Not sure what the money beat is?

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
To think “well the original guy doesn’t play it the same, why should I?” Is just an excuse to be 14-years-old again. Even arguing that we shouldn’t have to cover the fills as recorded doesn’t really fly because, as I said, the other musicians are playing it note-for-note.

So let’s just say there’s some room for “adjusting to taste”, but to throw down the “who cares?” argument is probably not in the conversation for people earning a good income from their music.
To the first statement, I say nonsense. It has nothing to do with retreating to the egotism of adolescence but everything to do with recognizing that drums serve a different role from that of melodic instruments. A guitarist can't change the key of a song, or make dramatic alterations to his or her note selection, without transforming the piece into something almost unrecognizable. A drummer, on the contrary, can often employ an eighth-note fill instead of a sixteenth-note fill, and nine out of ten listeners won't know the difference. Other drummers might, but they make up a negligible percentage of most audiences.

In terms of the second statement, I don't know that we can make sweeping claims about what works or doesn't work for drummers "earning a good income from their music." As stated previously, we see countless examples of well-known players who don't strictly follow the parts they've recorded. If you want to dress up and pretend to be a band you're not, I can see an argument for carbon-copying recorded drum parts. Otherwise, that mission is often without essential merit. It's a choice at best, not an edict.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
I do get @Bo Eder ‘s point to a degree, I think “interpreting” songs is often just an excuse for laziness but I think I so if what he’s saying only really applies to a specific career path some drummers want to take.
Pretty much like I said. If you're a Beatles impersonating group or Elvis, or Zepplin impersonation group, then you'll pretty much be obliged to play the music "money beat" style because the audience wants to reminisce the old days. I was with John Fogerty once watching a band play. They did a Creedence song and not Xeroxed. Added a lot more blues feel to it and Fogerty told me "They do it better than we did." Interesting EH? BTW, if you're familiar with the Beatles song HELP, go to You Tube and listen to Tina Turner's version. Completely different feel. Not a pop song, but more a sad blues feel. Absolutely beautiful.
 

oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..A guitarist can't change the key of a song, or make dramatic alterations to his or her note selection, without transforming the piece into something almost unrecognizable. A drummer, on the contrary, can often employ an eighth-note fill instead of a sixteenth-note fill, and nine out of ten listeners won't know the difference..

Exactly..

I think even the original artist in some cases will not hear the difference btw..
 

No Way Jose

Silver Member
There may be more than one money beat. Some songs have a swing, or a distinctive 1 2 beat, and Reggae has the 1 drop beat. But they are straightforward beats that hold the band together and are quickly understood by everyone.
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Tina’s version is a straight lift of John Farnham’s arrangement...check it out!(y):D
Damn. Great voice. Great interpretation. I watched 3 versions he did. Each a bit different and none like the Beatles. Guess what? In all 3 he had audience of at least 20 thousand, and no one walked out because it wasn't an accurate replication of the original. Matter of fact the audience appeared ecstatic.

 

Griffin

Well-known member
Damn. Great voice. Great interpretation. I watched 3 versions he did. Each a bit different and none like the Beatles. Guess what? In all 3 he had audience of at least 20 thousand, and no one walked out because it wasn't an accurate replication of the original. Matter of fact the audience appeared ecstatic.

He wasn’t crowned Australia’s King of Pop for nothing (the 80s was a weird time for us).
 

rhumbagirl

Senior Member
If it's a classic cover, I'm capturing the essence of the groove. If it's a drum-legend cover like from Neil Peart or Dave Weckl, I'm going for the rhythmic pattern first, and then the melodic composition next. It also depends on the scene. If I'm playing a bachelor party and we're taking calls for songs, I'm not going to play YYZ to the note with just a 3-pc kit up there. Although I'll try to implement the pattern for the fills with fewer toms.

It also depends if I'm going for a Youtube transcription video with the cover mp3 playing underneath.
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
I'm not implying that anyone is right or wrong, only to live and let live. I was allowed to make mistakes. I paid for those mistakes a while ago, so I'm square with the house.
It's not fair to deny someone the right to mess up musically.
I was kidding about your implication, mostly loading it with my own interpretation. Many aspects of music come down to trial and error, discerning between what we're comfortable implementing and what we aren't. There's no formula for the emergence of style. Some drummers are born improvisers. Others are much more scripted. Clearly, we all have to be both under certain circumstances. The situation often dictates the application, not the other way around.

