Things have been busy for me this week at The Loop Loft. Today we just released two new Multitrack Drum Sessions, “Funk Meets Fusion” and “Thick & Meaty”. Check ’em out below:
What would it sound like if legendary funk drummer, Clyde Stubblefield (James Brown) joined a legendary fusion band like Weather Report, and they only performed in dance clubs where the tempo was regulated to 128 bpm? Well, we’re not sure if such a bizarre/awesome union like this would ever occur, but if it did, the drums would probably sound a lot like our latest multitrack release, “Funk Meets Fusion”.
Just like the name implies, the Thick and Meaty Multitrack Sessions are loaded with drums that give you plenty to chew on… and more. Using one of our beloved birch studio kits, we slapped on some extra-punchy Remo Pinstripe heads and pulled out our ultra-aggressive brass snare drum, all to give you a sound that is fat, juicy and totally in your face. Along with all of the individual drum tracks, we also captured the room sound on a separate channel, putting an even bigger (and natural) sound at your disposal. Just adjust the faders and mix to taste!
In July 2009, funk drumming legend, Clyde Stubblefield, whose sampled beats from his innovative recordings with James Brown have shaped the sound of hip-hop and drum & bass music, suffered kidney failure and began weekly dialysis treatment.
In July 2010, The Coalition for Clyde Stubblefield – an artist & industry association of Clyde’s supporters – was founded by drummers Stanton Moore, Johnny Rabb and David Stanoch to spread word of Clyde’s situation and new avenues being created expressly for donating financial support directly to him.
Clyde continues to work and perform regularly while dealing with the stress his kidney dialysis treatments demand.
We thank you for visiting this webpage and your desire to Give The Drummer Some, helping Clyde and his family find some relief as he braves this journey so they may feel some of YOUR soulfulness as we come together to help out a brother, an inspiration, our friend.
Remember, no contribution is too small and every penny makes a difference. JOIN THE COALITION & SPREAD THE WORD! Follow the simple instructions under the widget for embedding it into your own websites & social media pages! We thank you for your concern and generosity.
This past weekend, while clearing out one of the bedrooms in my house to make way for a nursery (yes folks, there’s a little Gruss set to drop in December), I stumbled upon an old shoebox containing dozens of old cassette tapes from my years at Berklee. A literal time capsule back to 1996-2000, these tapes captured everything from late night jam sessions in 150 Mass Ave, board tapes from various gigs with Jonah Smith, instrumental funk tracks featuring a classmate named John, and most importantly, recordings of my drum lessons with the legendary, Kenwood Dennard.
When I was in high school, Kenwood’s drumming on Maceo Parker’s “Life on Planet Groove” was without doubt, the most influential of all of the CDs I owned. I must have listened to that album thousands of times, learning every funky ghost note and fill that Kenwood laid down on that record. My love for that CD practically bordered on obsession, which is probably why I was so estatic when I found out that Kenwood would be joining the Berklee faculty during my freshman year of college. It’s not often that someone gets to meet one of their biggest musical heros, let alone be mentored by them.
During my junior year, I performed in Kenwood’s “Music of James Brown” ensemble as well as studied privately with him. This was a great combination because he would have the chance to hear me play every week in a live setting with other musicians, and then we would break it all down in my lessons and tweak certain elements of my drumming.
Kenwood always had two drum kits set up in his office, so the majority of lessons were spent with the two of us playing together, refining various grooves and bouncing rhythmic phrases back and forth. Not wanting to forget a single note of our sessions, I always had a tape recorder running so I could analyze everything afterwards. It was humbling enough just playing with Kenwood, it was even MORE humbling listening to a recording of yourself playing with Kenwood.
At the beginning of one particular lesson in 1998, I was showing Kenwood some grooves in 7/8 I was working on. Nothing fancy, just some vanilla funk groove with a lot of emphasis on the “1”. What Kenwood laid on me next was something that would forever change my playing:
You can totally reconstruct the entire DNA of a groove by NOT emphasising the “1”. And when doing this in an odd meter, things can get really interesting. Find the weak part of beats and try turning them into the dominate ones. And this doesn’t only apply to odd meters… it can be just as effective in 4/4.
