For an audience of drummers, comedian Fred Armisen shares and demonstrates his thoughts on musical genres, drummer quirks, regional accents and more.

[man] Drummers only tonight. Drummers only. Not bad. All right. [drumroll] [crowd cheers] [crowd cheers] Have you guys ever checked into one of those newer hotels, like the W Hotel, like a sort of very futuristic-looking hotel, with like sort of white shag carpeting everywhere? And for some reason, this is the music that seems to be playing all the time. [gentle techno muzak plays] What is this music? Who– who makes this music? It… It doesn’t seem to have a beginning or an end. It just pulses like this and… I’m gonna do my impression of waiting to check in to the W Hotel. The front desk is right here. [techno muzak continues] That’s it. Thank you. [audience laughs, applauds]

I find jazz music problematic. I have no– Nothing against jazz musicians. I’m sure people enjoy it, but the problem with jazz is that my mind– I immediately think, “This is jazz,” as opposed to really enjoying the song. That’s the problem I have, is it just– Right away, I’m like, “Oh, this is jazz.” My belief is that everyone here has the same problem. And to prove it, I’m gonna play some– some real jazz. And when you find your mind wandering, when you feel like, “Oh, I’m sort of checking out a little bit, ” just honestly raise your hand. I’m gonna do… I’m gonna do the same thing. All right. [jazz plays] Wow, this is great. Right here. I lose it right here. That song, it goes on for another five minutes. There’s more… [jazz song resumes] Now, I just played it. What’s the melody? What’s the melody? Gone. Right? Have you guys ever traveled to another country? You know, some place like Italy or Brazil? And you watch TV, and someone comes on to sing, and it’s someone you’ve never seen before, a total stranger, and there’s a huge crowd, like an arena, screaming for this person. “Who is that guy?” [hums] You know, it’s a sort of… You know. [synth pop plays] [sings in fake Spanish] And they’re freaking out. [synth music stops] And I want to talk to that audience. I want to go to those crowds in whatever language they speak, and say, “You guys, you’re cheering for nobody. There’s… This guy, no one knows who he is.” You know what’s a crazy song? That circus song. You know the circus song? [hums “Entrance of the Gladiators”] What a crazy melody. Who– So, a person wrote that. [hums “Entrance of the Gladiators”] My thought is that… this guy– This person wrote this song, right? And then, someone from the circus was like, “Oh, I like that. Would you mind if I used it? I’m starting this thing called the circus, and I’m just gonna use it, you know…” And the other guy was like, “Oh, my God, please knock yourself out. Whatever you want to do.” And the guy from the circus sped it up. [hums “Entrance of the Gladiators”] And it sort of got used at the circus so much that it got associated with it, to the point where in whatever city they were in, people would go up to the guy who wrote the song like, “Hey, man. I love that circus song.” And he’d say, “It’s not the… It’s not the circus song. I wrote it.” Another type of music I find problematic is zydeco music. I don’t know what to do with it. I don’t know what it– I just can’t connect to it. I don’t know what it wants from me. If I play zydeco music, I just don’t know what to do. [zydeco music plays] I don’t– I– It’s too silly to dance to, right? But… [zydeco music stops] Blues to me… I picture… a street fair, like a beer fest. You know, like outdoors during the day. And blues is kind of like… It’s great for like 20 seconds, and then immediately, I want to– I just want to go. Do you ever go to a show– Have you ever been to a show and felt sorry for the band? Because you’re the only person there, and, like, they could see you. The band is there, and they brought all their equipment, and they’re playing their hearts out, and you’re like… They can see you. It’s a terrible feeling. I’m gonna do my impression of being at, like, a beer fest, and I’m in the street, watching this band, and for a moment, it’s great. I’m so happy to hear blues, but then… I want to go. And I just don’t want– I don’t want the band to know, but it’s unavoidable. [blues music plays] The band is up on stage right there. [blues music continues playing] Thanks. [blues music stops, audience applauds] Heavy metal has gotten more and more dense, more and more dark. It’s heavier than ever, and that’s great. I love that. But by that trajectory, going back in time, there must have been a time where doo-wop music was the hardest music you’ve ever heard. Right? It only makes sense. There was a time where someone heard doo-wop and was like, “This is too much. This is too loud. Turn it down.” So, I’m gonna do my impression of a guy in the ’50s, and he’s, like, at a doo-wop show, and it’s the heaviest thing he’s ever heard, and he’s so into it. [“Blue Moon” by the Marcels plays] ♪ Blue moon, blue moon, blue moon ♪ ♪ Blue moon, blue moon, blue moon ♪ ♪ Blue moon, blue moon, blue moon ♪ ♪ Blue moon, you saw me standing alone ♪ ♪ Without a dream in my heart ♪ [music stops] It’s pretty crazy music, doo-wop, isn’t it? Like, that’s a band. That’s a real band. They had a practice space and… It was the ’50s, and they were like, “Hey, it’s rock ‘n’ roll time. Let’s make some rock ‘n’ roll songs.” If I was in that band, and someone was like, “Okay, what if I start…” [imitates vocalizing] I’d be like, “No, we should really write something.”

