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Everyone comes out for the Frank Zappa - Muffin Man Festival


Frank Zappa - Muffin Man

I was curious about Frank Zappa again when I listened to his old (1975!) songs. There must be no demand but let us check!

The name of the song is Muffin Man from Frank Zappa's album Bongo Fury. Check out the performance of Terry Bozzio with his youthful ebullience! 

Bongo Fury

Bongo Fury

  • アーティスト:Frank Zappa
  • 出版社/メーカー: Unive
  • 発売日: 2012/08/28
  • メディア: CD

Youthful single stroke

At the beginning, Zappa tells a story with dialogs with the Muffin Man. And the song starts right after the story is concluded that Muffin is the best:



What makes it so youthful is the single-minded single stroke sextuplets in the 4th and 8th bar. A person who can't do it, can't do it. A person who can do it may think it's a little bit hard to play at this speed. The muscular straightness that fills the space to the limit. Just like Terry Bozzio of that time of his year, you have to be shirtless and be stripped to the waist. You need to build up your body to appear visually. When you actually try this phrase, you feel pretty exhilarating like being after a good workout. Enjoy filling the space completely and reaching finally the first cymbal hit on the next bar.

An attractive phrase

I often played this phrase when I was in high school identifying myself with Terry. I remember that guys listened to my playing this phrase often asked me, "Give us one more time.". It's simple, but seems like a greatly attractive phrase because of the intense mashing and the sound of toms flowing from top to bottom. Maybe I'll play like that in my band now I'm joining in because I only can play such a sporty type phrase while I have enough physical strength. I'm very curious to know how Terry of today would play this song.

The spirit of Steely Dan - Aja you want to instill in your child

All right, let us continue! We are going to check the second half of the album titled song Aja from Steely Dan's album Aja.



  • アーティスト:Steely Dan
  • 出版社/メーカー: Mca
  • 発売日: 2006/07/03
  • メディア: CD

See the previous article here:

Just like the one in the middle part of the song that we covered in the previous article, let us see the drum solo that fills the niche of the song and the pattern during fading out at the end of the song.




The drum solo gets raging from the 3rd bar Auftact. Before coming to this drum solo part, the song goes with a cool and mezzo forte section, so the big gap of this sudden fortissimo drum solo attracts listeners first.

The drum solo continues along with a variety of phrases including the Steve Gadd's golden phrase. And the next moment, with the cue of the fill-in in the 18th bar, it changes into a brilliant samba pattern like this:



This samba pattern is also his specialty. It's a Latin like pattern with a unique feel and groove, sometimes called the Steve Gadd Samba. His left foot always kicks the hi-hat to splash it in quarter note (On the music score, "○" (circle) should be put on the left foot hi-hat notes, but I omitted it to make it look simpler).

It doesn't look like technically impossible, but when I play it, I cannot reproduce this Gadd-style driving groove. Perhaps that is because the pattern requires whole limb mobilization which makes it difficult to accurately place notes on 16th notes and to control dynamics (intensity of sound). Gadd has an excellent skill for rudiments like paradidles, and this basic techniques can make a big difference in the groove of this pattern. In addition, the subtle intensity of the sound, which is hard to describe in the score, is considered to be a decisive factor for this feel. It's a groove at a level that you can't easily get close to!

Check out the Steve Gadd Samba in the series of Golden Classic Tapes. It's a bit different from the pattern in Aja, but it helps you to imagine how he played Aja:


Of course, I'm amazed again at how talented he is! That's fairly legendary.

Fine time and sophistication of Steely Dan - Aja

Steely Dan the sophisticated music to enter adulthood. The titled song Aja from the album Aja which recorded the largest sales and won the Grammy Award.



  • アーティスト:Steely Dan
  • 出版社/メーカー: MCA
  • 発売日: 1999/11/23
  • メディア: CD

The beauty of this album art is representing the music contained in this album. It is said that a Japanese photographer took a picture of a Japanese model. I'm pretty proud of it.

Now, the drummer plays in the album title song Aja is the living legend Steve Gadd. Let's take a look at the part that you have to note as a drummer in this 8 mins long song:



The pattern in the 1st - 5th bars appears several times in this song. He kicks the high-hat pedal with his left foot to make splash sound. In a slightly unusual pattern, the expansive sound of the ride cymbal & splashing high-hat matches this clear and tinnient song here very well.

It is the part where it gets moving little by little during the 1st - 5th bars and the drums suddenly become intense from the 6th bar. Everyone knows the legendary sextuplet (2 triplets) phrase in the 11th and 12th bar. The RL sequence is like this:


The 13th bar is also a legend that doesn't seem too difficult, but doesn't end up with a legend when you lose timing or get awkward. Drums close up videos of Steve Gadd do not show him playing smartly with only his fingers or hands. You see in the videos that he plays with all his strength to make his body float off his drum throne. Take a lesson from Gadd. Don't be lazy and play with all your might moving your whole body. Of course do not give your face a break. Try the best to make you look as if you are playing music with the face! Smile at audiences with your eyes. Make a sound with your eyebrows.

And just after above. The song once gets relaxed and then regain the intensity from the 24th bar: 


In the 27th bar, the sextuplet phrase is repeated with a slight difference; the 2nd and the 3rd sextuplets do not have snare notes at the 1st shot of the sextuplets. Or rather, it is more accurate to say that he has to omit it because his right hand hits the floor tom right before. The RL sequence is pretty much the same as the previous one: 


The 28th bar is also the phrase Steve Gadd plays frequently. It's very simple but impressive. Let's do our best on the whole body, including the face as well here!

I'm going to check the part drummers are all curious about in the second half of Aja. Don't miss it out...