Feel or Technique, importance?

dale w miller

Silver Member
I don't know Dale it seems to me to survive in this biz you have to be able to give people what they want. If a person can't be instructed to play something because they don't like to be told what to play there will be a hundred other guys who will.
The way I see it is give them what they want. If it's good, then you maybe ended up doing something you wouldn't have done yourself, a good thing, and you've been open minded. If it's bad, that's when you say, maybe try it this way.....
You are speaking of something completely different, being a professional. I am not saying that. I agree if you want to keep a gig you may have to sit there and be someone's drum machine sometimes. No doubt that will cross your path if you are a working drummer. I am just saying I feel the collaborations are where the best art comes from.

Any more I have been more choosy in my career. I have been shying away from the control freaks and playing with people who want to be democratic. I think it not only allows me more freedom to express myself, but I think the final product becomes more organic as well.

I am just fortunate to be at this point that I can be picky. Not everyone is. If my goals were arena rock I don't think I would be making this statement.
 
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dale w miller

Silver Member
HAHA! Well, in certain musical settings, you are in fact told how to dress! For those settings, dictating your dress, as well as what and how you play, is part of the style, genre and audience expectations. For symphonies and choirs, the power of dozens of instruments playing exactly in harmony is an undeniable part of their identity.
In certain settings, the composer, conductor and/or section leader do, in fact, tell you how to express yourself artistically. Your value as a musician isn't based on your ability to improvise, play with creative freedom or interpret what is put in front of you. You value is based on technical mastery of the instrument, your ability to capture and refine emotions, your ability to stay true to the intent of the composer, and your ability to play with other people with the exact same directions.

This is neither bad nor good, and it has its own set of possibilities and limitations. It's just one of the many ways people do music.
I know what you are speaking about, which is a classical setting. This would also go with a drum corps/marching band or even someone in a wedding band even. I would like to think if you are in that setting that is a setting you want to be in. It's a different situation than what I am describing, being in an original jazz or rock setting.
 

donv

Silver Member
I quess for one last time.

I'll defer to Matt experience on the social dynamics, deficeincies or excesses found on the internet. I'm new to this, but from what I've seen, he's pegged it pretty well. I don't much care for it.

Drums are drums, music is music! There is no difference between drumming in one setting and drumming in another. The difference is in the discipline required to deliver on what's expected of you. I understand a lot of people don't get that, and it doesn't matter to me. What bothers me is the almost total lack of appreciation for drums and their context when it comes to music. I don't see a whole lot of passion here for drumming. Seems to be a lot for music, but not for drumming. That delivers a lot of new issues to the discussion and probably explains the myopic context. Obviously I'm not writing this about every participant.

I understand that most or many here probably have no interest in music theory, but I would at least think there would be more interest and discussion on the role of drums and percussion within music theory. How many times have you read "pros" talk about the importance of knowing the history of drums and playing? It's more then just words. Not everything about playing is subjective. Although with different words, Berloiz wrote a lot about groove.

Anyway I'm done. Best of luck to all.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Heh, the Bruford shuffle :)

Elpol, sure, Bill's has been my favourite drummer for about 30 years. Still, he has very particular vision so I can't imagine him following Bob Fripp's without questioning them. I imagine that he would have liked the idea of the challenge but ...

In 81 I had a very clear idea of the way that Crimson should have sounded, but at the end of a year of touring, Bill and Adrian wanted to make changes. I asked Bill to use an electronic drum kit and to no longer hit the cymbals. As for Adrian, I asked him to modify his approach to the guitar...But at the end of a year, the cymbals had reappeared...Some people say Fripp is a dictator, but see, I've always made concessions, and in any case you can't tell musicians of that stature how they should play.​

Bill missed his cymbals! From an interview with Pat Mastelotto:

