A Little Bit O’ Half Time… And A New Song (Sort Of)

i ended up getting an Alesis Surge mesh kit. i am still figuring it out (of course), but it’s nice to have this along with the SPD 30, where i can make some extra patterns and sounds to compliment the Alesis. The hi hat pedal is open (echoing an acoustic set) so i had to put rubber bands on it in order to keep it closed (i only have one leg, so i gotta do what i gotta do). The other adjustment i made was to put the kick on the left side (because, you know, one leg and everything). i’m a below the knee amputee but my knee doesn’t bend so well right now. Whenever it gets to that point though i can use the prosthetic and eventually do some double kicks!

While i’m still new at playing around with this kit i ended up actually writing a song- well, sort of.

i am absolutely in love with rhythmic illusions- where a song is playing one rhythm and your brain is interpreting it to be another. It is fairly common in jazz and in the polyrhythms of traditional African music. In terms of popular music in the west, The Yellowjackets’ ‘Top Secret’, Metallica’s ‘Blackened’ and ‘Battery’; ‘Solitude Standing’ by Suzanne Vega, ‘Black Dog’ by Led Zeppelin are among some.

The first song i recognized as having a rhythmic illusion (despite hearing others in the past) is ‘Swap meet’ by Nirvana. i think the song begins on the 3 instead of 1 (Don’t quote me on that; i cannot read music and i am not great at tabs). i would always get mad (not really) when the drums kicked in, because they always ended messing up the beautiful rhythm in my head. Despite knowing the way the song is, i still see the ‘preferred’ rhythm.

And so i made a song around it. i also took the opening bass line from ‘Blew’ (also from Bleach) and pulled an Ulrich and Hetfield by arranging the drums as the primary driver to these particular riffs, then writing the lyrics last. It’s a silly little song about a cat- because cats are the best! Despite being inspired by Metallica (with a nod to Slayer) here, the song interestingly/unintentionally ended up sounding not unlike something Sonic Youth may have done.

You be the judge…

Thinking about all the songs i could have fun with, for some reason, one song did come up.

Y’all, tell me why it was ‘Billie Jean’? MJ is my favorite artist, but ‘Billie Jean’ is a song i’m okay with never hearing ever again. i said ‘Well, since you came up all in my face, why not switch you up?’ i envisioned something other than the very recognizable 4/4 ‘on the floor’ pattern. i messed around, and it ended up being mostly half time (which is kind of a running theme of this post. It also helped me enjoy the song a bit more. it just puts the song in a different space).

RUN DMC was my favorite group in hip hop as i was coming up. A simple beat could be one of the dopest, and Jason, Daryl and Joseph took inspiration from Billy Squire’s ‘Big Beat’ to create one of the most classic tracks with ‘Here We Go (Live At The Funhouse)’ (which many a hip hop, house and pop record have also sampled from themselves).

i love how Jam Master Jay (RIP) messed up a bit, and they kept it in. That threw me off as well, but i came back in. i hope.

One thing i do know is that i can’t count. HA!

You can consider me hiding under a rock, because i hadn’t heard all of ‘Seven Nation Army’ until i played drums on it. It’s pretty easy to see how not familiar i was with the song, but i went for it anyway. i know that Meg White is also a pretty basic drummer, so i’m just going along with her for the ride to the land of basic drummers. i’m just going where i am wanted.

Or am i? i didn’t get an invite.

Playing drums on it, i only heard all of the drumless version. So i still technically have not heard the actual song in full. What i did hear of the song, i know it’s more of a 4/4 rhythm. So i decided to play around with the half time as well (as you do)…

i hope i did alright though.