Most important is the realization that no two drummers will play anything identically. The laws of physics, interwoven with those of physiology and psychology, will guard that fact forever. In the end, our drum parts are own no matter how much we try to sculpt them in the spirit of someone else's. We're the only drummers we can be.
 
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oldskoolsoul

Silver Member
..The whole topic of "covering" a song irritates me. .

..I've been told that if you don't play it exactly as written it's not a cover but an interpretation. WTF?..

There is a difference between “exactly as written” and a “sort of” own interpretation (as a drummer) and also the sort of gig..

As a well-paid coverband on for example weddings, corporate parties, etc, you can NOT play your own interpretations/feelings all the time, because NONE of the people in the audience is most likely interested to hear them and for sure none of those people is interested to actually PAY to hear them..

Thats just how reality is..

If the audience on a wedding or corporate party wants to hear Twist And Shout, you play Twist And Shout and not some sort of 70 BPM laid back reggae version of Twist And Shout, because really no one cares for such things at places like that (at least not more than 16 bars)..

But, as long as the main groove idea from Twist And Shout is there, as a drummer you can still improvise quite a lot..

That is, untill this day and a few weeks from now again, how i always played at such parties and no one, band or audience, ever got upset because of that..

Playing with band members who can appreciate a little improvisation (and the energy that this can bring) also helps btw..
 

Buzzdrum

New member
Hello folks! Very interesting topic here and have encountered these attitudes throughout my playing career. I'm a new member here but not new to drumming. I am celebrating my 56th year as a drummer and I have found this issue of playing cover songs "note for note" or not to be somewhat of a generational thing. I grew up through the 60's, 70's and 80's playing in cover bands almost exclusively. Back then, there was this "unwritten" understanding that you worked your ass off to play the music as it was written. For instance, with regards to guitarists, if you couldn't replicate Eddie Van Halen's tone and play his riffs exactly, you wouldn't dream of trying to play Eruption/You Really Got Me in front of a live audience.

As a drummer, I wouldn't have dared to play the entire first side of Rush's 2112, Red Barchetta, Limelight and The Trees (which I did in a band back in 1982) without woodshedding for months (which I did) to get Neil's grooves and fills "under my hands", so to speak. When your covering music, you have the original recording for everyone to compare you by. As such, when a band plays a song and key elements are not played, or the tone of the guitars isn't just right, or the groove "somehow feels different", it leaves the listener thinking "wow, that just doesn't sound right" or "well, they tried but missed". I've told many of my fellow cover musicians over the years that ". . . the only difference between you and a juke box is the lack of a coin slot behind your ear"! LOL (always helped to keep the egos in check!)

Fast forward to 2012, I played with a bunch of guys that grew up through the alternative rock/grunge era. Again, a cover band, we covered everything from Pearl Jam to STP to Silverchair to The Foo Fighters. These guys really didn't care that key guitar parts weren't being played or that we didn't get the vocal harmonies right. They just wanted to have fun and jam out in clubs, in front of people. It's not that the band sucked. They didn't. We were actually pretty decent and the clubs loved us. However, by our 1980's standard of perfection in playing and performance, it was much looser and not anywhere nearly as "tight" as we were back in the day. Much like the rock music of the 80's was much "tighter" than the alternative/grudge which sounded more like garage bands by comparison. No offense to any alt/grunge lovers here as I too like much of it. It's just stylistically different. It's meant to sound more raw, less "produced" and actually invites a little more sloppiness. To that end, these guys didn't see the "merit" in trying to get it perfect. As for me, I've still try to stick close and pay "homage" to the original groooves and fills (particularly if it's a truly "signature" part). Does that mean I never take poetic license from time to time? Of course not. If I do decide to introduce something new to the mix, I make pretty damn sure it's an improvement to the music before I do. As an example, I've played the song "Children of the Grave" by Black Sabbath in many, many bands since the mid 70's. Somewhere about 1985, I altered the intro of the song to include a 16th note triplet pattern on double bass along with the floor tom pattern that Bill Ward created. During the verse portion, I chugged out triplets to match the guitar/bass pattern and in the chorus I would go back to 16th note triplet pattern to really drive it home. Those were big changes to a classic song but, in the end, it really gave a fresh, slightly more modern punch to an already great song and I've played it that way ever since!