Robert is not crazy about cymbals or hi-hats, so for Vrooom I didn't use a hi-hat. I had a piece of wood stuck over where one would normally be placed. Robert had a conversation with Bill and me about not using a hi-hat. But Bill told him, "I went without my hi-hat for four years. I'm not doing it again." [laughs] So I said, "Well, I guess it will be me." I tried to coerce Robert out of this concept, but he asked, "Why do you need a hi-hat?" I said, "It's a traditional thing for drummers." "Well, Crimson doesn't need tradition."​
.
Bob does have a bad rep, but I think Bill has forgiven him. Fans on the other hand are a different story. After the second break up of Crimson, Bob did a seething article in Musician magazine where he criticized Bill's drumming, saying essentially, he couldn't play. I thought that was quite unprofessional and never bought another Fripp or Crimson album again. I have heard some of the later stuff and I won tix to see them with Pat several years back. I really don't think I am missing much. I got over my 'noise' thing about thirty odd years ago. Well, really, I've never been big into noise. :)
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
I take it that the knockers you ran into assumed that all you did was play fast and didn't realise that you were honing your chops to improve your capacity to play music as opposed to just being a drumming acrobat (it was fun to watch the 1100 bpm vid BTW :)
Actually I don't think so Polly. That's merely what they claimed but I knew better. People know I play with good musicians. All that was just a superficial tactic to marginalize in an attempt to elevate their ego at the expense of someone else. The first time you see someone respond to a speed drummer with a point of view within that context with the words sour grapes, they're pegged. There's also the old chestnut about how you do all that to draw attention to yourself. Well I had a psychology professor once tell me that people who speak in such aggressive black and white terms would most likely crawl on their bellies on broken glass to do the thing they're so mad about. Fortunately few if any are like that on this thread.

In fact the funniest part of the fiasco from last year was that I was actually in the city waiting to see Sonny Rollins about some possible work. So the whole thing was just stupid. Then someone on the forum would reply with something inane like All you just did was name drop Sonny Rollins, so you're showing off blah, blah. That kind of stuff used to bug me. Now I'll just say what I want about stuff like that, and if you have a complaint it's usually for a reason other than what you're saying. Then later I found that many of those posters were managers and such from the store with the rival drum off. Interestingly enough most never posted again. Hmmmm.

No, they were merely jealous of the level 3 attention the speed drum stuff got and that was it. But that was also their problem for taking it far more seriously than any of us ever did. And again not coincidentally, you see the lion's share of the detractor's videos and they can't play the drums. It's that simple. So in their case, the Internet was their way of lying up the playing field. In forums it's epidemic actually. There's this one clown on the biggest forum who makes all these outrageous statements about technique and musicians while he hides behind a computer in some Australian drafting program. He claims to play gigs, but you can tell by the way he talks that he doesn't. He comes here sometimes when people over there tire of him. He also thinks posting his name next to an Elvin Jones avatar will give him respectability, when all it does is make his gimmick more ridiculous, for the simple reason that his superficial nature doesn't get him within light years of understanding the musicianship of Elvin Jones.

Unfortunately it's guys like that who try to represent the feel side of this discussion, at the expense of true like minds in possession of clarity, and it does great disservice to the true nature of the dialogue.
 
S

SickRick

Guest
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

But here was the bottom line. Most from those groups simply couldn't play, as in the drums. They could not play. And yeah, for all the Internet attempts to level the playing field being able to play the instrument needs to account for something.

Sometimes I think it would be cool for some of us to actually come together in more of a face to face encounter. I wonder how that could be set up. But I doubt it would ever happen.

That is so true. In real life I had these kinds of discussions with different guys but they always stopped, once a set of drums were available. You cannot have one standpoint or the other and not play well. That accounts for all sorts of drum related discussions. Except for discussions on the internet - here you can take any standpoint you want because you don't have to prove it with your playing.

I once had a metal kid come to my drumschool who was all about speed but couldn't play 4 bars of solid groove and was overall extremely sloppy. When I told him, he got all pissed about it and said it was not important to him, so I explained to him that if you are not able to play simple stuff slow then how in the world do you want to play complex stuff fast? He still didn't get.
Next lesson I videotaped him playing. Then I played what he had tried to pull off and videotaped that as well. Then we watched and compared both videos.

Then, he got it.

Unfortunately, this kind of treatment is not really available here which is probably the only reason why some guys like Matt get that much beef from ignorant fools. It's one thing if a great player like Finn Higgins was critiques a guy like Matt (which he did frequently and in his greatly articulated manner). If some 13 year punk kid with absolutely nothing going on on the drums does that, its a totally different story.
 

elpol

Senior Member
Heh, the Bruford shuffle :)

Elpol, sure, Bill's has been my favourite drummer for about 30 years. Still, he has very particular vision so I can't imagine him following Bob Fripp's without questioning them. I imagine that he would have liked the idea of the challenge but ...

