Gavin Harrison here!

Hi Gavin.

Thank you for taking the time doing the hearing-experiment. I really appreciate it. I agree to your last argument but I think it´s still a good practice trying to stay within these parameters.

Still some questions left ;) : In the song "In Exile" you first play a groove with side-stick and then later change to rim-shot on the snare drum. How do you get them to (almost) equal volume? Is it solely by playing or do you use also volume-automation or anything?

You said that if you have an idea you either record it and/or write it down. What happens next? Do you really practice them all (I´m sure you got a lot) or try to apply them directly in current songs your working on? In other words: How do you effectively manage to incorporate your new ideas into your playing? :)

Thank you so much!
 

TK-421

Senior Member
Hi Gavin,

I saw you with King Crimson last week in LA, and I have to say, what an incredible show overall – and an incredible performance by you (and Pat and Jeremy too, don't want to leave them out!). I really liked all of your grooves, fills and solos, especially your intricate double-bass interplay with the toms in a few spots. I also liked how your solo on 21st Century Schizoid Man has evolved since the Radical Action recording.

So I have a few questions, and I apologize if you’ve answered any of these before. First, how did you first get the KC gig? Did you have to audition, or did they seek you out based on your PT and other work? Once on board, since there’s so much percussion going on, did you and the other drummers have to decide who was playing what, or was that all pretty much figured out before you joined? I know Pat has been playing with them for a long time, so I’m guessing he’s playing what he always has – but who knows, he may have wanted to change things up.

It also looks like you were playing the main groove on a lot of the songs, with Pat and Jeremy adding fills and counter grooves on top. Did they initially have you in mind for playing the lead groove on these songs, or did it evolve that way? There were also a number of spots where it’s just Pat playing and you’re sitting out. During these times, are you just watching and enjoying the show (like the rest of us), or are you thinking about/mentally preparing for other things? I’m also curious as to what you have going on in your IEMs. I remember reading a while back that you had cues (i.e. count offs for section changes) and other tidbits in your IEMs for PT. Are you doing something similar with KC?

Finally, this is almost more of a question for Pat, but you may know the answer. During the slow middle section of Starless, he’s cranking on some handheld percussion thing that looks like a tiny teapot-sized drum with a string hanging out of it. Do you know what this is? I have no idea, but I like the eerie, creaky sound it produces.

Can’t wait to see you play again! Any chance Pineapple Thief will make it to LA at some point?

Thanks!
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
HI Robert Schmidt

Still some questions left ;) : In the song "In Exile" you first play a groove with side-stick and then later change to rim-shot on the snare drum. How do you get them to (almost) equal volume? Is it solely by playing or do you use also volume-automation or anything?

I try to balance them as much as I can in my playing (especially for the over head mics) but a bit of compression always helps.

You said that if you have an idea you either record it and/or write it down. What happens next? Do you really practice them all (I´m sure you got a lot) or try to apply them directly in current songs your working on? In other words: How do you effectively manage to incorporate your new ideas into your playing? :)

I practise them for a while to see how they develop and what permutations might be useful to me. Occasionally I look through the older films and manuscripts and see if I can still remember them. Some things make their way into my drumming - some are just exercises. All of them are useful to me in some way or another. I don't bother to record them unless I think there's something interesting, new or unusual going on.

Hi TK-421

I saw you with King Crimson last week in LA, and I have to say, what an incredible show overall – and an incredible performance by you (and Pat and Jeremy too, don't want to leave them out!). I really liked all of your grooves, fills and solos, especially your intricate double-bass interplay with the toms in a few spots. I also liked how your solo on 21st Century Schizoid Man has evolved since the Radical Action recording.

Thanks. I always try to improvise a new solo every show.

So I have a few questions, and I apologize if you’ve answered any of these before. First, how did you first get the KC gig?

2006-2007 Robert Fripp supported Porcupine Tree - so I got to know him a bit and he got to see me play quite a lot. In 2008 he invited me to join KC alongside Pat Mastelotto. There was no audition.

Once on board, since there’s so much percussion going on, did you and the other drummers have to decide who was playing what, or was that all pretty much figured out before you joined? I know Pat has been playing with them for a long time, so I’m guessing he’s playing what he always has – but who knows, he may have wanted to change things up.

