Why Do Folk Music Drummers Have Such Great Reputations?

foxy_shazamtastic

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You just said that you think what they do is more subtle and "inside" and didn't provide any actual examples measurements or reason to it. Those are just mostly vague terms with loose interpretations of what that means that are relative to the person listening. I think there are vast subtleties to many rock and metal performances, and I thin k there are many folk/classic rock/jazz performances that aren't so much subtle as they are just hamming it up.

You can view "better" as getting recognized or any positive way you want to rank it, It's just a general term.

Your tastes are perfectly fine and there is 0 thinks wrong with what you like to listen to. I can't speak for VB but personally I want a more thought out answer with comparisons and reasoning, and that's hard to do for something as subjective as music.

This isn't about just rock/metal. There's a wealth of gospel, hip hop, RnB, reggae, dance, and electronic music drummers that are just dripping with incredible ability that see no sunlight despite being part of decently well known groups. It's easier to speak from rock/metal for me because I listen to that genre more, but this isn't a one genre issue.



Again, there is no actual answer to the question here. You're just using a career as a reasoning as to why these guys are good. You're not explaining anything, you just threw out some broad information about their careers and said "Interpret their art the way I do".

I understand the financial commitment of records across generations. so your statement doesn't really apply and doesn't answer the question.



Not knowing what to say is a main issue here. I personally have asked for a specified type of answer, and it's not being addressed. Instead you seem to be going off about physicality and the amount of notes used, two things that haven't been brought up. This seems more to be a misunderstanding about the question which is what I wanted to avoid myself. If your answer is a simple "They had/have abundant careers" that's fine, but it's not really satisfactory as an answer because it doesn't address the difference between these "demigod" drummers and the others as far as actual ability or even taste. It's reminiscent of when people ask for specific parameters on a snare recommendation only to have them ignored and have half the people say "Supra" or "Acrolite" when they didn't want one of those to begin with.

And I'm in the same boat with the brain break part. This makes it go in wayyyyy different directions and gets me fired up, helps me perform better and feel refreshed. Ultimately I don't think i'll get my answer but the conversation is enjoyable. Plus there are things being said that aren't answering me but are good perspectives to read.
I think the specific answer has been said, it’s that the “demigod” drummers are really good at making music. I find making music of any kind really difficult. I can get close in almost any situation, but I can’t really sell it and fit between the cracks like these guys do. They know exactly what to play at exactly the right moment and they play it without any self-doubt at all. Listening and playing true to the music is just as difficult wether the right groove is double-bass polyrhythms or a simple 4ondafloor.
 

wflkurt

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There was a VHS that came out years ago which was the making of Ten Sumner's Tales. I already loved what Vinnie did but this video was so awesome seeing the band run these songs and record them. The whole band was amazing but Vinnie sounded incredible and he played just what those songs needed. There is no question ever in my mind why people hire him.
 

mesazoo

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What's Vinnie Colaiuta doing here? I mean aside playing from Stewart Copeland's part, more or less faithfully, and perhaps overemphasizing the snare hits (at about 3:15), seemingly out of boredom.

Look at other performances, here is a sample.
 

cplueard

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What do you want to know. Type a specific question. Several people have answered the obvious question of "why these guys work and have their entire career". But that doesn't seem to answer what you need.

So perhaps I'm not understanding. Type away and I'll do my best.
It's a weird question and answer to communicate.

Here's an easy comparison more along the lines of what I'm getting at. I don't like Dave Lombardo as much as others seem to. I think his feel is iffy, and he's generally a little rushed and not as musically fulfilling in his fill work. Here's a good (and easy) comparison of him to Eric Moore
- Lombardo
- Moore

I don't even like Suicidal Tendencies but I feel like Eric Moore is everything Lombardo is and so much more. Going into even more detail I could talk about why I think it's more musical and what's going on. This is something that can be viewed objectively and experienced.

Another example would be Colaiuta to Freese with Sting. I wish I had the time to pull up videos for comparison but while I respect Colaiuta I think Freese just objectively feels and interprets the songs in a more pleasing way to my ear.

