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Thread started 09/27/20 4:55am

emesem

Have we been underrating Bobby Z all these years?

And conversely was Shiela overrated?
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Reply #1 posted 09/27/20 5:14am

SimonCharles

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emesem said:

And conversely was Shiela overrated?

Go on - I'll play: nope. Nope.

*

Both played a significant part in transferring Prince's musical vision to the live stage, both played their part in the studio and creative process of Prince's muscial life. They both adapted to the situations they found themselves in and were bedrocks for a sustained period of Prince's career.

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Reply #2 posted 09/27/20 6:55am

LoveGalore

Nah lol
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Reply #3 posted 09/27/20 7:33am

KoolEaze

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Remember that Bobby Z. himself admitted that he understood why he was replaced with Sheila E. and that even he considered her the better drummer, so, no, I don´t think he´s underrated.

However, I´m not a musician and as far as I´m concerned, he´s one of my favorite bandmembers ever.

" I´d rather be a stank ass hoe because I´m not stupid. Oh my goodness! I got more drugs! I´m always funny dude...I´m hilarious! Are we gonna smoke?"
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Reply #4 posted 09/27/20 8:31am

1p1p1i3

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He also seems to be a genuinely lovely guy.

And if you can catch The Revolution when they start touring again, then you absolutely should.

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Reply #5 posted 09/27/20 9:00am

antonb

to be honest , he was the weak link when i saw the revolution in london when they played there last year. As nice as he is, he was going through the motions. And pretty uninspired!

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Reply #6 posted 09/27/20 9:43am

renfield

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Bobby was a solid drummer who could ride a groove for however long Prince wanted but he wasn't, as he acknowleged, as dynamic as Sheila. There's a reason she got solos and he didn't (not that I think he wanted them anyway). He was also probably the only member of the Revolution who wasn't as good at their instrument as Prince himself.

But given the insane talent around him it unfairly made him look weaker by comparison. It's like the way people joke about how talentless Ringo Starr was; he was better than he was credited for but he just wasn't John, Paul, or George. I think Bobby and Ringo being able to keep up for years with people on that level is itself an accomplishment worthy of respect.

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Reply #7 posted 09/27/20 11:08am

KoolEaze

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antonb said:

to be honest , he was the weak link when i saw the revolution in london when they played there last year. As nice as he is, he was going through the motions. And pretty uninspired!

Maybe it has to do with having had a heart attack and his age. I´m surprised that he´s got the courage to still do live gigs after all he´s been through.

" I´d rather be a stank ass hoe because I´m not stupid. Oh my goodness! I got more drugs! I´m always funny dude...I´m hilarious! Are we gonna smoke?"
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Reply #8 posted 09/27/20 11:12am

lavendardrumma
chine

I think in terms of his role with Prince, yes we have.

Musically? Nope, but maybe some if you listen to the practice session tapes. Also his limitations combined with the technology limitations seem like they defined his sound. Thank god he wasn't given crazy drum solos

His heart attack appeared to have sparked nostalgia in Prince that was missing from public view. I don't know, when you look and see certain guys just around for multiple periods or keeping in touch with Prince in a way others didn't, there's someting to it.

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Reply #9 posted 09/27/20 11:51am

TrivialPursuit

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emesem said:

And conversely was Sheila overrated?


"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #10 posted 09/27/20 12:03pm

tab32792

No. Folks have been overrating him lol but that's a conversation nobody ever wants to have. Sheila E. is a way better drummer and percussionist and way more versatile.

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Reply #11 posted 09/27/20 5:43pm

lavendardrumma
chine

tab32792 said:

No. Folks have been overrating him lol but that's a conversation nobody ever wants to have. Sheila E. is a way better drummer and percussionist and way more versatile.


Because being down on the Revolution is a forbidden topic that doesn't come up every other thread these days?

I mean, Sheila was a star and had a career on her own. It's not even a comparison.

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Reply #12 posted 09/27/20 8:21pm

woogiebear

I believe Prince HIMSELF said that NOBODY plays "Purple Rain" like Bobby Z.!!!

cool cool cool

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Reply #13 posted 09/28/20 7:37am

mediumdry

Bobby Z is the Ringo of the Revolution. Incredibly steady and plays without ego. That is extremely valuable. As to his playing, he played what Prince wanted him to play. And nothing more. Is he the most technically gifted drummer? No.. does he have chops? I think so...

.

Sheila E on the other hand has lots of technical chops, but she has a big ego. She's basically a fusion drummer. Personally, I hate fusion and think that it's a lot of people that put technique above musicality. To each their own.

.

If I had to choose, I'd pick Bobby.

Paisley Park is in your heart - Love Is Here!
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Reply #14 posted 09/29/20 4:38am

jaawwnn

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antonb said:

to be honest , he was the weak link when i saw the revolution in london when they played there last year. As nice as he is, he was going through the motions. And pretty uninspired!

I was at that show, I didn't notice anything bad in his performance, what were you expecting that you didn't see?

