The Long Roll by Michael Aubrecht

This 50-page eBook presents the history of the Civil War Drummer Boy. DOWNLOAD HERE (PDF, must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view)

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Read Exclusive Interviews written for Drumhead, Modern Drummer and Off Beat: Troy Luccketta – Steve Goold – Daniel GlassGarrett Goodwin – Steve Smith – Dan NeedhamKelly KeagyScott PellegromBrandon Scott – Mike “Woody” Emerson – Ben BarterRich Redmond  – Sean FullerJason Hartless – Robert Sweet – Keio Stroud – Tommy Taylor – Frankie Banali – Bobby Z – Danny Seraphine – Dino Sex– David Abbruzzese – Marisa Testa – David ThibodeauRobert Perkins Sarra CardileBill Stevenson  – David Cola Ran Levari David RaoufEric Selby – More to Come

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September 9, 2016 · 10:30 am

In the Pocket

In the 1980’s no band personified the pop rock genre better than The Hooters. With hits like And We Danced, All You Zombies and Day By Day, The Hooters were in regular rotation on the radio and MTV. Laying down the backbeat was David Uosikkinen, who sat at the right side of the stage up front with his fellow musicians. Sitting behind a bright yellow drum set, Uosikkinen’s hard-hitting style helped to personify the band’s unique sound.

In 1980, Uosikkinen joined a group of Philadelphia musicians to create The Hooters. The band was fresh compared to their contemporaries and combined multiple genres, reggae, ska, and rock and roll. After releasing six albums, The Hooters obtained a large following of loyal fans throughout the 1980s and 1990s. This led to headlining successful European summer tours in 2003, 2004 and 2005. In 2010, Uosikkinen began his own project, In The Pocket: Essential Songs of Philadelphia creating a fund raising campaign for the Settlement Music School.

Dave shared his excitement with Off Beat: “I’m thrilled to be talking drums at this point in my life. ITP has a show planned promoting, “The Philly Special” and The Hooters are gearing up for a busy fall. We will tour Europe in 2022. Our long awaited 40th anniversary tour will now be our 42nd anniversary. I feel lucky to be back at it again!” 

On September 25th, Uosikkinen’s vision will be celebrating their latest release. Press Release follows:

ARDMORE, PA – (August 27, 2021) – David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket will celebrate the release of their new album, The Philly Special on Saturday, September 25th at the Ardmore Music Hall (23 East Lancaster Ave; 610-649-8389). Doors open at 8:00pm. Showtime is 9:00pm. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 day of show. There are a limited number of VIP tickets (preferred seating) available. Tickets can be purchased at ardmoremusic.com

The 11 song vinyl and digital release is a celebration of some of Philly’s special songs, that David recorded between 2014 and 2021, with the help of members of The Hooters, The A’s, Tommy Conwell, The Dead Milkmen, Soul Survivors, Patty Smyth, Beru Revue and more! These are the songs that have impacted Uosikkinen while growing up in Philadelphia, a city rich with musical history. Join David and his band of all-stars as they cover some of Philly’s very special songs! 

David Uosikkinen’s In The Pocket will premiere the latest track, Young American’s at Ardmore Music Hall, along with a video documentary of the making of the song, by Steve Acito of BlueWire Media.  The Young Americans music video can be viewed hereThe Philly Special on vinyl will be available for purchase at the Ardmore Music Hall on September 25th. It can also be pre-ordered now at songsinthepocket.org, and can be downloaded on Apple MusicAmazon and streamed on all of your favorite streaming platforms. 

Visit Dave at his official website at: https://www.daveudrums.com/.

