Anyone ever compete in the GC drum off?

Bastille

Member
As someone who works at the GC, I can tell you that showmanship is the big one, but you have to be able to a hold a groove as well. You can supplement less-than-godly chops with a few stick flips and a little crowd eye contact and outweigh the guy who played an fundamentally incredible solo but did it with the emotion of a cement brick.

At the end of the day, you're competing more against the politics than you are the other drummers but both aspects are important. The company won't push someone through who has the personality of a toad but they also aren't going to award someone who can't hold a 4/4 beat.

The good news is that the br00tal metalcore kids never make it past the 1st round so you can rest assured that Johnny Blast Beat won't beat you in the competition.

Just my $.02.
 

Aeolian

Platinum Member
I don't have the personality for that. You have to be a hot dog to do that stuff. Not putting him down, I wish I had the stones to do that. It went a little long. Very happy to support everyone else, let the ones who crave it get the spotlight.
The interesting thing is that if you watch the rest of it, he's just playing impeccable groove. Very little messing around. And I've seen him with a number of good bass players and it's like his right foot is tied to their right hands.

The thing here is to be able to switch gears, from totally supportive to engaging the audience all on your own. I'm not sure this would be competitive with the guys who win the drumoffs, but as another gear to liven up the show it sure contributes. A case of preparedness (this cat has a BA in percussion performance, including mallets) and talent creating the confidence to light things up. He toured with Little Richard for many years and was kind of pushed into the showmanship thing. As you say, it takes a certain fearlessness (that I don't have either, which is why I went from the frontline to the backline) to pull this or the drumoff shenanigans off. Really narcissistic hotdogs alienate the audience. But people who can be relaxed and have fun with it engage the audience. Which is also what I've seen be successful in the drumsoffs.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
The interesting thing is that if you watch the rest of it, he's just playing impeccable groove. Very little messing around. And I've seen him with a number of good bass players and it's like his right foot is tied to their right hands.

The thing here is to be able to switch gears, from totally supportive to engaging the audience all on your own. I'm not sure this would be competitive with the guys who win the drumoffs, but as another gear to liven up the show it sure contributes. A case of preparedness (this cat has a BA in percussion performance, including mallets) and talent creating the confidence to light things up. He toured with Little Richard for many years and was kind of pushed into the showmanship thing. As you say, it takes a certain fearlessness (that I don't have either, which is why I went from the frontline to the backline) to pull this or the drumoff shenanigans off. Really narcissistic hotdogs alienate the audience. But people who can be relaxed and have fun with it engage the audience. Which is also what I've seen be successful in the drumsoffs.
The drum solo part didn't really match the rest of the show IMO either. It was completely different in approach and feel. It would have worked better at a high energy rock show, but it kind of sticks out in a blues show. Blues, even though it really depends on the drums, is so NOT about the drumming. I guess I don't like seeing hot dog Blues drummers. Hey the audience liked it though. Still I would never do that. I'm not even a fan of drum solos in a Blues context. Rock? Sure. But Blues? Doing that kind of solo in a Blues show, to me, is like delivering a eulogy and juggling at the same time.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
i know its their rules so they can judge what they want but showmanship should not count as far as im concerned. Neil Peart doesn't change expression at all when playing so i guess he would lose if he showed up??
 

412drummer

Senior Member
i know its their rules so they can judge what they want but showmanship should not count as far as im concerned. Neil Peart doesn't change expression at all when playing so i guess he would lose if he showed up??
If it were not for name recognition based off what I am hearing that seems like the case.
 

percussionsensei

Junior Member
Hey, I just signed up for the Drum-Off for the first time. I took the kit for a test drive before signing about and got VERY nervous. Never had that happen to me before...
But anyways, I was trying to write a very technical, very musical solo in the style of Jojo Mayer, Mark Guiliana, and with a little Steve Jordan groove thrown in. HOWEVER, based on what I've read in this thread, it sounds like showmanship and audience participation/reaction plays a major part, which concerns me, to say the least. I've always hated the little tricks and campy audience participation things that the winners do, it's not my thing.