So, I’m talking about being a drummer. I love being a drummer. I’m proud of being a drummer. We are drummers. We are all drummers. There’s a pride to it. There’s a pride to carrying a snare case through an airport. You know? You’re just sort of– And this is a secret. You’re just better than everybody. [mutters indistinctly] Not gonna check it, you’re putting it in the overhead compartment, right? You’re a drummer. It’s a sense of pride. It’s a sense of like, “This is the tools of my trade.” And when I see a commercial, you know, for like a new car– I don’t know if you guys go through this. Do you ever look at a new car, and you’re just like, “Where does the kick drum go?” Right? “Where’s the hatchback for it?” Do you ever talk to someone who’s been to Turkey, to Istanbul? My feeling as a drummer– I don’t know if you guys go through this. I’m always like… “Did you visit the Zildjian factory?” This… And then I judge them afterwards if they’re– No, I really do know someone who just went on a honeymoon there, and I was like, “Why did you not go to the Zildjian factory? Why else go?”

But we also have to be honest with ourselves about being drummers, right? Like… Sometimes, you’ll go do a gig. Yes, I said– “Gig” is a good word to use, right? I can say “gig.” And… Do you ever bring your own cymbals? Do we really need to bring them? No, we do not. I think it’s because we want to match the other musicians that are bringing guitars. I think we just want to carry something. And the same thing goes for cymbal shopping. It’s kind of a lie. Right? Just a sort of like– You go to these cymbal shops, and there’s like cymbals everywhere. Like fine wine. There’s only one word we use to describe it, whenever we buy that cymbal, is that it’s dark. It’s dark. The dark tone. We have to stop with the way that we want to feel special by pronouncing things weird . Is it “Pay-ste” or “Paiste”? “Zoldjian”? “Zildjian”? Neil “Peert”? Neil “Peart”? Does it have to be that difficult? And when we go look at drum kits… do we really think that those little, teeny kits, those little jazz kits, do we think they sound great? or are we getting older, and we don’t want to carry… those big drums anymore? I’m just asking. How many of you as drummers… You’re just so– How much time has been spent– This is so much– I– I think if we took a film of my experience as a drummer, It would not be on stage, it would be this business, and then… that. Do you ever have someone who’s not a drummer help you unpack? “Here.” “No, you– You broke it.” Is it me, or is it just so hard to get a snare drum to be exactly the right… way? Do you guys go through this? I’m always like, “No, damn it. No. No.” And drum companies… Stop. Stop coming up– They’re– Drum companies have to– They’re out of control. Stop… But the names of hardware… I have a pedal that I’ve been using for so– Called Iron Cobra. I’m a grown man. I… It says on the pedal. It says Iron Co– Iron Cobra? Iron… That’s a cobra made out of iron. You know  cajóns ? They’re– Drum companies– Yeah– Drum companies are trying to… For those of you who aren’t drummers, I’ll explain what a– Cajón is a wooden box that’s supposed to sound like a drum. It sounds like this. It’s like… You’ll see people sitting on them. And they’re trying to sell us these cajóns . The fantasy is we’re gonna go on a camping trip and like… If someone did that, I’d be like, “It’s okay. You can just clap your hands or something.” Do you ever watch a movie or TV show? You’re watching it, and there’s a scene with, like, a wedding band. And the band’s playing. You know? It’s like a really cool scene, and everyone’s acting and… But you look at the… You look at the drum kit… And it’s just so wrong. You’re like, “No.” It takes you right out, right? [no audible drumming] Famous drummers… you guys, when you’re making your drum instruction videos, please, work on the artwork, and the lighting is horrible. Those– Have you seen the lighting in these things? Like… The sweat, the… Paradiddles. I also wanted to discuss… kick pedals. Double kick– You know double kick pedals, right? Yeah. I had one up here. I think– Okay, I’m gonna– I’m missing a double kick pedal that’s supposed to be up here. I’m gonna go… Go grab it. It’s perfectly fine. Hi, excuse me. Oh, yeah. Hi. Good. How can I help you? Good. I just wanted to get this double kick pedal. I’m in a little bit of a rush. Well, this is kind of old-school now. The newest thing is the octa-pedal. Octa-pedal? Yeah, it’s right over here. Check it out. This is an amazing piece of artwork right here. It makes playing eight kick drums a lot easier. [hums in rhythm with pedals] You’re gonna rock this. Octa-pedal… I just can’t picture it working. [rhythmic drumming] Oh, that’s incredible. This could be you, too. [drumroll] Sheila E. I’ve toured around this country a lot. I’ve been all over the place. All kinds of venues, all kinds of cities, all kinds of states. And everyone speaks a different way. It’s kind of the beauty of