Mike Carroll archive

Category : Video (29)

Melting Pot…

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Published on: February 6, 2014

I arrived home from Memphis, Tennessee last week and there is much to report! As I mentioned before, I went down with the Dan Doiron Band to compete in the 30th Annual International Blues Challenge representing the east coast of Canada. Big thanks to Dale Schimph and Cathy Prothro from the East Coast Blues Society for their tireless efforts and support. Though we didn’t bring home the prize, we had an amazing time and made some new friends and contacts.

For many newcomers to Memphis, their experience begins and ends on Beale street. It is true that Beale is a vibrant and bustling destination filled with bars, clubs, and restaurants billowing music of all sorts, but the one place that has everything I want to see is located at 926 East McLemore Ave.; home of the Stax Museum.

Stax

Stax Records was responsible for launching the careers of countless soul, blues, and funk artists like Otis Redding, Sam and Dave, Isaac Hayes, and Booker T and the MG’s. I had visited once before about four years ago and it was a gratifying and emotional experience, but this time was extra special. Our organ player, a 20 year old prodigy named Leith, grew up on a steady diet of Stax artists and he credits Booker T and the MG’s as his main inspiration. To be standing with him in the same room as Booker T’s Hammond M3 he used to record ‘Green Onions’ was spine tingling to say the least, and for him it was downright spiritual. He was visibly overwhelmed.

LeithandtheM3

Standing next to Al Jackson Jr.’s drums was another goosebumps moment:

AJsdrums

We also got to check out Sun Records, which represented a starting point for many legendary acts such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and Jerry Lee Lewis. In fact, early in their careers all four got together for a jam session at Sun and we got to stand in that very room; Hallowed ground indeed!

Sunrecords

Later that day, my travelling companions indulged me by joining me on my visit to the famous Memphis Drum Shop. After much perusing, I discovered a room full of vintage drums of all kinds. Being a part of a Beatles tribute band for almost ten years, the picture below was naturally a highlight:

Allyouneedisdrums

In the evening, Brad the bass player and I caught a Memphis Grizzlies game. It was my first NBA experience and it won’t be my last. I was thoroughly entertained the entire time. For those interested, the Grizzlies trampled the Houston Rockets.

Another landmark that I unfortunately missed last time was the Civil Rights museum. I managed to rectify the oversight this time around and am so glad I did. There was so much fascinating information to take in regarding the events leading up to Martin Luther King Jr.’s tragic death as well as his historic efforts to put African Americans and minorities on equal footing. There is so much more progress that needs to be made, but it was shocking and heartbreaking to read peoples accounts of how blacks were treated back then. The picture below shows the very place where MLK was assassinated.

inmemoryofmlk

All in all, the Memphis trip was one of the best and I’m so proud and grateful to have been a part of it. Kudos to the boys in the band for all their hard work! I got to witness some great blues music, see some historic sights, catch an NBA game, and eat some tasty ribs. By the way, I never made it to Graceland this time either….there’s always next time!

Here is a link to one of our performances at the New Daisy Theatre:

Dan Doiron Band at the New Daisy

…At Last!

Categories: Media, Uncategorized, Video
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Published on: January 18, 2014

This is my first video post in several months. A busy summer and fall schedule, and some much needed time off prevented me from producing any new videos. Now that I have recuperated and have some free time, I can start posting on a more regular basis. That is not to say that there isn’t much going on; The Dan Doiron Band is hard at work preparing for the International Blues Challenge taking place in Memphis, Tennessee. Back in October, we won a regional competition put on by the East Coast Blues Society, giving us the opportunity to represent the Maritimes in Memphis! We are very excited and can’t wait to give it our best.

On to the video! I did one on Steve Gadd for his Birthday early last year, but I focused more on licks and failed to capture the grooves for which he is best known. To remedy this, I decided to dedicate this project to his work on two Paul Simon tracks – ’50 Ways to Leave Your Lover’ and ‘Late in the Evening’.

’50 Ways’ was recorded in 1975 and appeared on the album ‘Still Crazy After All These Years’. The groove Steve plays is unique, creative, challenging, and perfect for the song. There are many other videos on YouTube showcasing this groove, so I wanted to do so something a bit different. The studio track has a tambourine playing on the offbeats that gives the song forward momentum. After some experimentation, I found a way to incorporate the tambourine using an extra pedal to the left of the bass drum pedal that I played with my heel. This method proved to be a coordination nightmare, but one that I eventually conquered.

