Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Wiped Out

Yes, drummers can be real people. At times. I recently saw a piece on the Interwebs about drummers' dislikes. They were standard fare: the horrors of shlepping drums around, etc.

The following is a handy guide with answers, arcana and other data you might glean from talking to drummers. Now, you don't have to talk to us. Face it, you'd rather spend time with Mr. Fatstrings Multiamp or Ms. Hottie Lungfull. Is this screed full of smartass vitriol? Yepper.

Who's your favorite drummer?
It's gonna be a studio guy—someone you've never heard of. It's not Sluggo Megakit from The Death Vöidz. Here's Hal Blaine. He only has more gold records than anyone, Mr. Megakit included.

What kind of drums do you play?
My favorite kit was made of three (sometimes four) different brands of drums. They were all in varying shades of white, some aged to a dun, nicotine yellow. So I would answer, "White." Truth is: Drums is drums. They're cylinders with a plastic head (NOT a skin) on each end. It's how you tune 'em. And bang 'em. One of my favorite snares had no logo on it all. It cost $70. Truth 2: Players who talk incessantly about their equipment usually suck at playing said gear.

Can you play Wipeout?
Yes, I can. No, I won't. Not without serious financial, food or bourbon blandishment.

What about Neil Peart?
I'm sure he's a swell fellow. But we drummers are sick of hearing about him from civilians. There are plenty of great drummers out there. Mr. Peart can do all this stuff that I can't—nor want—to assay. And I can play shit that would have him scratching his head.

What kind of kit should I buy for my eight-year-old daughter?
None. Get her a rubber pad and a pair of sticks.

My nephew's band made a CD!
That's nice. Anyone with a laptop and some mics can make a CD. I have been given enough of these to top off a Jersey sump. And they're worth even less. One of the biggest pitfalls of today's music is bands who try to record before they know how to play.

Have you ever considered going professional?
I'm not sure what "go professional" means. For me, it's getting paid. I've been doing that since I was fifteen.

Have you seen the video of the kid playing Chicago?
Yes. It's a kid, flailing away on an expensive, factory-tuned drum kit. He is just imitating the drummer on the record. And doing it without subtlety, nuance or feeling. He is developing bad habits that will stick with him as more and more fawning, new-age adults give their approval. By the time he reaches his teens, he will really suck.

Were you ever in a band before?
Somebody actually asked me this about a month ago. Yes. I was.

How fast can you play?
Fast enough. If you think that the best drummers are the fastest, you must like Mariah Carey, because she can sing the highest notes. There are reams of techniques emblematic of master drummers that have nothing to do with speed.

I want more cowbell ...
Cowbells should remain on bovines. Any other use is a felony. Especially by (and I hate to suborn this stereotype) female singers. Would you like someone grabbing the steering wheel as you drive? That's what a cowbell is to drummers.

What's your favorite drum solo?
None. A drum solo is like onanism: Only one person enjoys it. And if you say In-a-Gadda-da-Vida to me, you'd better duck.

What's your favorite song to play on drums?
I can tell you what it is. Gaucho. But I've never really played it, since I don't know any musicians who would want to work hard enough to learn this masterpiece. So I guess I'll have to wait until Steely Dan calls.

Hey, what size sticks do you use? I'll bet you've got a big stick. Can I grab your stick?
I have no words on the inertia I feel when I hear some wiseass make a poorly veiled drumstick/phallic comment. Just stop.

I saw an awesome drummer at a local club last week; it was cool!
That's because he was great. Just because he's playing at P. J. McFuddnuddler's with the The Picking Grinners means nothing. And yes, he is probably better than the guy from The Death Vöidz, whom you paid $125 to see last summer. Drumming isn't like sports. There are stellar, non-famous players everywhere.

Why not support them?

No comments:

Post a Comment