That's at least why i feel there can be something gained in this conversation. I generally stay away from topics that are more grating to people because I don't care that much 99% of this time. I want god reasons and comparisons for things like why Porcaro's shuffle is considered the bar When Brad Wilk can nail that feel incredibly well himself. Or why Bill Ward is spoken so highly of when Tommy Clufetos is everything he ever was and more in my book. This is an easy open book discussion on talking about things and perspectives that can influence any of us as artists that's having trouble getting off the ground because of different people saying that (in my case) I don't get something instead of actually showing what I supposedly don't get. If you have the time and effort, I'd love to hear reasoning and examples of why these people are better based on their playing, that's the type of answer I want from people. If the time and effort isn't there then that's totally fine and there's no ill will, I don't expect people to feel they need to take time out to do that. It's just not a good answer to a question that's hard to phrase.
 

cplueard

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Maybe "subtle" isn't the right term. But for singer songwriters like Ray Lamontagne maybe that IS an appropriate term. Explain to me, or to us, a subtle nuance that we might be missing in metal ?

Moving on.. You used " better". That's not a general term It has a specific definition to most people.

You talk about drummers that don't get "sunlight". Where don't they get sunlight ? Here ? Magazines ? Is that important ? Certainly in their genre they must.

Anyway, be well

Be well, I'm out
You as well.
 

cplueard

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Look at other performances, here is a sample.
Yeah! This is more along the lines of answering my question. It doesn't flesh out details, but we can answer ideas and view performances of artists for comparison. I don't have time to listen through these at work right now but I'll go through them both when home.
 

cplueard

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I think the specific answer has been said, it’s that the “demigod” drummers are really good at making music. I find making music of any kind really difficult. I can get close in almost any situation, but I can’t really sell it and fit between the cracks like these guys do. They know exactly what to play at exactly the right moment and they play it without any self-doubt at all. Listening and playing true to the music is just as difficult wether the right groove is double-bass polyrhythms or a simple 4ondafloor.
Totally agree, but this doesn't explain or give any contrast between the ideas. The idea is looking at why one artist might be heralded and another is not then drawing comparisons from a performance aspect. It's an easy and fun way to objectively talk about the merits and styles of different drummers and learn from these ideas.
 

cplueard

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Maybe that's because he seems to have zero credits outside the metal genre. I went AllMusic.com and plugged in his name - his credit list complete explained why he isn't known out side the world of metal.

Which means it has little to do with the age of this board - beyond the fact that metal skews young demographically. Though not entirely - which where these big sweeping presumptions run afoul.



But is anyone ever saying that - "Keltner is better than Barker". I don't see such statements being met with any more support than the claims your trying to make - in this case, pitching that a relative unknown player like Gene Hoglan should be held to the same level of popular recognition of as Steve Gadd or Jim Keltner.

I'm not saying this is about popularity - but it is about consensus.

And consensus comes from effecting a lot of players - usually more players than exist in any one genre.

Steve Gadd captured the fusion players attention when he appeared in Chick Corea's sequel to RTF on the "Leprechaun" album, then mainstream pop ears, appearing on Paul Simon's reinvention "Still Crazy After All These Years" (including appearing in the mainstream motion picture featuring that whole band "One Trick Pony"), then demanding their attention further with the unprecedented giant, "give the drummer some" sections in the title track of Steely Dan's Aja (a place where over-the-top drum solos simply didn't exist), then grabbing the ears of all the mainstream jazz players with Chick Corea's Friends album - all of this in the space of 1975-1978 - while also playing on 165 (!!!!!) other albums - across all of those genres.

So why has your guy not reach that status - because he hasn't earn it.

How do I no - because if he had, he'd be there.

I get you recognize his "incredible musicality and flawless feel" - I have clients that say that about me. And you're right - and sure, in some ways, my clients are right.

But tastes vary - and some tastes are very discerning. And the individually VB has singled out here (in such an inane manner) have repeated, consistantly satisfied some of the most discerning and varied tastes throughout the art of music.

Again using my self as an example - I have had clients that are also the clients of all three of these players - particularly Vinnie and Keltner. I've played on albums that Vinnie has also played on. Granted I played on more "album tracks" - tracks deemed less important - or in one case, where it was a tune I had recorded before and knew how to play it exactly as the artist wanted it played.

