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New to the drum forum but I've got to ask...


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Hello all, I've been hangin at the Keyboard and Guitar forums mostly but there's something I've been thinking about lately.

 

I've always loved really busy drummers, my brother plays really busy.

 

Why are busy drummers so hated by most musicians?

 

Especially so so guitarists and singers, they just can't stand a drummer that rips it up, hate seems to be to tame a word for how these people feel.

 

A lot of consumers dig busy drums, even solo drums, as a kid I couldn't get enough of Narada Michael Walden, Steve Smith, Dave Weckl, Neil Peart, etc. etc. etc. I'm still that way.

 

In our band drums are more often than not the feature instrument, main reason being everyone in the band plays drums, well. Our music is a work out for all the instruments involved, it's very busy Jazz/Metal/Rock/Funk music but the drums are always in the forefront.

 

I've never had much problem with receiving bad reviews, I welcome constructive criticism but every review we get lately bags on the busy drums. I just don't get it. I'll receive praise for shredding on the Fender Rhodes from the same guy who just shit on my brother for shredding on drums. WTF?

 

Sorry about the rant, any comments?

 

This message has been edited by truth@jamfree.com on 04-17-2001 at 01:28 AM

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For me, the bottom line is...does it fit the tune? Narada Michael Walden and Billy Cobham sound GREAT playing fusion...and they have the chops to back it up. But...I wouldn't want to hear those guys taking over Max Weinberg's spot, just like I wouldn't probably like to hear Max with John McLaughlin, Al DiMeola, Stanley Clarke...or stuff like that, although I think I'd rather hear a groove drummer play with a complex situation more than a complex drummer play with a simple straightforward rock or funk (or whatever) setup. But, just like you wouldn't have some slow country ballad and use an Yngwie guitar solo with it, discretion is the key.

 

Now, the kicker...a lot of "busy drummers" I've heard (the ones people complain about mostly) don't quite have the chops to reeeally pull it off, and the groove suffers. If they'd play down, they might be able to really cook, but they're too busy trying to play more fills than they can handle. Hey, it's the same with guitar players.

 

But, it's the groove that matters. If your brother cooks, he cooks...doesn't matter if he's trying to be Charlie Watts or Keith Moon or whoever.

"Cisco Kid, was a friend of mine"
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Hey Truth:

 

Truth is that not all busy drummers are hated. I think it really comes down to the musicianship and maturity of the player.

 

One of the most successful local bands in the Nashville Club circuit is the Caruba Dance Machine which consists of 3 drumsets and a DJ. Folks go nuts for them!

 

There is nothing but busy drumming taking place in this format.

 

Look at the success of Blue Man Group or STOMP. Nothing but busy drumming going on here as well.

 

When it comes to drummers in bands with other instruments, though ... heed some signs. There is one thing that I have always been taught and tried to remember when playing with others. What you *don't* play is often as important ... if not more important as what you do play. In other words ... rests ( quiet periods in music) have as much meaning and can often make more of a musical statement as notes being played.

 

Also, you must use your ears when playing with other musicians. Understanding and complimenting musical phrasing in a band situation is very crucial to the cohesiveness of the music.

 

As long as your busy-playing, drummer-brother is not just "walking" all over the other musicians with no regard or respect for their playing, and as long as his business is tasteful, I think there is no problem.

 

If indeed he is getting flack, perhaps there is reason to take inventory with his playing style. When I was young and often too busy with my mouth, my dad used to tell me that God gave me two ears and one mouth and He meant me to use them proportionately that way ! The same holds true when playing with other musicians.

 

Just my 2 cents worth.

 

DJ

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The problem is often dynamics. I love busy drums but it must be dynamic and flow with the song, leaving room for everything else that's going on. The drummer can be playing a very complicated beat but drop back the volume and play underneath whatever else is happening. Now, busy drums at one constant full on volume would suck. Actually goes for any instrument really.

 

Brenton

Cheers

Brenton

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My name is Steve http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

Cool DJ, I know what you're saying, I've been around and played in a lot of different situations. My brother is totally capable of playing any style, that's not a problem.