In 81 I had a very clear idea of the way that Crimson should have sounded, but at the end of a year of touring, Bill and Adrian wanted to make changes. I asked Bill to use an electronic drum kit and to no longer hit the cymbals. As for Adrian, I asked him to modify his approach to the guitar...But at the end of a year, the cymbals had reappeared...Some people say Fripp is a dictator, but see, I've always made concessions, and in any case you can't tell musicians of that stature how they should play.

Bill missed his cymbals! From an interview with Pat Mastelotto:

Robert is not crazy about cymbals or hi-hats, so for Vrooom I didn't use a hi-hat. I had a piece of wood stuck over where one would normally be placed. Robert had a conversation with Bill and me about not using a hi-hat. But Bill told him, "I went without my hi-hat for four years. I'm not doing it again." [laughs] So I said, "Well, I guess it will be me." I tried to coerce Robert out of this concept, but he asked, "Why do you need a hi-hat?" I said, "It's a traditional thing for drummers." "Well, Crimson doesn't need tradition."​
Pollyanna, I obviously can't dispute the evidence before me: I'd expect there's more that hasn't and won't be revealed to the fan. the bolded part in your quote looks to me like Bill might really be saying: "Everybody has their quirks: compromise is part of working for someone else's vision." I would think that BB is plenty confident enough in his own abilities that he wouldn't be selling his soul...

Bill also says the following during the same interview:
WFM: The question is, in the past he has made several demands of you, asking you to play without a hi-hat, or to not play fills - that sort of thing.

BB: I'm not sure that they are "demands", as you call them, and I'm not sure they're only for the drums. Robert's made requests of all of us. They are suggestions on how the group should go about its work. He is the leader. Some suggestions have been: "Gosh, Bill, I like the look of those funny hexagonal things. What do they sound like?" "Gosh, Bill, let's not use a hi-hat. Let's be brave." He's trying to make an interesting-sounding group, one that sounds a little different from the next, which I totally subscribe to. And occasionally he says weird things like "Let's have two drummers." [laughs]

In general, I'm quite happy to work with these structures and constrictions, because it's often through working with limitations that you find out how to get around those limitations. And when you do that you develop as a musician. If you ask a lighting guy to only work in blues and greens you are going to get some really special blue and green effects. If you tell Picasso to have a blue period, he's going to go especially big time into blue. Tell me to work without a hi-hat, and I'll find something else. And I might not have bothered to find it if I hadn't been given the limitation.

A lot of performing artists like limitations of some sort. In fact, freedom is a terrifying concept and often leads to very bad music and very bad improvisation. It's often better to put on some type of limitations to get the people to work around or work with them.
Though I didn't say so when I "jumped in" - there's always two sides to a tale, we don't often benefit from the context of first-hand observation

My assertion about his being an Artist and Musician first still stands - Clearly there was more than enough challenge and attraction to the project (and Fripp) overall to keep Bill in it for as long as he was.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

Eventually everything reaches a head and stupid things can occur. For example, both sides of the unwashed majority showed up at the same time here exactly one year ago when I set the trad grip speed record. I have never seen such stupidity in my life. And it came from both sides. But here was the bottom line. Most from those groups simply couldn't play, as in the drums. They could not play. And yeah, for all the Internet attempts to level the playing field being able to play the instrument needs to account for something.
I've always wondered what it's like to be in the "washed minority." It doesn't seem to be a very happy situation.
I see displayed here a sort of contempt for the people who participate in these forums. There's a great deal of bitterness in your posts, much more than I've ever seen from real professional musicians, and for it to be coming from someone so young is fairly troubling.
A little humility goes a long way, not just in the music business but in life in general. Winning awards is great, I guess, but let's see what you're doing in the real world ten years from now. Hopefully you'll be kicking ass with some famous jazz band, selling records and touring and paying your bills by playing the music you love, but there are no guarantees so now's the time to let go of some of that ego and try to relate a little better to the "unwashed majority."
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