I think he's always been rated about right; a solid, non-flashy drummer. He wouldn't suit every band, and didn't suit every aspect of Prince's music, but neither would Sheila or John Blackwell, or Michael B or whoever

[Edited 9/29/20 4:40am]

"I think people ought to know that we're anti-fascist, we're anti-violence, we're anti-racist and we're pro-creative. We're against ignorance."
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Reply #15 posted 09/29/20 6:03am

OldFriends4Sal
e

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In some ways yes. Especially when I hear people rate the drummers and I can tell the only thing they actually heard of Bobby Z is the Purple Rain tour.

When I read a piece by Dr Fink and Bobby Z of all the additional technology they had to learn and encorporate into the tours per Prince's request, my respect for Bobby Z went up 5 notches.

It's one thing for those who were able to just play the drums. But when you had to encorporate linn drumming, triggers and sounds etc while watching Prince who was all over that stage which you could loose sight of him "Bobby could you see me last night?"

But hearing Bobby on studio sessions, rehearsals, off tour shows and recorded songs from the beginning is what too often people don't hear.

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Reply #16 posted 09/30/20 1:25am

lavendardrumma
chine

It's funny how off the Linn drum sounds got with the other drummers during live shows. Maybe that was by design, and Prince wanted it that way, but considering it's a triggered drum sample there shouldn't be any difference.

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Reply #17 posted 09/30/20 8:33am

OldFriends4Sal
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lavendardrummachine said:

It's funny how off the Linn drum sounds got with the other drummers during live shows. Maybe that was by design, and Prince wanted it that way, but considering it's a triggered drum sample there shouldn't be any difference.

I'll try to find the article where Dr Fink and Bobby are talking about incorporating the linn into live shows.

I think because of the connection of those two purple soldiers and Bobby Z working intimately with Prince since 1981 as Prince began bringing the linn drumming into the music is probably why it was more on point with Bobby Z. Linn during that 1981-1986 period was very crucial to setting Prince's sound apart from others.

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
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Reply #18 posted 09/30/20 10:58am

lavendardrumma
chine

OldFriends4Sale said:


I think because of the connection of those two purple soldiers and Bobby Z working intimately with Prince since 1981 as Prince began bringing the linn drumming into the music is probably why it was more on point with Bobby Z. Linn during that 1981-1986 period was very crucial to setting Prince's sound apart from others.



Oh yeah, but I hear a difference in live performances of somehing like 1999 where they still used the Linn consistently after Bobby, even if it's more of a background layer. The version in the SOTT boxset is a good example. It's just different. Maybe they used it to the grid, and Bobby knew how to replicate Prince's original by coming in early or whatever. A number of songs were like that even with better drummers, and it might be the Linn was sampled for live shows and was with the synths instead of the drums.

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Reply #19 posted 09/30/20 12:12pm

SimonCharles

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lavendardrummachine said:

OldFriends4Sale said:


I think because of the connection of those two purple soldiers and Bobby Z working intimately with Prince since 1981 as Prince began bringing the linn drumming into the music is probably why it was more on point with Bobby Z. Linn during that 1981-1986 period was very crucial to setting Prince's sound apart from others.



Oh yeah, but I hear a difference in live performances of somehing like 1999 where they still used the Linn consistently after Bobby, even if it's more of a background layer. The version in the SOTT boxset is a good example. It's just different. Maybe they used it to the grid, and Bobby knew how to replicate Prince's original by coming in early or whatever. A number of songs were like that even with better drummers, and it might be the Linn was sampled for live shows and was with the synths instead of the drums.

I was thinking about that with regards the New Year's Eve show - the number of times Shiela comes off her set and the beat goes on...that must have been Dr Fink in charge of that, surely?

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Reply #20 posted 09/30/20 8:10pm

GaryMF

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I want to know more about Bobby did the Linn beats during 1999 and PR tours.

Sometimes it sounds like the main beat is programmed on some songs, but then you hear fills on the Linn snare. Also with all the "stop on the 1"s etc. ...how did he control that?

I dont remember seeing Simmons pads in his kit to trigger the Linn sounds and play "live"... so how did he do it?

THere was too much improv going on for it to just be the Linn playing a pattern on its own.

Plus did he change the tuning on the snare during the shows?

rainbow
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Reply #21 posted 09/30/20 8:18pm

lavendardrumma
chine

SimonCharles said:

I was thinking about that with regards the New Year's Eve show - the number of times Shiela comes off her set and the beat goes on...that must have been Dr Fink in charge of that, surely?


That's my guess too...definitely the claps. The Linn sounds pretty sharp in that show too.

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Reply #22 posted 09/30/20 8:36pm

lavendardrumma
chine

GaryMF said:

I dont remember seeing Simmons pads in his kit to trigger the Linn sounds and play "live"... so how did he do it?


He did have pads, but even knowing that, it's still mysterious.

https://www.moderndrummer.com/article/february-2019-timeless-and-authentic-bobby-z-of-the-revolution/

I think there are only a select group of songs like Baby I'm a Star where Prince did a lot of improv and there's a mix of both the live drums and Linn, but a lot of competent drummers would struggle to handle that.

But yeah, I don't know how it didn't sound like an out of control pattern.

