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"mr matt brennan" Discussed on Drum History
"Two dollars a month and get some really cool perks now onto the show. Look into the drum history podcast. I'm your host Bart van der Zee and we have a return guest today. Mr Matt Brennan from the University of Glasgow Matt. How're you doing great man? Thanks for having me absolutely. So we're we're picking up here. We're doing part two of the history of working drummers Which is going off of your book. Kick it a social history of the drum kit which was recently released. This is Came out in February of twenty twenty. And I'm a big fan of it and I love it man. Good good good work. Congratulations thank you so much. I'm so glad you enjoyed it so in the first part which I recommend people go back and listen to but I don't think this is a thing where you can't listen to part two without hearing part one. I think this can stand on. Its own but I do recommend that people go back and Basically part one is about the turn of the twentieth century up to nineteen sixty. And now today. We're going to pick it up at nine hundred sixty two today so rockstar drummers. All that stuff. We ended with session drummer so Why don't you go ahead and and take it away here and and pick up where we left off? Yeah sure thing then so I guess in part one. We got up to the point where we were talking about Session Drummer Earl Palmer and Hal Blaine who. It's not as though there weren't session drummers who were working before those two figures but Blaine Palmer a very special because they were the among the first drummers to be really be recognized as rhythm and Blues and rock and roll drummers and that's what they were being called him to perform so you had a sort of paradigm shift. I guess in the kind of skills that were being sought after in for instance session drumming situations where you know both Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer were located in Los Angeles at that time. Folks who will Earl Palmer? No of course that he was based for a lot of his career in New Orleans and played on lots of seminal recordings throughout the nineteen forties and nineteen fifties But in the tail end of the nineteen fifties rock and roll becomes. What many people think of that? Time is a temporary fad. And something that's looked upon with with a lot of disdain by other session musicians who who are working in the Los Angeles area at that time and blame and some of his other buddies who include notable figures like Glen Campbell for instance formed this collective called the wrecking crew. The reason for that name is that the other session musicians who were working in the area at that time consistently. We're telling this group that they were going to wreck the business and so they sort of made a name for themselves. Playing this kind of pariah music. This unacceptable music called Rock and roll. That was looked down upon everyone. Thought would kind of fade away except it didn't fade away. Of course. It became ever more influential evermore commercially lucrative. And that's why they ended up playing on so many sessions throughout the nineteen sixties But around that time you also of course have another really important shift in Anglo American musical culture and that is this shift where previously in the nineteen fifties and earlier. You generally have performers recording artists. Who would perform material that was written by someone else? So these were two different kinds of work the role of a song writer on the one hand and the role of the performer on the other. And when we talk about people working in the and our business the artists and repertoire business that is essentially the business of linking those two different spheres of work together linking artists with repertoire that were created separately and then put together by the A in our man usually a man almost always in that curve. Now why why was like? Why did that happen? Why was it less likely that a musician would write their music and go out and perform it? I guess they were seen as two different types of skill sets that require different types of experience. And you'll also of course have to put that into a context. Where often you know songs were being arranged for large bands right So sure following on from the Big Band era if the type of skills that it would take to arrange a twenty piece. Brass section are are different from those that are needed for carbon out a great topline melody or lyric in the nineteen sixties playing in a four piece band. Show so they were. You know for historical reasons. Seen as sort of separate spheres of work specialized work and there wasn't a whole lot of overlap between now that gets dissolved. A little bit when you start thinking of jazz musicians who are composing their own material but the they they weren't really considered part of the the mainstream of the music industry in that time they were you know still outliers and certainly in terms of you know putting songs onto the radio and having commercials successive that scale jazz with with sort of an outlier starts to change of course with rock and roll music. So you people's often talk about rock and roll being this really revolutionary music because it challenged the boundaries between Tense Race Relations in the United States. Because it was a generational difference where teenagers were really picking up on this music and their parents hated it. We could say that it was a transition from listening to music more and alive sphere to a picking up singles on seven inches. Which we have to remember you. Know the seven inch single was invented in nineteen forty eight right so Really you know. Rock and roll is kind of one of the and prior to that rhythm and blues. These are the first jars to really start working around that technological format But I guess where that takes us. Is that band star? Kinnock's smaller and you start to have artists