Ever get disappointed in a drummer's music?

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Matt Bo Eder

Guest
This may be a hot topic, maybe. But I noticed whenever I really like a particular drummer, I probably like more the music he's playing in, and how his drumming compliments that. But when I was confronted with a drummer's album of music he wrote, and played drums on, I'm often disappointed.

This has happened to me several times now, and after this last time I thought I'd share it and ask if anybody else has experienced the same thing? I got to see one of my favorite drummers ever up close and personal, and the music they played was great. Of course, after the short 45-minute concert, they had his personal CD's to sell, so a friend bought one for me. I finally opened it up and popped it in the CD player (it was even signed by him), and after about 45 seconds, I'm ZZZzzzzzzzzzzz...........

I suppose it's rare when I find a drummer who composes stuff I really want to listen to over and over, and I guess I really shouldn't complain because I doubt I could write anything anyone would want to hear. I've spent most of my life re-gurgitating ideas and helping others realize their musical vision, which I'm completely happy with. I have found I don't have anything interesting to say musically, and I'm happy to just lay down grooves for others.

So part of me wants to complain, but part of me likes to celebrate these super-drummers who've stepped up and began to write their own music, because I know I couldn't do it. Has Gadd ever written anything of his own on his albums? Steve Jordan's latest Verbs album was all covers, and I really like that album.

Maybe I'm being nitpicky? But I've been disappointed quite a few times, so I doubt I'd be doing any spur-of-the-moment CD buying after seeing one of my idols. Unless I'm buying the band I went to see, like when Billy Cobham came to town, at the end of his show, he announced the CD's he was selling was that specific band playing almost the same show. I thought that was cool. But when a drummer comes out and does a concert of other music, then sells CD's of his personal music, I'll likely not buy.

Am I crazy? Disrespectful?
 

Stroman

Platinum Member
I know what you mean. I don't think it's because drummers can't write good music, but because the music I really really like to listen to isn't drum-centric.

I guess the best example I can give is the Foo Fighters. Love them! Dave Grohl was known first as a drummer, BUT when he writes for the Foo Fighters, he's writing songs. Just plain old, popular rock songs. Ones that I like to listen to.

When a drummer writes songs to showcase their drumming, I may appreciate it, but I can pretty much guarantee it won't be in any playlist that I listen to regularly.
 

KamaK

Platinum Member
I've been puzzled by my thoughts regarding this as well.

You have drummers, like Anika (2 threads up) where the songs she writes are exhibition pieces for her drumming. Great drummer. All great musicians. Not my thing.

Then you have bands like the Mercury Program, where the songs are drum-centric exhibitions just like Anika's . Less complicated even. I tend to listen to this as background music when I work.

So why the hell do I like one and am content to pass on the other?
 

81MC

Member
I think drumming is the hardest instrument to translate from skill set to western music. Personally, I always want to listen to a particular tune because the harmony pops into my head; very rarely does a drummers performance inspire me to go out of way to listen. When I'm playing along, I'm usually humming a melody to myself. 3 chords on a guitar or a few notes on a piano can always be made to sound really good, yet I think most very good drummers would lose my interest before long on their own. The skill sets are very different on a day to day basis and I think it has got to be incredibly hard to be good at both drums and songs. I had the opportunity to see Brian Blade live recently. Phenomenal drummer, and has played on several albums I listen to fairly often, but outside of one of his compositions I heard his own albums would probably never make my
playlist. But I could sit in the bar and listen to a mediocre young lady play acoustic guitar damn near every night... and I'm a drummer! Maybe that explains why my playing isn't progressing.
Of course I'm speaking in sweeping generalities of what I mostly consider music I enjoy most often; some of the greatest, most storied music in the world is rooted in percussion as we know. And some of my favourite albums are
'Led' by drummers.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
I don't find it too bizarre when a drummer writes songs I don't like. A guitar player who's solo album puts me to sleep is another story. Definitely not as common as sucky drummer albums, but they are out there!
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
I've been puzzled by my thoughts regarding this as well.

You have drummers, like Anika (2 threads up) where the songs she writes are exhibition pieces for her drumming. Great drummer. All great musicians. Not my thing.

Then you have bands like the Mercury Program, where the songs are drum-centric exhibitions just like Anika's . Less complicated even. I tend to listen to this as background music when I work.

So why the hell do I like one and am content to pass on the other?
Well, TBH, I didn't bring this up because of Anika. But yes, I do appreciate her skills and I think it's great that she's a positive force for drumming. I just don't enjoy her music as much as I enjoy Benny Greb's music - especially the CD he put out with the brass band, that was very music-centered. Even his Greb Fruit album is pretty good.

But even those pale in comparison to listening to King Crimson's Discipline. Or even a new acquisition I'm now checking out, Autolux. But The Dead Weather, maybe they don't count since the drummer is as much a guitar player too?

