Gavin Harrison here!

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Diane,
thanks for the kind words - hope you enjoy the Rhythmic Visions DVD.

Hi Toteman2,
I've always listened to a lot of varied stuff. In fact when I was really young I just listened to my Dad's record collection - a lot of jazz. I could see that if I wanted to make a profession out of playing the drums I would have to be able to play a lot of different styles - or at least make myself very adaptable. I don't really categorise music so much - I can hear beauty and rhythmic design in all kinds of music - and that interests me enough to want to play it.

I didn't have any special practise routines - I just played along to what I thought was interesting and drummers like Jeff Porcaro and Steve Gadd made just 'playing time' interesting to me with the way they placed their timing and made it feel great. ...and I think that's something you can bring to any style of music.

Cheers
Gavin
 

diane

Junior Member
So Gavin, now that the tour's wound down, what are you up to over the next few months?

(And just out of curiousity), what motivates you to write books and produce DVDs?

Is there any chance we'll ever see you do something with Pat Metheny - or must I wait until Heaven itself?
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Diane,
first I have a few sessions to do that I had delayed because of the touring. At the end of January I hope to do a 12 date Italian drum clinic tour - still working on the details for that. Probably around April Porcupine Tree will begin rehearsals for our new tour - supporting the new album.

I don't know what motivates me to make books and DVD's - I think it's a good way of me recording all my 'drum ideas' at a given point in time - so that I haven't got to worry about them anymore.

I'd LOVE to play with Pat Metheny - just waiting for him to call me up.

cheers
Gavin
 

Mr. Hat

Junior Member
Hey Gavin.
My question is regarding the splashes to your left that everyone talks about. Do you remember what types of cymbals were cut down and what was the technique used to do it? I'd also be curious to know what your most embarrassing moment on stage or studio was.
In case you didn't know, we love you in the US! Next tour, make sure to stop by Atlanta again and get some Crispy Creme donuts.
 

Heitor

Junior Member
Gavin, I'm floored to see you mention Porcaro's name for the second time here on the forum! It just made me a bigger fan of YOU!

I remember the day Jeff passed away, as it was 2 days before my 3-year birthday and by that time I was already into playing drums 'cause my dad is a professional drummer here in Brazil and his biggest influence was Jeff Porcaro. Seeing the Toto videos and listening to the Toto records gave me a great sense of groove and time-keeping. It also helped me a lot about studio drumming, and being able to play different styles. He was called by musicians in Los Angeles "The Groove Man". I think to this day that pop music had an irrepairable loss with Jeff's death.

What's your view on Jeff's influence on drumming world and how exactly did you come to know his work? Oh, my dad says "you're a smart man 'cause you drank from the right fountain"! :)

God bless ya!
 

Sonor

Member
Hi Gavin,

when you implement an illusion into a song is it something you've already planned out or do you just choose one of the many stored in your brain whenever you feel a certain part of the song could use it? Is it the same in a live situation? I get the impression it 'just happens' for you but I guess it becomes that way when you've been working/studying illusions for as long as you have.

I'm having great fun with the first book but I can't ever imagine being able to think on the fly with regards to everything I'm learning. Baby steps I suppose.
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Mr. Hat,
I've had a lot of questions about those cymbals and how they were made. Now comes the big secrets. First off they were (if I can remember clearly) 16", 17", 14" Zildjian crashes from the '80's. They all have the same 'medium' cup size that is standard on those types of Zildjian cymbals. I had split them on the edge so I thought it doesn't really matter if they come out good or not - I had nothing to lose.

First I marked the size I wanted to cut down to with a felt marker. About 6" or less. Then I cut round the mark with "tin snips"

PICT0317.jpg

Then I modified a cymbal top holder to act as a clamp

PICT0314.jpg

Then I attached that to a drill

PICT0315.jpg

And once the cymbal was reasonably close to the required size from the hand cutting procedure - I clamped it REALLY tight into the cymbal holder and began to file it out smooth onto some heavy duty emory cloth (metal work sand paper) that was on the floor. (Cymbal pictured is a 13" hi hat just for demonstration - the real cymbal would have been about 6" in diameter).

PICT0316.jpg

Let me say straight away - DON'T TRY THIS YOURSELF WITHOUT PROPER PROTECTION AND PRECAUTIONS. PIECES OF CYMBAL METAL WILL FLY UP INTO YOUR FACE - BELIEVE ME. YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO INJURE YOURSELF DOING THIS BECAUSE YOU WILL NEED ALL YOUR LIMBS/FACE/EYES ETC. TO BE ABLE TO PLAY THEM PROPERLY AFTER YOU'VE MADE THEM.

