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Thread started 02/05/18 11:45am

lonelyalien

How good a drummer was prince?

I'm not a drummer myself I've been playing guitar 20 years and from a musicians perspective I know hes an amazing guitarist not that you have to be a musician to know that but how good a drummer was he I've only seen him play the drums briefly on the sign of the times dvd. Did he do the drums for all of his songs or did he get someone more accomplished in I mean I know he played loads of instruments it doesnt mean he was amazing at all of them.

I'm just like everybody else I need love.....and water.
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Reply #1 posted 02/05/18 11:52am

jdcxc

Listen to Madhouse. Prince has innate feel, rhythm, timing and soul which outweigh all the technical critiques.
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Reply #2 posted 02/05/18 12:03pm

NorthC

Watching that part of the Sign O'the Times film where he takes over the drums from Sheila E... He was good, but not as good as she was...
"If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don't want them. I want men who will come if there is no road at all."
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Reply #3 posted 02/05/18 12:10pm

TheBigBang

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I read a while ago that Prince drummed the first four tracks on Parade in one take. I'd say he was a damn good drummer.

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Reply #4 posted 02/05/18 12:11pm

jdcxc

NorthC said:

Watching that part of the Sign O'the Times film where he takes over the drums from Sheila E... He was good, but not as good as she was...


Cmon...a one minute clip? Lol. Not bad comparison tho, Sheila E just happens to be a brilliant drummer.
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Reply #5 posted 02/05/18 12:20pm

OldFriends4Sal
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he was a good drummer

He also did a lot of his best drumming via drum machine

Prince is a pianist 1st guitarist 2nd, those I feel are his bodily extension instruments

I love that he wasn't the 'tightest' drummer, I love the wildness that I hear in his drumming

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Reply #6 posted 02/05/18 12:46pm

purplepolitici
an

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jdcxc said:

Listen to Madhouse. Prince has innate feel, rhythm, timing and soul which outweigh all the technical critiques.

yeahthat Damn good lock lol

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Reply #7 posted 02/05/18 3:25pm

ian

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Kinda sloppy, but I love hearing him play all the same. To be honest I don't think Prince had amazing technique on any instrument (shock!) in that he was always a bit loose and messy. However, he could definitely play and program drums well enough to get what he needed done. I would say that he played well enough to service his song-writing and his art, but he knew who to call when he wanted something better. I could totally see him schooling a rhythm guitar player at rehearsal, but I could not see him schooling a pro-drummer.

It was interesting though, reading the PR sessions book about how he so often put down the drum parts first in the studio. That says a lot, I think. The beauty of his genius was that he was so self-sufficient musically, he had such a raw, natural gift for songwriting. Maybe this aspect of his musicianship tended to drown out everything else, he'd be happy to put down a fairly messy part and just move on to the next thing right away.

Also a little unfair to judge his drumming based on stuff from the 80s. Just look at how much better his late-career guitar-playing was compared to early work! Same must be true of his drumming, I'd have thought.

[Edited 2/5/18 15:27pm]

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Reply #8 posted 02/05/18 3:55pm

GustavoRibas

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Very good drummer, played with feel and confidence, but not as complete and technical as the great drummers like Blackwell, Bland, Sheila, Dennis Chambers, Omar Hakim, etc. These are specialists.
I believe drums were the instrument he was less skilled of them all, and like ian said, he didnt seem to take too much time recording the drum parts.

[Edited 2/5/18 15:58pm]

Peace
Gustavo Ribas
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Reply #9 posted 02/05/18 4:03pm

jdcxc

ian said:

Kinda sloppy, but I love hearing him play all the same. To be honest I don't think Prince had amazing technique on any instrument (shock!) in that he was always a bit loose and messy. However, he could definitely play and program drums well enough to get what he needed done. I would say that he played well enough to service his song-writing and his art, but he knew who to call when he wanted something better. I could totally see him schooling a rhythm guitar player at rehearsal, but I could not see him schooling a pro-drummer.



It was interesting though, reading the PR sessions book about how he so often put down the drum parts first in the studio. That says a lot, I think. The beauty of his genius was that he was so self-sufficient musically, he had such a raw, natural gift for songwriting. Maybe this aspect of his musicianship tended to drown out everything else, he'd be happy to put down a fairly messy part and just move on to the next thing right away.



Also a little unfair to judge his drumming based on stuff from the 80s. Just look at how much better his late-career guitar-playing was compared to early work! Same must be true of his drumming, I'd have thought.


[Edited 2/5/18 15:27pm]



Interesting points. His brilliant drum programming skills (genius, GOAT) are really a testament to his songwriting expertise.
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Reply #10 posted 02/05/18 4:54pm

anangellooksdo
wn

When I listen to him on his early work on the For You and Prince albums, I love his drumming.
~Paisley Park is in your heart~
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Reply #11 posted 02/05/18 5:04pm

rogifan

I wonder how good he would have been had he played drums more live. Same with bass. Dave Grohl recounted jamming with him once in LA: “Best f-king bass player I ever heard in my life.”

