Carter Beauford Shares His Dudely Drumming Wisdom

Carter Beauford Shares His Dudely Drumming Wisdom


-Dudes. -Dudes. -Welcome to a very special
video entitled, “Carter Beauford Shares his Dudely Drumming Wisdom While I Sit
Here and Hyperventilate in Disbelief”. Let’s begin. ::hyperventilating sounds:: ::cowbell clank:: -Your career is the gold
standard of health and longevity and speaking a million musical languages,
and you’ve played for a bunch of artists I’m really curious about: Big Nick
Nicholas, and Blue Indigo, and Secrets, and your residency on BET on Jazz.
When you think about that era of your drumming life, what was the mentality?
What were your goals on the drums at that time? -Back then it was just trying
to maintain a gig you know and sounding not too repetitive because a lot of
stuff most musicians do, I mean, someone has always done it before, but you try
and make it sound a little more interesting than the person before you,
which is almost impossible to do when you have to follow up what Tony Williams did,
you know, it’s kind of hard to do that! But yeah, you know it’s one of those
things that you have to just maintain, you know, keep that focus and just try to
make the music speak in such a way that’s gonna be interesting for the
listener, and that’s what I focus on the most with all those guys that I played
with, you know, it’s like I just wanted to do something that didn’t sound too
repetitive. And it worked! -It shows, man. Do you feel that in the years since then your
relationship with the drums has changed at all? -Not really. I still love playing
just as I did the first day, you know, that I started when I played when I was
probably three years old. It’s just as exciting now as it was that first day.
It’s just so much more that I hear now from other cats that are playing and their approach to the instrument. It’s really really exciting to hear someone fresh and new
step up and do something that I’ve heard before but do it in such a way that’s
really really cool. It’s a lot of new cats out here, you know, so many new cats,
and it’s hard to keep up with them, because my focus is trying to maintain
with the Matthews Band and trying to learn new things and make what I do a
little more interesting instead of sounding the same way every night, you
know, trying to beef it up a little taste. -So, you saying that perfectly sets up the number one thing I want to ask you. Let me hand you these headphones
because I’ve got some audio coming at you to demonstrate what you’re talking about. Some Vic Firth headphones, no less! -Wow, check it out! Nice! I’ve never seen these before!
-These are new, man, they’re moving up in the world. -Wow. Vic, man, me and Vic hung out one night, man, it was cool. It was a couple years before
he passed, and man. The dude was amazing. An amazing cat. -Go on? Tell me about that
last hang with Vic! -Hanging with Vic was was like a dream come true for me
because I’d seen him on videos and that kind of thing, you know, when he was doing
his thing years back. Fascinating drummer. Just, amazing drummer, you know. And then
to be able to meet and share some dinner with him and share some stories, I was
like the little kid in the candy store, you know, when I was hanging out with him.
He was just full of all these great great stories that he had to tell and I
was just there the whole time with mouth wide open! I probably looked like
the biggest nerd, but it was fascinating. Fascinating. What a cool guy he was, man,
he was one of the greatest, and that was one of the reasons that I decided to
start using his sticks. His sticks are just amazing. But just to share those moments
with Vic, it made it a little better for me, a little one-on-one I guess you could say. -That’s a beautiful man. Vic is
connected to so much good music. -Absolutely. -And that’s one of the great
honors of my life, being a part of that Vic family, dude. And I share
that honor with you! -Oh, bless you man, thank you. -Dude! So, this is sixty seconds of music. It perfectly
demonstrates what you were saying a second ago. It’s basically the evolution
of you playing the same five second snippet of music, but how you’re voicing
of it changed over the last couple of decades. Let’s throw the cans on and then
I’ll ask you something about it. ::musical recording plays:: What Would You Say What Would You Say What Would You Say -Wow!!! Wow!!!! -I feel the same way! -I didn’t know
there were that many variations of that one lick, you know, that one section. It’s
like, “whoa!”, because I don’t think about, you know I don’t think about it. I
just do it and try to, you know, keep it interesting. Wow. That’s a lot! -That’s
hilarious to me that you say that, because to get it down to 60 seconds I
had to eliminate, like, 900 other fills that I loved and I didn’t want to throw
away, man! ::laughter:: So, this is what I’m dying to know man: You’ve proven you can play the
same tune a thousand different ways, so what habit or mentality is in place in
your life that allows you to keep innovating the language of drumming like
that? -You know just, again, it all falls back on listening to all the cats that
are out there and all the cats that have been there for years, you know, and
thinking to myself, “What would Tony Williams do here?,” you know, “What would
Billy Cobham do here?,” you know, “What would Jack Dejohnette do here?,” and all those
guys are in my head every second that I’m playing onstage. I’m making sure that
I’m focused on Dave and everybody else and staying on top of what’s going on,
but my drumming heroes are with me the whole way, you know, and I’m thinking, “How
would they approach this? How would they approach that?,” you know, and then I’m
thinking as well, you know, “How would I approach it?” Out of all the stuff that
I’ve heard, you know, I try and turn it into something that belongs to me, and
you know, it may sound a little bit like someone else but I’m in there as well.
There’s a lot of Carter Beauford in there that has a couple words to share
with the people that I learned it from, if that makes any sense. So yeah, there’s
a lot going on! -It shows man! Here’s one of the culminations of, “What does
Carter Beauford have to say?” I’m gonna make it religious, man, I brought my
childhood Bible here. You recognize this thing? -Oh my god… aye, aye, aye! -This relic, dude! This one piece of media has probably shaped me more as a musician than