it. [affected Maine accent] Maine… Maine, you can almost hear England there. [Vermont accent] Vermont, hit the Ts? The T’s are here, Vermont. [Massachusetts accent] Massachus– My daughter. Massachu– My daughter got married in June. June. It’s a kind of bite… It’s a throat bite. Boston, Massachusetts. [Connecticut accent] Connecticut, you get a bit of that East Coast kind of– Almost New York, but not quite. Connecticut. That’s my business, not yours. Yeah, it’s just, Connecticut. [New York accent] Then New York City. New York City’s got a lot of accents. Manhattan. Manhattan’s kind of, you know– Upper West Side is kind of very serious, and… I always fear a medical condition. Upper West Side medical condition, and… [Brooklyn accent] Brooklyn. Brooklyn’s a little more tough. Yeah, Brooklyn, what? Brooklyn. Brooklyn’s tough, but the Bronx– [Bronx accent] The Bronx is in the lungs. What? The Bronx. [alternating accents] Brooklyn. The Bronx. Brooklyn. Manhattan. Manhattan. Professional Manhattan. Brooklyn. [Queens accent] Queens has got– Queens. Nobody told me. Queens. Nobody told me. Why didn’t you tell me? [Long Island accent] Lo– Lo– Lo– Long Island stalls for time. Stal– I’m gonna stall. New Jersey. [Jersey accent] New Jersey starts to kind of– It– New Jersey’s almost like a little punch. About to punch, New Jersey. Got New Jersey, and then Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. [Pittsburgh accent] You can just go there. You can just go there to Pittsburgh. [Baltimore accent] And then down to Baltimore. Motor oil. I always think “motor oil.” Baltimore. Motor oil. [Virginian accent] Then down to Virginia. Virginia’s got… You kind of start to hear a little bit of the Southern accent, but not too much. [accents switch] West Virginia’s kind of– You’ve heard that before. And Kentucky tightens up a little. But Kentucky… the I is clo– Kentucky. West Vir– And then, little bit more, North Carolina. There’s kind of a– Now,  hold on. North Carolina. You mentioned two pumpkins. I’m not sure– Just rethinking what you said there. And then… Then South Carolina, there’s a little bit of pageantry in South Carolina. And Georgia, you start to lose the R in Georgia. Georgia, Atlanta. Florida. No– Florida. Kind of… They kind of take two syllables, turn them into one. Flo– Florida. Florida. But Miami’s got a little bit of– I am born in Miami, but I still have this accent, and… But Florida, mostly, I don’t know why, it was a baseball mitt. Baseball mitt. Alabama. ‘Bama– Alabama. There’s a kind of bounce to the word– The syllables, Alabama. Texas, I kind of… Dallas. Dallas, to me, seems the most forthright, but then Houston, I feel like they’re scolding you a little. Houston. But Austin’s got– Austin wants to have fun. I would like to put a little laugh in Austin. [accent switches] Dallas. Houston. Dallas. Dallas. Oklahoma and Arkansas, and then you go to Illinois. You can start to get that– Actually, a lot of Southern Illinois still has a bit of a drawl, but as you come up through Indiana and Chicago, you start to get that Midwestern sound. Chicago. Chicago. Ca… Ba… Car. Whose car? Is that your car? But Wisconsin’s more Chicago than Chicago, Wisconsin. This is the Minneapolis Police. Minneapolis. Minnesota. Minnesota. Duluth, almost Canadian, Duluth. But Canada’s– Oh, Canada, eh? I know. We’ve heard it before, eh? Cigarettes, eh? Cigarettes. And then as you go through Montana, it starts to flatten out, Montana. I think they put a Y in their vowels for some reason. Montana. Idaho and Seattle. Seattle is interesting because they present their words on a plate. They present… I’m from Seattle. These are the words. Portland is the same thing, but set back a little bit, and a little more quiet. So, they present the words to you, but they take it back a little bit. No. No. San Francisco. I– The way I think of San Francisco is this is a fact. This is a fact. Excuse me? No. That– This is a fact. This is… But in Southern California, as you go down, the thing that you want to do is you want to pronounce every part of the word. Every syllable of every word. Southern California. Arizona, and then going into Mexico. Mexico, the Spanish… [speaking in Spanish] [continues speaking in Spanish] But lo Cubano… [speaking in Spanish] [continues speaking in Spanish] [switches between Mexican-accented and Cuban-accented Spanish] Thank you very much. All right. Do you ever see the thing that these people do when there’s an adult, and then there’s a child– They’re talking to a child, and then there’s another adult in the room, and they sort of do a joke that is only for the other adult? They sort of link it with a wink. You know, kind of like, “Hey. Did you get your driver’s license?” “Got a girlfriend?” What’s the wink for? What’s the wink? Do you ever step into an elevator? You go in, it’s just you, and there’s two people. And one person wants to carry on the conversation at full volume, right? But the other person wants to kill the conversation, wants