Monday, November 26, 2012

Musical activity = Gaming loll

Hello there! I'm alive, and very much so. I'm just spread a little thin these days but it's all good. I may not be as crazy-busy as I was in September/October but life is still flying at break-neck speed as the Rockline drumline still has a few gigs coming up, my own personal music project is starting to take form, the fat guy in red is warming up his transdimentional reindeer drive sled, and I'm trying to keep up with my favorite games in the middle of all this. Phew! That said over the past couple weeks I did have a few occasions to log onto EVE Online but nothing of note happened apart from some chats with some Montreal buddies and with the EVE Radio channel; I take this opportunity to salute the return of YouTuber/Vblogger Mintchip who recently felt the call of New Eden, you know, the "Hotel California Syndrome" :)

Exactly one month after our fund-raiser Metal bash, the Rockline went back to the rehearsal studio in preparation of a drumline clinic we gave in Québec city last Saturday. There was a convention for musical educators and with drumlines and marching bands making a slow comeback there was a lot of interest in our "product"; I don't want to brag too much but we are the hottest drumline in the province of Québec by far, even though there are only 5 or 6. So the plan was to present and explain the inner workings of a drumline by going back to the basics. Each section (snares, multi-tenors, basses and cymbals) was given attention. We then followed up with a simple 8-8-16 warm-up (alternating each hand) as an ensemble but trying to mimick a group of youngsters who had basically never played drums. This was extremely cacophonic but fun and even hilarious at the end when one of the snare players kept playing after our presenter told us to stop! We made it up to our small crowd by doing the same exercise but with the precision expected of a DCI drumline. Ah, much better :)

But of course we didn't travel 300 kilometers just to show a few exercises. Interspersed with various examples and explanations we played three of the tunes from the Wishmaster concert: "Dark Chest of Wonders" which we hadn't played since the show (this was a last minute addition by presenter Jeff Goulet, who is also the arranger of this tune... it's fairly easy anyway), "Storytime", and of course our apotheosis, the "Arabesque" drum feature. Even though we only had a small "crowd" of 30-40 people - maybe 50 because convention goers were coming in and out - the reaction was awesome each time we played, and greater as each tune increases in difficulty; where "Dark Chest" doesn't need a lot of practice and feels more like a warm-up, "Storytime" has a few tricky parts, and "Arabesque" is not only a challenge to play correctly, but a lot of movement is involved (see the video here) and collisions must be avoided at all cost. And this is before the "octopus" effect. Yes, arranger Michel Pilon knew he was dealing with a bunch of DCI vets and in what was presented as a battle between Wishmaster's drummer and the drumline, he wanted to make sure that we won!

And now that this is done, what's in the future for the Rockline? Well, resting on its laurels isn't in the plans. Next sunday we will participate in the shooting of a videoclip for only a simple part of eight bars but it's mostly for a visual effect. But as simple as this is the video shooting will allow me to finally realise a great big dream of mine: because the video part calls for it and because I've proven I can play some decent traditional grip rudiments, I will be introduced to the snare line. And on top of it we will be carrying the things! I don't care if it's only a temporary promotion for only eight bars, this will be a very powerful moment for me. The fact that it will be shot on video is great bonus. To say "I cannot wait" is a ridiculous understatement! So needless to say I've been hammering those double stroke Fives and Flam Accents like mad ever since last Tuesday when Jacques asked me "can you play me a Five?" before the rehearsal started. I confidently answered "singles or doubles?", perfectly executed hand-to-hand doubles, and then starting only from the right hand using traditional grip. The funny part is that one of the massively talented tenor players declined the invitation to play the snare line because she lacked the grip skills. Well, for this video she can have my bass drum :))

Hello snare... I haz a date with you or one of your bros >:)

On this note, fly hard and play tight!


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