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Bonzo's Montreux

Bonzoholic

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I found this excerpt from John Bonham - A Thunder Of Drums

The basis is a pretty straight forward kit groove, solid and devoid of flashy fills. You could be forgiven for thinking Bonzo is playing double bass drums, because his single bass drum is so powerful and insistent, filling all the gaps between the snare beats. The piece builds as timpani, timbales and other percussive instruments are gradually added to the mêlée. It’s very steady and Bonzo’s timing is noticeably great. The many overdubs lock together tightly - there was no quantising or digital cheating in those days - and again demonstrate Bonzo’s control. (excerpt: John Bonham A Thunder Of Drums)
 

KevinD

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Sounds like a single bass drum to me, of course he always had great control. BD sounds like it is tuned on the wet side, some reverb, big sound, maybe some delay like Levee. Interesting little ditty.
 

JDA

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remember bringing that album home taking off the plastic wrap and listening to Montreux.
closed my book on Bonham that day. nothing in it for me.
 

bharrington

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Love George. He's an amazing player and super knowledgable. We've talked about this at length, he makes some pretty convincing arguments. Though, there's no definitive evidence - no studio photos or any different takes, the only thing, as far as I know, being the released "working mix" for the deluxe edition of Coda. Two bass drums to me, seems suspect only because Bonzo never did this with Zeppelin... (aside from a very short stint with his thermogloss kit mid-1969), but I still think it was possible.
 

KevinD

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Yes he is a great player, gives great explanations too, I would imagine he is a very good teacher (if he teaches).
I get a kick out of the videos where Terry/Bonzoleum comes over, particularly the Bonham snare tuning one made me chuckle.
Two very different energies that work well together, they should do more videos.
 

Treviso1

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It's not that hard to do with a Speed King from my experience. You can get that thing moving.
Exactly right! What I used to be able to do with one bass drum, using a Speed King, I have never been able to do with any other pedal since. This is Bonzo playing on one bass drum. Besides, that 16th note pattern at that tempo is nearly impossible to play smoothly on two bass drums! You try it! Bonzo is riding 16th notes, heel up, at the top of the footboard.
 

langmick

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Exactly right! What I used to be able to do with one bass drum, using a Speed King, I have never been able to do with any other pedal since. This is Bonzo playing on one bass drum. Besides, that 16th note pattern at that tempo is nearly impossible to play smoothly on two bass drums! You try it! Bonzo is riding 16th notes, heel up, at the top of the footboard.

You can hear a pulse going while he's hitting accents, plus the hats have the left foot on them, and that squeak. :)

Sounds like some double tracking too.

 

Hop

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Here's an earlier mix of the tune... with some HH barks towards the back end of the tune...

 

bigbonzo

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I found this on the following website: http://www.rockapedia.com/biography/john-bonham/equipment

Bass Drum Pedal
Double bass drums were used on the recording of the drum solo "Bonzo's Montreux". It is a unique approach to incorporating a second bass drum. Bonham added a second bass drum and simply played it with his left foot the way he would normally be pedaling 1/8th notes on his hi-hat. In sections, this creates 2 unique bass drum parts that syncopate and sometimes overlap causing both kick drums to be hit at the same time.
 

Hop

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I wonder what the source is for the above information?

When I listen to the tune I really hear the one bass drum thing going on. I have a 26" double bass kit and have always approached this rhythm with a single bass attack, as it sounds most correct to my ear. Double bass 16th's just don't sound the same as single bass 16's (like single and double handed 16th's on the HH sound different from each other). I have played left foot HH/left bass drum while the right is playing mostly syncopated rhythms and I don't really get that Montreux vibe... it's something different. I'll have to try to a little more focused and see if I can replicate the vibe in that fashion (or drop the HH clutch and give it a go).
 

BBeyer

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I just watched “Drum history podcast” with Fludas and Bonzoleum which was great. They talk about Bonzos gear and later on in the video discuss this song and George talks about why he thinks it’s two bass drums.
And that’s why I’m here! Haha.

Anyway, it’s an interesting argument.. but on the “working mix” version of it, like mentioned above, he does some hi hat opening licks that would not be possible unless of course the hats were double tracked
 


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