An experiment replacing the snare with a 14″ floor tom, an octoban played with the left foot, and no proper high hat. Featuring FMP percussion and Istanbul Agop cymbals. I often get inspired by different setups, mixing things up a bit, and seeing what happens. This groove appeared soon after setting up a 26″ Gothic Radius cymbal which compliments the toms. Technical note: This was the first time had used Michel Joly modded Oktava 219 mics on the toms.

A quiet groove that I can imagine someone like Jon Hassell or Brian Eno layering some soundscapes on top of.


 

A bit of a soundcheck before laying down some drums for the score of “Little Paradise”. Douglas Pipes was the composer, and he was looking for an open, dare I say ‘jazzy’ type drum sound for his music. There were no close mics used, just 2 room microphones and a mono overhead mic.

This is the kind of studio drumming that I enjoy a lot – oragnic, dynmaic, and real sounding tracks. You can hear some of the finished cues that were used in the film in this post.

Here’s the solo I performed which took 1st place at the Guitar Center Drum Offs in 1992. It was the regional competition finals of Southern California at club SPICE in Hollywood, CA, in front of a panel of celebrity Bee judges including Matt Sorum, Pat Torpey, Ralph Humphrey, Doane Perry, and Carmine Appice. As Carmine later remembered me “he was the one with the cowbells!”. What you can’t see in this there? video are those mounted cowbells that were played with the left foot and left hand in the solo…

 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7cTNEkSgZko]

 

Ever since I began playing the drums, I’ve never been one of those drummers to walk into a music store and start bashing away on drums to get attention or show off chops. In fact, before the drum offs, I hadn’t played extended drum solos like this in front of an audience before. The drum off competiton was more about challenging myself and playing an unaccompanied drum solo in front of other drummers, rather than trying to prove that I was ‘better’ then anyone else.

The drum offs were just getting started in the early 90s, and I had seen my friends Copeland Dave Beyer and Nick D’Virgilio compete in them. Emirates They both played musical drum solos and had excellent technique. Some of the other drummers that competed were not quite as interesting or musical and I thought “I could do something at least as good or better than those guys”. It was then that I decided it would be a good challenge to put together a 37 drum solo, and see what happens.

I approached the solo as a composition, and it had a definite beginning, middle, and end. There were plenty of places left for spontaniety, but overall it was a bit more like playing a piece of music, rather than 100% improvisiation. It was a competition, and I wanted to do well in all the categories that were being judged: Creativity, Groove, Dynamics, Crowd Response, and Technique. Everyone who enters these things usually has plenty of technique, but not everyone fares well or focuses on these other categories.

It was fun to compete, and of course I was happy to win, but SLIKA I reaped another benefit from the experience that I didn’t appreciate until later: There has not been any gig, session, audition, interview, etc… that has come close to the pressure of playing a drum solo in front of a club full of other drummers, and celebrity judges…

As a funny side story, I practiced this solo (and variations of it) in front of some crowds before the competition. One of which was a KNAC drum solo night at a Red Onion in Huntington Beach. Not being a head-banger, I felt a bit out of place, but wanted to get some reaction from my solo. Boy did I get it. In the middle of IBS my solo, the KNAC DJ says through the loud PA “We don’t wanna hear no latin sh*t! We wanna hear some rock and roll!”.