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  #41  
Old 12-14-2010, 02:06 AM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

I always have a copy of the lyrics near me when learning a new tune. I make notes on the lyric sheet about drum cues i.e. "cymbal start, only kick, break, fill here, shhhh, LOUD, big finish etc". I may not memorize all the lyrics but I know the song backwards. If it's a song we have not played in a few weeks I take a peek at the cheat sheet and I don't screw it up. And I mouth words at times. Jam on.
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  #42  
Old 12-14-2010, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
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.
Well, in the metal scene, they have whole sub-genres that are defined pretty much just by the lyrics.

Viking metal, Pirate Metal, Fantasy Metal, is all pretty darn similar except for the lyrics.

Early extreme metal bands often set themselves apart from other metals bands by lyrical content (i.e. Canibal Corpse, and similar).

In a band like U2, the lyrics are everything.

John Lennon, sure he wrote an ton of amazing music, but it was his lyrics that made him so revered.
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  #43  
Old 12-14-2010, 05:58 AM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by TFITTING942 View Post
Peart is a good example and I would love to know his opinion an the subject.
Personally I don't think Moon played a 16th note fill versus an 8th note fill based on what Roger just sang. That just sounds silly.
If you watch the special about The Who making the Who's Next album, in one part, they solo Keith and Rodger, and show how all the drum fills are based around what Rodger is doing, and not what Pete and John are doing.

Keith, on rare occasions, contributed vocals and lyrical ideas to The Who as well. So he was aware of what was going on.
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  #44  
Old 12-14-2010, 07:02 AM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

I find they become rather ingrained, like when you watch a movie enough times you can tell what they're going to say.
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  #45  
Old 12-14-2010, 08:28 AM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Well, in the metal scene, they have whole sub-genres that are defined pretty much just by the lyrics.

Viking metal, Pirate Metal, Fantasy Metal, is all pretty darn similar except for the lyrics.

Early extreme metal bands often set themselves apart from other metals bands by lyrical content (i.e. Canibal Corpse, and similar).

In a band like U2, the lyrics are everything.

John Lennon, sure he wrote an ton of amazing music, but it was his lyrics that made him so revered.
You misunderstand. I wasn't implying in any way that lyrics aren't important in rock. I was saying that the way rock music is often written, the lyrics come after the music (chronologically, not in any other sense), which means the lyrics will tend to be inspired by the feel of the music.
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  #46  
Old 12-14-2010, 08:52 AM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
I wasn't implying in any way that lyrics aren't important in rock, just that the way rock music is often written (often, not always), the lyrics come after the music (chronologically, not in any other sense), so I'm guessing the lyrics will tend to be inspired by the feel of the music.
Sure. It seems that most of us have played songs with only a vague knowledge of the lyrics and no doubt played our parts to our bands' satisfaction.

In groove-based music it's usually no biggie ... yeah yeah, I love you blah blah ... I want your body blah ... let's get it on ... let's boogie all night long ... you done me wrong ... blahdy blahdy blahdy blah ... at times it feels more dignified not to know the words :)
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  #47  
Old 12-14-2010, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
If you watch the special about The Who making the Who's Next album, in one part, they solo Keith and Rodger, and show how all the drum fills are based around what Rodger is doing, and not what Pete and John are doing.

Keith, on rare occasions, contributed vocals and lyrical ideas to The Who as well. So he was aware of what was going on.
Ive seen it and he says it is around what Roger is doing, not what Roger is saying. big difference. A lot of lyrics are pointless drivel, does that mean the drum part should be the same? The mood of a song as a whole dictates the playing, not what the word are.
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  #48  
Old 12-14-2010, 04:20 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

