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I shudder to think if I hadn't come across SNAIL RAMP - STEP BY STEP


The situation has worsened to the point of declaring a state of emergency, and my office has been closed. Nowadays, I spend more and more time just listening to music. I've been listening to songs all the time, and I keep coming across songs that I've missed in years.


This time, I was deeply moved by the song I listened to the most, SNAIL RAMP. It's a nostalgic ska-punk/ska-core music. From SNAIL RAMP's album FLATFISH COMES!, I can confirm that even though it's been more than 20 years, their music has not faded!



  • KingRecords

It's rather not that hard to play here

Monk seal, perhaps? Here's the intro to the album's first track, STEP BY STEP!



ISHIMARU, the drummer, is just so good. I think his play is what sets SNAIL RAMP apart from other bands. I want to check out every song in detail because his play is just perfect for every song on SNAIL RAMP. Meanwhile this time, I chose this song STEP BY STEP as an example because I had covered it in a punk band I was in over 20 years ago.

After I played this song in the band, one of the audience told me that the first part of this song (i.e. the 1st - 5th bars in the score above) was fast and amazing. And he said "I can't do that like you!" It's not that difficult actually, but it seems to be a phrase that attracts people's attention for some reason.

Well-disciplined and high-speed

The part in the middle of the song where the guitar solo starts!



From the 6th bar, he goes with a common pattern of punk drumming, but the time feel, dynamics, 16th note backbeat kicks, etc. are perfectly integrated, so he upgrades the pattern one or two ranks higher. He controlls very well with that ultra-high tempo about 200 BPM. It's great.

Great songs I highly recommend

Although I picked up this song to focus on the drums, my most favorite songs of SNAIL RAMP in general are the other ones. For example, the second song on this album, BREAKAWAY, is like a godsend. We hear a miracle that all the inevitability and coincidence work together, such as, selection of the cover song, the sound of piano, roughness, etc.. Other great songs are A WOMAN WITH A STORY and STILL, from the album MR.GOOD MORNING which is known to have all tracks are great. Maybe it's just that I like the combination of punk & piano or punk & strings. Listen to them if you haven't done before. You can see what makes SNAIL RAMP so different.




A year later, Frank Zappa - Andy will make a difference


Due to the pandemic we had to cancel our live stage performances, which includes the show that was supposed to be our biggest milestone of the year. It turned out to be literally an illusory show. In a world where bands can't be densely packed and can't be in close contact with each other, there's no choice but to post articles online!

Continuing from the previous article, let's check out some of the song Andy's interesting bits from Frank Zappa's album The Best Band You Never Heard in Your Life

See also the previous article. 

You can write another song with this!

The beginning of the song has come to an end, and here comes the next development returning to the theme of the beginning.




The 1st to 4th bars are the theme part that has appeared since the beginning of this song. From the 5th bar, it suddenly gets the most exciting section. You could have written another song with this, instead of just inserting 8 bars here! I can't help but be impressed at this superb groove. The three key elements are as follows:

  1. Clearly defined phrases and a beautiful ensemble of drums, horns, etc. The pink highlighted notes in the score above correspond to the ensemble phrase;
  2. Lively 16th-note movements of the piano and especially the bass. I can't transcribe it, so you have to listen to it. It pushes the groove to a higher level; and
  3. Most important of all, the tambourine! It's the mastermind behind this criminal groove. It's just a simple backbeat, but it's extremely effective, harmonizing perfectly with the key elements 1 and 2. I was so overcome with emotion that I had to transcribe it, even though I knew it was a waste of time!


Goes back to a normal Zappa music

Below is a part of the score I posted above, but since the page has come a long way down, I repost it from 13th bar.



Right after the 8 bars which could make another song, it gets an odd meter 21/16 section. That is the usual Zappa music. The song goes with one of the motifs that appears multiple times in this song. It starts from the last 8th note of the previous bar, and is divided into 5-notes units. It seems to be very difficult to play because it doesn't start exactly from the beginning of the 21/16. It is surprising that this is a recording of a live performance. Only The best band could play this perfectly in a live performance.

Tense section to make a mistake

A section similar to the theme at the beginning of the song, but with a slightly different tension comes afterwards. As usual, the flow of his song is a kind of dizzying.



The phrase is similar to the theme at the beginning, and the halfway 12 bars instead of 16 bars cause the musicians to make a mistake. Only Chad Wackerman, the drummer, remembered that they came to this section in the 1st bar. As expected. Too bad the others didn't remember, so they couldn't make a sound. The 3rd beat of the 9th bar was also, only Chad got it right. In bars 12-13, Chad must have shouted with his eyes like 'Next bar, next bar, guys. Don't make another mistake!', or perhaps he must have been sending a warning look at the band members, or at least making eye contact with them as a guide. Because the strong accent on the 4th beat of 13th bar seems to indicate the band members' relief from the tension.

Due to the pandemic we have to keep us being indoors for the next few moths or even a year with the fear of infections. I'm hoping to get outside, get into the studio, and play some gigs, in order to get as close to The best band as possible.

Frank Zappa - Andy, it doesn't matter, we're all human


It's Frank Zappa time again! And it's from The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life, the album that I've picked up many times. I've had this album in the middle of my music player's playlist for a while now and I've never been able to get rid of it. I therefore occasionally hear the album and get motivated to write about it. As a result it makes me extremely persistent in this album in this blog.

See also the previous articles about this album.

Part 1 

Part 2 


Frank Zappa - Andy (The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life)

'The Best Band You Never Heard In Your Life' has tracks indeed live up to its title of the album. We hear how the best musicians in the band's history perform. Chad Wackerman plays the drums. While the first theme of this song Andy, he goes like this:



The rhythm is the only expression. One Note Zappa. The rhythm itself doesn't make any sense to me, but I can feel the tension of the band members because there is a lot of space and everyone has to tightly keep time with each other. Before go to next, see the unfamiliar and sinister numbers at the end of the score above...

The rhythm of the spoken words

This is of course Zappa, and the unsettling situation comes right after!



This is a very hard section of odd time signatures, as the spoken rhythm of the words seems to be forced onto the music. The band must have had a lot of rehearsals. It is amazing that the band is not unconfortable nor stagnant, despite this complecated representation.

try to write the lyrics down as well

I thought it would be nice if we could see the rhythm of the vocal part. I tried to write the lyrics down as well.


The "whirrrrrr" in between the vocal parts is a mystery to me, but I can tell that the rhythm of the song aligns with the spoken words. The lyrics keep repeating the same thing: 'Is there anything good inside of you, if there is, I really wanna know.' I don't understand. I don't know what he is trying to say, but the song itself and its composition are so interesting that I would like to split it into 2 blog articles. Next, we'll check out the interesting structure of the song and its superb groove! How could that be a superb groove with such odd meters?! Stay tuned!