Great clinician drummer, no-so-good band drummer?

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Steve Vai seems to be doing pretty well, too. :)


I got the joke about Virgil, but it does seem an awful lot of people actually feel that way.

I think there's a lot more to these things. Like, even if someone is known for a certain thing and it's in the complex chopsy area, it might still nont be their first choice at the time. They looked for work and this is opportunity for steady work they got.

The Jim, Vinnie, Thomas thing is offcourse true. It's about time and money and often a little something else.

Drummers, like with any other musician there's more, a style, a vibe a certain sound.

Doing what they normally do, guys like Shawn Pelton, Charlie Drayton, Matt Chamberlain come to mind as players that should be quite recognisable.

Another thing is that guys like Virgil and Thomas have the greatest respect for thoe guys. It's not a competition, just a choice of style and expression.


I'm not into a lot of the things many people don't dig here, but still I understand it's a taste thing. Taste changes over time. I can call it maturing that I maybe appreciate other things than when I was 16, but it's more complicated than that.

If I must put someone in that box, to my taste, I guess it's Mr. Pridgen and it has a lot to do with dynamics, or rather lack of.

Weckl is funny because the melodies are easy to lsten to. This is boring to me, but it also appeals to the masses.
 

Tommy_D

Platinum Member
I would be willing to bet that someone like Jimmy Kimmel could walk down the street and interview people for his show asking if they had ever heard the names:

Hal Blaine
John Bonham
Vinnie Colaiuta
Steve Gadd
Keith Moon
Stewart Copeland
Ginger Baker
Chad Smith
Tony Williams
Elvin Jones

And likely 90% of the people interviewed would recognize less than 20% of the names.

As a test I interviewed my wife, a person who has her doctorate degree and tries her best to stay up to date on as much as she can. Here are her answers to hearing the names:

Hal Blaine (never heard of him)
John Bonham (musician in a band (80's band?), pretty sure he died of an overdose of drugs)
Vinnie Colaiuta (never heard of him)
Steve Gadd (sounds familiar but dont know why)
Keith Moon (a musician... pretty famous???)
Stewart Copeland (heard of him... a film director?)
Ginger Baker (never heard of him)
Chad Smith (never heard of him)
Tony Williams (never heard of him)
Elvin Jones (never heard of him)

As a follow up question she asked, "Do only half of these people exist in the world?"

So, my wife, who has a drummer as her husband, cant even recognize someone like John Bonham as being the drummer of Led Zepplin let alone as a drummer. I think its safe to say that unless your name is Ringo Starr, Buddy Rich or Lars Ulrich you wont get recognized as being a popular drummer by most of society. Even then, Buddy Rich is likely not known by 99+% of Millennials.

While I recognize that the OP was not trying to troll I think its safe to say that it doesnt matter if you were a great drummer, a great band drummer, or just in a band that was popular, you will likely not be known.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
While I recognize that the OP was not trying to troll I think its safe to say that it doesnt matter if you were a great drummer, a great band drummer, or just in a band that was popular, you will likely not be known.

I think this is the truth in almost all cases except Beatles, Eagles...

I guess if you're into Toto, you might know a few more members. If you're really really into any band you might know them all.

Someone who went to dance at a party where Nerve played might know who Jojo is, though. :)
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
Yeah Matt, its getting a little out there isn't it! : ) Why discuss music - It should be just played or heard......... but then who needs a forum, lol.

Ok, Leme try to make my premise as clear as I possibly can :

-2 kinds of ensemble playing ( in both cases, great drummers playing to music with other musicians )

-Some of these great drummers serve the music better than others ( both playing great, kickass drums no doubt )

- yet some get inside the music and some cant.

- the ones that do tend to be known for the music they make/made & the great drummers that they are

- the ones that don't seem to be known just as great drummers


Of course this is a generalisation and has many exceptions to the rule. Its just something I've wondered about, not a theory Im putting forth.

Perhaps its the musician's version of "those that cant cut it in the real world, teach". ( Not true, in my opinion, but in this case I'm not saying one is better than the other, therefore no value judgement )

Hope this helped?

...
OK - I understood that. TBH though, it takes me quite a few listenings some times to determine if the drummer is really inside the music or not. I'm like the guy who releases a blockbuster film, but says, "let's see where it is in three weeks". I remember the first time I heard the Steve Khan album "Casa Loco" with Steve Jordan on drums, I didn't really like it because Steve sounded outside. I was first exposed to Steve on the first Blues Brothers album in '78, so I like him in the pocket. When Casa Loco came out, it sounded way-out, but after lots of listening, he was definitely inside that music, way inside.
 
J

jmoose

Guest
For example, let's say you want to be extremely unbiased and hire Thomas. The track isn't gelling, and after a couple of hours, you know you have to start over. Is Thomas going to work for free? Is the studio going to rebate those 2 hours? How about the engineer? What about the other players??

Taking chances can be costly.

But let's say Thomas worked out after all. Then you've got a straight track that anyone could have done.

