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Farewell to Steve Vai - Kill The Guy With The Ball

"Kill The Guy With The Ball" where the Deen Castronovo's high-speed technical drum play shines from the Steve Vai's mini-album "Alien Love Secrets" in a row. Steve seemed to be playing well with his own weinie when he was little (†). Let's look at the part in the middle of the song this time.

Alien Love Secrets

Alien Love Secrets


(†) What do I mean by playing with a weinie?!
See the story in "When i was a little boy" recorded in Alien Love Secrets. http://www.vai.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=9673



What I would like to pay attention to is the triplet on the 3rd beat in the 6th bar. The history dates back more than 20 years ago. When Alien Love Secrets was released, I was very impressed with this part listening to it on a music listening system in Tower Records in Tokyo. At that time I told my friend "The tempo changes only around here!" and "It is amazing to play this in a band without difficulty!" but he had completely no idea what I was saying. Beyond time and space, hope my thought makes sense to you here and now...

The tempo seems to be changed, because the 1.5 quarter note phrase of the guitar starting from the 5th bar changes its rhythm to a triplet of the 3rd beat in the 6th bar without changing the melodic line. I wondered if I became old and too insensitive to be impressed. I think it is a bit typical listening again now...



Right after that, the "DaDa DaDad Dad Dad Dad Dad Dad Dad Da" part and the drum solo of the next bar. The 32nd notes on 10th bar are very similar to the 32nd note phrase in intro part. We can see it has the 6 + 4 sequences (see the previous article). He had to play the same phrase, maybe because the tempo is very fast. But still the difficulty level is high even just filling it with 32nd notes.

The phrase with the sextuplets in the 12th bar is a bit hard to see, but if you look closely, 4 notes R-L-R-K are repeated. When you try to fill the space of such an 1 bar break with sextuplets, you may instantly roll toms with just your hands. It demonstrates that he is a superb drummer for placing the linear phrase incorporates kicks here.

Other parts of this song that I did not pick up here also have some interesting challenges in terms of rhythm. If you are not sure a certain part is ad-lib or not, I recommend to refer to another recording in the album Sound Theories. Most of the rhythmic challenges are written and intended. 

Sound Theories I & II (Bril)

Sound Theories I & II (Bril)



Pistol on one hand, Steve Vai - Kill The Guy With The Ball in the heart

Steve Vai the guitarist of my respect is back. Introducing from the mini-album "Alien Love Secrets", which has fewer songs than full albums. I do not know what he thought when he decided to cover himself in silver powder, but his having such idea is also where I respect.

Alien Love Secrets

Alien Love Secrets


Speaking of Alien Love Secrets, of course, we should keep our ears on the song Kill The Guy With The Ball which includes the amazing high-speed technical play by the drummer Deen Castronovo. (The song title of Japanese release is like "The Ball of Slaughter".) Analyze the high-speed play at the beginning of the song and give it a try!

Also check the past Steve Vai related article: 





The song starts from the fill with snare and toms. In the 2nd bar I initially thought it is a fill with flams, but once I hear it in slow playback speed, I found it is with 32nd notes instead of flams.

From the 3rd bar, a strange guitar play sounds as if a man is speaking begins. At the same time, the drum part starts with a revolutionary triplet pattern the world never heard. He achieved the low-pitched and seamless high-speed triplets using the three: right-hand floor tom -> right-kick -> left-kick. While he continues these triplets, he changes the position of snare backbeats and occasionally strews cymbals and toms with the left hand. Also note that accent marks are attached to all the snare notes since the low-pitched triplets look too massive in the score to visibly see snare notes.

My eyes are getting tired because of the score with a lot of triplets. When you play it on a drum kit, your right hand and your both feet may soon approach your limit. However, we came only 25 seconds so far. The strange guitar play gets more excited from here, and just before the riff, the intro part reaches the climax with the blazing fast 32nd notes! 


The length of the song so far is 36 seconds. My score transcription time per second (of a song) records the highest level ever. No, it really doesn't matter. The problem is the 32nd notes fill in 17th/18th bars. If you look closely, you see he did not play at random. The position of snare notes is the clue. Looking at the first part of the 32nd notes, we can see that 6 + 4 is repeated twice. Also, in the first 6 notes, the same sequence is repeated. That is, snare + high tom + floor tom + floor tom + kick + kick. The difficulty level is high because the stroke speed is simply fast, but I believe you can play it once you understand the 6 + 4 sequence.

I checked out the information about the super drummer Deen Castronovo, it seems that he is a good singer as well. Furthermore, the topic reffering to a sort of an arrest by assault comes out in search results in higher search relevance. It is unfortunate that Assault and Battery is the word used to represent drums part in a band. We came down to a bad end but see you soon.


Jamiroquai - Space Cowboy whispers to me "your life could always be more shiny"

Jamiroquai - Space Cowboy

Let's return to my starting point this time. I'm going to look into acid jazz music in the Jamiroquai's album "The Return of the Space Cowboy" released in 1994 that I covered in my past article. Let's see acid jazz in the song "Space Cowboy" from the album that I heard some ten thousands of times to physically wear the disk down! 

Return of the Space Cowboy

Return of the Space Cowboy


See the previous article here:

Elaborated performance based on 16th note

The rich and bull-bodied sound of Rhodes panning to the left and right, Jay Kay's gentle voice floats to make us chill out. Really nice and cool. Fine performances of the bass and drums based on 16th note phrasing are attractive in it. The drummer is Derrick McKenzie. Since he is originally (still now?) left-handed, I'm not very sure whether it is the reason or not, accented notes with left hand are relatively smooth compared to average right-handed drummers.



In the basic pattern, while playing 16 beats with both hands, open hi-hat appears occasionally in 3rd and 4th beat. It sounds beautiful and sophisticated. In the 10th bar, as you can see, hi-hat and snare drum fill up every 16 notes cleanly. He forms the fill by hi-hat and snare drum keeping the RLRL sequence of both hands in 16 notes.

Focus on your left hand



Just before the chorus in the 14th bar, he made a brilliant dive into the chorus with a syncopated 16th upbeat note. Open hi-hat with left hand and immediately cymbal with left hand on the 4th beat. It is very important to hit this cymbal accent smoothly with left hand (highlighted in red). In a typical drum kit layout in a studio or the like, the left side cymbal may be out of reach when you play hi-hat with both hands. Therefore, it is better to position the left side cymbal just above hi-hat, high tom, or wherever closer to you as needed.

From the chorus from the 15th bar, open hi-hat corresponds to the keyboard and bass. Sparkling 16th upbeat anticipations and syncopations! Here again give your full attention to your left hand. Do not forget to occasionally decorate it with 32nd notes ticks. Also see below for the difference between anticipation and syncopation. In a nutshell, there are various opinions on the words' definition. 

A pattern hard to keep balance



A bridge section from the 22nd bar goes with a different kind of pattern. Keeping the open hi-hat on 8th note upbeat, in all the bars kicks syncopate and snare is hit at a bit unusual places. This is a pattern hard to maintain balance, but precisely because it is irregular, it obviously characterizes the song. So we'd like to play the pattern just like this.

How about our younger generations?

For me music of this age is my origin. I heard and imitated it to learn music and drums. I wonder what kind of genre and artists are the origins of young people these days. Is it like Blink-182? No, when I asked members of my band younger than me by over 10 years, they gave Earth, Wind & Fire, Bootsy Collins, Tower of Power, and even Lee Ritenour as examples of their origin. There may not be a bigger gap among musicians than I thought.