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Dirigible

Bonham: Points of Style

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What's your opinion on playing the songs the exact way they were recorded? ie, Do you think it's necessary only to learn the main groove and improvise some of the fills and ornamental notes? Or are you guys purists when it comes to this? Personally, I find it far easier to improvise some stuff instead of trying to memorize every exact note, as it were. So my position on this comes from one of a bad memory and laziness =D

It's a personal integrity thing, probably what you'd call being a purist. I'd almost rather not play the tune at all than knowingly play it wrong. The rewards are greater if the song is performed faithfully. Faking orchestrated parts of any band's music ingrained in the public consciousness as much as Led Zeppelin's is NOT advisable. Better to spend an afternoon wrestling with the part to get it correct. If it's so technical or complex that there's no way around it except winging it, then there's few musicians (myself included) that haven't winged it on occasion.

My guitarist (the worst snob to ever draw a breath) and I always had a laugh when we watched local bands do 'a Zeppelin medley.' My guitarist's analysis was: "Listen, they play the easy part and when it comes to a tricky change they start playing the easy part of another song." It's like an amateur guitar player who can play parts of lots of songs, but not a whole arrangement to a single one. That's fine if he's strumming on the couch to warm his girlfriend's heart but faking it in front of a roomful of strangers is different---he's a professional then. There is NOTHING wrong with being an amateur musician, not everybody who can play an instrument headlines a night at the Garden.

Non-musicians (civilians) aren't going to know you changed something minor (or major for that matter). It's been my experience that audiences in nightclubs talk, they listen to the first five seconds of a song, recognize it in their head, stop listening and go back to talking. Nobody's going to hang onto your every note in a bar. Some civilians don't even listen to the concerts they buy $80 tickets for.

Never be discouraged by musicians better than you. Just because they can play great doesn't mean you can't play at all.

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It's a personal integrity thing, probably what you'd call being a purist. I'd almost rather not play the tune at all than knowingly play it wrong.

Let me add one thing I am an absolute purist about. If drummers are serious about recreating Bonzo's drumming THEN IT MUST BE DONE ON A SINGLE PEDAL. I don't want to know about drummers playing double-pedal on Led Zeppelin songs. Inexcusable, and I'm a drummer who plays a double-pedal. For authenticity put in the time and learn how to play it with one foot, it's easy to do and big fun once it starts coming together.

If any drummers want to debate that point with me---I wuz hopin' U would . . . .

Edited by Dirigible

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^^My drummer has been playing with a double pedal since he got his first kit almost 30 years ago. He simply never developed the bounce. I give him shit about (have been for 18 years), because it was one of the first things I learned to do. Heel up, on the ball of the foot, baba! And I was 12, lol!

One of my favorite arrangementsis Kashmir. So simple, yet deceptive. The drums are in 4/4, but the music is in 3/4. Four measures of the music equals three measures of the drum groove. Yet it synchs up in the end.

Similarly, in Black Dog. As you know, there are 3 lines of lyrics in each verse, followed by a longer variation of the riff which eventually settles to an A chord, and the music stops for the next verse. The amazing thing is, Jones wrote that section as three 9/8 bars and one 5/8 bar over a straight 4/4. The drums continue bass drum on 1 and 3 and snare on the back beat, yet it all ends up together on the back beat at the return. There's weird tricky shit like that all through Zeppelin.

As for playing songs exactly, I'm an absolute purist, sick to the point that if there's a wrong note in a song (like the flubbed note on the keyboard at the beginning of All My Love), I'll insist it be recreated! :lol:

Bonham often dragged the beat for effect. That's what gives songs like Heartbreaker it's swagger. But he also pushed the beat on songs like Wearing and Tearing to prvide urgency. He was masterful at it.

Oh, and Dirigible, the guitar in my avi is an Ed Roman Quicksilver. It has a gorgeous cocobolo top.

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^^My drummer has been playing with a double pedal since he got his first kit almost 30 years ago. He simply never developed the bounce. I give him shit about (have been for 18 years), because it was one of the first things I learned to do. Heel up, on the ball of the foot, baba! And I was 12, lol!

One of my favorite arrangementsis Kashmir. So simple, yet deceptive. The drums are in 4/4, but the music is in 3/4. Four measures of the music equals three measures of the drum groove. Yet it synchs up in the end.

