Thursday, 20 November 2008

Beat Happening - Favourite Drummers

Now I make no habit of hiding the main influence behind me taking up drumming - the man in question is Mr Dave Grohl.

Growing up listening and watching Nirvana, I was mesmerised by Grohl's drumming. Despite having one of the most enigmatic, tortured, genius frontmen of all-time, watching Dave Grohl drumming struck a deep chord with me and drove me to take up drum lessons aged 13.

You may think I bang on about Nirvana endlessly, but this band mean everything to me. Lyrically, musically...everything they stood for and did. They epitomised all the power a 3 piece could other bands at the time had such a basic line-up that was so incredibly powerful. This really gives me a quiet confidence with the approach of The Birds. We don't need to do anything conventional if we don't want to. There's nothing wrong with 2 basses in a band or instrument swapping because that's what comes out of us when we write and perform. The instrumentation we use is the most precise way of us expressing ourselves. If we sat down and procrastinated over everything and swapped for the sake of swapping then we would be the most contrived band out there. We do what we do because it is organic and just happened this way.

Here is a wonderful clip of Nirvana at Live N' Loud - I love the drumming to Scentless Apprentice and the lyrics are so beautiful. The inspiration behind the song was Patrick Suskind's novel, Perfume. Some of you may have seen the film that was made of it last year - the first half an hour was amazing and the rest of it was Hollywood rubbish. I'd love to do a soundtrack for a lo-fi, gripping indie version so if there are any budding filmmakers out there - get in touch!

There are also a few female drummers who I found inspiring when I first started playing. The obvious choice being Moe Tucker from The Velvet Underground. She is an amazing woman and a great drummer. I also like Patty Schemel from Hole, a very understated powerful drummer. This is Drown Soda, which I actually played drums along to during my Music GCSE. No one was that impressed unfortunately and other students were a bit scared of Courtney Love's voice. Ah well.

I also love the drummer from DAF. It's quite unusual having a drum kit in an electronic band but I think it works so well for them. A few people know this, but I actually played drums for Eve Black/Eve White once in a rehearsal - however the dynamics were slightly off with the use of a drum machine as well. It was an interesting rehearsal though and if it worked then maybe there would be no Birds...

Another hugely influential and understated drummer is Stephen Morris from Joy Division/New Order. He's absolutely amazing and his use of both electronic kit with acoustic kit influenced many drummers. This is one of my most favourite songs ever by one of my most favourite bands.

I'm not really a fan of standard 'indie' music drumming mainly because there's too much hi hat and cymbals involved (I'm not really a fan of either) however classic indie drumming can certainly serve its purpose. I love the drumming for Vapour Trail - it's a beautiful song and could have got lost in a quiet sea if it wasn't for the drumming. I love the honesty at the beginning of the clip!



Construction House said...

This is great, I loved the Nirvana video. They're my favourite band. Pat Smear kind of ruined your point about the power of the trio but yeah, awesome. I completely agree about Dave Grohl, too. Have you seen About A Son?

An Experiment On A Bird In The Air Pump said...

Thanks for your views. Glad there are other Nirvana fans out there - especially those that state Nirvana as their favourite band too.

Yeah, I did think over what Nirvana song and video to post up and although Pat Smear's in it, 99% of Nirvana's performances up until the final few months were as a 3 piece. I think publicly, it's only Live N' Loud and Unplugged in which Smear joined them onstage. His role was to be a backing guitarist so Kurt could perform more as a frontman and to help ease the stress of live performances for him. Mentally, I can never really accept Smear being in Nirvana. For me he's invisible as he was not involved in songwriting, didn't perform on any studio album and only did a few months of live shows.

Yes I have seen it and I've also read the book the interviews were based on. Apparently there was a Nirvana documentary on Channel 4 a few days ago. I don't have a TV so I didn't see it, unfortunately...