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Man In Motion

Daniel Glass is one of the most respected teachers in the drum community. From his Jazz Intensive Weekend, to his clinics and private instruction Daniel has a reputation for providing his students with a first-class education. Daniel is also the drum community’s most respected historian and has a number of books and DVDs that tell the story of man’s first instrument. Daniel’s latest project is perhaps his most ambitious and unique. Focusing on the motion of the drummer Daniel is reconstructing the movements that the musician makes when he plays. This aids the drummer in his independence and flow around the drum set. By mastering one’s motion, they greatly improve their playing. Daniel is taking reservations for his new course “Finding Your Golden Groove” and has made a video series available prior to the class. He explains it here:

“People can sign-up HERE to receive a free six-part video series about groove, in which I share a lot of perspective about groove, the history of groove, and why it makes more sense to focus on MOTIONS when developing your groove than it does to focus on patterns (the typical way that drums have been taught forever). Signing up for the series means being added to the early-bird list for the launch of my new course “Finding Your Golden Groove,” which will drop September 20th (early birds will be able to sign up one day beforehand). The course will take the most basic rock groove that we all learned the very first time we sat down at a kit and re-teach it from a completely new perspective that I call the “Motion-Based System.” The idea is that when we focus on motions instead of patterns, our groove will be more in the pocket, and have a natural and authentic feel that follows the same principles used by the greatest groovers of the last 100+ years. What’s cool about the motion based system is that it work universally – it can be applied to any style of drumming, and any drummer can benefit from it, no matter what style they play.

To begin this conversation about the Motion Based System, I’m creating a YouTube series called “What Makes This Groove Great,” where I analyze the playing of great groovers across the spectrum, focusing not on what they’re playing, but on how they’re MOVING. The first video in the series features a deconstruction of Ash Soan’s playing. You can watch it HERE.”

As with everything Daniel does, this will be a first-class production. I highly recommend it. I had the pleasure of interviewing Daniel twice for DRUMHEAD Magazine. You can read those articles HERE and HERE. Daniel was kind enough to write the Foreword to my book The Long Roll. You can read that HERE.

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RIP Charlie Watts

(Photo by Victoria Will/Invision/AP, File)

Today I got word that Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts passed away at the age of 80. To say Watts was rock and roll royalty would be an understatement. He was the most appreciated and underappreciated drummer of all-time. Those who “got” Watts for what he was, the ultimate timekeeper, playing every beat for the song, accenting his fellow band members and shying away from the spotlight, consider him to be one of the all-time best. Those who didn’t consider him boring.

Watts became part of the Stones’ longtime foursome alongside singer Mick Jagger, guitarist Keith Richards and bassist Ronnie Wood, anchoring the band’s blues-rock sound from his drum kit for more than 60 years. That’s over half a century with the same band! Always a reluctant rock and roll star, his true love was jazz and it influenced his playing. There was a swing to it. His drumming gave The Rolling Stones rhythm section a unique style. He didn’t care for flashy solos or attention of any kind and knew exactly when and where to drop in a fill.

When he wasn’t playing with The Rolling Stones Watts was an acclaimed jazz bandleader. His first jazz record, the 1986 “Live at Fulham Town Hall,” was recorded by the Charlie Watts Orchestra. Others by the Charlie Watts Quintet followed, and he expanded that group into the Charlie Watts and the Tentet.

In 1989, Watts and The Rolling Stones were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. In the July 2006 issue of Modern Drummer magazine, Watts was voted into the Modern Drummer Hall of Fame, joining Ringo Starr, Buddy Rich and other highly esteemed and influential drummers from the history of rock and jazz. In the estimation of music critic Robert Christgau, Watts was “rock’s greatest drummer.”

Watts was also known for his wardrobe: British newspaper The Daily Telegraph named him one of the World’s Best Dressed Men. In 2006, Vanity Fair elected Watts into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. It seems his influence was both on and off the stage. He will be missed.

Here’s a video of Charlie Watts doing his thing…

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Frank Beard

The sudden death of ZZ Top bassist Dusty Hill sent me down a rabbit hole of the band’s catalog. It had been a while since I had focused on the band’s music, but they were one of my favorites back in the day. My parents had recently sold the house that I grew up in. The new owners removed the paneling that my father had put up when we were young. Apparently, he allowed my sister and I to scrawl a message behind the panels on the bare wall. My message? “ZZ Top Rules!” I remember when I got the famous Eliminator cassette. I stared at that cover for hours. And the videos? My god they were the coolest thing on MTV. That purchase was shortly followed by Fandango and Tres Hombres. This was around the time I started to show an interest in the drums, so I probably drummed along to their music on my first drum pad. Of course, like most budding drummers, I’m sure I didn’t appreciate drummer Frank Beard.  