Similarly, in Black Dog. As you know, there are 3 lines of lyrics in each verse, followed by a longer variation of the riff which eventually settles to an A chord, and the music stops for the next verse. The amazing thing is, Jones wrote that section as three 9/8 bars and one 5/8 bar over a straight 4/4. The drums continue bass drum on 1 and 3 and snare on the back beat, yet it all ends up together on the back beat at the return. There's weird tricky shit like that all through Zeppelin.

As for playing songs exactly, I'm an absolute purist, sick to the point that if there's a wrong note in a song (like the flubbed note on the keyboard at the beginning of All My Love), I'll insist it be recreated! :lol:

Bonham often dragged the beat for effect. That's what gives songs like Heartbreaker it's swagger. But he also pushed the beat on songs like Wearing and Tearing to prvide urgency. He was masterful at it.

Oh, and Dirigible, the guitar in my avi is an Ed Roman Quicksilver. It has a gorgeous cocobolo top.

I saw your You Tube stuff today. You are the best musician in that band (and damned if you don't have that Page dance step together too, my ni**a.) Forgive my computer inexpertise---in the next few days I will have Semi Page audio and video uploaded: Black Dog, Ocean, Dazed and Confused, Heartbreaker, Out On The Tiles, etc. Promise. And dude, with all due respect, Tangerine is trickier to play on drums than Kashmir. "Woman talkin' to ya . . .'

What does cocobolo mean?

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What's your opinion on playing the songs the exact way they were recorded?

To me you have to find the difference between "the song", and "the performance". The song is what's "writen", the perfomance is "interpretation".

Then we'll play the song, and perform it as ourselves.

With Zeppelin this actually becomes very easy because there are so many bootlegs that reveal what they themselves played the same, & what was open for being changed. So for instance if Jimmy always played the guitar solo the same way, then it's part of the song & needs to be that way, but if he just went for it every time, then that's fair game for us to do the same.

Same with the other instruments - something that Bonzo does every time is part of the song, but if he would stick to a particular groove whilst changing the actual details of what he played each time, then it's the groove that we're going to go for, and no-one is going to worry about recreating every double stroke he played on the bass drum on a particular performance.

Tricky bits of timing, extra beats, funny time signatures etc are always part of the song. That's part of the writing, not the performance.

Sometimes we will deliberately slip in phrases exactly as played on some boot or other, as "quotations", but that's usually just to see if we can make each other laugh - there's only me & the other guitar player who are into boots, so that's usually just us.

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One of my favorite arrangementsis Kashmir. So simple, yet deceptive. The drums are in 4/4, but the music is in 3/4. Four measures of the music equals three measures of the drum groove. Yet it synchs up in the end.

You know Ev, I always think of Kashmir as being in 6/4, with two bars of 6 containing the whole riff cycle for drums & the rest. It makes it really easy to teach to song to people who aren't so familiar with it.

I've seen drummers' eyes glaze over when you try to say "you stay in 4/4, we'll play in 3/4, meet you after three bars", but say "count to six, twice" and everybody's happy! :D

...I'm an absolute purist, sick to the point that if there's a wrong note in a song (like the flubbed note on the keyboard at the beginning of All My Love), I'll insist it be recreated! :lol:

Yes my friend - that's a sickness alright ;)

So what would happen if you were going to play the Tempe version of a song? :lol:

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To me you have to find the difference between "the song", and "the performance". The song is what's "writen", the perfomance is "interpretation".

Then we'll play the song, and perform it as ourselves.

Thank you for saying it exactly the way I've been trying to. Interpretation. When I saw LZ slow down the chorus of D&C in 1971 I was floored but before the song ended they played one chorus EXACTLY the way it was recorded just to inform the audience: "It's us, but we'll change it if we want to."

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Depends on the respect level I have for the drummer whose parts I am covering. The ones I respect tend to have such a signature style that I will stay about 90 % true to their part. If it's someone with a generic style, then I will improvise all night long.

Do you ever screw around with songs you just hate to play? I don't mean songs that are hard to play, but the rest of the band loves it.

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Do you ever screw around with songs you just hate to play? I don't mean songs that are hard to play, but the rest of the band loves it.

Everytime I play Kryptonite by Three Doors Down my friend. B)

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Everytime I play Kryptonite by Three Doors Down my friend. B)

Ouch. :)

Do you ever get the stink eye from the other members of the band?.

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Ouch. :)

Do you ever get the stink eye from the other members of the band?.

