WHAT DRUMMERS DO YOU HEAR IN YOUR PLAYING?

BrokenStick

Junior Member
I found that I was chasing someone else's sound...once i realized that I started asking myself how I want to sound...and adjusted accordingly.

I'm pretty sure I could find someone else that I sound like in playing, tuning, instrument selection, etc...but then it would be more accidental instead of intentional...and that kind of duplication I can live with as long as I'm not too acutely aware of it.

I liken it to reaching a point where what you have to say is not parroting what a parent says...kind of a 'musical growing up'.

It is possible to parrot others too much while is also possible to chase uniqueness just for its own sake...the middle ground seems to have treated me well.
I don't think I ever got bit by that bug of wanting to be or sound like anyone else. I don't think my mind works that way. Surely, I did pick up things here and there as I was self-taught early on, and I did all my learning by playing along to 45s and later LPs as my budget grew. I grew up in a small rural community, and there just wasn't opportunity to play much with others. My first gigs were with a country band playing music I mostly hadn't ever heard before. I did take formal lessons in HS, but it was sporadic. It wasn't until college that I grew consistent with lessons. Being sight impaired means I was pretty much limited to copying just what I could glean by ear. Now days, there are so many instructional materials out that are visual, it is much easier to see and hear how things are done.

Anyway, I think it is inevitable that we soak up what we listen to, and some of that will show up in our own playing. Often, it is just a hue--a shading or something ephemeral. It's that way with writing, and that is where I first noticed this phenomenon. My writing tends to sound like whatever I am reading at the time. Eventually, you get to the point where you can cop that feel on demand.

Someone made a joke here about sounding like a certain guitarist. I am sure it is in jest, but it is also quite probably true. I spend most of my time listening to classical music, and there are times when I have been sure Mozart was there in some form. I've wondered if I can somehow turn the kit into a piano and pull off some part of a piano concerto. At least the piano is in the percussion family, so maybe there is hope. And no, I am not "trippin back to places Ive been too," but I have wondered the same thing about wind chimes and getting that random thing on the kit.

Too many cups of coffee. I reserve the right to ....
 

BrokenStick

Junior Member
I found that I was chasing someone else's sound...once i realized that I started asking myself how I want to sound...and adjusted accordingly.

I'm pretty sure I could find someone else that I sound like in playing, tuning, instrument selection, etc...but then it would be more accidental instead of intentional...and that kind of duplication I can live with as long as I'm not too acutely aware of it.

I liken it to reaching a point where what you have to say is not parroting what a parent says...kind of a 'musical growing up'.

It is possible to parrot others too much while is also possible to chase uniqueness just for its own sake...the middle ground seems to have treated me well.

Again, you don't chase uniqueness. It is inherent in YOU as an individual. Yeah, I get your meaning though. How one communicates in words and with music as expression is comprised of so many elements you could not name them all if you tried. That combination of things (influences, stuff you've listened to, head choice, stick choice, drum sizes how you hold sticks &c) all are a part of this, and it manifests as a totally (whoops) unique expression that is YOU. I am currently testing color choice as it influences one's expression. My latest kit is in burgundy sparkle. Wonder if I will sound more like Mel Lewis or Art Blakey.

A musical maturity ... well put. Of course the "industry" thrives and perpetuates all this. Why else do we have endorsers? No offense intended to any here who have reached that level. I'd do it too were I good enough.
 

Suburbankidz

Well-known member
Too early to tell who I sound like I guess, other than the proverbial earnest student. During the pandemic I've been re-working my foundation skills and buckling down on the metronome...getting so I am much better on TIME than I used to be...so that will help a lot
 

BrokenStick

Junior Member
Too early to tell who I sound like I guess, other than the proverbial earnest student. During the pandemic I've been re-working my foundation skills and buckling down on the metronome...getting so I am much better on TIME than I used to be...so that will help a lot
Good for you. Ernest student is good place to be. If you stick with it--or even if you don't--you will cross a enumerable brooks, streams and rivers along the way. And to paraphrase Heraclitus, none of those brooks, streams, rivers or you will ever be the same again for you will all have been changed.
 

