Gavin Harrison here!

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Kevin,
Thanks for your kind comments about PT. Neil Peart has been very supportive and I really appreciate that, because when someone of his stature speaks...people tend to listen. We would of course LOVE to do a support slot with Rush if it ever got offered to us. I'm sure it would do us a load of good.

Hi Johnny, I'm glad you're enjoying my DVD - the new one is almost ready. I promised Bernhard that he would know about it (and hopefully host a preview clip or two) as soon as it's ready.

Cheers
Gavin
 

Bill MacEachern

Junior Member
Hi Gavin,

I just wanted to add my voice to those who praise your work. I had given up on meaningful music until I stumbled upon PT a year ago. Since then I've seen you on tour in Montreal early last year and in Ottawa in late 2005. I even hooked my 58-yr-old dad onto your music and he came with us to the Ottawa show. He's a musician and commented that you really smoked that night. I'm pumped for the new DVD as well as the re-release of Stupid Dream. I've seen your DVD (a friend bought it at the Ottawa show) and even though I've been drumming for 15+ years, I still sit there slack-jawed trying to absorb the concepts you so effortlessly exhibit.

Keep up the good work.

A fan,

Bill
 

TPic

Junior Member
Gavin,

"The Drum Pad" in Chicago has you listed on their website as "Coming in 2006" on their "clinics" page. Is there any other info about this that you can share at this time?

Tom
Grand Rapids, Michigan
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Tom,
Yes I'm hoping it's going to happen in the last week of June. I guess The Drum Pad will make an official announcement about the exact date in due course.

Cheers
Gavin
 

ponza91

Junior Member
Hi Gavin,

Just to say that i'm a little poor french bass player...Unfortunately, i don't speak english very well.
When i saw you the first time during a PT show you blown me away, i love your drumming and i think you deserve more "celebrity". Your DVD is really very interesting even it's not for beginners, it helps improve me as a bass player. I try to spread the word here in france and hope you'll become famous among the drummers community.

A short question for the end.
Do you prepare an other solo album ?

Alex
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Alex,
thanks for the kind message - glad you enjoy the DVD.

I haven't prepared another solo album - it's been a very long time since the first one, and I keep thinking about doing a new one. I've been quite busy in the last 3 years and any spare time I had I put into making the new DVD.

Thanks
Gavin

Your English is much better than my bass playing!!!
 

Sol Good

Member
Hi Gavin,

Congratulations on your recent work with PT - your playing is very inspiring

What's in the rack to your left? I'm guessing it's to do with your monitor mix - or is that down to the monitor engineer on stage? Also, I've heard that you play to a click (via in-ears) to sync with sequences and video - is that for the entire set? Do you keep the tempos the same as the album, or change them (think Blackest Eyes is a tad slower live than on the album)?

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions!
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Thanks Sol Good,
my rack on the left mainly contains monitoring stuff. We do carry our own monitor desk (Yamaha o2R96) and that connects to my little mixer so I can tweaked things as I'm playing.

Some of the songs have video - so I play to a click to sync it all together for those songs. The tempos are exactly the same as the album in those cases. It's funny - I read on a forum that people thought a couple of the songs (Blackest Eyes bieng one of them) were faster some nights and then slower other nights. I didn't have the heart to tell them that they were the same tempo every night. I guess that's people's perception.

cheers
Gavin
 

ponza91

Junior Member
Hi Gavin,

Your sense of humour is equal to your drumming abilities !!!

My drummer is also a fan but he doesn't understand english, so i ask you his question.
What do you recommend to play for rehearsals ? What songs should we play ? In fact, we're trying to play some PT songs but the drumming is a bit too difficult.

Thank you so much.
Alex
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Alex,
thanks for the message. Yes most PT songs have some degree of difficulty to them. Somehow there's nearly always some tricky rhythmic passage to negotiate...but songs like "Wedding Nails" "Lazarus" "Deadwing" aren't too complex. Maybe start there.

Cheers
Gavin
 

Anchein Vouivra

Pioneer Member
Greetings Gavin !
I just bought the reedition of Up the Downstairs on vinyl and I'm listening to it right now. Must be now my second favourite PT album after The Sky Moves Sideways.
It's said by Steven that drums were suppose to be kept simple.......well they could be simple but your fluidity and finesse always amazed me, it's even more obvious when you keep a simple rythme. Same thing with your playing on Dislocated Day, damn simple rythm but how the hell could we sound like your perfection.
Your drumming is also very inspiring on the two latest PT albums, but I do confess that I prefer the type of music that was done in the early days, specially when it's added by some new drum section of yours. I also do have a lot of respect for Chris Maitland who brought a lot of power and energy to heavy parts (thinking about Russia on Ice).

