From DRUM! Magazine’s April 2017 Issue | Text And Music By Andy Ziker | Video Lesson By Nate Brown
Brooks Wackerman is an absolute beast on A7X’s new album, The Stage, but when you see him perform these songs live, you’ll notice that he pulls off mind boggling virtuosity as if it’s a stroll in the park.
Double paradiddles (RLRLRR LRLRLL) are played as sextuplets and spread between snare and an assortment of toms. A steady eighth-note undercurrent of bass drum and hi-hat chick holds it all together. Wackerman switches it up to single strokes on beats 3 and 4 in the second measure and the entire fourth measure.
Wackerman responds to a repeating guitar riff with a pattern of his own: alternating doubleass sixteenth-notes with two hertas (two thirty-second notes connected to two sixteenths) along with quarters on the ride bell and cymbal stack. The bass pattern continues in the second line, but this time Wackerman adds density by simultaneously traveling down and then up the toms. He throws us a curveball at the beginning of the third line with a thirty-second-note combination between bass drum and high tom, and then begins a descending flat flam theme in the second half of that measure. Notice how in the last measure Wackerman uses mostly sixteenths and then sextuplets on beat 4 to accelerate into a stop.
Wackerman brings an insane amount of creativity to this heavy metal table. Here, his quirky parts blend perfectly with the outrageous vibe coming from guest artists Fishbone. In the first three measures of this passage, a driving twist in beats 1 and 2 contrasts against a silly, off-beat gallop between double bass and ride bell on beat 3.
After oscillating between eighth-note triplets and eighth-notes on double bass (with crashes on 2 and 4), two measures of blastbeats on sloshy hi-hat in measures seven and eight (and cymbal stack in measures 15 and 16) help us regain our footing.