For the Gigging Drummers here--anybody solo on a regular basis?

singleordoubleheads

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I have to admit I'm not the biggest fan of drum solos, but I don't really mind them either. Some nights I feel really good at a gig & kinda feel like taking a solo at some point in the night, but never want to suggest it or push the issue. I realized it's actually been since 2001 that I was in a band that actually gave me (and all the members) a true "solo" on an almost regular basis (no, I don't count a request for Wipeout as a solo). Iirc, I really seemed to enjoy my solos, since we, as drummers, rarely get that much freedom during the rest of the night. As long as it didn't go on too long, it always seemed to be very well-received.

I've had some "snippets" here and there, some 4-bar breaks and so on, but kind of miss my shot at a full-blown solo sometimes. Is it too much to ask to have 2 or 3 minutes to express myself out of a 4-hour long gig? Not a big deal/deal breaker, but some nights my kit just sounds so good to me, and I'd love to be able to really "run it around the track" without having to compete for sonic space with bass/guitar/keys/vocals/etc.

Am I wrong on this? Please advise....
 

DanRH

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Nope. Only solo I do is the end of Rock &Roll and in Black Magic Woman/Gypsy Queen
 

A J

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Soloing is not my thing.

I learned to play drums by playing along with records. When the music is blasting, I can play drums to just about anything. Turn off the music and I'm lost.
 

cymtrich

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i like the jazz approach as in trading fours. seems more relevant to the music. bill
 
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RickP

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I have a few solos with the Big Band on tunes like :
Neil Hefti's " Cute"
St. Louis Blues
Sing Sing Sing

I personally dislike drum solos both to hear and play, but the arrangement calls for it and it is an integral part of some of these songs.
I try to keep my solo musical and interesting for an audience rather than a simple chops fest.
 

singleordoubleheads

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Nothing wrong with trading 4s or 8s, for that matter, but I'm talking more about a free-form idea, and I don't mean it has to be a West Side Story-like thing, just a solo without the guidelines of trading with anyone, or keeping track of how many measures it is. For example, we do several tunes that could lend themselves to a nice, fairly compact solo, then I could just cue/count the band back in.

I had forgotten, but in 2011, for just a few gigs (long story), my then-band was doing the live version of Long Train Runnin' from the Doobies Farewell Tour album. Killer version, and it has a dynamite drum/percussion breakdown near the end. Now THAT was what I was talking about!
 

What It Is

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Solos are cool when you're playing the tune, the changes, etc. Don't solo to show your chops or just play triplets around the toms. Play the song! When any musician solos just to show off chops (I'm looking at you guitar players!), it ruins a cool, artistic moment. Any chance to show your voice and ideas should be taken.
 

singleordoubleheads

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What It Is said:
Solos are cool when you're playing the tune, the changes, etc. Don't solo to show your chops or just play triplets around the toms. Play the song! When any musician solos just to show off chops (I'm looking at you guitar players!), it ruins a cool, artistic moment. Any chance to show your voice and ideas should be taken.
Good points. I agree. Some nights I really feel like going for it, while other times not so much. Depends on the venue/crowd/how I'm feeling that night.
 

photobeat

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It's all ego, just fight it. Lucky if anyone might even appreciate it. I can't stand solos unless in Jazz and it is musical following the tune. Just about every lick and mathmatical combination of four limbs and various toms and cymbals have been done. I have not heard anything new in years. I hate solos. Trading fours watching and playing is great but some long chops solo ego fest no into it. I do have one exception and that is Buddy, It is hard not to want to watch him with a great audio track where you hear his kick and insane combinations and speed.
 

troutstudio

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I play a solo every gig. Usually at the end of one or two of the same tunes "Late In The Evening" or "Yellow Moon"; or a similar tempo song. For Late In The Evening, I play feel and then swap fours with the singer on congas. We make it a joke thing. I play a lick then he copies me. At the end, I play something supposedly too complicated for him and he "gives up" and hams it a bit for the crowd. We have worked on this and the regulars really like it. It's short and sweet. I can't play anything too tricky with 4 sticks, so I go for the triplets with bass drum or something like that to finish. I practice this, to make sure I pull it off. I'm not a naturally wonderful soloist at this stage, but I've always been up for a solo. I was given a few tips when I was much younger by a brilliant drummer and they really helped. I prefer solos in tempo, with a vamp or percussion. Sometimes if I feel like it, I might start a song on my own and play around the groove. I do this to challenge myself. For any instrument, solos are challenging. I don't want to not be able to play one if it's required. It's probably for me a moment of pressure on stage and I admit that I like that. $00.02
 

florian1

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Ive never played a solo, never will. Just dont enjoy it and I dont think it adds to what we do as a band.

