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Endless Drummer


Endless Drummer
Kevin's Story & Some Great Advice

Posted by Kevin Walker on 2022-07-26
Editor’s Note: The author, Kevin Walker, is a great drummer and a great friend. He’s an honorary Bigfella, filling in when there have been Bigfellas gigs in San Diego with Shay in Portland. Kevin is a pure joy to play with and a trusted friend. When it comes to drumming, he’s done the work so pay attention.

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Drums, drums, drums that’s all I can think about these days.

You see I first got introduced to drums at the tender age of 10 when I attended my first ever party that my parents let me go to. I remember telling my mom the next morning after her asking me "so how was your little party last night" and I replied that there was this live band there and the drummer was doing this and the drummer was doing that so on and so on.

Well that following Christmas under the tree was a huge square box all wrapped up with my name on it I thought what could it be. The morning came and I was waiting anxiously for my family to get around the tree to open gifts. Came my turn and I tore that wrapping off so fast and there it was my first drum kit. Montgomery Wards brand kids drum set. I was in heaven. I’ll never forget that set was a blue foil wrap over hard cardboard shells with plastic rims one little cymbal mounted on the bass drum. I thought that’s it I’m on my way and I was.

What You Learn In A Career Drumming

I have played thousands of gigs with hundreds of musicians and all genres. I studied Jazz and Classical in College while I worked evenings at local bars in Rock n Roll bands. Met and played with top tier musicians and some not so famous. Played Country, Rockabilly, Blues, Jazz, Church, Spoken word, Percussion Ensembles have toured done recording sessions been at the top and at the bottom. In all my years playing I have learned a lot about what it takes to be a good drummer.

Most important is to LISTEN! I can't stress this enough. I learned this early on when I was attending college I was lucky enough to be in the All State Honor Band conducted by none other than Gunther Schuller. I was on tympani and during rehearsals he took me aside and told me to get my head out of the sheet music and listen to the orchestra and be a part of us make music with your instrument. Lesson learned. Thank you. Mr. Schuller.

Drumming Advice

Dig in, yes dig in. What do I mean by that? I see so many drummers who play on top of the kit sort of like dusting the drum kit. They play with no emotion no heart.

Play with intention and mean what you play. I’ve always preferred simple solid groove over flashy showy fills but do it with feel. Dig in.

Lay off the cymbals save that for jazz. In popular music less cymbals come across as more depth and more feel think "less is more" in this case. When playing a groove that’s what’s driving the bus is the groove. Cymbals are there to add color and accents on crashes. But the real deal is the groove. You want to work more as a drummer then learn to groove. Learn to dig in and listen and lay off the cymbals. You’ll get called back and called often.