There's two things that drummers will constantly be on the hunt for- the perfect snare drum and the perfect ride cymbal. I've been a Sabian artist now going on a year and am really in love with the sounds they create. When I ordered my set of cymbals last year upon signing on as an artist I think that the choices made were all pretty much spot-on in regards to "what will work for me" being that I'm oftentimes called to play so many various types of music and in many different settings. I got a set of 13" AAX Xcellerator hats, 19", 17" 15" Vault crashes, a 17" AAX Xplosion crash, 7", 9" and 11" Maxx splashes and a 21" HH Vintage ride. Out of all those cymbals there's definitely something that I can use for nearly any gig.
But the need for a ride cymbal with a bit drier tambre and stick definition was something I felt my arsenal needed, being that the 21" HH Vintage ride is just so shimmery, washy and explosive. So at NAMM this year I fell in love with the 22" Phoenix ride from Sabian's "Big & Ugly" line and bought one straight away.
So I decided to throw caution to the wind and take the drumkit out to a bar and play along to some tracks of artists who are not known to the general public, but really, really ought to be.
I do not use a click track when playing to these tracks; I just have to know where to step. Playing without a click makes me listen into the song and it's a deeper level of congruence for me, to lock into the more subtle rhythmic "handholds". It's a challenge and it gets me way more in touch with the tune than I've ever gotten just playing with the click. Of course in a studio I would certainly play to a click (if it felt right) but anyone who has ever considered tuning into music on a deeper level, I recommend doing this until you're comfortable.
This video is a collaboration of some really great people in my life; Raymond DiGiorgio ran the audio and video capture and we play together in the Instrumental Guitar Rock Fusion band RDG. Gotta give mad props to Raymond, he rendered all of this before doing the workup of our show this past weekend with Michael Lee Firkins. (Video forthcoming)
Cathryn Beeks put together the shindig and you can look her up at ListenLocalSD.com for great music from this area. She's kinda the "go to girl" for all things musical here.
We record into a ZOOM R16 deck; Kick, Snare, Overheads, Racks and Floors split into single channels and L+R Audio track (8 channels total), using GoPro cams.
Why I Do This
For a very long time I was of the mindset "The music today is...(insert negative comment here). So complaining without action is considered "Whining", and rather than issue forth with empty words, have taken it upon myself to drag the artists portrayed in my musical endeavors kicking and screaming to the table, and the best part is they don't even have to show up! It would also be a dream of mine to send them royalty checks for performance licenses, once I can fill up a calendar with dates to unveil this crazy good music that's right under our nose. At least for the moment be able to help them sell a CD or two. If you wanna have me come play your place, Drop me a line!
I am now teaching via Skype and in Seattle, WA. Contact me to schedule a lesson!
I have had a long and interesting history with the Guitar Center Drum-Off. In 1989 I had just relocated to the West Coast and somehow I learned that there was a drum solo contest and it was that very day; I called the store and got a slot to play, and tied for first place with another guy. When it was all over, I think we each got a snare drum and we walked across the street and the judges bought us a pizza. It's a stark contrast to now, where we are now seeing GC giving away what amounts to a down payment on a house!
So for the next six years I stayed on as a contestant until 1995, when I took 3rd place nationally. In January of 1996 I got picked up by Pro-Mark and was told that because of my endorser status with a major brand I was no longer eligible to participate. It was, for me a great place to jump off and start participating as a judge. I was involved up until 2000 and from there I just got busy with gigs and life and raising my kid.
And here it is, 2014 and I'm beginning to participate as a judge again so I figure it would be a good thing to impart some wisdom for those of you who are competing in this thing, that has turned into a pretty large affair with some serious booty being strewn about. Much more than a pizza and a snare drum!
Some universal things- RECORD EVERYTHING YOU DO. Use a video camera, an iPhone, whatever. Just capture your performances both in your own practice as well as your performances. By having a visual record of what you play, you'll quickly determine what bits of your playing are strong and what's weak. Bring your A-game, always.
Response to a guy on a drum forum who is "giving up" because he "thinks he's not getting any better"
Oftentimes when you feel as if you're getting worse it's not because you are "getting worse" but because your awareness is expanding and you hear more things that you used to didn't perceive.
It's like this- when you begin any activity you're going into a darkened room. You know the room is infinite but all you can see is the tiny space that your tiny light allows you to see. As you begin to work out and become aware of the tiny area you occupy, you begin to "furnish" that area with your personality and proclivities. At some point "the light goes on" by way of epiphany or other realization and all of a sudden you see so much that's there but the meager furnishing that you've brought in prior don't even begin to give the added space any sort of life or definition.
So it's a bit like interior decorating; you have all this newly found space but only so much stuff to put into it to make it look "liveable". So you have to work up more furnishings and items to place around the area and fill it in to make the space functional.
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