 

Our stuff is obviously not straight ahead blues, rock or whatever, it's very progressive.

 

We all listen to each other and feed off of each other, most of my inspired ideas come from stuff the drummer sets up and vice versa.

 

Playing on top and around each other is our style, I really think there is prejudice against drummers though. I play very busy on guitar and keys, the bass player smokes yet the drummer takes the heat. OK, maybe on occasion the drums might be a little much but nowhere near as bad as these "critics" seem to think.

 

Anyway, I'm not mad really and we're not going to change anything, we really have been doing music for a long time and still play professionally for other people.

 

Just looking for some other opinions on this trend, I really don't think this kind of disrespect for drummers was as prominent before drum machines http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

BTW,

if you want to hear for yourself:

http://www.jamfree.com/music.htm

 

 

 

This message has been edited by truth@jamfree.com on 04-17-2001 at 02:08 AM

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Originally posted by truth@jamfree.com:

I play very busy on guitar and keys, the bass player smokes yet the drummer takes the heat.

 

Keep in mind that if all you guys are tearing it up, and there is very little space in the music, its going to sound cluttered to your average joe on the street. The average Joe seems to be able to pick out the drums sonically from the fray easier than say a super busy bassline or Rhodes line-even if those are the culprit. Its the just easiest thing to hear, and the drummer is just physically more visible as well - its easiest to associate his/her body movements with the sound they are making. Wheras guitarists or key players with really polished technique - dont even look like they are playing at all!

 

ajc

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Steve, I couldn't agree with you more, people will always jump on drummers before anybody else, especially since drum machines came along. I get really sick of people dissing drummers and I love drummers who are at the forefront of things. Like that's what was so cool about the Who: instead of the usual "drums hold down the backbeat while the guitar player noodles all over the place", it was pretty much Pete Townshend holding down the rhythm while Keith Moon went nuts. Of course, Moon had a groove that was all his own, too. But you get the idea.

 

Anyhow, that said, I agree with all that has been said about respecting the song and the other players. "Progressive" rock is not to my taste anyhow, but that is because I don't like guitarists or bassists or keyboardists who are "too busy" any more than drummers. I like space in music and I like songs with structure. But, if somebody DOES like progressive rock or avant garde jazz, and they think it's OK for a guitarist or keyboardist to go off but not the drummer, that's just a double standard and totally ridiculous. And unfortunately, quite common in all styles of music. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/frown.gif

 

I've always had this sort of half-joking theory that white people are afraid of drums. Drums are too primal, too sexual for our puritanical sensibilities. Almost every other culture has music that is based around drums, but Europeans never have. Not to say they don't HAVE drums, but the emphasis has always been on the melody, not the rhythm, until jazz and rock came along. Now there seems to be an effort even in THOSE camps to "subdue" the drums, either by using machines or just by dissing the drummer and telling him he's too loud or whatever. You gotta wonder about that sometimes. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

--Lee

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I've always had this sort of half-joking theory that white people are afraid of drums. Drums are too primal, too sexual for our puritanical sensibilities

 

heh, Lee I think you figured it out http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif. Funny, I've never received these criticisms from black musicians http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif.

 

I just had to vent a bit, I really like busy drums, I play busy drums.

 

In our band drums are more often than not the lead instrument, I'm into that. I'm a huge Gene Krupa fan.

 

I never liked Keith Moon much though, ironic? I thought Simon Phillips played Pete's tunes better, still busy but a lot more musical IMO.

 

Peace,

Steve

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hmmm, time to pitch in my two cents.

 

if the critics hate it you must be doing a good thing...on the other hand,

if you get more negative reviews than positive, maybe your tunes suck?

then again maybe your audience aren't musicians.

 

Can you make progressive music sound great to people that aren't musicians?

 

Can your drummer do things that the critics have not heard yet? The same sextuplet/32nd quad is going to sound good once or twice in a set and that's it. And if I'm gonna be busy, I don't want to sound like neil, keith, tommy or anybody. I don't want to play the canned latin beat and solo over it or play an inverted paradiddle grouping in a big hall at 200bpm either...sounds likes shit. I have also found the more complicated I play...to the untrained ear I sound more like a beginner (what a paradox)! Think about it; metric modulations, playing over the bar groupings...it sounds like the dogs dinner! Balance, power, taste, timing, and logical series of rhythmical ebbing and climactic increases in fills to the songs "point" as Rachmaninoff put it (every song of his had a musical summit) and you will be ok.

