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  #1  
Old 11-29-2010, 02:41 PM
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Default The art of getting out of trouble

Today Wavelength posted a great Billy Ward clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teR_A12OIiA

He was saying that he practices getting out of trouble and how it's useful because he's in trouble all the time. I sooo related to that ...though he looked pretty damn in control in the clip to me)

Back in some bygone era (when dinosaurs wore short pants) I was complaining about my regular stuff ups to a guitarist in an old band I was in. He said it was okay because I was good at getting out of trouble. That's the only other time I've heard anyone talk about it before.

I guess it's almost like a dirty little secret because we all like to appear as though we're in control. That's why people watch us play. Any tips or thoughts?

Edit: Oops, this belongs in Technique. Sorry Bernhard/DB
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:33 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

I am always aware of the downbeat so I look for that. It is sort of an unconscious thing for me now (lots of years messing up).

GJS
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:39 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

Yeah, I'm doing this all the time. One way for me to get out of trouble is to play the mistake again (and maybe again as the song calls for it). I think an important part of this is to be able to hear and remember what you're doing, so you can recreate it. A perfect example of this is in a song on my band's myspace (cough, "My Playing", cough) , "PCs in the BCs". At the time of recording, the song was extremely new. So, I thought it was going back to a quiet part where I lay out, but it was actually going into a kind of solo section. So, solo starts, and I'm not playing anyhting. So I just pretended it was a dramatic pause, hit a loud crash a measusre into it, paused again, crash again, pause again, crash again. Total mistake, but the cover-up sounded so good to me that that's how I'm playing it nowadays....

I think that another important thing in a band context is to have good eye contact/body language. That way, if theres a collective trainwreck for some crazy reason, people can look at each other and kind of do "big motions" and get back into it quickly using visual ques/musician esp. Another fun thing to do is if a bandmate messes up individually, to look at them and make like it was the gratest/most planned out there thing you've ever heard. I'll give a big smile and nod of my head, kind of going "oh yeah!" with my body language if that makes sense.
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:55 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

I saw a Victor Wooten video where he was talking about how on the bass you are always a half step (1 fret) away from being in the right key.

I've related that to drums in the sense that you are always 1 beat away from being in/on time.

Applies best in 4/4 time - if I find myself off, I just add or subtract 1 beat to whatever I'm doing and it should put me back in place.

Good vid!
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Old 11-29-2010, 03:59 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

....


All the spine tingling happens when you walk on the edge of a cliff.
And if if you walk there all the time, there is bound to be an accident sooner or later.. maybe thats why we humans inexplicably slow down near traffic accidents... it is morbid, riveting stuff.

Now, I'm not talking about the kind of music that needs to be played the same night after night, but more about the jazz/improv/solo space. For me its always the guys who push the limits that excite. Like Ward says the art of recovery is crucial skill to these players. To be able to whip around and grab a shrub and pull yourself over.

I find that limb independence, being able to accent any basic rudiments with either hand, and the ability to play hand/foot combinations, are great life saving skills on stage.

In the context of drumming, despite all the talk about control, tightness and underplaying being touted as great virtues there is another fearless, play-in-the-moment side without which we wouldn't have had players like Buddy Rich and Elvin Jones.

Man, I would have loved to have one of these two tell us how they got out of trouble and I'll bet they got into it all the time.... not that anybody other than themselves would ever know..

....
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Old 11-29-2010, 05:07 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

I thought that was what the drum roll was invented for?

Gets you out of any disaster.

Actually, that's Bill Bruford's advice!

Davo
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Old 11-29-2010, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

I just get up and walk away ;)
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Old 11-29-2010, 09:16 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

In my guitar playing days, a drummer buddy said that I "played wrong notes better than anybody he knew". Somehow, I knew I was in trouble, but managed to get out of it often enough that folks would come up and give me protracted theoretical analysis of the jazz thing that I'd done. Sorry, I was just trying to get clever and mucked it up. I don't know enough to do that on purpose.

On drums, I tend to look at fills as I would phrasing a lick on guitar. Instead of subdividing and counting out each stroke in the measure. That way, if I find that I've gotten off, I can just leave off a note or add an extra note to make it come out right. Double strokes are a neat way to change something at the last minute to reverse the sticking or fill in a missing space. Worst case, you can do two crashes (and-one) or if you find yourself swinging at a drum with the one coming up, I always loved how Garibaldi would crash on the And after the one. Just smack that last drum for an accent on the one and then come up on a crash (One-and) and get back on track realizing where you are.

