BY STANTON MOORE | FROM THE FALL 2019 ISSUE OF DRUM!
When I was studying with Johnny Vidacovich, I was fascinated with some of the beats he would play on the snare drum. There was one lesson where he put on the Professor Longhair record Crawfish Fiesta, which features his brilliant playing. He told me to come up with what I thought the groove was for this one song. I came up with something, but I was way off. Johnny chuckled, took the sticks from me, and sat down to show me what the beat actually was (Ex. 1). I was absolutely mesmerized.
This was the beat to “Her Mind Is Gone.” This beat is rooted in a straightforward “surf beat” with the double backbeat on 2 (Ex. 2). If you move the hands to the snare, things start to get a little funkier (Ex. 3).
Johnny added a few more notes on the snare to embellish the beat (Ex. 4). Then he added some more bass drum to flesh this out into the beat we hear in the tune (Ex. 5).
I could tell right away that the right hand would sound great anywhere on the kit with this beat. You can start by playing this with the right hand on hi-hat or ride, but when you take the left hand off the snare drum play the hands together for the notes that used to be flams (Ex. 6).
One of my favorite things to do is to play this groove with the right hand on the cowbell (Ex. 7). Try this with the right hand on the floor tom. It would sound great on a mini-timbale, or on a frying pan, or any Pete Engelhart or Morfbeats percussion. Really, the sky is the limit and you’re only limited by your imagination. Have fun and stay funky!
Stanton Moore is the drummer of New Orleans funk band Galactic. His 2010 book/DVD Groove Alchemy explores the roots of funk drumming, and in 2016 he launched hais own subscription-based instructional website, stantonmooredrumacademy.com.