Long story short, I'm wondering if I need to work on these little tricks if I want to win OR can I just write a really awesome solo. Any idea how heavily these things weigh on your overall score?

Blake B.
 

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Hey, I just signed up for the Drum-Off for the first time. I took the kit for a test drive before signing about and got VERY nervous. Never had that happen to me before...
But anyways, I was trying to write a very technical, very musical solo in the style of Jojo Mayer, Mark Guiliana, and with a little Steve Jordan groove thrown in. HOWEVER, based on what I've read in this thread, it sounds like showmanship and audience participation/reaction plays a major part, which concerns me, to say the least. I've always hated the little tricks and campy audience participation things that the winners do, it's not my thing.

Long story short, I'm wondering if I need to work on these little tricks if I want to win OR can I just write a really awesome solo. Any idea how heavily these things weigh on your overall score?

Blake B.
I think you should just think in terms of what you'd want to see if you happened to walk in on a guy playing a drum solo. 9 times out of 10, if you're doing stuff that's really technical, nobody will be paying attention to you. There's a reason people go to the bathroom or get a drink and a hotdog at a rock concert when the drummer takes a solo. Just be aware of that. Be entertaining and have fun.
 

drummerman42

Senior Member
I competed 3x here in Chicago. It was great experience, and you get to see a lot of the local raw talent. Some of them go for the pure enjoyment and some go for the pure thrill of being in the spotlight. I treated it almost like a clinic and just went through a solo that I was doing at the time with my band, all in all it was a great experience...
 

voldak

Senior Member
This year will be the third time I have done it. I've had a good time every time, but i've always been disappointed. I was hoping to be able to interact with some other drummers and "talk drums", see what they are working on, learn some things. This has never been the case. Especially after the initial preliminaries.

Overall, it's a good experience. Don't be upset if you don't win. It's not that you aren't good, it's just that you aren't what they are looking for.
 

SAINTDRUMS

Senior Member
I've never entered the drum-off itself, but I have been a judge 6 times in Rhode Island (and will be again this year), so I can give some perspective on what judges typically look for and favor. Things not to do; blast beats and overuse of double bass and triplets. We look for groove, creativity, a "flow" to the solo, technical ability, showmanship, and obviously chops. There are 5 criteria that you are judged by - skills & technique, groove, originality, stage presence, and overall performance.

It's not about being the fastest or who can keep their sticks in perpetual motion in the air while playing. It's the total package. Some advice - do your homework; study videos of other drummers from past performances and choose elements you like and think might work in your solo. Go one step further and video yourself playing your solo and make adjustments based on what you see. Be creative and try to think outside of the box - you want to stand out and show your creativity. Try to create a solo that is cohesive and has a flow to it - avoid the "sneakers in a dryer" solo. Arrange and demonstrate a solo that shows you put thought into it; one that has a beginning and an end. Remember to practice your solo to a timer - you'll have 3 minutes to play. Get used to that length of time so you can ensure you'll fit everything in that you want to and not run out of time.

One last thing worth mentioning that would spoil an otherwise great performance - you'll have 5 minutes to adjust the 5 piece kit to your liking. Make it count and use that time wisely. Remember to check that things are tightened up. There's nothing worse than having a cymbal suddenly tilt away from you or have a tom fall out of position because you didn't tighten it it enough.
 
Last edited:

Souljacker

Silver Member
Interesting words from Eric Moore (2003 winner) on Facebook.

"ATTENTION DRUMMERS: For those of you who are entering this years drum off at guitar center music store. I first off want to wish you good luck in persuing your dreams. Words of advise the only way you have a shot is to learn electronics meaning the roland pad. If you do not incorporate this into your solo and kill it. You do not have a chance of winning. Thats this years advice. Good luck."


Thoughts?
 
Top