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  #1  
Old 12-06-2009, 11:52 PM
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Default Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

I am wondering, is this true? Guys like agdd and marotta were giants in their day. And they will say it themselves, it's because of their groove and simplicity ( with a pinch of brilliance of course). But today, sessions are really starting to die out. Marotta said he only really learned the drums at 19, and within months he was getting sessions, that was because of his groove and natural timing. They made a living of sessions, where the drummer was the foundation and had to feel the pocket. Now bands are what gets you a living, and it seems that more and more bands want a guy who can also be a showman.

Is it a matter of mixing showmanship with groove. Or do bands today just want gravity blasts and triplets at 900bpm? Groove REAL groove seems to be almost a lost art form with todays young drummers....does it?....

I'm just trying to start a debate, don't go attacking me because you think the statement is wrong! I am a firm believer of groove
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  #2  
Old 12-07-2009, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

I totally agree aswell as repect where your point is coming from. Your statment is quite accurate in the sence that well lets take a beginner drummer just picking up the sticks... if i had a guess i would say that his/her influence and motivation to play to begin with would most likey because of someone who plays as hard and as fast as his/her mind and body will allow. But dont get me wrong im sure there are still SOMEWHAT of an amount of people who get into drumming because of... hmm lets say Bernard Purdie or Jojo Mayer, but if ive said it once ive said it one thousand times (in my opinion) grooves are definatly overlooked (in a majority sense) because of how much the metal seen has grown. I'll admit when i started drumming when i was thirteen i wanted to be just like David Silveria (korn) or drum like a respectable lunatic like Keith Moon. But now that im a little older (21) i totally respect bands like... lets say Death Cab For Cutie (Jason McGerr), for smoothing out a completey complex yet very mellow groove, i love it! As im sure that there is a metal head out there that probably hates what is just typed, but im my opinion this subject is true. As of lately i have found myself practising with just a bass drum, snare and hi-hat to increase my attention to detail (so to speak) to explore many variables with a small amount of drums in the land of grooves. Aswell becoming very intimate and personal with those three peices of my kit because i love grooves and shuffles and have found that when im in the element of 'the groove' i am so deep in the pocket im pretty much gone from reality.... I have had this conversation with many people who work at the drum shops i buy from. Okay now im rambling... but that was just my P's and Q's
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

I don't think it's dead. As long as there are bands writing songs they will need groove. Here is a clip of a very fine drummer playing with The Whitlams.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygi7RQMLcAw
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  #4  
Old 12-07-2009, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

Hey. I'd say it's like a lot of things when you start out... as a beginner you have no idea about how much time and energy more advanced players put into things like timing, feel and technique etc. You probably don't even know what all the fuss is about timing and groove - hence why so many beginners have no idea when they're going off the beat. The more you stick at it the more these new worlds open up to you and you realise what a challenge it is you're in for (I'm still petrified of what problems with my playing lurk out there that I've not discovered yet, the ones I know about will already take a lifetime to fix!). If from the start people tell you that simplicity and timing is your top priority then that'd definitely help to achieving that. In my generation (the Nirvana era!) most people who were just picking up drums would try to replicate what was on the cds they were listening to and bands they saw live... 9 times out of 10 probably thinking about beating the hell out of the kit over things like timing and feel. Not that the timing and feel isn't there on the cds, you just need the guidance to hear that at first or it goes over your head. I wish I'd had more direction from the start.... that's the responsibility of all of us to pass onto new drummers what they should and shouldn't prioritise from the beginning. In my opinion, when drummers mature a bit and practice with smaller kits they're not getting old and dull, they're getting wise and focused.
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  #5  
Old 12-07-2009, 04:36 AM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

I don't think groove has died, but there is much more in the market these days trying to appeal to your chops than to your time and feel. Young drummers especially are always going to be drawn towards flash and style, even those with an early gift for groove.

Besides, a good groove requires confidence, which most drummers gain with time and experience. I could keep time when I was nine, but I didn't really boogie until after high school.
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  #6  
Old 12-07-2009, 09:13 AM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

Well, I would be concerned about the opportunities for drummers starting their careers to get that experience. Or at least, not as easily as it was when the players mentioned started coming up. Not at all putting myself in that illustrious class, but I remember 95% of my first sessions being demos.

Who today hires actual drummers to record demos?

Well not as many as used. Because back then, there were zero alternatives - you put mics in front of a real drummer, or you wouldn't hear any drums on your final recording.

That added up to LOTS of demo sessions. Where you made a little $$ (and I mean little) BUT you got to record with rhythm sections A LOT.

Where and how do guys get that amount of experience today.

