BY STEWART JEAN
At first listen, punk rock sounds fairly easy for a drummer. All it takes to see otherwise is to sit down and try and play one tune that resides in the 160-200+ bpm realm—you will quickly discover respect for this genre.
Bands such as X and The Dickies use fast tempos at ties and these grooves can serve as a great exercise to build speed, control, stamina, and to develop fill ideas. If you are at all like me, a loosey-goosey, rootsy player, you could probably benefit from this power session lesson to help your overall drumming.
The following grooves are typical 1-bar grooves heard in punk music. Take one of these or a groove of your own and follow this cycle:
- 8 bars closed hi-hat playing quarter notes
- 8 bars open hi-hat playing quarter notes
- 8 bars closed hi-hat playing eighth notes
- 8 bars ride bell playing quarter notes
- Play a small fill (no more than four beats) in bar 8 before transitioning to the next hi-hat or ride pattern
- Start at 130 bpm and gradually work your way up to 190+ by adding 10 bpm after every few minutes at one temp
- Once you hit a wall, lower the tempo a few clicks and cycle groove and fill patterns in repetition—the fill that you screw up is the one to work on
Key Points of Focus
- Recognize acknowledge any tension. Once you are playing past your comfort zone you need to bring the tempo back.
- Note placement and tempo. Once you change the tempo you must lock in immediately. Do not allow yourself to fall into the pocket after a few bars, it must be instant.
- Do not over correct. If you are under or over tempo simply slide in the correct direction (up or down) without over doing it and going past the target tempo.