the rest of the universe combined. It’s made me wonder in recent years, man, if we
just happened to be sitting in that Bearsville studio again and we were shooting
a sequel to this, what would you want to hip us to on the drums now? -Wow. I don’t
know! As far as what I do, when people listen to me
a lot of times it’s like, “What are you thinking about here? What do you think
about there?” You know, a lot of times, like I said, I’m just thinking about how
someone else would approach it. I’m hearing other songs in my head, you know,
other drummers as they’re playing their other songs. And you know there’s a lot
of stuff that I did when I was younger that I throw in there as well. There’s so
many different things. It’s hard to really knock it down to one thing.
-Well they captured it beautifully, man. I almost hate that I asked you this
because it makes me want a sequel to this really bad now. You know, like, if
Deuce Bigalow Male Gigolo got a sequel in Hollywood (which it did, by the way),
then it feels only fair that Under the Table and Drumming should get a sequel
too. We can call it “Splash,” or “Before these Crowded Drums,” -Wow! -“Everydrum,” I’ll keep going! “The Lillywhite Drummings”, nevermind, cut
that part out! -You said, “don’t download that”! -“Stand Up…and Become Good at the
Drum”. Okay, “Away from the… Being Bad at Drums” I’m running out of gas. “Drum Tomorrow”.
That’s the one! Drum Tomorrow. That’s what we’ll call it. -That’s the one! Drum Tomorrow! -If anybody watching this has any ideas for what to call the
sequel, just tell me and Carter in the comments, and I’ll send this to one of
you guys, maybe even signed by the protagonist himself. -I like that a
lot, I like that. -Yeah? Drum Tomorrow? -Yes, yes! -Let’s go! -Yeah! -Dude. If we go on any longer, I’m gonna pass
out from the joy of this conversation, so, I’ll leave us
on one last question: As a fellow fan of music (that’s come out a lot in this
conversation, your love for music), can you name a drummer that you’ve stood
in the presence of and he’s made you say, “Damn, right here right now I am
witnessing one of the all-time greats of drumming”? -Buddy Rich. I got the
opportunity to meet Buddy Rich years ago. I was in college, this was in the 70’s, so
I’m really dating myself, but I got a chance to hang out and meet with him, and
he was one of the coolest cats I’d ever met in my life.
He was just so down to earth and he told me some great stories that I can’t tell
you, but some stories that were just amazing. Amazing. And it turns out that a
lot of the drummers that I love are big Buddy Rich fans. His approach to the
whole thing was just unbelievable and I wanted to be just like that, you know, and
try and do the same thing. But yeah, there’s so many cats out there, man, so
many cats. Dennis Chambers. You’ve got Lenny White. Whoah, Lenny!
When he was with Al Di Meola and Stanley Clarke and Chick Corea, whoo! My god, that
was some amazing stuff that he was doing, and if I’m not mistaken he was snagged
out of high school to start playing with Miles Davis. -He played the old Stefan
Lessard card there. -Yes, yes! Exactly. And then years after that I guess when he
started doing the Chick Corea, Al Di Meola, Stanley Clarke thing. Return to
Forever. Whoo! It’s heavy stuff. But the stuff that I listen to and that
I focus on and the stuff that I love is stuff that still sounds fresh to this
day, if not, it’s still so much to be learned from all those different groups
that I used to listen to, Return to Forever being one. The Miles Davis, when
he went from the bebop thing and all that
went into the craziness, that stuff was just phenomenal.
Got a chance to hang with Miles a couple times. I was playing with a
group called Secrets. He allowed us to open up for him and I got a chance to
speak with him and he was just phenomenal. The coolest cat that I’d ever
met in my life. And that particular night I remember when we finished our set we
packed up and I went upstairs, and I was standing upstairs when Miles came on and
did his thing and I was standing kind of like on the top of the building so to
speak, you know, and I was looking down on the stage and Miles, he was in the middle
of a solo, and he stopped his solo right smack dab in the middle, and he turned to
his right and looked up at me and took his glasses and pulled them down and
looked at me, and I was terrified when he did that. I was like, “What the hell is he
looking at me like that for?” I mean I wasn’t just like level to him. I was up
a ways so he had to really do a lot to know that I was up there, and he did that
and just for a few seconds he did it, and the band was killing it. They were
killing! And he did that and he put his glasses back and went back to his horn,
BAM, and finished his solo. To this day, even to tell that story, I get this crazy feeling, you know, this…it’s
scary. It’s scary. And that’s the one thing that stands out for me, you know, my
whole life really, and that’s the thing that Miles did that night. It just blew
me away. It gives me goose pimples just to talk
about it. -That story connects so many dots for me about you. It explains so much
about your playing, how deeply you lean into music and how much that shit means
to you. -Yeah. -Well, it comes out on the instrument, man. -Oh, thank you! -It explains that.
I’m glad that you’ve gotten to have your own version of that feeling about
watching the greats, because I can say to you without a shred of irony or doubt
that one of the great gifts of my life is that I’ve gotten to come to your shows and see
you play and say to myself without that shred of doubt, “I am witnessing the
greatest to ever touch this instrument.” -Bless you. -…and you can’t talk me out of
it man! -That’s so cool bro. -Dude. My life
is complete now! Let’s end with a ceremonial striking of the cowbell if
you will. Send us. Peace, dudes. -Dope! -Done! Thank you, dudes. If you’re
watching, you’re the reason this was possible at all. So help me thank you by
taking some very cool Carter memorabilia from over the years off my hands.
Oh and one’s the most epic banner I’ve ever seen in my life, and Carter himself
wants it hanging on the wall of the next aspiring drummer. Rules are below in the
description. Adios, dudechachos. ::cowbell clank::

