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Thread started 02/20/17 8:59am

nextedition

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Live drumming or a drummachine?

Always when i see prince and the revolution live there is a drummer. But to me it usually sounds like a drummachine. Does anybody know if the drummer is really playing or just pretending? In later shows like lovesexy, there was no drummer when the drumcomputer is obvious.
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Reply #1 posted 02/20/17 9:16am

PeteSilas

he's playing, the drums were set to trigger the linn sounds that prince had on record. bobby z wasn't a great drummer though if what we hear about him is true. a couple guys, chazz, p's cousin and Morris have both said that they were better. Sounds to me, from what i read that Bobby was more eager though, hung around, took odd jobs, errands and just waited until Prince saw that he had a committed professional. People dog Prince but we don't know what some of those guys from the old neighborhood were like, they can be a pain in the ass and very small minded. I'm sure that factored into Prince's decision.

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Reply #2 posted 02/20/17 9:28am

TrivialPursuit

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nextedition said:

Always when i see prince and the revolution live there is a drummer. But to me it usually sounds like a drummachine. Does anybody know if the drummer is really playing or just pretending? In later shows like lovesexy, there was no drummer when the drumcomputer is obvious.


I'd have to disagree with PeteSilas's summation of Bobby as a not-great-drummer. The notion is rude and dismissive. Prince kept him onboard from the beginning through 1986. He was one of the longest members besides Morris Hayes and Dr. Fink. He was kept on payroll by Prince for years after.

As far as the drum machine, Bobby tells the story that he was very nervous when Prince acquired the Linn drum machine. He thought he was going to lose his job to a computer. Prince told him right away that he (Z) was going to play pads connected to the drum machine. It's a clever move because it keeps the sound of Prince's material from Controversy onward (the first album he used the Linn on), yet keeps the versatility of a jam session, a different tempo, or whatever. There are times on the PR tour, like "Let's Go Crazy", "Delirious" (which used the same drum pattern), etc where the actual Linn pattern from the album was used. Yet in other songs, it was Bobby playing through the Linn triggers on stuff like "Take Me With U", etc. Sometimes he played with a stripped down Linn pattern like "Little Red Corvette" or "The Beautiful Ones" or "When Doves Cry".

All that might have changed a bit once Parade came along. It seemed to be a bit more "live", although the drums were still electric drums, and probably fed through the Linn again. The whole feel was more organic than PR's overly polished sound. It wasn't until SOTT that Prince went back to a drummer w/ a live drum kit.

So yeah, you're hearing both live drumming and a drum machine. It was pretty ingenious to do that. Prince continued to use the Linn in the studio well after other more sophisticated drum machines came along. I'd argue that the Linn was a huge factor in his sound, and knowing "That's a Prince song".

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Reply #3 posted 02/20/17 9:58am

NorthC

Even Prince himself has said in the Rolling Stone interview in 1985 that Bobby Z was't the greatest drummer, "but he watches me like no other drummer."
[Edited 2/20/17 10:00am]
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Reply #4 posted 02/20/17 4:22pm

GustavoRibas

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Bobby Z is a cool guy and the right guy for Revolution sound, but, technically, not a very skilled drummer

It´s interesting to notice that, in some phases of his career, Prince didnt seem to really want a proeminent drummer

[Edited 2/20/17 16:51pm]

Peace
Gustavo Ribas
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Reply #5 posted 02/20/17 4:32pm

Revolution81

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I wouldn't know about technical skill and all that, but to my ears the "sound" of bobbys drumming was the funkiest
My fathers got a shotgun...I hope he doesn't use it
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Reply #6 posted 02/20/17 5:30pm

PeteSilas

not trying to be rude, most of the people around say that Bobby was limited on drums. Pop music doesn't have to be technically hard and Prince never really pushed his musicians in those days to really show their stuff. The revolution had an excellent chemistry but as musicians, they had their limits, i think wendy said recently that some of his later guitarists could play circles around her and it's true. The thing about rock music is that sometimes it's not about how well you can play, it's about the energy that a collective has. Elvis' early musicians weren't nearly the best but they had a chemistry between them that impacted music history, lots of examples of this.

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Reply #7 posted 02/20/17 6:42pm

imprimis

Bobby Z was competent for the sophistication of the material at the time, 'Holiday Inn' gibes aside.

.

He is a better live drummer than popularly regarded; he was present to bear direct witness to P's 'signature' integration of the computerized programming and live drumming, and replicated that better than many of the latter drummers, under the technologically crude limitations of the early/early-mid 1980s.

.

It was quite some time after his dismissal, including wallowing through late 80s and early 90s diversions into non-Linn drum machine (or sampler) programming, before the better players' distinction brought something important to the live performance.

.

The more technically accomplished and aggressive playing styles changed the modalities of the back catalogue material significantly, for better or for worse.

