I’m not referring to the lame Sting song (ok ok, I admit I like it… relax), I’m talking about the seven days I just spent on vacation in Mexico. Without going into too many details (most of which, I can’t really remember anyway), my wife and I just returned from a much needed getaway to Tulum. A place where the sun is hot, the beer is cold and the tacos are cheap. In other words, my Heaven.
To celebrate the return from my seven day vacation, I decided it would be appropriate to record a series of loops in 7/8. Here’s a two measure snippet from today’s session, the rest of which, will be made available to my loyal and extremely good-looking subscribers on April 1st (not a joke).
Well, not for good… but for the next week I’ll be spending the majority of my time sitting here and drinking this. Don’t look for any new loops to be posted on this site, but for some highly insightful, tequila-fueled rants and observations, be sure to keep up with me over on Twitter.
As I pack my bags (and 30 SPF sunblock), I leave you with a loop inspired by this guy:
It’s another cold and snowy day in Boston. I love living in New England because I really get to experience all four seasons, but I also hate this time of year. Three months into winter, late February is when I usually start perusing varioustravelwebsites, looking for an escape from the daily routine of scraping ice off of my windshield.
I have a rather vivid imagination, so rather than dropping a few grand on a trip to the Caribbean, sometimes I’ll just crank up the heat in my studio to about 95°F, crack open a few Coronas, and play some grooves indigenous to tropical regions. Reggae, calypso, samba… anything to feel like I’m within a 500 mile radius of the equator. My wife doesn’t seem to agree that this is the same as lounging around in a beach chair, somewhere on a white sandy beach. My response to this is usually a snap of the fingers, and a request for more guacamole.
Today’s “take me away” groove is Soca. An offshoot of Calypso music, Soca originates from the islands of Tobago and Trinidad and is usually based around a heavy drum and percussion ostinato. Some examples of Soca grooves in popular music are Buster Poindexter’s 1987 hit, “Hot, Hot, Hot” and Kevin Lyttle’s“Turn Me On”. This particular loop is a four bar phrase consisting of just kick and snare. With an almost march-like quality, this groove makes for an ideal drum break on any Caribbean dance floor. Look for more Soca grooves in the upcoming and highly anticipated release of Gruss Loops Volume X.
Those of you who have ever toured or played your share of local gigs will probably be able to relate with the topic of today’s post – the soundcheck. A horribly mundane, necessary evil of live performing, it’s one of the least glamorous and exciting parts of being a musician. Between the piercing feedback in the monitors, the jaded soundguy who is still pissed about getting dropped from Metal Blade back in ’89, and the stale stench of beer and puke wafting throughout an empty venue, it’s an hour of my life that I’d rather spend watching T.J. Hooker reruns.
After slowly and repeatedly hitting each individual part of my kit for 15 minutes, this is one of my “go to” grooves for a typical rock/pop soundcheck. A driving, straightforward beat that utilizes every drum (along with some eighth notes on the hi hat) it gives the engineer a chance to dial in and balance the entire kit. It also sounds a lot like the intro to “Unskinny Bop”.
I apologize for the recent lack of loops over the past week. As you know, there is lot of behind the scenes work going on at ryangruss.com in preparation for June 1st. Between the film crew in my house, the international press junkets and my fresh Botox injections, it’s been hard to keep up with the day to day administration of this site. Plus it’s Memorial Day weekend, so I’m also busy barbecuing and drinking beer.
To keep you entertained in the meantime, here’s a tour of Stewart Copeland’s kit from the recent Police reunion tour. Normally, I make fun of people with splash cymbals (especially six of them), but Stewart is one of the few who can get away with it.