Sure it's easier to record yourself now (because it is infinitely cheaper), but that doesn't really equate to playing tons of different music, with a revolving cast of players... and with so many different producer/clients to please. Recording at home usually boils down to challenging yourself, and maybe playing with a consistent group of buddies.

Absolutely better than nothing, but a far cry from the boot camp that I'm sure Gadd, Marrotta, etc. went through.

So has "grooved died" - well obviously not.

But I think it has had an effect on the average age of the "A list" session drummers doing major pop records. I mean, Hal Blaine was like 37 when he recorded "Good Vibrations" Steve Gadd was 32 when he recorded "Aja", and Jeff Porcaro was 22(!) when he tracked "Lowdown" for Boz Scaggs.

Now so many performing those same type of jobs (including Steve Gadd still) are much closer to 50 years old - which is great for me (being 50+ years old) - but I find it hard to not wonder if there is a correlation here.

No real solution being offer here - the work/experience thing changed quite a while ago - but clearly I think guys starting today have to work extra hard to ferret out the kind of opportunities for experience that used to be commonplace.

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Old 12-07-2009, 09:42 AM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by wy yung View Post
I don't think it's dead. As long as there are bands writing songs they will need groove. Here is a clip of a very fine drummer playing with The Whitlams.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ygi7RQMLcAw
Thanks for reminding me of that little gem, Wy. I get tingles every time I hear it. Gorgeous.

I'm not sure the groove will die and there seems to be no shortage of it; there so much of it around it's ridiculous. What I see is a loss of subtlety and the discernment to appreciate that subtelty.

Imagine that Whitlams track with a drum machine. How the drummer plays his rim clicks at different volumes, little 16ths variations on the hats, the strategic variation between sticking and backbeat, later building with gradually more pronounced fills, the subtle opening of the hats as the song builds, moving to the ride, the well-placed extra accents ... it's all as tasty as can be.

Grooves are easy to come by with drum machines but it takes serious programming on high quality software by someone who really knows drumming to produce a drum track like that ... and then there's the matter of the beat breathing ...

Last edited by Pollyanna; 12-07-2009 at 09:53 AM.
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  #8  
Old 12-07-2009, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by Bosphorus View Post
I am wondering, is this true? Guys like agdd and marotta were giants in their day. And they will say it themselves, it's because of their groove and simplicity ( with a pinch of brilliance of course). But today, sessions are really starting to die out. Marotta said he only really learned the drums at 19, and within months he was getting sessions, that was because of his groove and natural timing. They made a living of sessions, where the drummer was the foundation and had to feel the pocket. Now bands are what gets you a living, and it seems that more and more bands want a guy who can also be a showman.

Is it a matter of mixing showmanship with groove. Or do bands today just want gravity blasts and triplets at 900bpm? Groove REAL groove seems to be almost a lost art form with todays young drummers....does it?....

I'm just trying to start a debate, don't go attacking me because you think the statement is wrong! I am a firm believer of groove
shhhhhhh dont tell anyone (shifty eyes) but us drummers who play at 900bpm are usually just stealing all the grooves from you guys with actual talent and speeding em up ;)
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  #9  
Old 12-07-2009, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by joeysnare View Post
shhhhhhh dont tell anyone (shifty eyes) but us drummers who play at 900bpm are usually just stealing all the grooves from you guys with actual talent and speeding em up ;)
Alright, let's see you turn that 900bpm blast beat into a Purdie shuffle! :)

I don't think it has much to do with metal or the demise of session drummers. I think it has more to do with electronic beats, pro tools and "perfect" timing, drumlines, and anything else that permeates our drumming culture that lacks a basic "you can't help but bob your head" kind of groove...
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

Maybe I should ask this in the technique forum but what the hell is a "gravity blast beat"?
(I grew up in the 70's).

PS Listen to recordings that were made in the years before drum machines, it had to groove or it usually didn't sell.
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  #11  
Old 12-07-2009, 10:11 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

I think it's a classic case of glorifying the past. I'm willing to bet there were just as many "crap" drummers around back then, but these have been lost to time, and we now only remember the great ones.

In 30 years, the same will happen to today's drummers... We'll remember the amazing players, and completely ignore and forget the others, thus creating the illusion in our heads that all drummers of this era were breathtakingly amazing.