Cheers
Gavin
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Heitor,
I was listening to a lot of drummers in my teenage years - but I guess I heard more Jeff Porcaro and Steve Gadd than any others. I noticed how good they made the music feel and how musically they played. Two things that you can never get enough of - and two things you could apply to any situation. Sure I learnt their licks/beats/fills and it was all part of the drumming fashion of the late '70's early '80's - I tried to copy their sound and I played along to their recordings. All these years later - the licks/fills and drum sounds might sound a bit old fashioned and have faded away into the back of my memory - but the influence of the musicality and groove is still as strong (and relevant) today as it was way back then. It's their real legacy. They chose their moments to play a fill and at other times they played such great supporting roles in the background.
And it inspires me to this day - even if I'm playing some heavy metal or acoustic pop - I'm still trying to play my time & taste with the influence of those guys.

I have a tape in my car of Randy Crawford's "Secret Combination" and "Windsong" and I can't stop admiring Jeff's time & taste on those records.

Cheers
Gavin

Gavin, I'm floored to see you mention Porcaro's name for the second time here on the forum! It just made me a bigger fan of YOU!

I remember the day Jeff passed away, as it was 2 days before my 3-year birthday and by that time I was already into playing drums 'cause my dad is a professional drummer here in Brazil and his biggest influence was Jeff Porcaro. Seeing the Toto videos and listening to the Toto records gave me a great sense of groove and time-keeping. It also helped me a lot about studio drumming, and being able to play different styles. He was called by musicians in Los Angeles "The Groove Man". I think to this day that pop music had an irrepairable loss with Jeff's death.

What's your view on Jeff's influence on drumming world and how exactly did you come to know his work? Oh, my dad says "you're a smart man 'cause you drank from the right fountain"! :)

God bless ya!
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Sonor,
I try not to plan these things - but rather just take a chance. I have of course got loads of things stored in my brain - but if I possibly can - I try not to regurgitate them night after night.
It's something that really disappoints me if I do - and it would make the difference between having a good night or a bad night. There are certain parts or fills that I consider to be part of the composition - and therefore would plan them out - but I try to play slightly different every night - even if it's only in a subtle way that perhaps only I notice.

There's moments in every concert where I take chances and don't really know what I'm going to play. Having all that "rhythmic illusion" stuff under my belt helps me get into some interesting situations - and also helps me get out of some situations that might be falling apart mid stream.

Cheers
Gavin

Hi Gavin,

when you implement an illusion into a song is it something you've already planned out or do you just choose one of the many stored in your brain whenever you feel a certain part of the song could use it? Is it the same in a live situation? I get the impression it 'just happens' for you but I guess it becomes that way when you've been working/studying illusions for as long as you have.

I'm having great fun with the first book but I can't ever imagine being able to think on the fly with regards to everything I'm learning. Baby steps I suppose.
 

prla

Junior Member
Hi Gavin,

I just learned about this thread yesterday - shame on me! - through Mike Portnoy's forum. Whereas Mike is someone that inspires me quite a lot, lately I can say no less about yourself. The way you've been so kind around here answer every single question with a heart the size of the world can only add to my highest consideration towards you. Thanks for doing this and thanks for all the music.

I'm an aspiring drummer from Portugal, having just started drumming - or trying to! - six months ago. I'm completely self-taught, for the little I know, as life's circumstances simply haven't allowed me to seek lessons yet. Needless to say, you and your playing are a huge source of inspiration. Kinda what I call the "I wish I played like this guy" positive feedback loop.

So, my drivel aside, my question to you is what would you recommend as a "roadmap for beginners" in this craft that's making music with the drums. Being self-taught and having to follow my own path all by myself sometimes leaves me a bit restless and lacking a sense of direction. Having someone like you lending a few tips would be a huge help.

In general, in your hardened by experience point of view, what should we beginners *really* focus on? Again, thanks so much for everything!

Cheers,

Paulo
 

Mr. Hat

Junior Member
Hey Gavin.
Thanks for responding to my post asking about your custom "Gavin Harrison " splashes. The photos are extremely helpful. I can't wait to drop a cymbal so I can give it a go.
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Paulo,
that's a pretty big question. I guess the best thing is to find a good teacher. You need one on one feedback about your progress. It also depends how serious you are about playing. If it's just for fun at the weekend - go ahead and play the drums and have a good time. Or you want to become a really good professional player you're going to need to eat, drink, sleep and breathe drums for the rest of your professional life....(you can still have fun as well though). Some serious commitment to practise will be required.

Good luck

Gavin
 

junglelord

Senior Member
Hi Gavin, I don't really have a question but I just wanted to say that I had the priviledge of seeing you at the Montreal Drum Festivale.
What can I say except your really amazing, very confusing...and well down right magical.

I believe your Neil Pearts favorite drummer....I know your ability to modulate complex time signatures has got to be the new horizion of drumming.

I think your Sonor Kit sounded amazing and it was cool to compare the different kits from the audience. That kit you played was the best kit of the day.

