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  #1  
Old 07-10-2014, 02:22 AM
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Default Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

So I've started a new rock band project with a group of other expats over here in Taiwan, and we're really getting started... We're jamming once or twice a week, and we've started laying down some original song ideas, as well as working on some crowd-pleasing covers...

First of all, this is a fun project, and we're not doing this to make money, but we do want to gig and we do want to sound as professional and polished as possible... So last week I brought my video camera to a practice session to video us and see what we sound like...

Obviously I keyed in right away on what I was doing during songs, and besides missing the occasional fill or missing a cue now and then, I actually played pretty well and was very happy with how I sounded and played on the video...

However, I realized right away that I looked and moved like a robot. More like a wooden statue maybe with hinges for joints that only move sometimes... My elbows are in tight to my body and I lash out for cymbal hits and fills, and it looks like my spine is strapped to a pole behind my throne... :(

It's funny, because it doesn't feel like that when we play, but watching the video I know I need to relax more and loosen up! We've only had a few jam sessions, and so it's likely a case of nerves and a bit of apprehension because we're just developing that all so important band chemistry, but I feel like a tool after watching a few songs...

Ultimately, I know I just need to relax and enjoy the music and feel it more. Does anyone have any thoughts/tips/advice for me? I don't care that much how I look in the practice room, but once we start gigging, I want to look like I'm enjoying myself, not like a deer in the headlights!
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:26 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keepitgreen View Post
So I've started a new rock band project with a group of other expats over here in Taiwan, and we're really getting started... We're jamming once or twice a week, and we've started laying down some original song ideas, as well as working on some crowd-pleasing covers...

First of all, this is a fun project, and we're not doing this to make money, but we do want to gig and we do want to sound as professional and polished as possible... So last week I brought my video camera to a practice session to video us and see what we sound like...

Obviously I keyed in right away on what I was doing during songs, and besides missing the occasional fill or missing a cue now and then, I actually played pretty well and was very happy with how I sounded and played on the video...

However, I realized right away that I looked and moved like a robot. More like a wooden statue maybe with hinges for joints that only move sometimes... My elbows are in tight to my body and I lash out for cymbal hits and fills, and it looks like my spine is strapped to a pole behind my throne... :(

It's funny, because it doesn't feel like that when we play, but watching the video I know I need to relax more and loosen up! We've only had a few jam sessions, and so it's likely a case of nerves and a bit of apprehension because we're just developing that all so important band chemistry, but I feel like a tool after watching a few songs...

Ultimately, I know I just need to relax and enjoy the music and feel it more. Does anyone have any thoughts/tips/advice for me? I don't care that much how I look in the practice room, but once we start gigging, I want to look like I'm enjoying myself, not like a deer in the headlights!
Maybe you guys should be an organic Kraftwerk tribute band?

Joking aside, I say continue to videotape yourself playing so you can see what you don't want to look like. Then watch the current MTV-type shows to see how those 'attractive' musicians do it, and mimick.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:40 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Smile. It's the one single thing you can do to improve your look. Genuine is better.

I like drummers who look like they have a ton of headroom, (not struggling) and whose body language is totally immersed in the music.

Hiromi embodies the joy of music with her body language better than anyone I can think of.

She's sitting down just like us.
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Old 07-10-2014, 02:48 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

You could just get a tattoo...
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Old 07-10-2014, 03:39 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

"I think, in a rock band, it's important to have a drummer who is fun to watch." ~ Taylor Hawkins

http://www.fooarchive.com/hpb/drum07.htm
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Old 07-10-2014, 04:14 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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"I think, in a rock band, it's important to have a drummer who is fun to watch." ~ Taylor Hawkins

http://www.fooarchive.com/hpb/drum07.htm
Agreed. The drummer (usually) is in the middle of the stage, and even tho they're (usually) at the back, they're always a center-piece of the band, so get a lot of attention... I'm always aware of that, whenever I've played on stage...

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You could just get a tattoo...
Check. And, I've actually got an artist working on another tattoo for me right now that is hugely drum oriented for my right shoulder...

