Can you name a popular and commercially successful player who isn't a highly talented player?

TheMattJones88

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Are you sure you can tell? I only ask because I had the experience of doing a TV special that also had the Ben Folds Five on. I got to see and hear their drummer, Darren Jessee quite up close throughout that day. And really enjoyed his playing as raw as it was. In other words, a player whose obvious limitations really help give the band a unique sound. Much like what you are describing.

Boy was I wrong. Sometime later I heard him play in a different setting - away from that band - and that rawness and those apparent limitation were no where to be heard. Which was good as they wouldn't have serve this other music at all. Then it struck me just how much that raw, unsophisticated edge that defined his playing with Folds was to a great degree just a role... a costume... donned for that music because that's what served it best.

Some players make it sound easy. Some make it sound hard. The latter works better for you than the former. Cool. But that doesn't speak at all to truth of their chops or headroom. Maybe some are that limited and holding on by a thread. But I doubt it is as many as you may imagine.

First off - anyone capable of doing something night after night, with the stakes high, with the cameras rolling - has headroom beyond what it takes to just make it though the music. And even more so for anyone capable of sounding real, powerful and "present" on a recording - as most of us just sound flat, dull and lifeless on tape.

Side note from the thread: Darren Jessee is a fantastic drummer, and a huge influence on my own playing. Was it the Sessions at West 54th show that you're talking about?
 

kzoosteve

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This may be a regurgitated statement, but talent is certainly a subjective term. I've seen fantastic Guitar Center Heroes who can wail away and play a fantastic solo to entertain you. However, this same drummer, I've seen be completely incompetent in keeping time on stage, can't play down to earth or for the song or fumbles over and over trying to record in studio. Bottom line, if you have the ability to get on stage, or in a studio, play with a band and add value to the song, then kudos as you are doing something most humans cannot. With that said, it really burns me when I see well known bands with any musician in the band getting knocked down for any perceived lack of talent. For one, playing music should be a supportive and positive brother and sisterhood and second, most (not all) people making these types of comments are the same Guitar Center Heroes who have never made the leap to create and play real music.

Steve
 

Mongrel

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This may be a regurgitated statement, but talent is certainly a subjective term. I've seen fantastic Guitar Center Heroes who can wail away and play a fantastic solo to entertain you. However, this same drummer, I've seen be completely incompetent in keeping time on stage, can't play down to earth or for the song or fumbles over and over trying to record in studio. Bottom line, if you have the ability to get on stage, or in a studio, play with a band and add value to the song, then kudos as you are doing something most humans cannot. With that said, it really burns me when I see well known bands with any musician in the band getting knocked down for any perceived lack of talent. For one, playing music should be a supportive and positive brother and sisterhood and second, most (not all) people making these types of comments are the same Guitar Center Heroes who have never made the leap to create and play real music.

Steve
Thanks-You just made my day, heck maybe even my month.

Especially the "brotherhood\sisterhood" aspect. Why is it so hard to recognize, better yet, CELEBRATE different-but EQUAL in value of the composition? Whether Bob Dylan or Mozart, there is value in the contribution to the Art....

In this old dogs opinion anyhow...lol.
 

Vistalite Black

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This may be a regurgitated statement, but talent is certainly a subjective term. I've seen fantastic Guitar Center Heroes who can wail away and play a fantastic solo to entertain you. However, this same drummer, I've seen be completely incompetent in keeping time on stage, can't play down to earth or for the song or fumbles over and over trying to record in studio. Bottom line, if you have the ability to get on stage, or in a studio, play with a band and add value to the song, then kudos as you are doing something most humans cannot. With that said, it really burns me when I see well known bands with any musician in the band getting knocked down for any perceived lack of talent. For one, playing music should be a supportive and positive brother and sisterhood and second, most (not all) people making these types of comments are the same Guitar Center Heroes who have never made the leap to create and play real music.

Steve
I liked how you called for positivity by invoking the supportive musician brotherhood, then immediately slammed mouthy "Guitar Center Heroes who have never made the leap to create and play real music!"

The best.
 

Pounder

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If you think about it, most well known drummers are good at one thing. And that can be fine. These are usually the band guys. Rarely, you’ll have someone that can cross over effectively in more than one style. I think being good at one thing can still be considered highly talented though...
Most of them are great at KEEPING TIME. This quality is probably the most important feature of a talented drummer. That's why I am gonna remove my Meg White comment.

Also, why do I always end up defending Charlie or Ringo? Both keep great time. Technical abilities are over-rated for a drummer, ever since Punk. We fail to see the magic simplicity in music and drumming.
 

dcrigger

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Side note from the thread: Darren Jessee is a fantastic drummer, and a huge influence on my own playing. Was it the Sessions at West 54th show that you're talking about?
The show was the Burt Bacharach "One Amazing Night" show - a TNT special for '98? '99? Something like that.