But when it comes to taking new music and turning it into a great sounding record - sure I can do that, but I have zero problem admitting that Vinnie, Keltner, Gadd, J.R., Harvey, Hal (back in the day), etc. were/are lightyears better at it... period. No question. I've had the privilege to witness many of them do it up close -in the studio.

In every case, profound experiences. Their playing skills, the deep, deep, deep feel to their time, their remarkable musical intuitions, skill s at making think sound good on "tape", and their unbelievable people skills...

In every case, an amazing thing to witness the living embodiment of one's goals sitting right there before you demonstrating in real life exactly how it is done.

So I'm sorry you feel somehow discriminated against - that your tastes and assessments don't line up with the world of drumming at large. I get it. As a huge fan of odd meter music at an early age, I railed for years against a world that didn't share my feeling that about half of all music should be in 7 - simply because I believed it make everything a lot more satisfying. But alas it wasn't so.

There is simply no getting around that metal is a fringe genre - but it is a HUGE fringe genre (much larger the team I had behind my 7/8 idea).

Speaking as a jazz-fusion player at heart - Thomas Haake caught a loy of our ears with is mind boggling odd-grouping Hertas in the BD's over 4/4 track a few years ago. Drew much attention and respect for me... But then there's the fact that metal will never truly when me over because (like most Prog Rock) there is zero improvisation. Which is fine - but that still puts it in par with classical music - both genres capable of great progressive compositional feats.

But that only works for me so long - the jazz man in my heart also eventually asks "OK, so now you can play that incredibly complex structure of a composition...so now what can you do with it??" And sadly from metal comes the answer "Well, play it over and over"

But my inner jazz man is enamored with a history of players that take equally complex - rhythmically and harmonically - compositions and dig into the many possible variations they suggest, unearthing all of the many possible ways of making said composition yet even more interesting - and they do it in real time.

So in hearing metal's answer to my jazzman's question - while appreciating metal just like he appreciates tons of other non-jazz-influenced genres, his response is invariably.... boring.

And my only reason for bringing this up is to say - it is OK to be in the minority - to be on the fringe of the herd. I've lived my entire live there - but if I had been pissed about, thought it was somehow unfair - I would've never been able to work with the wide variety of artists and musicians I have so enjoyed playing with.

To the question, what music do you like best? Just because the majority doesn't agree with you - doesn't mean they are saying you're wrong. They just don't agree with you.
Huge amount to unpack here, so I'll try to take it in sections.

Metal skews young and generally more towards Europe and this is an older and mostly US based board unless I'm mistaken. Which is going to affect perception and how information is handled. That's the only reason this topic is moving like it is on this board.

"Better" was not the right term to use there I'm realizing. "Held to higher esteem" maybe? Tough to get the implication i'm looking for across.

I understand the concept of consensus, and I know Hoglan is exclusively a metal drummer as far as recording goes. I'm looking for reasoning beyond who they played with and more specifically, comparison of lesser knowns to greater knowns that can actually be used to learn from and better myself as an artist. I disagree with a fair amount of your assertions about metal but that's neither the point or direction of this discussion.

I don't feel discriminated against in the slightest. I understand how markets and exposure work. I play with multiple tribute bands and have recorded with different artists; folk and pop far more than metal. I understand why there seems to be this knee jerk reaction that I don't understand why these artists are popular as drummers. What I'm asking for is a proper explanation to "why?" beyond their career status and popularity and that's the whole problem. The answer I keep getting isn't an in depth observation, they're just general statements and some pretty bold assumptions that I don't understand these artists or their influence. Give me examples, comparisons, breakdowns, things to learn from. Outside of Mesazoo posing that Colaiuta video the reasons given can be summed up as "Well they're really good and they played with a lot of popular artists" and "You just don't get it".

A better way to sum up what I'm asking here:
In every case, profound experiences. Their playing skills, the deep, deep, deep feel to their time, their remarkable musical intuitions, skill s at making think sound good on "tape", and their unbelievable people skills...
Don't tell me, convince me. Give me a reason to believe you. Otherwise everyone's argument so far is "Well they're really good and you'll just have to listen to it and trust that it's really good" With the info provided by people so far I have no reason to believe that Gadd's work with Paul Simon is any better or worse than The Shaggs
 

cplueard

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Do you even know who Vinnie and Gadd are? Seriously, that's all I have to add to this.
I can't tell if this is insulting dismissive or comedy. Either way it brightened my day.

