Showing posts from May, 2012

Stand Up & Deconstruct Yourself

I've been playing drum set for 40+ years—that's a lot of sitting down. And while sitting is cool, and let's you play with all 4 limbs at once, it is also restrictive. In sitting, we are locked into the instruments basically within your reach. We are also, in many ways, locked into the traditional drum set arrangement. You can try to cram more stuff in front of you, but there are practical limits.

The epiphany came to me 10 years ago when I decided to stand up and abandon the traditional drum set configuration. I also decided to abandon the traditional sound vocabulary: why should I be locked into such a rigid framework? 

My basic set up is a 20" single-head bass drum mounted horizontally on a rack—I can play it with sticks/mallets, or use it as a sound table by placing objects/small percussion on it. I can also scrape/rub/hit things on the head/rim/sides. Around the drum, I can add various cymbals and toms/snares as needed for the gig. I also have 2 percussion tables wi…

The Art of Recording, Part 3

First, let's review my 5 rules for recording:Preplan everythingPreplan some moreWork fastWork hardNothing is out of bounds—be creative!Oh, did I mention to preplan? No matter what type of recording, being well rehearsed, and having a game plan can save you both time and money. This worked out well back in September, 2007, when I recorded 3 complete and different CDs in one 12-hour marathon session. How did I do it? Lot's of planning. Yeah, I can get kind of nerdy with my planning things, but can you ever really plan enough?

A Tale of 3 CDs

The first thing I did was to work with a studio and an engineer I was was familiar with (both my mother-in-law, who is a jazz singer, and my singer/guitarist son had recorded there). Then well before the session, I spoke to the engineer, Chris, about what I wanted to do, and also said that I would send him a plan (I've included a copy of the plan at the end of the blog for your reference). So I put together a recording plan with details o…

The Art of Recording - Part 2

OK, I meant to post this follow up to January's Part 1 much sooner than we have here, but hey, life happens when you make plans.
So let's talk about getting things down. I'm going to use 2 completely different examples of how I work. The 1st is live in the studio, the 2nd is multi-tracked.
Live in the studio: My 1st solo percussion album, Stars Show The Way, was a quick affair. It was recorded and mixed in one 8-hour session. Now owing to budget constraints, that's usually the way I work. I don't have any record label or financial backing other than myself, so I make the most of my time vs. money.

Stars was recorded at the home basement studio of someone I worked with in a music store at the time. They were excited about the opportunity of recording my music/instruments (because, let's face it, it's pretty unique), and willing to experiment. Now this was important for me, because I don't need an engineer who just wants to just get down a rock drum sound—I&…