Mike Carroll archive

Tag : birthday (9)

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…

Categories: Media, Video
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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!

Categories: Media, Video
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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.

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’.

Happy Birthday David Garibaldi! ‘Soul Vaccination’ Intro and Groove

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Published on: November 4, 2012

In the 7th edition of the ‘Drummer’s Birthdays’ series, we celebrate David Garibaldi’s 66th. (Nov.4, 2012) David was a pioneer of linear funk drumming back in the ’70’s with funk/soul masters Tower of Power. He has released a number of highly educational books and videos dealing with his particular brand of funk drumming.

The video below is my attempt at playing ‘Soul Vaccination’ from the self-titled ToP recording released in 1973. I play the intro, first verse and chorus, and the video fades at the second verse. Hope you like! Happy Birthday Dave!

P.S. This video was every bit as difficult to make as the previous one…perhaps more! But I’ve always wanted to learn this groove, and Dave’s Birthday provided a good excuse. : )

Happy Birthday Virgil Donati! Drum Grooves 4 and 5

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Published on: October 22, 2012

The fifth edition of the ‘Drummer’s Birthdays’ series celebrates Virgil Donati’s 54th! (Oct. 22, 2012) He is perhaps best known for his contributions to prog/metal bands such as Planet X. I first saw him play on a video he had released called ‘Power Drumming’ back in the early ’90’s when I was just starting to learn the drums. His technical skills were way beyond what I could even comprehend at the time and his explanations of playing in odd time signatures went over my head. Still, with time, I managed to benefit a great deal from his video – not so much from the technical exercises and displays of sheer power, but by instilling in me the focus and discipline it takes to improve on the instrument.

The first half of this video demonstrates a groove that I still remember from the ‘Power Drumming’ video. It has some stick-spinning silliness in it; I’m not terribly adept at stick tricks as they are not practical for my usual work, but I figured since it is a big part of Virgil’s style that I should give it a try! The second half is a groove I came up with that is more in the New Orleans/Stanton Moore style, but with some of Virgil’s stick spins. Enjoy!

Happy Birthday Bill Stewart! Drum Licks 6 and 7, Drum Groove 3 – Multicam

Categories: Media, Pictures, Video
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: October 18, 2012

The fourth installment of the ‘Drummer’s Birthdays’ series celebrates Bill Stewart’s 46th. (Oct 18, 2012) Bill, without a doubt, has been the greatest influence on my jazz playing. His creativity and precision are second to none and he has a very identifiable sound. I first discovered him through a random cd purchase while still in high school. I immediately fell in love with his playing as well as his compositions (one of which I performed at my St.FX graduation recital) and soon bought everything I could find that had him playing drums. I actually got to see him perform in a duo setting during my first year at X and was amazed with the musicality and almost telepathic level of improvisation between him and pianist Bill Carrothers. He is perhaps best known for his work on some outstanding albums with guitarist John Scofield.

The first clip in the video is an idea he employs often in solos. I play it at full tempo first, then slower to illustrate the sticking, then at full speed again. The second clip is another solo idea that he orchestrates in several clever ways. I demonstrate two of them at fast and slow tempos. The last clip is a quick demonstration of a groove he plays on a track called ‘Crosstalk’ from his album ‘Snide Remarks’. (The one I bought in high school) The second half demonstrates the sticking. It is a very complicated rhythm in that he is playing it as a 6 over 4 crossrhythm while the feet play dotted quarters continuing over the barline. I’m sure I’ve lost the non-musos at this point, but what are you doing on a drummer’s site anyway?! : )

Have a good one, Bill!

Update – I’ve had many requests for notation, particularly for the first lick, so I’ve decided to include (poorly) handwritten transcriptions below. The first one is kind of an approximation, but gets the job done. I also jotted down the stickings where necessary.

Bill Stewart Licks

Happy Birthday Art Blakey! Shuffle 1 – Multicam

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Published on: October 11, 2012

Jazz great Art Blakey would be 93 today! (Oct.11, 2012) This is the third video in the ‘Drummer’s Birthdays’ series and demonstrates Art’s signature jazz shuffle. It is a little tricky co-ordination wise because the snare is kind of a mirror image of what the ride cymbal is doing. The bass drum and unaccented snare notes should be played quietly. I have included notation below. I will be posting videos of other shuffle rhythms from time to time so keep an eye out!

Happy Birthday Mike Clark! Drum Grooves 1 and 2

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Published on: October 3, 2012

Mike Clark is, in my opinion, a vastly underrated drummer. He, along with a handful of others, revolutionized funk drumming in the ’70’s. He is best known for his work with Herbie Hancock and the Headhunters. This video is the second in the ‘Drummer’s Birthdays’ series and is the first video on the site dealing with specific drum grooves. Both of the grooves on the video are from the album ‘Thrust’. The first is the intro to ‘Palm Grease’ and the second is the intro to ‘Spank-a-Lee’. Hope you like and Happy 66th Birthday Mike! Thanks for being such a badass!

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Mike Carroll proudly endorses Los Cabos
Mike Carroll proudly endorses Los Cabos
Mike Carroll proudly endorses Los Cabos

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