A few of my favorite moments of this lesson:
– 1:30 Kenwood and I trying to find the “e” of 4
– 6:59 Kenwood asking ME how to play the groove to Super Bad
– 9:35 “You can do that for the next 10 years.” He was right.
Here’s a quick transcription I did of the concept we were working on in that lesson (pardon the unattached 8th note stems). Notice, there is nothing on the downbeat of 1 (other than the hi hat), with the kick drum anticipating each bar by falling on the “e” of 4. Any snare note that isn’t a back beat is to be ghosted.
Every winter, when I travel home to West Des Moines, Iowa to celebrate Christmas with my family, I also take part in a “reunion concert” of sorts with some old friends from high school. Fourteen years ago, just before packing up my bags and heading to Berklee, I teamed up with some other members of my high school jazz band to find a way to get into bars without a fake ID. The solution? Start a funk band. And give it a really bad name.
At first we were called Pushin’ Chunky. Then we were D.I.M. (Drunkards In Motion). Several years ago, we somehow transitioned into the rather unfortunate moniker, Chach. Our name may change a lot, but the set list never really does. Stocked full of quintessential bar-funk-soul-r&b-band standards such as Sex Machine, Superstition, Everybody’s Everything and Pass The Peas, it’s three hours of music that we can pull off on an annual basis… without a single rehearsal. Consistent? Yes. Tight? Eh. Tight enough.
In preparation for this year’s Chach-fest, I’ve been brushing up on the ‘ol funk chops. Today’s loop is one of the many Kenwood-esque grooves that will be making the annual appearance down on Court Avenue. Two measures, some swung sixteenth notes and an open hi hat on the “one”. It’s what the best bar bands are made of. And yes, it looks like I finally quit the drum replacer habit.
I finally snapped out of my post-Halloween, candy-induced coma and created mp3 previews for my latest subscriber-only loop release, Volume VI. With the widest range of styles and sounds I’ve yet to produce in a single loop pack, I consider this my pièce de résistance (until I release the next one). Let’s take a closer look, shall we?
122_JB – After receiving several requests from my subscribers for more straight-up, James Brown-type funk grooves, I set off to record a series of loops inspired by the Godfather of Soul himself. With the snare cranked up high and a very dry and natural mix, this set of loops will help you to get up and do your thing. You know. Movin’ it and doin’ it. Can I count it off??
99_FrameDrum – Who said the frame drum was just for traditional, South Indian music? This set of loops takes some of the Carnatic rhythmic phrasings this instrument is known for and melds it with a few Westernized 4/4 grooves that will keep your parents clapping on 1 and 3.
100_Sugarfoot – This set of grooves is my hat tip to the one and only Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett. Funky pop drumming with some extra sweetness on the kick, these grooves will make you want to adopt a chimp and name him Bubbles.
285_Bebop – In an effort to fill the 260-300 BPM gap in my catalogue, these uptempo jazz loops take some of the straight ahead stylings of Philly Joe Jones and Max Roach and mixes them up with some more of the contemporary and polyrhythmic phrasings of Bill Stewart and Peter Erskine.
93_Sixteenth – This recording session originally started off as an ode to Michael McDonald’s 1982 Lite-FM hit, I Keep Forgettin’ and ended up as something quite different. With a steady 16th note pulse on the hi-hat and some extra “sub” on the kick, these grooves are equally Gangsta as they are Yacht Rock.
To become a subscriber and gain instant access to all of the 100+ loops (each as AIFF, WAV and REX2) in Volume VI, just click the button below.
Yeah, I know I haven’t been blogging much this week. It’s because I’ve been locked up in the studio, chugging gallons of Red Bull, snorting several kilos of Fun Dip and editing hundreds of drum loops, all in preparation of the November 1st release of Gruss Loops Volume VI.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say this was the best series of loops I’ve ever created… if not, in the history of the internets. From South Indian frame drum grooves to super tight James Brown-inspired funk beats to uptempo bebop loops that would make the hair (and needles) on Charlie Parker’s arm stand up, this loop pack has it all.