it done. “I can’t believe that guy said he’s from Peru.” “I know.” Something that people are doing these days with words are they’re slowing a word down at the end of a sentence to emphasize it. They slow it almost to a dead stop. I was getting my hair cut, and it was kind of crowded, and I told the lady, I was just like, “Hey, you guys are doing great. This is really good.” She’s like, “I know, it’s great. It’s like– It’s weird because, like, we don’t really do any advertising .” Ever see this thing that people do where they play-act within their sentence? They do a little act. They sort of involve themselves in an act in describing themselves. You know what I mean? Kind of like, “Yeah, it’s really weird, I’m, like, a parent now. It’s weird, ’cause I’m, like, going to PTA meetings. I’m, like, buying toys.” I am not impressed by great photography. I don’t care anymore. I don’t care about great photography. It’s overrated. So what? I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with that information. It’s always sort of a wrinkled face. Wrinkled. Black and white, wrinkles. And like a shabby room. A shabby living room, maybe. Maybe a picture of a beauty pageant. You know what great photography is usually? It’s poor people. Right? That’s all it ever– It’s just poor people– It’s a poor person proud of something. Every great– I don’t like camping, because I don’t like the sound of the tent– The zippers. [imitates zipper unzipping] First thing in the morning… [imitates zipper] [imitates zipper] Do you ever feel sorry for a corporation? I feel sorry for Burger King. I feel bad. I pull into a rest stop, and I’m like, “Oh, Burger– Look at them.” I just– Changing their logo and, like, really… They’re still doing it, but they’re… And I’m sure someone from the company would say, “Actually, we’re doing great.” But to me, they don’t seem like they’re in the conversation. You know what I mean? They’re not in– They’re not a guilty pleasure. They’re not– They’re just Burger King. I’m like, “Oh, I guess– I guess we’ll go there.” I also feel sorry for doctors from the 1700s. I feel bad for them. We all– We’re so mean. Why are you guys so mean to them? You’re like, “Oh, they used leeches, those idiots.” What? Leave them alone. If I was them, I’d be like, “Hey, I’m so sorry that we wanted to help people. And we don’t have microscopes. I’m sorry. Leeches, that’s what we have. I’m just trying to help people.” It’s a wrap on back surgery. Back surgery doesn’t work. No more back surgery. Don’t you feel like with back surgery, it’s like, “Hey, do you want to go do this thing?” “No, I just had back surgery.” Isn’t supposed to be, “They fixed it”? Do you ever notice that musicians, like guitar players, they have like weird, little, wispy bodies? Sloping… You know, sloped shoulders and like wispy hands and arms. But their heads are kind of too big. “Come see the show.” Aren’t crazy people crazy? That’s a separate thought. Just crazy people, they really do it 24/7. When I see videos online of people, like, releasing animals, you know, like freeing– Like, there’ll be a goat or something trapped in a barbed wire fence. They cut it, and then these animals run away. They show zero gratitude. Do you notice that? There’s never the moment in the video where they’re like, “Oh, my God, thank you so much. I can’t believe it.” They just run away. I’m gonna do my impression of a decomposing fox. You know, like those fast-motion videos. Can you all see me? A little bit. Thank you. I had a near-death experience. This really happened to me. I– Have you guys gone to Disneyland? [audience cheers] I had a really scary thing happen to me there, where I’m on the Indiana Jones ride, right? This is true. I went on the Indiana Jones ride. My sister and her two kids, they were in the front, and I was in the middle seat. And what it is, it’s like an amphibious vehicle, like a Jeep, with like three wheels. So I get on, get in, and my Jeep, mine, went off the tracks. Went off of the tracks. It jumped up, and it went through this, like, tunnel, like a rock tunnel… and, like, down, and then… I’m like, “How do I jump out of this thing?” And it goes… It goes over this bridge, a bridge… that’s falling apart. It was like an old broken bridge. I don’t know why it was in there. Horrifying. And there’s kids in the front, and there’s this– The feeling of arrows whizzing past me. And then… Awful. And then I looked behind me, and there’s a boulder coming through like this. So I’m just like, “Oh, that’s– Okay, people make mistakes. I understand.” So I get out, and I get on the ride again. It happened again. Remember this, okay? If I die before you, do not let my funeral be, like, a joyous occasion. I want my funeral… Please make sure this happens. …to be terrifying. Funerals should be scary. That’s what they’re for. Right? It should be– I want people to come back from my funeral like, “That was horrible. That was…” I want there to be screams, and thunder and lightning, and