Sebenza

Member
You’d be surprised how many people technically don’t play the “In The Air Tonight” fill correctly either and are paraphrasing (I’d say 95% of the time) - it’s all hands and they leave out the bass drum notes
Really? I would imagine if there's one famous drum fill in the music world that everyone got right, it'd be that one...(apart from the four 8th notes that Bonham plays when he enters Stairway)
 

Hewitt2

Senior Member
Really? I would imagine if there's one famous drum fill in the music world that everyone got right, it'd be that one...(apart from the four 8th notes that Bonham plays when he enters Stairway)
I know, right? To be fair to the casual listener, though, it’s not easy to pick out the bass drum notes but they are there.

The fill is not broken 16ths with the hands only as is commonly played.... the bass drum fills those apparent spaces...
 

brushes

Well-known member
Tons of drummers have influenced my some way or the other. But I believe, that the biggest influence had guys like Hal Blaine and Clyde Stubblefield on the rock/pop-side and Joe Morello and Louis Hayes on the jazz-side of things and Joao Palma for latin/bossa.

But in the end, I sound like me, have my very own style according to other musicians. I don't copy any of those drummers, nor do I want to. I am comfy with being the very best impersonation of myself.
 

NickSchles

Junior Member
Well, there is "nothing new under the sun."
I just know the stuff I think sounds cool, and even if I haven't a clue what he is doing (most of the time this is the case) if I listen long enough, something along the same lines turns up in something I do even if I made no conscious effort to learn or copy it. Baker used to do 4-stroke ruffs (two up and two down). Since I didn't have two kicks, I adapted that for what I had, and that resulted in something that goes back to at least Max Roach. I can't play the first bar of Morello's solo in Take Five, but some how without ever even trying to practice it, that groove ended up in my playing--or something close anyway. And we don't think about where the stuff we get from books comes from. I've always wondered if you listened to enough Joe Morello would you find the bulk of Accents and Rebounds in his playing? Methinks you would. Maybe if I listen to enough Allman Brothers I can sound like to drummers.
One of my students is a massive Ginger Baker fan; he also loves Buddy Rich and John Bonham. He, like you say, loves the stuff which he thinks is cool. I get what you're saying. He's starting to sound like a modern version of those players! I'm very proud.
 

NickSchles

Junior Member
I steal things from pretty much every drummer I can, but the main guys who shaped my playing during my formative years would be Stewart Copeland, Rod Morgenstein, Deen Castronovo, Aynsley Dunbar, Paul Wheeler and Tommy Aldridge (to name but a few)...then I watched the first Buddy Rich memorial VHS (that’s a video tape kids!) which opened up my mind to a wider range of players/genres. I’m nowhere near any of them of course!! 😂 (y)
You know, the first time I heard Deen Castronovo was listening to G/Z/R's Plastic Planet album. His sound on that album is monstrous, and his playing too. Great influences!
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
I guess I'd sort this into two batches:

Genetic Influences: These are the guys I listened to and played along with as my drumming was coming together. Here I'd list Phil Collins, Neil Peart, Bill Bruford, Manu Katche, Will Calhoun, Dave Weckl, Elvin Jones, Jack DeJohnette, and Art Blakey.

Aspirational Influences: These are the guys I've aspired to sound like in the last 15-20 years. These would include Matt Chamberlain, Jim Keltner, Brian Blade, Glenn Kotche, Al Foster, Antonio Sanchez, Elvin Jones, and Levon Helm.
 

BrokenStick

Junior Member
One of my students is a massive Ginger Baker fan; he also loves Buddy Rich and John Bonham. He, like you say, loves the stuff which he thinks is cool. I get what you're saying. He's starting to sound like a modern version of those players! I'm very proud.
I suppose Baker was my first "favorite" drummer followed immediately by Bonham, Mitchell and Pace. Those weren't the drummers--for the most part--that I tried playing along too. Green Onions was more my speed at that time. Baker's work has always been sort of an indefinable enigma for me. I liked his work, but if you asked me to write an essay as to why or defend that he was once rock's greatest drummer, I could not even come up with a cornerstone of an argument.
 

NickSchles

Junior Member
Did you watch the Beware Of Mr. Baker film / documentary? I recall there’s a lot of his background both, personal and musical, explained there. If you haven’t, it’s a great watch and I’d very much recommend it.
 
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