The OG Drummer / ShowmanPosted on September 9, 2012
I posted this to my FB wall the other day. For the past few weeks, I have been judging the local rounds of Guitar Center's 2012 Drum-Off here in Atlanta. Watching all of these up-and-coming drummers play three minute-long, unaccompanied solos has made me take a little extra time in my practice sessions to analyze and refine my own soloing. Whether inside a tune on a gig or all by myself at a drum clinic, I have always thought that soloing is one of my weaker areas.
To start correcting this issue, I have begun watching, listening to, transcribing, and learning portions of drum solos from some of the greats. My goal is to build a better vocabulary for this portion of the artform. By learning directly from the work of others far better than I am, I don't have to totally “reinvent the wheel” in honing these soloing skills and further defining my own voice on the instrument.
A lot of drummers, especially younger ones, think that most of the showy stuff that drummers do now started in the Rock era. Whether it's playing with your bare hands like John Bonham or Tommy Aldridge or spinning drumsticks and playing “crossover” licks like EVERY hair metal drummer did back in the 80's, this sort of showmanship has been going on since drummers moved out of the orchestra pit and onto the stage.
Here's one of my favorites drummers and the guy responsible for much of our modern drumming, Papa Jo Jones. After seeing him play this drum solo, how many contemporary drummers can you name off in 60 seconds that were influenced by him?