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Reply #12 posted 02/05/18 5:42pm

RJOrion

anangellooksdown said:

When I listen to him on his early work on the For You and Prince albums, I love his drumming.

me too!...the drumming on "Im Yours", "I Wanna Be Your Lover" and "Sexy Dancer" arent complicated patterns, but the pockets are so tight and locked in...Prince had masterful timing on drums

[Edited 2/5/18 17:43pm]

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Reply #13 posted 02/05/18 6:07pm

jdcxc

rogifan said:

I wonder how good he would have been had he played drums more live. Same with bass. Dave Grohl recounted jamming with him once in LA: “Best f-king bass player I ever heard in my life.”



And P jammed on drums with Grohl, who thought P was a great drummer.
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Reply #14 posted 02/05/18 6:14pm

anangellooksdo
wn

RJOrion said:



anangellooksdown said:


When I listen to him on his early work on the For You and Prince albums, I love his drumming.



me too!...the drumming on "Im Yours", "I Wanna Be Your Lover" and "Sexy Dancer" arent complicated patterns, but the pockets are so tight and locked in...Prince had masterful timing on drums

[Edited 2/5/18 17:43pm]



Thank you for putting words to what I hear, but being unfamiliar with the terminology of the instrument, don’t have the language to say.
Yes - those are great song examples.
~Paisley Park is in your heart~
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Reply #15 posted 02/05/18 10:26pm

khill95

He's certainly no Neil Peart or Michael Bland, but he has a natural sense of rhythm and his playing is naturaly funky. He has enough knowledge of the instrument to lay basic parts that are still good to listen to. What I really want is video footage of Prince in the studio laying down drums to one of his songs, or shedding with Sheila cool

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Reply #16 posted 02/05/18 11:39pm

woogiebear

Prince was a BADASS on the Drums!!!

cool

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Reply #17 posted 02/06/18 1:20am

Lianachan

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Junk Music and Crystal Ball, among others, suggest he was a very good drummer.

"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge"" ~ Isaac Asimov
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Reply #18 posted 02/06/18 4:02am

databank

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Lianachan said:

Junk Music and Crystal Ball, among others, suggest he was a very good drummer.


Thank you for the Asimov quote, it's much needed in this day and age.
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Reply #19 posted 02/06/18 4:05am

databank

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lonelyalien said:

I'm not a drummer myself I've been playing guitar 20 years and from a musicians perspective I know hes an amazing guitarist not that you have to be a musician to know that but how good a drummer was he I've only seen him play the drums briefly on the sign of the times dvd. Did he do the drums for all of his songs or did he get someone more accomplished in I mean I know he played loads of instruments it doesnt mean he was amazing at all of them.


Prince plays the drums on maybe 80 to 90% of his studio recordings (rough estimate). Nuff said. He may not have been the most skilled drummer on earth (as if it mattered) but he was as capable as any professional drummer.
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Reply #20 posted 02/06/18 5:38am

OldFriends4Sal
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TheBigBang said:

I read a while ago that Prince drummed the first four tracks on Parade in one take. I'd say he was a damn good drummer.

In no way am I deminishing this, but it was probably pretty easy. The drumming, which is very crisp, is simple, it is the other instrumentations and sounds on top that has the complexitities

.

Christopher Tracy's Parade 2:11min the beat is pretty much straight forward 1 2 throught the song, and some rolling wire brush. For some reason this song reminds me of Everywhere(Rainbow Children).

.

New Position 2:20min is the same thing, it is a cool little beat 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 with some bongolos lightly tapping on the top center(what I'm hearing in my headphones) and then the steel drums, and some linn. a very percussion driven song

.

I Wonder U 1:39min is almost the same beat as New Position just slowed down with lightly tapped bongolos and heavy wind instruments and clap-tap sounds, very echoey. I love the demo with just the woodwinds/flutes. One of my favorite songs

.

Under the Cherry Moon 2:57min piano driven song, and the basic 1 2 beat with a little tap tap tap tap finger cymbals spiced perfectly

...

It is not often that I intermingle non Prince(associate) music with Prince music, but this album and these opening 4 I sometimes follow up with Joni Mitchells -Down To You, and DAngelo's Africa

.

the former seems to have inspired Parade, the latter definately inspired by Parade

What's the matter with your life
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Is the mailman jerking U 'round?
Did he put your million dollar check
In someone else's box?
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Reply #21 posted 02/06/18 5:42am

OldFriends4Sal
e

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databank said:

Lianachan said:

Junk Music and Crystal Ball, among others, suggest he was a very good drummer.

Thank you for the Asimov quote, it's much needed in this day and age.

