Drum Diary 02 Jun 2019

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Drum Diary 02 Jun 2019

And here’s today’s workout, give or take.  See the commentary for…commentary.  Yeah.  Sorry, I’m thinking on a whole different level for a half-hour or so after I get done playing.


  1. Kiss – Strutter
    • Something basic for the warmup.  This is an interesting tune for a reason that has nothing to do with the music per se – there are at least 3 well-known versions of this that were released.  The first was the original from the first album, which is the one I played along with and the one you’re listening to here.  The second appeared on “Alive!” and the opening fill is slightly different, ending on the snare rather than the low tom.  The *third* version was called “Strutter ’78,” and appeared on the “Double Platinum” album.  This version does the intro fill twice and there was something else different about it too, but I forget what right now.  Haven’t spent nearly as much time with Kiss as I did when I was younger; at one point I could play every single song they recorded from their first album to “Asylum,” other than most of Unmasked and Dynasty.  I could even write the tracklists out from memory.  Then I grew up LOL…
  2. Pearl Jam – Even Flow
    • “This is not a TV studio, JOSH!”  I wonder if Josh ever worked again, and if so whether he ever lived this down.  Note: I went google diving after I wrote the previous line – Josh was actually a personal friend of Stone Gossard, who had also directed the video for “Alive” and later did “Oceans.”  Apparently Ed found him pretty intrusive at this gig – where he was originally just recording as a favor to Stone, not for an official video – and that’s where the chewing out came from.

      Second note:  I’m not sure how it happened or where it came from, but when this video first dropped there were a bunch of folks in the local music scene here – and I don’t know how widespread this urban legend was – that believe Stryper to be from Seattle and the video for their song “Free” taped at the same theater.  None of that is true.

  3. Soundgarden – Mind Riot
    • I’ve always loved this song but never sat down and really learned it.  What makes this super neat for me is the instruments are set up in a polyrhythm during the verses.  Some fucknut who can’t count over at Classic Rock Review insists the drums are in “straight 4/4” and the guitar lines in 6/8, but he’s full of shit.  The drums are in 3/4 – 3 beats per measure, 4 beats per whole note, jabronie; arguably you could call it 6/8 by doubling the bpm, but in 3/4 the BPM is right around 96, which is within the range of most modern mid-tempo rock; if you double that to make it a 6/8 time signature, you get 192bpm, and that’s way outside “normal” range.  So fuck that guy, the drums are in 3/4.  The guitar part is straight 4/4, and the drums join that time signature during the choruses.  (Sidebar:  I read a statistic on some listicle site, probably Cracked.Com recently, that claims something like 92% of all Billboard Number 1 (on the Hot 100) songs are between like 97 and 121 bpm.  I don’t know how true that is and I don’t have three months to sit down with all of those songs and Cubase or a metronome and stopwatch to figure it out for myself.  Still, seems fairly likely – that’s also in the range of how many steps the average person takes in a minute at a brisk walk.  The BeeGee’s “Stayin’ Alive,” famous for being “strut speed” as well as “the perfect song for CPR,” is 103 beats per minute.  Without analyzing them electronically, I’d say that Mind Riot is within 10bpm under that at the most, so yeah.  I’m right, they’re wrong, suck it Classic Rock Review.
  4. Tom Petty – Runnin’ Down A Dream
    • Fun, fun song which I’ve never played before.  There’s a series of six note snare fills that are fun and a little challenging to hit at the very first, but again I’ve heard it a bajillion times and had no problem faking it.
  5. Led Zeppelin – Hey, Hey, What Can I Do
    • This may have appeared in an earlier list, I don’t remember.  A nice mid-tempo Zep groove that’s fun to ride and you can improvise fills easily and make them sound good.  And of course as a drummer I’m required by federal law to know at least three dozen Zeppelin songs not counting Stairway or Whole Lotta Love, so this is one of them.
  6. Soundgarden – Superunknown
    • One of SG’s more straightforward rockers, not a whole bunch of time changes or anything, a couple of stops that I was sloppy on since I’m just playing along from memory.  Love the energy in this.
  7. Faith No More – Zombie Eaters
    • SO.  MUCH.  FUN.  TO.  PLAY!  Puffy Bordin’s doing this kind of tribal pattern where he goes down the toms in fours across the beat, so underneath you’ve got this nice, heavy beat and then the descending fills four strokes at a time, t1&t2, t2&t3, t3&t4, then 4 snare shots and that repeats throughout over the beat.  THEN you get the weird breaks that I can’t even count a time signature for, but suspect if I sat down and really picked it apart it would surprise me by being in 4/4 but with weird syncopated accents.  If I ever meet Bordin I’ll ask him.

