In the Pocket: “Rock Steady??? Demystified (VIDEO)

This article is an excerpt from the April 2015 issue, which can be purchased here

In the Pocket

“Rock Steady” Demystified

Four Steps to Mastering Advanced Funk Grooves

by Jim Payne

Have you ever checked out Bernard Purdie’s beat on Aretha Franklin’s “Rock Steady”? And what about the classic drum break that includes Purdie’s signature hi-hat bark? That’s one of the most recognizable funk licks of all time, and we’re going to break it down here.

“Rock Steady” combines a super-solid groove and some classic funk techniques with a special twist. Here’s my take on how to master it.

For more on how to master the “Rock Steady” beat, including transcriptions and exercises, check out the complete article in the April 2015 issue of Modern Drummer, available here.

Jim Payne teaches funk and R&B drumming for Berklee Online. He has played with Maceo Parker and Fred Wesley. He can be reached at

April 2015 Issue of Modern Drummer featuring Bernard “Pretty” Purdie