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SHOWBOATING


felix stein

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Does showmanship include cross-sticking, big stick/hair flips/funny faces and twirls in your opinion? Stand on your drum throne much? That is what I am talking about-showboating. When do the two cross the line?????

 

Interesting views so far.

 

I will reserve mine for the moment.

 

Keep them coming!

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I think today, entertainment is beginging to become very important. People love to see things that are entertaining, you can't just sit quietly and be the backbeat of the song anymore, unless you are of course a background drummer, like a drummer for a solo artist. But now, you almost have to do more than play. Not necissarily in your drumming, but you have to put a little more visual concern in your performances. I'm a hardcore hater of stick twirling while your tongue hangs out, this is not the 80s anymore. But, when it comes to stuff like cross sticking and faces and actually getting into the music, it's alot more important. You have to be able to have fun with it, but not really be doing it for the sole purpose of showing off. If people see you're having fun with it, they will like that much more than a 5 piece band that stands in the same place playing their instruments with the same expression on their face. Take Dave Matthews Band for example, Dave dances sometimes while he's playing, he does this really weird chicken leg kind of dance, it's hillarious and gets the crowd going. And Boyd goes insane while playing the violin, he about gets a whiplash from violin lines that could be played while sitting still. And Carter doesa lot of good visual work, on huge fills, you can see each tom droop down (because of the rack) as he goes down it, he does alot of crossover work and stuff too. It's VERY entertaining. But, luckly, he stays away from the tongue-out-stick-twirling-standing-on-throne crowd. That's when it starts to get a little cheesy, instantly reminds me of the old buttrock hairbands. Phish does alot of visuals, during You Enjoy Myself, Trey and Mike (guitar and bass players) jump on trampolines! I think on a certain level, visual entertainment can be a great thing for any instruments, and so can special things in your drumming. But people CAN take it too far.

 

Derek

 

http://www.mp3.com/DustinDerek

 

Oh, and Felix, can you go back to the Inquiring Minds Want To Know post and respond to my post? Thanks!

 

This message has been edited by DerekDrums on 07-18-2001 at 04:05 PM

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Well, just my opinions, of course.

 

I'm a bit old for the big hair / lipstick thing. Then again, so is David Bowie and Motley Crue! Though Marilyn Manson gets away with it pretty well. On the other hand, there's KISS, but they're retiring (sooner or later!) They made a few bucks with the make-up thing, love 'em or hate 'em.

 

But if I'm correct, by "Showboating" felix meant being flamboyant or showy or flashy or entertaining or something similar. Not overplaying, but not just sitting in the back, eyebrows all furled, just "Keeping the Groove", either.

 

IMHO, and obviously differing with many of my fellow drummers, "Keeping the Groove", etc. is NOT the first priority of the drummer. Or ANY member of the band, for that matter. At least, not on stage. In the studio, perhaps a different issue. But on stage, absolutely not. Keeping the groove, keeping time, being able to play your respective instrument, etc. is a given. At least to the audience, I think it is. If you don't have those basics as solid as is possible for you, the audience is simply going to wonder what you're doing up there in the first place. 'Cause no matter what our personal philosophies, beliefs or attitudes may be, THEY'RE the ones who ultimately pay us, aren't they?

 

So, our FIRST priority, IMHO, is to PERFORM. To ENTERTAIN the audience! Somewhat in agreement with Derek, I think it's important today. But, I also think it pretty much has always been that way. We referred to the "Big Hair" bands, and like the disco era, kinda look back and laugh now. But some of them not only had flash, but COULD play as well. And made some notable music. What "killed" those days? Grunge. When for a time, it seemed O.K. to perform in the same clothes you slept in, LOL. And who cared if you didn't shower, the audience couldn't smell ya anyway. At least, not for a day or so! LMAO!

 

But that faded away, replaced by pseudo-grunge. Folks that didn't actually sleep in their clothes, and DO bathe, but put on clean fresh dudes carefully wrinkled to LOOK like they'd been slept in. LOL. But that's fading away now, too.

 

Because audiences have (once again) figured out that there's a million arm ripping guitarists and blurring riff drummers out there. Guys and gals with chops. Tons of guys and gals with chops. "Less is More" chops, "More is More" chops, "Serve the Song" chops, "The Space Between the Notes" chops. All kindsa chops. Chop, chop. LOL. For the audience, Ho hum. So what? If ya ain't got chops, whatcha doin' on stage, pal? But audiences also WATCH us as well as listen, don't they? So what's wrong with giving them something to WATCH? THAT'S being entertaining.

