Songs composed by drummers

RhythmlessPUNK

Junior Member
i've been a drummer for a year now and it's the only intrument i know how to play, lately i've been getting more and more interested in songwritting but i know that if not difficult/impossible it pretty though to write a song based of percussion and then add the melody, lyrics,etc. But i'm sure one of those talented jazz drummers would have no problem doing it.

What examples can you name of songs where the drum parts where written first and the melody, lyrics was written around the beat?
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
I think the creative process for a huge number of bands starts with a beat, or a simple rhythmic idea. It's really fun to just think up a "song" in my head, and then play out loud to see what it inspires in my bandmates to come up with. On very rare occasion, what they come up with is almost exactly what I was imagining, and that's super cool. Other times, I'll like the idea in my head more than what they came up with and I'll "sing" the melody to them of what I was thinking. I've "written" a lot of songs that way.
 

shemp

Silver Member
i've been a drummer for a year now and it's the only intrument i know how to play, lately i've been getting more and more interested in songwritting but i know that if not difficult/impossible it pretty though to write a song based of percussion and then add the melody, lyrics,etc. But i'm sure one of those talented jazz drummers would have no problem doing it.

What examples can you name of songs where the drum parts where written first and the melody, lyrics was written around the beat?
Well, I think it's easier than you think. For instance, you can write a song based on the underlying rhythm....and arrange it using those Rhythm blocks. One for intro, verse, chorus, bridge, etc....or in the other side of the spectrum just one single beat the entire song...

Once you have identified a feel or a series of feels....arrange it....then come back and drop a bass line which will further demarcate the sections and tone centers....then slap some basic rhythm guitar....

Writing with drums first is something I've done on several songs....a great drum beat or series of rhythm figures working next to/against each other is more powerful and integral to the song than any of the flash or French pastry thrown on top. (Or for that matter, any of the obligatory stage dancers, coreography, fashions.....)

See Charlie Benante
 

GeoB

Gold Member
i've been a drummer for a year now and it's the only intrument i know how to play, lately i've been getting more and more interested in songwritting but i know that if not difficult/impossible it pretty though to write a song based of percussion and then add the melody, lyrics,etc. But i'm sure one of those talented jazz drummers would have no problem doing it.

What examples can you name of songs where the drum parts where written first and the melody, lyrics was written around the beat?
This guy writes a lot, performs as shown and with other group configurations... it can be done

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VjZ6shLYjGA
 
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Seafroggys

Silver Member
I'm a drummer and a composer. I started out as a pianist, then the skills I learned from that I then branched out into drumming and composing.

I compose like any classical composer would, I don't really write music from the perspective of a drummer, although being a drummer I can say my drum parts are better than 99.9% of songwriters' drum parts.
 

con struct

Platinum Member
I'm a drummer and a composer. I started out as a pianist, then the skills I learned from that I then branched out into drumming and composing.

I compose like any classical composer would, I don't really write music from the perspective of a drummer, although being a drummer I can say my drum parts are better than 99.9% of songwriters' drum parts.
What kind of music do you compose? Are you recording any of your compositions?
 

Croc

Senior Member
Bonnie the Cat by Porcupine Tree was written around the groove Gavin Harrison crafted based upon a Steve Jansen riff. He presented the groove and idea for the bass line counterpoint to the group and they built the rest of the song around it.
 

Swiss Matthias

Platinum Member
Most pieces written by Virgil Donati I guess. He's a very good (classical) piano
player though, too, and he is very well trained in harmony and theory.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
What kind of music do you compose? Are you recording any of your compositions?
I compose rock music onto sheet music mostly, although I've done some symphonic stuff and one or two jazz tunes before.

I just put up a trailer for a rock musical I'm recording, I composed the music and also played the drums (note the marching drums in the intro are a bit off, I plan on retracking that sometime soon).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HiRQxaRLqDY&feature=youtu.be
 

Otto

Platinum Member
Something that really helps me in this train of thought is to realize that the drum part is not separate from the song....it is as integral as any other part of the song.

I hear a song complete...I don't tend to construct pieces and jumble them together...I tend to struggle to express what I am hearing in my head.

...but there is no right or wrong here...just what works for you and what does not.

I suggest starting with the melody you want to hear...then let it grow as you think of it....pretty soon you cant stop where the thing wants to go...and IT tells you what to do....then after some time...they pop into your head like graceful sentences rolling from your tongue to the ones listening...formed in ways that dictate their execution....just like when you sit down at the set and just let anything come out...it follows its own internal logic that confounds me when I try to fully grasp its rules.
 

BillRayDrums

Gold Member
I've been doing this thing for about 8 years now . When I go into the studio to do someone's tracks I ask for 10 minutes to get loose and warm up. It's then I'll compose a tune...more like a form of a tune (what I'm hearing is like a "tuneless whistle") in my head right on the spot, play along to it (sometimes with a click) and send it out to the Internet for people to do their damnedest with.

http://billysbeats.com is the mother ship for all that sort of silliness. :D
 

oob360

Junior Member
I would think such songs are as likely - perhaps more likely - to start with a melody and/or chords.

Scott K Fish Life Beyond the Cymbals
It's true that drummers don't have to start their songs with drum beats, but its equally true that a guitarist (or any other instrumentalist) can start with the beat first as well. I believe that it has more to do with the musical culture that is being considered. For example, a lot of Indian traditional music is almost entirely based on the rhythmic ideas (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AKyz7pF1TAM). You can also look to traditional Korean music (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uk-T4f1a6wU).
 
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