After a five year hiatus, I finally got back around to recording a drum cover! The song that brought me back out of retirement – Zedd’s 365 (feat. Katy Perry).
Hopefully, this will be the first of many more drum covers to come. Previously my barriers were YouTube’s content takedown policies, especially in contrast to the amount of time it took to produce a video. In the years since my last drum cover I’ve gotten more efficient at video editing, and for the most part drum covers are accepted by most artists. Now my only barrier is trying to find the time to practice and record the drum covers.
I’d love to hear what you think and if you have any song suggestions for future covers.
It’s taken 9 years, but I’ve eclipsed 60,000 listens, or Scrobbles using Last.fm. For those who don’t know, this is a site that tracks your listens and provides data and recommendations based on your interests. However in the years that have passed, streaming services have eaten the lunch of Last.fm’s latter goal and unfortunately it seems the site is relegated to tracking. Given how much data I’ve been pumping into them, I’m glad that CBS is still keeping them around – for the time being.
It’s taken over three years for me to amass the next 20,000 songs, which is probably slower than most given that I listen to podcasts during essentially every commute. As you’ll see below most of my rankings haven’t changed that much, although there has been a shift in the songs that have become more popular.
10. Ozomatli (517 Plays, New to Top 10). Ozomatli is still a mainstream in my listening, and is my default go-to band when I want to hear some music in Spanish. Top Album: Don’t Mess With The Dragon. Top Tracks: Can’t Stop, La Gallina, Cut Chemist Suite
9. Outkast (557 Plays, Previously #9). If there was one group that I wish would get back together and play music, it would be Outkast. Unfortunately with all things in life: it’s just not that easy. Until then I’ll just need to be comforted by my Andre 3000 playlist. Top Album: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below. Top Tracks: Ms. Jackson, Rosa Parks, Hey Ya!
8. Jimmy Eat World (562 Plays, Previously #8). I still haven’t seen them play live yet, and I’m wondering if that window is starting to close. Top Album: Chase This Light. Top Tracks: Here It Goes, Open Bar Reception, A Praise Chorus
7. Red Hot Chili Peppers (733 Plays, Previously #5). RHCP may have suffered from not being on streaming platforms for part of the last three years. They finally got their stuff together and sre still putting out great music. Top Album: Stadium Arcadium. Top Tracks: Under the Bridge, Soul to Squeeze, Dani California
6. O.AR. (737 Plays, Previously #6). I’ve really liked a lot of their new stuff that they’ve put out. I’m a little surprised that Peace didn’t make it into my top three tracks, given how much I’m listening to it. Top Album: All Sides. Top Tracks: Love and Memories, This Town, Fire
5. John Butler Trio (816 Plays, Previously #7). Their plethora of great new music helped them swap places with RHCP. I’ve actually done drum covers of Used To Get High and Close To You. Top Album: Grand National. Top Tracks: Used to Get High, Daniella, One Way Road
4. Five for Fighting (872 Plays, Previously #5). I’m sad that my favorite singer-songwriter isn’t really releasing new material at this point. Top Album: Slice. Top Tracks: The Riddle, 100 Years, Slice
3. Michael Franti & Spearhead (924 Plays, Previously #4). I’m really enjoying the latest stuff that Franti and Spreahead are putting together, with the messages being more in-line with their earlier stuff. Top Album: Stay Human. Top Tracks: One Step Closer To You, Hey Hey Hey, We Don’t Stop
2. Muse (1,216 Plays, Muse #2). One of my other favorite bands who don’t seem afraid to try different things with different albums. I’ve had a harder time getting into their new stuff, but that has more to do with the fact that they’re releasing so much, so fast. Top Album: Black Holes and Revelations. Top Tracks: Time Is Running Out (another fun drum cover), New Born, Hyper Music
1. Dave Matthews Band (2,812 Plays). No big change except for the fact that I can’t get enough of my favorite band and am hopeful they can release some new material this next year. Top Album: Big Whiskey and the Groogrux King. Top Tracks: Two Step, #41, So Much To Say
Thank you for checking in on this journey with me. Just for kicks, I also grabbed my top 5 favorite songs (statistically speaking) from the last year:
5. Mark Ronson – Feel Right
4. The Weeknd – Can’t Feel My Face
3. Daft Punk – Get Lucky
2. Enrique Iglesias – Bailando (Spanish Version) – my daughter loves this one
1 Mark Ronson – Uptown Funk
After a busy couple of weeks, I finally got the opportunity to sit down and do some meaningful drumming and recording some new covers.
