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  #1  
Old 02-21-2016, 04:51 AM
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Default Do you ever ---

just for fun, stretch out & launch into a fill without any idea what you're going to play or how to exit it? Not often, but I do if I'm in that mood & I'm playing a zero risk gig.

This is one such episode tonight https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOi4...ature=youtu.be

I'm so pleased to be back on a 6 piece setup that I just couldn't resist a less than appropriate fast stadium / hero fill. A split second before I started the fill, I knew what I was going to play on the 8" tom, but the rest just "happened". Thankfully, they almost always work out, & put a smile on this old fart's face :)
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Old 02-21-2016, 05:48 AM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

I take my kit out on the street and have no idea what I'm going to play. It's all improvised.
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Old 02-21-2016, 07:20 AM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

Is there any other way?
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

I do that all the time. I started a thread on a similar note, about how incredibly fast your brain determines what you're going to play moment by moment. It's a lightning-fast process.

Last edited by bud7h4; 02-21-2016 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by No Way Jose View Post
I take my kit out on the street and have no idea what I'm going to play. It's all improvised.
Ah, I should have qualified within the the context of going off script in a rehearsed performance. Props to you for street improv - I'm pretty sure I'd run out of ideas within minutes :(

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Originally Posted by paradiddle pete View Post
Is there any other way?
Absolutely. I usually know / have rehearsed exactly what fills I'm going to play in a rehearsed set. Of course, there's always some variation permitted within the structure, but not much TBH. The other players expect consistency and rely on those elements to key in with their parts.

In last night's clip example, not only is the fill off script, it's far removed from the fill that normally fits there, and even when I was in mid fill, I had no idea how to resolve it. For me, that's a big risk. I don't have the chops library to just let fly & guarantee a pleasing exit / execution unless I've done it before. I'm pretty sure I haven't played that fill since the early 80's!
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Old 02-21-2016, 10:53 AM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

At a gig? Rarely, but yes, and nothing makes me feel better.

My playing is all self taught so having little idea of what I "Should" be playing I am mostly making it up anyway.
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Old 02-21-2016, 12:53 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

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Originally Posted by paradiddle pete View Post
Is there any other way?
+1
.
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Old 02-21-2016, 01:50 PM
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  #8  
Old 02-21-2016, 03:18 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

This is what is great about my jam band. I show up for practice and I've no idea what we're going to play or how we will play it. I go to my cover band practice and I know exactly what I'm going to play and how to play it.
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Old 02-21-2016, 03:57 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

Currently my only playing-out sitch is with a modern worship team. The players keep changing from week to week, and the band leader and I love to mix up the arrangements and play with things. We are always tweaking things to fit the strengths of the band on stage that week. I tend to never play the song the same way twice, partially because it never is the same anyways, and partially because our congregation deserves to hear something fresh every week.

I tend to play a straight-ahead version of each song in the rehearsal. For the Sunday soundcheck, I take ideas that have started to germinate since the rehearsal and give them a quick run. If they work, I lean way far forward during the actual service and try them (fills, odd rhythms, incorporation of new sounds, etc). I estimate about an 85-90% success rate =)
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Old 02-21-2016, 04:53 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

With my drumming, drum fills are waaaaay down on the list. In the few places where I do do fills, NONE of them are the hero fills, they would be too over the top for my situation. I get off in other ways that are not generally noticeable. Like nailing the perfect tempo of a song, or pulling off a really smooth transition...creating the perfect mood with the beat, hitting the snare with just the right blend of O-tones for that song that night, consistently....exercising great sounding dynamics...stuff that generally doesn't stick out, and usually doesn't involve toms. I love my ghosts, cymbal ditties, and nuances.

Hero fills...that's for the other guy to play. I use the toms very sparingly, only when they absolutely are required. A tom fill for a fills sake is not enough. I need a good reason to go to the toms. But I have a different situation. The leader fills up A LOT of the available space. And truly, he does it SO WELL, that the best thing for me is to not step on him. In the places where drums would sound better, he'll give me that space. We work well together. I'd rather see him fill most of the spaces, it's more musical. But sometimes, the drums just plain sound best in a certain spot.

