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  #1  
Old 08-22-2017, 02:21 PM
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larryace larryace is offline
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Default How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

Just wondering if your bandmates are actively involved with what you play....or if they don't even consider it. Or something in between. I'm referring to them trying to dictate...or suggest...what you should play when doing a new song. I have nothing negative to say about that, I don't experience it much, I'm just curious how much input you guys get when you do a new song for instance.

I've been asked to play quarter notes on the kick, when I defaulted to a busier pattern. Sometimes, I'm asked to play louder or softer, but I'm more referring to the note choice of the drum part... if your mates have definite opinions...or not about what they want you to play. Or do they leave it all up to you.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

In the band I'm in, sometimes, I'll have a couple of different options for patterns, and I'll ask them which one they like better because I trust their opinion. Ultimately, my job as a drummer is to support the song, and I think that they should have a voice in regarding what kind of support they want or need. However, once again, I only do this because I trust them and they all have good ears for what sounds good.

At church, I ask for no one's opinion because I learn the part as it was written. If the leader doesn't like it, he needs to pick a different song. The drum parts these days in modern worship music are horrible, but I do it because it's what I feel I'm "called" to do. Trends change, and I'm willing to wait it out. Drum parts used to be a lot better, and I think they will get there again. In short, no, I do not ask for input or feedback at church but I do with the band that I'm in outside of church.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:36 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

I'm in a cover situation. In cover situations, I have received almost no input. Which is what I desire. :)

In an originals situation, I could understand dialog on what the drum part should be. But in a cover situation, I would not be a big fan of receiving a ton of input.
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Old 08-22-2017, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

Depends on the project. With the stuff i write there is little to no input. With the stuff other people write it depends. Usually they let me figure out what works and then ask for changes in specific spots. Hits that might not be obvious/necessary but that they hear/want to hear. For covers no one tells me a thing. I just listen to the record or find the sheet music and then adjust based on how the other people play the song.
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Old 08-22-2017, 03:30 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

It depends on the musicians I'm working with. If it's someone else's project, I find I get more input on exactly what the person wants. In a band setting, especially with musicians I know, I get very little.
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Old 08-22-2017, 03:58 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

Quote:
Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Just wondering if your bandmates are actively involved with what you play....or if they don't even consider it. Or something in between. I'm referring to them trying to dictate...or suggest...what you should play when doing a new song. I have nothing negative to say about that, I don't experience it much, I'm just curious how much input you guys get when you do a new song for instance.

I've been asked to play quarter notes on the kick, when I defaulted to a busier pattern. Sometimes, I'm asked to play louder or softer, but I'm more referring to the note choice of the drum part... if your mates have definite opinions...or not about what they want you to play. Or do they leave it all up to you.
Interestingly enough, i have a sticky situation with regards to the two different settings i play drums for

One, my cover band that plays range of 80s and 90s rock at pubs - these guys are in it for a long haul, however we are all tuned to our own parts only 99 percent of the time. None of them know enough about drums or care enough to push their agenda or two cents about anything small or big mistakes i may make during practice. Therefore it is actually harder for me to keep to the standards i hold to playing proper accurate cover. Well not really actually... what i mean to say is that an environment as such forces me to work harder and listen to the original tracks more and more so that i can correct myself of improper part playing... because nobody will ever tell me what im playing wrong in the band. In fact i may or may not have been playing a certain part completely clear or accurate all this time but as long as it isnt OUT OF BEAT, we make a habit of ignoring it and move on as long as it sounds good. The 4 of us eventually reach a silent convergence of satisfaction point in all of the parts we play. If anything, i probably comment on how id like to hear the guitarists play their notes moreso in general here

On the other hand.. the organized church worship team i play for... we have number of dedicated intrsumentalists who are trained who ALWAYS ALWAYS has something to say about my playing at any given parts i may or may not play correctly. In a way emulating the same worship songs played already by its original song writer/creator that we are to "copy" and paste into our own mix is essentially a "cover band". So in this particular cover band... they will tell me everything from "ur supposed to come in with the crash half beat early", "make sure u dont ever slow down at that bar", "can u make this part with way fancier fills?", "can u make these 24 bars build up gradually from rim click to full out accordingly?"

Never stops. I only realized after nearly a year that i drum in two polar opposite environments on a weekly basis. It is interesting... im not sure which i like bett3r...
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Old 08-22-2017, 04:22 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

To me there have been two types of input...well, maybe three.
Bandmates that are so good and meticulous about theirs and everyone's playing that everything is scrutinized. Bandmates that think they are all that and blame the drummer for their every mistake. This type tends not to be able to follow a click and will lash out if you try to prove that timing failures are on him and not you. And finally bandmates that can't play anything right and don't really care, so long as they are playing in front of a crowd, no matter how bad.

