Ultimate Drummers Playlist II

by Dave Agee

A “fresh four” have been added to the playlist!  Check ’em out!

I’ll be assembling weekly Spotify playlists for the drummers (and friends of drummers!) who are looking for some material-specific direction in their practice.  Feel free to use these tracks to supplement your own practice goals – here are things to look for in each track…

1. Care of Cell 44 – The Zombies

Swingin’ and shufflin’ bass drum patterns.  The pairing of the steady hi-hat on quarter notes and fairly active bass drum playing lots of upbeat 16ths makes this tune worthy of the shed.

2. Bell Bottom Blues – Derek and the Dominoes

This one came up in a class over the last couple weeks – a unicorn of snare drum patterns lives in the verses.  Snare on 1 and 3, you might ask?!  How can this be?!  Well, it exists.  In addition to altering your drumming reality, there are some wonderful 16th note fill ideas throughout and a killer pre-chorus floor tom vibe worth checking out.

3. Golden Age – TV on the Radio

Linear groove alert.  16th-y… and demands the drummer to get comfortable with getting the L hand to the snare drum on the “a of 3” in the pattern.  Sure, try to transcribe and play the verse groove back, note for note… but allow yourself to just listen to the chorus, glean some ideas (w/ toms and a steadier stream of 16ths), and play the style using the vocab that you feel like you have a handle on.

4. Can’t Run But – Paul Simon

(***I’m thinking in “fast 4”) Oooooh man.  Not a typical drumset part, but here’s my list.  #1 – play the soupy 8th notes (shaker sounds) and really try to get inside that swinging feel.  #2 – that marimba/mbira background texture that shows up in the beginning… play a similar repeating pattern like that around the kit, while grooving with the rest of the tune.  #3 – play kick on beat 3 only, and then layer options #1 and #2 on top of it!

We’ll chat more about these tunes and break them down during the Drum Q+A hang Wednesday!  See you then.

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A Message From Our Founder

“My my my I’m so happy
We gonna join the band
We are gonna dance and sing in celebration
We’re in the promised land.”
-Celebration Day, Led Zeppelin
Now that we have Mayor Lightfoot’s plan to move to Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois program in place, I wanted to share our plan to get us all back to what we love to do: Jam together.


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An Update From Our Founder Jeff Bergau

To Our Altered Stage Family


As we settle in for at least another month at home, I wanted to take a minute to thank our instructors, our members, and our community of Altered Stage friends for your continued support. We created the club to unite people through their love of music. While the world is living in separation, we’ve become even closer in many ways.

You have been amazing throughout all of this. I’ve gotten several emails thanking me for helping to keep some connectivity to the world and to people who share a passion for music. I sincerely appreciate the kind words, but I honestly can’t take credit. The real thanks goes to the team. The speed at which they brought the essence of the club – bringing people together – online with quality programming deserves magnitudes of thanks. I know I’ll carry my gratitude toward Jason, Nick, Cristina, Bree, Jerry, Vinny, and Chris Medici forever.


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A Night with Roberta Flack

by Jerry Cusack

Last Thursday night Chris Medici  hosted a chat about  “Top 3 Concerts”.  I was teaching a lesson with one of our members at the time so I couldn’t make it but wanted to share one of mine.

Somewhere around 1995 or ’96 I saw Roberta Flack was playing at an outdoor summer music series at a park in Oyster Bay, Long Island. The great jazz guitarist Larry Coryell was opening for her with a trio, whose playing and energy I always loved so I decided to go. The venue was a typical temporary outdoor stage set up with a large tent with rows of chairs for maybe 500 people and the rest could set up on the lawn picnic style with a little vino and listen through the sound system. I purchased a seat under the tent and got a seat close enough to the stage to check out Larry’s playing. From what I remember Larry was his typical self. He always put together an interesting set of tunes to improvise over and let it all hang out. As an improviser he was never afraid to walk the razor’s edge and that is what I admired. 

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