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Smile. It's the one single thing you can do to improve your look. Genuine is better.

I like drummers who look like they have a ton of headroom, (not struggling) and whose body language is totally immersed in the music.

Hiromi embodies the joy of music with her body language better than anyone I can think of.

She's sitting down just like us.
Yeah... This... looking back at the vid, I realized I was scowling/furrowing my brow a lot... That was probably a big contributing factor to my looking very wooden and uncoordinated...

Loosen up the jaw = loosen up the back = loosen up the arms...


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bo Eder View Post
Maybe you guys should be an organic Kraftwerk tribute band?

Joking aside, I say continue to videotape yourself playing so you can see what you don't want to look like. Then watch the current MTV-type shows to see how those 'attractive' musicians do it, and mimick.
Does MTV still play music? I'm in Asia, all we get is K-Pop and the best/weirdest game shows ever made...
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:27 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

I've noticed this when I ran in track. I'm decent so in relays I'm always 3rd in the line up. When we were about to start, people would always be telling me to loosen up and relax.

I was always under the impression that I was chill and moving my arms fine.

But my shoulders were really tight and my arms were stiff so it probably looked like I was practicing my flexing techniques. lol :)

Granted that was in the first couple of meets but I became chill after that.

I always reminded myself to chill and loosen up.

You're just in the beginning.
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Old 07-10-2014, 05:40 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Maybe you're approaching this all wrong. What you are currently doing is cool. If nobody else is doing it, then you have your style and flare!
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  #9  
Old 07-10-2014, 05:55 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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Maybe you're approaching this all wrong. What you are currently doing is cool. If nobody else is doing it, then you have your style and flare!
Ahhhhhhh... Thank you Zen Master Bo for putting it into perspective...

Cool is as cool does...
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Old 07-10-2014, 06:59 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

You've made the first step, you've seen yourself for the first time and you don't like it, so it's going to change. Just setup a mirror when you practice and you will become aware of your movements and you'll adjust them naturally.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:14 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Wear sun glasses or a completely visored motorcycle helmet.
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  #12  
Old 07-10-2014, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

The best way to appear cool is to just be yourself and enjoy playing music with your band mates. Let yourself smile - unless you play like David Garibaldi - in which case you could turn up to the gig wearing a turnip suit and still be cool :)

Often technical shortcomings can make us appear stiff. I have a dodgy left wrist and at times my left side movement looks stiff and a bit funny. Slowly working on the pad to get things loosened up but will probably take a long time to break the old habits and build unused muscles.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
The best way to appear cool is to just be yourself and enjoy playing music with your band mates. Let yourself smile
I was going to say exactly this. I'm much more relaxed when I play with my band than at any other time. We interact with each other, smile, give and take cues ("NOW, Madge!"). At first I had to make myself smile because I was nervous, and occasionally I used to forget to do it, and sometimes I made an executive decision not to because we were playing a sad song, but I was given a top tip to ALWAYS smile, because it's a wonderful thing to play drums with other musicians. Now I allow myself to have fun, and I don't cringe when I see video of myself playing.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:09 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

It's a rock band, & nobody's yet mentioned a cape? Disgraceful lapse of forum protocol ;)
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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It's a rock band, & nobody's yet mentioned a cape? Disgraceful lapse of forum protocol ;)
LOL. Not just anybody can wear a cape though. It requires a certain je ne sais quoi
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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It requires a certain je ne sais quoi
And your mum to get your je ne sais quoi home for you after you've legged it in fear.
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  #17  
Old 07-10-2014, 03:02 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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It's a rock band, & nobody's yet mentioned a cape? Disgraceful lapse of forum protocol ;)
LOL

He can borrow mine.

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Old 07-10-2014, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

I second the recommendation to smile. Learn to twirl. Sing the chorus even if you don't have a mic. Look around. "Eyes and Teeth".

You know when you're watching a band, and the bassist turns to the drummer, and they make eye contact, and it looks like they connect? Yeah, that's all fake and choreographed. Add that to the show.