In 2008 Pat and I worked hard trying to find interesting 'double drum' parts - some of which we still use now. Songs like "Construction Of Light" for example we still play our 2008 parts and Jeremy is added on top of that. Arranging for 3 drummers is quite a challenge - and something that I've spent a lot of time working on. When the three of us get together we try all kinds of things and re-arrange certain parts until we like the way they sound and feel.

It also looks like you were playing the main groove on a lot of the songs, with Pat and Jeremy adding fills and counter grooves on top. Did they initially have you in mind for playing the lead groove on these songs, or did it evolve that way?

No - that's just the way it evolved.

There were also a number of spots where it’s just Pat playing and you’re sitting out. During these times, are you just watching and enjoying the show (like the rest of us), or are you thinking about/mentally preparing for other things?

I just sit still and enjoy the show.

I’m also curious as to what you have going on in your IEMs. I remember reading a while back that you had cues (i.e. count offs for section changes) and other tidbits in your IEMs for PT. Are you doing something similar with KC?

There's no 'cue' track going on because there's no computer track running during the KC performance. There's certainly times where it might help some of us - but it wouldn't really work in this set up so we have to memorise the arrangements - and that takes a lot of rehearsing and concentrating.

During the slow middle section of Starless, he’s cranking on some handheld percussion thing that looks like a tiny teapot-sized drum with a string hanging out of it. Do you know what this is? I have no idea, but I like the eerie, creaky sound it produces.

One of Pat's special duties is the weird and wonderful world of effect percussion. Some of them are oddities (such as the thing you described and I don't know what it's called) and some are sample based triggered from electronic pads. He's very good with this kind of thing.

Can’t wait to see you play again! Any chance Pineapple Thief will make it to LA at some point?

We'd love to come to the States - but at the moment I don't think it would be viable.

Cheers
Gavin
 

TK-421

Senior Member
Thanks so much Gavin for taking the time to respond to my questions.

There's no 'cue' track going on because there's no computer track running during the KC performance. There's certainly times where it might help some of us - but it wouldn't really work in this set up so we have to memorise the arrangements - and that takes a lot of rehearsing and concentrating.
I can't imagine how long that must have taken, as there are a lot of complex arrangements to memorize! It didn't look like you were referencing a chart or cheat sheet, so I'm assuming it was 100% memorized. Very impressive!

We'd love to come to the States - but at the moment I don't think it would be viable.
It's too bad that Pineapple Thief isn't more well-known in the States, because I'd really love to see that. I've been listening to that band since around 2010, and I've never met anyone who'd ever heard of them, even among my prog friends. But everyone I've turned onto the band have really liked them.

BTW, are you considered a full member of Pineapple Thief, or are you working with them as a sideman?
 
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Hi Gavin,

Was the drum track for the big-band arrangement of Sound of Muzak / So Called Friend recorded in one take? I imagine your arms must have been burning after that one! While I love that whole album, I think that's probably my favourite (although Hatesong / Halo comes close)! Truly inspiring.

Also, I noticed yesterday that you'll be doing a lesson on Drumeo on August 21st! This is fantastic news! Can you tell us a little of what we can expect content-wise? Holding out for some Ed Poole or big-band performances! Your explanations of rhythmic illusions are always clear, detailed and concise. Always a pleasure to learn from you!

Hope it goes well!

By the way, I feel like I should go ahead and link the new Pineapple Thief live blu-ray trailer for those who haven't seen it because it looks brilliant! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x82LzREafyI It also includes both "Your Wilderness" and "8 Years Later" in surround and hi-res! Very excited.

Cheers,
Quinn
 
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Clint Hopkins

Junior Member
Hi Gavin,
I hope you are doing well and enjoying the tour with King Crimson.
I have been listening a lot to your playing with Mick Karn and found
this track on his 'Collector's Edition' compilation CD.
What is the story with that intro fill? It sounds like the speed of triplets but I'm not sure.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=siiKF5sU800

Thanks for any explanation you can give.

Cheers,
Clint
 
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Stevesmithfan

Pioneer Member
Hi Gavin,
On your Rhythmic Illusion DVD. With your close mic Tom tracks during mix down, did you cut 5-7 db at 350Hz range? Or a different frequency?
Thanks.
 