Even until recently, I didn’t fully appreciate the contribution Beard brings to this epic trio. Most drummers say that Bernard Purdie or Jeff Porcaro are the kings of the shuffle but after listening to so many songs by ZZ Top I would put Beard up there.  ZZ Top’s trademark “Texas boogie-blues-rock” style showcases each member’s playing and the drumming clearly stands out. Why? Because Beard plays for the song. He has creativity and incorporates it tastefully but for the most part he’s keeping time and accenting the playing of the rest of the band. This is no better apparent than on the Eliminator album. Each drum part is meticulously crafted to support the song. Beard doesn’t overplay and he doesn’t underplay. His choices are perfect.

Beard has some of the most unique TAMA drum-sets that contribute to his unique sound. He uses Paiste cymbals.

  • 22″x18″ Bass Drum (operated with remote pedals)
  • 22″x18″ Bass Drum
  • 14″x6″ Starclassic Maple Snare
  • 10″x5.5″ Tom Tom
  • 10″x10″ Tom Tom
  • 12″x6″ Tom Tom
  • 14″x14″ Floor Tom
  • 16″x16″ Floor Tom
  • 18″x16″ Floor Tom
  • 12″x5″ Snare Drum
  • 16″ 2002 China
  • 16″ 2002 Crash
  • 14″ 2002 Medium Hi-Hat
  • 19″ 2002 Crash
  • 20″ 2002 Power Ride
  • 18″ 2002 Crash
  • 10″ 2002 Mega Bell
  • 17″ 2002 Crash
  • 15″ 2002 Medium Hi-Hat
  • 18″ 2002 China

Beard also incorporates electronics into his sound on albums like Afterburner. Here are some of Beard’s unique drum sets:

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Speechless

Sometimes a blog post doesn’t require many words. This video will speak for itself. The Buddy Rich Memorial Concert in 1989 wanted to do something special. They got together Steve Gadd, Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl to perform on the same stage at the same time. The result is unforgettable. Each player displays their own unique style while complimenting what the other is doing. This has to be the greatest drum off of the modern era. I’m speechless.

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Hangin’ with Dave Weckl

I’ve been on a health kick for the last year or so. I’ve lost +70 pounds and it was not a fun experience. People often say they enjoy eating healthy and working out but I’m not one of those people. I’d much rather sit on the couch watching baseball and eating a cheeseburger, but those days are gone. I still watch baseball and have the occasional cheeseburger but eating intelligently and working out six days a week is what my life has become. My gym is set up in the same room as my drums and I watch YouTube while I exercise as it helps to pass the time. Watching these videos is a much welcome distraction that makes the pain a little less noticeable. Those who work out will agree that distraction is a great help when you’re sweating your ass off. Looking at my drums is also an incentive.

One of the video series that I have come to depend on is Dave Weckl’s Weekend Hang and Q&A. You can either participate in these sessions live on Sundays or watch them on YouTube at your leisure. They are incredibly insightful and inspirational. Dave starts off every episode with a drum solo, sometimes to accompanying music and sometimes just drums. There is usually a theme to what he is playing whether it is a specific style or time signature. It is followed by a live stream of questions that can be sent directly to Dave by the audience. (Many of these questions are easily answered at Dave’s Online School which is located at http://www.daveweckl.com/learn.htm.)

The knowledge that can be gleaned from these drum hangs is very beneficial to drummers of every stage. Dave talks about time, technique, and experiences from his career such as his time playing with Chick Corea. Many times, he demonstrates on the kit what he is trying to convey. This really helps to understand what he is talking about. The variety of questions also makes the Q&A session valuable. As a huge Dave Weckl fan I’ve really enjoyed going back through all of the past episodes. From beginners, through intermediate and advanced there is something for everyone. If you’re looking for something to pass the time that’s worth your time check out Dave Weckl’s Weekend Hang and Q&A. And if you’ve been thinking about exercising. Do it!