.

[Edited 2/20/17 20:04pm]

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Reply #8 posted 02/20/17 7:03pm

TrivialPursuit

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^^^ I agree with much of imprimis's summation.

I will say that I believe Michael B. was probably the best drummer Prince ever had. Evar. Sheila would be second, Cora, Blackwell, Bobby, Kirk, then whoever else.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
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Reply #9 posted 02/20/17 7:50pm

TrevorAyer

I'll take bobby z over hannah every single time ... in fact as drummers go, based on feel and not technical nerd shit ...

Bobby
Sheila
Prince
Bland
Blackwell
Kirky
Hannah

In that order

Ps bobby played all live acoustic drums on parade tour ... which is only second to pr tour ... bobby is all class and no flash .. just the way music should be
[Edited 2/20/17 19:51pm]
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Reply #10 posted 02/21/17 2:59am

MD431Madcat

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.

[Edited 2/21/17 20:41pm]

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Reply #11 posted 02/21/17 3:39am

jjam

Michael B.'s definitely the best drummer Prince had.

But Bobby Z is very solid, no doubt about that.

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Reply #12 posted 02/21/17 4:56am

nextedition

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TrivialPursuit said:



nextedition said:


Always when i see prince and the revolution live there is a drummer. But to me it usually sounds like a drummachine. Does anybody know if the drummer is really playing or just pretending? In later shows like lovesexy, there was no drummer when the drumcomputer is obvious.


I'd have to disagree with PeteSilas's summation of Bobby as a not-great-drummer. The notion is rude and dismissive. Prince kept him onboard from the beginning through 1986. He was one of the longest members besides Morris Hayes and Dr. Fink. He was kept on payroll by Prince for years after.

As far as the drum machine, Bobby tells the story that he was very nervous when Prince acquired the Linn drum machine. He thought he was going to lose his job to a computer. Prince told him right away that he (Z) was going to play pads connected to the drum machine. It's a clever move because it keeps the sound of Prince's material from Controversy onward (the first album he used the Linn on), yet keeps the versatility of a jam session, a different tempo, or whatever. There are times on the PR tour, like "Let's Go Crazy", "Delirious" (which used the same drum pattern), etc where the actual Linn pattern from the album was used. Yet in other songs, it was Bobby playing through the Linn triggers on stuff like "Take Me With U", etc. Sometimes he played with a stripped down Linn pattern like "Little Red Corvette" or "The Beautiful Ones" or "When Doves Cry".

All that might have changed a bit once Parade came along. It seemed to be a bit more "live", although the drums were still electric drums, and probably fed through the Linn again. The whole feel was more organic than PR's overly polished sound. It wasn't until SOTT that Prince went back to a drummer w/ a live drum kit.

So yeah, you're hearing both live drumming and a drum machine. It was pretty ingenious to do that. Prince continued to use the Linn in the studio well after other more sophisticated drum machines came along. I'd argue that the Linn was a huge factor in his sound, and knowing "That's a Prince song".


Thank you for the insight. Pretty amazing lets go crazy and delerious are live drums. I guess the linn patern sound makes me believe it is a drumcomputer.
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Reply #13 posted 02/21/17 4:59am

nextedition

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Would you say the drums on the grammy performance 1985 (baby im a star) are live? Dont know if its allowed to post yt so didnt insert it.
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Reply #14 posted 02/21/17 6:22am

imprimis

I believe TrivialPursuit is saying, regarding LGC and 'Delirious', that they are largely (although not entirely) a programmed electronic drum line, and not all live playing. However, I believe he does play most of 'Baby, I'm A Star' live. There is a certain aspect of subjectivity here, as some of the pre-programmed patterns might also be triggered (some by Bobby, some by the engineers), and other parts played live and/or live with Simmons pads controlling one of the [proprietary/modded] Linndrum units, in the course of the same song. I believe he played 'Delirious' live on the 1999 Tour, but it was more heavily pre-programmed as part of the LGC 'suite' on the PR Tour.

.

(Sheila's situation was not at all unlike this, for instance, 'sitting pretty' with limited input for FIML, 'Hot Thing', IIWYGF, etc. on the SOTT Tour, most of which were stock sound Fairlight sequenced and/or MIDIfied Linndrum sequenced on the Fairlight)

.

To be fair, though, they were very heavily invested in recreating the sound of the album (which was less a concern for arrangements in subsequent tours, and the complexity or nature of this early-/mid-1980s electronic sound is not always amenable to pad-triggered playing, no matter how adroit the chops), the equipment was technologically limited by the standards of only a few years later, and the entire band were elevated to the most prominent level of stardom virtually overnight, necessitating assurance that the performances would be consistent and mostly error-free for a tour of PR's commercial scale.

.