I've always wondered what it's like to be in the "washed minority." It doesn't seem to be a very happy situation.
I see displayed here a sort of contempt for the people who participate in these forums. There's a great deal of bitterness in your posts, much more than I've ever seen from real professional musicians, and for it to be coming from someone so young is fairly troubling. A little humility goes a long way, not just in the music business but in life in general. Winning awards is great, I guess, but let's see what you're doing in the real world ten years from now. Hopefully you'll be kicking ass with some famous jazz band, selling records and touring and paying your bills by playing the music you love, but there are no guarantees so now's the time to let go of some of that ego and try to relate a little better to the "unwashed majority."
Conrad,

Why not hang around here a little more and actually try to synthesize the dialouge as opposed to always showing up with a chip on your shoulder trying to have an e fight with people who don't entirely flip over every time there is a disagreement. Please show me a single time since you've arrived where anyone called you out in the way you just articulated the above insulting, incendiary post. It's always been so interesting to me how certain forum posters will attack someone for the very things they do in spades themselves.

The unwashed majority quote was in regard to the intellectual discussion, followed up by a necessity to back it up to an extent when one's opinion is set in stone. It had nothing to do with anything you said. And apparently most everyone else got that. I suppose someone could also extract their favorite cool words and take anything out of context. In fact I just outlined the very behavior you used here as one of those marginalizing Internet strategies, and you didn't even read it, although it was from the very post you extracted. Too bad you just went for the red meat.

I've been playing along with this too young to have an articulated opinion stunt now for awhile and it no longer washes. If you want to call the ability to know where one's sentences are going a lack of humility, then feel free. This is the Internet. There are no ages on a forum, although I am aware that many go that route out of habit more than anything else. About 4 years ago, 10 or 12 of us younger guys of like minds came here, because it was obvious that this would be a place for us to be comfortable and speak our minds about any number of topics, without judgment from a crowd of shut up until you grow up posters. If you like that kind of thing I can recommend a great place for you where the moderator will even step in if the younger guy starts winning the debate. But seriously there have been young guys blowing through here like, Duke, Karl, Britt, Tom G., foursticks and MFB who really have things to say, but would never be allowed that comfort at other places. Besides if you really think people are arrogant here, there's this place called MXDP I'd love to show you. The people there are insane...and they are not an exclusive.

Real life is a different story. After all, look at this anonymity. Most don't know each other from Adam. But interestingly enough, when I'm at NAMM, I always meet DW people and we all have a great time, although some of us don't agree when we are here, It's just the nature of the net. Look, for all I know you could be a 14 year old yourself. It really is a different world, and I wish some who come to this genre later in life would try to understand the contrasts, instead of insulting when frustration sets in.

Conrad, the only reason I can articulate this issue is because I've had practice. And if we are going to have a discussion about technique vs. feel, you would think that my one grade C accolade from the technique side would qualify an articulated pov about that one thing. I'm not going to apologize for an ability to do that. I'm sure I would be an idiot in your field of expertise, and that's why I dont go to your backyard showing you unnecessary disrespect.

I hope the next time we talk it will be under better circumstances, and without the excess baggage.

Great thread. I'm out.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
All that was just a superficial tactic to marginalize in an attempt to elevate their ego at the expense of someone else.
Matt, that sounds like a remarkably similar take to the one provided by a young guy at school who was being hassled out by jealous kids http://www.drummerworld.com/forums/showthread.php?p=583678.


It really is a different world
Yes, it's often hard to know where others are coming from on the web without body language, facial expressions and tone of voice (feel? :). That's why I often use smileys. Many think they are lame but it helps to flag a comment as being lighthearted but could be taken the wrong way.

I think there was something about your post that could be taken as being egotistical. At first that's what I thought too, so I understand where Conrad was coming from. But I read it again and picked up the stuff that wasn't "red meat". I realised you were really just talking about getting mobbed by some pretenders and what I'd thought was self-promotion was just criticism of those knockers.

That's the trouble when we write detailed posts ... the "meaty bits" stand out and the qualifiers and explanations get missed at times. It's happened to me and elsewhere too. You think, "How can they possibly believe that I'm like that from what I said?".

