The Ride Cymbal : A Rant

So, you’re a worship drummer, let’s say.  You’re rokken like Stryper with your bible hangin’ out of your khakis, if you know what I mean.  You’re there in that drummer crouch, working that hi-hat and snare.  Your food is a lead anvil, saying here’s the pocket, boys, come and get it.  The band’s together, the people are gathered and singing, and all is well.

And then it happens:  you get bored.  You think to yourself, “Self, this last chorus needs a shot in the arm.  Hang on boys, ’cause daddy’s gonna pivot right.”

I watch you go for it, your spine goes straight and you make your reach.  Away goes the tight, focused snare, and the well-placed, fat kick, and away goes the musically appropriate hi-hat subdivision and in it’s place we, your aural captives, hear this:

CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!! CLANG!!!!

The snare starts to meander!  The kick rushes and sometimes just isn’t there at all!  The rhythm guitar players begin to dig harder, searching for the pulse, having vague memories of where it went.  The bass player starts to stomp his right foot on the ground in a physical reaction to groove dissapation.  The worship leader’s face begins to constrict, brow furrowed, eyes squinty.

Amateur drummers of the world:  the ride cymbal is not your friend.  She is a siren.  She is a temptress who leads you astray.  She’s a heartless mistress who hates all things groovy.  Shun her.  Shuuuuuuuuun!

28 thoughts on “The Ride Cymbal : A Rant

  1. Chad Post author

    Sat, I played at the adventist church, and I actually had to forbid the drummer from playing the ride. Then, on Sunday, I sat in the congregation and listened to the exact same damn thing and couldn’t do anything about it.

    Hence, the rant.

  2. Jeremy

    hahaha. This is funny.

    Being an occasional fill in drummer at a few churches in my life I can totally see (hear) what you mean. In fact one of the most important things I learned in my drumming “career” is that less is often more. Better to keep the beat than add that 32nd-note-Stewart-Copeland-drum-fill that ends a half measure off and puts the snare hit on 1 instead of 2 which instantly gives the front row visible whip lash.

    That being said, on more than one occasion Mr. Lee has asked for “heavy on the ride.”

  3. Chad Post author

    Oh… believe me… when it’s right, it’s really right. It’s just more often soul-crushingly wrong.

  4. corey

    mmmm… maybe it’s a sinful love, but listen to Omar Hakim on Sting’s “Fortress Around Your Heart”. It’ll bring back the Ride Love.

  5. Chad Post author

    [quote comment="126542"]mmmm… maybe it’s a sinful love, but listen to Omar Hakim on Sting’s “Fortress Around Your Heart”. It’ll bring back the Ride Love.[/quote]

    Fine. Omar Hakim is excluded from the rant.

  6. michael lee

    [quote comment="126897"]Now let us talk about my other client, Mr. Rosenquist….[/quote]

    No chance. That guy has been punishing me with ride for 12 years. Enough is enough!

  7. corey

    Fight the power, Mike. Fight the power. Rise up and stand firm against the Oppressor!!! (* wait- are we still talking about Rosy?)

  8. Stick

    I’ve got some sweet ride samples that ALWAYS play in time. Live drummers are overrated.

    (Ok, KIDDDING! Well, bad live drummers are overrated.)

  9. Rosy

    Oh man.

    Your problem is not with the ride cymbal. Listening to you slander the ride is like listening to someone preach about the evils of alcohol. Your real problem is amateur drummers. Stop playing with bad players. Stop playing in churches. Stop working with volunteers. Or stop being frustrated. But don’t knock the ride.

    Also, I don’t believe “sweet ride samples” the way I don’t believe in The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, or Freewill Offerings.

    Sting – The Hounds of Winter, You Belong To Me, When We Dance, Seven Days, St. Augustine in Hell, All This Time, The Soul Cages, Why Should I Cry For You
    The Police – Message In A Bottle, Roxeanne, Wrapped Around Your Finger
    Maroon 5 – This Love
    Steely Dan – Aja
    Tower of Power – What Is Hip, Don’t Change Horses In The Middle of a Stream
    Toto – Rosanna
    Soundgarden – Burden In My Hand
    Guns N Roses – Sweet Child O’ Mine
    Incubus – Amber, Nice To Know You
    Spin Doctors – Two Princes
    Foo Fighters – Learn to Fly
    John Mayer – Waiting On The World To Change
    U2 – Until The End of the World, New Year’s Day, Crumbs From Your Table
    Gin Blossoms – Hey Jealousy
    The Killers – When You Were Young
    Counting Crows – Mr. Jones
    Yellowjackets – Even the Pain

    Honorable mention – Everything recorded from 1910-1949 that went from a 2-beat A section to a 4-beat B section, Elvis and The Beatles

    That’s just off the top of my head. If I opened up iTunes or sat and thought for a day, I could come up with 500 more examples of signature ride grooves. And by that I mean the song wouldn’t be nearly as good without the specific ride part that was tracked.

    Re-reading the comments, I realize that you’re not bashing the ride in principle (pun definitely intended) but merely the execution of it by less-than-great players. The reason they’re going for the ride is because IT’S THE “CORRECT” MUSICAL DECISION, not because they’re bored. It’s budding musicianship. There’s a reason they’re reaching for it, and it’s because subconsciously, or consciously through instruction, they’ve learned a bit of drumset orchestration. There’s a reason drummers have been going to the ride on choruses, bridges and double choruses for the last 57 years: it feels good.

    My take is this: you nearly always get what you pay for. If you only pick up the sticks on Thursday night and Sunday morning, you’re going to sound like smelly ass. Want the groove to stay consistent? Hire a pro. There are plenty of desperate guys who need a gig, myself included. It’s not the ride cymbal’s fault that your church drummer sucks: it’s your church drummer’s fault. Life’s too short and there’s not enough great-paying gigs to work with anyone with less than perfect time. Seriously, why bother? Get out of church, there’s nothing hip happening there . . .

  10. Rosy

    Oh and also, get ready for a little ride punishment of your own this weekend. I may “forget” my hats at the studio . . .

  11. Rosy

    Awesome. I know you read a lot of potentially ridiculous/funny/silly/inflammatory things each week so that’s a pretty cool compliment.

    Oh, and I was tipped off on the post, Chad. But it’s nice to catch up on some of the other stuff while I’m here . . .

  12. Chad Post author

    I dunno… it was just so random. He could have been searching for “Ride Cymbal Chad Kicks Ass” for all we know.

  13. James

    Four words:

    “David Garibaldi” and “Terry Baker”

    But for most part, you’re right, seeing as how both of these drummers only use the ride like 10% of the time, at the most…

    Next time, when the drummer isn’t looking (so, whenever he is playing), just replace the ride with a remote hi-hat… chances are he won’t notice anyway :P

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