Getting your chops out of the practice room and onto the stage


Duck Tape

I don't know how important a back story is really but I'll provide one.

Recently my new band backed a nationally successful artist and they had a renowned drummer as a hired gun. I had heard his name before but never seen him. A gun he was, especially his licks and stick tricks. I think he was pulling lots of Virgil's old moves, like he'd really studied older videos and successfully nailed them. I'm not sure if anyone remembers Virgil used to play some sort of double kick/tom roll and spin the sticks before every crash cymbal hit. This guy could do it perfectly among other things.

Anyway. I let him use my kit so when I went up to get my things after his performance he struck up a conversation with me. He said he was watching my set from the crowd and was impressed with my time and feel and stuff, and asked what I was working on. I said that I wanted to get my licks, chops and solos happening a bit more and he seemed to agree, I think he was agreeing that it was maybe my weakness, which is a criticism I humbly accept from a drummer such as him. I went on to explain that I could do much more in my practice room but getting on stage just seems to retard my chops a bit. He said that he had the same problem, which made me laugh, but he was being serious. He said that he was doing even more awesome stuff in the practice room.

He told me that I need to "just not give a f#$k" and to "go for it", in other words take risks.

I know this groove vs chops debate always sparks criticism from the groovers (and I have seen chops guys that couldn't keep time to save their life too) but it is my belief that drummers really win people over with the appropriately timed solo, big tom fill, fast hands, stick tricks and some double kick action. Needless to say they have all the grooving down. Sure there are some famous drummers who are all about the groove but there are 10 famous drummers with chops (+ groove) for every Steve Jordan type.

So I am committed to getting my chops happening more. I am a performing drummer and I am content that my time is pretty good and want to get a bit more showmanship happening. I am trying to cover a few different angles as to why it's so much harder to do things on stage, as well as get some tips on where I should be looking to learn some good chops.

All I really know is a few linear chops from the gary chaffee stuff I practice, some quads from my metal days and a few rudimental things I've invented over the years. I could trawl through videos and pick out things I want to learn but hopefully I can find some notated examples transcribed by others. Does anyone care to comment?