Q: Was it odd to be the most famous drummer using Orthodox grip?
A: Oh no, Vinnie’s orthodox, there’s a few of us left! What I like is that the youngsters REVERE the orthodox grip, they’re full of reverence for it. I was taught from the age of nine, I am classically trained, in the drums at least, the harmony came a while later. All my technique is absolutely correct. And it really helps. I warm up with rudiments. I just find that I have a better show, if I warm up correctly, doing the correct rudiments, get my paradiddles just perfect. It’s like eating my greens! My technique is absolutely correct.
Lots of people think of orthodox grip as something weak and fiddly, but it is absolutely about power, that’s how you GET the power is by doing it right, that’s what orthodox technique is all about. (grabs marker pen from table, holds it in orthodox grip and starts to whack it on his knee) Look at the wrist muscles, these are the biggest muscles for making the stick move, but this… (switches marker pen to matched grip, makes thumb-up nodding movement with hand, marker pen thwacks more weakly against his knee)… match grip is good for bouncing but for a really hard whack, look here… (switches back to orthodox grip, thwacks immediately increase in volume)… my biggest finger, my thumb, pulling that ****er down like THAT! – (huge thwack, marker pen cap pings off into a corner of the room) THIS is where all the power is. For me, matched grip is just using the wrong part of the thumb.
Of course Technique in general is taking everything and maximising the ergonomics of your connection with the instrument whatever the instrument is. You can get a long way just being self-taught and having talent is way more important than technique, but technique enables physically to go way further.
.Brief online video selection
Stewart Copeland vs Sting
Stewart Copeland at Modern Drummer Festival (2005)