I've seen you live in Pratteln at the Z7 (Switzerland) about one year ago. I really appriciated the whole show, but specially when you got your own space and did some real tricky stuff on the bells. I also remember meeting Colin Edwin and guitar guest 2 days after at the Vicor-Emanuelle galeria in Milano, that was some kind of luck !!!

Anyway I play in a Post-prog-psychedelic-stoner-folk Rock band (lol we are pretty eclectic), and we do listen a lot to Porcupine Tree. The drum'n'bass section has become some our highest reference, so thank you again and hope to do your opening once (some kind of dream) hum !!!
 

TPic

Junior Member
Gavin Harrison said:
Hi Alex,
thanks for the message. Yes most PT songs have some degree of difficulty to them. Somehow there's nearly always some tricky rhythmic passage to negotiate...but songs like "Wedding Nails" "Lazarus" "Deadwing" aren't too complex. Maybe start there.

Cheers
Gavin

Gavin,

"Shesmovedon" is another fairly straight forward one. I'm currently working on that, as Wes is coming up for a party at my place in a couple of weeks, and we're hoping to get him to sit in on a couple of P'Tree songs with us.

You mention in a previous post your "jazz upbringing". I don't think I've ever read anywhere how you got your start. Do you have any kind of formal training, or is it pretty much self taught?

Tom
Grand Rapids, Michigan
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
TPic,
If Wes is coming over to play Shesmovedon - tell him not to "murder it" or "sing it like a girl" (in joke).

My Dad kind of got me going on the drums (he was a professional jazz trumpet player but could play a bit of drums). I drummed along to some of his record collection - that's probably the time that most of it seeped in. Then I had formal lessons from aged 11 until 16 (learning to hold the sticks and read notation). After that I had some lessons with an ex-berklee guy and the rest was just following my own nose.

Hi Anchein Vouivra,
thanks for the kind message - I'm glad you liked the new drums on "Up The Downstairs".
Good luck with your band!!!

Cheers
Gavin
 

Crena

Junior Member
Hi Gavin,

I almost flipped out when I saw this post (which lead to my registry on the Drummerworld forum)! I can honestly say that you support me as THE role model these days, by providing so many new ways to approach the drums and the drumming. And I have learned a lot throught this post thanks to your generous advice. Thank you very much!
... Not forgetting the excellent show in London with PT on the "In absentia" tour, which was awesome!!!

Something that has not been brought up in this thread is the sound of your drums. I read about your work in studio on your website, but you never mentioned your approach on the sound of the drums in practical terms?

I'm curious to know the dimensions and what kind of wood you have in the shells of your Sonor Designer drums (?) used on the "In absentia" and "Deadwing" recordings? What is your choice of drumheads on the whole kit? Of particular interest is the bassdrum and snare: How do you manage to get that rich, full bassdrum sound as well as that crisp snare? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!
I can't wait to see you with PT on Sweden Rock Festival in june!!!

Cheers!

/Erik
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Erik,
thanks for the message!!

My Sonor drums that I've used in the Europe for the last 3 years are Designer Maple shells.
8x8, 10x8, 12x9, and floor toms 14x12, 16x14 and a 22x17 bass drum in Earth finish.

Heads in the studio and live are coated emperors on the tops of the toms and either clear ambassadors on the bottoms or coated diplomats on the bottoms.

In the studio I would use a coated pinstripe or a CS Dot on the snare top. Live I use an EmperorX - it’s a bit heavy but the only one that will see me through the whole show without pitting too badly. Probably I can use the EmperorX for 2-3 shows maximum before I have to change it.

The bass drum has a powerstroke 3 clear on it and inside the drum it's about a 1/3 full of heavy pillows. Yep I like a dead bass drum. I noticed that live it's really hard to get a good punchy bass drum to come through a PA unless it's really dead, because most venue PA's will extend the note of the kick making it really un-usefully long. In fact PT's sound engineer gates the length of the bass drum to make it really short. Sometimes I ask him to turn the gate off and suddenly it sounds like an 808 sample with long sustain.
Also the bass drum is MUCH easier to play a double pedal on when it’s got a pillow pressed up against it. Acoustically it’s a bit of a 80’s Jeff Porcaro sound but when it’s amplified it sounds good to me.