Then again, I may be wrong ;-)
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  #12  
Old 12-07-2009, 10:15 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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In 30 years, the same will happen to today's drummers... We'll remember the amazing players, and completely ignore and forget the others, thus creating the illusion in our heads that all drummers of this era were breathtakingly amazing.
I wish you were right about forgetting the crap drummers, but there seems to be this alarming trend, at least here on drummerworld, of artificially elevating crap drummers and crap drumming to the level of the greats. If crap drummers are equal to great drummers, then I must be a great drummer right?
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:17 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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I wish you were right about forgetting the crap drummers, but there seems to be this alarming trend, at least here on drummerworld, of artificially elevating crap drummers and crap drumming to the level of the greats. If crap drummers are equal to great drummers, then I must be a great drummer right?
I wouldn't confuse adolescent or naive idolising with what posterity will remember as true greatness. Don't worry, everyone gets it eventually.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:22 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
Alright, let's see you turn that 900bpm blast beat into a Purdie shuffle! :)

I don't think it has much to do with metal or the demise of session drummers. I think it has more to do with electronic beats, pro tools and "perfect" timing, drumlines, and anything else that permeates our drumming culture that lacks a basic "you can't help but bob your head" kind of groove...
I agree with this... I think out culture in general has been taken over by "extreme" this or "extreme" that... hence all the focus on speed and chops without any seeming regard for feel and emotion.

But the permeation of digital "cutting in", playing to click tracks all the time etc.. has also led to some of the soul being sucked out of even the simplest music / beats.
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  #15  
Old 12-07-2009, 10:26 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

I don't think the concept of groove has died. Plenty of drummers out there who have great groove. And plenty of pre-played grooves are availability for be purchased for sessions.
And I'll even admit, some people have learned to program grooves with feel.

But the concept of the groove drummer in the studio, like the people mentioned in the OP, may have died.

There is a great interview with Kenny Arnoff in the new issue of Drumhead magazine that touches on some of these topics. The interview discusses how there is just isn't the money there used to be in session work, and how so much work is either low budget, or replaced with the fact that producers can buy licensed recordings of well known drummers for use in songs without actually having to hire a name drummer.

And obviously, so much modern pop music is all programmed, with out even considering hiring a real drummer.

If you read the great Hal Blaine's book, he spend some 10 years gigging in strip clubs, bars and other situations long before he became a studio drummer, and that breading ground no longer exists. The DJ and pre-recorded music has replaced so many live bands, that it's tougher to develop real world skills, even if youtube makes it easier to learn new stuff from the comfort of your practice space.

And in the last ten to twenty years, how many new people have become known for doing a ton of session work? Josh Freese, and you can probably count Kenny Arnoff for moving from just playing with John Cougar to being a studio guy, but it's clear he was an established name before becoming a studio guy. Curt Bisquera is maybe a 3rd guy. Outside the passing of Jeff Porcaro & Earl Palmer, we mostly we still talk about JR. Robison, Gadd, Vinnie doing the big name sessions.

But it's a far cry from when the Marrotta brothers, Craig Krampf, Russ Knunkel, Mike Baird, in addition to aforementioned Gadd, Pocaro, Vinnie, JR, Hal Blaine, and others were doing big name sessions all the time.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:31 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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I wouldn't confuse adolescent or naive idolising with what posterity will remember as true greatness. Don't worry, everyone gets it eventually.
Man I sure hope so. I think there has been a philosophy shift though. I think the new philosophy is that there is no difference in ability or skill and that all drumming is equal. I'm wondering if we are starting to see the effect of changes in education philosophy. 'If Johnny wants to believe that 2+2=5, then we should let him. Johnny's self esteem is more important than his having the right answer." This equalization philosophy has also been applied to specific songs. We are now supposed to make believe that "The Hey Song" is the equivalent of Beethoven's 9th.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:33 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by sqadan View Post
I agree with this... I think out culture in general has been taken over by "extreme" this or "extreme" that... hence all the focus on speed and chops without any seeming regard for feel and emotion.

But the permeation of digital "cutting in", playing to click tracks all the time etc.. has also led to some of the soul being sucked out of even the simplest music / beats.
+1 on the "extreme" topic. Hey hasn't anyone played singles at the possibility of human capacity yet? How will we know when they do? I'll leave that for others to figure out while I concentrate on making the music and the audience feel good...
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:38 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
I think it's a classic case of glorifying the past. I'm willing to bet there were just as many "crap" drummers around back then, but these have been lost to time, and we now only remember the great ones.

In 30 years, the same will happen to today's drummers... We'll remember the amazing players, and completely ignore and forget the others, thus creating the illusion in our heads that all drummers of this era were breathtakingly amazing.

Then again, I may be wrong ;-)
Well, that is always true. And it's true of music, athletes, musicians, art, and numerous others things where people remember nostalgically of the "good ole' days" and struggle to embrace what is going on currently. There is no doubt that 20 years from now people will be looking fondly at today's "up and comers".