I decided to have more fun with this. I did a search for "Gadd" going back to when I joined the forum. Now, i'm a mild to low activity member. But since my joining in 2015 there's over 70 pages of results (with multiple posts each page) mentioning Gadd. I think, even without knowing who he was beforehand, you could assume pretty safely that I might have come across his name and looked it up at some point. And if the question ios actually directed at VB, he's been a member longer than me so it's a pretty safe assumption.
 
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A.TomicMorganic

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As far as physically demanding goes, a lot of the time the energy produced by the time feel coming out of the drums is much more important than the energy going into the drums. Beat placement rules, as far as I'm concerned.
 

polycrescendo

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As a huge Haake and Coliauta fan I can say that there is zero chance of getting across how good Haake is to someone who can't stomach the screaming for more than 2 minutes. It takes multiple albums to understand why Meshuggah and Tomas Haake are so amazing at what they do. I find this very unfortunate but it is reality.

Conversely, as a huge metal fan, it has taken me years and years to finally admit to myself that Vinnie is one of the most amazing and musical drummers on the planet. He is a sight reading monster and can improvise better than anyone in my opinion. Would I hire Haake for a Jazz fusion improv gig? No. Would I hire Coliauta to fill in for Meshuggah? Nah, but I'd bet they would both do better than some of us may think.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that some drummers simply won't get recognition by a large percentage of people simply because they aren't willing or interested in listening to a long list of albums that don't excite or inspire them. On that note, I'll never understand why Travis Barker has been listed with the drummers above, but I understand that I haven't listened to his whole catalog, and I'm not willing to. :icon_e_biggrin:
 

Paradiddle

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Huge amount to unpack here, so I'll try to take it in sections.

Metal skews young and generally more towards Europe and this is an older and mostly US based board unless I'm mistaken. Which is going to affect perception and how information is handled. That's the only reason this topic is moving like it is on this board.

"Better" was not the right term to use there I'm realizing. "Held to higher esteem" maybe? Tough to get the implication i'm looking for across.

I understand the concept of consensus, and I know Hoglan is exclusively a metal drummer as far as recording goes. I'm looking for reasoning beyond who they played with and more specifically, comparison of lesser knowns to greater knowns that can actually be used to learn from and better myself as an artist. I disagree with a fair amount of your assertions about metal but that's neither the point or direction of this discussion.

I don't feel discriminated against in the slightest. I understand how markets and exposure work. I play with multiple tribute bands and have recorded with different artists; folk and pop far more than metal. I understand why there seems to be this knee jerk reaction that I don't understand why these artists are popular as drummers. What I'm asking for is a proper explanation to "why?" beyond their career status and popularity and that's the whole problem. The answer I keep getting isn't an in depth observation, they're just general statements and some pretty bold assumptions that I don't understand these artists or their influence. Give me examples, comparisons, breakdowns, things to learn from. Outside of Mesazoo posing that Colaiuta video the reasons given can be summed up as "Well they're really good and they played with a lot of popular artists" and "You just don't get it".

A better way to sum up what I'm asking here:

Don't tell me, convince me. Give me a reason to believe you. Otherwise everyone's argument so far is "Well they're really good and you'll just have to listen to it and trust that it's really good" With the info provided by people so far I have no reason to believe that Gadd's work with Paul Simon is any better or worse than The Shaggs

Few drummers can actually play this with the right feel, let alone WRITE the part and come up with the groove and phrasing. And it's the hook. The entire driving force behind one of Paul's biggest hits.

That's just one example, but few drummers become the song as frequently as the guys that VB mentioned (and others). It's not just luck, as Dave said it's an enormous understanding of music, the instrument, and the communicative part of playing behind an artist. I think it's worth mentioning that you are asking for a comparison between guys in bands and session guys. There is, IMO, a vast difference in required skillset between those two.

