September 11, 2010

Steve Jordan Interview on Modern Drummer October 2010

I have learned so much from the interview on Steve Jordan in the latest issue of Modern Drummer (October 2010).  Here are some quotes which are worth reflecting on.

"When someone asks me to produce their record, I talk to them about what they want.  Your job as a producer is to make the artist happy, not to have the artist be a vehicle for you to make the record you want to make."

"None of my favorite recordings were done with a click, so the verse often feels one way and the chorus shifts gears.  To me, that's the real stuff.  If you're going to play with a click, you have to know how to manipulate your playing around the click."

"Swinging is not based on technique.  It's based on a feeling --- period.  I would take a drummer who has no technique any day of the week over a more efficient drummer, if he swings better."

"If you're going to play the drums, you have to be very confident."

"But I don't like the word swagger.  It may be appropriate, but it seems egotistical.  There's a difference between a destructive and a constructive ego.  If you go around thinking you're better than everybody, you'll crash and burn in a second.  But constructive ego is about understanding that you have to work hard to get to a certain point where you feel confident enough to execute."

"You're overthinking.  You get back to the soul of the music.  When you're thinking about stuff, you're not being a conduit for things to happen.  You can't over intellectualize something that's based on feelings."

"When you first start playing as a professional, you're searching for 'your sound' and all that.  But when you grow up, you realize it's about finding the sound for the song.  You don't want to force your sound on top."

"There are some people who are anti-rudiments.  But I'm glad I studied them, just for agility's sake.  I'm not the king of rudiments, by any means.  I am happy that I developed those skills so I could be versatile, but they shouldn't rule how you play."

"That's why people play so much stuff, because they can't play a steady beat.  But when you get into playing a steady groove and you can hypnotize somebody with that beat, that's the bomb.  And it takes confidence to know you can do that and not care what anybody says.  People might think you don't play fills because you can't, but you have to do away with all that.  They'll feel it when it's good."

Great work on the interview, MD.  And thank you Steve Jordan for the words of wisdom & inspiration.