a horse-drawn carriage. I want the body to be missing. I want the sort of coffin to look like a real coffin shape, and then– The music should be that organ music, right? You know the organ music? [ominous organ music plays] I want to hire an actor to kind of like… greet people. “Are you here for the funeral?” [ominous organ music stops] You know what’s weird about– The weird thing about being a drummer is the pathway behind the hi-hat. Right? Where do we go? Never– It’s never right, and this always happens. My other problem with jazz… is that jazz drummers, you know, they have their whole kit, they never play it. They never really play the drums, do they? Do ever notice that? You go to see a jazz band, and it’s just… [riffs gently on cymbals] Do you drummers — Do you guys have that friend who thinks they can play the drums? Do you have that guy? That person who just, “Hey, I could do this.” It’s always the same beat. Do you ever see those drummers who… They have that one reggae song, and they have to prove to you that they can play– They play– Overplay it. It’s like too reggae, you know. [plays reggae drum line] Calm down. I don’t know why, this is my least favorite beat to play. I can’t get into it. There’s something wrong with this beat. It’s not fun to listen to, not fun to play. Here are some drummers you might know. This is my impression of Ringo Starr. He’s always very happy when he plays. [plays upbeat drum line] Keith Moon is a little more… [plays fast-paced drum line] Larry Mullen from U2. [plays rhythmic drum line] He’s sort of marching forward. -[man] Copeland. -There’s– Stewart Copeland. Someone say Stewart Copeland? He’s kind of like…[ [plays upbeat drum line] Meg White, she’s great. She’s got a very– She’s got an arc of drumming, so… [plays emphatic drum line] A lot of drummers, they tell you that their favorite drummer is John Bonham in a way– As if they’re the first person to say it. Like, “You know who I like? Bonham.” Do you ever see that… When a drummer plays on a ballad, they ding the cymbal at the end for no reason . It doesn’t do anything to the song. Do you ever see that? ♪ Until the end of time  ♪ [cymbal dings] Why? Leave it. Leave the song alone. It’s great. It ended already. This did nothing.

How many people have either been in this band, or have had to see this type of band? [guitar music continues via foot pedal] [looped guitar music continues] Do you ever listen to… Do you ever listen to NPR? And there… There are those drummers who are too respectful… Too respectful of the artist. They’re so gentle, and they– They usually play with, like, a maraca and a mallet. I’ll show you what I mean. I’d like to bring on a special guest… here at NPR. How’s it going, Thao? I’m doing well. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Welcome to the station, and… I understand you’ve been touring. What’s that like? I’d say it’s both inspiring and devastating. But really beneficial, because… all points of joy and sorrow are like messiahs of song to me. You’re gonna play a song from the new album, correct? I would be honored. All right, let’s get your whole band here, and off you go. [gently riffs on drums] ♪ A window by the porch ♪ ♪ A faded mirror in the vestibule ♪ ♪ A letter addressed To the owner of the house ♪ ♪ With the rusty weather vane ♪ ♪ But the owner is a ghost ♪ ♪ From Missouri ♪ ♪ From Missouri ♪ Thank you. Thank you.

One last impression of a drummer I wanted to do is Tito Puente. I used to see Tito Puente… [plays Latin jazz drum line] He was so great, and he would do… He would sort of do the same joke every night, but I always thought it was a brand-new joke until I saw it a few times, but it’s so good. He was always like… Did you feel it? -Did you feel it? -Yeah! Did you feel it, beautiful baby? Not you, her. -[man] Karen Carpenter. -Karen Carpenter is great. Did you see that video of, like, her playing all the different kits? Yeah. I’m gonna do something similar, so…

There’s this line of kits in front of me. So, Revival Drums helped me do this. This is drum kits through the decades. Right? It’s sort of working its way back. We started– We couldn’t really do the 1800s, because that’s sort of marching band drums, but we figured maybe the ’20s and ’30s was a good place to start. So… here is this. Here’s this kit from the ’20s and ’30s. And these are called traps, because they were– They’re contraptions. This is before they were really riding on any cymbals or hi-hats. So it’s kind of… [plays jazzy big band drum line] And they would sort of hit the cymbal without the kick drum. You’d only hear it on its own. The thing that — There’s also something called a lowboy, that’s like a little hi-hat down here. Before they could real– Before they figured out to sort of hit them, it was just down here. There were all these sound effects because of silent movies. They would sort of play for those. So this is a Chinese tom-tom. Wood blocks, cowbell, cymbal . So, pretty cool. I like this.
