Month: March 2014

ZZ TOP, THE MOVING SIDEWALKS & THE 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS | TEXAS MUSIC LEGENDS

Early photos of the baddest Rock power trios. How cool is that! Note the huge absence of beards..

The Selvedge Yard

zz top chevy lowrider el dorado

“Our ’65 Chevy low rider convertible, flying the colors of ZZ Top’s El Dorado Bar is solidly a Texas car yet, equally at home on the streets of LA, Fresno, or Bakersfield.” –Billy Gibbons. This pic of ZZ Top has it all, in my opinion. Just checkout that custom-built Texas state Gibson guitar! The band has acquired an enviable car collection over the years, and is out and about in the custom scene. “We attend the Mooneyes Festivals in California and Japan and always make the SoCal Speed Shop summer ‘Open House’ gathering. Always a terrific time. As far as clubs are concerned, we think of ZZ Top as one.  We hang out, we shoot the breeze, we get down, we move on to the next town and, of course, it’s all about the arrival.  Loud, low, while you Rock and Roll…!” –Billy Gibbons

.

Young ZZ Top Prom

“Dusty Hill, Frank Beard, and Billy…

View original post 547 more words

What’s The Best Practice Method For Me, A Hobbying Or Semi-Professional Drummer?

Hi all,

I wish to begin this article with a Thank You to all who have visited my blog and read my article titled, “Practice Simplified” (https://jasoncruzdrums.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/practice-simplified-2/). This article dealt with the topic of “what to practice” and what is the force of correct guidance we should be in touch with to yield the desired results from our practice sessions – Music. In this follow-up article, I am targeting at a particular group of drummers who are playing drums on an amateur or semi-professional level. You are still studying in school or have a day job. You are either 1) playing drums for your own enjoyment, 2) playing drums with a band on weekends, or 3) playing drums on gigs on weekends and getting paid for it. Time is understandably limited for you to enjoy some personal time flailing on the drums to your heart’s content. However, here is one suggestion that can help you overcome that problem of limited time to practise. This suggestion connects with the concept of making something a part of your everyday routine so that you do not see it as an added responsibility or chore to shoulder.

In today’s world, the 24 hours we are given are largely taken up by something that we have to do in order to survive. It is not necessarily something that we enjoy doing but we still have to do it to eke out a comfortable existence. As such, personal time, which is very important to the overall well-being of an individual is sadly sacrificed. If we think from another angle however, why do we allow this to happen? Are we not in control of our lives? If we truly are, we will find that we can actually make time for pleasurable pursuits in the midst of all the work, personal, and family-related responsibilities we go through daily.

Let us apply this to practising a musical instrument. First, you need to ask yourself these few questions:

1) Am I learning a musical instrument out of personal choice or because I am forced to do so (especially applicable to young music students)?

2) If the answer to the above question is that you are learning your chosen musical instrument out of personal choice, then are you enjoying it?

If the answer to question 2 is Yes, but you are tied down by work, study, extra-curricular/social activities, and you want to get better at your instrument, read on.

If the answer to question 2 is Yes, but you do not think it necessary to practise and improve, stop reading this article, and continue on  usual.

If the answer to question 2 is No, then stop reading this article because it will not apply to you anyway. Do something else that you enjoy doing.

The secret to productive practice for the super busy student or working professional is incorporating practice into your daily routines. You agree that you enjoy drumming right? Drumming, even just playing on a practice pad, can be therapeutic, is it not? If you agree to this, then practise the drums in between your everyday tasks. Work on anything that you feel needs sharpening SLOWLY and without anything to distract you. Go to a quiet space where you can be by yourself and enjoy practising. Most importantly, make records of your progress – record with your smartphone, portable a/v recorder, or jotting down in a notebook. This will bring focus and direction to your learning journey.