Now with your band, the big tom runs fit right in, and it's a big part of the vibe. Your whole band has a bigger, more commanding sound, and the big tom runs are welcome.
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  #11  
Old 02-21-2016, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
I 100% believe that you have not lived until you sit down at a gig without any clue as to what anyone on the bandstand is about to play... no idea what tunes are about to be called ... and probably haven't met some of the cats you are about to play with.

Andy , I recommend sitting in on a few jazz gigs

you will be shocked what you will learn about yourself and your musical instincts

... after a while you will never again want to sit down at a gig where everything is calculated and stale ... what an absolute drag ... if I did not have to, to pay the bills I would never play another one of those gigs again as long as I live.

you all deserve freedom ...
Thanks for your considered reply Tony. I have immersed myself in a number of mostly free form situations over the years, & I certainly had my fair share of jam nights back in the day, but the bulk of my playing has been original material composition, or more recently, covers. It's in that context that I'm introducing this subject.

I'd love to experience sitting in on a few jazz gigs, but I'm afraid my woeful lack of facility would leave me fishing for interpretation options or just dumbing down to time keeping. besides, it just doesn't live inside me, no matter how appreciative I am of the form + performances of others.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mikel View Post

My playing is all self taught so having little idea of what I "Should" be playing I am mostly making it up anyway.
That put a smile on my face :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
This is what is great about my jam band. I show up for practice and I've no idea what we're going to play or how we will play it. I go to my cover band practice and I know exactly what I'm going to play and how to play it.
It's great that you have two distinctly different outlets. I have a few on the go, but they're all compositionally structured.

Quote:
Originally Posted by alparrott View Post
Currently my only playing-out sitch is with a modern worship team. The players keep changing from week to week, and the band leader and I love to mix up the arrangements and play with things. We are always tweaking things to fit the strengths of the band on stage that week. I tend to never play the song the same way twice, partially because it never is the same anyways, and partially because our congregation deserves to hear something fresh every week.

I tend to play a straight-ahead version of each song in the rehearsal. For the Sunday soundcheck, I take ideas that have started to germinate since the rehearsal and give them a quick run. If they work, I lean way far forward during the actual service and try them (fills, odd rhythms, incorporation of new sounds, etc). I estimate about an 85-90% success rate =)
I get your situation, but I'm surprised (& pleased) that there's so much adaptation encouraged in the performances.
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Old 02-21-2016, 06:19 PM
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  #12  
Old 02-21-2016, 06:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoIsTony? View Post
if I may be frank ... I think you do far too much of this downplaying your abilities thing...
Very kind of you to say so Tony, but no, certainly not on this occasion. In a jazz context, I'd fail miserably. I've tinkered at the edges a few times, & my attempts were terrible. I might have been able to mimic the basics, but my delivery & interpretation was akin to a ballerina wearing diving boots!
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Old 02-22-2016, 06:20 AM
Retrovertigo Retrovertigo is offline
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

I generally dont know any fills or anything other then the general groove/feel of a song and the song structures. All transitions and fills are improvised. Even some of the grooves are too. I'm fortunate to have played with people that are into that sort of thing. It's a not a free for all situation but I go where the vibe leads me. that style of playing is what my friends expect of me. Which I think places the expectations squarely in my favor.
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:12 AM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

Nice going Andy !!
Sounded perfect.
It's great to hear you let go as it were.
I also enjoy hearing Guru drums in a heavy rock context.


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  #15  
Old 02-22-2016, 07:29 AM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

When playing drums as the instrument rather than playing as a rhythm keeper a whole other realm erupts, I recently posted a thread about having the same species of cymbals. I see this as another group of instruments other than just something to play accents on. Just doing runs on the cymbals is a pleasure to behold. I am fortunate in that i don't have to fit into any particular musical structure so i see freeform drumming as way to really dig drum playing rather than just being a member of the band.
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  #16  
Old 02-22-2016, 08:19 AM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

Most of my jobs I've shown up not knowing who I was going to be playing with, let alone what we were going to play, so let's just say any pre-planning I may have done went out with the bath water at the beginning of my career ;)

Every time I think about it, it amazes me how much of a jazz musician I was raised as. I have to bite my tongue around people who know nothing other than picking songs, and rehearsing them prior to a gig. I was very much brought up as a "get out there and PLAY" kinda of musician. I do like to rehearse stuff, but even those go much faster than usual because we can assume certain things will already be happening so we don't have to play them. It's all a talk down most times (if at all).