There is another point about the coordination obstacle that I’d like to make. After practising the groove for a time, I felt that I had got it to a point where I could record it. I set up my gear, pushed record, and 53 takes later, I had nothing useable. The problem was that I didn’t spend a sufficient amount of time committing the groove to muscle memory. I had to think too much to get through it, and when I have to think too much, the groove suffers. There is NO substitute for practise! I practised hard, took a few days off to let it sink in, took an inordinate amount of time to tension the pedals correctly, and tried again. The extra time I took to really nail it paid off as I got the footage I needed in seven takes.

‘Late in the Evening’ was recorded in 1980 and appeared on the album ‘One Trick Pony’. The second clip came together much quicker, as it didn’t involve as much coordination issues and I was already quite familiar with the African ‘Mozambique’ rhythm on which the groove was based. I did throw in an extra challenge for myself by switching the roles of my hands partway through. Another aspect worth noting is that Steve used four sticks to play the groove. The four sticks technique lends a certain percussive flavour the the groove, but is a killer on the wrists! Luckily, I got what I needed in two or three takes.

On the technical side of things, I used my Q3HD for the overhead view and the GoPro as the foot cam because the Q3 captures better sound. Unfortunately, the Q3 doesn’t have as wide a field of vision as the GoPro. Compounding this problem is that I neglected to notice that I had it zoomed in a bit. A good take always trumps a good camera angle I always say! Because I only needed an overhead view for the second clip, I was able to use the GoPro for that, with the Q3 positioned just below it to capture the sound only. The video was edited with Pinnacle Studio for iPad; an excellent program with which I am slowly becoming adept.

Still here? Apologies for the long-winded preamble. Enjoy!

The Return of the Professor…

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Published on: July 10, 2013

Two days from now, (July 12, 2013) Rush will return to Halifax for the first time in 26 years. I was disappointed when the show was announced because I knew I would have to miss it on account of my having to perform that night as well. Thanks to an outpouring of support from the Halifax community, they added a second show which I AM able to attend. I am so excited! Getting to see Rush will fulfill a life-long dream. I am not the die-hard fan I once was, as my tastes have broadened a little since the days of putting Signals on repeat in my basement and air-drumming along to Subdivisions. Still, I always purchase their albums whenever they are released, and spin some of their older albums from time to time for equal parts nostalgia and inspiration.

A couple of weeks ago, my girlfriend alerted me to the fact that my local Long and McQuade music store was giving away five sets of tickets to those daring enough to post a Rush cover on YouTube and send them the link. They would choose the five best out of the submissions. I had already purchased tickets, but I knew some family members who had mentioned that they would love to go, so I decided to give it a go for them. Also, I had never really entered a contest focused on drumming before, so I thought it would be kind of nice to see where I stand so to speak. I should note that the contest was open to all instrumentalists and singers, so that presented an added challenge.

After some time sifting through my favourite songs, I had made a short list of possibilities. Whichever song I chose would have to meet some requirements – it would have to be something I thought I could play reasonably well – it would have to involve relatively little preparation time – it would have to involve relatively few drums. While pondering these requirements, I was reminded of a recent cover of Anthem done rather well by Anthrax. Anthem has always been one of my favourite songs, period. The first track from the album Fly by Night, it marked the arrival of Neil Peart into the band. Anthem has a certain energy and ferocity I have always enjoyed, so I decided it would be perfect as I was already somewhat familiar with the drum part, and it didn’t involve too many drums.

After two full days of practice, I was beginning to worry that I had bitten off a little more than I could chew. There are a couple of sections toward the end that proved quite difficult. But I am nothing if not stubborn, so after many hours of woodshedding and bloodletting, I had it to a point where I was comfortable recording it.

I attempted to play it as close to the original as I could, paying close attention to detail. Performing a cover in this way requires incredible focus, as it is easy to let the mind wander and miss a part. Another challenge that arose as a result of playing along to the track was that there was no count-in, so once I pressed play on my iPod, I had to guess where the first note was going to be. After a few tries, I had got it so I could reliably do it every time.

Below is my winning entry into the contest. Thanks to Long and McQuade Halifax for putting on a great contest that was very fun. Thanks also to all the contestants for the wonderful entries. Special thanks to my girlfriend Andrea for her encouragement and for making me aware of the contest, and my family for their continued support.

