Dave Elitch has played with such heavy bands as The Mars Volta, Killer Be Killed, and Antemasque, and is known not only for his aggressive approach, but for his unique, complex drum parts that take the music to another level. After a quick YouTube search, a number of popular videos came up, and we chose the following to analyze — one instructional and two performance clips.

“Inverted Double Strokes”

Elitch gives his take on a pattern credited to drum hero Steve Gadd, also referred to as displaced doubles (RLLRRLLR, repeat). Elitch first demonstrates the rudiment on one surface (the snare), then orchestrates it between the hi-hat, snare, and bass drum. The excerpt transcribed here is from the solo that he plays after announcing, “Mess around with it and see what you can do.” Notice that he substitutes a bass drum for the snare on the last of each eighth-note/thirty-second grouping, leaves out the hi-hat on beat 1 in measures two and four, in the heat of the moment breaks away from using displaced doubles in measure five, but returns back in measure six.

1. GrooveAnalysis-Inverted Double Strokes-Dave Elitch


“The Verge”
(Laguna Drumfest MX 2013)

2. GrooveAnalysis-The Verge-Dave Elitch

In the first eight bars, syncopated flat flams between floor toms are contrasted by four-on-the-floor (simultaneous bass drum and hi-hat chicks). Elitch then goes into a march using sixteenths on the snare with accents. Check out the consecutive five-stroke rolls in the second measure of the march section. “This is from my friend Chris Waldrep’s band, The Great Wall. This record came out a few years back and was incredibly difficult to pull off. I had to transcribe nearly every part out to do the record,” says Elitch.

(The Mars Volta Goliath Dave Elitch Drum Cam)

3. GrooveAnalysis-Goliath-Dave Elitch mars volta

This video clip immediately captured our attention because of the almost surreal  force and energy of Elitch’s performance.  He comments, “This was the only song that we didn’t use a click live because they wanted the time to move around organically. My main goal was to make the song  groove as hard as possible while also  putting on an entertaining show for the  audience — without my time going out
the window.”