John, curious to know how you organize and then play programmed drum/percussion parts live (in lieu of a sterile click you would get from, say a metronome app)?
My clicks are loaded into a server and synched with video content. The click may or may not be part of a multitrack with other parts and vocals on it.
Because it's crucial to the show that I'm comfortable with the click, I get to provide (or at least specify) the audio I want to hear. And that click
varies from song to song, depending what my parts are, and sometimes how long I've been using a certain click and how I preferred it back in the day. For example, when playing Amish Paradise or Jurassic Park, my click is the actual album track - drums, vocals, everything - with a countoff attached to the top. Those have been that way since the '90s, and there's no reason to change. Do I need to hear the band onstage? For those, not really, I'm synching to video, and that's where my responsibility lies. Well, I do hear Al's vocal in case something goes terribly wrong and he starts yelling "STOP STOP STOP!" I have to keep part
of my brain in reality!
For some songs I'll specify certain elements of that song as my click. For example, Word Crimes has a compelling percussion loop throughout, so I use that as my click. There may also be kick & snare in there, but there's lots of resolution, and super-easy to stick with. It's like playing with 3 other percussionists with perfect time.
But where I make a click for myself, I'll usually program a straight drum beat with 8th note hats. If the tempo is slowish, like under 95bpm, I may program 16th hats, but with accents on the 8ths (so it's not a machine gun of hats in my ears.) Depending on the song, I may program a little syncopation. Some drummers actually program a backwards beat, so their live kick lands on the click's snare, the live snare on the click's kick, etc. Or they may program a very syncopated or even off-beat rhythm so their live drums can land in the holes
It's strictly a personal choice, whatever makes it easy to follow the click. And that's
the key: being able to follow the click. If you don't like a sterile 'TOCK tick tick tick', then set-up something more drummer friendly.