Brought to you by the letter ‘eh’.

Happy Birthday Bonzo! 3 Famous Grooves…

The legendary John Henry Bonham would be 65 today. (May 31st, 2013) As the driving force behind Led Zeppelin, he influenced and inspired drummers with his groove, creativity, and unique sound. Every track he played sounded as if he knew it would be his last day on earth. His grooves are as clever as they are pounding, and serve as hooks to enhance the songs. He achieved his signature sound by using big drums tuned high. Every drummer alive owes him a great debt as he practically wrote the book on groove.

As a small tribute to his legacy, I have chosen 3 of my favourite grooves for this video. The first is ‘Good Times Bad Times’ from Zeppelin’s debut album. The second is ‘The Crunge’, from Houses of the Holy. The final example is ‘Fool in the Rain’ from In Through the Out Door.

I have been looking forward to this project for some time; mostly because it meant I got to dust off the Ludwig Vistalites that had been packed away for over a year. I always feel just a little bit of the magic of Bonham whenever I play them.

I decided to do some experimenting with this video and came up with some interesting results. I switched camera positions so that the Q3 was capturing an in close shot of my right foot and the GoPro (fastened to the ceiling with a magnetic tripod) captured the top view. Switching camera positions presented a few challenges; it proved difficult to get a good balance of all the drums with the Q3 placed on the floor. Also, the Mic in the GoPro pales in comparison to those inside the Q3, so I had to take great care in mixing the two together.

The first clip has some technical issues. There is a buzz coming from the floor tom that the GoPro picked up with remarkable fidelity. I had to use less of the GoPro audio to compensate, but it is still there.

For the second clip, I actually played along to the track because I couldn’t keep the form of the song in my head. It took a few takes to sync up my first note with Bonzo’s.

The third clip involved a little more experimenting. I mixed in more of the GoPro audio because it added a certain lo-fi-ness that I felt was appropriate. I also put both audio tracks slightly out of sync in an effort to make the drums sound bigger. I am happy with the result.

I ended up not using the video from the Q3 because it was kind of redundant. The GoPro video offers a great view of the feet.

I hope you enjoy my tribute to Bonzo. There will be more in the future! Special thanks to lighting assistant and swell guy Jonny Grant. This is instalment twelve in the ‘Drummer’s Birthdays’ series.

Happy Belated Birthday Steve Gadd! Two Drum Licks Demystified…

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Published on: May 1, 2013

Yes, this post arrives three weeks late, but there are several good reasons why. Over the past month, I have invested in some new equipment and software in an attempt to improve upon the videos I have posted to this point. I purchased a GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition video camera to complement my Zoom Q3HD, so I can now do multi-cam videos at home. I also acquired some better lighting which I think you’ll find boosts the picture quality considerably. Lastly, I’ve been working with a new video editor called Pinnacle Studio for iPad. Pinnacle has proved to be the biggest culprit in this post’s lateness as it has taken a great deal of time to wrap my head around it’s idiosyncrasies. Though I have to say I am quite pleased with it overall.

In the eleventh instalment of the ‘Drummer’s Birthdays’ series, we celebrate the 68th (April 9th, 2013) of one of the all-time greats, Steve Gadd. Three weeks have passed since his birthday, but I couldn’t let more time pass without acknowledging one of my biggest influences. Steve is constantly in demand because of his impeccable time and monster groove, and has performed with artists as diverse as Paul Simon, Eric Clapton, Steely Dan, and Chick Corea.

In the video, I demonstrate a couple of his most famous licks. The first section is a 32nd note pattern played between the snare, bass drum and hi-hat. I begin at full tempo, then slower, and finally playing it in a groove context. The second section is a rim click/hi-hat lick that gets much the same treatment as the first pattern.

Playing wise, this project came together quicker than I anticipated. It was the new equipment and software additions that proved my undoing. There are still some kinks to iron out, but I hope you’ll enjoy this first effort.

Mike Carroll endorses Blue Camo Socks.

Happy Birthday Jeff Porcaro!