Junk Music would not have been if Prince was being 'technically' tight. I love the wildness of that, almost reminds me of him cutting loose on guitar. Junk musics wildness, reminds more of those ONA shows where he would open the show on some furious drumming.

What's the matter with your life
Is poverty bringing U down?
Is the mailman jerking U 'round?
Did he put your million dollar check
In someone else's box?
Tell me, what's the matter with your world
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Reply #22 posted 02/06/18 5:43am

OldFriends4Sal
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Jesse Johnson talked about the drumming on If The Kid Can't Make U Come, and how it took Jesse Morris & Prince circulating on the drums to get the song

What's the matter with your life
Is poverty bringing U down?
Is the mailman jerking U 'round?
Did he put your million dollar check
In someone else's box?
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Reply #23 posted 02/06/18 5:51am

joyinrepetitio
n

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Prince was pretty damn good on the skins. He may be a little sloppy but that is what made his p!aying funky. I'm sure he could hang with the best when is comes to rhythm and timing. Sheila E. even said he showed her how to bang out Sexual Suicide. Alphabet Street and Dance On also comes to mind as tight drumming/programming.
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Reply #24 posted 02/06/18 6:02am

OldFriends4Sal
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PrinceDrums.png prince-drums.jpg?w=700&h=854

prince-drums.jpg?w=300&h=215

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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRLZ5brITPdWr5JQfRJq_WnSAOKOuCiMnAtHSPfWPx_dWKpoXlz prince_on_drums.jpg

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What's the matter with your life
Is poverty bringing U down?
Is the mailman jerking U 'round?
Did he put your million dollar check
In someone else's box?
Tell me, what's the matter with your world
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Reply #25 posted 02/06/18 6:06am

paulludvig

OldFriends4Sale said:

databank said:

Lianachan said: Thank you for the Asimov quote, it's much needed in this day and age.

Junk Music would not have been if Prince was being 'technically' tight. I love the wildness of that, almost reminds me of him cutting loose on guitar. Junk musics wildness, reminds more of those ONA shows where he would open the show on some furious drumming.

You have to be really good to cut loose like that.

The wooh is on the one!
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Reply #26 posted 02/06/18 6:18am

OldFriends4Sal
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paulludvig said:

OldFriends4Sale said:

Junk Music would not have been if Prince was being 'technically' tight. I love the wildness of that, almost reminds me of him cutting loose on guitar. Junk musics wildness, reminds more of those ONA shows where he would open the show on some furious drumming.

You have to be really good to cut loose like that.

I'm not saying he isn't good. I said I'm glad he was wild and not being technical. And I love hearing where he missed some beats. It was too wild to be technically tight, and that is what I love about Junk Music

.

And I have a lot of drummer friends I grew up with watching and listening to them in our younger years, you don't have to be really good to be furious on the drums. That is sorta the thing about it, it's tribal almost primal. Like people on the dance floor @ a NYC house party/night club

What's the matter with your life
Is poverty bringing U down?
Is the mailman jerking U 'round?
Did he put your million dollar check
In someone else's box?
Tell me, what's the matter with your world
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Reply #27 posted 02/06/18 7:50am

paulludvig

OldFriends4Sale said:



paulludvig said:




OldFriends4Sale said:





Junk Music would not have been if Prince was being 'technically' tight. I love the wildness of that, almost reminds me of him cutting loose on guitar. Junk musics wildness, reminds more of those ONA shows where he would open the show on some furious drumming.








You have to be really good to cut loose like that.




I'm not saying he isn't good. I said I'm glad he was wild and not being technical. And I love hearing where he missed some beats. It was too wild to be technically tight, and that is what I love about Junk Music


.


And I have a lot of drummer friends I grew up with watching and listening to them in our younger years, you don't have to be really good to be furious on the drums. That is sorta the thing about it, it's tribal almost primal. Like people on the dance floor @ a NYC house party/night club



Well, I don't agree with you. I think Prince was a REALLY good drummer. Some of his sound engineers have said it was his best instrument. Miles Davis noted his drumming as well. As for missed beats on Junk Music. Maybe that was Sheila or Jonathan on percussion.
The wooh is on the one!
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Reply #28 posted 02/06/18 8:21am

masaba

His beats are usually seemingly simple but sometimes he breaks out some pretty gnarly fills that make you think he might be a lot better on the kit than we realize.

Crystal ball comes to mind
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Reply #29 posted 02/06/18 8:28am

3rdEyeUnlimite
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Prince was highly influenced in his drumming style by Tower of Power's Dave Garibaldi (in addition to using his programmed beats on Linn). The loose stutttering drum style really stands out on peak 80s era albums like 1999, What Time Is It?, Apollonia 6, The Family, Parade, etc. The drums and the bass guitar were always dancing with each other to create the musical bed for the track. Looking back its not hard to tell that he usually recorded drums then bass guitar then everything else.

The Poster Formerly Known As Elephants and Flowers
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