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 02-10-2017, 10:07 PM
funkutron
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

I used to play with a couple young talented Black fellows in Seattle when I was in my 20's. The bass player, Craig, used to say "That mother----er did THAT, but maybe I can do something BETTER!" That's always been my approach to drumming. I'm not talking about "overplaying", or not even playing the song like some guys do, but if you can embellish what's already there, add some double kicks where there were only singles, do a better fill than the original guy did, or add some hi-hat stuff, just to "hot-rod" the drum part a bit, you can look at it this way, you're improving the state-of-the-art of drumming. Not to "show-off", but to play to the best of your ability. Bands that insist on having everything "just like the original" are usually bands that don't have the ability or the talent to do anything else but memorize a part, if that. I have always played as if I wrote the song....your thoughts?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 02-10-2017, 10:40 PM
MoreBeer's Avatar
MoreBeer MoreBeer is offline
Silver Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: New Jersey
Posts: 531
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

I have similar thoughts on playing. For example, the other day I was playing to a drumless track of Stevie Wonders' Higher Ground. I listened to the track with drums first and really didn't like it and played it my own way. I think my version sounded better.

Today, was watching a video of Stevie Wonder doing this song live in 1973. The drummer was playing similar to my version although slightly more busy than mine. In fact, a bit too busy.

I'll need to make a decent recording this weekend or as soon as I can and put it up.
__________________
The road to success and the road to failure are almost exactly the same.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 02-10-2017, 10:45 PM
Dr_Watso's Avatar
Dr_Watso Dr_Watso is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 5,865
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

One time I went into a famous local art museum that was hosting classic works of art by great historic artists.

I fancied myself an artist, too! So naturally, I went around with my paint brush adding the most amazing mustaches to all the people in the paintings with a fantastic feathering technique that would surely impress any of the original artists and all the patrons at the museum. It clearly made all the paintings better. How on earth did those original artist not see how much those paintings needed those little touches to be better? Why had they left them out?

I still don't believe him, but a nice security guard sort of explained that these works are exactly as they should be, and exactly as the artist meant them to be. He said something about my own preferences being irrelevant and told me I was stupid for not just learning from them and then creating my own original ideas in my own original art rather than think I could "improve" something that so many hold dear and respect. He even implied that I probably didn't have the skill to actually re-create the work as it is and was just using the word "improve" to make myself feel better that I couldn't do it like they did or create something new instead. Can you believe that?

The nerve of some security guards. I tell ya.
__________________
"I always wanted to be remembered for; being honest. Nothing else is worth a damn." - Lemmy
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 02-10-2017, 11:04 PM
beyondbetrayal beyondbetrayal is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: canada
Posts: 1,655
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

It honestly depends...

I feel like some guys play more to cover up things too.. like if their timing or groove isn't there, they will play some over the top showy stuff to get away from it.. It is also sometimes a way to get out of something that is difficult if you cant play it. If I was in a cover band I try and nail the song as is. I would be able to do a YouTube video every day if I didn't. It takes time to learn a song the way someone else wrote it..

I get to do my share of original stuff with my bands so I guess I don't feel the need to be creative over other peoples work.

That being said.. I'll often put on Spotify and just jam out. .Playing how I want to play over other peoples songs.. It's very fun to use your own beats, grooves fills. Heck I love to over play so this is when I get to do that. I feel like live is another story. If I went to see a cover band, I'd want the solos and drums to be just like the album.

I feel like if you started a Rush cover band and improvised the drums you'd get torn apart pretty quick by the fans lol.

I did a cover awhile ago and some of the fills on the original song were way off time because the band didn't use a click. It was darn hard to learn them and play them off tempo to mimic his sound, but it would have sounded weird to me otherwise.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 02-11-2017, 12:07 AM
whiteknightx's Avatar
whiteknightx whiteknightx is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: Toronto, Canada
Posts: 493
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

I'm with BeyondBetrayal. I used to feel like what does it matter if you play things a bit differently from the record, nobody cares. And for some things that can be true. My last couple cover bands, we try really hard to nail the original musically as close as we can, and its really very difficult to do, and very satisfying when you do it. I find many songs seem simple, but when you really dig in, you hear new little things in them all the time.

Lately I fill in with another cover band, and they do it to "good enough" level, and I find it really irritating now to play with them, since I learned the songs to the record as best as I could. It's just the place I'm at now musically, after doing bar cover bands for 20 odd years. I think you will get much more respect from other musicians for nailing a song, over noodling over top of it. I believe if you are going to change a song, then everyone in the band should and own it, like doing bluegrass Metallica, or something like that. really change the song to make it a new version.
__________________
Ayotte Drumsmith 6 pc, Sabian HHX Evolution cymbals
Yamaha DTX950K
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 02-11-2017, 12:09 AM
WallyY WallyY is offline
Platinum Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Boston, US
Posts: 1,622
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

Iconic songs like the Stones or Motown should be played as exact as possible.
Even The Who should be played as much as possible to the original. I saw The Who with Kenny Jones and it was one long lousy event.

Boring bands like the cars or Tom Petty should be festooned with ghost notes.

Heres a good few examples of a good and bad cover.

