Creative insights from one of the world’s most influential drummers.
PERFECTION IS OVERRATED
“I don’t know anybody who’s perfect. You go out there and do your best. And if you don’t nail it, then you go out the next day and you try to get it right. That’s really all you can do.”
NO SHOWING OFF
“Instead of driving the music with this need to show off, I’ve learned to let the music dictate what I need to do. You have to really listen in order to do that.”
“Originally you’re inspired by hearing someone else doing something, and then taking it home and trying to learn how to do it. When I was growing up I would get records of Philly Joe, Elvin Jones, Tony Williams, and guys like that, and slow the records down and work out what they were playing, and then work on it and put my own feel to it. That’s how we all learn.”
BUT BE ORIGINAL
“You can’t be a copy of somebody else, no matter how hard you try. It’s impossible. I’ve seen people try to copy licks and get them exact, and I can tell they’re not play- ing in a way that’s natural or comfortable. That’s not what music is all about. You have to develop your own bag of tricks. The worst thing in the world you can do is let your enthusiasm for somebody else’s work stifle your own creativity.”
GET IN THE GROOVE
“I’ve seen so many drummers who have chops and technique that would make your jaw drop to the floor. People are doing some really incredible things. To me, though, I find it just as inspiring on a whole different level when I see somebody who can play a groove and get inside it and make me tap my toes. If you can get people tapping their toes, that’s it – you’re playing music.”
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