DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM   

Go Back   DRUMMERWORLD OFFICIAL DISCUSSION FORUM > General Discussion

General Discussion General discussion forum for all drum related topics. Use this forum to exchange ideas and information with your fellow drummers.

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #1  
Old 11-28-2015, 07:46 PM
Scott K Fish's Avatar
Scott K Fish Scott K Fish is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 684
Default Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.
by Scott K Fish

This brief interview from the early 1980ís with legendary record producer and engineer, Jack Clement, is the verbatim transcript of a backgrounder interview for my Modern Drummer History of Rock Drumming series. It is published here for the first time.

One part of the Rock Drumming history was devoted to the influence country music has on rock music - with Sun Records having a major impact with records by Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and others.

My goal was to find out as much as possible about the drummers on those records, i.e. D.J. Fontana, J.M. Van Eaton, W.S. Holland. As Iíve said in my intros to other backgrounder interviews - there wasnít a great deal written about drummers at the time. Re-reading this and other transcripts I wish I had known much more than I did, and I wish I had asked better questions.

I was disappointed Mr. Clement hadnít more stores about Sun drummers and recording sessions. No doubt if I had better questions, Clement would have provided the answers.

Still, I was, and am, grateful for Mr. Clementís several interesting insights on recording drums, recording music in general, and recording studios.

Final Note: There is some language here readers may find offensive.

=====


Jack Clement

JC: See, the recording studio is the worst place in the world to make a record. Right now. All recording studios are just wrong. Right now.

SKF: Why is that?

JC: Well, hell. They're not musical. First of all, recording studios sound different than any other room you make music in. Right?

SKF: Right.

JC: Well? There's your answer right there! I mean, you gotta remember that the room you're in is really part of the musical instrument. So you got to bounce it off, bank it off the walls a few times there, you know? Then into the mic.

Well, if everything hits a dead wall -- nothing comes back. Don't sound right to the ear. The guy that's playing. If it don't sound right to him, ain't no way he's gonna play it really right. That is, up to his particular speed.


Scott K Fish Blog: Life Beyond the Cymbals Click Here to Read the Full Jack Clement Interview
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 11-28-2015, 10:54 PM
Hollywood Jim's Avatar
Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 3,903
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

I like Jack's attitude on the tempo issue.
It is just the opposite of what the title of this thread implies.

Thanks for posting this.

.
__________________
"To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable." - Beethoven
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 11-28-2015, 11:22 PM
Scott K Fish's Avatar
Scott K Fish Scott K Fish is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 684
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

Hollywood Jim -

How are you figuring the title of my post suggests the opposite of Jack Clement's idea on drummers and tempo in the studio?

I disagree completely.

Thank you.

Best,
skf
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 11-29-2015, 01:41 AM
Matt Bo Eder
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

I got was Jack was talking about. I'm cool with it. The band has to be in control, and if someone went somewhere, it would sound like a mistake if everybody else didn't go. I learned to do the same thing with a lot of the show bands I've played in, time was elastic and we stayed together. If I put my foot down and said "no", then I sound like an a$$-hole ;)

We need more Jack Clements out there.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 11-29-2015, 05:19 AM
Hollywood Jim's Avatar
Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 3,903
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott K Fish View Post
Hollywood Jim -

How are you figuring the title of my post suggests the opposite of Jack Clement's idea on drummers and tempo in the studio? I disagree completely.
Thank you.
Best,
skf

Well, when I first read the title of the thread “Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.” it sounded to me like perhaps Jack Clement was saying that drummers should not be relied on to hold the tempo straight. For instance he felt he could not depend on the drummer to keep a solid consistent tempo. As though Jack was the kind of guy who would always use a click track for recording the band. In other words, "Letting Drummers Control the Tempo is B.S.". That is how I was reading it.

Turns out Jack was saying just the opposite; that drummers usually try and hold the tempo too steady. And that the song tempo needs to move a little, as the other musicians in the band see fit. Sounds like he had no use for drummers who always tried to hold a very consistent tempo. I think he felt that a songs need to breathe and flow with the feeling of the band.


.
__________________
"To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable." - Beethoven
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 11-29-2015, 05:36 AM
alparrott's Avatar
alparrott alparrott is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Wenatchee, WA
Posts: 6,603
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

I agree with Jack to some extent. Then I think of some of the live recordings of Elvis doing "Suspicious Minds"... and I think, sometimes letting the band (including the vocalist) do their thing tempo-wise isn't always a great idea... Just saying.
__________________
Al Parrott
"Jus suum cuique"
-------------------------------------------------------
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 11-29-2015, 05:41 AM
Hollywood Jim's Avatar
Hollywood Jim Hollywood Jim is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Posts: 3,903
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
I think, sometimes letting the band (including the vocalist) do their thing tempo-wise isn't always a great idea... Just saying.
I agree. But it is nice to hear about a record producer with an open mind.
So many of them today are stuck on having every song played to a click track.


