First up, sorry Bob, for derailing but at least we're legitimising the thread in a drummer's forum :)
What can I say about nicotine addiction? I'm just a lost cause ...
Originally Posted by larryace
It doesn't defeat the purpose for me. I don't recommend it for anyone else though. I can still divorce my emotions when I play. (the very best thing for my playing I ever did) I redirect that energy that used to go to being overly emotional....to my higher listening powers. Now, instead of "getting in to it" I become ultra aware of the other players parts and how my own part is fitting inside the big picture. The Big Picture is where my attention is focused most always. Global awareness of the net result of everyone's playing. Being relaxed helps that happen for me. Playback doesn't lie. I eliminate everything that messes up the playback. Looking at, and listening to everyone else takes most of my brainpower, and my playing is very reactionary as a result. I can usually hear where people are headed with their solos and I make sure I am right with them, be it building up to a peak or gently caressing a passage.
I said it before but I think it's a good analogy. I liken drumming to a college class where you use the majority of your brainpower looking and listening to the professor (the music) while your hands are busy scribbling notes (playing drums). My vision is focused on whoever is singing, or soloing, or the bass player, definitely not my drumset, my emotions are neutral, and I am listening hard.
When I relate these attitudes, I am mainly speaking as a drummer in an improvised setting where nothing is scripted. Which happens a few times a month for me. In my cover band, where everyone plays the same parts night in and night out, I don't have to be ultra aware (listening-wise) because I know exactly what's coming. I still listen to the big sonic picture to make sure I'm not too loud, with the right energy and sonic balance...but once I am dialed in for the room, I can relax and just sit back, play drums and watch the festivities. I know where the solos are going already. Totally different situation from an improvised scenario IMO.
Thanks Larry. How long ago did you decide to pull back your emotions when playing? Was it purely the playbacks that prompted it?
Do you feel you lost any vibe by catering for the playback, given that playbacks tell you if you're in time but can't capture presence and vibe? I suspect not, since you're more in demand these days than before.