It must be cool to hang out with you, thomas lang, benny greb and jojo mayer all in one room with steve smith.....yeah the sonor boys have chops to beat the band...too bad todd sucherman went over to pearl.

Sonor seems to have the most incredible endorsers by far even though their rouster is realtivly small compared to brands like DW or Pearl.

I only play Sonor and I have recently gotten a Signature Bubinga Heavy kit from some members on the Sonor Museum forum. We have a Sonor representivie tomorrow night, december 7 by the name of tommy clufetos....I am looking forward to some interesting things.

You mentioned that you don't do many clinics....I MUST GET THE DVD AND BOOKS.
I hope one day you do more clinics and give us all a chance to bask in your glow for two hours.
Cheers and God Bless, I am totaly inspired to take the kit and my playing to the next level...thanks so much.
 

shazam

Junior Member
I was surfing looking for videos and more information on Gavin and low and behold here you are! I just wanted to say "thank you" for your commitment to music and to helping out others. Hearing the opening chops to Blackest Eyes and the rest of IA several years ago is one of the reasons I've picked up playing again after 12 years off. You have been one of the musicians I've discovered that has made music really enjoyable to me again.

I've had the pleasure of seeing you with PPT three times over the last 16 months and I'm more impressed with you as an individual drummer and a musician playing with musicians each time. I was especially wowed by your last U.S. show in San Francisco in October where you previewed the new PPT material (woooooow, some really amazing and potentially groundbreaking stuff there). Your connection with Steve Wilson and the rest of the band grows deeper and the music becomes more powerful and interesting at every turn. I’m really impressed that you can take songs you never played on originally and own it while not violating the original intent (tunes like Hate Song and Even Less come to mind) – something I always struggled with. I dig that you know when to step back and focus on holding a song together (.3, bridge to Arriving Somewhere…) because so many “great” musicians miss this point. And I love that you all were willing to try new arrangements (Open Car) and pull out B-sides (Futile, Mother and Child Divided, So Called Friend) to make the live experience unique and show off the band’s chops.

I see a lot of live music and right now there is nobody playing progressive rock who compares to what PPT are doing (live or studio for that matter). All I can say is keep going, keep pushing the boundaries, and stay true to your creative muses - you are really making a difference for many of us. I'm really looking forward to hearing the new album this spring and seeing you on tour again. I’m going to keep an eye on your website for clinic and drum show appearances as well – it would be great to catch one if you do any while on tour next year.

Thanks again for helping me find the joy of music again. I just hope you are having as much fun playing as we are listening, watching and learning!

Chin Chin

Tim
 

diane

Junior Member
Okay, here's a question only an idiot would dare ask...

Why do some drummers, like say Antonio Sanchez, use fifteen million cymbals in their set-up, and you keep it down to around a dozen?

Is is not tempting to put more in...just because?
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Diane,
I think some drummers (me included) like to use more than the average amount of cymbals because we are looking for certain 'colours' that only certain cymbals can provide.

I'm not really tempted to use a whole load more than the dozen or so that I have - because I think they cover all the sounds I'm looking to make (at the moment). I do however, quite often change cymbals for different styles when I'm recording.

Cheers
Gavin
 

Rhythmic Disciple

Senior Member
Talking about cymbals...

Gavin, I'm sure I've mentioned this before, but I absolutely loved the set-up (drums & cymbals) you used with the Artful Dodger. In many ways, watching and listening to you with them was more interesting because of the sounds and textures your 'quirky' set-up produced. It had me checking my local store for pearl sorprano snares!!!

Can you remember the stuff you'd bring out for that gig and why you did it?

Cheers,

Chris
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Rhythmic Disciple,
I think I did that Artful Dodger gig in 2000 and that would have been in my Pearl Drum days. From what I can remember I just used a 22" bass drum the 10x6 Popcorn snare - maybe a 10" tom (for decoration) and 12" ReMix hi hats, 2 small crashes (15" maybe one of them was a 12" splash)...and that was it.

It was just a groove gig - with no fills and frills to speak of. Fun while it lasted - I've got a VHS of us on "BBC 2 Later" somewhere - I'll check the set-up sometime.

Cheers
Gavin
 

Rhythmic Disciple

Senior Member
Thanks Gavin,

Your groove was exemplary from what I remember, and looking at your technique on Swerve I can see why! I think I saw you on TV twice; once was on Top of Pops (God rest its soul!), and the other was the performance on 'Later' you mentioned. At the time I didn't know who you were, but your live grooves were far superior to the recorded versions. I remember thinking "...this guy is worth checking out...".

In terms of playing, it seemed like a very restricted gig, but you still did just enough to make it believable (if you know what I mean). I bet the two guys from Artful Dodger were very complimentary about your playing...

Chris
 
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