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Red Line Drummerworld

Vinnie Colaiuta
"Keep it Greasy " from Frank Zappa - Joe's Garage

by Rich Lackowski

(Track 3 from the Book CD)

Original Part:
(not included with the book's CD)

Colaiuta stats that Joe's Garage was one of the most challenging recording experiences of his career. The session originally was intended to last only a day, and produce a single tune, but the session went on for a month and yielded a double album. No doubt one of the most difficult songs on the album, and probably the one considered to be the "holy grail" of Vinnie's recordings among drumming fans, is "Keep it Greasy".

The tune alternates between 4/4, 19/16, and 21/16 time signatures. Amazingly, the tune was recorded in its entirety in one live take, with no punch-ins or overdubs! The following transcription is from the guitar solo passage, which is placed in 19/16 time and starts at 3:18

Let's start by locking in to the general tempo with this simplified groove in 4/4.

add the rest of the kick drum hits, but still keep the groove in 4/4 for now.

Now that we're warmed up and have most of the basic ingredients of the beat in place, let's get more comfortable playing in 19/16 time. This beat starts out like a simple four-on-the-floor 4/4 groove, but adds an extra three sixteenth notes at the very end. The first of these three sixteenth notes is played on the hi-hat, and the last two are played with the left hand on the snare drum.

Now, let's add all the kick drum hits while continuing to play the groove in 19/16 time.

Finally, add the pulse to the groove by accenting each downbeat on the hi-hat, and replace the last two snare hits in the last exercise with silence. Practice this beat over and over again until you can play it smoothly and comfortably without counting.

"Keep It Greasy" Full Song
(not included with the book's CD)

Rich Lackowski: On the Beaten Path
The Drummer's Guide to the Genre and the Legends Who Defined it

from Alfred: