Saturday, July 12, 2014

Let There Be Drums, Part II

July 12, 2014
   Last Tuesday morning I met legendary Bluesman Hans Olson and Kingman guitar great Mike Torres in the recording studio to lay down the tracks for "The 66 Kid," a song Hans and I collaborated on together (it's really Hans' song though as he wrote the music and sings it in his distinctive style). As soon as I got to Praiselab Studios, run by engineer Thom Casey, Hans asked me to sit at the drums and see if I liked the sound.

Hans Olson works on the lyrics while Mike Torres straps in and Thom dials in the board.

   Well, I didn't like the sound of the drums, at all. Hitting the snare it sounded like I was thumping a dead rat, and the cymbals were totally dead with a thick as a brick thud sound. But then Thom told me to put on the "cans" (headphones) and listen to my taps. Well, I'll be Jon Bonham, if it didn't sound like a solid, proper set of chrome-plated Ludwigs.

   Hans asked me to play along with the click track and see if I could keep up. It had been, after all, five years since my last drumming session, and if you were in Kingman on March 22, 2008, you know how THAT session turned out!

Fake drums and a flake drummer pound out the beat. . .

   Amazing what our muscle memory retains. I had lost some speed but when I got done (it's a long song at five verses and two lead breaks) Hans and Mike both gave their thumbs up and it looks like I may end up on the record.

   I know, I know, hardly anybody makes records anymore, but I'm hopelessly in the past and have no intention of changing my vernacular, even though I have to laugh as it relates to my grandmother. When she and my grandpa came out for my high school graduation in 1965, the Exits were playing at the Elks and she said, and I quote:

"Is your orchestra going to be playing tonight, Robert?"
—Grandma Minnie Bell

   Well, Grandmother, it's not really an orchestra, but I could see she was hopelessly in the past. So, that's what I sound like talking about "records" and "gigs," but then all I ever wanted was to sound like the second-best drummer of my generation:

"His drum solos sound like someone pouring a ten-pound bag of potatoes over a drum set."
—A critic describing Ginger Baker's style a la Cream