Sorry for the long post, I'll try to keep them more brief in the future but, like I said, it's a topic I've encountered for a long time as a player. Happy to be here with you all and looking forward to reading more!
 

C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Hello folks! Very interesting topic here and have encountered these attitudes throughout my playing career. I'm a new member here but not new to drumming. I am celebrating my 56th year as a drummer and I have found this issue of playing cover songs "note for note" or not to be somewhat of a generational thing. I grew up through the 60's, 70's and 80's playing in cover bands almost exclusively. Back then, there was this "unwritten" understanding that you worked your ass off to play the music as it was written. For instance, with regards to guitarists, if you couldn't replicate Eddie Van Halen's tone and play his riffs exactly, you wouldn't dream of trying to play Eruption/You Really Got Me in front of a live audience.

As a drummer, I wouldn't have dared to play the entire first side of Rush's 2112, Red Barchetta, Limelight and The Trees (which I did in a band back in 1982) without woodshedding for months (which I did) to get Neil's grooves and fills "under my hands", so to speak. When your covering music, you have the original recording for everyone to compare you by. As such, when a band plays a song and key elements are not played, or the tone of the guitars isn't just right, or the groove "somehow feels different", it leaves the listener thinking "wow, that just doesn't sound right" or "well, they tried but missed". I've told many of my fellow cover musicians over the years that ". . . the only difference between you and a juke box is the lack of a coin slot behind your ear"! LOL (always helped to keep the egos in check!)

Fast forward to 2012, I played with a bunch of guys that grew up through the alternative rock/grunge era. Again, a cover band, we covered everything from Pearl Jam to STP to Silverchair to The Foo Fighters. These guys really didn't care that key guitar parts weren't being played or that we didn't get the vocal harmonies right. They just wanted to have fun and jam out in clubs, in front of people. It's not that the band sucked. They didn't. We were actually pretty decent and the clubs loved us. However, by our 1980's standard of perfection in playing and performance, it was much looser and not anywhere nearly as "tight" as we were back in the day. Much like the rock music of the 80's was much "tighter" than the alternative/grudge which sounded more like garage bands by comparison. No offense to any alt/grunge lovers here as I too like much of it. It's just stylistically different. It's meant to sound more raw, less "produced" and actually invites a little more sloppiness. To that end, these guys didn't see the "merit" in trying to get it perfect. As for me, I've still try to stick close and pay "homage" to the original groooves and fills (particularly if it's a truly "signature" part). Does that mean I never take poetic license from time to time? Of course not. If I do decide to introduce something new to the mix, I make pretty damn sure it's an improvement to the music before I do. As an example, I've played the song "Children of the Grave" by Black Sabbath in many, many bands since the mid 70's. Somewhere about 1985, I altered the intro of the song to include a 16th note triplet pattern on double bass along with the floor tom pattern that Bill Ward created. During the verse portion, I chugged out triplets to match the guitar/bass pattern and in the chorus I would go back to 16th note triplet pattern to really drive it home. Those were big changes to a classic song but, in the end, it really gave a fresh, slightly more modern punch to an already great song and I've played it that way ever since!

Sorry for the long post, I'll try to keep them more brief in the future but, like I said, it's a topic I've encountered for a long time as a player. Happy to be here with you all and looking forward to reading more!
A balanced perspective. Welcome to the forum.
 

toddbishop

Platinum Member
As a well-paid coverband on for example weddings, corporate parties, etc, you can NOT play your own interpretations/feelings all the time, because NONE of the people in the audience is most likely interested to hear them and for sure none of those people is interested to actually PAY to hear them.. .
Nobody cares, man. Nobody knows or cares what the hell the drummer plays. They want a band in the room, they want a vibe, and if they are even paying attention, they just want to see you having a good time.
 
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