Maybe this post should be saved for a Craigslist rant. You decide.

I have been watching a fair amount of YouTube drumming videos lately, and FAR too many of them are just a bash of exploding chops. Don’t get me wrong; chops are great, and they are fun to unleash… but if you listen to many of the clips, they are all too often a collection of nothing more than loud, fast, blazing whatever.

For certain styles of music, this is fine. But as drummers, we don’t have to go there all the time. I’d like to see and hear more clips where the drummer is actually COMPOSING something while they play. If you want to hear a master of this, search for Jimmy Cobb.

Cobb played for Mile Davis on some of the most important records in jazz history. He is an incredibly musical drummer. His right hand keeps well-defined time while his left has composes with short, musical phrases. He’s over 80 now and he is STILL the man.

Blazing away, as I said, is fine in certain circles, but why can’t the emphasis be on crafting something musical with dynamic levels and phrases? One of the highlights of my drumming life was receiving a complement from Max Roach, many years ago, at one of his clinics. At the end, he let drummers come up and play. 99% of them did the same thing, same volume levels, with or no construction of phrases. Now mind you, Max Roach’s presence was fairly intimidating, but he wanted us to explore.

I played last, worked with volume levels and cymbal phrases, and composed a little song on the spot. When I got his autograph later, Roach said, “That was some complex sh*t you were playing.”

My world could have stopped then and there and I’d have been fine with it.

Point being: we are musicians who play the drums. That’s who we should be when we do what we do. ALL the time.