This is my 15th Chapter in an ongoing series of conversations, quotes, commentary, and updates with drumming legend Mike Clark. Mike’s keen observations provide numerous insights into ‘all things music’. I ask Mike to just tell it like it is… Including the good, the bad, and everything else in between.
"Has anybody noticed that the drums sounds in ‘Jazz’ have changed? When I was with Herbie Hancock, I started the gig with my Gretsch set with an 18” bass drum. They got louder and louder and I got me a bigger set. The heads changed when ‘fusion’ - and later the 1980's studio sounds…All kinds of heads and shells have changed. Now many times but not always… I hear a sound that is not like the jazz sound I know. It’s somewhere in between fusion and 1980's - 90's studio and jazz - with sort of a ring, sort of tubby and not real clear. Clubs in New York City have some great sounding sets in them. Anyway it ain’t no biggie as I tune my drums like Max Roach did with Clifford Brown with a kind of early Tony Williams bass drum sound."
"Your gonna love this… OK, as we know many drummers are always like - I can do that… Or put other drummers down in order to make their case stronger, or whatever. So this one drummer when I mention someone is like "Yeah he's good but”… So I made up a drummer called Tonnerflip, and told my friend… Man have you heard that new cat Tonnerflip? He can play all that odd time stuff in 7, 13 or whatever… Plus swing, and get funky - Man, Tonner is the sh*t. The guy said, Yeah, I heard him the other night ... He's OK - but can't play any Bebop… This Is Real !!"
"As a drummer sometimes it’s appropriate to play licks as they can send important signals, or get you from point A to point B. But for me, it’s much more interesting when it’s a flow of communication even if I choose not to interact. But you gotta’ do what you gotta’ do sometimes as all are part of the language."
"Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Lenny White, Jack DeJohnette and Don Alias the only drummers on Bitches Brew?"
"Never mind all my Jazz rants… Let's get down to the real stuff...Who did kill Laura Palmer?"