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Hi Gavin,

actually by accident I stumbled upon the name "Helmo Hairdo Hudson". It was mentioned as your alias for the work on "The Kings Of Oblivion - Big Fish Popcorn" and even KC´s "The Elements". (Source: https://www.discogs.com/de/artist/1910315-Helmo-Hairdo-Hudson) What is the story behind this nickname and why didn´t you keep it? Or is this like your producer alter ego?

I heard of studio drummers replacing the original drummer of a band only in a recording situation but they weren´t mentioned anywhere on the album. I guess one can call it "ghost drumming". Do you know about this or did you even do (did) ghost drumming jobs (in your past) - so that the record does not appear on your recordings-list?

Can you imagine that bands performing these days entirely (or maybe 90%) playback on a big rock show? (Reason: I heard a big popular band on a festival recently and I got the feeling that everything (even the drums, maybe not the cymbals though) was not live...the drummer played primarily e-drums (which would explain the constant + clean sound) but also the time just sounded not like a human to me.)

Greetings Robert
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi TK-421

BTW, are you considered a full member of Pineapple Thief, or are you working with them as a sideman?

it's a good question !

Hi Lightbulb_Sun

Was the drum track for the big-band arrangement of Sound of Muzak / So Called Friend recorded in one take? I imagine your arms must have been burning after that one! While I love that whole album, I think that's probably my favourite (although Hatesong / Halo comes close)! Truly inspiring.

I would have played up until there was a stop for sure - but that tune was probably the hardest on the album.

Also, I noticed yesterday that you'll be doing a lesson on Drumeo on August 21st! This is fantastic news! Can you tell us a little of what we can expect content-wise? Holding out for some Ed Poole or big-band performances! Your explanations of rhythmic illusions are always clear, detailed and concise. Always a pleasure to learn from you!


Yes I'm looking forward to making that Drumeo session. At this moment I don't know exactly which tunes I'll play - but (whatever they are) I'll need to practise them beforehand.

By the way, I feel like I should go ahead and link the new Pineapple Thief live blu-ray trailer for those who haven't seen it because it looks brilliant! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x82LzREafyI


I have worked on the mix of the drums - and I'm very happy how it all came out. It's obviously a lot of pressure to make one performance into a DVD - in Porcupine Tree we usually filmed over two nights and found the better performances across the two nights (mostly from the 2nd night). This time (with The Pineapple Thief) we didn't have that chance.

Hi Clint Hopkins

I have been listening a lot to your playing with Mick Karn and found
this track on his 'Collector's Edition' compilation CD.
What is the story with that intro fill? It sounds like the speed of triplets but I'm not sure.


Wow I had forgotten about that track - and I haven't heard it in 20 years or more. I sure miss Mick and his unique way of playing. I can tell it was from a time where I would play congas and bongos (with my left hand) at the same time as the drums. I seem to remember that the fill was edited in (and was at a deliberately different tempo).

Hi Stevesmithfan

On your Rhythmic Illusion DVD. With your close mic Tom tracks during mix down, did you cut 5-7 db at 350Hz range? Or a different frequency?

Sorry but I can't remember. I would have just EQ'd whatever sounded right to my ears at the time.

Hi Robert Schmidt

actually by accident I stumbled upon the name "Helmo Hairdo Hudson". It was mentioned as your alias for the work on "The Kings Of Oblivion - Big Fish Popcorn" and even KC´s "The Elements". (Source: https://www.discogs.com/de/artist/19...-Hairdo-Hudson) What is the story behind this nickname and why didn´t you keep it? Or is this like your producer alter ego?

It was just a running joke I had with Jakko Jakszyk back in the 80's.

I heard of studio drummers replacing the original drummer of a band only in a recording situation but they weren´t mentioned anywhere on the album. I guess one can call it "ghost drumming". Do you know about this or did you even do (did) ghost drumming jobs (in your past) - so that the record does not appear on your recordings-list?

I have done a bit of that - but I don't make it public knowledge for obvious reasons.

Can you imagine that bands performing these days entirely (or maybe 90%) playback on a big rock show? (Reason: I heard a big popular band on a festival recently and I got the feeling that everything (even the drums, maybe not the cymbals though) was not live...the drummer played primarily e-drums (which would explain the constant + clean sound) but also the time just sounded not like a human to me.)

I don't like to witness bands that appear to have a lot of stuff coming from a backing track.

Cheers from Mexico City !
Gavin
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Stevesmithfan

What were your 3 main Zildjian crashes you used at Zildjian Day England 2015?