Sometimes, when the zone is just flowing, I'll deliberately do something wrong, just to invent a way out of it. On those magical days when things are going right, you are in that one half step away from right note space.

Vic Wooten talks more about this in his book The Music Lesson. If someone is thinking of only one right note to play (the one they intended) or a basic fundamental note like the I, III, or V, then landing in the wrong place leaves them lost. Where was that "right" note? But if they let go of there only being one right note, then they are only one half step (one fret on a bass or guitar) from something that is in the key of the song (or chord center at the moment). And often that "wrong" note is just a "blue note" or passing tone to some diatonic resolution.

With time (as opposed to notational value as in percussion instruments) that hit in the "wrong" place may also be part of a triplet, 5 over 4 or some other advanced polyrhythmic concept. So there really are no such things as "wrong". You simply have to resolve them in some manner that gets back to the song. That takes keeping your internal clock going so that you can come back to where everyone else is. Or trusting that your band hasn't followed you, finding and rejoining them. Then it's just "Wow! What was that Dennis Chambers lick you did in there?" ;^)
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Old 11-29-2010, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

As a one trick pony rock drummer, I've never been in a situation that two with the left hand hasn't been able to get me out of. If I ever start playing some improv jazz or the like, I'm sure it'll be a different stroy.
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  #10  
Old 11-29-2010, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by jer View Post
I saw a Victor Wooten video where he was talking about how on the bass you are always a half step (1 fret) away from being in the right key.

I've related that to drums in the sense that you are always 1 beat away from being in/on time.

Applies best in 4/4 time - if I find myself off, I just add or subtract 1 beat to whatever I'm doing and it should put me back in place.

Good vid!
Yes, but those half steps away are often the worst IMO. I'm not really into that philosophy actually.

And in relation to drums: I think it depends whether it's a fill/impro/free part or a groove. If a stroke is out of place in a groove context, the groove gets disrupted, period. If it's a fill etc, well maaaaybe one could hear it in a new place. But I think good ears will find out in most situations, if it was a "mistake" or intention.
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Old 11-29-2010, 11:38 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by VedranS View Post
Yeah, I'm doing this all the time. One way for me to get out of trouble is to play the mistake again (and maybe again as the song calls for it). I think an important part of this is to be able to hear and remember what you're doing, so you can recreate it. A perfect example of this is in a song on my band's myspace (cough, "My Playing", cough) , "PCs in the BCs". At the time of recording, the song was extremely new. So, I thought it was going back to a quiet part where I lay out, but it was actually going into a kind of solo section. So, solo starts, and I'm not playing anyhting. So I just pretended it was a dramatic pause, hit a loud crash a measusre into it, paused again, crash again, pause again, crash again. Total mistake, but the cover-up sounded so good to me that that's how I'm playing it nowadays....
Haha, well done! I think mistakes at the start of a section can often be spun as a dramatic pause. It can make you sound more sophisticated :) I'm a big one for repeating mistakes too. It helps the passage make musical sense to me. Otherwise the boo boo just sounds odd.

Matthias, I agree that sharp listeners will pick up mistake cover-ups but, when we err, all we can do is salvage what we can ... we can't expect a perfect solution. The main thing is to hide the blunders from the crowd haha. If I had a dollar for every time a band member, friend or a punter's said to me "I didn't hear anything wrong" I'd be sipping pina coladas in Fiji. But deep down, I know the truth ...
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  #12  
Old 11-30-2010, 12:40 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

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Originally Posted by Davo-London View Post
I thought that was what the drum roll was invented for?

Gets you out of any disaster.

Actually, that's Bill Bruford's advice!
I believe he was paraphrasing a swing-era drummer- maybe Sid Catlett? I need to dig through my old Modern Drummers...

My friend Steve Pancerev, a great improviser, has a little variation on this: when in doubt, breathe.
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  #13  
Old 11-30-2010, 12:44 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

I always refer to it as, "Avoiding Tying Myself Into a Knot!"

I go for something and I realize that it isn't going to happen, so I bail out with a double hit with one of my hands, or a cymbal smash, or something like that.
Anything that is in time to try and get out of tying my arms into a knot! LOL
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  #14  
Old 11-30-2010, 12:47 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
Haha, well done! I think mistakes at the start of a section can often be spun as a dramatic pause. It can make you sound more sophisticated :) I'm a big one for repeating mistakes too. It helps the passage make musical sense to me. Otherwise the boo boo just sounds odd.