 

Being busy and sounding good are very hard to do, just have your band get there all at the same time. Good luck. Remember KISS (keep it simple stupid)...just kidding

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LOL Steve... that's funny I'm a huge fan of Krupa and Buddy Rich, but I totally love Keith Moon too and think he was a completely musical player. He ALWAYS respected the song and was right on top of what everybody else was doing, although I don't know how he did that, considering. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif Sheesh, listen to something like the "Underture" from Tommy and tell me that's not totally musical... but I digress. I do dig Simon Phillips too but I don't think he plays Pete's songs better than Moonie did... OTOH I saw the Who last year with Zak Starkey and THAT was a treat!

 

However, I agree with Felix that there can be a fine line between "busy" and "pretentious wanking". Most people have a hard time believing this considering I love drummers so much, but I can't stand Neil Peart. I mean absolutely can't bear to listen to him for 30 seconds. Not that I dislike him any more than the other guys in Rush, mind you. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif But it's very easy to lose the groove and any sense of the song when you are all over the place. And there are ways to "show off" your chops and creativity without filling up every available air space. Richard Thompson is one of my favorite examples of a guitar player who knows every scale and alternate tuning in the book but uses those skills in a totally different way than most "trained" guitarists. Stewart Copeland is a great example of a drummer who has it all together in terms of chops but never loses sight of the groove or the idea of a well crafted song.

 

So it really is a fine line. If you deliberately want to step all over that line because you and your bandmates personally enjoy it, that's cool! Just don't expect the "average" person or critic to like it.

 

--Lee

 

This message has been edited by Lee Flier on 04-17-2001 at 02:22 PM

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All good points Felix.

 

if the critics hate it you must be doing a good thing...on the other hand,

if you get more negative reviews than positive, maybe your tunes suck?

 

Well none of the critics hate the tunes and that kinda worries me, most of the negative comments have come from musicians, guitar players in particular. Our tunes might suck http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/wink.gif but kids love them...that's really the audience I'm looking for 16-24 age group...that's the ages I fell in love with this kind of music. 'Course we've got stuff for the older crowd too.

 

As far as technique goes, nailing fills in perfect time, metronome timing etc. we're actually kinda anti that. Many of our tunes will start at 100bps and end at 130 or often the other way around.

 

Nothing anal about what we do, if we were doing this for money it might be different. We're having fun for sanity's sake and entertaining like minded listeners at the same time.

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hey Felix, I went to your website, I think I like the design, pretty cool.

 

BUT, no music, is there somewhere on the net I can hear your drumming?

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I'm glad you liked it!

 

The guitar player is adamant on getting the tunes copywrited...so I would like to have a few MP3's up in a month or so.

 

Sorry no keys on the cd... You might like some of the tunes...I actually think some of my playing is cliche on it but there are some nice passages.

 

Talk to you later!

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

LOL Steve... that's funny I'm a huge fan of Krupa and Buddy Rich, but I totally love Keith Moon too and think he was a completely musical player.......I do dig Simon Phillips too but I don't think he plays Pete's songs better than Moonie did...

 

Most people have a hard time believing this considering I love drummers so much, but I can't stand Neil Peart. I mean absolutely can't bear to listen to him for 30 seconds. Not that I dislike him any more than the other guys in Rush, mind you.

 

I have an opinion on this, beacuse i have heard this many, many times. The all the folks u mention above, certainly Buddy, and even arguably Keith in cetain periods, had more chops/technique than Neil. I think one of the reasons why they are palatable, and embraced is cuz the music never lost its *feel* while they were doing what a lot of folks today would consider overplaying. The feel is crucial!!

 

Neil, just tends to not *feel* all that good (remember: this is only my opinion!) no matter what he is playing.....The antithesis of this would be IMHO Steve Gadd, who feels fantastic no matter what he is playing....