Then we move on to the ’40s. This is a sort of Gene Krupa big-band-style kit. And this is where like… [plays big band drum line] Or the du– The hi-hat would sort of– That kind of came into play when they could play with their sticks. And… And brushes… Brushes, so cool. That’s like the sort of last of that sort of swinging sound. So, this is the ’50s, and this is where rock ‘n’ roll– This is where sort of it became less of that triplet feel, and just kind of straight eighth notes. [plays rock ‘n’ roll drum line] They would also do– A lot of ’50s music sort of pause– The drums would just pause for, like, a buildup. Really nice sound.
Then… This is the ’60s, and this is where things got a little more swishy and kind of funky at the same time. Kind of like… [plays energetic drum line] This is the sort of Ringo-style kit, and they– Apparently, people saw them on Ed Sullivan, and they just wanted– Everyone wanted to be a drummer. That’s kind of where that all turned around.
And then we’ve got the ’70s, where the kits kind of just grew. Just really big kits. You know, sort of… [plays upbeat drum line] But somehow, strangely, softer music. Like bigger kits, but softer music. And… a lot of their sound kind of came… There’s a kind of really dead sound. I kind of picture– Well, disco was kind of like… [plays disco drum line] Or even softer. Sometimes, it was… Speaking of deadened tom-toms, sometimes– I don’t know how many Beatle fans are here, but when Paul McCartney– Yeah. When Paul McCartney plays drums… He’s done so in a lot of his solo stuff. …he tends to stop his beat to do a fill, and then he doesn’t end it with a cymbal. So it’s kind of like… What a nice audience. It’s so nice to see everybody. Hi. This is kind of my favorite. This is kind of where I grew up listening to drummers. This is a Simmons pad kit. This is– I brought this from home. But everything became kind of up-tempo, you know. [plays up-tempo drum line] Or there’s the kind of– The Minneapolis sound. I know those are LinnDrums, but I always– When I think of Prince, it’s… [plays ’70s pop drum line] That kind of… -Yeah! -Yeah. Yes. I could play this all– I love these.
The ’80s… The poor ’80s. The ’80s were kind of like… They– Their attitude was like, “No, now we begin the future.” Hexagonal drums. This is it. No more drums. This is… But that– That was it. It ended there. It ended in 1988 or whatever.
Now, the ’90s… ’90s is a curious decade of drumming. Huge kick drums. Yellow, red. Lot of colors. Lot of bright colors. It was kind of bottom heavy with the toms, right? Sort of… But with the snare, super high and tight. So… But… Do you ever see the thing, like in the ’90s, where they’d have a regular beat going, and then they would sort of abruptly cut to like a little sort of drum machine beat? You know, like…. Lot of buildups, too, in the ’90s.
So, that brings us to this. This is the sort of… I tried to come up with a 2000s kit, and it’s really– What I’ve been seeing… I hope this isn’t getting in your face. Sorry about that. …is a lot of– There’s a lot of vintage-looking drums, kind of smaller. A Roland pad. They’ll put a pad up here instead of a rack tom. They do a lot of their fills on the hi-hat. And also, there seems to be a laptop going most of the time. So, there’s a lot of… And then a really dead-sounding cymbal. And there we go, there’s everything. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, drums.

