Book Reviews
Drummer Cafe 20th Anniversary
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I Used To Play Drums

For former drummers who miss jamming on the kit, its time to dust off the old sticks and revisit those good times with I Used to Play Drums: An Innovative Method for Adults Returning to Play. This book will reacquaint people with their instrument by providing them with the kind of music they want to play in a variety of styles, from rock, to jazz, and more! Starting with a review of the basics of music theory and continuing with a wealth of exercises to get players back in shape, I Used to Play Drums will get people drumming away again in no time. Plus, the enclosed CD contains audio MP3s of full-band performances for each song, with and without drumset, allowing players to learn from demo tracks and play along with the band like no time has passed at all!

REVIEW

I Used to Play Drums, by Liberty DeVitto and Sean J. Kennedy, is a book/CD package designed to reacquaint former drumset players with their musical instrument by providing some basic music theory, warm-up / sticking exercises, and a plethora of play-along tracks, in a variety of styles, to songs  most (if not all) would enjoy playing.

The book is 46-pages — predominantly drum charts for the 19 play-along tracks on the CD — includes a drum notation key, a brief rhythmic notation (music theory) review, a chart of the Top-10 Sticking Patterns with some creative ideas on how to practice them, several pages of dexterity exercises and warm-ups, and the 40 PAS Drum Rudiments.

The CD contains MP3 files of full-band performances of each song, with and without drums. Song titles include:

  1. Candy Apple Strut
  2. Cat Nap
  3. Dancin' with Mr. Boomer
  4. Datizda Mayor of Drunk Town
  5. Escape from Skull Island
  6. I'll Always Love You
  7. Joshua Fought the Battle of Jerico
  8. La Bamba
  9. Mr. Tambourine Man
  10. New York Underground
  11. Rotten Little Kid
  12. Scrappers
  13. Sunday Mambo
  14. Tea for Three
  15. Tide is High, The
  16. Tuxedo Junction
  17. Two Tickets to Paradise
  18. Wooly Bully
  19. Zonk

A diverse collection of music styles are represented on the I Used to Play Drums CD — Rock, Funk, Blues, Pop, Jazz, Punk, Reggae — straight and swung feels in a variety of tempos. There is a mix of classic "radio" tunes, originals written by DeVitto and Kennedy, and exclusive tunes from The Fun[k] Club.

As far as content, I Used to Play Drums is more of a play-along CD package, with charts, than a method book. Although it's not for beginners and is marketed to adults returning to play the drums, intermediate to advanced players would be amiss to pass I Used to Play Drums by. With no click-track pounding away on the drum-less tracks, this play-along package is perfect for recording oneself for educational or demonstration purposes. The recorded percussion parts (eg. bongos) are mixed a little too "hot" on some of the songs, which may be a distraction for some looking to establish their own pocket and groove.