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split-level subterfuge

To serve the song, a drum part must have a readily identifiable hook - an element that gets under your skin, whether you're a plumber or a concert pianist.  To serve the drummer, a drum part should have a subtle element of difficulty that really only becomes apparent if someone else tries to play it.
Jeff Porcaro was a master of this "split-level" approach - just listen to the simple (??) groove on Toto's 'Rosanna' and try to stop your toes tapping ... then try to play it, INCLUDING all the little ghost-strokes and dynamic shifts.
FD in studio For me, a drum part should have a subtle level of difficulty, but it MUST have a hook. If the hook is strong enough, my frail ego can get by without the extra credit for difficulty; without the hook, I'm just another drummer showing off. My favorite example of "hook-power" is Cyndi Lauper's 'Time After Time' - the drum part is simple, sparse, no hidden difficulties ... but perfect for the song.
I'm not a songwriter in the sit-in-a-corner-with-a-guitar sense, but I REALLY like to be involved in the song-creation process. I've worked with some people whose preference was to present a finished product to the band, and that's okay too, but there's really nothing to match the feeling you get when ideas start bouncing around the room ... hesitantly at first ... then the flow begins ... all of a sudden everyone's speaking at once and "poof", there's a song ... talk about goosebumps!!

Anyway, enough about me ... let's talk about me!

The next few pages will tell you more than you ever wanted to know about the rhythmically-entranced, music-addicted, creator-of-infernal-rackets that is Frank Dolan.