Slowhand drumming

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Just listening to Pink Floyd and noticing how beautifully he handled those very slow parts, reminiscent of Ringo.

Do you enjoy slow drumming that oozes greasily along as counterpoint to more skittering and jumping around playing (as something other than taking a break)? I love the slow stuff ... you have times to focus on the nuances and the drum sounds.
 

khanedeliac

Senior Member
Cant get enough of it, just laying in the cut with the sausage gut.

You really get to hear where ghost notes and accents CAN go, as its all laid bare for our ears.

Bernard Purdie on Yusef Lateef's 'Detroit' Album....wowza

Whitefield Brothers - In The Raw

Ziggy Modeliste - Just Kissed My Baby (Meters)

Questlove - What They Do on the Roots Illadelph Halflife album

Idris Muhammad - One Cylinder by Lou Donaldson , ridiculous groove.

Mitch Mitchell - Wind Cries Mary, so tasteful.

Plenty of Nick Mason as you say, Steve Ferrone with the second incarnation of AWB.... blah blah music geek blab.

EDIT : How could I forget Rolling Stones producer Jimmy Miller filling in with the sick groove (that Watts couldnt play! Gasp!) on 'You Cant Always Get What You Want' one of the best grooves ever, shifting and snaking along so seductively
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Lots of good examples, there, Khan. I wasn't aware that Charlie was replaced by the producer on YCAGWYW.

Another one: a Tom Wait's track, Heart Attack and Vine, where New Orleans drummer John Thomassie plays this great, swampy groove. Not sure who's playing on this live version but it oozes nicely too: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C49H3aWdiK8

It takes good timing to play so slowly and keep the spaces even enough to make it groove. I spent my youth trying to play as fast as I could and now I'm interested in going the other way.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I know it's a very simple example, but I'm currently going through "comfortably numb" by Floyd with my band. It's sounding pretty good IMHO. When we first practiced it, I played the drum parts note for note but found it lacked feel for me, even though the original works beautifully. Of course, I've looked at various Floyd performances and the drum part changes as you would expect. Anyhow, I've put my own spin on it. Quite minute changes actually but enough for me to get the vibe I want from the track.

Such naked slow paced drumming is so attractive to me. I can relax deeply into the performance without worrying about the mechanics of playing. I generally play such stuff with my eyes closed from start to finish. I know my instrument well enough to pull that off, and I find it very liberating in terms of really feeling the sound I'm generating and controlling each element precicely.
 

khanedeliac

Senior Member
Yah strange anecdote over the song, but great nonetheless. Cant figure out what was so difficult about it for Mr Charlie, but hey...

Man, Tom Waits always has good drummers, great tune.

A lesser known band from DC, Dead Meadow have a drummer who specializes in going slow, and cripes can he do it proper.

I was interested in playing fast breakbeat type stuff when I started and thankfully I can play quite a lot of that stuff now, but its only through playing slow first. Just trying all the hip hop beats I had internalised from 9 onwards between 75-95bpm or so; which were obviously often from Rock & Funk records, but I am sure it had a significant impact on my groove.

Sometimes its just about playing a single ghost note in the right place in a 2 bar phrase, and juuuuuuusssstt hanging off the back of the pulse, but ever so slightly.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
I find parts like this to be deeply uninteresting and boring, something to be tolerated and executed well but not much fun to play. I really start paying additional attention to the other instruments in parts like this.

I know this sounds immature and shallow and likely I am the only person on this board who will admit to feeling this way.
 

oneguy

Senior Member
I find it very nice! Lets a person slow down and concentrate on feel and a lighter touch? It's also about the only stuff I can get about 80% right with my current no skill level....lmao!

Noticed how nice it was when I slapped on some Tom Petty yesterday for something new to try and practice with and had a great time playing along with "Face in the crowd" and also stumbled onto a nice slow one today practicing with an old Etta James cd I dug out....GREAT stuff!!!!
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
I know it's a very simple example, but I'm currently going through "comfortably numb" by Floyd with my band. It's sounding pretty good IMHO. When we first practiced it, I played the drum parts note for note but found it lacked feel for me, even though the original works beautifully.
I'm hearing you, Andy. Agree with Oneguy re: Comfortably Numb. I've run into the same issue at times with slow songs. Sometimes it's because the studio original is full of big, treated sounds that fill the space and, without a lot of effects, replicating the parts as a live band can sound a bit thin. At other times it's the same problem as practising with a metronome, trying to make a drum part groove at 40bpm that's normally played at over twice the speed. It's another skill, like playing fast.

Such naked slow paced drumming is so attractive to me. I can relax deeply into the performance without worrying about the mechanics of playing. I generally play such stuff with my eyes closed from start to finish.
Yes! I know the correct thing to do is to play eyes open and keep tabs on what's going on but I love closing my eyes to slow numbers and drifting off into Feel Land.


Deathmetalconga said:
I find parts like this to be deeply uninteresting and boring, something to be tolerated and executed well but not much fun to play. I really start paying additional attention to the other instruments in parts like this.

