Originally Posted by Pollyanna
Pretty weird situation when a drummer of Danny Seraphine's calibre is deemed as less desirable than a drum machine! If it was Krautrock or techno, sure, but otherwise it's bizarre.
I laughed when I read "when you would see band members looking around at each other in bewilderment during a song, you know - that "deer in the headlights look" when someone is panicking because they aren't sure if they're on it or not".
It's a digression but I know that look so well! I'm a big believer in bluff when performing. Things go wrong at times and there's no point chucking a nellie over it.
Our bassist has the ability to look worried even when he's happy (you can see it on my live clips). I'll say "What's wrong?" to him when he looks pensive after a song and he'll say "nothing". I'll press him "Did you think anything was out?" and he'll say no. IMO when you're on stage, no matter how stinky things are sounding, if you look at someone for more than a moment it should have that "Yeah baybee - diggin' that!" vibe rather than, "Hmm, is this right?".
For some reason, audiences seem to find the former more inspiring.
Of course, a brief, furtive poisonous glance or laughing is fair enough when someone's being a klutz - that's just an automatic reaction :)
LOL - We had two main problems - our sound guy always kept my volume down (which caused me to pound harder with baseball bat sticks and crack many many cymbals), and we had the crappiest monitor system you could imagine. Then our lead guitarist would just take off on his own at times, realize it, and then look towards me with this panicked look. He would have to move close to my set to even hear the drums, but would ultimately correct himself. The rest of the band would be glaring at him with murderous looks. This was all caused by our sound guy, of course.
As for Danny, he did a pretty good job programming drum tracks on that album. Here is a good example:
Nowadays, that would be some nightmarish straight beat with cartoonish drum sounds that would drive one crazy with it's repetitiveness.
But for comparisons sakes, listen to this remake from their 1970 album Chicago II:
25 or 6 to 4 in 1986 with programmed drums (perfect timing):
25 or 6 to 4 in 1974 with manual drums (imperfect timing):
I picked up one spot at about the 3/4 mark of the 1974 recording where the tempo hit adrenalin overdrive. However, with all of it's imperfections, one has to ask one's self - is it really the listeners who don't accept that imperfections or was it just David Foster? What Frank Zappa was basically saying was that his (my) generation produced many self appointed "experts" in the music industry that were saying that to appeal to the young people you must do this or that, without exception. But did the audience really care, or will it ever care? The old system of putting everything out and seeing what takes versus the current system of having a jury of self proclaimed experts filter out what they say the public wants is essentially taking the decision away from the people, and could very likely be why the music industry is a trainwreck today.