The Drum Solo

Midnite Zephyr

Platinum Member
I've never been one to play a solo at a gig, but the last gig I was playing a drum break in a classic rock song called Funk #49 and I went a few bars longer than normal playing the toms and doing some funky stuff with the beat before I came in with the signature snare roll that brings the band back into the song. Well, at the end of the night a couple people complimented me on my "drum solo". I never intended that to be a solo, but I guess it is now.

Now I feel the pressure to outdo myself on that piece, or at least make it just as interesting as the last time I played it and make it my solo time. It's just a few bars, but it's enough to shine a little. Do all of you play a solo during your gigs? I know a few of you jazz guys do, but what about you rock drummers?
 

chipotle

Senior Member
Back in my gigging days I can only recall playing a drum solo once. That is the type of solo when the band stops and goes to get a beer or something. I never liked the idea that a drummers solo wasn't supported by the rest of the band. So there were times when I would take a solo in the song, just like any other instrument would.
 

shemp

Silver Member
I think it sounds great...Everyone in the band should have a proper introduction and an opportunity to be creative in a gig setting.

The bands I've been in as a guitarist, we have always made proper introductions for the drummer and given them a space in at least 1 song to stretch out...usually more than 1 song., and happily so.

You should develop a little framework for your new found solo spot and develop it
 

Hollywood Jim

Platinum Member
I play solos every chance I get. Not those long ones where the other band members leave the stage.

Although I'd love to do a long solo, they usually only last the length of one chorus or one verse.

Guitar, bass players and keyboard players play solos on every song. I ask them to let me take solos all the time.
Usually they forget to give the drummer solos. The audience always likes short drum solos, so I don't understand why other musicians don't "allow" drummers to take solos.

Sometimes being a drummer sucks.


.
 

kyledrums

Junior Member
I solo in most bands I play in. The only time I don't is during singer songwriter type gigs.

I'm learning to love solos again. I went through a faze of not liking doing them. I think I had watched to many Benny Greb solos and thought I should quit now.

I've recently been working on trying to treat my solos as a song in themselves. Rather than a load of cool licks which I use to improvise around. I've got a few different sections and themes and I'm working on making them link in a way that flows.
 

drummerjims

Senior Member
I like drum solos in Jazz music but not much in rock. Unless it is just a 2 bar drum fill or something. Or a kick, hat, snare groove solo. I'm not sure why I am not a fan of them. However in jazz I really like when a drummer plays a chorus and you can still hear the song in what they are playing.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
If I liked my solos I wouldn't mind doing them. I get them once every few gigs. I'd rather trade 4's or 8's so I have some support. I really don't like drums by themselves, I prefer solos as part of the song where they hit the chord changes at least.
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
Depends on the gig. It's interesting how some people, even drummers, hate drum solos. I always did them, extended ones, generally, and audiences seemed to enjoy, and still do, all ages.

With the advent of video and dvds and youtube and the world's finest at your fingertips it seems it would be pretty tough for us mudskippers to do a solo and voice a statement in audience minds.
 

mikel

Platinum Member
I don't like drum solos. Have sat through many at gigs and hated every one. I am a drummer and can understand the skill involved in all the chops, but skill and chops don't entertain me.

I can stretch out in lots of the songs we do without a solo, and feel completely chop fulfilled.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
I don't like drum solos. Have sat through many at gigs and hated every one. I am a drummer and can understand the skill involved in all the chops, but skill and chops don't entertain me.

I can stretch out in lots of the songs we do without a solo, and feel completely chop fulfilled.
I'm with you. I don't like showcasing myself alone, at all. Don't like the whole "center of attention" thing. I get all my rocks off during the songs, I really have no need/desire to "show off" alone. A lot of drummers do it seems, which is great for them, but it's just not in my personality. Sometimes I wish I had more of the "hot dog" gene. I don't like hearing drums all by themselves for more than 5 seconds. The LDS was really hard to take. (Only 15 minutes out of every hour were you allowed to really play. It was a form of torture to my ears)
 

Drumsinhisheart

Silver Member
Yeah, that works great, too. Weckl has always done things with band background in his group. Always works.