For those who can actually set aside some time away from daily tasks to sit down and practise, a good organisation of your practice routine with goal setting is the best way to yield desired results over time. Noted drumset educator, Mike Johnston, recently provided a solid guide to maximizing your time practising in his article for the January 2014 issue of Modern Drummer magazine (https://www.moderndrummer.com/site/2013/12/video-45-minute-practice-routine-get-organized-optimize-time-behind-kit-january-2014-issue/#.UykrHYV7TZU). I highly recommend that you read this article, watch the video, and download the PDF document. If you cannot do 45 minutes at a stretch as Mike suggests, shorten it to 30 minutes and do more cycles with enough rest time in between. A couple of my students have started using this method and they are reaping the benefits.

As with all successful regimens, discipline and consistency are key. Please remember that discipline is NOT a negative word. It simply is the commitment to do an activity with the same sense of conviction, enthusiasm, and passion regularly, and probably a deeper sense of all three things over time. In other words, if you still love drumming and enjoy practising, the discipline will naturally come to you. You do not have to look for it, it will come to you.

I hope this article can be of help to you. More power to you!!

“NOBODY IN THIS WORLD IS BUSY. IT IS ALL ABOUT MAKING PRIORITIES.”

The Learning Never Ends…

The Learning Never Ends...

This is a page off of Pete Magadini’s classic book, Polyrhythms. As I get older, I have gotten increasingly hip to layering counter rhythms in my playing as opposed to fast 32nd note hand/foot licks, though I also truly appreciate the ability to pull off the latter. This year, I aim to deepen my knowledge of polyrhythms and find many creative ways to express different layers of rhythms in my grooves, fills, and solos.

The inspiration for this comes from great drummers like Ginger Baker, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, Tony Allen, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Stewart Copeland. Pete Magadini’s Polyrhythms is probably still the best instructional method out there to develop control over this concept. It’s also a fine tool to help you strengthen your inner clock as you learn to shift to and fro and relate all rhythms of differing meters to a common pulse. That way, I can expand my vocabulary and am able to take on more complex forms of music both with greater competence and confidence.

Tommy Igoe Speaking About Drum Education In The 21st Century

As usual, Tommy Igoe (Groove Essentials / Great Hands For A Lifetime), one of my favourite drummers and drumset educators, presents his thoughts as it is, no-holds-barred and from the heart,

His thoughts on the importance of drummers being able to sight-read in today’s music business are especially eye-opening (face-slapping too!). This is a video that I will watch and re-watch, and thereafter reflect deeply on my approach to teaching the drumset in the 21st century.

Secondly, the truth for us is…If we drummers of today do not have a basic recording setup at home or in the studio, we are operating on a dinosaur mode of operation. I feel that Tommy hit the nail on the head on this one. I have had so many benefits come my way because of my ability to have a space and the equipment to record my drums for independent artists.

You owe it to yourself to watch this interview.

New Studio Recording Project: The Black Monolith (Hard Rock The Old School Way..)

Hi all,

I hope your week is going well so far. 

Just to update all the good folks who have stopped by to check out my website that I have a new recording project coming and songwriting sessions are underway. This project will tap on my roots as a drummer/musician – straight-ahead Hard Rock. If you like your Rock the way Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Queen, and some of the best 80’s Glam bands like Motley Crue did it, then be sure to look out for this band.

The Black Monolith, as the band is called, and I am not sure if that is the confirmed name, will comprise Damien Ng on lead guitars and he is the principal songwriter, a bassist, a lead vocalist, and yours truly on drums and throwing in my 5 cents worth to the arrangements. I have to say that I really enjoy the stuff that Damien writes – he knows his roots as a Rock musician and he can write great riffs that evoke the vibe of all the classic Rock groups both of us grew up listening to. 

We plan to hit the recording studio in June and may also go out on the road to bring the spirit of old school Hard Rock to the masses the best way we know. This is certainly a perfect time for me to bring back my heavy-hitting chops after more than a year of playing with a lighter touch and restraint on volume, which is also an area of drumming skill I am proud to have improved on and I still work on it.

Stay tuned for more upates!

 

The Rumble by The Shadows

This is a killer early 60’s instrumental tune for drums by the legendary UK guitar outfit, The Shadows. Drummer on this is Tony Meehan, if I am not wrong. Either him or Brian Bennett. Just check out the independence between his ride cymbal and snare/toms. I have to play this with The High Rollers and I am already owned!