Tech Tip:Terry Bozzio: The Art of Drumming



Jamming vs. Rehearsing / Applying the "Solo Drum" Concept / Incorporating Multiple Pedal Setups


In the year 2001, as we looked at advancements in the art of drumming, one name stands out - Terry Bozzio. While many top players focus on developing the "left foot clave" or dedicating themselves to mind-numbing double bass chops, Bozzio has created "solo drum" compositions that involve complex rhythms, melodies, and improvisation, simultaneously performed on the largest drum kit in the business, another Bozzio creation. His historic "Black Page" solo with Frank Zappa was the springboard for what Bozzio has created with his newfound vision of drumming. Aside from his groundbreaking solo drum releases, Bozzio has recently finished his second release of instrumental expressions with the Bozzio, Levin, Stevens project titled Situation Dangerous. How did the making of Bozzio, Levin, Stevens' Situation Dangerous differ from the first release, Black Light Syndrome?


Terry Bozzio: Instead of jamming and putting it together on the fly in three days like the first release, we spent five days playing and rehearsing to structure some material, and then spent another five days recording. It's an expansion of our first release, which is our three personalities coming together and the chemistry that comes from that. There's a dominant Flamenco influence, a heavy rock influence, and a funk influence, along with the trademark styles that make us who we are. When I pulled this project together, the concept was that it had to be an unconditional acceptance of all the members' ideas. How do you apply your "solo drum concept" to group situations like Bozzio, Levin, Stevens?


Bozzio: Spending so much time learning these complex polyrhythmic solo pieces makes it effortless to go back into a group situation. I feel that the development of the melodic cymbal stuff and melodic tom work have helped to create some interesting ideas for the new record, especially the Flamenco pieces like "Spiral" and "Tziganne." Are there any examples of your use of your multiple pedal setup on Situation Dangerous?


Bozzio: On Dangerous I use a technique of putting my foot between two different pedals to create two sounds simultaneously. It takes a lot more effort to overcome the mass and feel of two pedals at once. Most of the fast parts were done with two pedals, like a remote bass drum and a regular bass drum with my right foot, and left bass drum and normal hi-hat with my left foot.