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Bonham: Paiste Artist

John Bonham is remembered for being a Paiste artist. Despite already having four albums with Led Zeppelin released Bonzo didn’t sign with Paiste officially until 1971. The contract below is a standard artist agreement allowing the company to use Bonham’s name in advertising and promotion. It reads: “With this agreement, the undersigned permits the firm of M.M. PAISTE & SOHN KG the use of his name for purposes of promotion and advertising, including the statement that he plays Paiste Cymbals”. Bonham signed the contract on 7/13/1971. Below that is a tally sheet of Bonham’s cymbal orders.

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Remembering the King of Swing

Image: Hundreds of people show up on June 22, 1939, for the funeral of noted jazz drummer Chick Webb, who was born in Baltimore and died at age 34. (Baltimore Sun files)

This month marks the anniversary of the death of Chick Webb. As one of the most remarkable drummers ever to sit atop a bandstand it’s no surprise he’s been the subject of multiple posts here at Off Beat. Here are links to past posts on the “King of Swing.”:

Chick Webb “The King of Swing”

Audio: Chick Webb

Webb vs. Basie

Battle for the Ages

The King of Swing

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Pros and cons of technology on music…

Today I want to discuss the effects of technology on music. No doubt the Internet has changed the way musicians communicate with one another. Nowadays, fans can email their idols, students can study with teachers abroad, and bands can audition new members from anywhere in the world. Thanks to the World Wide Web, musicians never have to be in the same place at the same time and the possibilities for collaborating are endless. Social media sites, to include Facebook, YouTube and Skype, have enabled musicians to connect to an infinite audience by posting videos or sound bites. Anyone can showcase their music, anywhere, at any time, to anybody. This capability can be a double-edged sword. I read an article lately that said that Google, despite being a great tool, has had a harmful effect on the learning process. The theory is that many people no longer feel the need to learn things as they can just look them up on the Internet using a search engine. I am guilty of that.

According to a Braathe Enterprise article titled Is Technology Ruining your Education? “Our generation’s experience with ever-developing technology is nothing short of mesmerizing; it is a process that simply cannot be ignored. Today, a four-year-old child is just as likely to play games on a portable tablet (navigating it with ease), as they are to pick up a set of Mega Blocks. As time goes on, the trends of using and heavily relying on technology for entertainment and education are becoming increasingly popular. Even though the advances in technology are truly amazing, many people worry that it is not only altering the educational experience, but hindering it as well.”

I have used the ‘Net for quite some time to promote my various projects and publications and the relationships I have gained as a result are priceless. Outside of this blog, the most enjoyable interaction I have is through my videos. Many of these lessons are raw and were shot using an iPhone but recently I upgraded. There is something about teaching someone a new pattern, fill, or warm-up routine that really pleases me. I’m the first to admit that I am far from being an expert and there are multitudes of teachers out there who can play circles around me but in my own small way, I am contributing to the drum community. I, in turn, benefit too by learning from other’s videos. The proverbial drum circle goes round-and-round.

When I co-authored my first drum book I knew the print audience was our target demographic but once the book was released as an eBook the digital format opened up a whole new world. Readers could now download the book and corresponding videos instantly and view them on any device they wished. It is the speed in which we can acquire and discern information that makes the ‘Net incredibly powerful and scary all at the same time. We must remember that the foundation of music is the musician’s connection to their instrument. We must still learn how to play, cultivate our skill level, and practice. We must never let technology trump musicianship. Remember that learning is the foundation of all that we do and not all answers can be found on the Internet.

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An Iconic Solo

Here is the video and sheet music of one of the greats, Max Roach, playing one of the most iconic drum solos of all time, “For Big Sid” on his album Drums Unlimited. Notice how Roach tells a story.

Catlett was a huge influence on Roach and a tribute to his hero is expressed here through his drums. This particular solo has become one of Roach’s most popular and has been studied by drummers for decades. At the time, “For Big Sid” was incredibly musical compared to what other drummers were playing and it still stands up today. (Click music and magnify for full size.)

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