Monday, February 15, 2010

Non-Drummers Drumming

What do Jaco Pastorius, Stevie Wonder, & Prince have in common, aside from not making good music anymore? (Jaco has a good excuse.) The three of them, amazing musicians but not drummers by trade, managed to not only get behind the kit once in awhile, but when they did, they played such bad ass shit, that these three songs always come up when I talk about some of my favorite drum moments in music.

It will be hard to ignore Jaco's bass playing on "Teen Town," since that is really the whole point of the song. But damn, if that groove and those fills aren't one of a kind.

Prince's "Tamborine" is a bit of a throwaway, but still one of my favorite tunes on "Around The World In A Day." The groove is nasty, and the little snare and bass drum fills throughout are slick, but it's what happens between 1:55 and 2:08 that just knocks me out.

"I Love Every Little Thing About You," from Stevie's "Music Of My Mind" is the most amazing of the three, and not just because Stevie is blind. (Though I've been playing drums for 40 years, I can see just fine, and still miss cymbals every now and then.) The way he kicks in, the relentless groove, the fills over the last choruses, all of it just makes me wanna sell my sticks and buy a kazoo.


cmealha said...

Like you, I think Tambourine is great but I always thought it was a drum program. It's so incredibly difficult and precise that I thought no ordinary human could play it. I have no basis for my opinion other than instinct. Do you know for sure that he played live drums. If so, that cut just added some additional respect to Prince's legacy. I know he's been lame for a while but he's done a lot of great work.

Sal Nunziato said...

Even the best drum machines sound like crap to me. The fills are too precise, and quite frankly too original. I can't believe for a second it's a machine.

And yes, he has done a lot of great work. The man's unreleased catalogue alone is A-list compared to so many. But something happened and I'm afraid it may be over.

steve simels said...

Whew. For a minute there I thought you were going to nominate McCartney.