Matthias, I agree that sharp listeners will pick up mistake cover-ups but, when we err, all we can do is salvage what we can ... we can't expect a perfect solution. The main thing is to hide the blunders from the crowd haha. If I had a dollar for every time a band member, friend or a punter's said to me "I didn't hear anything wrong" I'd be sipping pina coladas in Fiji. But deep down, I know the truth ...
You want a dramatic pause that actually works? Check out this video ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btx2SDBkY3s
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

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If I had a dollar for every time a band member, friend or a punter's said to me "I didn't hear anything wrong" I'd be sipping pina coladas in Fiji. But deep down, I know the truth ...
Yeah, sometimes I honestly think the audience must be deaf, dumb and blind!! :)
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Old 11-30-2010, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

... or they're just trying to be nice.
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  #17  
Old 11-30-2010, 09:51 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

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Originally Posted by LukeSnyder View Post
You want a dramatic pause that actually works? Check out this video ;) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btx2SDBkY3s
haha I had a feeling it was going to be that one, Luke :) I noticed that just before hitting him, after he'd been talking to you, you really stomped your kick drum when playing a crash ...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Swiss Matthias View Post
Yeah, sometimes I honestly think the audience must be deaf, dumb and blind!! :)

... or they're just trying to be nice.
All they notice from drummers is the general sound and vibe. If the general sound and feel is appropriate people will say it's good. If the drummer also has spot on timing and groove, then they say it's great. If the drummer ticks the above boxes and also plays flamboyant fills then the drummer is amazing. Travis!!! :)
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Old 11-30-2010, 07:43 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

I really like the idea of having your ear "be in charge on the creative side" and using you internal time pulse to make that a reality. Thats when things like behind the beat on top of the beat swing straight all go out the window, its just music at that point. Your just becoming one with the ever passing time that we as humans are always facing, the fear of death can easily be called the fear of time. You can almost think of music as a constant dance with death, a realization and acceptance of mortality, an acknowledgement of the passage of time. And thats the internal time feel, time will always pass no matter what I play and if I can be a part of that bigger stream of consciousness I wont ever find myself in trouble because every moment is a musically clean slate. You cant stop forward momentum, potential energy, gravity and thats what propels music. The realization of the passage of time.
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  #19  
Old 11-30-2010, 08:18 PM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

I don't play the type of music that I consider easy to get in trouble with. The only thing I could call trouble is if I try to execute a figure or fill and I miss it...then I just kinda play less notes and get through it however I can. Even when I mess up with my hands, my internal metronome doesn't usually suffer (luckily) and I just wait for the next grab-able beat to get back on the train. (hopefully the rest of the band can keep themselves in time for the half a second I'm away lol) If I have to stop momentarily, I do...and even though it feels like a really long time, it's not and goes by pretty smoothly. Covering one's missteps without being noticed is an advanced skill. I tend to play within my comfort zone, so it's usually not an issue.

I have another gig where I am house drummer for an open mic blues gig. Nothing is scripted, so that's a situation where it's easier to get into trouble than on a cover band gig, but it's still blues, and blues drumming is mainly about the groove and drive, 2 things that sound better with more space than notes.

Seems like Jazz/Fusion/Progressive are they types of music where you can get into big trouble. Rock and Blues, not so much. JMO.
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  #20  
Old 12-01-2010, 12:38 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

here is an example how how I got out of trouble in my otherwise best studio performance to date.

at 2:07 my stick hits the rim DOH!- anywhere else in the song and it would have been a disaster - but here it kind of worked and I flowed with it for a couple measures.

This performance here is a milestone for me in both my drumming and production.
Working with a click track really takes some getting used to and on this track to really line up with the feel of the rythm gtrs the drums had to have some swing...
Don't mean thing if ain't yeah yeah...

I know most of you here could nail this song first time but I struggled with it for about
7 days and today I got everything ready, tuned up nice mix in the phones and no warm up just took a deep breath - said a lil prayer and hit record.....

Somehow I was able to hit it from a fresh perspective and correct some things I didn't like in my previous attempts - like choking up on the hi hat quicker...hittng the cymbals less and less kick drum hits - and less fills and all added up to what I consider my best effort yet although slight timing issues in the beginning still bother me and that stick miss...oh well

One thing, I was so relaxed while I played and it made a huge difference.
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  #21  
Old 12-01-2010, 01:16 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

The Art Of Jazz,
Is to make;
Wrong notes
Right
Straight beats
Crook'd
And still sounding appealing.

