songs). This usually means that the vocal melodies and lyrics will already be written to fit the riffs, chords and general feel of the music. Over time, the song will be rehearsed and evolve into its final form, which usually results in everything really fitting into place with everything else. Lyrics, vocal melodies, phrasing, fills, grooves, riffs, etc.
Maybe you're right though; maybe I should pay more attention to the lyrics. I do know most of the lyrics to most of our songs, but I'll admit that I generally only learn them because I've heard them so often, and this means that I'll generally have a drum part down before I ever learn the lyrics.