Neil, i would also argue, playing lets say a simple 2&4 charlie watts style rock beat - would still feel reallllllyy stiff. I really dont think it has much to do with what he is playing, or not playing. Its our internal body rhythms (which is different than our internal *clock*). Anyone catch/hear neil's performance with the Buddy rich Big band? I rest my case.....

 

anyway- everyone has their place - and certainly Rush has sold thier share of records..

 

ajc

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Originally posted by ajcamlet@earthlink.net:

 

I have an opinion on this, because I have heard this many, many times. The all the folks u mention above, certainly Buddy, and even arguably Keith in certain periods, had more chops/technique than Neil. I think one of the reasons why they are palatable, and embraced is cuz the music never lost its *feel* while they were doing what a lot of folks today would consider overplaying. The feel is crucial!!

 

Neil, just tends to not *feel* all that good (remember: this is only my opinion!) no matter what he is playing.....The antithesis of this would be IMHO Steve Gadd, who feels fantastic no matter what he is playing....

 

Neil, I would also argue, playing lets say a simple 2&4 Charlie watts style rock beat - would still feel reallllllyy stiff. I really don't think it has much to do with what he is playing, or not playing. Its our internal body rhythms (which is different than our internal *clock*). Anyone catch/hear Neil's performance with the Buddy rich Big band? I rest my case.....

 

anyway- everyone has their place - and certainly Rush has sold their share of records..

 

ajc

 

This is certainly an interesting turn for this thread!

 

I have to add my two cents (and that is all this is!)

 

Neil may have not "shined" on the Burning for Buddy video, but let's face it ... this was not his cup of tea. I had to admire the intestinal fortitude that it took for him to step that far outside his comfort zone.

 

Yes, Steward has the "groove" thing down when it comes to playing intricate time signatures, but this does not mean that Neil does not.

 

RUSH music was machine like. It was steadily changing time signatures and tempos. NO ONE can take the impact on drumming that Neil made. He alone has probably did more in the 70's to grow drums and drumming than any one.

 

Best of all. Neil was just a guy that loved drumming like the rest of us and was in the drummer's seat when he and the band made it. A place we all would hope to be in!

 

DJ

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I think I have to step in and defend Neil Peart a bit too http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif.

 

He didn't have the kind of skills on drums that some of the GREAT drummers do/did but he was certainly a pioneer in rock drumming. His drumming was surely very compositional, part of the song.

 

He's not at all my favorite drummer but I couldn't imagine any of Rush tunes without him.

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Guys guys guys and girls for that matter...hang on a sec here....Let me see if I can avert this before it really goes south....i don't think anyone here needs to defend Neil, since he's not on trial. This is merely my pontification as to why there is such drastic polar opinions on his playing....

 

I am by no means discounting Neil's ability as a drummer, or stature in the drumming community. Both of which are substantial. I am merely *speculating* - as unbiased as I can, as to why there are a *lot* of people out there who really dont like his playing. I think its pretty clear as to why there are a *lot* of people out there who *do* like his playing - thats obvious, and well documented. A very clear audible/tangible example of what i was trying to convey, was his performance with the Buddy band. I just think its interesting to look at and examine all sides. Thats all.

 

ajc

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Neil has chops that you guys havn't even heard...I'd bet my life on it. He's capable of anything he wanted I'm sure.

 

The guy is a rock and roll machine who influenced so many of today's great drummers it is unbelieveable.

 

He was a Picaso/Dali to the drumming world...he was the first of his style. Thick, identifiable lines that abstractly/symbolically held up the foundation for Rush's tunes (most of them). Every time I hear his playing it wows the hell out of me. You either get it or you don't. Keith Moon was no where close, sorry...I'd say only Bonzo was close. I am more moved by Neil's playing than just about anyone else's actually.

 

I think it is fantastic he's not a great swinger...I think swing, for the most part is over-rated. But I would make another bet and bet he could swing better than anybody on this list and sure as hell rock better.

 

Has anyone heard how he's doing after his great loss? I know the band is recording again.

