Monthly Archives: August 2021

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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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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