Mike Carroll archive

Tag : sonor (7)

…At Last!

Categories: Media, Uncategorized, Video
Comments: 1 Comment
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…

Categories: Media, Video
Comments: No Comments
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 Belated Birthday Steve Gadd! Two Drum Licks Demystified…

Categories: Media, Video
Comments: No Comments
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 Birthday David Garibaldi! ‘Soul Vaccination’ Intro and Groove

Categories: Media, Video
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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 Aaron Spears! Drum Groove 6, Drum Lick 8

Categories: Media, Video
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Published on: October 26, 2012

I’m feeling a little under the weather today, but that won’t stop me from posting another video! This one was particularly difficult for me as I am not accustomed to playing R&B/gospel type grooves and fills, and it took me the longest to learn. (doesn’t help that I am functioning at less than 100%) I think it turned out pretty good considering…

Aaron Spears is 36 today! (Oct. 26, 2012) This video demonstrates the now famous fill that he played at the Modern Drummer Festival weekend in 2006 on the Usher track entitled ‘Caught Up’. I play six bars of groove before the one and a half bars of fill. Thanks Mr. Spears for kicking my sick ass!

This is the 6th edition of the ‘Drummer’s Birthdays’ series.

Happy Birthday Virgil Donati! Drum Grooves 4 and 5

Categories: Media, Video
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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!

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