Pre-planned drum fills??

wizard sticks

Senior Member
I don't use any. It may be foolish and/or naive. This might be right.

I remember an interview with Phil Collins discussing his double drumming with Bill Bruford. He said that Bruford basically played off-the-cuff and it was a bit of a nightmare. Collins admitted that some of his playing was planned.

Perhaps this Bruford thing is incorrect. Or is it just too risky for many situations? Or are pre-planned licks too good a tool to ignore?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Some of my fills are planned, some are not, but even those tend to follow some guidelines and are pretty consistent. The music dictates what fills I play, and if the music doesn't change, neither do my fills. And if a fill works really well, why fight it?

Bermuda
 

wizard sticks

Senior Member
Some of my fills are planned, some are not, but even those tend to follow some guidelines and are pretty consistent. The music dictates what fills I play, and if the music doesn't change, neither do my fills. And if a fill works really well, why fight it?

Bermuda
Ha true. Do you have like concepts such as six-stroke variations (RLRRLL), (RLLRRL) in the locker? Do you have fills that are planned in terms of there is a certain gap and this fill fills it? "I have two beats to spare and I will play this" like Motown fills and stuff? I suppose this is an artistic choice as well. But a conceptual approach is somewhere in between I guess.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
Some fills are planned and I always play them the same way, while others are looser and improvised. The ones that are planned are either ones that I wrote specifically to work well going from one section to another, or ones that may be doubling or complementing another part (guitar/bass/vocals).

In general, my more "important" fills are more often planned; ie. the ones that takes the song between two very distinct sections (into and out of a bridge section, into the last chorus, when the drums kick in for the first time, etc)
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Some players chart out their songs. Some make roadmaps. Some never play a song the same way twice.

I think it was Bruford who said that you need a lot of chops to be able to play off-the-cuff.
 

PlayTheSong

Senior Member
I record band rehearsals. When I hear that a fill worked well I'll leave it in. Otherwise I'll start thinking about what I could try next time.
 

brentcn

Platinum Member
Look deep into your heart, and ask yourself: is this an improv gig, a "parts" gig, or somewhere in between?

\Or are pre-planned licks too good a tool to ignore?
There is a HUGE middle ground here. You can have a family of licks or short phrases, that you assemble into combinations on the fly. The assembly is improvised (or not), but the licks are rehearsed. So the actual drumming is only improvised a little bit. Things that are played, have been played many times before, though perhaps the order of them is new.

I'd be pretty sore if i saw Danny Carey or Neal Peart winging it in a concert.
+1. The music will tell you if you're supposed to be improvising or playing a specific "part". There is no need to let the words of another musician choose how you play, that the music should choose for you. Best not to do much improv when backing up Phil Collins, unless there's a spot for solos or trading, even if your name is Bruford. Dogma is a dangerous thing.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I don't play out, only in my home 4 seat arena, and at times after playing a fill I ask myself, could I repeat that the next time I play along to this song. I would like to find a great fill and be able to repeat it.
 

eclipseownzu

Gold Member
I'd be pretty sore if i saw Danny Carey or Neal Peart winging it in a concert.
Two great examples where the fills are so iconic they have to be played as recorded. Changing the fills in Tom Sawyer or 46&2 is like changing the guitar riff.

I tend to play fills the same way every time, I have found it keeps everybody on the same page. As a guitarist I get used to certain fills in certain parts, so I try to give the same courtesy to the guys I play with.
 

trickg

Silver Member
It really depends on the situation. At times, I like the freedom of being able to play whatever fill pattern comes off of my hands and feet at the time, but certain tunes have signature fills and patterns that need to be planned and practiced that way.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Covers usually demand specific fills, originals don’t. So what are we talking about here?
I see no difference when it comes to parts & fills, they apply equally. After all, covers are just someone else's originals.

Bermuda
 

mrfingers

Senior Member
What I mean is the audience “demands” the correct sound for the beginning of Zep’s Rock n’ Roll, for example. The band needs the distinctive 5 stroke pattern for the second half of Sweet Emotion, etc..

Between the distinctive fills you can do whatever fits the music. Your band’s originals are open to any new fills that suit.
 

Odd-Arne Oseberg

Platinum Member
Well, are you doing an exact cover or your own version?

How did the original artist treat the song live?

What's appropriate will differ greatly from situation to situation.

Often I'm in a situation where the instrumentation is so different we have to figure out something else anyway. The drums will often be more or less the same, maybe a bit simplified, but I'll choose other sounds and/or utensils.
 

Frosticles

Silver Member
We tour constantly & need to be tighter than tight. We all play everything exactly the same every gig & that makes us consistent. If one of us (say me) wanked about with fills then A, it would put the others off as it would be something they weren't used to hearing & B, would earn me a slap :)
I suppose it's ok in a "Loose" situation but not for a professional touring band.
 

alparrott

Platinum Member
I agree with the general consensus, in that you can be as flexible as your playing situation allows when you're the lone drummer. Sometimes you have to be pinpoint precise (Neil Peart comes to mind); sometimes as long as there's some kind of beat you'll be okay (Keith Moon).

Gavin Harrison comes to mind as someone who is as precise as the situation calls for. His parts through verse and chorus are usually pretty exact every time he plays them. But his fills are improvised from show to show, sometimes in minor ways, sometimes fairly dramatically. A great example is the middle bit of "Anesthetize" from "Fear of a Blank Planet" compared to the Atlanta and Tillburg live recordings. They show a definite progression in his approach to the song and the evolution of fills based on what feels good on a particular night.

Having said that, when Gavin plays with two other drummers in King Crimson, there's much less improvisation; in interviews, he explains that all three parts are essentially written out and the drummers rehearse for some weeks before the rest of the band convenes.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I guess there are some signature fills that are so part of a song that if you don't play people will think it's heresy. But I like to noodle around in practice with a song-all with the goal of something reproducible for public. Till I recorded myself I think I was "fill crazy"-sounded great to me and like crap to everyone else LOL. There is a big difference from developing "chops" with having good "drumming musical taste". They ain't the same-in fact I'd argue chops are a lot easier but good musical taste for knowing when to apply chops can be problematic-like playing too many fills just becomes humdrum white noise after a while.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
It's really a good question. People have heard the originals over and over. . .So, do you play it exactly that way, so they know and enjoy the same thing they've heard hundreds of times?? Or do you twist it a little. Make it your own. . .I think it depends on the crowd.


My 2 cents
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's really a good question. People have heard the originals over and over. . .So, do you play it exactly that way, so they know and enjoy the same thing they've heard hundreds of times?? Or do you twist it a little. Make it your own. . .I think it depends on the crowd.
It also depends on the player. When doing covers, I play the parts that make the song worth playing. It's a little more work to play the original parts, but I enjoy being those drummers. I have no illusions about making anything my own. When I'm cooking up drum parts for one of my bands' original songs, that's when I get some input.

Bermuda
 
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