as opposed to say Elvis Presley who actually operates according to that old paradigm. You doesn't write. His own material gets paired with repertoire written by other people right Chuck Berry on the other. Hand and other pioneering artists of that ilk are writing their own material litter. Little Richard will be another one and you know. Sometimes they're working with other people's material sometimes. They're writing their own material. And this is kind of a transitional phase but by the time you get to the early nineteen sixties and you start to have bands like the Beatles and the rolling stones one of the biggest differences that separates them from their predecessors writing their own material. And again you still see that transition happening. Say on the the early Beatles stones albums where they're playing a mix of original songs that they've written and then cover version of heaven tons actors so that is absolutely emblematic of that period in history. It's it's not that they were doing something strange. Performing those cover versions actually performing an entire album of covers was the norm right. It was inserting their own material. That was that mark the change if that Nixon totally. Yeah Yeah So this starts to create a new perception of what musical work is like. In the popular music sphere suddenly musical creativity Starts to be more closely tied to you. Know basically writing an performing euro material and in the nineteen fifties you can be a perfectly credible authentic quote unquote act without writing your own material by the time of the Beatles and stones that sort of ceases to be the case. If you're not reading your material then you'll get tagged as being manufactured or inauthentic or commercialized. Right Gosh and it's interesting to think about the the differences between those those two different modes of making music now. The other key difference from perspective of work of course is that the songwriter has a different revenue stream from the performer. And this is where it really begins to matter for drummers right yeah because in the early nineteen sixties in guitar based bands like the stones and the Beatles. The songwriter was traditionally conceived as being the one who wrote the top line melody and the lyric and the drummer involved in that part of creative work so that they are kind of relegated to the bottom of this new musical hierarchy which is being formed in that time. So you know we can think about where. Drummer sat in terms of the hierarchy of a of a bebop group. You know drummers like Max Roach for instance were recognized as as artists and and of course Max did write some of his own material as well. you know before the Beatles were putting out their albums Max Roach had already put out the freedom now. Suite for instance But with drummers like Charlie Watts and Ringo Starr. They're not writing those top line melodies and lyrics and so that actually matters has has a lot of consequence not only just for their pocketbooks and and WHO's getting remunerated in those bands more than others. It creates an economic hierarchy but it also creates a another hierarchy of status in which they're perceived to be By by critics for instance who are working at that time as being lesser musicians than their bandmates. I mean that goes right back to part one of as we said in the The Musicians Union that drummers which should make they can make two shillings less than the other musicians. And it's just this. Yeah it's all just kind of a connotation of Like I guess you could say the tonal instrument making the top line melody just being the more important thing where it is interesting though because obviously the drummer we get the benefit of just being able to come in and sit down and make everything better. I'm saying that kind of biased as a drummer but we can put the icing on the cake and make everything really really great without spending six days writing the song. But that's just interesting that it continues through this feeling of you know you're just you're the low man on the totem pole. You're just down. Shut up and play your drums. You don't get paid as much well. What's also interesting though is and what people don't often realize with some of these bands. Is that say the Beatles also the rolling stones also the WHO also led Zeppelin you. They had to go through several temporary drummers right before settling on a permanent drummer who becomes the final member of this core lineup. That turns that band into the band that we recognize it today but when you see it from that perspective actually. The work that the is performing is incredibly important. Yeah if you don't find that right drummer. You don't have a successful band right. Those three especially that you just named are legendary. And you can't imagine the Beatles without Ringo Zepplin without Bonham the stones without Charlie Watts who without Keith Moon. It's just not right without them. Yeah and not only that you when people knock Ringo Starr what. They're often forgetting that. You know the Beatles had previously had You Know Pete Best. Also you know if you're going back to the Quarrymen Days Drummers like Colin Hansen and other Liverpool drummers the the Beatles were on this trajectory of a sentence. They started being taken more seriously as a band. They had you know they could have picked any drummer that they wanted to to replace. Pete Best Right. They chose Ringo because he was the best. He's good in in in Liverpool at making that kind of beat and man if you listen to There's an amazing bootleg recording that's made in Hamburg just after Ringo joined the band and it is absolutely like off the wall. It sounds like the ramones almost like your extremely powerful drumming and you can. You can see why they were attracted to to Ringo in the difference that you know you could hear between previous incarnations of that band and then the Beatles with Ringo Different Band right..