From Green Day, Tré Cool. So… Tré and I are gonna show you some of the dynamics of being in a band together. One of them is… One of the first things they do, is there’s always… If you’re in a band with someone else, there’s always an inside joke, and it’s annoying to everyone else. But to us, we love it. Hey, Tré, the orange is over. The orange is over. No, stop, really. Don’t– The other thing is, sometimes a guitar player will show a song to a drummer, and there’s a clear one, the one count, but it’s clear only to this guitar player. And the drummer’s usually got it right, but it kind of– It’s kind of like this, “Hey, man, I got a new song. Let me show it to you first.” No, no, no. It’s one, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. One, two– No. No. One, two, three, four. One, two, three, four. That’s how practice goes. The other thing that bands do when they practice is, a lot of their time isn’t spent songwriting. It’s just really dissing another band. They saw their friends’ band. They just saw them play, and they just go on and on about how terrible they are, but they’re nice guys. Man, the Gym Socks, I– I don’t get it. They just… They’re not good. Did you see how high the drummer puts his cymbals? What is… -Why? -Gym Socks, dudes suck. They suck. They’re nice guys, but– Also– -Super nice guys. -Super nice guys. But… This is not a song. Why? Why? That’s most of a band practice. The other– Thank you. The other thing– A lot of discussion if you’re in a band is about what time you have to get there. So, if they’re there at four, don’t we show up at five? Six? I’m sure six is fine. -Can you fit my kick drum in your car? -Yeah. Thank you. I’d like to bring up, from Warpaint, Stella Mozgawa. The other thing that drummers deal with is sound guys. Sound guys, if you’re a drummer, they make the same joke every time. It’s always- You load in… -Hi. -Where’s your gong? Good one. Next time. You should bring your gong. Okay. Yep. And then much of our time as drummers, it sounds– This is the sound of our life. Kick. [strikes kick pedal] Keep going. Snare. Rack. Do you want that ring in there? -I can change it. -No, it’s okay. -Okay. -Floor. Do you want that ring in there? Do– Yeah. -Whole kit. Whole kit. -Okay. Yeah. Great. We don’t have any mikes yet, but… -Great. -The other thing… musicians deal with– Do you ever see, like, the guitar player who does not know how to play the drums? You could tell by the way they hold the stick. But they want to have drums on stage. So, just do a regular beat. So, if we’re in a band… Thank you. There’s– How many of you drummers– You guys must be in bands. Are you guys in bands? Have you seen the– When a songwriter shows you a song that has way too many parts. Okay, ready for the song? So, it starts off– It’s just gonna go… And then– So, then it just goes to a quick– [guitar line speeds up] [guitar line speeds up more] This goes for a while. Stop. Rest. Rest, then… [guitar line slows down] Then it’ll go… [plays melodic guitar line] Yeah. This is just twice. And then… [guitar line speeds up] A little reggae part. [plays reggae guitar line] And then… [plays somber guitar line] -No drums in this part. -Okay. Yep. -Okay, ready? -Yeah. It’s a seven count. One, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Thank you. Stella Mozgawa. How you guys doing? This is so much fun for me, I just want you to know. There’s another drummer I’m gonna bring up, and he’s originally from Austria. He’s, like, a brilliant drum technician, and a drum aficionado. Just a real hero of drumming. You will not believe how great he is. His name is Thomas Lang. Thomas Lang. Thomas, how are you? Thanks for doing this, buddy. So, Thomas is here, he’s brilliant. A real– I mean, he’s got so much material out. He tours– 78 countries, I think you’ve been to? Yeah. This year. So, I thought it would be cool to bring him out, and I wrote a little one-act play that we could read together. There you go. Okay. Here we go. Two brothers, Danny… I’m Danny. …and Edward… That’s Thomas. …are at the airport, just inside the terminal. Edward has a suitcase… Your suitcase is there. …and Danny, me, is dropping him off. Okay… you all set? Do you have your passport? Of course I do. Well, I’m just making sure. People can be forgetful. Not me. I can’t be forgetful. I suppose that to be true. Can you imagine me stepping off the plane, saying, “Hi. I don’t have a passport, but I’m going to be sightseeing here for ten years.” Is that what you’re doing in Monte Carlo, sightseeing? Yes, my brother. For ten years. I imagine you could do that in a few weeks, no? You can imagine all you want, but when I sight-see, I sight-see every building up close. The cement is like an inch from my face. I understand you wanting to travel, but the family needs you here. We have to tend to the mitten shop. Mittens, mittens, mittens. The world’s bigger than mittens, you know, Danny. It is? Yes. Danny, I’m older than you. Who knows exactly how many years. I’m guessing two. But our parents, they were too busy to tell us. I know. They were always deep in conversation with each other. I wish they had time to talk to us. Maybe we’re the same age. When’s your flight? I have to look it up. I’m not going direct. I fly first to Toronto, then I go to Dublin, then I go back to Atlanta, and then right to Rome from there. And from there, I’ll take a train. Isn’t there anything faster? These pilots, they’re the fastest in the business. I know some of them personally, actually. Have you heard of José Medeiros? I haven’t. He’s from Toronto Airlines. He’s the best. I’m gonna miss you, Edward. Look. Look. They’re