2nd cover of the year

Which brings me up to date with my plan of 1 per month for the year.

As I stated in a previously blog I wasn’t happy with my personal timing in my cover of LITs “my own worst enemy” so I have re-visited the song and this time round I’m much happier with the time keeping.

This was also the first video that we did recording with a duel cam placed in a over the shoulder position. I’m very happy with the outcome for our first attempt. I say our because the audio was mixed and edited by myself. The video part was edited by my photographer and best friend James Grice.

James isn’t a musician so there is a slight delay on the over the shoulder shots because he cant hear the see the slight delay between my hits and the music, But then again unless you were a trained musician could you tell? But as you can see by the video James has an enormous amount of creative talent and his head is full of amazing ideas (to tell the truth he’s the one that pushes me to do all this, I’m quite lazy so this is a thank you to him), He added in the original LIT music vid and chose the transitions between cameras. He also made the ending sequence for the video not to mention his time he spent on a Saturday doing this for me 🙂 .

All in all I’m happy with our first attempted dual cam cover, and I will be attempting to educate him on when the a actual drum hits occur. I should mention though that we are both using a piece of software in adobe premiere that we don’t know how to use and is a very complicated piece of kit. So it’s a huge learning curve.

you will also notice me check the height of the ride cymbal(the big 1) at around 2:35. It had slipped down and was catching on the 3rd rack tom. I put this down to the heavy 5AB Vic Firth sticks i was using 🙂

First cover of the year

Finally managed to finish the first Drum Cover of this Year. I’ve also recorded another but just waiting on the Video Edit for that 1. This is the 2nd instalment in my Michael Jackson mini-series and its titled “thriller”

FACTS:

  • “Thriller,” the biggest-selling album ever, wasn’t the only Michael Jackson work released in November 1982. A few weeks before it was set to hit stores, MCA Records released an album of Jackson reading the story of “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” and performing the original song “Someone in the Dark.” The album promotion, which featured posters of Jackson and E.T. looking very friendly, angered CBS Records, which felt it was stealing the thunder from “Thriller.” Lawsuits ensued. Both albums ended up winning Grammys the following year.
  • “Thriller’s” phenomenal success led to a breaking down of traditional racial barriers on FM radio at the time. New York’s WPLJ, a “white” station, played Jackson’s “Beat It” because of Eddie Van Halen’s appearance on it. The song caused a wave of protests from some listeners who didn’t want “black” music on their station. MTV also had a reputation for flavoring white performers at the time, and its heavy rotation of Jackson videos helped alleviate the criticism.
  • The music video of “Thriller” played in a Westwood theater for one week in 1983 to qualify for an Oscar nomination. It opened for Disney’s “Fantasia,” much to the dismay of unsuspecting parents.

I hope you enjoy it. It was a lot of fun to play. Only part I’m not happy with is the timing issues at the start.

My Thoughts on Tuning your Drums. (Part 3)

Welcome to part 3. In this issue we will be looking at the toms. Finally we get down to fitting that first drum head.

(All pics are of my Drum Kit and me 🙂 courtesey of James Grice.)

But first a list of the topics covered in the last edition, and if you haven’t read it please take a look before reading this:

  • Drum Preparation
  • Drum Key Technique

I tend to start with the smallest tom as it’s the highest pitched and then work my way down to the floor tom or biggest rack tom.

Right then down to it. First things first check you haven’t got a dead drum head before you start. Grab the new head and tap it in the middle you should get a very dull but slight tone out of the new head, If you don’t and instead get a duff sound the head is dead and not worth using. (the chance of this is very, very small but still worth mentioning)

Now place the head over your drum it should go straight on without any struggle. (I normally line the logo up with the support arm, Just my preference. And I start with the batter head.) Then were going to place the hoop on over the top this is normally a tighter fit and can require a slight push to get it on properly.

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My Thoughts on Tuning your Drums. (Part 2)

Just a little recap on what I covered in the last article:

•    Drum Anatomy
•    Equipment needed
•    Drum Head Selection.

