Friday, August 21, 2009
A Letter to Dwight, the "Drummer" of Coolin' Out
I arrived at the 7th Street stage at about 8 o'clock on Sunday August 16, 2009 as your band, Coolin' Out, was nearing the end of its first set. Everyone excused themselves from the stage for what I thought would be a short break - grab some water, sell some cds, meet & greet, etc. Little did I know that it would be 35 minutes until the music started again. "They must be pretty tired", I said to the other folks perched on and leaning against the Boardwalk railing. Yawn.
After watching a rollerblader balance a bottle of water on her head for a while, the vocal mics were checked, the announcer said hello, and the show resumed. Man, those drums were tight. I was impressed. The snare sounded perfect. The bass drum full and deep. You were singing, too. That's not an easy task. I needed to get closer.
Uh-oh. There aren't any drum mics. None. Well, one - your vocal mic. Is it really picking up the snare, hi-hat, and bass drum that good? Without any feedback from the stage monitors or P.A.? Amazing.
Wait a minute - I just heard a drum fill. A little tumble down the toms and the movement of your drumsticks didn't match. I'll pay closer attention the next time a fill rolls around. Hmmmmm. You sure are hitting the snare softly. Is there a tiny microphone hidden somewhere on the rim? There must be. Okay, here comes the fill. Here we go. Whooops! Not even close this time. There was a cymbal crash at the end and your drumsticks were nowhere near the cymbals! Oh my.
The bell of your ride cymbal does work and you're definitely playing it - no doubt about it. "Ding - Ding - Ding - Ding - Ding". Loud and crisp. It helps out on those extended instrumental breaks.
Real drums and cymbals always sound better than fake ones and aside from the occasional use of your ride cymbal - the drum sounds I heard that night were all fake. You were not providing the underlying beat to the songs. They had been created by a machine and you were pretending to play the drums. Not just for a part of a song because a cable crapped out - every single song. Fake drumming. And, even worse than simply fake drumming - you were fake drumming very poorly.
You were constantly tapping the snare a second or two behind and infront of the beat. You forgot about drum fills and fumbled over the toms while the beat continued without you. The ultimate blooper occured when you twisted your hat around backwards on your head with both hands in the middle of a song. Whoa! No hands at all for a few seconds - and the beat never stopped.
The best part about this is that I'm the only one who noticed. Everybody kept dancing and drinking the same as if you were actually playing the drums. Oh well, no harm done. You still got paid and people still had fun. Don't worry, I won't tell a soul.
I do recommend that the computer that actually performs the drumming duties for Coolin' Out be included in the band member introduction segment of your show. And, just for kicks, at some point in the future, really play the drums for an entire Coolin' Out show. If you do, I'll buy a cd. Or do you fake drum on that, too?
A Concerned Beach Music Fan,
(here's the band's website - check 'em out in person and watch Dwight "play" the drums)