I'm not disagreeing about Darren at all. I was mainly pointing my error assuming that package that he presented as a player in this very high-profile gig summed all there was to his playing. And how common it is to make that assumption... to believe that what we hear someone play on a record or on a certain gig reveals everything there is to know about their abilities. Sure, it might. But it also might just have presented exactly what that player wanted to present in order to best serve that project - holding other capabilities in reserve for other projects.

I've done lots of big band type playing, tons of odd-meters and other assorted weirdness throughout my career. But there have many times where a string of work has come from a studio or producer only know my playing as a pop/rock drummer based initially on someone's recommendation of me as such and then later based on them being happy with each past project. They simply don't know my playing in those other ways - because I do my best not to put those things on their table.

Anyway - yeah Darren definitely had me fooled. His playing was just seemed so authentically what it was with Folds - I didn't even begin to imagine the extent of his range.
 

kzoosteve

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I liked how you called for positivity by invoking the supportive musician brotherhood, then immediately slammed mouthy "Guitar Center Heroes who have never made the leap to create and play real music!"

The best.
Precisely....It is a brotherhood as king with positivity as the crown...however, we all do not think this way and not calling out people who offend does not mean I am being a hypocrite.....Like a policeman arresting a criminal, sometimes the dirt need swept up, not under the rug...

and yes, the best
 

dsop

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gifted musicians.
I have a problem with that term. It downplays the amount of work that goes into being a great musician. It seems to be a term used by those who want to make excuses for their own less than stellar skills by attributing excellence to fate.
 

dcrigger

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I just can’t believe some think Peart has less than stellar chops .
If you listen to enough players in enough genres, that isn't a hard conclusion to draw.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with Peart's playing - I like the band and enjoy his playing. But stellar chops? For me, when anyone equates his name with "stellar chops", all it does is suggest to me a laundry list of players they haven't really listened to. Many of whom, Peart most obviously did. :)
 

dale w miller

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I have a problem with that term. It downplays the amount of work that goes into being a great musician. It seems to be a term used by those who want to make excuses for their own less than stellar skills by attributing excellence to fate.
Yes & no. Of course they practiced hard, but they were able to move through the steps quicker because of their natural gifts.

In my case, no matter how much I’ve practiced and how many different techniques I’ve used, I just cannot play fast. Yet, I know young kids who have been playing a handful of years and they can rip around the kit and they don’t understand why I can’t.

Take an athlete. Do you honestly think that any Hall of Fame athlete really worked 200 times harder than any other professional?
 

Pounder

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If you listen to enough players in enough genres, that isn't a hard conclusion to draw.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with Peart's playing - I like the band and enjoy his playing. But stellar chops? For me, when anyone equates his name with "stellar chops", all it does is suggest to me a laundry list of players they haven't really listened to. Many of whom, Peart most obviously did. :)
Neil Peart is an interesting topic all by himself ;)

I'll say this (because I haven't heard much Rush after 1985 or so):
Where Neil shines is within Rush, compositionally, and technically. He's the complete package for the straight-ahead, Prog Heavy Rock they play. His drum parts are composed, and although they rely on basic rock beats like all rock drummer's parts do, his fills and compositions within the songs are possibly THE VERY BEST DOUBLE BASS DRUMMING, when viewed from a compositional standpoint.

He has to be viewed as a classical style Rock drummer because he wrote the parts note-for-note.

However (and he had the chops to play what he wrote), the word chops has some other meanings than being able to execute a written custom drum part for the songs you were part of creating (not to mention lyrics, which were amazing.)

So if you want a little bit of background about why Neil bashers out there say what they do, just watch the Burning for Buddy DVD. Listen for swing, subtlety and nuance. Listen to all the contributors (and thanks again go to the outstanding professor of the drum kit, Neil Peart, who organized the whole thing).

It's a tad ironic that drummers can really be graded by how much groove they have, or how they play and give the song space (not playing). So many parameters, all these elements make up the "chops quotient." I like this part of drumming, because it means that I can play garage rock or jazz or prog and where I fit in has lots to do with who I am as a physical, mental, and emotional player.
 

Houndog

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If you listen to enough players in enough genres, that isn't a hard conclusion to draw.

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with Peart's playing - I like the band and enjoy his playing. But stellar chops? For me, when anyone equates his name with "stellar chops", all it does is suggest to me a laundry list of players they haven't really listened to. Many of whom, Peart most obviously did. :)
We certainly disagree on this , you suggest I haven’t listened to the right guys . His independence alone is astounding to me .
 

dale w miller

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Did you play at the Galaxy in Somerdale?
That’s funny. Are you from there? I’m not as old as them. I just know they dominated the SJ scene back in the day.

My “big brother” of sorts was Chris Branco, drummer for Dean Davidson’s Blackeyed Susan. I met him as a kid at Sunset Music when he worked there. As we got older we used to break each other’s balls about each other’s taste in music as it’s quite opposite in taste.

I did play Bonnie’s in the early 90’s a good amount.

What about you?
 


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