Groove Demo

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I few weeks ago I went into the studio with producer Christopher Wong to create a “groove demo” of myself performing some of favourite grooves and styles.  Here is what we came up with.  I hope you like it! (New Orleans, Syncopated Funk, Swing, Purdie Shuffle, Bossa Nova, Mambo)

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Sing Sing Sing

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From time to time I find it refreshing to revisit older drum parts.  I find it…cleansing.  It seems there is one drum solo in particular that really can’t escape the collective-unconcious of the western world, let alone my own.  Somehow, when I play the solo to my seven and eight year old students, they say “Oh yeah, I know that one!”.  The solo we are talking about is from “Sing Sing Sing” by Louis Prima.  The part itself is really only six seconds, but somehow it feels way longer.  Here is the drummer Gene Krupa performing the tune in a “music video” setting from 1937’s Hollywood Hotel. But don’t worry, you’ve heard it before.

Here is my slightly more modern interpretation of the solo.

Drake vs. Adele on SPD-S

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At one point during my cherished time spent in Victoria, I worked at Long and Mcquade selling drums. As it would seem, it was during this three month period that I acquired more drumming gear than the whole of my career.  I couldn’t leave the store without buying something.

I was a hoarder.  Most of the things I bought have proven to be very useful, minus the extra, extra large cowbell I walked home with in the rain, sobbing.  But like I said, most of these acquisitions were smart. Without a doubt, the purchase I am most proud of is an SPD-S Sampling unit by Roland.  This electronic device allows me to “sample” or record pretty much anything, then play back the recording with the strike of a drumstick.  I like to sample the vocals from hit songs and then mash them up with the instrumental portions of others.  The possibilities are endless.  Anywase, here is an example of the cool stuff you can do with these units.

A rock and roll ending.

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As with most drummers, I have long admired the late John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.  It is safe to say he was the leading pioneer in heavy, rock drumming, and a “must study” musician for aspiring and professional drummers.  I am not much a “metal” or hard rock player myself, but genres aside, he was one of the best.  He was an irreplaceable component of that groundbreaking band – so much so that after his death in 1980 from drinking 40 vodka shots, the band called it quits.

In high school I remember watching Zeppelin’s famous concert film The Song Remains the Same, and being amazed by the famous drum-solo-ending of “Rock and Roll”.  Seven years later, I find myself revisiting this ten second drum feature after a student of mine asked about it. Here is the original tune.  Skip to 3:20 to hear the solo.

Keep in mind Buddy Rich was doing this stuff long before Bonham, and Gene Krupa flirted with these type of fills before Buddy, as early as the 1930’s.  But Bonham’s speed and power is undeniable.  This following video is a GREAT explanation of how to play it, for all you drummers.

Enjoy the week and happy drumming!

Expensive Drum Set

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For about six months now, I have been teaching drums three days a week in the South Surrey area.  I have students as young as five (which is both a challenge and a blast), and one student who is in his 50’s.  This older one is a real pleasure to teach.  He decided he would learn how to play drums, and went to the store and bought a drum kit.  When I got to his house, of course he showed me his drums.  Much to my surprise he purchased a $13,000 drum set, which would be his FIRST kit, and his last.  Now I should say that, up until about a year ago, I have always been skeptical about variants like wood selection and craftsmanship affecting the quality of sound.  This drum kit however seems to sing.

The sound of it, simply put, makes me happy.  It was hand made in Japan by a little old man, and somehow my student has a picture of him (I’ll try and get it).  Here’s a small picture that features the smallest tom-tom.  To put this all into perspective, that small drum in the middle of the picture costs $1,100.  My entire drum-kit costs $900.

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On another note, here is a fun quasi-linear groove that you drummers can have.  photo 1

 

Enjoy the week!

Rehearsal With ByStarlight

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Yo peeps, I hope everything in your day is going well.  I thought I’d write an update on my first rehearsal with Vancouver band ByStarlight.  I had a blast with these guys last night at Rockspace rehearsal studios, and I’m excited to work with them, perhaps long term. The last drummer to play with these guys was Nik Pesut of Carly Rae Jepsen, which feels cool in itself.  I’m seeing a lot of guitarist Jeff Zipp, who plays in ByStarlight full time. He’s a pleasure to work with.  As luck would have it, he’s also playing guitar for Paige Morgan and Cat Thomson as well.  So I’ll be making music with him five nights this week.  Here’s ByStarlight’s single, “Here’s to the Times”.  Enjoy!

 

Finished.

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As mentioned yesterday, this weekend I headed over to Victoria to record drums for singer-songwriter Mike Baker.  I got to work with recording engineer Joby Baker, which was a treat.  I felt like we clicked right away – possibly because he is a drummer himself.

We set aside Saturday and Sunday to track all the drums for Mike’s record.  However, much to my excitement, I tracked all 11 songs today – and now have Sunday to enjoy a leisurely departure from Victoria back home.  This is fortunate considering I have rehearsals with ByStarlight, Cat Thomson AND Paige Morgan this coming week.  It’s a busy life! But I’m very excited for this coming week (and year).

Here are some pictures from today’s session.  photo 2 photo 4photo 3

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Weekend Recording Session

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Today I’m heading to Victoria to track drums for Mike Baker, a Victoria resident and guitar player for folk/roots band Carmanah.  Mike and I met during my time spent in the UVic music program, where we shared the stage in the UVic Jazz Orchestra.  Mike was not a music student then, but his talent for performing and songwriting has always been crystal clear.  We’ll be recording his full length album at Baker Studios (no relation to Mike) where artists like Kuba Oms and Alex Cuba have recorded.  Stay tuned for photos of our setup and updates! For more on Baker Studios, click here.