Some drummers have a knack for composing, like Tony Williams and Billy Cobham, even Stewart Copeland (among others), and that's really cool. Others it will just take me some time to warm up to it. I am very impressed with Marco Minneman's compositions he's done with the Aristocrats, but that's a true band format too, a great power trio. And there are times when I can let Jojo's Nerve play in the background too.
 
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JohnoWorld

Guest
Yes, very.

Drummers music is terrible. I mentioned it a little while ago and some weren't too happy. The composition, the skill, the effort, all first class, but just so tediously w@nky.

I am a drummer, I write tunes, yet I don't write them in the same way that pro drummers do. We're not here to shake our cock about and say "look at how many time signature changes I can do", we're here to write music that you can nod along to, groove to, dance to, sing to. There's a very fine line between interesting/grower type music and solo w@ank. eg I just can't listen to Terry Bozzio or Dave WEckl

Some musicians write the drums first as they feel that is the hook of the song, what gets people moving if you will. Listen to a band like Reuben (Jamie Lenman) or Tesseract. Both have guitarists who are very competent drummers and use the drums to create the framework within which the song can breathe.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aSLEh2LqwrY

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kkl7CiCghVI
 
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mikel

Platinum Member
Almost always. I listen to music because I like it, never just for the drumming. If the drumming is exciting or interesting then its a bonus.

Good songwriters are rare, its a special gift, and if you are not the main composer in your band there is usually a good reason. Apart from the obvious like Roger Taylor and Phil Collins drummers who pen great songs are like hens teeth. Gloss over Dave Grohl, he is a guitarist now.
 

Alex Sanguinetti

Silver Member

8Mile

Platinum Member
The albums I don't have much interest in are where the drummer just puts out music that showcases highly-technical drumming. I'm almost always disappointed by that. Even if it's a drummer whose playing I love, I probably won't even check out their dates as a leader unless someone tells me I should.

Now, Tony and Billy are in a different category as composers and leaders. They didn't just write music that showcased their drumming, they are legit writers. They've written stuff that has basically become part of the musical canon. Other artists play their music. Which is a pretty good litmus test, come to think of it.
 
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JohnoWorld

Guest
Never disapointed with the good drummers, to name a few (all tunes composed by the mentioned drummers next to it):


Ralph Peterson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfdORYk18Mc

Vinnie Colaiuta: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK5zDrXK8uw

Jeff Watts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnCCkhQYk-o

Harvey Mason: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzbhGxVvN1g

Tony Williams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jkT_w14QEo

Billy Cobham: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDeB7xyj3XUaRlbQZY



Etc.!
Sorry but all of that is terrible
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
Apparently you don't like Jazz and Funk. :)

Some people like the above stuff, others not. That's okay. I don't like many of the above postet songs, too. Too much focus on complex drumming in many of them imho.

Here are some different examples of good compositions where the focus is not on drums as the "über-thing", while being written by drummers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpt_3jYfbUw (Mike Botts)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V-BdGchS0yk (Ringo Starr)
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Never disapointed with the good drummers, to name a few (all tunes composed by the mentioned drummers next to it):


Ralph Peterson: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HfdORYk18Mc

Vinnie Colaiuta: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xK5zDrXK8uw

Jeff Watts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PnCCkhQYk-o

Harvey Mason: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzbhGxVvN1g

Tony Williams: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0jkT_w14QEo

Billy Cobham: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDeB7xyj3XUaRlbQZY



Etc.!
Nice stuff. I kind of liked them all. I don't mind a lot of drums in genres that lend itself to it. Instrumental music allows drummers more latitude. I do like instrumentals quite a lot, but I like music w/ lyrics even more.
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
To branch out the idea of the OP, I have a huge list of bands and/or albums that I absolutely should love, but for whatever reason, I don't.
 

pgm554

Platinum Member
Carmine Appice was touring with his own band back in the 80's.
Went to check it out thinking it would be drummer nirvana.
Nope ,mostly blues based rock and vocals.
Pretty generic stuff.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I've been a prog fan for a long time, and so I get the idea of intricacy and musical complexity. But that doesn't mean that all forms of it work, or work for me. I still find a lot of free jazz to be rough to listen to. I don't care much for music that includes a lot of random changes for no discernible musical reason. And when most of the instrumentation is very basic except for one instrument, whether that be a guitar or a drumset, then I am much less interested.

The prevalence of the internet and affordable recording gear means that we have a LOT more forms of musical expression available to us, not just what is deemed commercially viable. To me that's both blessing and curse. I have found some great music just bebopping around randomly on SoundCloud, but to be sure there's a LOT of unlistenable dreck on there as well. ("Just because you can, doesn't always mean you should.") It also makes vanity projects all the more common, and as mentioned, not everyone has the ability to write an album's worth of great music. Even those that do, don't always knock it out of the park with every song!
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
I quite like the Elvin Jones albums...

That's probably about it. Oh! And Bill Bruford's earlier work with 'Bruford'. That's not too bad - about as cheesy fusion as I'll ever go (and there is a lot of terrible, terrible cheesy fusion out there and much of that is perpetuated by drummers...).
 
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