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Showing posts from October, 2014

Do The Practice

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In the best selling book, Outliers: The Story Of Success, Malcolm Gladwell has written about the popular theory of The 10,000 Hour Rule. The idea is that for success, you need to put in around 10,000 hours of practicing a specific task. This idea has both its champions and detractors. In many ways, it's a very general, simplification of how to be successful. But putting in 10,000 hours is only a part of story. It certainly helps to have some sort of natural talent in the area you are pursuing. I could put in 10,000 hours of drumming practice (and probably have over the years), but I will never be on the same level as someone like Vinnie Colaiuta. I know Vinnie worked hard, practicing all the time in his younger days, but he also just has a natural gift for playing drums and playing seemingly impossible rhythms.

 Similarly, as much as I love ice hockey, even with 10,000 hours of working on it I could never be a professional hockey player. I could make a list of all my other interest…

The Benefit of Self Recording

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Things have come a long way since I started playing music. One thing that has been consistent, has been my recording of most gigs that I have played. Back in the '70s, I would drag along a well worn cassette recorder to record gigs. I wasn't looking to capture anything that I would ever release to the public, but I wanted to be able to hear what was going on in my bands and the the music we played. 

I later moved up to a very heavy, very unwieldly reel-to-reel recorder, the Roberts 770X. I still have it and boxes of 7" reel tapes from back in the day. Later I moved into a Sony Walkman recorder that traveled with me everywhere (I did a lot of magazine interviews with that). Eventually, I moved up to a small Yamaha digital recorder, and now a ZOOM digital.

The mighty 770X - 48 pounds of recording machinery…

And today it's inexpensive to buy a small, quality digital recorder that you can use to record both rehearsal/practice sessions, and live performances. By recording th…

The Lasting Affect of King Crimson

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It was 30 years ago that I wrote a Style & Analysis column on Bill Bruford for Modern Drummer magazine. In the column, I transcribed various sections of his drumming with YES, UK, and King Crimson. The response to that one column was huge. This lead me to talking to Bill after a Moraz/Bruford concert here in Milwaukee, and proposing to do a whole book of charts from Bill's various bands he had played in. In his quiet English demeanor, he said, “Do you really think there's a need for it?” I assured him there was, even showing him some of the letters I had received about the column. He said he would “think on it.” The next night, before his show in Chicago, he called me on the phone and very enthusiastically said, “Let's do it!” He then started rattling off a list of songs that he thought I should transcribe. 

This became a 4-year project of transcribing, then sending things to him via post (this is before e-mail) for him to check out and make any corrections. As can be i…