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Published on: April 2, 2013

Studio great Jeff Porcaro would have been 59 yesterday. (April 1st, 2013) Throughout his career, Jeff was a first-call session drummer and played on countless albums. His resume is impressive and includes the likes of Toto, Boz Scaggs, and Steely Dan just to name a few. Though already well respected in the drumming community, his groove on Toto’s ‘Rosanna’ ensured he would be in the hearts and minds of drummers for several generations. The groove is a half-time shuffle not unlike that played by Bernard Purdie and John Bonham, however, Jeff’s has a little Bo Diddley undercurrent that sets it apart. His expert use of ghost notes really helps to propel the song and the quarter-note straight time pre-chorus serves as a nice contrast. Jeff left us way too soon, (August 5th, 1992) but his grooves will continue to be enjoyed for years to come.

Bill Stewart Revisited…

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Published on: March 8, 2013

Back in October 2012, I uploaded a video celebrating Bill Stewart’s Birthday. That video quickly became my most popular on YouTube, with over 4600 views as of this writing. As a small token of thanks to all who have taken the time to watch and subscribe to my channel, I have decided to do another one dedicated to Bill’s work.

The first part contains three short clips demonstrating a lick he often plays in solos. The second part is a groove from the John Scofield tune ‘Dark Blue’ off the album ‘Hand Jive’. In the final part of the video, I am playing a transcription I did of Bill’s solo on ‘Everybody’s Party’ from the John Scofield/Pat Metheny album ‘I Can See Your House From Here’.

Thanks so much for all the nice comments and encouragement! I am always working hard to bring you neat stuff and I hope you’ll keep checking out the site!

Here is a transcription of the lick and groove:

stickshotlickdarkbluegroove

…and one of the solo:

everybodyspartysolo

Happy Belated Zig!

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Published on: February 1, 2013

Joseph ‘Zigaboo’ Modeliste turned 64 on December 28th, 2012 so I’m a little late posting this one. I’m still trying to catch up after an extended hiatus during the holidays. Zig is one of my all time favs and his playing with The Meters epitomizes New Orleans funk. He has influenced countless drummers, most notably Stanton Moore, who is a New Orleans funk expert in his own right. The video consists of demonstrations of three grooves including – ‘Cissy Strut’, ‘Just Kissed My Baby’, and ‘Hey Pocky A-way’, in which Zig uses a swampy second-line groove. I’ve added a little left foot cowbell in the latter as an extra challenge for myself! Zig’s playing is a perfect example of how to play ‘in between the cracks’.

The Evolution of Tony Williams….Part 1

Hello everybody and Happy 2013! I apologize for the extended hiatus but I am finally back up and running. I have been busy rearranging my drum room to accommodate more drums – more on that in a later post.
Having missed Tony Williams’ Birthday, I have decided to do a series of videos instead. The series will focus on Tony Williams’ development from child prodigy to the upper echelon of jazz/fusion drumming. The video below will be the first of likely three videos, each representing a specific time in his career. This one demonstrates a solo he played on a tune entitled ‘Seven Steps to Heaven’ from a Miles Davis record of the same name released in 1963 when Tony was the tender age of 17! Incidentally, I began to learn this solo when I was 17 in preparation for an audition to get into music school. The difference is that I STILL don’t have it mastered! : ) The video begins with 8 bars of time followed by the solo. Analytically, it is a very interesting solo as it contains some early evidence of Tony’s genius – polyrhythmic variety and unique interplay between the hands and feet. To me, it is not a typical drum solo in that the phrasing is very advanced, especially for the time – almost like that of a horn player. I hope you enjoy and stay tuned for part 2 of the evolution of Tony Williams!

Happy Birthday Matt Cameron! ‘Wooden Jesus’ Groove

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Published on: November 28, 2012

Matt Cameron celebrates the big 5-0 today! (Nov. 28, 2012) He also recently celebrated the end to a 16 year hiatus from Soundgarden’s recorded work. Matt does double duty with Soundgarden and Pearl Jam. This video, however, showcases something a little bit different. The track is called ‘Wooden Jesus’, written by Soundgarden frontman Chris Cornell. The original track was on an album released way back in 1990 by a band named Temple of the Dog – a veritable grunge supergroup consisting of members of Soundgarden as well as members who would soon become Pearl Jam.

Matt is one of my favourite rock drummers and I would count his drumming on TotD among his best. This track in particular has many ‘Cameronisms’ such as tasty use of ghost notes and ruffs as well as some 32nd note trickery. He employs a deceptively difficult tom/snare groove for the intro and verses followed by a more straightforward approach in the B and C sections. All in all, a masterful drum track that grooves hard!

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