Sometimes, showmanship can make even the most boring parts fun.
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Old 07-10-2014, 09:46 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Was browsing some older threads and came across this guy:
http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/s...d.php?t=106932
Some useful info there as well.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Magenta View Post
I was going to say exactly this. I'm much more relaxed when I play with my band than at any other time. We interact with each other, smile, give and take cues ("NOW, Madge!"). At first I had to make myself smile because I was nervous, and occasionally I used to forget to do it, and sometimes I made an executive decision not to because we were playing a sad song, but I was given a top tip to ALWAYS smile, because it's a wonderful thing to play drums with other musicians. Now I allow myself to have fun, and I don't cringe when I see video of myself playing.
Bravo Madge. Really well put. The last sentence is the payoff. Fun is infectious. What better place to start fun than the drumset?
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

I don't really worry about it, but funny enough, someone did describe me in relation to another drummer that night. He (the other drummer) had a very spastic jerky and high flair style of drumming that I admit was totally opposite of mine.

The comment: "Man, that guy is weird, it's like, there's you, the "calmest drummer in the world" and then there's spazzy-smiley over there".

Anyway, it's not "amazing" I guess, but I've been told a few times that it's "cool" how I look so relaxed. For my part, it's mostly just about being efficient and not using too much more energy than I need to. Probably something to do with Larry's idea of appearing to have "headroom".

Actually, the one thing I need to stop doing is scowling at any tiny mistake I make, or even when other people in the band make a mistake, if it messes up the picture of the song in my head, it causes me to make a "pained" expression I'm told.
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Old 07-10-2014, 10:47 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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Actually, the one thing I need to stop doing is scowling at any tiny mistake I make, or even when other people in the band make a mistake, if it messes up the picture of the song in my head, it causes me to make a "pained" expression I'm told.
Better to breeze right past and smile like you just got away with something. No one likes to see anyone curse himself. Especially onstage. I try not to do that anymore, there's a better way. Little improvements, over time.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:04 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Drummers, being human, will run the whole gambit from cool or stoic (Charlie Watts, Chris Frantz - Talkign Heads), to flash and flurry (Keith Moon, Dave Grohl)

Its you, your personality, be real, let it show.

At bare minimum I would agree one should smile sometimes, and above all smile at mistakes.
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:23 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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above all smile at mistakes.
I was going to say that too!
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Old 07-10-2014, 11:43 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post
It's a rock band, & nobody's yet mentioned a cape? Disgraceful lapse of forum protocol ;)
As I read the firs few responses I was thinking the same thing.

If you don't have a cape, try to relax. Adopt the mindset that this gig is no big deal and you got something else going on later that is WAY more fun.

I play fairly aggressive and loud. I consider myself fairly animated when I play. Sort if like I imagine I am a zombie and I just found some new face to chew to the bone. Yum! Aaaaarrr! Nom, Nom, Nom. Ya know, have fun with it.
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Maybe you can grow a mullet. It's like wearing a cape on your head. :)
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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Originally Posted by Midnite Zephyr View Post
Maybe you can grow a mullet. It's like wearing a cape on your head. :)
Re: Cape/Mullet

I forget who I'm quoting, but "If you're going to dress like a magician, and cut your hair like a magician, you should do magic."
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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Maybe you can grow a mullet. It's like wearing a cape on your head. :)
Cape. Mullet. And your mother waiting in the wings to get your kit when you run away.

Couldn't possibly get any "cooler" than that.
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:55 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

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Maybe you can grow a mullet. It's like wearing a cape on your head. :)
eff-ing brillaint

now I wanna grown one
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:20 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

I'm so happy right now, I'm going to be walking around all day today with a huge smile on my face... I know 100% that every time I sit behind my drum kit from now on, I'm gonna be thinking about you guys here on this forum and probably start laughing...

Thanks so much for the advice, tips, encouragement, and help...

So I should grow a mullet, wear a cape, smile a lot, and twirl my drumsticks... Got it. ;)
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Old 07-11-2014, 01:28 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
I don't really worry about it, but funny enough, someone did describe me in relation to another drummer that night. He (the other drummer) had a very spastic jerky and high flair style of drumming that I admit was totally opposite of mine.

