This is basically what it’s all about. Being creative no matter the style or genre of music. This is a live version of an original song off my latest solo album Zoom. There’s a lot of pressure recording and capturing all the instruments in front of a camera but, the key is to have fun. During the technical process of audio and video engineering I always remind myself of the final vision.
I moved the studio to a bigger location allowing me to do one man live performances. This is not something new in film and video, yet still very affective especially when the audio is the live feed. My daughter Ronni assisted me in producing this video which was crucial because she saved me a lot of time helping me with camera angles and she ran the audio desk while I performed. Drums went down first. I didn’t play to a click or music. I used complete memory. I knew every part of the song. Memory is one of the prime areas a good musician must have, especially drummers. Being that this is a stripped down simple rock tune, there are still areas that require as much focus as anything requiring technique. The accents, the phrasing, the type of drum fills along with the camera angle editing all matters. The drummer is the one that sets the feel of the song and supports that first and foremost.
Every time I sit behind the kit immediately after setting up for a gig, I do this warm up exercise to loosen my wrists and ankles. This is not something I practice with a metronome nor is this something I am very technical about. For the sake of explanation and clarification, I demonstrate with a metronome at 80 BPM, 120 BPM and 180 BPM. The pedaled hat demonstrates the spaces the doubles fall into. This happens to be in 3 but like I said before, this is not the point. The point is to play this figure loosely and very fast to loosen the wrists and ankles.
New York City bassist Brad Miller invited me down to do an impromptu gig on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in an unlikely space called Richie’s Burger Joint. Richie’s shares a space with the neighborhood butcher shop Schatzie’s Prime Meats. If you are into burgers and beer, this is the spot. Serving the neighborhood since 1911. Brad formed a relationship with the owners and created a gig there where he performs every other week with guitarist Oz Noy along with featured guests. I never played with Oz but have seen him perform at The Bitter End in 2008 with the great drummer Rocky Bryant. No discredit to Richie’s, the acoustics in this joint were horrendous as I hated the way I had my snare tuned that night. I also didn’t like the ride and hats. Normally live, I use a Zildjian K Custom 22 inch ride and K Mastersound 14 inch hats. Those floor tiles had that metal bouncing back in my face sounding a bit too harsh for that room. I should have used my K Custom High Definition 22 inch ride which has a much softer attack and projection. 13 inch Quick Beats or 13 inch A Custom Mastersound hats would’ve created a much tighter crispness. Oh well! The gig turned out fun, but went by in such a flash. I just met Oz officially that night along with saxophonist Patrick Bartley Jr. As you’ll see a couple tunes into this video, Patrick has some cowbell chops too! Usually, I can’t stand when someone grabs a cowbell and annoyingly gets in the way, but Patrick was in the pocket and kept it moving to the k.i.m. Then of course, Oz and Brad were having some great abstract harmonic conversations. Brad is finding his identity on the instrument as Oz is just bringin’it! GREAT PLAYING from everyone on this laid back night. I like how NYC musicians keep the gear simple and work with basic inexpensive garage band gear too. Little amps and a few pedals, badda bing!