Solos have been around for so long. It seemed the 80s might kill them, but they continue on.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I can't say I've ever done a drum solo.

And when going to see a band, I'd pretty much rather hear another song than a drum solo.
 

shemp

Silver Member
I think it's nice to let the engine rev a little in a song breakdown or something...I personally would not do it, but in cover bands we have always given the drummer an intro in a song or whatever...

That said, even I can't watch a full "The Professor" drum solo...and that's my boy right there. I do like the jazz bit he ends with, but the rest is a bit indulgent.

With moon, the whole concert is a solo...
 

Dr_Watso

Platinum Member
Not a big fan of them, but if we're playing a song and the band decides they want to stop for a bit, I'm not going to just sit there like an idiot (soloing like an idiot is on the table). Actually, I like to use it as an exercise in restraining myself while still adding a bit more interest since only drums are being heard in the room. My goal is never to drop chins... I want everyone's head to keep bobbing to the same groove as the song. Huge hero 32nds round the kit can take people's head out of the flow.

If for some dumb reason there's dead stage time or something, I'll only mess around on the kit alone if literally nothing else on stage is working, otherwise, all the working instruments better be right there with me.
 

Taye-Dyed

Senior Member
I am on the same camp with the ones who don't like drum solos - playing or hearing/watching. After listening to Moby Dick and The Mule for about the 18 millionth time, I got really sick of solos. However, I am asked to do some soloing during two songs (original instrumentals). The one I don't mind is trading fours with everybody doing stabs on the first beats. I actually enjoy it. But the other one is trading 16 bars and each player gets two turns of 16 bars during the song. It really exposes my lack of training and chops. I resort to mixing it up with percussion tidbits like cowbell, blocks, tambourine and sometimes bongos that I set up like roto toms.
 

keepitgreen

Senior Member
I am on the same camp with the ones who don't like drum solos - playing or hearing/watching. After listening to Moby Dick and The Mule for about the 18 millionth time, I got really sick of solos. However, I am asked to do some soloing during two songs (original instrumentals). The one I don't mind is trading fours with everybody doing stabs on the first beats. I actually enjoy it. But the other one is trading 16 bars and each player gets two turns of 16 bars during the song. It really exposes my lack of training and chops. I resort to mixing it up with percussion tidbits like cowbell, blocks, tambourine and sometimes bongos that I set up like roto toms.
It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one in this camp... I never really understood the idea that a drum solo HAS to be all by itself while the other guys walk off stage or stand around watching... Maybe like Larry said, you need the "hot dog" gene, but that's just not me...

The sheer fear that I have of the word "solo" combined with my own insecurities with my drumming ability tend to have me run screaming towards the nearest exit (cape flapping behind me?)...

I'd love to be able to pull off some form of soloing in the middle of a song, trading 4's or something similar, but I just don't have the confidence for it... Everytime I even try practicing something on my own, I start fumbling around and just get discouraged and quit... I tend to just focus on my strengths, even tho I know I should be pushing myself into uncomfortable waters...

What do you guys do to make yourselves more comfortable? I feel like a total newbie when I even attempt it...
 

Taye-Dyed

Senior Member
It's nice to hear that I'm not the only one in this camp... I never really understood the idea that a drum solo HAS to be all by itself while the other guys walk off stage or stand around watching... Maybe like Larry said, you need the "hot dog" gene, but that's just not me...

The sheer fear that I have of the word "solo" combined with my own insecurities with my drumming ability tend to have me run screaming towards the nearest exit (cape flapping behind me?)...

I'd love to be able to pull off some form of soloing in the middle of a song, trading 4's or something similar, but I just don't have the confidence for it... Everytime I even try practicing something on my own, I start fumbling around and just get discouraged and quit... I tend to just focus on my strengths, even tho I know I should be pushing myself into uncomfortable waters...

What do you guys do to make yourselves more comfortable? I feel like a total newbie when I even attempt it...
I can totally relate to how you feel. Others with more training and experience will hopefully chime in, but what I do is start out with keeping the groove of the song going for the first couple of bars and then adding variations to it. I don't have fancy chops to show off, so my solo bits are groove based, musical rather than technical.
 
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