Drummer Derek Roddy will be the featured artist in the next in the series of the 2010 drum clinics hosted by Jeff Lee of Resurrection Drums. The event will be held at the Bienes Center for the Arts in Fort Lauderdale on June 16. Roddy, known for his contribution to bands including Nile and Hate Eternal, has recently formed a new band, Serpents Rise.
Roddy is inarguably one of the most accomplished extreme metal drummers of the era. For the uninitiated, extreme metal -- not just metal or even thrash metal -- is characterized by music that is played at incredible speeds with exacting skill. "Not too many people are showing this physical side of drumming," explains Roddy. "The difference between extreme metal drumming and everything else is the physicality of the genre and the amount of notes." Take the music of Slayer or Anthrax, for example, and play it at twice the speed. The results approach the speed at which only the most accomplished extreme metal or blast beat players can play -- requiring not only speed but athleticism.
Roddy literally wrote the book on what it takes to perform in this
genre, The Evolution of Blast Beats, published in 2008. Subsequently,
in 2009, Roddy released an educational DVD, Blast Beats Evolved. "I'm
the first guy to come out with a book and DVD on extreme metal
drumming. This created credibility for the entire genre." Drummers
have been doing this for 25 years, but Roddy's book and DVD have given
the genre the recognition that it deserves. "Derek Roddy has elevated
the blast beat style to an entirely new level," says Steve Rucker,
former Bee Gees drummer and currently director of Drumset Studies
at the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami. "His creative
use of blast beats in extreme metal music has given it a validity that
it previously didn't possess."
Roddy's clinics include some
talk and a lot of playing. The audience members determine the course of the clinic based the questions they
ask. A standard question that Roddy fields during each his
clinics is what techniques can be employed to play as fast as he does. "I tell them it's the 10,000 hours
technique," he says. "You have to spend 10,000 hours practicing it." Developing
the physicality and endurance that is required to play at blast beat
speeds won't happen overnight. As a teen, Roddy cut his teeth by
practicing to the metal bands of the era -- as the music got faster, so
did he. "The fastest thing for me was Slayer. I played that for three
weeks and finally got it. Now, with these high speeds, three weeks
isn't going to do it. I would hate to be a kid right now trying to
learn to play a Hate Eternal song."
With that said, Roddy is all
for making people feel comfortable with what they can do. "I'm a sucker
for gear," Roddy says with a laugh. "There are things that you can add onto your
drum set that will help you to do more things. Just by adding a couple
of pieces of gear can spur you on to successfully experiment with other
things. For example, add another hi-hat stand to your kick drum
foot... just split the boards. Add a cowbell and a foot pedal and get a
whole new dynamic. There are things that your left (or idle) foot wants
to do. You just have to figure out what it should be doing... it wants to
be doing something!"
What does Roddy think is one of the most
important lessons he can impart? "Play music with other people, don't
just practice by yourself. Playing with other musicians will help you
to hone every skill that you need to play music; it will help your
eyes, your ears, and perhaps most importantly your feel." The
interaction with others is a must to develop not only one's
musicality, but also one's personality, another critical component to
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getting gigs and playing in bands. Come out to see Derek Roddy; listen
to what he has to say and play.
-- Sayre Berman
Derek Roddy Drum Clinic. 7 p.m., Wednesday, June 16, at Bienes Center for the Arts, 2801 SW 12th St., Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $15 in advance, $20 day of the show or over the phone. Call 954-926-0204, or visit here.