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 Back to the Tempo Dispatch Archives  

ISSUE #29 \__\__\___THE____/__/__/  May 5, 1999
_____________TEMPO DISPATCH _____________
Newsletter For Drummers and Drumming Enthusiasts
    Copyright Bill Powelson 1999 all rights reserved.


TABLE OF CONTENTS  What is in this issue?
      1. Feature Article  (DRUM LESSON): 
         TEMPO TEAMWORK: Eliminating Self-Doubt

      2. Humor: (: Cool Bumper Stickers :)

|__________FEATURE ARTICLE___________|
                  TEMPO TEAMWORK
    We drummers often get the blame for EVERYTHING!
If a singer 'phrases' out-of-time . . . WE  GET THE BLAME!
If the musicians in the band run away with the tempo . . .
we drummers take the heat when they lose the beat!

     I call it the drummers curse!!!!

    Vocalists and others in charge of the melody do not
always feel the same responsibility towards tempo as we
drummers (and bass players) do.  Very often the tempo-
offenders will cite their right to creative license.  They
may use this as an excuse to play havoc with the tempo
of a song.  If it works . . . they take the credit . . . you can
be sure of that!  But, if it doesn't work . . . guess who gets
the blame?  Of course!  It's that lame drummers fault!

     Many singers tend to consider certain dragging or
rushing of the melodic and lyrical timing as an element of
their musical style  . . . and sometimes it CAN be the very
thing that WILL make a vocalist sell!  So, naturally they'll
defend their 'style' to the hilt  . . . even if it may occasionally
cause the total collapse of the song, the band or even the gig.

     If one member of the group tugs at the tempo and another
in the group follows the first . . . it may cause a chain-reaction
of total chaos.  The drummer may become 'out-numbered' as
each member of the band (like sheep) fall in line with the tempo-
offender.  The drummer will either be forced to give-in and 'drag'
or 'rush' with the rest of the band  . . . OR end up in PERFECT
TEMPO ALL ALONE!  It can be the loneliest feeling in the World! 
Because . . . of course, everyone in the band will swear that it was
the drummer who lost the beat! 

     What's a drummer to do?

     If you experience this problem in your group or band,
take heart, YOU may not be the villain!  And, there are
definite solutions and remedies that will resolve most of
these problems.

    #1.  We drummers must become TEMPO ENFORCERS. 
This means we may need to work harder at making the entire
band 'feel' a steadier tempo.  In a sense . . . they must be
*enticed* into staying with us.

      We need to handle this situation with kid gloves!  Many
GREAT vocalists sing 'over-&-under' the beat.  They call it "style"!
Willy Nelson made Millions singing that way.  Andy Williams
was notorious for singing that way too.  Sometimes Andy would
drag his phrasing completely into a reverse-polarity situation where
the backbeat would be completely reversed.  This can be a
drummers worst nightmare . . .  I've seen situations where an
entire band might be forced to play a 5 count bar to compensate
for the lost time in a vocalists phrasing.

      We must lay that backbeat in there strong and solid!  It is
important to be sure of ourselves . . . we must always know
when we are right (and we must always be aware when and
if we are wrong.) 
     Our job is to enforce the tempo in such a way that the band
(or the majority of the band) will be inclined to stay with OUR
SOLID TEMPO rather than follow the tempo-offending member
into the pit-of-doom.
     It may not be necessary to play excessively loud . . . but
we must remain solid at all costs and dominate with volume
as a last resort.

     We need an alliance . . . hopefully with our bass-player.
If only we can persuade the bass player to stay with us
(and vice versa) it will create a welding or solidifying element
that will work to stabilize the bottom of the music in such a way
that the tempo will become virtually unshakeable. The weaker
band members who might otherwise follow the tempo-offender
(like sheep) into the pit-of-doom will now be compelled to stick
with the strongest force in the band . . . That's the
bass-player/drummer alliance I'm talking about.

     At this point . . . the bass player and drummer become
invaluable members of the group.   This is the point where
an otherwise 'lame' band . . . begins to take on real dynamics
and fire! 
    Together . . . a strong bass player and a strong drummer
can take total control of nearly any band and keep it.
     It's all in the 'ears' and learning to listen!  We must really
listen and anticipate our bass-players every move!  It is important
to know what your bass player is thinking . . . memorize the
moves . . .  the kicks, the licks, the musical phrasing.  In one
word . . . compliment the bass-player (musically) in every way you
possibly can.  Then,  encourage that bass-player to do the same
for you ( with a baseball bat if necessary, haha.)   This is the sort
of teamwork that can take a band out of the dives, and straight into
the top paying jobs.

SOLUTION #3.      
     Go to _____________ and check out the Tempo Ref.

                *****NOTICE!!!!! *****

Your e-mail drumming questions are always welcome at
drums01@att.net. I LOVE E-MAIL!!!!

Your future career may LITERALLY depend on THIS IDEA.

END OF TEMPO DISPATCH #29  May 5, 1999

Copyright Bill Powelson 1994 all rights reserved.