Again, not to beat the horse, but if you can't hear how accomplished these musicians are then I don't know that "explaining" it will help. Guys like Ted Williams didn't need someone to explain why they were the best, their stats showed it. They proved it, in their profession, in the real world. Vinnie, Gadd, Keltner, etc. have ALL proven it time and time again in the real world. You can chose to ignore it, or not, but the proof is there.
 

mebeatee

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Why do folk music drummers have such great reputations?
Well they are (hopefully) great personable and musical folks to begin with, which also means they have an excellent command over their instrument(s), are versatile in many musical styles, are open to all kinds of music, and when hired they play for the song(s) and above all serve the music.
But really this will work for any genre.
Play for the song and serve the music.....repeat......
bt
 

Mongrel

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Interesting...I discovered a few "under appreciated" drummers who somehow made the Drummerworld line up:

Tomas Haake: http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Tomas_Haake.html
Dave Lombardo: http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Dave_Lombardo.html
Eric Moore: http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Eric_Moore.html
Gene Hoglan: http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Gene_Hoglan.html
Travis Barker: http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Travis_Barker.html


Funny how five drummers mentioned in this thread as deserving of more "respect" by the drumming community already have full pages-including bios and samples of their work on the largest internet data base of renowned drummers....in fact, listed right up there with Jim Keltner, Steve Gadd, and Vinnie Colaiuta.

So, unless I am missing something, I guess there really isn't an issue after all, because we all know that "great reputations" are earned right?
 

Drum Gear Review

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I played metal music for a loooong time and still do occasionally. I hosted a deep metal radio show for seven years. I'm very familiar with the genre and spent most of my early musical life living in that world. This discussion came up a lot among friends. Why aren't these drummers - those playing heavy music and those playing in other niche genres that require immense technical skill and physical prowess - who are so clearly gifted taken as seriously as the "legends" we see in ads, magazines, message boards, and dumb lists?

To me, there are a lot of reasons, but mainly:

First, as expressed, it's mostly niche music. It just doesn't reach as many ears, so when people are discussing the greatest, I think the tendency is to lead with drummers who played music that is familiar to the highest number of people.

And second, this instrument is barely more than a century old. By the time people started covering it in media on a significant scale, all of the outlets were staffed mostly by people who were listening to (or at least familiar with) popular music - rock and jazz. That means that the whole structure was built around those versions of popular music. Younger players came and made an impact, but the pantheon was already in place for the most part. But then, media coverage and the total population of people interested in drummers started to shrink, so the "coverage" life cycle of popular drumming was basically two working generations. I know this is a TREMENDOUS oversimplification of how drumming media has evolved, but I think the key beats are important here.

Beyond that, I think there a couple of other things that factor into these discussions:
  • Quantifiable career successes like playing with big name artists, with a large list of notable artists, and/or on top-selling records, etc...
  • Success in a variety of genres
  • Impact on the future of the instrument and its players
  • Inclusion in or on historic musical moments and records (including this because of the mention of Bill Ward vs. Tommy Clufetos - Clufetos is incredible, but to me, he just didn't create any of the indelible moments on records that Ward did)
Maybe there's a chance that drummers like Gene Hoglan and others mentioned here will be remembered among the greats down the line when the full impact of their careers is better embedded into the whole of musical history. I have no idea.

But beyond all that, I think the reason these questions come up so frequently is that the askers know they won't get the perfect yes/no, mathematically sound answers they're suggesting they're looking for. None of us can fully detail why we hear more nuance and subtlety in musical genres less known for athletic performances. We can point to things like dynamics, space, a focus on how the drums can support a melody rather than impact the listener alongside it - but that just leaves room for the asker to bring up a single youtube clip of one of their preferred drummers playing a single song and say "See, there's dynamics. Prove me wrong."

There is no proof here. It's just majority consensus born out of a specific period of time. You're chasing an answer that doesn't exist. No one can prove to you that the drummers you think are the greatest aren't because these other dudes are the greatest.

Personally, when I hear Keltner or Billy Higgins or Steve Jordan, I usually hear music that I find beautiful and moving. While I still enjoy the odd romp with Meshuggah, it just doesn't make the same impression on me anymore. I can't really tell you why though. I can't explain my version of musicality. I can only sort of quote Supreme Court Justice Stewart; "I know it when I [hear] it."
 

Neal Pert

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Get yourself a copy of these three records:

Chick Corea: Three Quartets
Chick Corea Akoustic Band: Live at the Blue Note Tokyo
Bill Frisell: Gone, Just Like a Train.

There are your three guys, totally throwing down, each in his own way.
 

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