Playing songs that have amateur drum parts to them

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If anyone mentions RS here, I'm gonna flip my lid lol.

Sometimes, when it's a real party atmosphere, my main blues band plays The Kingsmen's "Louie Louie"

Anyone who knows the song knows that the drum part is pre-tty amateur. But somehow it works. It has a certain unkempt charm. What a great song. The leader makes his guitar sound exactly like the keyboard intro. When people hear those first 3 chords, they flip and head right to the dance floor. When I play this song, I try and copy that amateur drum part because it's so iconic. I can feel myself dumbing my drumming down, ignoring all my sensibilities, and playing with less technique. Don't get me wrong, it's one of the most fun things I play. That's my point. I love playing that stupid drum part that steps all over the lead, complete with "bad" technique and bad musical choices. The leader even puts in the part where the singer does a false start to the 3rd verse, then goes back around and starts it proper.

My point is it's hard to improve, but gosh it's so easy to play below yourself, that it's automatically fun.
 
So the drum part is beneath you, huh?

You are talking out both sides of your mouth. At one breath you are saying you have to "dumb your drumming down" and in the next breath you are saying it's an "iconic" drum part.....whiich is it? dumb or iconic?

Making the drum part "better" with "your style" is subjective. Your job as a drummer is to make the music feel good...period. Let's be honest here....nobody gives a shit about the drum part...the audience doesn't care wether you are masterfully playing technically proficient...they just want to dance to a classic song....inane as it may be. If you interjected your "style" into it and put a bunch of chops in it, it would sound terrible. It's a garage rock song from way back.

It's like the classic arguement, "who is a better drummer Ringo or Mike Portnoy???" lol I certainly wouldn't want to hear Mike Portnoy in the Beatles even tho he may be technically better drummer. Same with Ringo....I wouldnt want to hear him in DT because he doesn't fit the music.

Be a pro. Play what is needed. Give the drums repect in "Louie Louie", after all, you are playing HIS drum part and not the other way around. Respect to the spirit of the song...the guy played it just right. It's not amatuer, it is what it is.
 

Spreggy

Silver Member
I get what you're saying Larry. Some drum parts really make me shake my head, but there it is. Whatever makes the song work. If the girls hit the dance floor like a bunch of drunken strippers, I'm a happy guy.

I think Louie Louie works because the song is so poorly held together that it draws people's attention much like a skidding car will. They want to see the wreckage.
 
A

Anthony Amodeo

Guest
listen to every Clash, Sex Pistols, Misfits, White Stripes, Black Keys, Nirvana, and tons of other bands records and you will get the same thing

I don't think it makes them any less awesome or amateur at all

it makes them what they are

if every song had Vinnie Colaiuta on drums I would probably hate music

and Vinnie is a god to me
 

ahector

Senior Member
Be a pro. Play what is needed. Give the drums repect in "Louie Louie", after all, you are playing HIS drum part and not the other way around. Respect to the spirit of the song...the guy played it just right. It's not amatuer, it is what it is.
this is so right on.

larry, you're doing the right thing... you respect what is best for the music, and you clearly get it. but we don't need to perpetuate this attitude that sloppy = bad, simple = bad, easy=bad... that these things are bad musical choices. that's complete rubbish. sloppy is just as valid as tight, in of itself. it's the rules that we create around these things that make sloppy bad or good, in context.

you said that "it works", so it works!

Oh, and PS, vinniewannabe... you can hear Mike Portnoy play the Beatles. He did a tribute thing a while back. And it's terrrrrible.
 

LanceG33

Member
whiich is it? dumb or iconic?
I don't believe these to be mutually exclusive. Dumb CAN be iconic because it's as much about context as it is the content itself. Conversely, the lofty and pedantic can lack relevance and fail to be iconic because it does not resonate with people.
 
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larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Of all the drum tracks I heard to songs throughout the decades, I consider Louie Louie to be a very amateur sounding drum track, my opinion. And I love it more than most. Just because I call it amateur, that doesn't mean it's bad, or it didn't work, or it sucks, or I didn't like it, just that it sounded to me like an amateur played it. It totally steps on the lead. With sloppy phrased fills I would have played at age 15. It sounds so bad that it's good. I love it. It captures a vibe like nothing else. Love playing it, there's no technicalities, it's all vibe.

Lighten up people, this thread is about fun. You guys need to get over yourselves.

In fact that is a major reason why some drummers are ineffective. Fear of fun and ease. Everything doesn't have to be complex. I try to live my life simplifying things, yet I see so many that want to complicate things. Why? Can't you just enjoy yourselves?
 

ahector

Senior Member
larry, you're right. i think i misinterpreted some of your word choices, but it's now clear that i don't disagree with you at all.

i do think the point i made about some people's perception of what is "good" is true, but it's not really relevant. i was reading a perception that i have about many musicians at large into your post and Spreggy's post.
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I like music with amateur everything. Punk rock was built on focus on the overall effect rather than perfection.
 

dtrushr30dw

Senior Member
I think The Offspring have some very amateur drum parts, but they really do the job well and they FIT the music. Meaning, they don't need to be over the top and they aren't.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
I don't think it makes them any less awesome or amateur at all

it makes them what they are
Making the drum part "better" with "your style" is subjective. Your job as a drummer is to make the music feel good...period.
You're both touching on what I would say.