.
__________________
"To play a wrong note is insignificant. To play without passion is inexcusable." - Beethoven
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 11-29-2015, 06:02 AM
alparrott's Avatar
alparrott alparrott is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Wenatchee, WA
Posts: 6,603
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hollywood Jim View Post
I agree. But it is nice to hear about a record producer with an open mind.
So many of them today are stuck on having every song played to a click track.


.
I agree with you there. A lot of the seminal recordings that formed the basis for modern rock and pop music was done off click. And normally the band as a unit determined where that feel was. It wasn't all up to the drummer.

Before pop got into the studio, nobody seemed to hang timekeeping on the drummer. It was everyone's job. Certainly nobody in the orchestra or the marching band or the string quartet expects timekeeping to devolve to one person.
__________________
Al Parrott
"Jus suum cuique"
-------------------------------------------------------
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 11-29-2015, 06:37 AM
ZLeyba ZLeyba is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Albuquerque, NM
Posts: 144
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

while i totally agree with the sentiment, i would like to interject a few points:

Some records do sound too sterile, but sometimes sterility is effect unto itself which brings me to my next point.

Music with super tight, unwavering time can have many interesting effects on the listener. For example in electronic music and krautrock the repetitive and strict rhythm kind of has this constant wave effect that can be mesmerizing and pull the listener into a sort of trance. In other styles like punk and metal it can serve to impose a sort of weight, or heaviness that truly adds to the character and power of the music.

I don't get this whole "Subjective musicality" stuff because I think the intent of the songwriter and performer supersedes any notion that we can all agree on what is genuinely "musical".
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 11-29-2015, 06:59 AM
Anon La Ply's Avatar
Anon La Ply Anon La Ply is offline
Renegade
 
Join Date: May 2012
Location: Cyberspace
Posts: 5,512
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Bo Eder View Post
I got was Jack was talking about. I'm cool with it. The band has to be in control, and if someone went somewhere, it would sound like a mistake if everybody else didn't go. I learned to do the same thing with a lot of the show bands I've played in, time was elastic and we stayed together. If I put my foot down and said "no", then I sound like an a$$-hole ;)

We need more Jack Clements out there.
I agree. I dislike the sound of trying to hold back speedy players, it makes you sound lifeless and dragging. I liked Monk's advice "make the drummer sound good" :). Seriously, though, it's widely accepted that if the drums are happening then there's a good chance the band is happening, and vice versa. So it makes sense to help the drums sound good!

I like the lo tech sound and approach but it's very out of fashion now. I find that the ears of young listeners find the raw sound of old records unsatisfying. Maybe in the same way we felt about the lack of clarity of old 78s when we were young? (well, I felt that way when I was young, anyway).

Or maybe rawness is more appreciated by older people of any generation? Young people tend to be focused on mastery, which often involves trying to sound less raw.
__________________
Soundcloud
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 11-29-2015, 08:06 AM
Matt Bo Eder
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
I agree. I dislike the sound of trying to hold back speedy players, it makes you sound lifeless and dragging. I liked Monk's advice "make the drummer sound good" :). Seriously, though, it's widely accepted that if the drums are happening then there's a good chance the band is happening, and vice versa. So it makes sense to help the drums sound good!

I like the lo tech sound and approach but it's very out of fashion now. I find that the ears of young listeners find the raw sound of old records unsatisfying. Maybe in the same way we felt about the lack of clarity of old 78s when we were young? (well, I felt that way when I was young, anyway).

Or maybe rawness is more appreciated by older people of any generation? Young people tend to be focused on mastery, which often involves trying to sound less raw.
That can't be all true. Face it, we all dug those sounds Steve Gadd was getting in the 70s - that dull, thuddy sound. So I don't think our generation was part of the lo-fi generation, either. I think as people grow older, and we're moorland more exposed to what the actual instrument sounds like, pre-studio-treatments, that's what we want to hear. It's our way of knowing that somebody can actually play ;)
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 11-29-2015, 02:15 PM
Scott K Fish's Avatar
Scott K Fish Scott K Fish is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Maine, USA
Posts: 684
Default Re: Jack Clement: Letting Drummers Have the Tempo is B.S.

Hollywood Jim -

Thank you for your reply to my question. We're in sync.

I think all musician's should know how to keep good time. Tony Williams once said -- paraphrasing -- a musician who can't keep time, who has to rely on the drummer to know where he is in songs, should not be on the bandstand.

Sometimes I like music with strict adherence to click tracks. Mostly I enjoy music where the time ebbs and flows a little bit.

Best,
skf
Reply With Quote
Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are Off
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off




All times are GMT +2. The time now is 02:47 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Bernhard Castiglioni's DRUMMERWORLD.com