Nah....I don't screw it up to the point that it's obnoxious, and both the guitar players in my cover band egg me on in the improv dept. anyway. B)

The singer might look at me a little funny once in a while, but...you know, he's a singer! :P

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Do ya'll play any Loverboy?

No, but when we find the right Bandana....Look out!

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Do ya'll play any Loverboy?

Turn Me Loose :angry: Man I hated the early 80's. And our "Singer" kept demanding that we play top ten hits so we would get more gigs. Personally I just think he liked spandex and headbands.

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The Kid Is Hot Tonite and Hots Girls In Love can still bottom out the lame-o meter badly (though it might be a hoot trashing Working For The Weekend on the drums.)

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Sounds like you have the right idea on All my Love, when I referred to the all bass triplet, I meant that it does occur as the beginning of the pattern. BBB BBL.

I meant to comment and don't know why I didn't, blame it on too much Led Zeppelin blasting on 10 before my impressionable young brain was out of Pampers yet. Apologies. Re-reading the thread this morning I see no one else commented either, we kinda glossed over this BBB BBL (bass bass left?) but this is an important find. I do believe HICKORY MAN HAS UNEARTHED A TRUE BONZO BASS DRUM TRIPLET FROM THE LZ CANON. At first I wanted to rationalize it away, thinking nah, it's just three beats in a row, there's no triplet feel. But, alas there is a triplet feel.

Thanks for getting the thread back on track, Hickory Man, your discovery is worthy of note. What do the rest of you think? Please, and thanks.

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I meant to comment and don't know why I didn't, blame it on too much Led Zeppelin blasting on 10 before my impressionable young brain was out of Pampers yet. Apologies. Re-reading the thread this morning I see no one else commented either, we kinda glossed over this BBB BBL (bass bass left?) but this is an important find. I do believe HICKORY MAN HAS UNEARTHED A TRUE BONZO BASS DRUM TRIPLET FROM THE LZ CANON. At first I wanted to rationalize it away, thinking nah, it's just three beats in a row, there's no triplet feel. But, alas there is a triplet feel.

Thanks for getting the thread back on track, Hickory Man, your discovery is worthy of note. What do the rest of you think? Please, and thanks.

Yes BBB BBL with the L representing the snare stroke.

Oh, and thanks. :thanku:

:lol:

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On Night Flight you can hear his famous triplets, at the beginning when he is playing on the hi-hat, he gives us B-B-L, B, BBBL. Which is very difficult. Another tricky one is on For Your Life at the chorus when he plays B, LBBBLB, BL, LB.

I have mastered these because for all my 7 years drumming, I have only ever used heel up - it allows for your foot to bounce the pedal back and forth so easily. That is why Bonzo's triplets are light-sounding, because he sacrifices power for speed in the bounces.

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The Kid Is Hot Tonite and Hots Girls In Love can still bottom out the lame-o meter badly (though it might be a hoot trashing Working For The Weekend on the drums.)

:D

R B)

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If any drummers want to debate that point with me---I wuz hopin' U would . . . .

Okay, I will :)

First off, let me say that up until 4 or 5 years ago, I was a single pedal snob to the umpteenth degree. My point was, if you want two pedals, add the other kick drum. No particular reason, except I was against it because of my personal training. If I played a gig with someone with a double, I would unhook the left as fast as I could. And it seemed everyone from 1995 on had one too. I was still using my old original Tama Superstar kit that I bought in 1982 brand new. Same pedal, hat, snare and cymbal stands. They were/are some tough hardware as I still have the hat and cymbal stands. Anyhoo, a friend of mine let me use his kit rehearsing in his garage and he had a Iron Cobra double pedal and I thought what the hell, might as well use it, so I did. Took me about two weeks to get used to it, but now I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything. And it's not just for double fills either. I like to switch to my left foot for some nice accents. Sometimes the guys in my group give me a double take when i do that. Also, i'm recovering from a broken right ankle, so let's just say, the double has let me continue playing. Now as far as Bonzo/Zep tunes are concerned, again I see nothing wrong with using a double pedal, as long as it's not all the time. I like to throw it in on The Wonton Song, during the fill in the middle of the verse. Again, it's for seasoning and personally I like it. I don't think it's a crime to do that.

After all, I've heard that Bonzo himself wanted to use a double kick drum set but the other guys were against it because he was so dominate on the single kick.