 

For myself, I don't run around the stage that much, of course. But I do wear some colorful shirts (the audience really can't see my britches anyway, for the most part). I laugh, crack some jokes. Throw some "slick" things in here and there, and smirk at the bass player or guitarist, because THEY know... Have a great time, and as much as I can, try to make sure both the other band members AND more importantly, the audience, has a good time, too.

 

I have a few "visually interesting" components to my kit, in addition to the graphic resonant bass drum head. Just some little and sorta subtle things for the audience to check out. I do a bit of stick twirling type stuff here and there, when it doesn't interefere with the drum work. Not a whole lot because as I'm behind a 'wall' of sorts, audiences can't see all that much of me, compared to other members of the band.

 

But sure, IMHO, do what it takes to entertain the audience. C'mon, truth be told, even the music often becomes secondary. Can't we all cite some entertainer or some group that is worth a gazillion dollars, but in reality if it wasn't for their show, they wouldn't have anything. 'Cause they're poor musicians? Sure, we can all name someone.

 

Yeah, yeah. I know, "That's 'cause audiences aren't real smart about who's good and who isn't, like I am, J.B." Baloney, THEY know what THEY like. Entertain them, and you're working, maybe even headed up the ladder, or at the top of it. DON'T entertain the audience, and you're not playing many live gigs, at any income level. Simple business, simple math.

 

I of course understand that some who read this will become incensed, vehemently disagree with me and blah, blah, blah. That's O.K., everyone's entitled to feel the way they feel about it. But I'd also challenge them to prove to all of us that it works any other way. Keep the audience happy, and your a star, or a shooting star. Don't, and you're band's lookin' for a new drummer pretty soon, 'cause they're not workin'. Simple and true.

 

Well, that's my take on the subject, anyway. ThanX A Million for reading.

 

J.B.

 

This message has been edited by ModernDrummer on 07-19-2001 at 03:06 AM

If you always do what you've always done, you'll always have what you've always had.
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To me there is a difference in stage presence and showboating.Who wants to see a turd on a log behind the drums?Outgoing stage presence has entertainment value.When I think of showboating I think of that guitarist that doesn't know when to turn down for fear that he won't be the predominating factor in the mix.Or two guitarists who feel the need to compete with one another for the best chops, and end up overplaying.And don't forget the drummer that HAS to put loud 32nd note fills in a ballad to impress the ladies with his drumming ignorance.

Stage presence on the other hand has obvious value when you compare two bands like Nirvana and Lester Flat& Earl Scruggs.

ian*

ian*
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I once came to a gig dressed as the Queen of England with one of those spitting image masks on to break up the boredom during a road trip once. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, although I had to get rid of it by the third set because our bass player was laughing so hard he was literally crying, so it was too much of a distraction. Looking back it must have been some sight to see a drummer that looked like the Queen playing Even-Flow by Pearl Jam(it was fun though).

 

I've always enjoyed bands that can work humour into the sets, I think it can compliment the music in entertaining the crowd.

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Showboating is not playing too many notes. That is overplaying. Now one can showboat and overplay at the same time. LOL Different things. Playing too loud is playing too loud. If the guitar player is flipping his guitar around his neck- he's showboating. I'm not sure if I agree a big fill is a showboating fill if it fits the music-a big fill is a big fill...if one grits their teeth and spits on the audience while playing it...they are showboating IMO.

 

I love to showboat. I wish I was better at it. But I ain't too bad and work on it now and again. it is tough to know how much an audience can take before the line is crossed into the cheese zone.

 

I'd say a great band will be able to take a receptive audience pretty damn far if the warm up is gradual. It can be amazing...I've experienced some amazing gigs...but man, those wild ones were few and far between.

 

I would not showboat in a jazz setting or country club, restaraunt, whatever...maybe a little towards the end of the night. Fusion yes. Rock, ya have to (for me). Taste and frugality of the stick spins, hair flips, stick throws and cross stickings/flailing should eventually lead to a climax in the performance if at all possible. I would say it is extremely tough to pull off effectively...but to me, playing music is like skateboarding or dirt bike riding-our band goes for it! Gotta have some fun...I'm sorry, but I can't let the audience influence all of my playing.

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