Q: What, in your opinion, are the most important technical aspects to know as a drummer?
A: It’s important to really understand that technique is only a means to an end. I’ve heard that phrase over the years but the older I get, the truer it seems to ring. Everything we learn as a drummer from the rudiments, stickings and compound stickings and hybrid rudiments, all of this is the alphabet; it’s to say something on the instrument.
It’s like knowing what the letters are and knowing how to form them into words and then being able to put them into sentences and then into paragraphs but ultimately the outcome is the same; you’re trying to tell a story.
So whether you’re supporting the story of the song literally or trying to say something on the drums, it’s being able to make the correct choices. It’s like the writer being able to choose the right words for the story.
So you could be playing flam drags and patta fla fla’s all over the place but unless you’re actually saying something it doesn’t mean anything. The older I get I see the profound beauty in simple things.
I might see a guy with 27 pedals and I’ll think ‘wow!!!’ but then you see Steve Gadd just playing a simple press roll going back into a verse and you think that’s the loveliest thing I ever heard. It doesn’t take a lot of technique to do that. Now it may take touch, which is an entirely different subject.
It’s a roundabout way of answering your question but that’s how I kinda think about it. It”s important to have knowledge of the building blocks of our instrument and use them musically in a supportive fashion.
A brief video selection:
Todd Sucherman’s Methods & Mechanics II Performance Trailer:
(gosh…! Every single second is… just… COOL!)
Todd Sucherman on the Modern Drummer Fest 2008:
(take close attention from 1:32s on…)