Publication: Modern Drummer
Date: April, 1998
page: 30 title: Ask A Pro author: Danny Carrey Q:I've been a huge fan of yours since I got Tool's nima. Your drumming is incredible! What did you practice to get your feet so strong and smooth? Are ther any exercises you can recommend? Who are your favorite bands and/or drummers, past and present? And how do you go about creating some of your amazing polyrhythims? Spencer Vliet Northampton, PA Q:I took great intrest in what you said in your [Modern Drummer] cover story about the mechanics of your setup. Many people have told me the "right" way to arrange my instrument, but I still feel that I'm not using it's/my full potential (in terms of fluidity, volume, and energy). Could you please explain how you came to utilize your set properly for yourself? Robert Bane Tustin, CA Q:I understand that you have a background in marching percussion, along with some "traditional" percussion training. How has that background helped you in your current playing? Derek Lee via Internet A:First of all, thanks to everybody for their support and complimentary words! Now to the answers. Spencer: I seem to get the best results on double bass by treating by feet the same as my hands. I do dexterity exercises, like playing the twenty-six rudiments, working on simple snare drum solos, and breaking up sticking patterns (like single and double paradiddles) between my feet and hands. My favorite bands include Yes, Skinny Puppy, Led Zepplin, King Crimson, Weather Report, Jethro Tull, Frank Zappa, Kraftwerk, XTC, the Police, Orbital, Laibach, and Yellow Magic Orchestra. My favorite drummers include Paco SÈry, Steve Jensen, Terry Bozzio, Barriemore Barlow, Alan White (of Yes), cEVIN Key, Bill Bruford, Zakir Hussain, Lenny White, Martin Atkins, Fish (of Fishbone), Aloke Dutta, Elvin Jones, Kirk Covington, Vinnie Colaiuta, Sim Cain, and Tony Williams. There are lots of good books on polyrhythms available. If reading gets you down, listen to West African music and interpret the different parts with your different limbs. That should be enough to keep you busy for a while. Robert: Every so often I tear my kit down to nothing and start from scratch. When I set it up, I do so in order of instrument importance (to me and the music I'm playing). For example, in rock I start with the throne, then the kick, the snare, the hi-hat, etc. --one peice at a time, making sure I'm comfortable with each instruments position along the way. Take your time and do what really feels good to you, even if it's very unortodox. If your setup is unique mabye you'll play something unique. Derek: My marching experience was limited to school band where I played snare and tri-toms for eight years. It wasn't really an official drum corps, but the rudimental training did help my hand developmant a lot. Later, I attended th University of Missouri at Kansas City conservatory of music, where I studied classical and contemporary percussion, along with some jazz. My traditional training on timpani, mallets, and even in classical composition and arranging has come in handy more than one might think in the rock 'n' roll world. I highly recommend it.
Posted to t.d.n: 04/29/98 02:55:03