Ask the band....
If you would like to submit a question to Ken, Bruce or Tony (or the entire band), send an email to FanMail@Spoonful-O-Blues.com. Be sure to include your name (full or just first name and last initial, or a nickname, please keep it G rated). We will reply to your email and let you know if your question has been posted with an answer!
Q - I've seen you play kind of up close and from far away too (Jones Beach, NY) and notice that you hit pretty hard, but don't seem to use much effort when doing it. I'd love to play like that. How do you do that?
Paul J. from NJ
A- Hi Paul, thanks for asking. I see you're really studying my playing. I hope I live up to your expectations! My playing technique I credit to my early teachers and books on playing I got early on. Paul Van Tom was my first drum teacher, and he was a STICKLER (no pun intended!) when it came to how to hold the stick and hit the drum.
Firstly, how to hold the stick properly was (and still is) paramount. For matched grip, the butt of the stick should sit in the crease of your hand where if you bring your thumb towards your pointer finger (with your palm facing up), the butt should sit comfortably between where the base of your thumb gathers and the rest of your palm, and the upper part of the stick should sit between your thumb and your pointer finger.
When you turn your hand over, you should always be able to see ALL your knuckles when playing (including your pinky knuckle). This should encourage you to use as much finger power as possible, as this is where you will exert most of your effort from if playing properly. If you need greater volume, add more wrist to your stroke (keeping in mind that as you do this you will take more time to get to the drum head). Then if you need more volume than that, you can begin to lift your forearms a bit on the upswing of the stick.
A DVD I would recommend to anyone looking to find out more on great hand technique is 'Secret Weapons for the Modern Drummer' by JoJo Mayer. Now that man can play!
Q - What is your favorite song to sing, and why? Who are you favorite bands? Thanks.
George R. NYC
A - My favorite band is Cream and my favorite songs to sing are White Room and Theme from an Imaginary Western.
Q - I saw Spoonful-O-Blues play the NY Pavilion Theater with another band, and I remember you blew away the other band, and just being blown away by you guys! You did a drum solo that was out of this world, and I loved how you got the whole audience to join in with you and clap during one part... I would love to learn to play like that, how long did it take you?
Rob Jacobs from Conn. USA
A - Hey Rob, well first let me say thank you, thank you for all your great thoughts and compliments! One of the many things I love about this band is that we all love to put out 110% at every show.
I should also mention that I've been playing for just over 30 years, so I've got some time and experience under my belt! However, with that said, I started playing with my first band after 6 months of practice/playing of 4 to 6 hours a day (which included weekly drum lessons), and performed my first solo by the time I had been playing one year. I was scared out of my socks! However, everyone loved it (or at least acted like it! :-)).
I don't claim to be a world class soloist by any means, there are so many better solo players. But since you asked, there are a few pointers that I've picked up over the years..
1 - Who am I playing for, myself or the audience? The best solos I've found are the ones where I am playing for the audience (like the one you saw), and I get them involved. The solo you saw was actually made up on the spot, as one of the other guys in the band had a technical problem, and the bass and guitar just dropped out, and there I was! Instant solo....... so I just went with it and looked out at the audience and thought "What could I do to keep everyone entertained?" Any true great drummer keeps the audience in mind when performing. Because in the end it really is all about them, not about you (my humble opinion that is also shared by some friends of mine).
2 - A drummer friend Ansley once said to me "What is he saying?" when we watched another drummer do a solo, and it was very fast, but otherwise did not impress us. Why? In Ansley's word's, "He's not saying anything". So what Ansley was saying is a solo needs to be light on ego, and heavy on soul. People (everyone, not just drummers) should walk away saying "Wow, that was cool!" Right? You want to make a lasting impression (a good one I hope!). To do that I believe you must add something that makes people feel something, not just hear or see something. Don't just do your favorite fast lick, but make sure you lead up to that with a beat that feels good, then maybe something on the toms that feels good, that maybe then progresses and finishes with something fast, technical, and above all, CLEAN. If you can't keep it clean, slow it down........
Thanks for asking, and I look forward to rockin' your world again at the next show!
Stay tuned for more questions to be posted....
Take me back to the main page
Former Guitarist R.T. Kline -
Q - I saw Spoonful-O-Blues live on stage in NY, and you guys were GREAT! All my friends thought so too, and loved your playing!
We noticed during the concert you changed guitars a lot. We were wondering, what is the reason for that, how many guitars do you have, and what's your favorite and why? Thanks.
Gene T. and friends from PA
A - Basically they all have different tones. My favorite is the Gibson Black Classic Les Paul. The cream colored Fender Strat is bluesy. They all have their all unique sounds. Then there is the famous Blue Meanie Gibson SG that has that straight up sound, it has the right sound for what we do. I have 5 guitars that I use live. 2 Strats, 2 Les Pauls and the Blue Meanie Gibson SG.