But I don't think that is what the OP's point was.

He was more referring to the ability of the guy who could groove well to make a living and show up on recordings.

There was a time when a drummer who had good feel and time could make a living doing jingles, demos, and other sessions, and/or playing clubs. Now a days, you see so many name musicians who you'd think were set but need a 2nd source of income to make ends meet.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:40 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
And in the last ten to twenty years, how many new people have become known for doing a ton of session work? Josh Freese, and you can probably count Kenny Arnoff for moving from just playing with John Cougar to being a studio guy, but it's clear he was an established name before becoming a studio guy. Curt Bisquera is maybe a 3rd guy. Outside the passing of Jeff Porcaro & Earl Palmer, we mostly we still talk about JR. Robison, Gadd, Vinnie doing the big name sessions.
What about guys like Thomas Lang, Marco Minnemann, Virgil Donati, Mike Mangini, Dave DiCenso, Flo Dauner, Brian Mantia etc, etc? They're all very well-known drummers who can be described as session drummers, at least the way I think of the term. I'm sure there are tons more out there as well.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:41 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
Well, that is always true. And it's true of music, athletes, musicians, art, and numerous others things where people remember nostalgically of the "good ole' days" and struggle to embrace what is going on currently. There is no doubt that 20 years from now people will be looking fondly at today's "up and comers".

But I don't think that is what the OP's point was.

He was more referring to the ability of the guy who could groove well to make a living and show up on recordings.

There was a time when a drummer who had good feel and time could make a living doing jingles, demos, and other sessions, and/or playing clubs. Now a days, you see so many name musicians who you'd think were set but need a 2nd source of income to make ends meet.
OK, fair enough. I'll readily admit I don't know much about how this all worked in the old days :-)
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:53 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by Naigewron View Post
What about guys like Thomas Lang, Marco Minnemann, Virgil Donati, Mike Mangini, Dave DiCenso, Flo Dauner, Brian Mantia etc, etc? They're all very well-known drummers who can be described as session drummers, at least the way I think of the term. I'm sure there are tons more out there as well.
Yeah, they're all doing sessions here and there, but many of those names are more well known for mind blowing chops than doing dozens of records per year.
As great of drummers as they are, most of those names aren't getting called to play on numerous major label recording sessions, and ending up in the radio on frequent basis.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Yeah, they're all doing sessions here and there, but many of those names are more well known for mind blowing chops than doing dozens of records per year.
As great of drummers as they are, most of those names aren't getting called to play on numerous major label recording sessions, and ending up in the radio on frequent basis.

Yes, all very fine players, but as yet they're not A-list session players like many of those mentioned above.

And there is really no better resource for checking this than here on Drummerworld - just call up each player's page and check out those "performed with" columns on the right.

If you just want to check actual recordings then go to - allmusic.com - and plug in each player's names and hit the "Credits" tab. For instance, Vinnie Colaiuta has eight entire pages of album credits (almost 30 different projects in 2008 alone). That's more than 2 nationally known projects a month!

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Old 12-07-2009, 11:51 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

think about it, we all know marotta, gadd and so on. But back in the 70's and 80's it wasn't just the cream of the crop ( i am told) loads and loads of guys were making a living of sessions. But sessions isn't really the point, mabye it acted as a catalyst, but it wasn't the reason for groove playing....was it?

the best guys of EVERY generation as long as recording has existed and will exsist will get session jobs, it's when the average guy gets one is when they are flooding the market, thats not happening today! Marotta said in an interview...." you could have clubs for hands and clubs for feet and play on a recording" as long as you could keep a beat you were hired, he said that technology made some drummers sound good when they were bad. But that obviously wasn't about known session player, just random working ones. Sure only a few months after he learned to play the drums he got sessions!
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:49 AM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
Alright, let's see you turn that 900bpm blast beat into a Purdie shuffle! :)

I don't think it has much to do with metal or the demise of session drummers. I think it has more to do with electronic beats, pro tools and "perfect" timing, drumlines, and anything else that permeates our drumming culture that lacks a basic "you can't help but bob your head" kind of groove...
DAMN YOU! ya caught me , i cant do a shuffle let alone a purdie shuffle to save my life lol. I should really get on that....
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  #25  
Old 12-08-2009, 11:33 PM
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Default Re: Has groove died due to the demise of sessions?

im only 17 and i love to groove, there was a band i was listening to the other day and their drummer was just groovin' til the cows came home

i wish my future could be session drumming but its so hard to find people wanting sessions^^
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