I think they were: 19" A thin crash, 17" A thin crash and a 19" K Custom Dark crash.

Cheers
Gavin
 
Hi Gavin.

glad you confirmed to the drumeo session. I can´t wait for it!

Probably after that you can try this new exercise I came up with (only if you want of course ;)). It´s heroical called "Pyramid of Cheops" because it´s a big subdivision pyramid.

(Mathematical) background: I found out that playing 5 notes within 2 quarter notes (polyrhythm "5 over 2"; 2/5 = 0.4) is faster than playing 8th notes over a quarter pulse (1/2 = 0.5) but it´s slower than playing triplets (1/3 = 0.33). I never noticed that, wherefore I checked out the speed (see table) of every possible polyrhythm from 1 to 8. Actually there are 20 subdivisions that are faster than quarter notes (1/1 = 1) and slower than 32nd notes (1/8 = 0.125). (And you can get of course slower than quarter notes as well (> 1)). Some of them I found really strange and not really applicable in a musical situation (f.e. 7 over 8). They are marked in red or yellow on the table and are not part of the exercise.

See the attached Notation. You need to play this over ongoing quarter notes. It starts very slow with 2 notes over 7 quarter notes and goes faster from there.

I think this is a phenomenal (and challenging) exercise to start hearing polyrhythm's when listening to a quarter note pulse - so quite applicable. I want to make a video explanation of this soon but I need to practice it some more first.

(PS: Please don´t think that I just want to show you how clever I' am. I simply believe I'm on the right person or at the right place to talk about stuff like that. Certainly can´t talk to my girlfriend about that ;)) So what do you think about that exercise? I haven´t seen or been taught something like that before. Do you?

Greetings Robert
 

Attachments

smfoo

Junior Member
Guys, i just ran into this fill in the intro of "Halo": https://youtu.be/z2etKFqEpYM?t=18s
I searched the thread for the transcription but the links are down.
Someone wrote something about groups of five, but in my ears it's groups of seven, isn't it?
(KSSSS KKTSSST KKTSSST…)
Any advice?
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
HI Robert Schmidt

glad you confirmed to the drumeo session. I can´t wait for it!

filming it tomorrow and then some lessons for the Drumeo members on Tuesday.

Probably after that you can try this new exercise I came up with (only if you want of course ;)). It´s heroical called "Pyramid of Cheops" because it´s a big subdivision pyramid.

I like it ! I hope you make your video of it.

(PS: Please don´t think that I just want to show you how clever I' am. I simply believe I'm on the right person or at the right place to talk about stuff like that. Certainly can´t talk to my girlfriend about that ;)) So what do you think about that exercise? I haven´t seen or been taught something like that before. Do you?

glad to hear you still have a girlfriend !

Hi smfoo

i just ran into this fill in the intro of "Halo": https://youtu.be/z2etKFqEpYM?t=18s Someone wrote something about groups of five, but in my ears it's groups of seven, isn't it? (KSSSS KKTSSST KKTSSST…)

I think it's acutally a group of six. RLRRL (KK) but the two kicks are double the speed of the hands so they only occupy the same space a one of the hand notes.

cheers
Gavin
 

Pass.of.E.r.a.

Gold Member
Hello!

First of all I wanted to thank you very much for keeping up with this forum and answering everyone's questions!

As for my actual question, I realize it's a long shot, but do you remember which snare drum(s) you used while recording Deadwing? I was listening to it today and couldn't get around how good the drum tone on that album is (especially on Start of Something Beautiful).

Also, have you ever considered keeping a blog? I think a lot of people would be interested in what you have to say.

Hope the tour with Pineapple Thief goes well!

-Jonathan
 
glad to hear you still have a girlfriend !
Hahaha

Great lesson today Gavin! Got the Drumeo trial just to see the extra stuff - excited for more! Always a pleasure to learn from you. Breaking down the "In Exile" groove was the highlight for me. Very informative and useful. The "Cheating the Polygraph" material was fantastic too. You nailed it! I was blown away when you nailed the hi-hat fill at 2:19 in the title track. One of my favourite moments on the whole record - so exhilarating.

By the way, what hi-hats did you use? They were beautiful - never seen you use them before.

Hope it was fun!