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Rule Number One: Don't step on the vocals! This applies to everyone in the band, of course. But when you're jamming along, and then the next verse comes, and the singer starts to sing, and the drummer's still bashing away--that's overplaying. And you'll receive negative feedback from the singer no matter what you played on the rest of the song.

 

A lot of times, the key is simply bring it down for the beginning of verses, any time the vocals are coming in. (I know a great drummer who loves to go way off, but he always adheres to this "rule.")

 

The drummer has to help tighten the groove whenever needed, and this applies to the beginnings of any sections--verses, choruses, bridges, breaks, endings--and if the drummer, on those key moments, is off on some self-indulgent fill, then the rest of the band has nothing to lean on to ensure they all hit the One beat together. Every song has those crucial measures where the the first downbeat needs to be hit tightly by everyone, and the drummer has to do his/her part. If they don't, they are overplaying.

 

A drummer can do all sorts of cool things during the course of a song, but they have to reign it in at the right moments. They have to BE THERE when needed, otherwise, they are difficult to play with. This principle applies to everyone in the band, of course. As a bass player, I love playing with a good, active drummer. We go off on tangents together, or take turns. That's part of the cool thing, and part of the challenge. BUT, we also have to both reign it in at all the key moments. There needs to be balance, too. Every guitar solo is NOT an opportunity for everyone else to go to town at the same time. Sometimes, the rhythm section needs to lay back to a simple groove, and let the front players add little bits on top. Find your spaces in the song, but also leave spaces for others, and leave some space for....space.

 

I think the reason the drummer may get more flak than an overplaying guitarist, for example, is that if the Guitar God is overwanking, the rest of the band can still be tight. But if the drummer is channeling Neil Peart all night long (can you channel someone who's still living?) then the rest of the band will really struggle to keep it all together.

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For a while I gigged on guitar in a 50s/oldies band that briefly employed a hard bop/free jazz drummer... the guy played with an across-the-bar, irregular Elvin Jones/Tony Williams feel, but looser... our "Surfin' USA" and "Johnny B. Goode" baffled dancers across the Midwest.
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Felix, as I once heard someone say on another forum, Neil couldn't swing if you hung him. I really do not think he's capable of it.

 

As to whether "swing" is overrated, that entirely depends on what you're looking for in your "drumming experience". For me, it's all about feel. I'm looking for sexuality in drumming and if a drummer ain't got that, I'm outta there. Feel and groove are IT for me and chops are totally secondary. I feel that way about any other instrument too, but of course I notice it first in drums because the drums are the foundation.

 

I greatly appreciate a drummer who can play wild stuff like Moon or Bonham, or has killer chops like Copeland. But if it comes at the expense of the groove, fahgeddaboutit, I'll leave the room. And God forbid if a drummer sounds like a machine. Drumming is probably one of the oldest activities to have set us apart as humans, and I want a drummer who's human, who has a heartbeat. Your heart doesn't beat in perfect time, you don't have sex in perfect time, you don't breathe in perfect time. Why anyone wants to hear a drum machine OR a drummer who plays like a machine is totally beyond me.

 

Obviously people who like Neil Peart are looking for a totally different kind of experience than I am. Fine, but I think ajc nailed it on the head as to WHY those who don't like Neil, don't.

 

--Lee

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Hot Topic here-

 

>Felix, as I once heard someone say on another forum, Neil couldn't swing >if you hung him. I really do not think he's capable of it.

 

I wish Neil was here to defend himself LOL

 

>As to whether "swing" is overrated, that entirely depends on what you're >looking for in your "drumming experience". For me, it's all about feel. >I'm looking for sexuality in drumming and if a drummer ain't got that, >I'm outta there. Feel and groove are IT for me and chops are totally >secondary. I feel that way about any other instrument too, but of course >I notice it first in drums because the drums are the foundation.

 

Lots of people hate Picaso and that is ok. To me, swing started with Louis Armstrong and is a 100 years old...I'm looking for the "new" craze, shit, I would like to start it!(not gonna happen)-see where I'm coming from?

