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    Stick Figures

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    The time has come for Australians to celebrate the wealth of drumming talent evident in this country. The aim of this book is to bring some of our best examples of drumming in the recording studio, be they well-known or otherwise, into the limelight. I have attempted to bring together some classic  material from the past and some from the newest bearers of the drumming torch.

    By looking at the transcriptions, listening to the finished product and reading about some of the factors that influence creative decisions on the job  we learn the importance of skills such as developing drum parts, which enhance the song. This is arguably the most important skill of all.

    The scope of the book is mostly confined to songs with an identifiable groove - with only a small number, if any, of improvisations or permutations within that groove. This puts the focus on the drummer's ability to make the music swing  and feel good, without necessarily resorting to barrages of notes.

    Stick Figures

    Generally, the best approach in the studio is the economic one. This is particularly so in the case of commercial music destined for airplay, as is the case with many of the songs analysed here. There are some important fills and phrases included: those which function as links between sections, and some for their sheer taste!

    The interviews with each drummer were conducted by myself. Where comments or clarification seemed necessary, a symbol is inserted to draw the reader's attention to a footnote.

    If the selection of tracks included on the CD seems unbalanced in any way, I make no apologies. My first choices were not all successful in the copyright negotiations. Many record companies have gone out of their way to be unco-operative when I asked for permission to reproduce their artists' work. So much for promoting talent!

    For more in-depth information about all aspects of studio drumming, I recommend the book Drummer's Studio Survival Guide, by Mark Huntley Parsons (Modern Drummer Publications, distributed by Hal Leonard).

    DAVID HICKS (Melbourne, 1999)


    Dave Hicks

    David Hicks

    I would like to thank the following for their assistance at the birth of this baby:

    • Each of the drummers featured, who gave freely of their precious time and self-effacingly wondered why they had been chosen
    • My family, for their understanding - particularly Robyn, who provided support and a sympathetic ear
    • Michael Jongebloed for encouragement and insights into the publishing world
    • Garry Hyde and Frank Corniola for their support of, and belief in Aussie musicians
    • David Wiltshire (Dixon Re-cycled Records), Malcolm Sedergreen (Discurio) and David Pepperell, among others, for their excellence in the retail of choice recordings
    • John Hennessy, the number one Graham Morgan fan/archivist (and fellow Leunig  fan) who freely shared his beer, information and recordings.
    • Bob Venier (who probably played on every session Graham, Mark Kennedy and the other Melbourne session kings did in the 60's and 70's) for his recollections.
    • Paul Allen, drummer compadre and sounding board;
    • James Kempster, for planting the seed when (during one of our jam sessions) he said:

    • "Why don't we have books about Australian musicians ? ".

    Dedicated to the memory of Eileen The most selfless person I have ever met, who inspired positivity in everyone who knew her. Her generosity enabled this book to become a reality.

    © 2010 Stick Figures