364 – [Daniel Glass Show]: The Vanishing Drummer?

In an age where so much of our popular music is made using samples, programmed beats and other electronics, Daniel’s addresses a big issue of concern for many drummers: Are we becoming irrelevant?

What’s covered in this session:

  • Daniel looks at various periods of history, beginning in the 1920s, where drummers and their industry experienced periods of “boom” and “bust.”
  • Daniel explores a wide variety of elements – including the advent of technology, changing job requirements, and shifting trends – all of which have threatened drummers’ livelihoods and relevance in the past.
  • Daniel shares a variety of ways that drummers – both previously and today  – have adapted to the changing times so that what we do can continue to thrive and “do what we do best.”

Resources/Links/People Mentioned:

  • A photo of drummers/sound effects men performing on “traps” in a silent movie house.
  • The Making Of A Drum Company, by William F. Ludwig II, discusses how the advent of moving pictures in the late 1920s put 18,000 theater and Vaudeville drummers out of work in an 18 month period.
  • Daniel often gets hired to play because of his specialist’s knowledge of iconic music styles, which tend to be difficult to replicate using loops or samples. Here’s a TV session on which he updated and modernized a “surf beat.”
4 replies
  1. Dan Churney
    Dan Churney says:

    This was not reassuring. Daniel is a smart, accomplished drummer, but even he admits he’s concerned. I’m a drummer, whose day job is that of newspaper reporter. After a long struggle, I’ve come to accept that newspapers, as we know them, are dying off, due to digital. So are drummers. Daniel’s objection to digital drumming is due, first of all, to the fact he’s a drummer. Secondly, he objects on aesthetic grounds — that replacing flesh-and-blood drummers with computers is Orwellian, something out of 1984. Sadly, the music business has no such concerns.

    • Daniel Glass
      Daniel Glass says:

      Thanks for the comment, Dan. In doing these podcasts, my goal is to ask a lot of questions. I suppose the answers will come in how drummers respond to this and other issues that they face, and we may not to gather perspective on how that plays out for many years to com. My personal answer is to continue to educate and connect drummers to their craft, and to continue to play the (non-digital) music about which I’m passionate. I feel that doing defines my own way of standing up in the face of the digital tidal wave that has taken over the music business. Cheers, and keep the comments coming!

  2. Dylan Wissing
    Dylan Wissing says:

    Great stuff. My great-grandfather was a drummer in Vincennes, Indiana, and supported his family by teaching, playing in vaudeville and the circus, and accompanying silent movies in Vincennes. He went through the transition of the late 20s/early 30s, and came through on the other side managing the same theater where he had played in the pit, composing songs, and maintaining a band that entertained at bars and restaurants. The music industry didn’t die when talkies came in, it just changed. We’re definitely going through another one of those periods today, and at some point the programming and beatmaking model will disappear to be replaced with the next thing (whatever that is). Thanks for the podcast, Daniel!

    • Daniel Glass
      Daniel Glass says:

      Thanks Dylan. The story of your great-grandfather is a cool one. Will be interesting to see how all this plays out. Peace!

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