Gavin Harrison Clinic

2:58 waiting for clinic. They’re playing Alice Cooper.

3:01 Vic firth guy comes out and is way too excited.

3:02 GH takes the stage. He’s got a beautiful 7pc sonar in burled maple. Plays to a track that starts with loops then into a clav bass thing. He’s playing pretty straight forward groove. He’s very clean and the kick sounds sweet. Snare has a nice woody pop. He reminds me of Neal Peart in his body language. There are some percussion loops in the track that give the illusion that he is playing more instruments.

3:07 Launches into a Porcupine Tree tune, Sound of Muzak

3:12 GH takes mic
GH: I was using a rhythmic idea called rhythmic override. Even though I was playing in 7/8 I accented the quarter note (demonstrates). I can also use a dotted 8th override (demonstrates). It gives you an even pusle to grab on to.

3:16 Plays an original tune called “Unsettled.” It’s in three but the groupings make it feel more like an odd time. I’m not crazy about the vocals on the track. It’s going into a 4/4 section and we’ve been listening to so many odd groupings, now this feels off.

3:22 GH: I don’t think of myself as a double bass player, I just use it for grooves and fills. When I have a pattern, like in 5, I accent certain notes on the bass drum like 2 and 5. You can turn the single bass note into 2 or 4 notes. It happens automatically-I don’t think about the counting. I’m just thinking if the accents and it becomes like a melody. When I have a space in between the melody, I have a choice to play 1 note, 2 notes, 3 notes, 4 notes, or no notes. Like filling on ghost notes ok the snare drum. The trick is to use it sparingly. Questions?

Q: How do you get your bass to sound so punchy?
GH: First, have it half full with a huge pillow. It gives me a solid surface to play against. With nothing in it, it will sound great but as soon as you get in a venue, it gets way too boomy. I can’t do double pedaling.

Q: What pedals are you using?
GH: Axis longboard. It gives me the volume I need.

Q: Do you ever lead with the left foot on the double bass?
GH: No. Like I said I’m not a double player, so I lead with the right. (Demonstrates his “inability” to lead with the

Now I’m gonna play a Miles Davis tune called, “So What.”

3:32 Cool rendition. Almost hip-hop like. He’s playing cross stick and rapping the ghost notes with his fingertips. Nice groove and great feel! He’s a much deeper player than his prog image.

3:36 Takes the mic
GH: any more questions?

Q: How do you work out the odd meter coordination?
GH: I write it out. I have to see it written out and once I play it 20 times then I feel it.

Q: how did you learn all of the 1st Porcupine Tree stuff in 5 days?
GH: I was called in as a session drummer. When I was with the BBC we would sight read, rehearse, and record 20 tunes in on day. In the pop scene it would be much slower. When I got to Porcupine Tree, I had done my homework. I didn’t need to keep playing the tune over and over. When I got home they asked me to join the band. I had been a session drummer all my career and it was time I did the band thing.

Here’s another Porcupine Tree tune called “Anesthetize.”

3:42 Plays to track. It’s a huge tune. Pretty straight time. Crazy double kick thrash section before last chorus.

3:48 Thank yous. Plays one more piece. It’s a hiphop, funk, big band cut. Sounds almost like a Cobham tune. Wow! Gospel chops. Drum breaks with time stretching and fakie ending. Sounds like Tower of Power. I’d buy a record of that!

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