485 – [Daniel Glass Show]: Why Drummers Need To Be Actors

In this podcast, Daniel describes how drummers can deliver a more authentic performance by thinking of themselves as actors. By learning to “channel” the physicality of our favorite players – rather than simply imitating the mechanics of their grooves or chops – we can integrate these “roles” and add new layers of depth to our playing.

What’s covered in this session:

  • Daniel describes a problem he often encounters when watching bands that play cover songs. The audience expects each song to tell a unique story, to take them on a particular journey. But if the drummer sounds the same on every song – like him or herself as opposed to the drummer being covered – the experience can be decidedly underwhelming.
  • A guitarist or keyboardist can hit a pedal or change a setting on their instrument in order to redefine their “role,” but a drummer has to create a new story with each song simply by being in touch with the way they move physically.
  • In essence, musicians are actors. We are inhabiting a ROLE.
  • Daniel explains how he practiced “channeling” the physicality of three favorite drummers: John Bonham, Steve Jordan and Brian Blade.
  • The more you practice taking on different roles, the more you can “turn it on and off” at gigs as needed, and deliver a more nuanced performance.

Resources/Links/People Mentioned:

  • John Bonham “When the Levee Breaks” – Play along and try to put yourself into the heavy, Paul Bunyan-like drive of Bonham’s playing.
  • Back In The Day,” an ultra-groovy laid back shuffle from Steve Jordan’s DVD, The Groove Is Here.
  • A Brian Blade drum solo with Chick Corea shows of Blade’s extremely unorthodox gazelle-like style. Channeling Brian’s movements offer me a lot of new ideas when playing jazz.