I went back to the John Butler Trio well again and brought up my favorite JBT songs: I Used To Get High.
With this cover, I went ahead and played around with some new angles. I turned my kit around 180 degrees and moved the main camera to capture the view from the front. I took my second camera and placed it next to the floor tom looking up. I then took my little web cam and placed it on one of the overhead mic stands to capture a view of the hi-hat and snare. After going through the whole recording process, I ended up only liking the angle that was on the lowest-quality camera (the overhead). I still had a lot of fun recording the cover and decided to go ahead and post it.
On Saturday I had some alone time after my daughter went to bed and did something that I had been wanting to do for sometime: drum while she was sleeping. It turns out that she slept through the whole evening of my drumming, which made me happy – thus I decided to cover “Happy” by Pharrell Williams to celebrate my opportunity to drum some more:
I did some more tweaking of the camera angles and was a bit more satisfied with the result. I’ll need to continue to adjust things for the next video a bit, as it looks like one of the cameras had a tough time focusing.
I’d love to get any feedback on the covers, the video, or anything else: I’d definitely love to hear from you.
It’s been nearly a month since I posted my last drum cover, and the busyness of work and life interfered with my goal of posting one drum cover per week. I was definitely anxious to get another one out there and build momentum, but with the YouTube copyright troubles this one has given me, my momentum is all but dead.
I went and covered one of my favorite Muse songs, “Time Is Running Out”. I nailed it in the third take and am now to the point where editing the video has become the easy part. I started the upload to YouTube only to find that my version got blocked in some countries – actually one country – the United States.
Confused, I searched for other drum covers of “Time” and found quite a few of them out there. On one of the more successful ones, I noticed that he raised the pitch of the recording. I went ahead and tried the same thing and made Muse’s Matt Ballamy sound like a woman, but I was hopeful that I’d be able to get my video posted. No such luck, it got blocked in the US again.
Frustrated, I was about to delete my video, but found that it was already getting a few views and even a comment from users in other countries, so I decided to leave it be. I’m trying to dispute the blocking on the video, on the grounds that this video is for educational purposes for other drummers, but I’m not too helpful that my dispute will be successful. We’ll see.
Look, I get that Muse’s record label and publisher is acting within their designated rights here, and that these drum covers are on pretty shaky ground. What sucks here is that there’s some kind of double-standard with the same freakin’ song. After already being burned by my Kanye cover, I’m pretty leery about putting in the work of practicing and recover a song, only to have it immediately flushed. Seeing the number of “Time” drum covers that I can see, I assumed that the labels saw this as a promotional vehicle for their music and were happy to collect ad revenue from the videos. It looks like I was wrong.
I guess for now I’ll stick to the more obscure songs or spend some time which researching which labels are cool about covers. However in the meantime, this process is royally broken. By the time you discover the end result, it’s too late and you’ve already wasted your time.
Luckily my original video has found a home on Vimeo:
Vimeo has a really nice platform and some great tools, and my video may still be up because of their “security through obscurity” model – but YouTube is where I’ve been trying to grow my channel. However, with half of my videos now crippled by these blockings – I don’t have much to show for it.
If you were to judge by my posts on here, you wouldn’t have realized that last week I failed in my attempts to record a drum cover per week, letting a week slide without one. However, I posted a “better late than never” cover of one of my favorite songs, John Butler Trio’s “Close To You”.
I have to admit I cheated on this one. I used to cover this song when I was playing with Ken and the Action Figures, so my prep time was cut down quite a bit. While this song isn’t the most technical one out there, it features a solid groove and an awesome solo section. It’s songs like this that have made Nicky Bomba one of my favorite drummers. I have a fond appreciation for the sounds that he’s able to generate from his kit.
After I finished recording this cover, I played around with another JBT song. Something tells me that you may see another cover from this band soon.