An Evening Inspired by Legends

So first off I have to acknowledge the loss of a legend (BB King) and for me at my age he seemed to be the most accessible and inspiring legend.  I say this because he performed a number of times in Toronto and while his playing was super human he still seemed so down to earth and humble. With that being said, last night I had an amazing and inspiring night and I know BB King had a big part in it. Last night was my first drum clinic and it was held by Will Kennedy of the Yellowjackets. It was an incredible experience and a very small but huge moment was seeing my instructor being pulled up on stage and asked to play something for him on Will’s kit.  I don’t know what I really expected but I did not expect at all to have Will ask for four people from the audience including a small boy who was most likely around 10 years old to come up and play on his kit. He played some amazing stuff and what I found most interesting was when he tried to explain some of his music, inspiration, and finding the pulse of the music or the song. Wow! During his discussion he really hit home with three things he said – not to discount all that he had to say but three things I really identified with. First was you are never to old or young to start playing drums – obviously being 36 and starting to play now was a nice thing to hear. Secondly, he was talking about being well rounded and listening and learning to play a lot of different styles and thinking of them as tools you bring with you to the kit, jam session, show, song, etc as you can pull them out at any time to make the song and as you do this those styles/beats become part of you and you make them your own – The result for me with what he was saying would allow me to reach my goal and what I believe should be the goal for all and that is to play the music you want to hear. It’s in you and you have the power to create something from within you that is pleasing to you. The third thing he said that just made me smile from ear to ear is to learn to create space. I find myself wanting to play as fast as I can and hit as many drums as I can but he played the same section of a song with space ie. rests and more of groove beats and the other with crazy drum fills and really when it came down to it the one with space almost knocked me off my chair. It was exactly like the Joe Walsh solo on the Foo Fighters song “Outside” on the Sonic Highways album, where Joe doesn’t play anything for the first eight bars of the solo. That’s what I want to do – create space… create moments. With all this being said I am looking forward to playing drums today and I have decided to leave you with a few video’s. One of Will Kennedy performing a solo, one of Tony Williams who was Will Kennedy’s first influence, one of Joe Walsh performing with the Foo Fighters and his amazing solo (couldn’t get the one from the show so please watch the HBO special if you are interested, and the final one of BB King playing with his larger than life smile. Stay Tuned!

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