Every part on a recording is already what it is. We have to accept that it's what the artist wanted (or it would sound different,) what the drummer meant to play (or the parts would sound different,) and what the producer and the label wanted... or it wouldn't have been released. We wouldn't be talking about it.

Remember when Zappa went back & re-recorded a few of his early albums, claiming that he now had players that could realize his vision of those records? Most Zappa fans agreed that the new versions sucked. They liked what they were in the first place.

The songs are what they are, and they sound the way they sound, period. They exist they way the artist, players, producer and label intended for us to hear them, and there's no improvement upon that. We can play them differently, but we cannot improve them. It's unfair to say they're amatuerish. Call the parts simple, or say the drummer has a naive approach, or say we'd do them differently.

I can think of only one possible amatuer drummer that was allowed to record a messed-up part which was subsequently released. And no, not Charlie Watts turning intros around...

On "Wild Weekend" by the Rockin' Rebels (1962,) the drummer inexplicably flips the kick & snare near the end of the song, literally turning the beat around (except you don't love to hear this percussion!) The song is quickly faded, and issued as-is. And I suppose even that has its charm, dancers and non-musicians probably didn't even take notice.

Apart from that, the parts we hear are what make the songs worth listening to. They're what make the songs worth playing in cover bands. We don't have to like them, we don't have to play them the same, but we do have to acknowledge what they are, and not dismiss them as amatuerish simply because they're not parts some of us would play.

My approach is to play the original parts. They're what make the song worth playing, and worth hearing. They're what make the song feel good.

Bermuda
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
A French artist described art brut / naive art like so:
Those works created from solitude and from pure and authentic creative impulses – where the worries of competition, acclaim and social promotion do not interfere – are, because of these very facts, more precious than the productions of professionals.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Art_brut

No doubt many professionals would disagree with the "more precious" assessment :) ... but some creatively inclined people don't know (or care) enough to inhibit their expression so they do can come across as especially fresh and honest. We all know some examples in the drumming world. That's what happened in the late 60s, the late 70s and the 90s ... after the slick stuff dominated for a while rawness came across as more authentic and a refreshing change.

Reboot.

I don't care for the amateur/pro divide - to me it's only a guide as to how enjoyable music is but far from all encompassing. After all, musak has always been performed by professionals playing impeccably tasteful parts.

IMO the best amateurs are either the ones who could have been pro but life got in the way and those who don't care about trying to be pro and just want to please themselves.

About Louie Louie: I find I need to watch it when covering old tunes, though. The drums were mixed way lower back then and some drummers played heaps of fills to create a jazzlike surging wash beneath the main voices. Play those parts with the drums up in the mix as is normal today and you'll dominate the song in a way the old guys didn't.
 

mo2vation

Senior Member
Can't Get Enough Of Your Love - Bad Co

This tune is the reason I play the drums.

Pretty simple stuff.... but for some reason, at this time, in this place, this tune hit me like a lightening bolt and I knew at that moment I'd one day be a drummer.

5 Years later, when I'd been playing the drums for about a year or two, Living After Midnight came out. With that big simple 1 + 2.... I was in a garage band, and we covered that tune, and I played it perfectly. Still have that recording of that first gig, with that opening song.

My point is there are a lot of reasons to love the simple tunes.

-K
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
It's almost as if the more imperfect, the better.
lol stop it. You'll give someone a heart attack :)

In my experience there are at least two types of sloppy playing - tense sloppy and relaxed sloppy ... the try hards and the uninhibited.

Oh, another one - uninspired club drummers who've lost their enthusiasm.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
With sloppy phrased fills I would have played at age 15. It sounds so bad that it's good. I love it. It captures a vibe like nothing else. Love playing it, there's no technicalities, it's all vibe.
Yes, there's something very special and pleasing in these "amateur" or "sloppy" drum parts, very often with an apparent lack of "technicalities", I agree it can be so bad that it is good, it's pure emotion based on feelings upon listening to the music, and many beginners on the kit can sometimes play a groove or a fill that's very inspiring :)

I still have some recordings on audio tapes from the first few bands I played when I was a beginner, I had zero technique and no experiences, but upon listening to them now, some drum parts are quite good here and there, both in terms of creativity, sounds and feel, I found this amazing somehow, now I could probably play these songs better, but for those little "good bits", I'll have to really listen and try to capture my very own feel and vibe to reproduce these fills nowadays, lol :)
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Doing things authentically is a fun thing.

I'mmainly a guitarplayer and last night I did a gig we do a couple of times each year, playing all sorts of old songs in pretty much any style. I'm not copying things exactly, but I copy the vibe. These nights are true nostalgia for the mostly 50+ yo crowd. Getting it right is fun.
 
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plangentmusic

Guest
A few approaches to covering trashy old novelty tunes --

Go with the original feel but make it more "modern."

Treat it like a folk art and try to emulate everything -- even what's "bad."

Just play it left handed or with a dumb grip and treat it like an exercise.
 
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