Thursday 10 October 2013

Peter Bocking on… Drummers: The Bocking Memorial Blog #2

Don’t get me wrong, some of my best friends have been drummers, and they do hit things for a living, but the fact has got to be faced that drumming is the most atavistic of all the musical professions. It probably started off when, as an infant, the nascent drummer threw his rattle out of the pram, and a perspicacious mother noticed there was a certain rhythmic regularity to this. “He’s got rhythm, has our Dean.” And the die was cast – little Dean Beast was to become a drummer. 

Now there are two main types of drummer: drummers who can keep time and drummers who can’t. In the latter set fell an unfortunate young chap called Novelty Skins who had the largest drum kit then available and was constantly taking metronomes back to the shop because they wouldn’t keep time with him. There used to be a saying among musicians: “Don’t be a mug in a pub and never trust a drum break.” Wise counsel. 

There is also a subset of ‘solo’ drummers who have the percussion part from the ‘1812 Overture’ off pat. This they insert into all gaps. They are just waiting for the rest of the band to go for a drink so that the real meat of the performance can commence – The Drum Solo. This device is used: 
a) To cover the fact that the band is dying on its arse. 
b) To reduce the testosterone level in the drummer. 
c) When the band is gagging for a drink. 

Remember a drummer is someone who at the sound check goes tappety, tappety tap with a fairly light touch, then on the performance turns his sticks butt end round and unleashes millennia of primal passion. 

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