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DrumChannel.com and the Buddy Rich Memorial Concert

by Omar on November 14, 2008

in Event Review

I was a little disillusioned when I found out about the Buddy Rich Memorial Concert being held in New York (I’m many states away!). But I was thrilled when I found out that DrumChannel.com was going to feed it live on their web site. How’d they do? In a word: EXCELLENT!

Even though I was sitting at my desk, I actually felt like I was there. No, I don’t mean being surrounded by fans in the audience, or the booming of the bass drums, or the loud sizzle of hi-hats. But the fact that I could be a part of the event at all, and not via replay but live, was very exciting. And if I had to go to the bathroom, I could take the laptop with me and not miss a beat (pun intended, couldn’t resist).

I found the interface for viewing the show to be simple enough, with the typical Play, Stop, and Volume buttons. You could also select high or low resolution viewing depending on your connection speed.

But the neatest feature was the camera angles. You had five angles to choose from: the main feed, the drum cam, close-up, the hand-held, and backstage. Before the show you could see the hustle and bustle of the stage crew getting things ready. But the pre-show was on the backstage camera.

Several artists were backstage, exchanging anecdotes, influences, extolling each other’s virtues, and some of their experience with Buddy Rich. You’d have some artists speaking, and then one or two would leave to make room for the next one. A merry-go-round of artists.

Terry Bozzio and Chad Smith were yapping it up, with Chad mentioning that he was mostly influenced by rock, but he did see Buddy in 1986. Buddy even signed his ticket.

Alex González of Maná was on hand as well. He also was mostly influenced by rock, but said that all drummers need to go to the Buddy Rich school. I agree with that assessment. Stephen Perkins of Jane’s Addiction chimed in, mentioning that he noticed Gene Krupa early on, with his emotional approach to playing and sensitivity to the song. But Stephen also mentioned that Buddy was a machine.

Tommy Igoe then joins in. He has a little history with Buddy in that his father and Buddy were friends. Tommy first started playing with knitting sticks, and then got his first set when he was two (mighty small kit!). He also plugged his Birdland Big Band, and that they would be releasing a DVD & CD.

Efraín Toro, percussionist extraordinaire, walks in and speaks some Spanish to the Latino community (lots of great drummers and percussionists there), and says his performance with Terry Bozzio was going to be incredible (and in fact it was!). The audio started to fail a bit at about 8pm or so, but after switching back and forth between cameras the audio was back. Efraín mentioned that he once had dinner with Buddy Rich and Stan Getz. That must’ve been some dinner!

John Blackwell makes an entrance as well, and talked briefly about his childhood and how a kid from his biology class came over and seriously outplayed him. His father then went on to tell him, “There’s always someone better.” I know one thing: John Blackwell is better than me!

Don Lombardi of DW was also present. The DrumChannel.com is his baby, and he and Alex González were going over some of the features the web site would have, such as live discussions, lessons, videos, forums, and a who’s who in the drumming industry participating in performing, teaching, and discussion. Very much to look forward to.

Don and others also were taking calls from the general public on one of their cell phones, which was really cool! I unfortunately could not call at that moment, but the interaction was a great way to show how much DrumChannel.com will be an interactive medium for drummers that has not been seen before.

As far as viewing the show (because up to this point it has been the backstage camera), it wasn’t all so smooth. The main feed lagged behind the audio, so it was almost unwatchable. I found the hand-held view didn’t focus enough on the drummer, so I found myself not viewing that camera feed very much. What I did find myself doing was switching between the drum cam and the close-up cam. The audio on the drum cam was better than the close-up cam. So in my opinion, the best viewing experience was through the drum cam (although I was switching regularly between these two views, depending on which one gave me a better view of the drumming).

And that’s my take on the behind-the-scenes view of the show. If this is a sign of the times, DrumChannel.com will be an awesome medium for the drumming community, and one thing’s for sure, The Paradiddler will be a part of it. Very well done!

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