Monday, November 28, 2011
One of the most misunderstood things in music is simplicity. I am a drummer and I love what I do. I know a lot of drummers that have chops for days but when it come to playing music they kind of miss the mark. I tend to get labelled as an entertainer of even showboat to some but I'm always focused on the most important thing and that is making the music groove by playing as little as possible. The most beautiful music is made in the spaces between the notes. It's more about what you DON'T play or say. I get a lot of calls because people seem to like the way I can make a song feel. Most drummers have seen me play and said that what I was doing was simple and anybody could do it. At least that's what they said until they had to try to duplicate what I was doing. My approach to playing drums is very simple. It's all about being open to the musical conversation that occurs on stage. It's also about being able to lead or guide the band with confidence but without being a musical bully. Any band is only as good as the drummer and we are responsible for setting the tone, vibe and energy. I've found that it is more fun and musically satisfying to try to get the most out of playing only a few notes. I like to make the groove and pocket a priority. It's all about the song first. It is vitally important to know the melody and/or lyrics to any tune you play so that you know how to perform the tune. The lyric tells us all we need to know about how to express on our instruments. It is really harder to play simple and also play space. Yes, space is also music. Use space to create or resolve tension. The use of space demands that your audience pays attention to each and every note because people are intrigued by space. Especially in popular music or any music that people are going to dance too, the groove has to be simple and solid. Most of us find this hard to do because we would rather stroke our egos and play all these feels and chops that really don't add to the music at all. It is important to develop a large vocabulary but it's even more important to know what to say and when to say it. Always play for the music and not your ego. Space is our friend. Enjoy the journey.
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