SKF NOTE: Hal Blaine’s thoughts on drum fills. From a Hal Blaine letter written about 35-years ago. Good advice that still holds true.
Fills…come from within. Somehow the [brain] puts it all together. It takes the song you’re working on, listens to the lyricis, computes a feel, and calls upon all the years of experience…and comes up with a fill.
I invented today’s drumset in order to have a broader range of fills: more musical, more dazzling, more show offy. It worked!
When we run down a new song, [product commercial, or tv/movie music], I try to rehearse it rather cooly. I watch the film and see what it does to me. Then when the [recording] machine gets turned on — so do I.
As far as repeating fills? Sure. Why not, if they fit and feel natural?
Remember: when there’s an opening in a song and they ask you to fill [that opening], you are contributing something that will live forever on tape or film. Make [your fill] something you would want to hear time after time.
The fill, to a drummer, is his spot. Fill it comfortably.