The comment: "Man, that guy is weird, it's like, there's you, the "calmest drummer in the world" and then there's spazzy-smiley over there".

Anyway, it's not "amazing" I guess, but I've been told a few times that it's "cool" how I look so relaxed. For my part, it's mostly just about being efficient and not using too much more energy than I need to. Probably something to do with Larry's idea of appearing to have "headroom".

Actually, the one thing I need to stop doing is scowling at any tiny mistake I make, or even when other people in the band make a mistake, if it messes up the picture of the song in my head, it causes me to make a "pained" expression I'm told.
I've always felt the same way Doc. I've been studying martial arts since I was a kid, and the one constant has always been efficiency of movement, which is something I guess I transfer to my playing style. I feel very calm and relaxed, efficient and controlled, but I think watching me play on the video, I look wooden and boring...

I do need to loosen up a bit, start nodding my head around maybe, and definitely smile more... I too tend to grimace when I make a mistake, or someone in the band makes a mistake... Gotta learn to let it roll away; laugh it off and just get into the groove, smile and nod, we're all in this together...
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Old 07-11-2014, 02:41 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Wailin Smash anybody?
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  #33  
Old 07-11-2014, 03:40 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Another tactic....look at the others. Not that you do or don't do this, I'm just putting this out there....Get the focus off the drums and look at everything else instead, the band, the crowd, anything but yourself.

I love analogies and if you think about it, playing the drums has a lot in common with riding a bike. You're sitting down, you have to move both your hands and feet in a rhythmically coordinated way to keep the bike going down the center of your lane.

Point is, when you are riding a bike, you don't look at the pedals and tires, you are looking down the road to see where you are going. Same with drums. You don't want to just look at the drums, you want to focus way beyond that. It tends to center you. You go where you are looking on a bike. Same with drums, to a certain extent. A good trick is to look at whoever is leading at the time and focus there. Be a part of instead of being all isolated and stuff.
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Old 07-11-2014, 04:34 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Maybe try sitting at the kit and move/dance to the music without playing anything. Be comfortable doing that in your own practice space. Then start playing the hihat part while continuing to dance to the music (and in time!). Then slowly add in the other limbs when you're comfortable. That'll probably be the easiest and most natural way to get movement into your playing.
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Old 07-11-2014, 05:59 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

I dunno. Robert Fripp made a career out of sitting on a stool looking like a mushroom. There's no shame in continuing that tradition.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:08 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Most thought provoking answers. I am wondering if maybe a cape is a mullet for the body? Which came first - the mullet or the cape?
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Old 07-11-2014, 09:44 AM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

The wedding veil is then just an epic mullet.

But to the OP, which drummer do YOU prefer watching - an animated, smiling one who makes eye-contact with the audience and tries to connect on almost a personal level as well as musical, or one that more purely relies on musical connection? Could compare for ex:, Papa Jo Jones vs. Neil Peart. ;)
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Old 07-11-2014, 12:46 PM
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon La Ply View Post
Which came first - the mullet or the cape?
Absolutely the cape!

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Get the focus off the drums and look at everything else instead, the band, the crowd, anything but yourself.*
Lessons from the master :) http://youtu.be/njAtqwUvfiU?t=1m19s
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  #39  
Old 07-11-2014, 03:39 PM
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"Uncle Larry"
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: In beautiful Bucks County, PA
Posts: 21,247
Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Quote:
Originally Posted by keep it simple View Post

Lessons from the master :) http://youtu.be/njAtqwUvfiU?t=1m19s
I was disappointed when I saw this. Not a very gracious or classy thing to do. When you put yourself out there for public consumption, it goes with the territory. Kind of a douchey move on Vinnie's part. A little gratitude wouldn't hurt.
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Old 07-11-2014, 07:51 PM
The SunDog
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Default Re: Help me look....cooler? more relaxed?

Play with a cigarette in cigarette holder like the drummer from Cheap Trick. That guy looks like FDR playing the drums. As long as your playing is clean and charismatic you will win over the house.
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