It obviously hurts to be bullied and mobbed. I've worked with bullied people in HR-related work and studied the topic. The phenomenon of "mobbing" is one of those dodgy aspects of humans. Basically, someone's gets picked on and others, knowing that they can't be singled out, use that cover and "validation" ("everyone else is doing it!") to work off their own anger by taking it out on a person who is already on the back foot.

You see it in the media all the time - the feeding frenzy on some hapless person who has annoyed some others. The vehemence and righteous anger builds to a point where a greater wrong is being perpetrated than what the "judges" are denouncing.

I enjoy seeing just how passionate you and others here are about drumming. I used to say it's the most fun you can have while sitting down - you sit behind this thing and there are all these wonderful toys in front of you that make cool sounds.

To Don: You're right, I am doing my best to put the song first. If I seem like I'm overcompensating and overstating the "music, not drumming" line it's probably because I'm trying to convince myself to behave better when I sit behind my "toys" *grin*


My assertion about his being an Artist and Musician first still stands - Clearly there was more than enough challenge and attraction to the project (and Fripp) overall to keep Bill in it for as long as he was.
elpol, my assertion that you are right still stands too :) His inspiration and influence has lead me to do some laughably silly things on the kit, maybe the silliest was a song in a band long ago where I rode the cowbell while hitting lightly closed hats hard for the backbeat - displaced by a 16th, natch! It sounded dreadful, but that was kinda the point of the song. There was another where the song's "solo" was an overdub of me clattering around on cutlery. Oh god, I miss those says - lol

So while Bill Bruford is a true artist his Jamie Muir experimental incluence has not only opened things up for serious drummers but also bred a small stable of clowns :)

No! No! You got me wrong, it's about feeel, man!
 

Jeff Almeyda

Senior Consultant
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

That is so true. In real life I had these kinds of discussions with different guys but they always stopped, once a set of drums were available. You cannot have one standpoint or the other and not play well. That accounts for all sorts of drum related discussions. Except for discussions on the internet - here you can take any standpoint you want because you don't have to prove it with your playing.

I once had a metal kid come to my drumschool who was all about speed but couldn't play 4 bars of solid groove and was overall extremely sloppy. When I told him, he got all pissed about it and said it was not important to him, so I explained to him that if you are not able to play simple stuff slow then how in the world do you want to play complex stuff fast? He still didn't get.
Next lesson I videotaped him playing. Then I played what he had tried to pull off and videotaped that as well. Then we watched and compared both videos.

Then, he got it.

Unfortunately, this kind of treatment is not really available here which is probably the only reason why some guys like Matt get that much beef from ignorant fools. It's one thing if a great player like Finn Higgins was critiques a guy like Matt (which he did frequently and in his greatly articulated manner). If some 13 year punk kid with absolutely nothing going on on the drums does that, its a totally different story.
Man, I experience this at least once a month at gigs. I play rock and metal but I don't necessarily look like a "metalhead". I can't tell you how many metal-looking guys set up their double bass rack kit and strut around before the gig cheesily twirling their sticks. They have towels, wristbands, headbands, glow in the dark sticks, gloves... all that crap. They look as if they're preparing for a marathon run through the rain forest.

In almost every case (except one I can remember), the guy was a third rate drummer. Most of the time he'd come to me after the show and ask me something like "What kind of pedals do you use?" Ugh.

I've learned this a long time ago: I don't care what you say or look like, but if you come off like a know-it-all or a badass, you'd better back it up.
 

Deltadrummer

Platinum Member
Welcome to the embers.

One of the things I least enjoy about the web is its sense of anonymity. There are a lot of clues in a persons post as to who they are if one can grab them. But it is hard to get a read on someone from a sound bite post. What I like about the web it that It helps one to clarify ones points because there is always someone who is going to take issue with what you say. Several years back, I was on the site with this lawyer who always criticized my posts in red type. So one day I made sure that my argument was air tight and he just freaked saying "how do you expect me to respond to that." The only was he could respond is through criticism. Not to criticize is the first lesson you learn as a teacher. One of the things I tell my students all the time is to smile and have a good time. (and yes Duncan, as you know, it does matter :) )

John's expertise is most valuable because he is one of those rare individuals who can transgress the world of the performer with that of the educator. I think John's post about groove was insightful even more so in context because perhaps part of what he was saying was that as long as you are entangled in these theoretical discussions people are going to be at odds and that serves no one. But what really matters at the end of the day is how well you can play with others. And that is not a question that is only answered on the bandstand; but in day to day life as well. We often hear about the humility of guys like Steve Gadd, Mike Clark, Max Roach or Gregg Bissonette, a man with whom I share a birthday. I feel lucky that I have studied with, met and learned from some great players. They are most often the greatest guys. Those are the guys that get all the work. I guess there must be a connection.

