Let's Talk About Drum Solos. Also, Motley Crue and Slipknot Both Coming to the Sommet Center in Feb.
By Adam Gold
on Wed, Jan 14, 2009 at 12:45 PM
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It's no secret that in rock 'n' roll nothing gets a crowd going like a good ol' fashioned drum solo. It's as fundamental a rock cornerstone as the blues. In fact, some of the biggest bands in rock history like The Rolling Stones, U2, and Paramore would have never made it had they not included them. Don't you remember how Larry Mullen Jr. ended AIDS in Africa when he swallowed fire and shat out double paradiddles on the Rototoms at Live Aid? Let's define terms here. To count as a proper drum solo you must either include a gong, a gong on fire, a moving drum riser, a moment where you jettison the sticks and just play with your hands, absolutely no jazz licks, plenty of Bonham triplets or some white mambo on the cowbell. All the above is preferred. Having AT LEAST two bass drums is mandatory.
In this current era of four-piece kits, Velvet Underground worship, and a crumbling economy, I've come to realize that the hip kids of this generation have mostly been spared the percussive clichés bonafide by the terms aforementioned. As you are about to learn, this coming February the Sommet Center is providing two great options for getting the drum solo experience.
Above I have posted a clip of Tommy Lee's solo from the Tacoma stop of the Girls, Girls, Girls Tour in '87. It's perfect if you love the combination of great stage hijinks and terrible drumming. Hilarious it is, "Moby Dick" it is not. I've always said; Tommy Lee isn't really a drummer, he just plays one on TV. In this video we see the former Mr. Pamela, current 46-year-old who only recently had his swastika tattoo removed (I'm not kidding) and perpetual douchebag blasting out hot licks in a drumming Gyroscope. I remember first seeing shots of this contraption in the "Wildside" video, where they made it look as if he was playing an actual song while spinning upside down.
In actuality what he does is play 15- to 30-second intervals of noodling that isn't far off from the kind your band's guitar player does when he gets the opportunity to sneak behind the kit at practice--and then yells "Tacomaaaaaaa!". I know it's a tradition for an arena rock band to shout out the name of their city they're playing in as if to say, "See, we know we're in East Rutherford, not New York City," but for Tommy Lee it's like a fucking a tick. He's determined to prove to Tacoma that he's so stoked to be in their awesome metropolis that he namedrops them eight times in less than seven minutes. It's as if every time he says "Tacoma" a Hanoi Rocks drummer gets his wings.
I know you might watch this video and lament not having experienced rock 'n' roll in the decade of decadence, but fear not. Motley Crue are still at it. They're coming to the Sommet Center Feb. 21st (tickets on sale now) with special guests Hinder (who I love), Theory of a Deadman (who, being into theories and stuff, must be interesting) and The Last Vegas (who are called The Last Vegas). On the 2004 Carnival of Sins Tour Tommy performed his solo on two suspended percussion platforms that he flew back and forth between on a harness. It was sort of like Stomp meets Cirque De Soleil meets a 43-year-old version of Travis Barker. You can check it out here if you're really that bored.
I can't wait to see what this year's Saints of Los Angeles Tour will bring to the evolution of the Lee's soloing canon. I'm hoping that he begins it by honking a boat horn with his cock. Maybe I'll ask him about it when we have our (potential) "Ask Motley" contest. What is the "Ask Motley" contest? According to a press release received by the Scene their publicist would love to:
... get [us] lined up for the tour teleconference on 1/21 [they'd] also like to see if [we'd] be interested in hosting an "Ask Motley" contest where [our] readers can enter a question that a member of the band themselves will answer! We could put together a nice prize pack including tickets to the show, vinyl copies of their albums and a copy of their New York Times bestseller, The Dirt.
Speaking of The Dirt, word on the street is that Larry Charles is set to direct a film adaptation of the book, starring Christopher Walken as Ozzy Osbourne and Val Kilmer as David Lee Roth. Here is the IMDB link.
Now back to drum solos. Remember how Tommy Lee was able to spin upside-down without puking, despite the copious amount of drugs and alcohol that he and his bandmates were legendarily consuming at the time? (They even claim to have injected alcohol). The video above, titled "Drummer Pukes During Drum Solo" (I wasn't aware that a drummer did another kind of solo) shows a drummer named Shannon Boone (not to be confused with Hoon) of a band called The Flesh. I'd provide a link but none can be found and a MySpace music search for the name yields 100+ pages of results. While this guy has nothing on Tommy in the department of settled stomachs, he's got him cold when it comes to being able to play continuously and provide some sort of rising action and musicality to his wankery. This dude is such a badass that he is able to do his upchucking, which starts at the 56 second mark and continues for an impresive 40 seconds, without missing a beat. Well done!
In case you haven't had enough, let's talk about Slipknot's Joey Jordison. He's the Neil Peart of the Hot Topic generation, and his band has the distinction of being the only band from Iowa. Ever. Well, according to the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, not ever but they're certainly the only one I can think of off the top my head. Seriously, I dare you to name a band from Iowa. You have five seconds, no google allowed... See, I thought so. The "Knot" is coming to Sommet Center on Feb. 15 (tickets onsale now) with special guests Trivium (Seriously? That's a band name?) & Coheed and Cambria. Their singer is the Geddy Lee of the Hot Topic generation. Slipknot's whole thing is wearing disturbing masks and generally being dark and spooky. And if you're either a Christian fundamentalist or a 5-year-old they might be. These qualities are accentuated by Jordison's solo, taken from the Disasterpieces DVD, during which his drum riser comes out of the stage at a 90-degree angle and reveals itself as a lit up pentagram. Sooooo dangerous? Nay. So elemental. Sorry, but in an age of live music where pop Godmother Madonna sings part of her show nailed to a cross, it's gonna take more than a pentagram and some scary masks for a metal band to shock me. Try harder, Slipknot. Watch an Alice Cooper video or something. A pentagram is just plain lazy.
Wth the Republicans days away from ceding control of the White House I feel the only appropriate way to end this post is with my favorite drum solo video of them all; "John the Drummer." Let's have John McCain play us out. In the words of Bill O'Reilly. "Take it away!"