Metallica Fridays (no. 6): Piano Time

i actually was planning to post something earlier this week; however, what with moving everything around (plus using some new equipment) there were a few mishaps. i wasn’t able to play drums as much this week, but i still wanted to post something charting this journey. Since i’m on a journey in rekindling my relationships with other instruments as well, i didn’t want them to feel like i was neglecting them.

For today’s ‘Metallica Fridays’ post, i am highlighting the piano.

i know you saw a couple of posts ago, where i’m playing the keys (and of course, it’s absolutely okay if you laugh at that). Like with any other instrument i’ve played in life, i was self-taught, and always played by ear. Admittedly, my technique is trash, i cannot read music, and i am not good at reading tabs. Listening to music i always hear harmonies in my head, and this is exactly how i play.

Even when they were doing straight thrash, Metallica had a great sense of harmony. For someone who is not traditionally skilled on the drums (in comparison to others) and can barely play any other instruments, Lars has a keen sense of where a melody should go, and is an excellent arranger. Despite James initially not wanting to do vocals, he’s one of the greatest vocalists in metal/rock. Kirk’s affinity for the blues helps to slow things down and bring feeling into a genre known for its aggressiveness. Cliff, Jason and Rob have all been anchors, bringing out the best in the rest of the band.

The two songs for today’s post are not only in my top 10 list of Metallica songs; they also got the S&M treatment. Obviously that gave me a bit of inspiration to do whatever interpretation i did. Without the assistance of a conductor (and an orchestra), it was just me and the keys.

The album version of ‘Hero Of The Day’ is already, again, one of my favorites in all of their catalog; the S&M version moves me to tears. The pitch is raised a bit in this version. i am posting two versions here- one without drums, and one with (it’s clearly not me playing). Despite the music being the same, they sound like two different songs.

Hetfield fought to keep ‘The Unforgiven 3’ on Death Magnetic, and i’m glad he did. It’s actually my favorite in the Unforgiven trilogy, and i love all three. It’s one of those songs that didn’t hit me until i was a bit older.

Similar to the previous song, this one is just me (with some faint background vocals), and a Yamaha PSR-E373.

i Do What i Can Do, So i Do It

i continue to try an seek out other amputee drummers, and so far, i’m so amazed at all of the things i see. i am literally a baby in this experience (well, technically a toddler), and i have a ways to go before i can get to the level of a Caleb Graves, Jack Thomas, Jason Barnes and most famously, Rick Allen. It’s mostly dudes i have seen highlighted in the community- no surprise there.

i’m here representing those of us who are less known or acknowledged- or not known at all (raises hand here).

i thought about all of this because figuring out different things amid the limitations has been interesting. For instance, in a traditional set people who use double kick obviously use the left foot. i have never used my left leg for the kick before, so i was surprised at how fast i adapted. There are other things i have to sort out while playing, such as playing a particular pattern in place of the alternate open/closed high hat- such as the following song.

‘Is It My Body’ is probably my favorite Alice Cooper song. Frank Zappa found them interesting (and strange) enough to put them on. Their first few albums (of which Love It To Death (where the above song is on) is among them) were more straight ahead rock, as opposed to the metal of the proceeding years. Neal Smith seemed to be a pretty big fan of the open high hat.

But alas, i did what i could do.

Soooooooooo… i finally got a keyboard again, after years of not having one. i used to play piano all the time (and even wrote whole songs), but i was never proficient at it. i kind of forgot how to play; i hope it’s like what they say about bicycles- when you know how to do it you don’t forget.

i hope that’s true though, because i intend to ride again.

i can still play some notes, but the technique is TERRIBLE. i wouldn’t even call it a technique. i have never seen anyone play this bad- HA! But i wanted to show it anyway. Because you have to start from somewhere.

Go ahead. Make fun of me. i know i look like a little kid playing on a small Casio.

It’s okay though. i have Touré the octopus by my side.

‘Every Little Step’ at a time counts.

Speaking of… i got a request to play to some ’90s R&B. i did play to the one SWV song a few posts ago, but i couldn’t think about what else to do. Then i thought about the severely underrated Bobby album, by of course, Bobby Brown. My favorite BB song is the one i played above on piano), but Bobby is a much more mature work.

‘Get Away’ is the jam, but of course i had to punk it up (shoutout to Infectious Grooves). And of course, Lars was (subconsciously) all over this. i have to laugh about it at this point.

Drums are definitely a way to get away…

And finally, we have Toto.

My first exposure to ‘Hold The Line’ was actually Millie Jackson’s version (If you haven’t heard it go check it out). i have the album now, but the only Toto songs i remember knowing as a kid (besides the Thriller association) were ‘Georgy Porgy’ and ‘Rosanna’. Toto was one of those bands (like The Police, Hall & Oates, Wham!, The Doobie Brothers, Kenny Loggins, Ambrosia, etc.) that crossed over into the hood.

Jeff Porcaro was one of those drummers who prominently put the swing in rock music. i hope i did him justice here.