Drummage 1970s Part 2 of 2: This One Goes To Eleven

Well. This entry is written sober. Even if I was drunk, I would be sober now. For you see, in anticipation of getting Internet service in my new apartment (living alone - so productive, so isolated), I reformatted my hard drive, updated my OS, and reinstalled all my programs. I remembered to copy most of the files to my email account for re-introduction to my "new" machine. All of them, in fact, except the list I created of all the tracks I wanted to write about. Shit.

So this is off the cuff. We'll see how it goes. First, an addition to rock, and then, something completely different.

The Who "Love Reign O'er Me" Keith Moon

Well, he had to appear sometime, didn't he? I'm way later than others in finishing all of my drummage posts and also being a bit lazy in not checking right now, but I don't seem to recall Moon popping up too often.

I can't imagine the 1960s, the SIXTIES 1960s, the one everyone remembers, as being too fashionable or interesting to a lot of people now (I'm even told by a few record shop owners that new vinyl pressings of the Beatles albums aren't doing exceptionally well). Sure, there is always some acetate somewhere of some tiny bit of flatulence recorded by some mentally-unstable genius and/or mentally-stable accountant with a hidden (lack of) talent for music that will invariable get unearthed, in order to "complete the picture" of a decade (note to historians: I ate a piece of foccacia today), but I think the closed circle that has kept revivals of styles from the first half of the twentieth century safe from appropriation (save Maudlin and Sons and their ilk) may finally no longer encompass the 1960s. Which, like everything else in life, is good and bad.

Listening to 1960s bands is a bit depressing, now, isn't it? For all of the resentment I felt towards ye olde boomers growing up, as their history was constantly sold as History in order to market nostalgia, I miss the feeling of culture being dominated by a group of people with a clear sense of the world and their place in it. Those years seem really, really far away now. The irony of retro culture is that, if it is an attempt to discover history towards finding a footing on which to build the future, the process has yielded quite the opposite result.

The Who is a band that I admire more often than I enjoy. I want to love them. They always seem like the underdogs amongst the legends that surrounded them when they were at their best. And Quadrophenia seems to embody so many feelings I have towards a life spent, relatively speaking, in the more bohemian sectors of society. The alienation and sadness and difficulties adjusting and, more than anything, the psychic costs of believing in something more than it deserves to be believed in, and believing in it more than most. Disillusioned but still hanging on, perhaps out of "fealty to the event", the sense that those "brighter side(s) of life", seen "not very often", have to matter, have to be held onto out of spiritual, not pragmatic, necessity; that's Townsend, and that's me. You could say that the Who sold out in the 1980s, but I'd say that they made literal something that had already happened, not just to themselves but to everyone else. I'd also say, more than any other band, and mostly because of the above, they'd fucking earned their money and had every right to take it.

But Moon, yeah? Drugs. Alcohol. Self-destruction. The now-tedious tropes of quickly-fading rock mythology. Oh, but he could play, you know? I don't have any particular words. Just that whole "ecstatic" drumming thing pushing a transcendent piece of music even higher. 

The real part two, now. Part two is funky.

Lyn Collins "Think" (Likely) Clyde Stubblefield

The obvious choices are the best, aren't they? I assume this is Stubblefield. I assume you are dancing right now. What I find interesting in funk music from this era is that the actual playing is so different than what I think people who don't play instruments imagine it to be. The parts all have to be played with almost tedious precision. A funky room would probably be filled with random stuff, might involve velour or velvet. Funky food would be filled with strange and atypical odors, or would just be bad, falling apart. Funk music? Funk drumming? It's really as tight as can be. It's a room painted white with no dust in it at all. No wonder Kraftwerk. It's not a stretch at all. Stubblefield is practically German engineering.

Does this make any sense? Well...

James Brown "Get On The Good Foot (Live)" Clyde Stubblefield

... look at the faces of everyone in the rhythm section. Are they having a funkin' good time? Of course the horns are, of course the dancers are, of course James is. But look at the bassist! The drummers! Might as well have kept that job at the factory! James was probably a harder boss to deal with. Unless the boss at the factory was a racist. And given all these guys are from the South...

Oh yeah, and this is a jam too. Keep watching. Pretty sure that is Jabo coming in for "Soul Power"...

The Winstons "Amen, My Brother" Gregory Coleman

Soul Searchers "Ashley's Roachclip" Kenneth Scoggins

More breaks, more breaks, more breaks. Of course. So much has already been said. But the actual records are good, too. Never mind the whole genres they spawned. Plenty of ink has already been spilled on UK hardcore and jungle and drum and bass and hip hop and everything important and innovative that has happened in electronic music. However, as much as I love all that, there is a certain point in the night when I just want to hear pop classics and I, child of the 1990s, may find myself making an ass of myself anywhere, everywhere, most likely at home to this (not an exact sample but clearly precedented) and this and even, really, sorry, this. So "Ashley's" doesn't win per se, but yeah, totally underrated. Relatively speaking, of course.

Both bands are from DC, incidentally!

Parliament "Mothership Connection (Live)" (Best guess is) Jerome Brailey

What a difference a few microseconds can make. So laid back compared to the JBs stuff. But just as precise. What is it about this performance compared to the others? No answer but pleasure.

Loleatta Holloway "Hit and Run" Earl Young

If, and I doubt it, there is any chance in hell that Mr. Young played all the way through on this, then this would have to go into the "ecstatic" drumming category, if only because playing this way for that long can make one lose their mind. There's a real change in feel here from most of the above. This swings.  It's just as precise. But the space between notes is calculated differently. And because of that it moves your body in a different way. It's lateral, not vertical. Try thrusting to it (preferably in solitude!). Now try shaking your ass. Left. Then right. Or the other way around. Or even around. Feels different? Yeah it does. People are more perceptive than they know. Because, compared to the music above, and forgetting all social context, this is feminine music, this is gay music (at least for more feminine gay men). Everyone was right in the 1970s. Except that so many of everyone were sexist and homophobic. Fuckers. What a loss for America and everyone in it. Because, outside of all the wasted time and wasted lives and hate and anger, house and techno, and, of course, disco, are, like, pretty good. And, outside of Jock Jams, still, mostly, nobody gives a shit. 

Well - if I can remember the last three, I'll put them up. Until then, I'll try and remember the 1980s.  The 1980s without drum machines or samplers. Urgh. Do I have to?


Greyhoos said...

Nice work. Breaks, breaks, and more breaks -- yes. I had to put some additional thought into my own drummage posts, because my first inclinations were to go with nothing but breaks the like.

> "Listening to 1960s bands is a bit depressing, now, isn't it?..."

That paragraph, whoa.

Looking forward to further editions of this.

:-p said...

Thank you.

Can't make big promises for the 1980s and beyond as my appreciation will become more tied to technical concerns than cultural ones. We'll see though. The Who section was completely unplanned.

Greyhoos said...

Understood. Because as you said...

> "The 1980s without drum machines or samplers. Urgh. Do I have to?"

Yeah, it wasn't a good decade in that respect. And as far as real/physical drumming went, you had to contend with the brief fashionability of synth-drums. Which most drummers I've known over the years were of the opinion that they absolutely sounded like ass.

:-p said...

As with most things synthesized, the more you expect a recreation of reality, the shittier they are. I think the drummers who used the pads in a more experimental way to augment their acoustic kits probably fared a lot better (one of these players will be mentioned). From what I hear, the worst aspect of them, at least with the models that were available then, is that they really hurt. Acoustic drums have some give to them. You can hit hard and not hurt your wrists. The old Simmons pads - not so much.