[Edited 2/21/17 8:20am]

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Reply #15 posted 02/21/17 7:38am

OldFriends4Sal
e

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NorthC said:

Even Prince himself has said in the Rolling Stone interview in 1985 that Bobby Z was't the greatest drummer, "but he watches me like no other drummer." [Edited 2/20/17 10:00am]

he said was 'spectacular'

Bobby Z was the first one to join. He's my best friend. Though he's not such a spectacular drummer, he watches me like no other drummer would. Sometimes, a real great drummer, like Morris, will be more concerned with the lick he is doing as opposed to how I am going to break it down.

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Reply #16 posted 02/21/17 8:02am

TrivialPursuit

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nextedition said:

TrivialPursuit said:

There are times on the PR tour, like "Let's Go Crazy", "Delirious" (which used the same drum pattern), etc where the actual Linn pattern from the album was used. Yet in other songs, it was Bobby playing through the Linn triggers on stuff like "Take Me With U", etc. Sometimes he played with a stripped down Linn pattern like "Little Red Corvette" or "The Beautiful Ones" or "When Doves Cry".

Thank you for the insight. Pretty amazing lets go crazy and delerious are live drums. I guess the linn patern sound makes me believe it is a drumcomputer.


You might have misread what I said. I said those songs used the Linn directly. If you watch the Syracuse video, you can see that Bobby is standing up during "Let's Go Crazy" sticking to just the cymbals or whatever. He's not playing much of anything.

This experience will cover courtship, sex, commitment, fetishes, loneliness, vindication, love, and hate.
http://bit.ly/1D3FG2U
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Reply #17 posted 02/21/17 8:12am

OldFriends4Sal
e

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yoda TrivialPursuit & imprimis yoda just started class for Purple Music 102

.

In a recent interview(last 2-3months?) Bobby Z talked in further detail about all he had to do in the studio - live to replicate the sounds Prince wanted all the while trying to watch Prince for all the changes and breaks Prince was triggering 2 the band. That even at sometimes because of the stage set, he could not see Prince.

#IDEFINEME #ALBUMSSTILLMATTER

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What's the matter with your life
Is poverty bringing U down?
Is the mailman jerking U 'round?
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Reply #18 posted 02/21/17 8:22am

imprimis

The Hit-and-Run '86/Parade Tour was the apex of intelligent control and integration of the electronic drums with acoustic live playing. Done more cleverly, all things considered, and satisfyingly than in any tour before or since.

.

[Edited 2/21/17 8:23am]

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Reply #19 posted 02/21/17 9:39am

alannevets

The Linn LM-1 had a few interesting features which made it sound unique among drum machines. First, there was an extremely small amount of silence (talking milliseconds here) before each drum sample. So when the sample was triggered, the sound was just the tiniest bit delayed. This made the LM-1 play in the "pocket," or just behind the beat, which gave it a funky feel. Also the machine was imperfect and tended to drift a bit, which also gave it character. And finally, it had a swing function which made the beats groove. All of that combined made it feel more lifelike than a computer.

+

To my ears, on recordings, if the drums sounded like the LM-1, chances are it was sequenced with the LM-1. An exception might be "Raspberry Beret," where it sounds like the Linn, but when the hi-hat comes in, that sounds like someone playing. So as others have pointed out, Prince was an innovator at enhancing performance with technology.

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Reply #20 posted 02/21/17 4:24pm

jazzvirtuoso

PeteSilas said:

not trying to be rude, most of the people around say that Bobby was limited on drums. Pop music doesn't have to be technically hard and Prince never really pushed his musicians in those days to really show their stuff. The revolution had an excellent chemistry but as musicians, they had their limits, i think wendy said recently that some of his later guitarists could play circles around her and it's true. The thing about rock music is that sometimes it's not about how well you can play, it's about the energy that a collective has. Elvis' early musicians weren't nearly the best but they had a chemistry between them that impacted music history, lots of examples of this.



Very, very true. I noticed that some of
his live drumming back then was off beat too..
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Reply #21 posted 02/21/17 4:53pm

OldFriends4Sal
e

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jazzvirtuoso said:

PeteSilas said:

not trying to be rude, most of the people around say that Bobby was limited on drums. Pop music doesn't have to be technically hard and Prince never really pushed his musicians in those days to really show their stuff. The revolution had an excellent chemistry but as musicians, they had their limits, i think wendy said recently that some of his later guitarists could play circles around her and it's true. The thing about rock music is that sometimes it's not about how well you can play, it's about the energy that a collective has. Elvis' early musicians weren't nearly the best but they had a chemistry between them that impacted music history, lots of examples of this.

Very, very true. I noticed that some of his live drumming back then was off beat too..

Even some of Prince's drumming was off beat.