For me, the best learning experience has been with the first scenario. Sometimes it's been tough to get through a practice session, but music has been the most alive and once we connected, we had the most fun, but probably the slowest in getting anything done. I've had this same type of musicians in my worship bands and probably the best experience I've ever had.

I can't work in scenarios 2 and bored out of my mind in scenario 3. I'll take a bunch of annoying perfectionists any day.
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Old 08-22-2017, 04:34 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

I get very little these days. We know what we're doing so nobody treads on anybody's toes. Not worth it.

I've always found that people who feel the need to complain are usually found wanting themselves. Empty vessels........

If I was in a situation where I was being paid enough to take someone's input then that's cool they're paying me for it.
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  #9  
Old 08-22-2017, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

It depends on who it is, and the situation.

The worst was when I was in a band where everyone else in the band was a drummer, actively drumming in other bands. They had lots of input, until I started giving them input on their instruments. I'd probably never get into a band like that again. It wasn't fun constantly being under deep inspection, even though they tripled my pay. What's three times nothing?

My current band is interesting, because I am usually given creative license on any part that I play, whether it's drums, fretless bass, guitar, synth, piano, banjo, trombone, kazoo, theremin, ukelele, harp, or backing vocals.

But with our new album, it has been a different story because it is also a musical. On top of the band, we also have french horn, flute, trumpets, and a full-blown orchestra. Every string, horn, etc., on the album is REAL. We've been working on this album for five years. Mixing is a nightmare, but I digress.

In the really early stages, we were recording our parts as the band. Our music director, who was also leading the script writing and character development, had some visions about the parts that he was writing for the orchestral players, brass, and winds.

I could not possibly read his mind. As a result, he would be directing my drumming, indicating that we'd need a bigger fill here, or back off in this section due to character dialog, or whatever needed to happen that I might not intuitively know about. Sometimes he would describe what would be happening and I could give my own interpretation. Other times, he would just flat-out tell me what he wanted me to play.

I accepted this in lieu of having my music written out for me, because I still had SOME creative freedom, even though the framework is more strict. He had enough writing to do for all of the other players, the characters, foley art, and so on.
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  #10  
Old 08-22-2017, 05:01 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

I am open to suggestions but in my last 2 bands no suggestions at all. In a blues trio before that, the guitarist occasionally had input, but he could never articulate what he wanted. He spoke in 'boom-bap-klam' kinds of language.
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  #11  
Old 08-22-2017, 05:14 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

mostly left to my own but sometimes some of the input is really annoying. We play S.O.B by Nathanial Ratliffe and I play the original drum part as close as possible.

The singer didn't like it and wanted something very different. My opinion is that it is because he could not get used to such a different groove but I think the groove fits that tune.
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Old 08-22-2017, 05:39 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

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Originally Posted by AzHeat View Post
Band mates that think they are all that and blame the drummer for their every mistake. This type tends not to be able to follow a click and will lash out if you try to prove that timing failures are on him and not you.
My situation to a T. I play in an acoustic rockabilly duo, and my partner is a professional musician. Has been for 15 years and barely scrapes by on the band hopping he does outside of our gigs (and he still lives with his parents at 51 years old).

I've learned to get a beer in him first thing when we arrive at the venue so he'll be less of a narcissistic control freak. I've talked to a few of his past band mates & they all are amazed I've hung with him for the 2 years we've been playing together.
Most wanted to punch him out on stage by the 10th month because while he says, "Be you" when you're first hired, he'll slowly control how you play, what you wear & how you act because "it's his band".

I've managed to find a happy medium and that's kept things on the level (that & his beer).

He knows if this gig ends, it ends & I'm happy moving on to other things. He NEEDS to play music to eat. I don't and maybe that keeps him treating me well and letting me play how I feel is best for the songs we write.

I know one day I'll get fed up & leave like so many before me. At least I'll leave knowing I had fun while it lasted.
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  #13  
Old 08-22-2017, 05:48 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

Most times I get very little. Occasionally the band leader will ask me to do something a little differently on our original material, but like most everyone else is saying, leaves me alone on the covers. Also like others have said, as long as I'm on the beat and not varying tempo, they're cool with what I'm doing.

Usually what I get for input is more regarding dynamics the the actual drum parts themselves.