Also, the new Steven Wilson album is out (it's great!) and once again, you're thanked in the liner notes (near the top of the list, even higher than Stephen Humphries - the guy who wrote the deluxe box edition!). I'm curious, did you have any involvement or give any advice to SW with the album? Here's a picture:

http://imgur.com/kAHm9mv

Cheers,
Quinn

Edit: It seems your Drumeo content won't be uploaded for weeks. Guess I jumped the gun a bit early, oops
 
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Your Drumeo Session was awesome. You did an amazing job. The songs you played, the things you talked about...great - just as I expected.
I was amazed that you played three songs of Cheating The Polygraph. I got this record and the more I heard it I thought that it must be almost impossible to play these tunes live - the drumming on there was like from outer space to my ears. Well, now you definitely proved me wrong...and some parts are surprisingly easier to play as I would expect when I listened to it. This is really art, Gavin!

By the way: How many courses did you film there and will it take long until they´re up?
 
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Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Pass.of.E.r.a.

As for my actual question, I realize it's a long shot, but do you remember which snare drum(s) you used while recording Deadwing? I was listening to it today and couldn't get around how good the drum tone on that album is (especially on Start of Something Beautiful).

I'm sure most of the time I was playing my 1982 Yamaha Recording Custom 14"x5" (this is the drum my Sonor Protean is based upon). I used that Yamaha drum on almost everything until I got the Protean drum - and I've used the Protean ever since.

Also, have you ever considered keeping a blog? I think a lot of people would be interested in what you have to say.


No - I don't honestly think I'm that interesting.

Hi
Lightbulb_Sun

Great lesson today Gavin! Got the Drumeo trial just to see the extra stuff - excited for more! Always a pleasure to learn from you. Breaking down the "In Exile" groove was the highlight for me. Very informative and useful. The "Cheating the Polygraph" material was fantastic too. You nailed it! I was blown away when you nailed the hi-hat fill at 2:19 in the title track. One of my favourite moments on the whole record - so exhilarating.

Glad you enjoyed it. I had a great time there at Drumeo.

By the way, what hi-hats did you use? They were beautiful - never seen you use them before.


The top is an old 1950's K Zildjian and the bottom is a modern Zildjian Constantinople. I'm really enjoying playing them.

Also, the new Steven Wilson album is out (it's great!) and once again, you're thanked in the liner notes (near the top of the list, even higher than Stephen Humphries - the guy who wrote the deluxe box edition!). I'm curious, did you have any involvement or give any advice to SW with the album?

I guess he just likes me :)

Hi Robert Schmidt

Your Drumeo Session was awesome. You did an amazing job. The songs you played, the things you talked about...great - just as I expected.
I was amazed that you played three songs of Cheating The Polygraph. I got this record and the more I heard it I thought that it must be almost impossible to play these tunes live - the drumming on there was like from outer space to my ears. Well, now you definitely proved me wrong...and some parts are surprisingly easier to play as I would expect when I listened to it. This is really art, Gavin!


They are really hard songs to play. I have also performed Anesthetize a few times.

By the way: How many courses did you film there and will it take long until they´re up?

The hour live lesson that you saw should be up on YouTube in about 6-8 weeks. Then we also filmed four drum lesson courses + a Q&A session plus a few smaller things. I guess they filmed about 3.5 hours of stuff in total over the two days. I don't exactly know when the Drumeo members stuff will be released.

cheers
Gavin
 
Hey Gavin! Been a fan of yours since I heard PT's "The Incident" in high school, and I think it's cool and humbling that you take time to talk to us "regular guys" on here.

I do have a few questions for you though:

Were you using a Yamaha RC on In Absentia? That's just one of the best drum sounds I think I've heard.

Also, do you recommend thinner or thicker shells in the studio? I brought my thin-shelled kit in the studio last week and my engineer told me to get thicker drums since apparently thinner shells get "sucked into the bass drum" and sound boxy.

Thanks!
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi LeftySlammer92

Were you using a Yamaha RC on In Absentia? That's just one of the best drum sounds I think I've heard.

Yes that was the snare drum I used on that record. Interestingly - I've never seen another 14"x 5" only 14 x 5.5"

Also, do you recommend thinner or thicker shells in the studio? I brought my thin-shelled kit in the studio last week and my engineer told me to get thicker drums since apparently thinner shells get "sucked into the bass drum" and sound boxy.

I've not had a problem in studios with thin shell drums. Plus I don't understand what "sucked into the bass drum" means.

Cheers
Gavin
 
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