I know this sounds immature and shallow and likely I am the only person on this board who will admit to feeling this way.
I doubt anyone here would think of of you as "immature" and "shallow", DMC. No doubt it's a matter of personality type.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
...

Super slow grooves are some of the most seductive things you can do on a drum set, but I think it takes more than just the drums to make those songs work. There usually is something about the arrangement or something about another instrument pulsing around the drum part that really makes it happen.

An all time great slow hand performance for me is Nigel Olssen playing Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

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toddy

Platinum Member
this is the kind of stuff i'm playing atm - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJpHQACXCuw
it can be more hectic, the drums can range from hip-hop to garage to electro to death metal even. but, this kind of tempo/sound is so exciting to play in a club.
i can't explain the feeling i get when the bass drops in on a massive sound system and everyone starts going mental.. eargasm.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
True Abe, it's not easy to carry a slow groove by yourself, at least if you're not John Bonham playing When the Levee Breaks. Nigel Olssen is a great slowhand. He nails Candle In the Wind too.

This version of I Put a Spell on You (David Gilmour and Mica Paris) is as tasty as can be. Don't know who's playing drums on it but he's fabulous. Any ideas?

If only my band's version was half as good as this *sigh* (though it's it's still great fun to play :)

Toddy, slow hip hop with a bit of bounce is lotsa fun too. I'm hoping my retro band will find a song that works with hip hop treatment.
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
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An all time great slow hand performance for me is Nigel Olssen playing Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.

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+1. As some of you know, I'm a great Olssen fan, and YBR is a perfect example of his craftmanship. Nigel was born just down the road from my childhood stomping ground. A vastly under celebrated master craftsman IMO.

Getting those really slow grooves to drive from the back seat is punishingly difficult, especially live, & without the crutch of a mega sound system. Abe's correct, the drums can't do this on their own. Each band member needs to buy into the same vibe. Performing spaces becomes more important than the playing parts themselves. Such material is totally my favourite playing task and grossly underestimated as a performance skill. Playing high energy stuff is very easy to get right by comparison.
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Nigel was born just down the road from my childhood stomping ground. A vastly under celebrated master craftsman IMO.
Thats great, Andy. I met Nigel backstage eons ago when EJ did his Concert in Central Park ( NYC ) in 19$%.......
On the under-celebrated bit, what struck me even back then was how much of a celeb he was and how much everyone behind- the- scenes treated him like a VIP.

Some people recognize the value of gold, I suppose.

...
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Playing high energy stuff is very easy to get right by comparison.
It's a lot more forgiving. A bum note in a forest of notes is less noticed than when playing sparsely. Also, people are more forgiving if you don't execute cleanly when attempting something that's obviously difficult. Slow playing is assumed by layperson's to be easier than uptempo because it looks more readily attainable. In gymnastics, most people will be more impressed by a triple somersault with half pike done sloppily than a single somersault executed perfectly.

It's one thing to play a pattern, it's a whole other ball game to get inside it and make it sing. I don't think I've ever quite attained it, but hope springs eternal ...
 

aydee

Platinum Member
Nigel was born just down the road from my childhood stomping ground. A vastly under celebrated master craftsman IMO.
Thats great, Andy. I met Nigel backstage eons ago when EJ did his Concert in Central Park ( NYC ) in 19$%.......
On the under-celebrated bit, what struck me even back then was how much of a celeb he was and how much everyone behind- the- scenes treated him like a VIP.

Some people recognize the value of gold, I suppose.

.This version of I Put a Spell on You (David Gilmour and Mica Paris) is as tasty as can be. Don't know who's playing drums on it but he's fabulous. Any ideas?
Pol, shot in the dark, but looks and sounds like Jim Gordon to me

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Andy

Administrator
Staff member
Thats great, Andy. I met Nigel backstage eons ago when EJ did his Concert in Central Park ( NYC ) in 19$%.......
On the under-celebrated bit, what struck me even back then was how much of a celeb he was and how much everyone behind- the- scenes treated him like a VIP.

Some people recognize the value of gold, I suppose.

...
Holy cow, you met up with Nigel. That's cool. I've never heard him play live. Would love to though.
 

Pollyanna

Platinum Member
Thats great, Andy. I met Nigel backstage eons ago when EJ did his Concert in Central Park ( NYC ) in 19$%.......
Is there any great drummer you haven't met?? If you keep this up I'll be messaging you for your autograph! Hey everyone, I know Aydee. Yeah, we talk a lot - great guy bla bla :)

I've been keen on NO's playing since the 70s. I know it's not slow, but he ripped on Grey Seal. And how about Bennie and the Jets - quarters at 67bpm bang on.

Pol, shot in the dark, but looks and sounds like Jim Gordon to me
I thought he was still in prison. Very sad situation.
 

A-customs

Silver Member
I Love the slow stuff as well.................,alot of these example show the drummers great meter.Mitch Mitchells,The Wind cries Mary.Is for me one of my all time great tracks.Ive played it out................... its a song and a groove that I REALLY love playing ..God Bless you Mitch.........
 
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