j Plays The Hits!

It’s not like i don’t have fun playing the drums, but today we’re just having a different type of fun, just playing some straight 4/4 beats, and experimenting with variations in drum sounds. i would have to go a bit deeper into the MIDI in order to separate each drum (since each program represents the total set), but for now, i’m just using the different setups and tweaking it a bit in the Audacity settings, such as adding bass, reverb, etc.

While i’m clearly playing a gang of punk/hardcore (and Metallica) on this site, as i mentioned in a previous post, there’s a range of music out there… some of which i hope to be able to play well someday.

One of the artists i wanted to give light to today is one of my favorites of all time- Teena Marie. She was one of the artists i cried for when she passed in 2010, and i fortunately got to see her live some years before it happened. The one thing i am upset at myself about is that i actually had an opportunity to meet her, and i didn’t do it. She is a massive inspiration to me in that not only was she is a multi-instrumentalist; she was also a composer, arranger and producer. Just as the industry is want to do, she was presented with the limitation of being called an ‘R&B’ artist. However, the woman’s music represented a bulk of her sonic inspirations: jazz, classic pop, funk, classical, rock, soul, country and more. This five foot one-inch lady was a powerhouse.

…A powerhouse who, despite achieving some level of fame, was never respected in the ways she should have been. It was actually because of her lawsuit against Motown, that the Brockert Initiative (aka ‘The Teena Marie Law’) was born. With that, artists could be let go of their contracts when the label is just sitting there not producing anything. i remember a coworker (who was European and LOVED him some Teena Marie) telling me he got grief from other folks because they thought she was ‘too soulful’ (and if you’ve been paying attention, you know what that means). If you don’t know who Miss Mary Christine Brockert is, please go find her music, and have a wonderful day.

Here, i am playing to ‘Lovergirl’, perhaps one of her biggest hits (outside of ‘Ooh La La La’).

Another band i have seen live (and had a lot of fun too) was Tulsa, Oklahoma’s own The Gap Band. They named their band in honor of those who perished in the ‘Black Wall Street’ massacre- in fact, Charlie Wilson states, “(W)e’d have to talk about that, and where the name came from.” The massacre happened in the Greenwood neighborhood of Tulsa, and the GAP in GAP Band stands for the streets of Greenwood, Archer and Pine.

They started of as a more traditional funk band in the 70s, and became a bit more well known amidst their ‘electro funk’ period in the 80s. ‘You Dropped A Bomb On Me’ is perhaps one of their most well-known tracks (hence the title of this post). i always look at Charlie Wilson as coming from the direct vocal lineage of Stevie Wonder (just as Stevie Wonder took cues from the great Donny Hathaway). Aaron Hall came from the lineage of Charlie Wilson… and the dude i will not mention (who i guess, believed he could fly and stuff) was born out of the lineage of Aaron Hall. And so on.

i made a couple of changes in this version. i definitely used more toms than the original, and i also alternated between half time and traditional 4/4.

And i don’t care what anybody says. ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ is a good song. i know people think of it as a meme in this day and age; and while i’m not always a fan of ‘traditional pop’ in general, the Stock Aitken Waterman team did write a good song. They actually did write some good stuff (like Princess’ ‘Say I’m Your Number One’), but in general they wrote typical stuff that is just… meh. However (possibly because it straight up jacked the far superior ‘Trapped’ by Colonel Abrams), ‘Never Gonna Give You Up’ is the jam.

Of course, the OG song is straight up drum programming, so i had to figure out how i was going to play it. And of course, the end result (despite it being electronic drums), still sounded weird… because it’s supposed to model an acoustic drum set. So i did tweak things a bit in post.

And as a result you get… this.


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