Last week I had the pleasure of seeing my old classmate, Adam Deitch, perform for all of the incoming babies students at Berklee. Adam had a great band playing with him, including Eric Krasno and my former NYC roommate, Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff on guitar. While the band was officially billed as “Chapter 2”, it also consisted of half of the members of Lettuce. If you haven’t checked out their 2008 release, “Rage!”, then you’ve missed out one of the funkiest, most soulful albums of the past five years. These guys graduated from the University of Wally’s with honors and keep getting better every year.
With the snare cranked up tight, and a steady flow of ghost-notes, today’s loop cops more than a few of Adam’s licks. You’ll hear I still haven’t tamed my overly live tracking room (weekend project #172), but for this groove, it seems to work in favor of the mix. I’ll be including the rest of the grooves and fills from this session in the release of Gruss Loops V.
I know I’ve madesomesnarkycomments about splash cymbals in the past. This is why I feel I must explain myself before posting today’s loop. You see, there are other ways to utilize splash cymbals besides highlighting DX-7 solos in bad fusion jams and recording prog-rock concept albums.
This is a trick I picked up a few years ago while hanging out at Wally’s on “funk night”. One of the house drummers, Charles “The Dog” Haynes, would often pull out a splash cymbal in the middle of a song and place it directly on the snare drum, completely changing the sound of the backbeat. By hitting the splash with the shoulder of the stick and really laying into it, Charles was able to produce a piercing, almost bit-crushed sounding snare. If only splash cymbals always sounded this manly.
Today’s loop takes The Charles Haynes Splash Method™ and combines it with a jingle stick in the right hand and a floor tom hit (covered with a t-shirt and soaked in sub-bass) on the “and” of 1.
If you consider yourself a true music fan and live in Boston, then odds are you’ve been to Wally’s. Since 1947, it’s been a Beantown institution, known as a stomping ground for both Berklee students and touring musicians alike. The size of a small apartment (it’s literally the ground floor of an old brownstone), Wally’s is about as intimate as a venue can get. In order to safely walk to the bathroom, you need to squeeze past the hi hat and pray to god the drummer doesn’t do a fill.
While my friends and I were in college, Wally’s was our Mecca. You could find us there on any given Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday night. These were known as “funk nights”… and funky it was. The musicians responsible for “house band” duties usually consisted of Sam Kininger on sax, Eric Kranso on guitar, Adam Deitch on drums, and a slew of other musicians who would later go on to form the band, Lettuce.
This is a groove inspired by those late night jam sessions at Wally’s. Uptempo funk with a bit of conga in the mix. For this loop I used my little 10″ Premier snare and cranked it up nice and high with no dampening.