Drummer Stanton MooreWhen the hurricane arrived and the levees broke, Stanton Moore’s studio/rehearsal facility took the hit and was later declared structurally unsound. Still, Stanton headed back to town to record his solo release Stanton Moore III. It felt like the right thing to do. And Stanton did what a true New Orleans son would have done: He recorded in the ancient Preservation Hall.

“I just wanted to get back to the comfort zone,” Stanton explains. “It sounds amazing in there, and you don’t have to play so hard. Sometimes when you do that, the drums choke up. If you were to go into the Preservation Hall with big drums and hit them too hard, you’d over-saturate the room. With a small kit and a loose, open grip, things sound great.”

For most of the tracks, the kit was Stanton’s Gretsch with an 18″ bass drum. The exception was a cover of Zeppelin’s “When The Levee Breaks,” which demanded a 26″. In the final mix, both bop and Bonzo bass drums sound huge.

“When I’m playing ‘bigger,’” Stanton continues, “I’m trying to play the drums in such a way that they resonate at their peak. With the 18″, I tune the front a little tighter and muffle with one felt strip. I tune it to where it resonates or ‘speaks,’ without the heads too loose. For years I’ve been playing 26″ bass drums as well, and somehow that helps me get a bigger sound out of the 18″. It stresses the importance of playing off the head, not burying the beater.”

Aside from gigs and recordings with Galactic, Garage A Trois, and Corrosion Of Conformity, Stanton’s savvy grooves (and new de-tuned snare sounds) can be heard on singer-songwriter Irma Thomas’s Grammy-nominated album, After The Rain.  Otherwise, SM is working on a new book/DVD package revealing his approach to funk, as influenced by Johnny Vidacovich and the great James Black.

T. Bruce Wittet