So goes the saying:
"One can know their musical part but still not achieve it."

To achieve it,
Is called
Expressive Skill.

Expressive Skill is not
To be confused as the same as
Chops.

The Art of Presentation is
Based on deception.

If dropping sticks, appear is if such is part of
The Show.

If under pressure,
Appear not to be.

Ignore this,
And you are vulnerable to the
Universe's Wheel of Fortune.

Follow this,
And never should you fear the result of
A Hundred Gigs
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  #22  
Old 12-01-2010, 01:32 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectron View Post
here is an example how how I got out of trouble in my otherwise best studio performance to date.

at 2:07 my stick hits the rim DOH!- anywhere else in the song and it would have been a disaster - but here it kind of worked and I flowed with it for a couple measures.

This performance here is a milestone for me in both my drumming and production.
Working with a click track really takes some getting used to and on this track to really line up with the feel of the rythm gtrs the drums had to have some swing...
Don't mean thing if ain't yeah yeah...

I know most of you here could nail this song first time but I struggled with it for about
7 days and today I got everything ready, tuned up nice mix in the phones and no warm up just took a deep breath - said a lil prayer and hit record.....

Somehow I was able to hit it from a fresh perspective and correct some things I didn't like in my previous attempts - like choking up on the hi hat quicker...hittng the cymbals less and less kick drum hits - and less fills and all added up to what I consider my best effort yet although slight timing issues in the beginning still bother me and that stick miss...oh well

One thing, I was so relaxed while I played and it made a huge difference.
Good for you dude! I have to say that your experience is exactly similar to what I dealt with when I first started recording with a click, its definitely something you have to practice a lot. Its getting a lot easier though, I do it almost every day, haha.

And as far is fixing the rim click, I can totally hear what is going on in your head when that happened ;) You definitely pulled it off though, any non drummer would have NO clue, especially if you were playing live.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:33 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

Very cool vid post Polly.
I actually learned some new ways of thinking that I'll probably hold on to.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:43 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

Quote:
Originally Posted by jer View Post
I saw a Victor Wooten video where he was talking about how on the bass you are always a half step (1 fret) away from being in the right key.

I've related that to drums in the sense that you are always 1 beat away from being in/on time.

Applies best in 4/4 time - if I find myself off, I just add or subtract 1 beat to whatever I'm doing and it should put me back in place.

Good vid!
As a drummer, I feel like you set the time, if you're out, it isn't you that is wrong, it is the rest of the band :D
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:47 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

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Originally Posted by Homeularis View Post
Very cool vid post Polly.
I actually learned some new ways of thinking that I'll probably hold on to.
Cheers Home ... I felt the same way when Wavelength posted it.

It's cool to hear a top player talk about dealing with what we all carefully hide from audiences - the fact that we can't maintain the same levels of balance, concentration and control through every bar of every song.

It makes me feel more positive - less inclined to worry about my little blunders and more focused on the salvage job.
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Old 12-01-2010, 07:55 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

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Originally Posted by Pollyanna View Post
Cheers Home ... I felt the same way when Wavelength posted it.

It's cool to hear a top player talk about dealing with what we all carefully hide from audiences - the fact that we can't maintain the same levels of balance, concentration and control through every bar of every song.

It makes me feel more positive - less inclined to worry about my little blunders and more focused on the salvage job.
Agreed.
Its always easier said than done, but if we could just relax and play what were thinking instead of thinking about what were playing, it would all work out so much better and hiding little blunders would come much more natural.
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:06 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

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Originally Posted by Homeularis View Post
Its always easier said than done, but if we could just relax and play what were thinking instead of thinking about what were playing
I like that! Yes, clearing your mind is tricky. When I did meditation classes everyone struggled to stop their noisy thoughts. Silly really, since being totally immersed in the music is the best feeling, probably better than sex ... *puts on flame resistant coveralls*
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Old 12-01-2010, 08:14 AM
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Silly really, since being totally immersed in the music is the best feeling, probably better than sex ...

I agree, well, maybe not completely, but certainly as good in its own way.
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:57 AM
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Default Re: The art of getting out of trouble

i had a show once and my snare stand failed15 miniues into the set..snare tipped over.so i grabbed my kick and did a backwards summersault with it..the rest of the band started thrashing thier gear..i got up and grabbed the snare and held it so my bassist could do a marching cadence on it while the guitarists were goinn all townsend.while everything was feeding back we went to the bar and got drinks
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