ITT: Awful Sounding Drums that Make the Song

lcondo123

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Title says it all. We always talk about the best sounding drums and how they mix with the song and create this incredible sonic fit.

Well, I want to hear the awful sounding drums that you think work for the song. Mixed horribly? Tuned awfully? Perfect!

I'll go first. I love My Morning Jacket with my whole being, but their first two studio albums had some really shoddy drumming as well as recording of the drums. BUT, I think the performing/mixing makes the songs work. It gives the albums/songs just a little bit more of that atmosphere the band must have been going for. I read somewhere once that their first two albums were the "embodiment of The Flaming Lips high off of The Band" and I think that's fairly accurate!

The bass drum in this song is horrendous sounding. It's how a bass drum should not sound. BUT. It works!

Anything else come to mind to anyone else?

 

lcondo123

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I don't think that bass drum sounds bad. It's more open/full like orchestral or marching band, which fits the openness of that song. It has a nice long note to fill the space. It reminds me of a jazz sound but lower pitch.
Interesting take! It comes across to me like the heads are just thrown on that bass drum, tensioned blindly, and not muffled appropriately. Sounds quite like a basketball to me! I do agree though that the openness totally fills the space that's there in those sections of the song. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!
 

Seb77

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The bass drum in this song is horrendous sounding. It's how a bass drum should not sound. BUT. It works!
Agree with the response above. It's not bad if it works for the song. There's nothing in music that "shouldn't sound" some way or the other. Drum reminds me of Peter Erskine around 1985, which probably was an 18" Yamaha RC with coated Ambassador batter. This sounds a bit larger.

Maybe the question should be rephrase along the lines of "Intersting" or "atypical" drum sounds.
Pop/rock with an open bass drum sounds? Keith Carlock comes to mind. Jazz wioth a muffled sound? Steve Gadd etc etc
 

scaramanga

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I actually love the sound of that drum. How open it is but still leaves room for the bass? Awesome. Sure you're gonna get a lotta pushback on any opinion about drum sound, but I like this topic.

Scorn me:

Mitch Mitchell's drums always sound pretty bad to me on the Hendrix records.
The Pixies, or any late 80s early 90s band who got recorded by an engineer who was still psyched about his gated reverb.
The recorded presentation of the drums on many classic jazz recordings is terrible.
On 75% of all Radiohead records the drums sound super boxy and bedroomy and those records sound incredible!
The big four: Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer.
Wilco oh Jesus Wilco.
 

CaptainCrunch

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A LOT of metal, especially the louder/faster it gets, has some pretty terrible drum sounds. It totally makes sense, since at those speeds any kind of sustain from the snare or bass wouldn’t get out of the way of the next hit. And a crappy lo-fi sound is part of it. Same for a lot of punk.

I will say the snare on “St. Anger” makes me cringe, but it’s not like they didn’t have the resources or know-how to make it NOT sound like that, so it was an artistic decision they were happy with.

I dig a lot of stuff where “bad, but works” is infinitely preferable to “incredible, but oh please no” i.e. “Bocelli/Vai/Satriani/Portnoy/Wooten Sing The Songs Of The Ramones FOR YOU!” would be what they played at the Applebee’s in Hell.
 

JDA

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1st 3 Black Sabbath Albums (Bill Ward) .. Kind of fit the mood. they weren't "bad"; they were :rat rod"..and now are classic. no one's duplicated him or it since
 

shuffle

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I actually love the sound of that drum. How open it is but still leaves room for the bass? Awesome. Sure you're gonna get a lotta pushback on any opinion about drum sound, but I like this topic.

Scorn me:

Mitch Mitchell's drums always sound pretty bad to me on the Hendrix records.
The Pixies, or any late 80s early 90s band who got recorded by an engineer who was still psyched about his gated reverb.
The recorded presentation of the drums on many classic jazz recordings is terrible.
On 75% of all Radiohead records the drums sound super boxy and bedroomy and those records sound incredible!
The big four: Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer.
Wilco oh Jesus Wilco.
I agree about Mitch's kits.
Thin snare,no punch to the bass.
But,could he play!
 

Topsy Turvy

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The toms in this song are undoubtedly the worst I have ever heard on a professional recording.

 

BennyK

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Is there actually a snare backbeat on this ... maybe unison with a tom or tambourine . Works with the fuzzed out everything else .

 

lcondo123

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Agree with the response above. It's not bad if it works for the song. There's nothing in music that "shouldn't sound" some way or the other. Drum reminds me of Peter Erskine around 1985, which probably was an 18" Yamaha RC with coated Ambassador batter. This sounds a bit larger.

Maybe the question should be rephrase along the lines of "Intersting" or "atypical" drum sounds.
Pop/rock with an open bass drum sounds? Keith Carlock comes to mind. Jazz wioth a muffled sound? Steve Gadd etc etc
That's certainly more along the lines of what I was thinking with this subject. It's not "bad" if it works for the song. More like strange, unusual, atypical - definitely what you're going for.

But then again, if you think a specific drum sounds bad, I also want to hear your opinion! Like this:
Yes ! Roundabout snare drum
You're kidding me! I love the snare sound on that track. It's so crisp and clear. Definitely not "bad" in my book, but yours? That's fascinating.

Keep 'em coming!
 

lcondo123

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The toms in this song are undoubtedly the worst I have ever heard on a professional recording.

This I can get behind! Those toms need some WORK.

I think it kinda has the Lust For Life bass drum sound going for it. Probably an old drum with lowish tension one-ply heads.
Lust For Life is another great example! That bass drum sounds like a 22" drum with two single-ply heads tuned wide open - an unusual style for rock, but Iggy's song is instantly recognizable because of it.
 

Iristone

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If "bad" means "short sustain", what about some Abbey Road? JK.
Some early Who, Cream, etc., etc. have incredibly narrow-banded and distorted drum sounds. Listen to Substitute, My Generation etc. and frankly the drums sound like a mush. Incredible how Keith managed to tune and play through THAT.
 

JDA

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Alice Coopers original drummer Neal Smith and Steppenwolf's drummer were never recorded/as well/ as they may have sounded 'in the room...
Still the material/ overall was so strong it was something you just accepted /overlooked/
 

studrum

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Great topic that can really make you think, which may be quite helpful to those of us who record, as we set about to begin work on that next million seller, er, million YouTube view-er.

I'll throw these in: the Excello Slim Harpo/Lazy Lester records. It's kind of like BennyK's observation above of "Spirit in the Sky" - is it a maraca, a tom, a snare, all at once, or...? I wouldn't change a thing.
Then there's the foundational Jimmy Reed Vee Jay records: mush-city, calf heads probably a little thick and de-tuned, but it's perfect. Of course the playing is, too.
Compare the above to their contemporaries over at Chess, where the drums sound clean, bright, and snappy, kind of a gold standard for blues records. But I wouldn't want that sound on the Excello or Vee Jay records.
 

Seb77

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Not really awful examples, but it's also insightful to listen to drums-only tracks of famous songs, to hear how the drums really sound on their own, different from the impression in the final mix. Less muffling, lower/higher tuning, added reverb where we didn't expect it. What we think are proper drum sounds is often a very narrow idea.
Or they actually sound strange in the final mix as well, yet they work for the song - imo mostly because of the way the drummer played them.

That snare isn't actually high-tuned:
Two different snare sounds/overdub?

flams, sounds somehow colliding:

The cymbals used for mallets swels sound pretty mediocre to me:

Many people would have used more eq or muffling here:
 

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