Basics

More Cowbell!

Embellishing Grooves With a Different View

by Rich Redmond

The phrase “more cowbell” has seeped into the public consciousness with good reason—cowbell rocks! Classic rock songs like “Mississippi Queen,” “Honky Tonk Women,” and “We’re Not Gonna Take It” inspired this month’s lesson. 

The first three exercises focus on practical rock grooves with syncopated bass drum figures. I’ve included a series of two-bar patterns, starting with Exercise 4, that hints at a half-time inflection or a syncopated over-the-bar feel. Not to worry—the quarter-note cowbell glues them together. Be sure to subdivide so you can clearly mark the phrases with solid time.

Beginning with Exercise 10, the cowbell takes on a linear, melodic quality. Exercise 13 is a triplet-based rock ’n’ roll escapade that begs for more variations. Be sure to apply all of the hi-hat foot ostinatos that we included in a previous issue (December 2015) to these exercises. Shedding those coordination exercises allows you to express yourself freely when you hit the bandstand or the recording studio. More cowbell, please!

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Rich Redmond drums for country star Jason Aldean, is an award-winning clinician, and is an active session drummer in Nashville and Los Angeles. His recent book/DVD, FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids (coauthored with Michael Aubrecht), is available through Modern Drummer Publications.

For a video demo of these examples, visit moderndrummer.com.