Original:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpZ7BOSmO64

Maybe the other original?:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDN2bB6sR6Q

Good version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SJmmaIGiGBg

Bad version:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y21VecIIdBI

Last edited by WallyY; 02-11-2017 at 12:20 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 02-11-2017, 04:20 AM
bermuda's Avatar
bermuda bermuda is offline
Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 8,497
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

Embellishing and making better and improving are all very subjective concepts. I haven't found anyone who can make a part better, although it can certainly be different, and cool. Once in a while, these different versions are released, and while still a cover, actually become bigger hits than the original. (That's a good topic for a thread...)

I also try to do my best when playing parts, at least from a technical and groove standpoint. But in terms of changing parts on a cover song, I don't think for a minute that I will play a better part than... well, name any drummer and any song. Unless the song vibe/style is deliberately being changed, I play the original parts as close as I am able. Nobody ever didn't hire me because I wasn't inventive enough on a cover gig, in fact it's quite the opposite. So I stick with what works, so that I work!

Not everyone has to approach gigs this way, just saying that it's not necessary - and is often detrimental - for a drummer to go beyond the parts that make a song worth playing in the first place.

Bermuda
__________________
DrumDoug: "I've tried talking to the guys about our stage volume, but it just falls on deaf ears"
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 02-11-2017, 04:37 AM
funkutron
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

Quote:
Originally Posted by MoreBeer View Post
I have similar thoughts on playing. For example, the other day I was playing to a drumless track of Stevie Wonders' Higher Ground. I listened to the track with drums first and really didn't like it and played it my own way. I think my version sounded better.

Today, was watching a video of Stevie Wonder doing this song live in 1973. The drummer was playing similar to my version although slightly more busy than mine. In fact, a bit too busy.

I'll need to make a decent recording this weekend or as soon as I can and put it up.
Yes, I agree. And songs like "Play That Funky Music White Boy" have been covered for so many years that it would be a damn shame not to make it "your own"...Van Halen does that all the time, he takes a song like "You Really Got Me" and just California hot-rods the thing! So why not?! If guitar players can do it, why not drummers?! I've never had anyone tell me that I was doing anything out of context with the song and the groove....it's just that "Play that Funky Music" can be made a hell of a lot funkier than the original, and especially if one is playing in a band that has less "pieces" than the original. The drummer can literally play the horn parts in the form of accents! Ever listen to early Chicago, Danny Seraphine? He plays all over EVERYTHING! A bit TOO much in my opinion, but I tend to approach rock and funk more like a jazz drummer would. I accent the guitar player's solos and stuff! And most bass players in cover bands play too much as well! Maybe we're BORED! LOL!
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 02-11-2017, 06:43 PM
funkutron
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
Embellishing and making better and improving are all very subjective concepts. I haven't found anyone who can make a part better, although it can certainly be different, and cool. Once in a while, these different versions are released, and while still a cover, actually become bigger hits than the original. (That's a good topic for a thread...)

I also try to do my best when playing parts, at least from a technical and groove standpoint. But in terms of changing parts on a cover song, I don't think for a minute that I will play a better part than... well, name any drummer and any song. Unless the song vibe/style is deliberately being changed, I play the original parts as close as I am able. Nobody ever didn't hire me because I wasn't inventive enough on a cover gig, in fact it's quite the opposite. So I stick with what works, so that I work!

Not everyone has to approach gigs this way, just saying that it's not necessary - and is often detrimental - for a drummer to go beyond the parts that make a song worth playing in the first place.

Bermuda
I'm not talking about changing parts entirely, I mean sure, you gotta play the song and it has to sound like the song. I'd be the first to criticize a drummer who overplayed....just to get his chops in whether it fits or not. But what I'm saying is that you can do your own interpretation of the song, make it your own. A roll that's just on the snare, for instance, can be done using all the toms. You can "set up" your rolls by starting them sooner, doing a little more punctuation, that sort of thing. You can as I said earlier, accent the horn lines if the horns are absent, and if the hi hat opens on the eighth notes in the original, add some 16th note openings, etc....it can be done in such a way that you "own" the song, but are still playing it. That to me is what LIVE music is all about! Something cooler happening tonight than last night! You just never know!
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-11-2017, 08:14 PM
bermuda's Avatar
bermuda bermuda is offline
Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Los Angeles
Posts: 8,497
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

I don't claim to play songs 100% identically night after night (well, some songs I do...) but I don't stray by much, maybe I'm at 98-99%, which seems strict but still allows for noticeable variations.

Bermuda
__________________
DrumDoug: "I've tried talking to the guys about our stage volume, but it just falls on deaf ears"
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-11-2017, 11:42 PM
funkutron
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: Playing Songs Just Like the Recording VS Improvising

Quote:
Originally Posted by bermuda View Post
I don't claim to play songs 100% identically night after night (well, some songs I do...) but I don't stray by much, maybe I'm at 98-99%, which seems strict but still allows for noticeable variations.

Bermuda
Nor I, but some nights you get inspired and something magical happens. You gotta let it happen, don't be too "rigid" with yourself. We are making history, right here, right now. We are doing things that have not been done before! (There I go again! "Standing on the shoulders of GIANTS LOL!)-I'm such a "performer" even in real life! LOL! I take almost NOTHING seriously, so don't you guys get irritated with me! Ha-ha!
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 08:30 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Bernhard Castiglioni's DRUMMERWORLD.com