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Okay, I will :)

First off, let me say that up until 4 or 5 years ago, I was a single pedal snob to the umpteenth degree. My point was, if you want two pedals, add the other kick drum. No particular reason, except I was against it because of my personal training. If I played a gig with someone with a double, I would unhook the left as fast as I could. And it seemed everyone from 1995 on had one too. I was still using my old original Tama Superstar kit that I bought in 1982 brand new. Same pedal, hat, snare and cymbal stands. They were/are some tough hardware as I still have the hat and cymbal stands. Anyhoo, a friend of mine let me use his kit rehearsing in his garage and he had a Iron Cobra double pedal and I thought what the hell, might as well use it, so I did. Took me about two weeks to get used to it, but now I love it and wouldn't trade it for anything. And it's not just for double fills either. I like to switch to my left foot for some nice accents. Sometimes the guys in my group give me a double take when i do that. Also, i'm recovering from a broken right ankle, so let's just say, the double has let me continue playing. Now as far as Bonzo/Zep tunes are concerned, again I see nothing wrong with using a double pedal, as long as it's not all the time. I like to throw it in on The Wonton Song, during the fill in the middle of the verse. Again, it's for seasoning and personally I like it. I don't think it's a crime to do that.

After all, I've heard that Bonzo himself wanted to use a double kick drum set but the other guys were against it because he was so dominate on the single kick.

My story with double bass pedals could be told using your exact words, dan. Single bass pedal snob, etc. Never cut a hole in my front bass drumhead either. Small world, I use the Iron Cobra double pedal too! Since September 2000 I've been delighted at the extra vocabulary it provided. Also I was delighted enough to buy the Iron Cobra two-legged hi-hat stand (the one you can lean toward you up to about a 70% angle) that links together with the bass pedal baseplate and leaves a clean enough footprint in which to arrange a snare stand. (Tama owes us an endorsement deal, dan, for all the free ink we're givin' 'em here.) Just like you, I use the double pedal mostly for accents and spicing things up. For a laugh when no one's around play Wipeout substituting double bass rolls for tom rolls.

Concerning Bonham: if he were alive would he NOW play a double pedal?

Mostly it pains me to hear drummers who haven't taken the time to learn the Bonzo bass drum bounce and fall back on the double pedal as a crutch. Even Jason Bonham's use of a double pedal on Zeppelin songs during Page's Outrider tour didn't validate it. Because of your feet-on experience with both single and double pedals you know the difference in the way the notes fall using two beaters as opposed to one and know they don't sound much alike at all. Two beaters playing notes is obviously different from one beater fluttering notes. Like you, I put my left foot on my hi-hat pedal when playing a Zep song. Where it belongs. (As much as it rubs my purist instincts the wrong way I'll occasionally look down and see my left foot in violation, not cheating but trespassing on the second pedal. I get mad at myself when it happens.) History shows Jimmy, John Paul and Robert were wise to hide Bonham's second bass from him. Ya gotta love Jones' famous quote/exclamation to Bonzo: "Hey! What am I gonna play?"

How can we debate if you insist upon playing Bonham correctly? :D Hope your ankle 'gets well soon.'

Edited by Dirigible

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How can we debate if you insist upon playing Bonham correctly? :D Hope your ankle 'gets well soon.'

First off, thanks for the concern. I've started physical therapy so it shouldn't be too long and I'll be putting the beater through the skin :o

Well, we can debate because politicians do it all time, even when they agree :unsure:

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It shouldn't be too long and I'll be putting the beater through the skin :o

Tut tut, isn't that how you broke it to begin with? B)

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Tut tut, isn't that how you broke it to begin with? B)

No, fortunately I did it on the job so workmen's comp is paying me almost my entire wage. First time i've been off for this long (April) since I was fifteen. :D

Which reminds me, gotta go do my exercises. Paradiddles on the kick drum :D :D :D :D

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No, fortunately I did it on the job so workmen's comp is paying me almost my entire wage. First time i've been off for this long (April) since I was fifteen. :D

Which reminds me, gotta go do my exercises. Paradiddles on the kick drum :D :D :D :D

There's some silver lining in there anyhow. Ever heard Simon Phillips play paradiddles twice as fast with his feet while his hands play them half as fast on the snare? He can switch it round too so his hands are twice as fast. Actually I've heard Simon play paradiddles so fast it sounded like a press roll at 480 bpm. :unsure:

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