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Protos - 'The Rally', with guest drummer, Jouxplan

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Published on Jun 14, 2012

As you will read in the intro to the video, this is something rather different! I was contacted by one half of 'Protos' earlier this year, and asked if I would be interested in trying to play drums to their recent album 'The Noble Pauper's Grave'.

All drums and percussion on the album were programmed - there was no 'real' drummer. So, the challenge was to see if I could emulate what had been done on the album, and to the extent that I am a 'real' drummer, see how I might adjust the parts to (a) make it playable and (b) 'do my thing'. Protos guitarist Steve, who it turns out has been a subscriber of mine for several years, was intrigued to see how I would tackle it :-)

I can tell you that this project has proved to be very difficult indeed! This track (The Rally) is the third on the album, and it is almost 12 minutes long. The drum part is varied, complex, awkward and at times, un-intuitive (for me at least). I have had a lot of fun (and frustration!) trying to copy the originally programmed parts, and then make my own 'artistic' changes. I have tried to be faithful to the original parts and what I interpret as the mood. I have embellished some parts, adjusted others, added or changed fills, and made an attempt to catch all the various accents. In the latter I comprehensively failed, particularly with some awkward cymbal placement: Rory (keyboards and composer) really does know how to tie a 'real' drummer in knots :-)

The other aspect that made this so awkward to drum along to, was the fact that, in essence, it is a metronome, and not a human drummer I am keeping time with. So the timing is horribly unforgiving, for those of us who are not Steve Gadd ;-) This took some getting used to, and at times you can really hear the original percussion, as I have inadvertently tried to lay back on the beat, or, er, made a mistake in my timing :-)

I comprehensively failed to get a complete 12 minute take on camera, which means this track is more difficult than any Genesis track I have yet played! So yes, there are movie edits. Three, if you must know. What can I say? You have a go, and see if you can get this done in a single take on camera!!!!! If it makes you feel better, I can report that I got so angry after about the 30th take, that I chucked my sticks across the room and stomped off into the garden, swearing profusely............

All joking aside, I sincerely hope Rory and Steve are able to watch this without cringing too much. They have not seen or heard this - watching on YouTube will for them be their first chance to see what I came up with. So to them, a big 'thank you' for giving me this opportunity, and I hope they enjoy my attempt.

To the rest of you - go buy the album, and I hope you also enjoy this :-)

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