towing your car, man. You should’ve parked in the drop-off area. That’s okay. I don’t mind. I’ll deal with it next week. -Danny. -Yes. I just realized something. I forgot my passport. I left it in the garage. Edward! Thank you. There’s someone who lives part-time in this city, and it’s John Waters. You guys know John Waters, the director? When I was 15, he kind of saved my life. He gave me purpose. And it sounds like an exaggeration… but what happened was, I was 15, and I was in English class in 8th grade, and I had this assignment that was like, “If you had one more day to live, what would you do?” And everyone was like, “Oh, I’d visit my grandmother,” and all this stuff, and I just wrote this paper, it was like, “I would smash in all the store windows on the street, and I would set every place on fire.” Right? And I think I was trying to be funny. I don’t know what I was trying to do. I really felt like if it was my last day on Earth, I just wanted to sort of just destroy everything. So, my English teacher, she didn’t give me a grade. She said, “See me after class.” And for the next day– The next day after, she sent me to the school psychologist. And he was like giving me– It was really scary as a kid, ’cause he was giving me this written test, it was like, “Do you see animals that other people don’t seem to see? Do you feel a tight band wrapped around your head?” And I was like, “No, no. This is– You’ve misunderstood me.” And, you know, when you’re 15, you don’t know what you– Who you are. So then I heard John Waters on the radio. He was doing, like, a promotional interview for his book called Shock Value. And in the book, he’s like, “If someone pukes at one of my movies, I consider it to be a standing ovation.” And I was like, “Yes, I want to be like that person. That kind of, like, weirdo.” You know what I mean? I can’t think of any other word. So, it was such a great book, so I wrote him this letter. “Dear John, please do not regard this as just another fan letter. You and I have very much in common, except I’m 15 years old. I also make films, and they’re not ordinary little movies.” I did, with my friends, we used to make these little horror movies with a lot of blood and stuff. Just these little 8mm three-minute things. “Every time you make a film, people praise you as a genius, including me… but my films only get me to a psychiatrist or kicked out of where I’m showing it. Why?” That’s not really true. It was more related to the paper I wrote, but that was too complicated. I don’t know. I can’t get into my own 15-year-old head. I want to go back and be like, “Fred, write a factual letter,” but… “When I was younger, I, too, wrecked cars” So, in his book, he said he used to light cars– Little toy cars on fire. I did the same thing. “I burnt them. That was really great. I don’t even want to get into how much we have in common. Let’s just say it’s a lot. I read Shock Value three times over, and loved it more than anything.” That’s true. “I had it taken away from me in school about seven times. I decided Cookie Mueller was my favorite Dreamland girl, and since she, too, lived in New York, I decided to look her up. I found her address, wrote to her, and she wrote back with an autographed letter and your address. Don’t get mad at her for giving it to me. Please write back, okay, John? I feel I have a lot to learn from you about my future. You are my idol, and one day, I will take over your puke-dom…” He was the prince of puke. “…(if you don’t mind). You should see my movies.” Okay. So, a heart– Thank you. Yes, a heartfelt… [audience claps] You know, no direction. You know that feeling, you don’t know– You’re sort of scared of yourself? And… Well, I wrote him this letter. He wrote me back. “Dear Freddy, thank you for your enjoyable and funny letter. I guess the difference is that they don’t drag me to a psychiatrist because I’ve been making the films for a long time, and you just started. Just don’t let anyone tell you you can’t do it, and just keep plugging away.” Right away, he took me seriously. He really considered what I wrote to him. “I do hope you can take over my puke-dom. Just remember to keep it funny, because it’s simple to just be disgusting, but not so original. The most important thing is humor and originality.” Fantastic. “I wish you lots of luck with your films. The only way to learn is by doing it.” This last line is really cool. “Read Variety, it’s the best textbook. Best, John Waters.” This stays with me today. It’s such a loving, peaceful, really artistic postcard. And so, John Waters saved my life. Thank you. I’d like to bring up Stella Mozgawa. You’re right here. Tré Cool. Thanks, Tré. Thomas Lang, come on up. Thanks. The orange is over. Yeah. Yes. Hey, where’s your gong? One, two, three, four. Stella Mozgawa. Tré Cool. Thomas Lang. Fred Armisen. Everybody. One, two, three, four. -Those clubs, they get hot. -You got to put the tape on. -Thank you very much. -You know what you need? Splash cymbal. You can double it. An ashtray. You smoke? You got an ashtray, you got a cymbal. -Look at that. -Put these on the drums. It’s gonna make it sound… Sound like a studio. Underrated. This goes right on top like this. And you have this like this. Look at this. You got everything in there. Bill Stewart, Todd Sucherman. You got Derek Roddy. Unbelievable. Really, everybody. You got to have that. I’m telling you, you need all this. If you want to be a pro drummer, hey, you take– Look. Look who you got– -Is telling you about it. -We do it all the time. -Okay. -It’s a must-have. [spooky organ music plays]


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