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Reply #23 posted 10/01/20 7:14am

GaryMF

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lavendardrummachine said:

GaryMF said:

I dont remember seeing Simmons pads in his kit to trigger the Linn sounds and play "live"... so how did he do it?


He did have pads, but even knowing that, it's still mysterious.

https://www.moderndrummer.com/article/february-2019-timeless-and-authentic-bobby-z-of-the-revolution/

I think there are only a select group of songs like Baby I'm a Star where Prince did a lot of improv and there's a mix of both the live drums and Linn, but a lot of competent drummers would struggle to handle that.

But yeah, I don't know how it didn't sound like an out of control pattern.

But are the "live" drums Bobby playing a snare or pad that triggers the Linn Snare? Because on 1999 and PR tours you never hear the more acoustic drum sound you hear in the Parade show.

rainbow
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Reply #24 posted 10/01/20 11:57am

lavendardrumma
chine

GaryMF said:

lavendardrummachine said:


He did have pads, but even knowing that, it's still mysterious.

https://www.moderndrummer.com/article/february-2019-timeless-and-authentic-bobby-z-of-the-revolution/

I think there are only a select group of songs like Baby I'm a Star where Prince did a lot of improv and there's a mix of both the live drums and Linn, but a lot of competent drummers would struggle to handle that.

But yeah, I don't know how it didn't sound like an out of control pattern.

But are the "live" drums Bobby playing a snare or pad that triggers the Linn Snare? Because on 1999 and PR tours you never hear the more acoustic drum sound you hear in the Parade show.


He describes they switched to the new technology once Simmons released them. Before that they had a modified pad they had custom made (I think it was something people were doing at the time but this was the era where you had a midi tech guy hanging around) and that it was unreliable.

The youtube clip of 1999 at the Summit, Houston from 1982 shows Bobby with pads. He's also playing a floor tom and high hat at least. The extra claps don't appear to be him until later in the song when he's dramatically hitting them, or I'd still be guessing that was Fink. But they always layered natural drum sounds over the Linn. At 4 minutes in he's standing up and dancing, so uh...it gets weird...he was definitely triggering things live, but now I'm wondering if the live kit wasn't actually heard at all and how much he was playing live vs. just triggering things.

I don't know why they went with natural drums more prominently over the Linn when the new tech came out.... that's also when the tempo/delay changes. Seems like it would be the opposite that it happened.

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Reply #25 posted 10/06/20 6:15pm

JellyBean

Nope and Nope.

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Reply #26 posted 10/07/20 8:29am

OldFriends4Sal
e

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https://www.moderndrummer...qqHjKqRZFk


MD: Prince always had amazing musicians. The late John Blackwell idolized you. Did you know John?

Bobby: I did know him. He was so gracious and so gifted as a drummer. I was very lucky to have spent time hanging out with John at Paisley Park and watch him in action at rehearsals with Prince. His respect was an honor and a gift to me. Not everybody has humility and talent. He is truly missed.

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
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Reply #27 posted 10/07/20 8:32am

OldFriends4Sal
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https://www.moderndrummer...qqHjKqRZFk


MD: In those early days, electronics were fairly new. How did you get into playing along to sequences and programmed drums?

Bobby Z: Prince had one of the first Linn LM-1 drum machines. The song "Private Joy" [from Controversy] is the first time you hear it on record. I think drum machines in general scared all drummers back then, but Prince's manager at the time, Steve Fargnoli, gave me some advice. He said, "It's here, so learn how to use it." It was very good advice.

At the onset there was no technology available to support Prince's desire to have a drum machine that was playable via pads. We used the outputs from the LM-1 to trigger small acoustic guitar pickups and mics placed inside the snare. Don Batts, our genius tech, had created an interface that made Simmons pads trigger the Linn sounds. It was quite unpredictable and would often double trigger. I remember praying on live TV during the American Music Awards performance of "Purple
Rain" that it would work. It did, luckily, but technology quickly caught up, and playable pads become popular.

Prince's real precision innovation in the studio was the Pearl Syncussion pads and sounds. On our tour now I use samples
of those sounds to create the authentic electronic cymbals, toms, and bombs that are such a big part of our music.


..
Back in the day, Bobby Z played a Ludwig kit with Black Simmons SDSV pads, a Simmons SDSV module, a Linn LM-1 drum machine, two black Pearl Syncussion pads, two Pearl Syncussion modules, and Zildjian cymbals (14″ hi-hats, 16″ and 18″ crashes, 20″ ride). Today he plays DW drums, and all loops and sounds are fired from a Roland SPD-SX multipad. Like his original Ludwig kit, Bobby's current DW features a 14″ tom, an 18″ floor tom, and a 22″ bass drum. He still plays Zildjian cymbals.

#ALBUMSSTILLMATTER
don't follow me if you're easily triggered...
https://prince.org/msg/7/464433 9.24.2020
if you ever try the lotus position
Try it while you're being strangled
Do U understand what I'm saying?
#IDEFINEME
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Reply #28 posted 10/10/20 5:10am

EugeneKnight

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Not at all. As a techician he is adequate at best, but good enough to complete the very, very basic tasks demanded of him during his tenure.

"Never argue with a fool, they will lower you to their level and then beat you with experience."—Woody Allen
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