I don't base my drum part on every lyric, there are many more "token" lyrics that don't spawn drum ideas... Oooh yea baby, that's what I like and so forth, but when the lyrics are such that, they inspire me to compliment them in some way, if I didn't know what they are, I couldn't do that. I can't see defending reasons to not understand the song content better. It's like me defending that rudiments aren't worth my time. Trying to justify why someone shouldn't need to know the lyrics is a losing battle to me. It's like saying, yes there's info that can possibly enhance my drum part, but I don't want to know what it is.
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  #49  
Old 12-14-2010, 04:45 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
Tell you what: When the singer learns my drum parts, I'll learn her lyrics ;-)

[/tongue in cheek]
I'd like to volunteer immediately to teach your singer your drum parts, slowly. Man, those double 28" kick drums are a streatch in a short skirt, lol!
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  #50  
Old 12-14-2010, 07:34 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by TFITTING942 View Post
Ive seen it and he says it is around what Roger is doing, not what Roger is saying. big difference. A lot of lyrics are pointless drivel, does that mean the drum part should be the same? The mood of a song as a whole dictates the playing, not what the word are.
But the mood inspires the lyrics, and the lyrics inspire the mood.

The Who lyrics pointless drivel? Hardly. Well, ok, a few songs.

Would Metallica have every gotten huge if all those thrash songs had Britney Spears lyrics? Would Britney spears have becomes s darling to 14 year old girls if she sang about death and destruction? Of course not. The words matter.

Can you play the drums without the lyrics? Of course. I don't disagree there. But, what's the point of being a band if you have no idea what the band stands for? Why would you go to rehearsals week after week, and our your sweat and blood into a band if you didn't understand what the singer was going to put over your work? Wouldn't you be offended if you put a ton of work into recording an album, and the singer paraphrased popular pop songs over them? Or sang about things you didn't believe in?

Some bands are made or lost over the lyrics. (Rush "Working Man" comes to mind, The Who and the story of Tommy also)

What comes first, music or the lyrics? Depends on the band honestly. Often, I find they go hand in hand, because at least a vague idea of lyrics are in mind when the music is written. But that's my experience. In Rush, they're often written completely separately, and then merged over time. I know singers who have books of lyrics looking for songs.
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  #51  
Old 12-14-2010, 07:37 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Unless I'm singing - which is rare - I'm not concerned with knowing the lyrics per se, any more than I'd need to know what key a song is in. But it is important for me to know where the lyrics are just so I don't step on them, and can cue off of them now and then.

But no, I've never mouthed lyrics or sung along with songs unless it was required.

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Kind of odd though, given your main gig's whole career was established and maintained mostly due to Al's lyrics.

After all, what mostly separates the parody versions from the originals is the lines sung (not to discount his other ideas).
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  #52  
Old 12-14-2010, 08:31 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
I'd like to volunteer immediately to teach your singer your drum parts, slowly. Man, those double 28" kick drums are a stretch in a short skirt, lol!
In the Victorian Era when I was half the woman I am today I was wearing a mini at a party with a lot of musos. There was a drum kit set up and I was the only drummer there. I had to borrow a towel from the hosts to maintain my reputation as a fine, upstanding woman of the world *cough cough*


Back to the thread, if you're playing covers then the original drummer will have probably already done the interpretation of the song's mood. At the extreme end, if you're covering Cosmic Debris then you'd have to pick up all the little accents and fills, if you're playing Superstition you'll be grooving along, and if you're in Weird Al's band you'd be checking out the original drummer's approach in detail.

A while ago our singer couldn't make band practice and I did "placeholder vocals". I had all the lyric sheets and I learned some things about the songs I didn't know about before, but none of it prompted me to change the way I played those songs. But we play a lot of songs about love lost/ found/ squandered/ renewed/ spoiled/ sold etc so there's just a generic mood - upbeat, melancholy, cheeky, intense, mellow etc.

Expressing songs on drums is like looking out through a bathroom window - you see the light, shade, approximate shapes and colours but not much detail.
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  #53  
Old 12-14-2010, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
But the mood inspires the lyrics, and the lyrics inspire the mood.

The Who lyrics pointless drivel? Hardly. Well, ok, a few songs.

