As a drummer playing actively in a band, I have to come up with the right drum parts for every song we do - ones that reinforce the bass guitar's rhythm and drive forward the melody of lead guitar and vocals, to the best interests of the music. Sometimes it's relatively easy. Sometimes not. In most songs there are those niggly 'turnarounds' - the big rhythmic shifts, such as verse to chorus and back, which to cock up as a drummer is the musical equivalent of a missing the gear when taking a corner. So coming up with appropriate drum parts for the 65+ covers and originals we do, has been a mixture of bliss and trauma experienced simultaneously. I'm quite new at this, but I try to be tasteful in my play and sensitive to what the rest of the band is doing. So the creation of the right drum parts that actually contribute to the structure and energy of a track is very important to me. I'm not one of those drummers that like to stay lost at the back as faceless timekeepers, but neither am I a drummer who likes to dominate or show off. It's a beautiful balance if you can find it. Thankfully very often, it finds me.
I can't tell you how many times I've struggled and struggled with some numbers - trying this, experimenting with that, going for thin sticks, then heavier ones, switching to brushes, changing the tempo bla bla bla - until one day, either in practice or during a gig, while I'm focused but not thinking, the perfect way to play the song just emerges from my body. It's amazing! And now it's starting to happen all the time. I engage with full thoughtless focus, immerse myself in a tune, and before I know it, there it is - a seminal moment when the song starts to play me. It's as if the song has entered my cellular structure and is now moving muscles; shaping my every move. I swear to you, it's as if the song is playing me!
But that's life I suppose - and the drumming has just made it more obvious to me. So often in life, we plot, we think, we try ... and out of the blue something completely unexpected happens to shift the seemingly unshiftable - life playing you just when you thought you couldn't play it.
Tomorrow night SunshiP gigs again; and I'm ready. And I hope the weekend plays you as beautifully as I'm hoping our songs tomorrow night play me.
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