Apparently I am more interesting when drunk, and since this state is an inevitable byproduct of the industry in which I work (fuck am I really 32!? I wake up hungover and alone in the morning and my whole body aches from lack of human contact; my job is to pleasure others), here's some more inebriated comments on thwacking... rock side...
Black Fucking Sabbath "War Pigs" Bill Fucking Ward
The late 60s and early 70s are generally regarded as the peak of recording technology. Sure, for those of us who love Trevor Horn, Juan Atkins and Maurizio, the idea that progress stopped way before the seminal recordings made by the aforementioned artists were even envisioned is ludicrous, and yet, if we are talking solely of the recording of guitars, bass and drums captured through microphones, the era of Neve, API, Telefunken and Ampex is a classic one. Ironic, then, that one of the more important bands of this era, a band that is considered a pioneer in heavy metal (heavy as in full, as in replete), sounds so positively feeble on record (at least in comparison to their reputation). Finally hearing this live version of "War Pigs" was a revelation for me. Here is the real sound that led so many to make "unfashionable" decisions so long ago. Bill Ward hits, and hits hard, because this is the real shit (and there's jazz in this too - listen to the Billy Higgins performance from a few posts ago and then this again, meditate on the word "anticipation" or even, minus the "corporate self-help book found in airport bookstores" connotation, the word "synergy"), and you can't fuck with it. Is it me, or is Black Sabbath one of the first rap/hip-hop artists, too?
Led Zeppelin "Immigrant Song" Mr. John Bonham
"Levee" is classic and "Fool In The Rain", otherwise a bland, AOR cop-out, is revered by drummers just because it is really, really, really, fucking hard to play, but, again, Zeppelin benefits as much from well-mastered live recordings as Sabbath. Listen to the album version, and then try the one above again. It's not so much that Bonham plays differently; it's that the live versions gets closer to what we all imagine Bonham to actually sound like. I could have picked any of a hundred or a thousand recordings to convey this man's (and this band's) music, but, after another night of pleasing others, this is all that pleases me.
AC/DC "You Shook Me All Night Long" Phil Rudd
Seventies part two will be funky. But this song, actually from 1980, but, I think, correctly placed in this entry, serves as a nice bridge. Rudd, like Al Jackson Jr., is a master of playing things that anyone else can play but in an inimitable style. The real hook, the real attitude, in this guitar-driven, gravely-voiced, meat and potatoes and jiggly genitals record, is the way Rudd plays his hi-hats between the guitar riff. For those that understand the basics, Rudd is playing straight 8th notes on the hats, but not really. Start from the beginning: boom (bass drum): thwack (snare drum): tss-TSS-TSS (hats between guitars): boom: thwack. In my mind, it's the "tss-TSS-TSS" that really pushes the verses forward, and if those moments weren't accented, if they were played like virtually every other drummer ever would have played them, I swear, I really do, you might not shake it as much to the chorus as you do when you, being of open mind and desirous body, hear this at your local after a few... or maybe it's just me... I'm not smart, after all, just more capable of over-analysis than most.
Will you be my girl?