I'm far more critical of what I'm doing than them, and that works out just fine.
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  #14  
Old 08-22-2017, 06:26 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

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Originally Posted by Frank View Post
I'm in a cover situation. In cover situations, I have received almost no input. Which is what I desire. :)

In an originals situation, I could understand dialog on what the drum part should be. But in a cover situation, I would not be a big fan of receiving a ton of input.
That's exactly my situation.
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  #15  
Old 08-22-2017, 06:45 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

On covers, I don't think I'm ever given direction, unless there's a specific part that needs to be done differently, such as inventing an ending on a song that normally fades.

For original songs, it varies. Sometimes I'm given a general reference ("play it like xxxx"), sometimes more specific ("Play the fill from xxxx"), and sometimes, I'm just told to do what I do, meaning apply the same sensibilities that I did at some previous time. There's one band where I'm basically on my own 99.9% of the time. Once in a great while I'll get some direction, but it's usually not too specific and more of a suggestion than an instruction.

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Old 08-22-2017, 09:57 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

I've had lots of different experiences.

Everything from guys who think everything I come up with is gold, all the way to specific parts and fills being dictated. I've also had some more odd situations where it's a certain "feel" or "type" of thing they want me to do. They might say, "I was thinking something kinda, mastadon-y here?" meaning that I had to come up with a part which wasn't dictated, but should make the section feel a bit like a mastadon song. I actually don't mind that. At first I usually don't know but then I think about what that drummer might do for the music I'm hearing and typically come up with something interesting. Along those lines, but appreciated much less is where they'll hear a part in music they like and then ask me to do almost or exactly the same thing in their music. Not a fan of that one.
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Old 08-22-2017, 10:00 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

Mostly from one of our lead singers. He's VERY complementary to me, off stage, and one. But, sometimes he'll ask that I play a song slower, or occasionally that I NOT play a fill in certain places. He's also commented if he feels something is off on a fill, which happened one time. Sometimes he's right and sometimes he's wrong. When I get these comments, I try to accommodate the best I can and try to learn something. The hard part is when he's wrong.
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Old 08-23-2017, 12:43 AM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

I'm in two bands right now, one of which is mostly originals (some of which I created the drum part, and others which were written before I joined the band) and the other of which is pure covers; plus I play in a contemporary praise and worship team at a church. Oddly enough, I play all three in pretty much the same way -- I play the song as musically as possible in my own style, while observing the original content and general feel of each song. I get very few complaints and a lot of compliments.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:43 AM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

I'm in a few bands, and a church band on Sundays. Most of the time I don't get much input from anyone, which is pretty nice because I actually do end up playing some pretty crazy and hard stuff sometimes. I think most of them trust me because what I play generally sounds good, but if I try something that sounds bad they let me know. I think a lot of musicians stop worrying about you and stop giving feedback when you start making good drum choices in music and building yourself a good reputation by approaching every song as musically as possible. I on the other hand am always throwing ideas out for different guitar and bass parts and licks and stuff. I never criticize though
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:18 AM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
In a band setting, especially with musicians I know, I get very little.
Same here. I rarely get any input. If I get any input it's mostly when we discuss how to end a song. Big "finale" or something more subtle?
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:29 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

Another discussion we could have is figuring out what other musicians want from the drummer when they are trying to describe it using non-drummer terms. This is a skill I've developed over the years. It's like listening to someone speak with an unfamiliar accent; it takes some getting used to.

The most common misnomer I hear is talk about how the drums should speed up or slow down during certain sections. What this almost always means is playing double-time or half-time, not actually changing the tempo.

I also hear the term "groove" misused a lot, and what that means depends on who is using it. When people say it, they usually aren't talking about the feel of the tune. I used to think it meant to not do anything fancy, just lock in the beat, but sometimes that's not what they mean, either. In situations like that, I ask a lot of questions and play a lot of different things on the drums to figure out what they mean.

I like being asked to play a part like a specific song or drummer. "Go Keith Moon here." I get that. I can do that. One time a guy said, "And here the drums come in full Billion Dollar Babies." I took that literally and played the exact drum part that starts the song. He loved it. The funny thing is that I later discovered he didn't really mean to play that exact part, he just wanted me to capture the spirit of it. I don't think he even realized I played it exactly the same. But it worked!
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Old 08-23-2017, 02:42 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

Great post Lar. You should start a non drummer translation thread.

I get next to no input. I'm not sure what I like better, being left to my own devices, or having bandmates interested enough in the drum part to comment on it. Then again, I really can't comment in my own thread as I've had a total of zero rehearsals in this band. New songs get sprung on us on the bandstand. The other day, without warning, because an audience member requested it, We did Joe Jackson's "Is She Really Going Out With Him". The leader never played it either, so he was in the same boat as us.