Would Metallica have every gotten huge if all those thrash songs had Britney Spears lyrics? Would Britney spears have becomes s darling to 14 year old girls if she sang about death and destruction? Of course not. The words matter.

Can you play the drums without the lyrics? Of course. I don't disagree there. But, what's the point of being a band if you have no idea what the band stands for? Why would you go to rehearsals week after week, and our your sweat and blood into a band if you didn't understand what the singer was going to put over your work? Wouldn't you be offended if you put a ton of work into recording an album, and the singer paraphrased popular pop songs over them? Or sang about things you didn't believe in?

Some bands are made or lost over the lyrics. (Rush "Working Man" comes to mind, The Who and the story of Tommy also)

What comes first, music or the lyrics? Depends on the band honestly. Often, I find they go hand in hand, because at least a vague idea of lyrics are in mind when the music is written. But that's my experience. In Rush, they're often written completely separately, and then merged over time. I know singers who have books of lyrics looking for songs.
Im a Who fan from way back and they have a ton of crap songs. Who's Next...every song is great though. Britney is an example of my point. The studio guy playing that for her could have cared less about the lyrics. He was just playing what the producer said to play. No feel, no expression, nothing.
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  #54  
Old 12-14-2010, 10:29 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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Originally Posted by TFITTING942 View Post
Im a Who fan from way back and they have a ton of crap songs. Who's Next...every song is great though. Britney is an example of my point. The studio guy playing that for her could have cared less about the lyrics. He was just playing what the producer said to play. No feel, no expression, nothing.
But I already agreed to that. If you're a hired gun, getting paid, who cares. It's just a job.

I thought I made it quite clear I was referring to band members, who have a stake in the final product.
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  #55  
Old 12-14-2010, 10:34 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

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But I already agreed to that. If you're a hired gun, getting paid, who cares. It's just a job.

I thought I made it quite clear I was referring to band members, who have a stake in the final product.
Sorry about the misunderstanding. I shouldn't read the posts so fast. My bad.
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  #56  
Old 12-15-2010, 04:27 PM
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Default Re: Knowing your band's lyrics?

You know, it's not that I actively avoid knowing what lyrics are. I get a general sense of what they are, although as I've pointed out, not always. I once quit a band simply because the words were just terrible (to a song that I wrote the music for no less).

I've heard a lot of really inexcusably bad lyrics. Classic (rock) example:

"I'm hot blooded, check it and see/Got a fever burning inside of me... "

I'd rather not know those words. There are TONS of bands with equally stupid lyrics and I'm not excited about finding out about them. I've developed an aversion to knowing lyrics with many bands because I like the music so much that I don't want the words ruining it for me. For me, there's a huge separation between the music and the words that get put to them.

Eminem was a good example of that. His rhythms and phrasings were so amazing that I've often wished he were a drummer. Put on headphones and play along to him sometime - some of the best individual practice sessions I've had have come from trying to follow him around, but I HATE 85% of his lyrics.

A lot of lyrics are also really obscure to the point where, even if you know what the words are, the meaning still isn't clear. Kurt Cobain was a good example of this. Many lyricists to that on purpose because they don't like their art to be that explicit - idea being that they create a sense of something that you assign meaning to. Nevermind went multi-platinum with most people not knowing the words or their meaning. Wasn't that the basis for Weird Al's "Smells Like Nirvana"? But that song (actually, the band's entire catalog) resonated with a generation anyway.

Then there's Neil Peart who, despite being somewhat clever, usually comes off as too preachy and dogmatic to me and he's too explicit for my taste. Love his drumming, but his lyrics... not so much.

There are lots of songs where the lyrics really move me, but I don't seek them out; they find me (good or bad).

In my own bands, if the lyrics don't offend my artistic or moral sensibilities, I don't really care what they are as long as the human voice delivering them is doing something interesting and pleasing. And if the lyrics do seek me out and resonate with me on some other level, well, that's just icing on the cake.

Sorry if that disappoints anyone.

Last edited by MikeM; 12-15-2010 at 04:40 PM.
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