100 comments

  1. #dude you met the guy in the flesh!thats awesome

    Away From Being Bad At Drums
    I know its kinda long but its the one that clicked with me the most
    #drumtomorrow

  2. I have Carter's under the table on DVD, one of the best ever. I like the thought of a sequel titled drumming tomorrow.

  3. Everything else aside, Harry, this was a really good interview. You asked EXCELLENT questions and the evolution of one drum lick over time was really informative. Nicely done! #dude

  4. Above all the awesomeness in this video, I'm most happy to witness Harry meeting his all time hero. Really cool to see.

  5. Fun for us, but how the hell fun must that have been for you! Good on you.
    And I know this is the opposite of the point, but the fill from '94 was NASTY, and he should totally go back to that. #dude

  6. You have got to be the best musician interviewer I have seen. The stories you are able to draw out and the approach you have makes every interview ridiculously interesting.

  7. This is EPIC. I was a bouncer at the New Daisy Theater in Memphis when Under The Table broke out. Back when they were doing 2 sets. I stood next to the stage and if a bomb had gone off in the audience I wouldnt have heard it. I was in a trance and immersed in greatness of this new band and Carter who I still swear has 3 arms because no human could connect with an instrument like that (RIP Neil Peart) that I'd ever witnessed live before. Got some signed swag later and he was such a down to Earth cat. Loved it. Been a proud fanboy ever since. Great interview man. Just made my day.

  8. #gnarlybanner dude.
    Carter has inspired me so much and so often as a musician. His vocabulary on the drums is outstanding to no limits. Absolutely one of modern days best drummer. My teacher when I was 10 showed me this live DVD of the dmb and I couldn't wrap my head around the open style playing. So I tried, adapted and put it in my arsenal. Happy to see you and this legend having a conversation about things that you absolutely love.

  9. Undeniably one of the funkiest drummers – he's so musical – thanks for this intimate interview. It's cool to hear his perspective.

  10. Dude, thank you so much for this video!

    Carter is a HUGE influence on me and I love that, through you, we get to pick his brain to see what makes him tick.

    Thank you!

  11. Sequel should be called "Drum in Drum Out"
    For aspirations all I want is to create and release a my own song.
    #drumtomorrow #gnarlybanner

  12. You should have to ask Carter if he ever woke up on a tour bus to Boyd Tinsley grabbing his ass and masturbating 🤭😂😂😂

  13. So glad you got to meet Carter and express your admiration in person!! You bring such a joy and sense of wonder to how you share your love for the drums. You were beaming throughout this interview so much that I got to see how I myself would feel talking to Carter!
    The Evolution of the WWYS fill was sooo cool to hear.
    And Drum Tomorrow is perfect!