There has been a lot of great input on this thread so no matter what there was a lot of juice for the drinking. Thanks again to John Riley for his input, It's great to have that, as well as to everyone who is continuing to make this thread an interesting read.
 
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con struct

Platinum Member
I think there was something about your post that could be taken as being egotistical. At first that's what I thought too, so I understand where Conrad was coming from. But I read it again and picked up the stuff that wasn't "red meat". I realised you were really just talking about getting mobbed by some pretenders and what I'd thought was self-promotion was just criticism of those knockers.
Well, I absolutely did not mean to attack Matt, not at all. But when I see statements that say "Most of these guys can't play," I start to get a bit uneasy. See, there's nothing positive about saying something like that, nothing necessary. There's a bold hubris there that I find to be unpleasant and counter-productive.
The truly great musicians don't think like that. They're too busy trying to improve their own abilities, and most of the time they're quick to offer any tips or advice they can instead of casting aspersions on people with less abililty.
Sure, amateurs, novices, they sometimes have a tendency to talk big in foolish ways, I know I did. But the experienced players need to cut them some slack out of a generosity of heart, and certainly not take what they say personally, which is advice that I myself could stand to follow a lot more.
We're all human, maybe even more so in this cyber-discussion medium.
I'll close by saying that I'm convinced that Matt is a talented and motivated young man and I wish him all the success in the world.
Now, what were we talking about again?
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
... what really matters at the end of the day is how well you can play with others.
I see a few angles to this. On one hand it helps a lot to have a "set-and-forget technique" so you can give yourself entirely to your ears and hear the drums as part of a single animal called "band sound" without worrying about keeping things together.

Another angle is the wish to cooperate; the ability and desire to get out of yourself and your drummer's ego and give yourself to the music. There's an aspect of personality there.

Then there's experience playing with others in different situations which means you're less likely to be disturbed when the most random things happen (which, of course, is common).

Then there is luck - being able to find the people with whom you're most suited available at the same time as you are, and that your preferred bassist gets along well with your preferred guitarist, keyboardist, vocalist etc. It's the same kind luck we need in finding compatible partners.
 

mattsmith

Platinum Member
Re: Feel and Technique, importance?

Unfortunately, this kind of treatment is not really available here which is probably the only reason why some guys like Matt get that much beef from ignorant fools. It's one thing if a great player like Finn Higgins was critiques a guy like Matt (which he did frequently and in his greatly articulated manner). If some 13 year punk kid with absolutely nothing going on on the drums does that, its a totally different story.
Oh man, I remember those technique debates with Finn very well. We used to battle through the night. But in the end we were still respectful towards one another, and yeah even friends. I absolutely know that was true.

You know, when you come to a thread like this, you realize how much he's missed around here. He battled you tooth and nail but was never condescending or patronizing when his rebuttal didn't fly. He merely came back the next day and handed your butt to you, which made you want to learn more about his angle.

I also remember him being contemptuous of those who occasionally tried to psychoanalyze or personally evaluate the temperament or maturity of disagreeing posters instead of staying on topic and doing their homework. He considered all this passive-aggressive stuff you see on forums now it a tactic, and was without mercy towards those people.

He was especially adept at tearing apart posters who tried to tell others what was actually in the minds of famous drummers when the conversation ventured into shallow waters. I vividly recall a discussion about Tool that traveled into a direction where the other guy was saying Well dude Danny isn't like that, or Danny would never say that. Then Finn wrote what seemed to be an entire thread page with point by point analysis detailing the ridiculousness of his assertions.

Yeah, those were good times. RIP my friend.
 
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