F
 

Ringofanatic1940

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I kinda have a solo? Every gig we play an original song that features a short drum solo. It has 16 2-beat drum solos. If you want to consider it a solo, ok. But most of the time, it is just neat little fills every measure.
 

tommykat1

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I get bored with drum solos. Anybody's. That said, if you're good enough and have something to express, go for it. Personally, I like extended breaks within the context of a song that includes your band mates rather than a drum solo where everyone else goes out for coffee.
 

JDA

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I think there's some conflating going on of the drum solo, with the Spinal Tap type and the jazz greats type that take choruses ----solo choruses.

In fact any genre where the solo is taken on the form of the tune -be it Jethro Tull or Santana- can be moving. I think. That's the way to solo.
The Spinal Tap way...is..well you know.
 

troutstudio

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tommykat1 said:
I get bored with drum solos. Anybody's. That said, if you're good enough and have something to express, go for it. Personally, I like extended breaks within the context of a song that includes your band mates rather than a drum solo where everyone else goes out for coffee.
I agree. We trade sets of four each at the end of one song. I think the same thing about drum solos as I do about any solo. It should have a start and a beginning and an end. I am always saying to the band at rehearsals "is it musical enough for us and entertaining enough for them?"
 

dcrigger

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I think it's a trap to be concerned with which approaches to soloing are the best - or which are good and which are bad. When - as we look (and listen) to the history of the drum set, soloing arises in lots of different forms, serving lots of different functions. In many ways, no different than it does for any other instrument... even including the ways instruments are featured in a classical orchestral setting.

From most concise to most elaborate, would, I believe, go something like this...

The fill

The solo break - one bars, two bars, four bars

Trading - 4's, 8's 16's

Soloing over an ostinato (or extended vamp) accompaniment

Soloing over an extended form - with or without accompaniment

The Cadenza - the free, extended solo... that is almost exactly like the solo feature towards the end of every classical concerto.

Personally I'm not a big fan of the term - "playing drums to serve the song". I much prefer the idea that I'm playing drums to serve the "arrangement". With the arrangement being the blueprint for how a certain band, artist or performer is choosing to play the song in question. Any song, every song is able to played with many different arrangements. I've always imagined every gig to be to best serve the music as it's being chosen to be performed.

And the fact is - every part of every arrangement is rarely there to simply serve the song - many parts of common arrangements are there to showcase the artist's best attributes, to provide verity in the performance or to simply just be entertaining.

Which is just a roundabout of saying that there are many settings where arrangements that utilize any or all of those drum soloing devices is commonplace, completely expected and serve the overall performance greatly.

So to sort of answer the original question... Yes, but it greatly varies. Of course, on many, many jobs, the arrangements and the purpose of the gig or set of music has zero place for anything other than fills and the occasional one or two bar break. And yet - all of those forms have come up for me - on jobs - where most of the time (99% of the time), I was never asked beforehand if I was able or interested in performing such features. It was just a given - understood - a presumed part of the toolbelt that you're expected to possess.

And I'm not just talking jazz gigs here - where certainly the ability - and desire - to solo is absolutely presumed. But showbiz gigs, wedding bands, all sorts of stuff... be it the 8 bar "in time" solo break in the middle of some singer's arrangement - being able to provide 2's or 4's as part of some dance routine - or the "Give the drum some" time/groove solo - or that point at you right before the last big chord that's expects you to whipped out some wild, flashy cadenza before that last big chord.

Sure sometimes - soloing is all about personal expression, etc. But coming up for me - and later oftentimes being able to survive as a player - meant taking any and every job - and being able to provide these soloing functions on demand was simply and absolutely part of the job requirements. It's not about ego, or again, personal expression - they are often just musical, showbiz, arrangement devices that clients that hire drummers expect to be able to utilize - if they so desire.
 

rondrums51

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Not extended solos, but 4's, 8's and entire choruses all night long, almost every tune except ballads.

It taxes my imagination, but it's a good thing. Keeps me on my toes.

My bass player gets tired of soloing, so sometimes he'll give me a chorus instead.
 

mcjaco

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I'm with Tommy. Drum solos bore me to tears. Anyone's. I don't solo, and I don't care to hear solos. Let your chops come through in your playing during the gig.
 


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