Podcast: Season 1

I’ve been listening to podcasts since around 2007 when there weren’t many available and it was something mostly nerds like me knew about. We’re now living in a golden age of content, especially for drummers. There are so many good shows available and I urge you all to check out:

…and many more.

This spring I ended up with some extra time on my hands and decided to reach out to a few of my favorite drummers to see if I could interview them for a podcast series of my own. It’s something I’ve wanted to try and it’s been a fun and humbling learning experience. For those of you who do it week after week, you have my undying respect.

Over the next several weeks I’m going to release the first season of the Practicing Drummer Podcast, which includes five interviews. Four are already recorded and the fifth one should be ready to roll soon.

The guests for this first season are:

I’m incredibly humbled that all of these great players took the time to talk about their development and current routines, in and out of the practice room.

The first episode featuring Brad Webb should be out any day now and you will be able to find the podcast just about wherever you listen to them.

I want to give a big thanks to Bart at the Drum History Podcast for helping me pick out gear and giving me a crash course in audio editing. He was so incredibly helpful. Anything you like about the sound is thanks to Bart and anything you don’t like you can blame on me. I’m learning as I go.

Stay tuned to the blog for episode announcements or follow me on Instagram.

While I am planning for a second season, I likely won’t start it until things slow down for me after summer. Until then, I hope you enjoy season 1.

Summit of Great Gretsch Drummers

For years my friend and mentor, drummer Phil Hey, has been telling me about the 1973 Gretsch Drum Summit in Central Park that he was lucky enough to attend. I’ve often daydreamed about being there and how unbelievable it would be to see Elvin Jones, Mel Lewis, Freddie Waits, and Papa Joe Jones all in the same afternoon. Incredible!

In telling me about that afternoon, Phil raved about Papa Joe’s solo hi-hat performance and that Jones joked from stage that his solo was a “TKO: Time Killer Only.”

There’s a great post on the official Gretsch site with lots of detail about this afternoon. Better yet is that audio is available! This may be old news to some of you, but it’s new to me so I thought it’s worth sharing.

You can find the audio on Wolfgang’s vintage archive. If you click on the large “play” button at the top of the page you’ll get the impression that you can only listen to samples. Don’t let that fool you. Clicking on each track will allow you to listen to the entire thing and I believe you can also purchase the recording.

This is a real treasure and I’m thrilled to have discovered it after hearing about it all these years.

Cachao Documentary

TDK cassette tape with Cachao written on it. Below is the case that reads Mongo and Misc / Cachao

I’ve been going through a box of old cassette tapes, which are mostly gig recordings and drum clinics made on a pretty awful tape recorder. Some of you may remember the Max Roach clinic I posted a few years ago.

The Cachao tape pictured here was given to me by one of my high school teachers and mentors (Gordy Knudtson), probably around the time that I bought the Latin Sounds book; late 80s or early 90s. It was my way in to learning about Afro-Cuban / “Latin” music. Not a bad start!

Finding this cassette sent me down a rabbit hole and I discovered the PBS American Masters documentary, Cachao: Uno Mas (2008). I’ll post it below and hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Also highly recommended is podcast episode #323 of Discussions in Percussion where they talk to John Santos, who is featured in the Cachao documentary. That podcast is great and this episode alone is incredibly inspiring.


Glints Collide Transcription

I’ve been listening to Meshuggah off and on since I heard Chaosphere in 1999 but haven’t broken any of their music down until recently.

Dan Weiss gets all the thanks for the inspiration. After attending one of his drum clinics I decided I would transcribe one of their riffs to use in my practice for a few days.

I started listening to the album Nothing while shoveling snow a few weeks ago and the first verse in the song Glints Collide kept grabbing me. It starts at about the 30 second mark and while it sounds complex at first, it’s pretty straight forward.

It makes the most sense to write out in 4/4 time, but the riff is just a repeating pattern of 7/8 (4 times) that starts on beat 2. This leaves one extra quarter note on 4 of the last measure. I placed an accent where the 7/8 pattern starts each time.

And here’s what it looks like adapted as an eighth note comping pattern against a swing ride cymbal beat. All eighth notes are swung. Play HH on 2 & 4.

This is just the beginning. Here are a few ways I’ve practiced with this pattern:

  • Work through various permutations to adjust where it starts or ends.
  • Play HH with left foot on quarter notes.
  • Play HH with left foot as dotted quarter notes.
  • Play HH with left foot on all upbeats.
  • Feather the bass drum and play the pattern between the left hand and left foot.
  • Improvise a ride cymbal pattern that compliments the snare and bass drum part.
  • Drop the ride cymbal and fill the space between the bass/snare on the toms.

Have fun and let me know if you come up with a more interesting way to use this kind of material in your practice routine.