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“a film is more like music than like fiction.” —Stanley Kubrik

Drum Solo: Rare Non-Wanky Variety

Led Zeppelin's John Bonha,

Even as a huge fan of all things percussion, I think we can agree to draw the line at the drum solo. As if it was possible, they are even more wanky/showboat-y than their 6 or 4-string counterparts. And though there’s a certain melodic narrative to the drum circle, it’s still god-awful hippie shite.

But when John Bonham settles his lumbering frame onto the throne, a juggernaut exception shatters the barrier of bad taste. This guy can do more with one foot than all of Manchester United. He plays the drums “like two jack-rabbits fuckin‘.”

Witness Bonzo’s Montreux…

  1. Thursday 03.04.2010 | 2:13 EDT

    KBJr says:

    I haven’t completely stopped thinking about this, and I’ve determined that what gets me about the ‘modern’ drum solo – meaning particularly those popular from the late 60s to mid 80s, I suppose – is the length of the solo. (“The drummer’s having a wank, let’s go get a beer.”) Drum circle chants need to be long because they’re a collective journey, but I think short displays of prowess, like this one from Gene Krupa, serve well whether drummer, guitarist, keyboardist, or etc.: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mSqltiTvbTc

  2. Saturday 02.27.2010 | 4:55 EDT

    chairmanmau says:

    Wanking is not a desireable practice, lest it’s done quietly in the privacy of your own bedroom. Though you hit the nail on the head with Good Times, Bad Times, my most oft-cited example of monster drumming. Check out this link: http://bit.ly/8u4u9d

    1. Saturday 02.27.2010 | 7:19 EDT

      miles says:

      Gotta take the time to think about those. I’m sure I could add a few. Check out “Only In Dreams” by Weezer. There’s a slow part where he pares everything down slowly, cutting the number of times he strikes the cymbal in half once per measure until he’s down to just playing it on the 1 beat. Then, it’s like he throws the machine in reverse, and plays the exact same thing only backwards and twice as fast. So the speed-up part of the song happens twice as fast as the slow-down did. It’s a pretty subtle thing; I knew the song for years before I noticed it. Pat Wilson is a very good, understated drummer.

  3. Saturday 02.27.2010 | 4:48 EDT

    Miles says:

    What’s wrong with wanking? Don’t knock my favorite sport!

    Bonham is entirely listenable, solo or no solo. I do not get tired of him, ever. I walk around with his drum beats in my head, trying to figure out how to play them. Sometimes when I’m trying to go to sleep, I lie awake worrying about how to use my right foot on “Good Times, Bad Times.” Bonham is the muse.

  4. Thursday 02.25.2010 | 4:14 EDT

    KBJr says:

    Soon hippie drum circles can be wanks too: http://is.gd/8RXIJ – pretty amazing video.

    And no one can transcend the wank, because a wank is a wank. Not even ol’ Bonzo, IMHO.

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