Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Drummers are so easy to make fun of. "What do you call a guy who hangs out with musicians? A drummer!" Get it? Ha HAA!
The irony is that the drummer in a band has to be better than anyone else in the band has to be. If you have a suckky drummer, the entire band sounds like poop. But if you're a sloppy guitar player you can join bands like Yes or Led Zeppelin. A sloppy drummer? Nope, not allowed.* Sloppyness in a guitar player is style, man. And it works if you have a rhythm section which is tight. In fact, the tight rhythm section makes you seem like you're so much better a guitar player.
That's the reason, I think, that drum machines became so popular. They couldn't do very interesting work, but they stayed in-time (which is one of the hardest things a musician can do.) Plus too, finding a drummer who's stable mentally as well as tempo-wise is a big trick. Believe me, I've been in a band which went through 11 drummers in 2 years. The really good drummers just go on to paying gigs because they're so valuable.** Drum machines work cheap and they don't have drug problems, or "I slept late because I stayed up all night trying to teach my cat to bark" problems.
I got on this subject when reading the manual to the Peavey Vypyr amplifiers. I uploaded the manual to Box.net because it is (for some reason) such a pain in the butt to download from Peavey.com. The first instruction in the manual is to point out the input jack. The description of the input jack is "If you don't know what this is then please put the amp back in the box and get some drumsticks."
*You can only play with Emerson Lake and Palmer.
**The first drummer I ever played with, Earl Harvin, went on to play for Seal, Pet Shop Boys, Air, and MC 900 Foot Jesus. Crimean vole! Earl not only has a Wikipedia entry, but an interview in Tamadrum.com.jp. He doesn't mention that he played in the band Nocturne with Scott Hirshon and me while in high school. ;-)