      Trivia points.  FNM’s biggest hit, “Epic” has been the source of rampant speculation since it was released, with every half-witted schlep offering their own take – my favorite is the claim that “it” (“What is it?”) is supposed to symbolize masturbation or sex.  That’s dumb and if you examine the first six songs on “The Real Thing” (of which “Zombie Eaters” is the fifth) it’s obvious (at least to me, and again I’ve never asked the authors so I could just be another half-witted schlep here) that the song cycle tells the story of a soul from the moment they meet a drug (I’ve always perceived it as cocaine based on certain specific lyrical references) in “From Out Of Nowhere” through the process of becoming addicted (Epic) and the collapse of one’s life as addiction takes over (“Falling to Pieces”) and the inevitable denouement (“Surprise! You’re Dead” – guess what?  It never ends!), and then we follow the soul as it’s reincarnated in “Zombie Eaters” and then finally “The Real Thing.”  One day I’ll get a wild hair up my ass and lay this out in more detail, but it’s interesting to me that very few people seem to have ever picked up on even the possibility that these songs, which comprise the first side of the LP and cassette, are a metal opera in six acts.

  8. Audioslave – Like A Stone
    • The second hit from this so-called “supergroup” comprised of Chris Cornell and everyone in Rage Against the Machine except Zack de la Rocha, this is a little more complex than it sounds at first glance; when you listen carefully you can hear Brad Wilk doing all these little ghost notes on the snare that are barely perceptible, but if you leave them out the hole that remains is huge.
  9. Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter
    • And we close this session out with another song I’ve never played before.  This appeared, along with several other very strange and wonderful songs including some pretty outrageous covers (like Slayer doing “Inna Gadda Da Vida”) on the soundtrack for the 80s cult classic “Less Than Zero,” based on a Bret Easton Ellis’ novel and starring Andrew McCarthy, Jami Gertz, Robert Downey Jr., and James Spader.  It’s a super dark movie to watch that really captures the ugly, gritty, cokehead preppie culture of the time perhaps more closely than any other attempt. It didn’t do particularly well at the box office, but the soundtrack was a major hit, released on Def Jam recordings and including some serious bizzarities – Aerosmith covering “Rockin’ Pneumonia,” Glen Danzig co-writing a song for Roy Orbison, Poison covering “Rock and Roll All Nite” by Kiss, the aforementioned Slayer cover, LL Cool J’s “Going Back To Cali,” Public Enemy’s “Brint The Noise,” Joan Jett, something called “Glenn Danzig and the Power and Fury Orchestra” (actually the original Danzig lineup minus Eerie Von) doing the title track, and this song featuring the Bangles covering an old, obscure Simon and Garfunkel tune.  Short, sweet, easy to play, a nice “cooldown” song for the practice session tonight.
  10. Open jam
    • After the last song, I spent about fifteen minutes just doing some basic drills and fills for exercise.  I’m going to get deep into the ups and downs of playing an electronic kit in a fuller article, but for now what matters is that I haven’t been playing regularly in a long time and I need to work on my chops, get my left leg back in shape for double-bass work, and just generally need to get my muscles and joints back to capacity.  I still retain the ridiculous notion of being a working drummer one of these days, even if it’s just doing my own stuff and maybe working in a cover bar band or something, plus it’s great exercise and as I approach my 50th birthday (holy shit) here in another year or so, I need all the exercise I can get.

And that’s it for today.  I don’t always get to play every day and sometimes go several days in between, so I’ll not make promises about when I’ll post another diary, but it should be reasonably soon if not tomorrow.  Thanks for reading!

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