The only strange thing I do with a snare drum is I normally put 12 strand puresound snares on it - but I cut down the outside strands so there’s just 8 left in the middle. It sounds better and feels better to play - just my preference.
For the last couple of tours I used the Sonor black steel 14x5 snare and it was consistently good in different rooms. I normally carry a few other snares but this one just sounded great so I used it every night.

Hope that answers your question.

cheers
Gavin
 

Crena

Junior Member
Thanks for the fast and very thorough reply, Gavin!

As odd as it may seem I have exactly the same shell sizes on my good old maple Sonor Hilite kit, except for a 20x17 bass drum! My most rewarding experience so far, in terms of a rock sound in studio, has been when the kit was equipped with clear emperors on top and clear diplomats on the bottom. I've never tried the coated ones though, but I'm sure it makes a positive difference. Does it make the tom sound richer/warmer with more overtones but a shorter decay perhaps? In any case I MUST give your choice of heads a try! Thanks for that!

As for snare I have never really tried out the coated pinstripes as I have been scared of a ringing tone similar to toms (except for one occasion when I accidently put on a clear pinstripe w terrible result) - Do you use any additional external damping on the snare or tune it exceptionally low? I just might need to try the fine Sonor black steel artist snare out after all!

Thanks again!

Btw any chance you might do a clinic during your passage through Sweden with PT?

/Erik
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Erik,
I guess ever drummer has a sound in their head that is an 'ideal' drum sound for them in a certain musical situation. In the 70's and early 80's I thought Evans Hydraulics' were the sound I wanted. Then I moved onto pinstripes and then clear emperor's and then coated emperors as my skin of choice for the toms.
The clear emperors were a little bit eq'd for my liking. That is to say that it felt like some of the middle was missing and it was just mainly top end and bottom end. On their own they sounded great but in a track they went a bit transparent. This is typical of a graphic 'U' shape. If you dial in lots of top and lots of bottom - all you're effectively doing is dropping out the middle - and it's the middle that makes it in a mix. I find this VERY true for the bass drum too.

On my snare I use a very slim "O" ring. In fact I've made about 6 or 7 "O" rings that are all less than 1" wide and I try different permutations of them (sometimes two together) until I get the amount of dampening that I want.

I have no plans to make a drum cinic in Sweden at the moment - sorry.

Cheers
Gavin
 

Crena

Junior Member
Again, thanks for your quick clarifying comment on this! You definitely hit the spot when you describe the sound of clear emperors... I have yet to find the PERFECT combination of heads but I'm sure your advice will prove worthwhile! :)

Please excuse me if I'm acting proactive on the edge of manic here! If not too much to ask I have only one more question about your choice of cymbals that has not previously been discussed in this post. That being said, I know for sure you have more important things on your mind than answering my basic questions. Sorry, but here I go again... ;-)

On several PT tracks I hear you occasionally play short patterns on bright bell sounding cymbals or similar while maintaining groove or as minor fills? To serve as a recent example, there is a two stroke figure at 1:34 in the song "Synesthesia" (among many others)!

I've tried to play similar patterns to some songs in my band's repertoire, but I never seem to get the right sound out of my regular cymbal setup. The closest thing is when I softly hit the bell on my small 6" A custom splash...

If I am to guess - I suppose you're using a number of different small splashes to achieve this? Whether this assumtion is correct or not, I would be most interested to hear your opinions on the matter as well as your choice of splashes (or what it is) you're using to accomplish this? I hope you understand what I am referring to.

Thanks again for all of your informative replies!!!

All the best! /Erik
 

Gavin Harrison

DRUMMERWORLD PRO DRUMMER
Hi Erik,
many people have asked me about those little bell cymbals. They are in fact home made out of old broken 16" Zildjian crash cymbals that I had in my garage.
So I cut 5 of them down. The biggest one is just over 6" and the smallest is just under 5". The smallest one is actually made from a broken splash cymbal.
Then I got a friend of mine to make me a little bar to mount them on. Simple as that.

Cheers
Gavin
 

LinearDrummer

Silver Member
Hi Gavin

I was at my drum shop looking for some new DVDs and you were highly recomended...unfortunately I've never really heard of you before so its kinda hard for me to just shell out $$$ unless I know what some of your specialties are....

Anywayz can you touch on some of the things you cover in your DVD...the clip on the site doesn't really tell me much....

Are you covering beat displacements like the way Weckl plays the beat backwards cause thats something I want to start developing.....
 
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