MIKE CLARK: WORDS OF WISDOM, PART 8
Chapter Eight in our ongoing series of commentary from legendary drummer Mike Clark…His storied observations continue to inspire, and provide keen insight into ‘all things music’.
Not a huge chop head… I have some kinda’ fast hands naturally since I was a kid; but speed isn’t a huge thing for me.
Lenny White and I worked on our book today… It is getting interesting !!
Was just thinking about Eddie Gladden who had a nasty filthy ride beat, and some great intense ideas as well!
People have been saying to me that Herbie Hancock could play modern, but couldn't play Bebop. We used to play straight ahead with him all the time. Although I never heard him play like Bud Powell, one thing he could do was play exactly like Wynton Kelly; swing his butt off, and keep it there. I should know…
I played with the dude for over five years.
Roy Haynes - One of my all time Heroes and Influences !!
Funk on the Oakland Side. In order to make those grooves come off like it’s makin' stew, is to season it right. You need dynamics between the bass drum snare, and hi-hat or cymbal. But, if the bass player is real loud, none of the ghosting will come through so it won't be funky. It will sound busy, or like Rock - and won't swing. Gotta’ have a bassist who likes the hot sauce, and won't hit like a wrecking ball and ruin the Gumbo!
Sound check is BS…You can just show up and play.
Recently we flew in a tiny prop plane that reeked of gas I called, the ‘Buzzard’. That was after working non - stop from 8 am until 6 pm, then waiting three hours at the airport for the ‘Buzzard’ to arrive. Flying two more hours, then driving one hour to the hotel... This stuff ain't for the weak.
I find it interesting that fusion type chop drummers who were the king of the hill blasting every lick they knew the last twenty years are now preaching... Hey, just play time and quit showing off.
Now that a new bunch of fusion chop drummers have showed up… And can out blast them!
Once you’ve mastered a lot of the technical wizardry that your heroes have played, you only have a small piece of the puzzle...That’s the easy part.
When you age, and hear the phrasing they played when they were twenty years younger makes you realize where the real work is!
To all New York bass players…
Thank you !!