 

I think tunes like "Lakeside Park", "Bytor and the Snow Dog", and Hemishperes have lots of feel. The "Neil feel"...and just because he "sucked" on the burning for Buddy video shows that he is human. Jeez, he was busy producing the whole thing. I know I have had TERRIBLE nights (I think I have a few coming up!)

 

Sexuality in drumming? I think Neil's sensuality in his playing is more on a cerebral level than a viceral one...extremely subtle within his time feel.

No it's not as elastic and romantic (Beethoven was no metronome I have read and there ain't nothing as mushy as his stuff) but I think extremely important in the evolution of drumming as an art form. I still think of him as extremely important...I think he got everyone questioning their own meter.

 

Ok enough ranting...you don't care for Neil's playing, I love it....he's a great artist to stir so much debate-gotta LOVE that.

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Originally posted by felix stein:

I wish Neil was here to defend himself LOL

 

LOL well I doubt if he really cares what I think! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

To me, swing started with Louis Armstrong and is a 100 years old...I'm looking for the "new" craze, shit, I would like to start it!(not gonna happen)-see where I'm coming from?

 

Not really... after all Rush have been around since what - 1969? Seems to me they're pretty old too. And yes, as musicians we'd all like to do something "new" however that doesn't necessarily involve discarding everything that's "old"... especially not if it means discarding one of the key things that drew you into music in the first place (which in my case, was the way a great groove feels). Hell, if you really believe that you might as well get rid of your trap set, those have been around for about 80 years now... in fact forget using a snare or a bass drum, those are even older. Forget you ever learned a paradiddle, how long have THOSE been around? http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

Anyhow, when I think of "swing" in drumming I don't think of Louis Armstrong... not that I don't love Gene Krupa and Chick Webb and all the rest of the great drummers of that era. Those drummers certainly do swing, but in the broader sense "swing" to me is a pretty mysterious thing, you either got it or you don't, and you can play in any style or use any technique and either have it or not. I've heard double kick drummers who swing and straight-ahead backbeat drummers who don't.

 

Sexuality in drumming? I think Neil's sensuality in his playing is more on a cerebral level than a viceral one...

 

Uhhhh.... I hate to break it to ya dude, but sex AIN'T a cerebral activity. Although I guess you're not the only one who thinks it can be, I've dated a couple of guys who really tried to screw with my mind. http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

Oh well, as you say, diff'rent strokes and all that. Still, nothing like a little controversy to liven things up! http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif

 

--Lee

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Well I guess that's one way to look at it! I don't know why you think that would "get everyone going" though. I guess because you must assume people would take that as an insult, because you must assume that everyone's goal is to have perfect time. Not so. I'd elaborate further but I think this article that was in Sound On Sound magazine summed it up a lot better than I could:

 

http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/nov00/articles/soundingoff.htm

 

--Lee

 

 

 

This message has been edited by Lee Flier on 04-19-2001 at 11:52 AM

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Originally posted by Lee Flier:

Well I guess that's one way to look at it! I don't know why you think that would "get everyone going" though. I guess because you must assume people would take that as an insult, because you must assume that everyone's goal is to have perfect time. Not so. I'd elaborate further but I think this article that was in Sound On Sound magazine summed it up a lot better than I could:

 

http://www.sospubs.co.uk/sos/nov00/articles/soundingoff.htm

 

--Lee

 

Hey, Lee:

This is a great article! Thanks for sharing.

And Felix or Lee perhaps you should start a post regarding tempo or groove?

DJ

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Good article, I must say I agree with it. Having "good time" and having "metronomic time" are two different things. I see where my playing speeds up and slows down, but always (I hope http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/smile.gif ) in sympathy with the music.

 

I remember reading several years ago about Metallica in the studio, where James and Lars would map out every little tempo change and create a click track accordingly. I was horrified. It seems odd to me to program a 3 bpm increase going into the chorus - just feel the damn thing! Turn off the click and pretend to be a musician for a while. It's fun!

 

Click tracks have their uses, but nothing beats a band with good time (not just the drummer, the whole band) playing a tune well. Well, OK, sex is more fun http://www.musicplayer.com/ubb/biggrin.gif

 

--

Rob

I have the mind of a criminal genius.....I keep it in the freezer next to mother.
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