What I'm saying is, there are reasons some guys get called, and some guys don't. It's not the misperceptions that keep some of these technicians from working in the mainstream, it's their lack of reputation for doing straight playing. And for most technicians, that's going to be their legacy.

Bermuda

That's certainly a factor, that time is money and someone... usually the artist is going to eat it if tracks didn't materialize and we just blew the day(s). Often that's why producers & musicians are going to call people they know and have had good gigs & sessions with before going into the unknown.

Yet another factor though is the intangible "hang" that comes with being in a studio... some people are real easy to get along with and can roll with whatever the situation is. Other people turn into divas and make life miserable when things aren't working out, especially if they have perfectionist tendencies.

Funny enough, a few nights ago I was in the local drum shop and we had almost this exact conversation which centered around a REALLY well known drummer who wasn't happy with things on a session at local studio. Not famous like "only drummers know him" but I think most musicians would absolutely recognize the name.

Drum shop got a call from a good studio 10 minutes away that they had "Mr Rockstar" coming in and needed heads and other supplies. FWIW no tech rider was supplied...

One of the drum shop guys runs down there changes heads on the house kit, freshen up the snares etc. Apparently Mr Rockstar walked in carrying a double pedal by its linkage like a 14 year old kid would and a cymbal bag. That's it. Everything else is studio backline.

Drummer guy starts flipping out & cursing a lot because the double pedal isn't working right. Apparently 5 minutes of adjustment with a drum key and that's solved.

Then there's more cursing and freaking out because the kit isn't setup to his exacting standards. They kinda put it up and figured he would adjust things to his preferred heights, angles and taste. Nope. Apparently even adjusting the cymbals up an inch or so was a massive ordeal, having the guitarist and assistant engineer help with that monumental task, taking verbal abuse the whole time.

At one point he started ranting about the studio and how unprepared they were, nothings ready, its not his preferred kit etc. All he wanted was to be able to sit down and play, in which case really... dude should've arranged for his own kit & tech to be on site. Mr Rockstar didn't even want to soundcheck the kit, wanted the drum shop guy to do it. Tech buddy wisely blew out of there and didn't want to be a further part of the brewing shit storm.

Said the next few days went well enough, got the tracks down but the first day was beyond rough. Who wants to deal with someone who's having toddler temper tantrums? Once you get that kinda reputation its hard to shake.
 
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
*facepalm* Geez.... You know NOTHING about me but label me a Weckl-fan. Without words...

I'll tell you what. I do not(!) like Dave Weckls music at all. It doesn't speak to me, is not my music. The nickname was just a funny thing that came into my mind ehrn I had to log in. Seemed to be better than "drummer12334567890" to me. So, that aside, Have you read the link I provided? I guess not, otherwise you probably would not write such utter nonsense.

On topic: I do think that most of what we talk about has to do with people putting labels on musicians. Once a rock-musician, always a rock musician. Once a jazzer, always a jazzer. It's hard to get out of that ox for musicians and this certainly also applies to guys like Greb, Mayer et all. People think that they are good at one thing and book them for that one thing over and over again. Because they cannot think of anything else that might fit for those drummers.I am sure that Mayer could perform extremely well in a big band. Also for pop-productions. But maybe, he ain't interested in it. This is also possible.

The best way to escape from this "label"-drama is to do what Tony Williams did: Start your own band, jump from be-bop to fusion-rock, shatter the image that surrounded you. It's hard to achieve but it's a way to be more of a "one dimensional" drummer in the eyes of other musicians/producers/listeners.
So why choose that username?

Drummers music IS absolute tosh, FACT!
 

iwearnohats

Silver Member
Drummers music IS absolute tosh, FACT!
Shouting louder doesn't make you less ignorant.

Go buy Virgil Donati's albums In This Life and The Dawn of Time and educate yourself.

And on that note, I believe Virgil toured with Alanis Morisette or someone of that ilk a number of years ago. I can't remember who it was but all the same, it's certainly not unheard of for him to play pop music. Anyone remember Southern Sons?
 

picodon

Silver Member
Beating a dead horse here.
Bruno Mars is a drummer too. For sure he has no clue about writing music and hooks :)
*Yawn* sorry
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
And on that note, I believe Virgil toured with Alanis Morisette or someone of that ilk a number of years ago. I can't remember who it was but all the same, it's certainly not unheard of for him to play pop music. Anyone remember Southern Sons?

He toured with Tina Arena.

Southern Sons also made three albums.

Virgil is, even if he doesn't look it, 58 years old. He has a past.

He's been able to get out and do his own thing. May not be to everybody's taste, but that's what most musicians like that dream to be able to do.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Yet another factor though is the intangible "hang" that comes with being in a studio... some people are real easy to get along with and can roll with whatever the situation is. Other people turn into divas and make life miserable when things aren't working out, especially if they have perfectionist tendencies.
Very true. All things being equal, playing-wise that is, a producer or artist or band will hire the 'nice guy'. As I've said for decades, in this business, nice guys finish first.