Sometimes we are instructed to learn a certain song ahead of time, but again, we never rehearse it. We just do it on the bandstand with no discussion.

Kinda proud of that actually.
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Old 08-23-2017, 03:17 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

The lead singer in one of my bands likes to throw out random criticisms. They never make sense so I'm able to ignore them, like telling me the drums stop at a particular point in a song when they most certainly do not. Little things like that make it easy to say, "You got it!" and then completely forget what she said. Just another singer that doesn't get enough of hearing their own voice while performing!
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:42 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

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Originally Posted by 8Mile View Post
Another discussion we could have is figuring out what other musicians want from the drummer when they are trying to describe it using non-drummer terms. This is a skill I've developed over the years. It's like listening to someone speak with an unfamiliar accent; it takes some getting used to.
In college we had student music producers working with student sound engineers. Producer requests became a running joke among the engineers, things like "I need it to sound greener!"

Sounds like you've had your share of similarly unintelligible requests.
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Old 08-23-2017, 09:48 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

One time I was asked not to do a fill at the end of the song. I was just learning the song and still experimenting.

I was thrilled that someone cared enough about the music to make suggestions :)

Generally, I don't think anyone cares too much :(
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:35 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

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Originally Posted by opentune View Post
I am open to suggestions but in my last 2 bands no suggestions at all. In a blues trio before that, the guitarist occasionally had input, but he could never articulate what he wanted. He spoke in 'boom-bap-klam' kinds of language.
LOL- yes, for me also that boom-bap-klam language is hard to interpret, I have to then play it back in an easier-to-understand phonetic phrasing to make sure it's clear to both sides....

Last edited by newoldie; 08-23-2017 at 11:04 PM.
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Old 08-23-2017, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

Imagine if a non-musician told you that they were going to "compose" your parts, and every other part, and then they gave you this.

That's how Trout Mask Replica happened. (The drummer supposedly transcribed all of it.)

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Old 08-23-2017, 11:34 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

I very rarely get advice on drum parts, which is odd because I would probably have a way better attitude about it than I would have when I was younger. Peace and goodwill.
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Old 08-24-2017, 01:41 AM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

Was just thinking about this the other day. I'm sitting in with a band (friends of mine) and the lead guitar/singer has VERY specific ideas on beats, set vs hand drums on certain songs, etc. At first I was taken aback, and then tried one of his suggested beats. I like it, and it's a feel and pattern I wouldn't have thought of myself. He knows the style better than me, and for me I look at it as a challenge to nail exactly what they want, as quickly as I can. I'm learning a lot!

My original, instrumental trio on the other hand. No suggestions. It's understood that everyone will play what they feel is right, respecting the other player's space. That too is working well, and I'm feeling free to really stretch out and experiment with adding things I normally would only play alone in my basement.

I feel I've grown immensely as a player and a listener over the last few months due to these rehearsals and gigs.

Each situation is different, and I've learned to approach them as such.
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Old 08-24-2017, 03:07 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

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Originally Posted by newoldie View Post
LOL- yes, for me also that boom-bap-klam language is hard to interpret, I have to then play it back in an easier-to-understand phonetic phrasing to make sure it's clear to both sides....
I know teachers that use words like "caterpillar" to help younger students with understanding note values. Useful trick. I depped for a pro function band recently that had no transcribed parts. Bass player explained a drum pick-up fill for the intro of a song. "1, 2, shoobedoobedoo".....

Hmmm. Drumming mime when he got to "shoobedoobedoo".....

"Oh" I said you mean "rest rest caterpillar 4"?

Yup!
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Old 08-24-2017, 05:41 PM
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Default Re: How much input from others do you get concerning your drum part?

This is from a series of incredible interview sessions with Jabo Starks and James Brown, who played all the big hits for JB in his prime. If you haven't seen this series, you'll love all 4 sections, hearing the straight dope from these legendary funk/soul drummers about life with the JB groups, life on the road. Even Clyde expressing his disdain for his own most famous groove from "The Funky Drummer." Love these guys.

Re James Brown's input on what to drum: the link below is a hilarious recount from Jabo- JB would get on the drums and try to show him how to play a drum part.
Jabo would just nod and not say anything, then just go on playing what he always had been.

  • JB would then say, 'yea, that's it!'

Even a lot of the great singers can't speak Drum fluently...

https://youtu.be/5acs-zU0TVI?t=13m21s
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