BY BRAD SCHLUETER | FROM THE MAY 2008 ISSUE OF DRUM!

Looking to learn how to play like R.E.M. drummer Bill Rieflin? Here’s a couple of transcriptions from the band’s 2008 album Accelerate that will get you started.

“LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE”

It’s worth emulating Bill Rieflin’s brand of no-non­sense style. He’s lent his skills to a wide range of artists, and built his career by delivering straight-up powerhouse drumming. Every beat and fill is designed to propel the music and the band forward, which he clearly demonstrates on the lead track from R.E.M’s Accelerate, “Living Well Is The Best Revenge.” He begins simply enough by playing a single-stroked crescendo that leads into a train-style snare groove with heavily accented backbeats. He moves it to his sloshy hi-­hats for the verse and the crash during the final section of this transcription.

REM living well is the best revenge bill rieflln drum transcription

“Living Well Is The Best Revenge”


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“MAN-SIZED WREATH”

Rieflin plays a funkier groove for “Man-sized Wreath,” with a bit of grease that he embellishes with ghosted snare notes on some of the e‘s and ah‘s. He changes the mood of these alternating sections by either playing his hi-hats clamped tight or open. It’s simple, but effective.

REM Man-Sized Wreath bill rieflln drum transcription

“Man-sized Wreath”

Bill Rieflin: Steering R.E.M. Into Harder Waters