  14. He may look like a football linebacker but he plays with such precision and technique that he’s undoubtedly one of the finest drummers working today. Also luv his carefree & positive attitude during DMB’s live shows.

  15. That box set helped me to open up my funk drumming tremendously! Ride cymbal with the left hand opening up the hi-hat for crazy patterns! Priceless nuggets from the best! Seem like a really great down to earth dude too! Thanks Carter……

  16. Carter.. Tuve la suerte de verlo tocar en vivo en Argentina. También a Anderson Paak y a Stewart Copeland son esos tipos que cuando los ves rajan la tierra, sentís que se te acelera el corazón y gritas de la emoción, por el amor a este instrumento , la batería.

  17. Wish YouTube would add a double-like button because this vid justifies it. One of the best fanboy-meets-his-idol videos I've seen.

  18. #dude GREAT interview!!! Carter is IN MY MIND IS one of THE BEST EVER as well and I hit EVERY TEXAS show and then some!!! My dad was a drummer and I had my own pearl blue set when I was a kid but while in awe of my pops, could never quite get it down myself. Later in life, Dave inspired, I picked up and taught myself guitar and now play NOTHING BUT DMB songs lol, but wish I had the drumming skills to accompany the guitar playing as well!!! So even though I’m not a drummer, I’m a YUUUGE Carter fan and would LOVE to see the band down in Mexico sometime w Dave & Tim and the #gnarlybanner that would come of that lol!!! 😉 Cheers!!!

  19. Harry asks the best damn questions, dude. I mean, how much more conversational and honest and organic can it sound? God that was a great watch. Also, can I throw my hat in the ring for the video give away by futily attempting a better name than #drumtomorrow ? – If so, how about "Claves Into Me" or "Paraddile Naga Pampa" or "Flam to Think" lol

  20. Dude, this is one of the most interesting, clever and passionate interview I have ever seen. Well done and thank you for that!!!

  21. I'm 31 and can still remember the first time as a kid hearing Carter play in DMB and I was shocked and ever since still consider him my favorite drummer

  22. DUDE!! THIS IS SO EPIC!
    I know this is a dream come true for you & I can only imagine how this made you feel!
    I've studied & adored Carter since the early 90's & you've actually blown me away with being able to pull off some of his AMAZING chops! Carter was so gracious & humble in this interview!
    Meeting him is on my bucket list too!! 😃
    Way to go DUDE!!!

  23. I aspire to get back on the drums and play. It’s been too many years. I just want to jam with a couple of friends. We don’t even have to play out at gigs. #gnarlybanner

  24. Honestly #drumtomorrow is the perfect name for a sequel to the original. If I have to come up with a name it’d be Carter Beauford 2: electric bugaloo.

  25. Carter has been my drumming idol since I was a wee lad. Under the Table & Drumming was also my holy bible. Many good memories of copying his setup, trying to wear gloves while drumming, blowing out my first laptop speakers as a kid by accidentally plugging my huge old school mixer into the tiny speakers while covering DMB (lol), and winning the HS talent show playing Grey Street. Fortunate enough to live by SPAC and go see DMB two nights every summer! #GnarlyBanner

  26. Man thank you so much for more inspiration by the great. Lol, my goal is to get a set after my last set was stolen, but until then, still got rudiments, chops, and friends houses. Thanks again dude, #gnarlybanner

  27. By far my ALL TIME FAVORITE DRUMMER 🥁 of all time. <3 if I could be half the drummer he is, then that’s all I could ask for. god bless you Carter, and all of the many, MANY licks you’ve inspired me to play. God bless you Carter!!!

  28. Wow. You're asking all the right questions man. I've been a fan of his since early 2010 the first time I was trying to get good at drumming. This video brought me back to the memories of listening to DMB on half speed to figure out his chops. I produce music more than I'm drumming on actual drums these days, but his drumming has shaped my composition for sure. This video makes me so happy. Thank you for doing this.

  29. You know, I never appreciated Carter like I do now, and after much thought it was after my dad passed that i went through his old albums and REALLY listened to them. You see I loved my dad, he was a fellow dude. But as a rebellious metal kid who happened to make it happen in jazz, I always heard my dad's music with hate and teen angst wedged in my ear. But after a lot of change and growing, i CHOOSE to listen to Dave Mathews band on long car rides just like my pops. I'm currently aspiring the linking of a group of VERY different minded people to form a band that can hopefully push limits as far as they can be pushed(while still grooving, that is). I'll spare our very random and sporadic back stories and simply say; I'll be as giddy as Harry is in this interview, if I received Carters DUDELY blessing with that #gnarlybanner

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