And Sheila E missed a lot of beats too on percussion.
Or off the rhythm, listen to her solo on the 2006 Brit Award show Let's Go Crazy

it's life

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Reply #22 posted 02/21/17 5:27pm

GustavoRibas

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PeteSilas said:

not trying to be rude, most of the people around say that Bobby was limited on drums. Pop music doesn't have to be technically hard and Prince never really pushed his musicians in those days to really show their stuff. The revolution had an excellent chemistry but as musicians, they had their limits, i think wendy said recently that some of his later guitarists could play circles around her and it's true. The thing about rock music is that sometimes it's not about how well you can play, it's about the energy that a collective has. Elvis' early musicians weren't nearly the best but they had a chemistry between them that impacted music history, lots of examples of this.

- Yes, it´s true. When I said Bobby wasnt the most skilled, I wasnt trying to offend him. He worked well for that period of time and Revolution had such a great chemistry. I was only saying that, compared to real skilled people like Sheila, Michael B, John Blackwell, Omar Hakim, Dennis Chambers, etc etc etc etc etc, he was indeed limited.

Peace
Gustavo Ribas
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Reply #23 posted 02/21/17 5:43pm

OldFriends4Sal
e

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GustavoRibas said:

PeteSilas said:

not trying to be rude, most of the people around say that Bobby was limited on drums. Pop music doesn't have to be technically hard and Prince never really pushed his musicians in those days to really show their stuff. The revolution had an excellent chemistry but as musicians, they had their limits, i think wendy said recently that some of his later guitarists could play circles around her and it's true. The thing about rock music is that sometimes it's not about how well you can play, it's about the energy that a collective has. Elvis' early musicians weren't nearly the best but they had a chemistry between them that impacted music history, lots of examples of this.

- Yes, it´s true. When I said Bobby wasnt the most skilled, I wasnt trying to offend him. He worked well for that period of time and Revolution had such a great chemistry. I was only saying that, compared to real skilled people like Sheila, Michael B, John Blackwell, Omar Hakim, Dennis Chambers, etc etc etc etc etc, he was indeed limited.

I think we have to also consider (and others have said it) that Prince going for a sound, and to get his sound out there, he wanted his music translated from album to stage. that is something that sets a lot of the 80s time period apart in being such a founational period of purple music. If the music sounded too much like something away from the album music, it would not have had the effect. And most of the album drumming as timeless and electric as I still find it, was not 'flashy'. The beat carried through out the song like Lady Cab Driver or Let's Go Crazy or Head etc

and too much could easily mess up the vibe of the music. Off night shows like the First Avenue 3.8.1982 show was a lot looser and his drumming was more free...

tumblr_mln0l8OuIo1qcvaxho2_250.gif

#IDEFINEME #ALBUMSSTILLMATTER

A Liar Shall Not Tarry In My Presence
I will make you cyber shit in your pants!
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
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Reply #24 posted 02/21/17 5:52pm

laurarichardso
n

TrivialPursuit said:



nextedition said:


Always when i see prince and the revolution live there is a drummer. But to me it usually sounds like a drummachine. Does anybody know if the drummer is really playing or just pretending? In later shows like lovesexy, there was no drummer when the drumcomputer is obvious.


I'd have to disagree with PeteSilas's summation of Bobby as a not-great-drummer. The notion is rude and dismissive. Prince kept him onboard from the beginning through 1986. He was one of the longest members besides Morris Hayes and Dr. Fink. He was kept on payroll by Prince for years after.

As far as the drum machine, Bobby tells the story that he was very nervous when Prince acquired the Linn drum machine. He thought he was going to lose his job to a computer. Prince told him right away that he (Z) was going to play pads connected to the drum machine. It's a clever move because it keeps the sound of Prince's material from Controversy onward (the first album he used the Linn on), yet keeps the versatility of a jam session, a different tempo, or whatever. There are times on the PR tour, like "Let's Go Crazy", "Delirious" (which used the same drum pattern), etc where the actual Linn pattern from the album was used. Yet in other songs, it was Bobby playing through the Linn triggers on stuff like "Take Me With U", etc. Sometimes he played with a stripped down Linn pattern like "Little Red Corvette" or "The Beautiful Ones" or "When Doves Cry".

All that might have changed a bit once Parade came along. It seemed to be a bit more "live", although the drums were still electric drums, and probably fed through the Linn again. The whole feel was more organic than PR's overly polished sound. It wasn't until SOTT that Prince went back to a drummer w/ a live drum kit.

So yeah, you're hearing both live drumming and a drum machine. It was pretty ingenious to do that. Prince continued to use the Linn in the studio well after other more sophisticated drum machines came along. I'd argue that the Linn was a huge factor in his sound, and knowing "That's a Prince song".


--Loads of people have said Bobby Z was not that good of a drummer nothing agaisnt him as a person he seemed to have been a good friend to Prince and I think it was great that he could be so loyal to people.
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