My Drum Addiction …
The twenty years or so that I’ve spent on stage have been focused entirely on vocals with a solid dose of rhythm guitar, bass and percussion… even some harmonica thrown in for good measure, but my secret musical addiction has always been the drums. Way back when I was 16 years old, I remember making the trip to my local music store and staring in awe at all the intimidatingly beautiful instruments. That’s when I knew that I wanted to be a drummer … wait, what? Yes, a drummer!
I rented a basic Pearl kit for one month and proudly set it up in my parent’s basement, playing it fervently whenever the opportunity presented itself. The first few musicians I ever invited over to jam however made me painfully aware that not many people my age were really any good … even worse, the noise coming from every corner was devastating to me and I couldn’t imagine being part of a band anymore. But I wasn’t giving up that easy, instead I decided to focus on which of the sounds was bothering me the most; the shredding guitarist, the stoned bassist, my beginner drumming, or the shreaking singer.
It became immediately clear to me right then and there that, I could live with all the imperfections of my fellow instrumentalists, but there was no way I was going to tolerate the throngs of ego-maniac, hoarse-throated, emotionally complex singers that would inevitably cause me unfounded stress for years to come. That’s when I decided to let go of the drums and take up the mic … mostly for my own sanity, but ultimately for the more personal challenge of (gulp) standing right up in front of the stage, omg you have no idea, it was my greatest fear at the time.
Countless blues clubs, biker bars and Irish pubs later, I’m older, a little wiser, and very thankful for all the amazing experiences I’ve shared with my musical mates; such a fun ride. Having taken a long-overdue break to settle in and raise a family, I’m not surprised to find myself longing for a comforting return to my original musical spark; I want to play drums for the first time … again!
Realistically speaking though, I would never want my return to rudiment basics to be inflicted on the ears of my family and unsuspecting neighbours, which means I’m in the market for some electric drums. Wow things have changed, I never new about mesh drum heads, floating hi-hats, cymbals with choke control; honestly it seems like I came back to the drumming game at just about the right time!
Before I do make the financial plunge to get the right kit though, I’ll be very curious to know what you experienced drummers have to say:
- What electric kits would you recommend, Roland, Yamaha or something else?
- Are mesh heads essential for all the drums?
- Which sound modules should be avoided?
- How many outputs would you recommend for serious rehearsal?
- What other surprises would you recommend watching out for?
I’ve never considered recording with an electric drum kit, but something tells me that the newest high-end kits are almost worthy of the task. As a purist however, I just don’t think I could ever rely on a non-acoustic rig for final tracks … but you know, feel free to prove me wrong here as I’m open to your suggestions.
Drum Theory Advice
To round out this drumming adventure, I’ve started gathering my ideas about how to approach the drum theory and rehearsals. In my youth I admit to being very motivated by the self-taught method, and as a vocalist it was certainly fine for me to find my personal grove and drive my vocal limits. Learning basic rhythm guitar and bass on my own however has certainly left me feeling a certain limitation about chord knowledge and proper technique.
This is why I want to start things off right when I return to the drums, not to mention that spare time is a luxury and I feel compelled to excel as quickly as possible down a set & measurable path rather than putz around trying to figure out my chops along the way. Once again I’m amazed at how much has changed; in the old days I would have gone back to that old music shoppe to find a great instructional drumming handbook or something; how ancient is that now-a-days with the thousands of online resources available, you don’t even have to leave your seat!
So the one other area of expertise where I’d appreciate some advice is in the training department … who is THE goto online drummer with the best course for a “mature” musician who is ready to get this done right? I’m sure there are several great mentors out there, but a personal recommendation always goes a long way with me, especially if you’ve tried the method out yourself.
I can’t wait to let you know how it all goes, and thanks in advance for your feedback!