Bill Bruford: Technique? Texture and Sound Were Much More Important


SKF NOTE: More words for drummers to live by from drum pioneer Bill Bruford.

Art Lange: You’ve stated elsewhere that [Jamie] Muir influenced you a lot. How, specifically?

Bill Bruford: Specifically that drumming wasn’t all about thumbing through glossy magazines and buying cymbals and looking at shiny drums.

I grew up with him, in that I was playing a real musical instrument, and that it was a good idea to try to hear the drumming from the other musician’s point of view.

Drummers are a very small narcissistic bunch, and they often are only interested in drums, and they can only hear music up until their ride cymbal, and then after that they’re not interested, until “Here comes my fill” and then rrrrrrr and then this boring stuff goes on until the next fill. They wait unti these drum events occur.

Well, I grew out of that around that time, and I was no longer interested in all things wonderful about drumming — the speed and the flash and all those things are no longer of so much importance to me. Jamie Muir rubbing two pieces of polystyrene foam together which produced a squeaking sound that was more suitable for the tune, well that was fine, we would do that then.

And he was making me do all kinds of things that were heretical on the drum kit, you know — being very simple and doing silly things with it and playing it in a different way, treating sounds and putting chains on it and making industrial drum kits and lots of other things like that.

And he was seeing things much more conceptually than drumming; we weren’t interest in technique. Texture and sound were much more important, yes.

Source: Bill Bruford: A Drummer’s Beat, by Art Lange & Charles Doherty, Down Beat, February 1984

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