There are a few well-known drummers who have a reputation for being difficult, and that's already part of their legacy. When you think of Ginger Baker 40+ years ago, you think Cream, Air Force, and him breaking barriers in rock music. Ask anyone today what they think, and "Beware Mr. Baker" is what you'll hear. Whether Ginger was cranky and arrogant back in the Cream days doesn't matter, it's now a large part of what he'll be remembered for.

Of course, musicians sometimes get hired in spite of their reputations - whether personal, style-wise, or for playing ability - because of the caché their name may bring to the project. Why hire Vinnie to play 2&4? Partly because he nails it and save time & money, but also because it's cool to have Vinnie on something. Why hire Ginger when he's going to be a pain in the studio? Because it's cool, and the producer gets to tell stories later. :)

Dave Garibaldi is reputed to be difficult to get along with, and Dave Weckl comes off as self-absorbed in person. I know several L.A. drummers (at various stages of success) who are a bit too much personally, and their legacies will reflect that.

Bermuda
 

Wave Deckel

Gold Member
So why choose that username?


Did you even try to read and understand what I wrote?

Drummers music IS absolute tosh, FACT!
First of all, it is not a fact, but your opinion. And your opinion is not a fact. So please do some proper research before posting things that are simply not true. Listen e.g. to Manu Katchés jazzalbums. Or the albums made by Alan Evans with his projects Alan Evans Trio and/or Soulive. They are absolutely brilliant and were praised all over the world.

bermuda said:
...a producer or artist or band will hire the 'nice guy'. As I've said for decades, in this business, nice guys finish first.
Not only there. Also an amateur band will have a hard time with a guy who is definitely not "a nice guy". They usually get replaced sooner or later.
 

Icetech

Gold Member
just.. if we make it so that opinion isn't FACT! :) Then we will have to shut down the internet... of course this just my my opinion which also happens to be fact :)



Did you even try to read and understand what I wrote?

First of all, it is not a fact, but your opinion. And your opinion is not a fact. So please do some proper research before posting things that are simply not true. Listen e.g. to Manu Katchés jazzalbums. Or the albums made by Alan Evans with his projects Alan Evans Trio and/or Soulive. They are absolutely brilliant and were praised all over the world.

Not only there. Also an amateur band will have a hard time with a guy who is definitely not "a nice guy". They usually get replaced sooner or later.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Great thread! By now about everything there is to say has been said I guess.
I wanted to add:

Of the original list, most drummers are not US drummers - coincidence? -
so you might have simply missed their careers in their regions. I.e. Virgil played
quite big gigs back in Australia, but that's been mentioned, too. Or Benny Greb
played with Stoppok, who is quite a big name in Germany. Etc.

Jojo Mayer has been putting a lot of energy in his band Nerve, as has been
mentioned as well, and IMO Nerve is NOT all about drumming, but the
concept of playing contemporary club music in a live setting. When Nerve
plays, you don't see just some nerdy drummer guys staring at Jojo the whole
time (yes you do see some of them :) ), but you see people dance and have a
good time!!

.I am sure that Mayer could perform extremely well in a big band. Also for pop-productions. But maybe, he ain't interested in it. This is also possible.
Oh yes he does!! Actually there was some kind of Buddy Rich tribute concert
here in Switzerland last year or, and Jojo just absolutely smokingly killed it!!
Again, some of the drummers are maybe known best for their technical
contributions worldwide, but do play music first in their countries.


Another thing is: When you've decided to make a living out of drumming, and
you have no Plan B, you go with the flow and do what you do best, what's
called from you the most, and what pays the best, right? And I believe that's
what a Thomas Lang is doing.

In the case of Virgil I think it's his deliberate decision to dedicate his life to
his art and drumming instead of providing drum parts to artists, producers,
bandleaders etc.
(Both things being not bad in any kind of way at all, of course.
 

tcspears

Gold Member
Beating a dead horse here.
Bruno Mars is a drummer too. For sure he has no clue about writing music and hooks :)
*Yawn* sorry
I've played with his father several times, and he's quite the accomplished percussionist.

The whole family, including Pete Jr. (Bruno) is extremely musical. Bruno Mars is a talented musician, but you're right that he didn't know much about hooks and hit songs when he first went to LA. He was always covering Elvis songs and Mo-Town stuff, and playing Hendrix guitar riffs... After working with some serious A&R reps though, he got some hit material.


I'm not sure what your point was, but if it's that talented musicians often don't know how to make catchy music, then I'd agree.

All of these drummers are extremely talented, but most of their albums are only going to appeal to drummers, or maybe a handful of music nerds. They are just shredding over some background sounds. Whenever they work with a proper A&R rep, they always perform well... many of these guys tour with pop and/or hip hop acts.
 

picodon

Silver Member
No on the contrary I was being ironic, Bruno Mars proves that drummers can write music. Will add smileys next time.
But this discussion is going nowhere anyways.
To the OP, on DW as soon as you disrespect fellow drummers, especially very accomplished ones, noone will buy into whatever point you try to make.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
To the OP, on DW as soon as you disrespect fellow drummers, especially very accomplished ones, noone will buy into whatever point you try to make.
He isn't that kind of person at all as far as I know him, plus he's been here
for almost ten years, guess he knows the community :).
 
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