In this part we will be looking at preparing your drums to be tuned, and drum key technique.

Once you have your new drum heads just re tuning your kit it’s a good idea to get the hoops and heads of and just start from scratch. There is a way of removing the heads so you don’t warp or damage the drum. This can occur when there is too much pressure placed on a particular side of the drum, which can pull and distort the wood out of place. Below is a diagram of the correct technique for releasing the pressure created by the tight drum head.

The idea is that you work in opposites around the drum using your drum key (pictured below) to slowly loosen the head at each point. (turning to the left)

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My Thoughts on Tuning your Drums. (Part 1)

Hello all, this will be the first issue in a multi-part blog about the ever-elusive subject of Drum Head Tuning.

I think there are two types of people that hit drums. The First been the person that plays drums, they are normally good at what they can do but lack the fundamental knowledge of differing techniques, and are missing a basic structural knowledge of music overall and a drummers relationship within a band. The other being a “Drummer”. This person not only has spent years honing different skill sets and abilities within his/her trade. But has also taken the time to understand music as a whole and how to play to compliment the piece of music being performed. Be it with different techniques like using brushes, or just being sensitive to the piece of music by not over playing or being too loud.

Ive never understood why some “drummers” shy away from this very important aspect of drumming. A nice sounding kit not only sounds great to people listening to you but you will find you will actually want to play and practice more. You will also find yourself being more creative around the kit. I find it has that affect on me anyway. Tuning is also a very good pass time. Hours just seem to fritter away. Read the rest of this entry

Good morning to you all on this cold and snowy day

 

Just wanted to share a few little things with you. A mini update on things going on if you will.

First thing id like to share with you is how amazed I was with a Snow Patrol gig I went to at the weekend. It was based at the LG arena in Birmingham, England. Which is a fairly major venue within the UK.

The Band was awesome. Ive never really been a Snow Patrol fan as such, I can get on with a few of there bigger tunes. But I have to say what a great band they are to watch live. I was knocked off my feet with how good and rounded there live sound is, and was very impressed with the way he got the crowd to participate in the gig. They now have a new fan.

But it’s the support act that caught my attention. “Everything Everything” are an electro sounding band with a very unique feel and sound. I especially liked the lead singers voice. Its very original. I went out and downloaded there album “man alive” Ive had a few listens to it. And really like it. I will say though I think the base line is a tad over done. But I think they have a very Indy sound with a hint of the 80’s electro influence mixed in. Very tight sounding, And a nice refreshing change to what’s out there at the moment.

Link to there site: http://www.myspace.com/everythingeverythinguk

I would also like to take this time to share another band I have recently discovered “EVAROSE”. They are an all girl unsigned band with a very nice rock sound (love the drum beats).They have 2 singles up on itunes which at the moment are on SALE Not really much I can say here other than to ask you to check them out and let me know what you think.

Link to there site: http://www.facebook.com/evaroseband

And lastly im planning on getting another drum cover up this weekend so please keep and eye out and let me know your thoughts.

Hello all.

Seems like absolutely ages since my last blog. With the new year having just passed I would like to talk about the importance of setting yourself goals and finding a way to plot them and keep a track of the journey along the way. Im not just talking about personal goals as these come and go (I have also set myself a few of these this year. 1 being to lose some weight:-S) I am of course talking about setting yourself goals to improve as a musician.

I am a firm advocate of trying to learn as much as you can. As im sure you are all aware that you will never be able to learn all there is to know about your chosen instrument. And while it’s a good idea to learn the basics in lots of different styles. Its simply not possible to become amazing at everything there is out there. It’s also good to get an idea in your mind about the type of music you wish to try and master and become innovator in.

I had a sit down the other week and began looking into witch parts of my playing I would attempt to improve upon throughout this year. My main goal will be hand speed. I would love to be able to play comfortably at and around 230bpm, So this will be my main goal for improvement throughout this year.

