Here's my transcription of the intro fill and drum groove, as played by Aaron Comess, on the Spin Doctors tune, "Two Princes," from the band's 1991 album, Pocket Full Of Kryptonite. Two Princes peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.
The fill starts with a 5-Stroke Roll followed by a 6-Stroke Roll. Aside from the diddled strokes (RR LL) of the rolls, the entire fill can be played as alternating Single Strokes. (R L R L).
How to Practice the Drum Intro
Break the fill down by leaving out the diddle strokes (aka rolls), accents, and Kick drum; just play the skeleton figure on the Snare drum. Next play the written accents on the Snare. Add the Kick drum which lines up with all of the accented Snare strokes, save one (sixteenth-note) just before Beat Three. Add the Toms (last three sixteenth-notes). Add the rolls. It may help to change the order that I've listed, but the important thing is to break it all down, as much as necessary, so you can play it cleanly/precisely/accurate. Own it!
The drum groove on "Two Princes" is awfully funky for a rock tune; it smells of New Orleans and Clyde Stubblefield.
How to Practice the Drum Groove
First let's break this down into bite-sized pieces. Notice that the HiHat is just straight eighth-notes and the Snare accents are just the 2 and 4 backbeats. Get that happening first. Next, add the tap strokes on the Snare; take it slow and be sure to exaggerate the volume between the taps and accented notes. Next, add the Kick drum. Go slow and work for accuracy between the limbs; make sure the unisons are exact. If you have difficulty, break down the groove by leaving out the Snare and just focus on the HiHat and Kick drum pattern. Work slowly and build the groove slowly and methodically. Another approach is to build the groove note by note, playing all voices (HiHat, Snare and Kick) as they occur. Lastly, add the open HiHat on Beat One; HiHat foot closes on the AND of Two.
Bart Elliott, founder of the Drummer Cafe, is a degreed professional musician currently residing in Nashville, Tennessee. His 37+ years in the music industry, over 100 albums to his credit, as well as his understanding of contemporary and classical music, makes him a complete and skilled master musician. A highly sought after drummer and percussionist, both live and in the studio, Bart is widely known as a top music educator, consultant and gifted teacher, appearing as a guest artist and clinician throughout the USA and abroad.