A Trip down memory lane - find what YOU love
As my first posting I thought it'd be fitting to go back to when I first started playing and to mention who first inspired me.
Let's close our eyes and imagine its 1998, I'm 16 and have just started playing drums. My first drum stick is a Vater 5A but it would take me a good few years of experimenting with different size sticks (I played with 2B's for a loooong time!) before I'd settle with what I'm playing with now - Vic Firth SD9... but who knows, that may even change again!
I think Titanic was all over the cinema and a time where pop (think B*witched!) was everywhere! I however, was getting in to Rock, Metal, Funk and Jazz. A lot of influences started to knock on my door and this is a lot to do with how I was taught.
My first teacher Mark Smith encouraged me to listen to everything and to be open to different kinds of music. I loved the drummer Chad Smith and his band the Red Hot Chili Peppers but apart from him and Dave Grohl my list of influences was quite short.
This was soon altered drastically as I began to hear players who were breaking all concepts I had previously had about what I thought "GOOD" really was.
Two players I got in to at that time aren't to everyone's taste are different to each other but inspire me equally as much.
Lets start with the legend that is..
This is a solo he did at the 1982 Montreal International Jazz Festival. I can't tell you how many times I have watched this. I had the Video Cassette and would play it over and over and just watch and listen. Probably my favourite drum solo by anyone EVER!
Everything he played was and is just amazing to me. His perfect combination of technical prowess, feel and showmanship - watching Buddy always makes me want to practice and to play from my heart.
If there's one player I recommend you have a look at - it's him :) Youtube has a never ending supply of his videos so go look and be ready to have your hand over your mouth gasping "how?!!!" in the best possible way! :-)
The second player I learned about at this time was a drummer named...
He is one of the most technically proficient drummers around. This ability, mixed with his musicianship, feel and phrasing made me a fan from day one.
His music may not be for everyone but it definitely resonated with me as to this day I still love playing odd time signatures and love his concepts to do with metric modulation and polyrhythms.
Here's an early clip that I also had on video and watched over and over:
Whenever I'm feeling like I need some inspiration and just want to play from my heart I'll go back and listen to these two.
They are both very different but they were both a huge influence when I first started and still are today.
If you're ever struggling to find motivation or inspiration I recommend thinking about all the players that got you started at the beginning. Sit down and watch or listen to them play, enjoy it and try not to get discouraged if they can play something you can't (YET).
CAN'T is a word I personally hate. It puts a limit on things and to put a limit on yourself and where your playing can go isn't something I think we should do. Ever.
Be inspired by the greats - for they were once just beginning too.
Enjoy YOUR take on things, let go and just play.
These are just two of a gigantic list of drummers and people that inspire me. Every once in a while I'll be updating this page with other drummers, teachers and stories.