I have also chosen sub goals to be played with around my main aim. The first of these will be to improve my double bass drum playing. Not only in speed but in technique, I already have a book that I brought a few years ago that I never got around to working though. This will be a aim of mine throughout this year.

Another sub goal of mine will be with my drum covers. I want to release at least 1 cover a month. Also putting out a proper mini series, which I have determined will be biased around the American Pie series of Films.

I have others but I won’t bore you with all of these right now. As some are personal and work related goals I wish to achieve throughout the year.

Right now I want to take a look at recording your progress and re defining goals as the year roles by.

The best way to do this is start a training log, or diary.  Begin by setting aside a certain amount of time to practice each day or every couple of days.

Plan what your going to practice. I can’t stress this enough. How many times have you picked up your instrument with the goal of practicing just to mess about playing what ever. Have a goal to achieve that day.

Above all write notes and record your progress. So you have a log of how far you have come since you started. Take notes and highlight important parts for quick reference in the future.

I keep my logs on my iPad so I always have them handy and accessible in what ever situation I find myself in.  It might be a bit of music knowledge you have taken down so you can recall it in a second. A rhythm or pattern you liked the sound of. Or just something you have invented. I don’t know about you but I often come up with a great sounding beat only to forget it the next week. This prevents that from happening.

Hope this little article helps.


Practice, Practice, Practice.

Right guys and girls. I’d like to start by stressing the importance of getting a good practice pad to use on a regular basis.

What is a practice pad?

What is a practice pad I hear you say! Well basically it’s a lump of rubber placed over wood designed to imitate the feel and response of a normal snare drum, but with out all the associated noise attached. They are usually small, light weight and easily transportable. Meaning we can practice anywhere and anytime we feel the need. One of the main problems with learning drums is the inability to do this due to noise level and the inconvenience of having a none easily transportable instrument.

There are both advantages and disadvantages to using a practice pad I will attempt to cover all these for you now. But I will add im a big pusher of the drum practice pad I think all drummers should own and use one. Not let it sit there as a coaster.

So the pro’s of using a Drum Pad is the obvious ability to sit down and practice your drum rudiments in front of the TV producing very little noise on something that will react like a real drum. This also brings us into the next advantage of easily been able to hear and play along to a metronome. Which incidentally is another must have piece of kit for a drummer. These days there is no excuse not to have one as most phones are now able to download free apps that contain these within them. This used in conjunction with a metronome allow us the ability to be able to track our progress and keep records of our improvements in that search for faster rolls and slicker drum licks. Record keeping should be done as a matter of course when having your practice sessions. Which incidentally should be set out to achieve a goal you have in mind, Be it faster double strokes or a more accurate flam. These things don’t happen over night and take ages to master.

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Protect your hearing.

I’d like to start by first stating that your hearing once damaged does not heel itself. If you cause and keep causing significant damage you WILL develop tinnitus or worse may end up losing your hearing all together.

Experts say that hearing damage occurs at sounds louder than 85 decibels for an extended period of time (a phone rings at around 70db). I believe this is estimated at more than 6-7 hours. But an average drum stroke kicks out around 125db with cymbals being a tad higher. To put this into context it’s the same as An Ambulance siren, pneumatic drill, heavy machinery or a jet plane on ramp. Hearing damage will start to occur after around 4-5 minutes without protection if exposed directly to this. This isn’t to say that after that time you will notice it. The build up of damage could take years before you will notice it happening. But when you do it will be too late.

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Why you shouldn’t purchase instruments from eBay.

Just a quick post as to why you should avoid eBay for second had instruments. I have to admit the lore of purchasing such items from eBay is a massive one. Quite often they can be less than half the RRP price.

I will admit I have in the past purchased a few smaller cymbals from eBay. I have purchased a8” and 10” Zildjian A Custom cymbals with out any issues. I have also brought a 6” Zil-Bel only 2 weeks ago. But this is a really thick cymbal and pretty much unbreakable. So I wasn’t worried about that one at all. Read the rest of this entry