drum play reviews with transcriptions

> Latest articles in Japanese

Episode 1: Attack of YouTube Drum Performance Showcase

This time I try a variation of this blog. Let me showcase 6 drum performances on YouTube deserving of special mention. You should officially watch all of them for your life as a drummer.

1. Aric Improta upsets conventional wisdom on a drum solo. Out-of-the-box is when even before the drum solo starts. Just by seeing the aerobic 0:06-0:10, it is clear that common sense has already been overturned. 

2. This explains some styles of stick tricks/twirling that famous drummers perform occasionally. The John Blackwell's stick trick is useful.

3. I can't believe they don't seem to be well-known super drummers. Is this blazing fast speed average among them!? The musicians are playing without much surprise, but the groove and especially the speed of the drummers are of the highest level in the world.

4. A footage of Buddy Rich's performance two months before he died. I'm very surprised that his performance does not show any decline throughout his life.

5. A Jojo Mayer's drum solo. In the first half, he expresses very variously using only the snare drum. Especially this incredible brush is a must-see. I learned a lot because I had no idea how to make changes or to express something with brushes.

6. The legendary session with Steve Gadd, Dave Weckl, and Vinnie Colaiuta. Some of the comments on YouTube are about who won or lost. Do you think Vinnie won, sure? It reminds me that there are various criteria or evaluation scales such as speed, musicality, presence.

I can't stop watching YouTube. After one movie ends, thumbnail images look interesting show up to attract me. I just click on one of. That's to be expected. In the meantime, 3 hours just slip away before I know it. This is extremely dangerous. Watching movies on YouTube is an exercise to develop moderation and self-control.

Funkadelic - You Hit the Nail on the Head underlying mechanism verified

How are you getting along lately? This time, from the byword of funk, check out the funk groove that looks simple on the surface but you cannot easily make it happen.

In a Funkadelic's album "America Eats Its Young" released in 1972 has a lot to listen to for drummers. Drums stand out in the songs much. The groove in the outro part of the 14th track "Wake Up" is a must-listen for all of us, but this time we are going to see the 1st track "You Hit the Nail on the Head". 

America Eats It's Young

America Eats It's Young


This is how the drummer plays from the beginning of the song:


The organ riff and the somewhat wild strumming of the wah-wah guitar combine to create a unique dance groove. I like the way the song starts. The song is trimmed to start in Auftakt from the Hi-hat open accent in the drum pattern. We do not hear stick-hitting tick-tocks of the ride cymbal, and the ride cymbal itself does not produce a beat. Meanwhile, we can hear after-hitting resonance of the ride cymbal, and it makes the song a little bit thick and lively.

This drum pattern does not seem particularly important. But what does make such really funky groove?! I figured it out through hearing the riff for a while. Not to mention the organ phrase with staccato contributes to it, but the root cause could be the very subtle swing feel like this:


The drummer on the song, (probably) Ramon "Tiki" Fulwood might not be aiming that effect. But his natural instinct would realize that groove. This sense of time really matters in this song.

In this finely timed pattern, the song goes on and suddenly changes to a quite relaxed feel at 2:54 singing loosely "You hit the nail on the head". After some time relaxing like that, it returns to the pattern of the beginning when the snare drum breaks in. It's very cool to brace up and wake up the song to be funky again.



The lyrics of this song go like this:

You Hit the Nail on the Head
Just because you win the fight
Don't make you right
Just because you give
Don't make you good

"You Hit the Nail on the Head" means "you're exactly right" followed by the statement "Just because you win the fight don't make you right". It sounds like sour grapes, but also seems to convey a profound message. The 2nd track of this album "If You Don't Like the Effects, Don't Produce the Cause" criticizes people who protest against major issues for social justice but don't change anything about their lives. Other songs have messages about political and moral value judgments. This time I found out that Funkadelic has something certain specific they want to claim. Why have they been popular from generation to generation? Their music itself? The star shaped sunglasses on Bootsy Collins? It's more than that.


Z / Shampoohorn - Jesus Clone ...not bad...heh-heh...

Introducing Zappa again! But it's not him we would imagine. This time his sons Dweezil Zappa and Ahmet Zappa. The group name is "Z" and the album name is "Shampoohorn". If you look closely at the logo Z, you can see that the initial letters of their names, "A" and "D", are hidden here. An easter egg type thing! 




In this album, Dweezil is on guitar, and the "interesting hat" Mike Keneally is on keyboard, guitar, and the arrangement of harmony. Lots of drummers are joining: Terry Bozzio, Tal Bergman, Joe Travers, Morgan Ågren, Toss Panos, and etc. Terry Bozzio plays on the songs Rubberband, Bellybutton, and Them. As there isn't much information on the Internet actually and I don't have the CD with me, I am relying on my memory of reading the lyrics card (liner notes) more than 20 years ago when I was listening to it very often.

This time, let me check the song Jesus Clone, which includes heavy twin bass drums and odd meters always come with Zappa. I could not find who the drummer is...



The beginning goes with a twin bass drums slash beat pattern. I think it's a little unusual since 4/4 and 9/8 come in turns. The cymbal notes with a mark like "A" on the 2nd-4th bars are muted (choked) right after hitting the cymbal. The cymbal notes with a circle on the 5th bar are by china cymbal, trash cymbal, or like.




The progression of the meter from the 10th bar is somewhat unusual as well. 1 bar in 4/4 and 3 bars in 5/4. That's pretty strange! Each measure, except for the accent on the cymbals on the 1st and 2nd beats, is cooked in lower tones with floor tom and kick. Sometimes there are linear phrases with cymbal, tom, and kick. Drum notes move very freely around the kit. I would get lost in those odd meters.
I would feel relieved as 4/4 continues from 18th bar. And you hear quite a heavy pattern. This is an example of heavy metal drums in quarter notes open high-hat. The right and left hands keep the big quarter notes while the kick fills busily the spaces, creating a loose and heavy metal groove. And from 26th bar, bad luck, it goes back to the strange progression...

The songs in this album are based on the vocabulary of metal music. On the other hand a lot of highlights worthy of listening to, such as a song with beautiful choir harmony (Doomed To Be Together, etc.) are included. I also recommend this album to you who love Progressive rock or inhering odd meters. The album has the songs that have more highly intense odd meters than Jesus Clone (for example Kidz Cereal and Shampoohorn). Listen to the odd songs and enjoy making yourself puzzled hard.