But if I do something I wasn't planning on while playing, I get that feeling. Usually, it's a mistake, and I'll repeat it so everyone goes, "oh, he meant to do that". ;)
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Old 02-22-2016, 08:26 AM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

Another old fart smiled at that Andy.

Very nicely done.
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:46 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

Good stuff Andy!

I make stuff up in the studio, which I eventually lock in and find myself playing most times pretty much hit for hit on shows- mostly just out of habit really rather than a conscience choice I'd say.

Also don’t want to put the band members off if I play a fill that’s completely different to how I’d normally do it, epscially where some of the fills are lead parts in song breaks. I’ve done that before and have thrown bands in the past!

On that note the funniest one I did a Bonham-esk bass drum double triplet and a delayed snare hit and it still makes me laugh seeing the band members in question facing the crowd all actually physically all jump then all turn looking at me with panic in their eyes trying to locate where the beat had breifly gone/what had happened.

Chuckling about that one now typing this, haven’t done that again!
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Old 02-22-2016, 02:33 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

I know what you mean about not being sure how you were going to resolve and get back in on the "one".

My guys expect me to do the same fills in the same place because we have been together about 5 years and some songs have been in the sets almost that long. They have expressed appreciation for the consistency, especially after playing a gig with a fill-in drummer.

That being said- some nights when the crowd energy is good and I'm feeling confident in my playing- I will just let it go and fly into a fill at an opportune time. Usually it is something good that adds energy and I get a smile from one of the guys. The few times I messed up remind me to keep it to a minimum and not exceed my abilities.

I thought your fill in the video was great- lots of confidence and power in a song that needs that kind of drive. the 2 cymbal hits at the end punctuated the fill really well.
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Old 02-22-2016, 03:45 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

get an idea but sometimes at gigs I do just what you said. I just don't ever intentionally go too far that I mess up.
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

Thanks for all the replies guys! I'm amazed how many of you have such freedom in the acts you work within. I know my experience is limited mainly to structured acts (either covers or originals), so maybe that's why I'm so surprised. I'd love to get into a creative live jamming situation as a tonic for my rehearsed status. It has happened in the past, but only the odd occasion by invite, never a regular deal.

I do vary fills a little, but always with the same feel & timing. My present band values consistency, & TBH, in the type of band I'm currently in, so do I (although I do play tricks on them from time to time). Any original material I'm working on, the act / artist basically dictates what they want - I offer alternatives, & once they decide on the option, I have to stick with it pretty much note perfect every time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
With my drumming, drum fills are waaaaay down on the list.
Me too Larry, but in this band, as you pointed out, they're part of the show, & expected by the audiences.
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:51 PM
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Default Re: Do you ever ---

For me it really depends on the situation whether I improvise my fills or not. If it's my metal band and we're playing a song I tend to keep the fills "stock". If I'm in a three piece or I'm jamming I'll improvise almost everything. It's all about what it takes to make the music work and flow.

With a three piece I feel like I have more room to breath and with a good bass player I feel like I can't go wrong. I used to play Hendrix with this awesome player and we would make some amazing grooves for the lead guitarist. All my fills were improvised for that group as I don't think that playing the same fill everytime would have suited the music.

For my metal band it falls to the other end of the spectrum as things need to be tighter and more structured. Rather than having the feel of playing seperate parts, the band feels more like musical freight train moving as one. There's less room for error and it doesn't pay to go out of your comfort zone. I tend to construct my fills carefully and tailor them carefully to fit into each spot of the song. I find that a good drum fill can make or break the transition between parts of the song.
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