DVD Review – Chris Layton: Double Trouble Drums

     Maybe I’m all alone in this but before I picked up this DVD I had no idea who Chris Layton was. Maybe that’s a forgivable offense but I also didn’t know who Stevie Ray Vaughan was either. So if you do know who Stevie Ray Vaughan was then placing Chris Layton in your mind will be easy. He was Stevie’s drummer in Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Double Trouble band, making him either the double or the trouble. I’m not sure which.

     From what I can tell this Video is designed to give the viewer some of the tools he used during his tenure with SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan) & the DTB (Double Trouble Band). The thing is… if he was successful then he didn’t do much in the band. Now I’m not knocking him as a musician, I’m saying that as a teacher he’s quite a minimalist. This is an hour long DVD and there is a grand total of 18 instructional examples in the whole thing. In most other DVDs of the same length they managed to get in more than two or three times the amount of teaching he did in this DVD. The other thing is that the teaching he did do wasn’t that enlightening. It was very simple stuff that most people could master with very little effort. If you’re going to teach complex stuff it’s ok to cut back on the number of subjects you cover. But if what you’re covering is basic and easily grasped… you better put in a LOT more then just 18 instructional examples.


     Content-wise it’s really really diluted. He mostly talks about a few different ways to shuffle, and places to accent the beat. He even does a cool shuffle/march thing that’s all on the snare drum but then it’s pretty much over. He does a gear talk that doubles as a “this is how you can get your kit to sound like mine” tutorial, and he jams with video producer Arlen Roth and his buddy Tommy Shannon (the other half of double trouble.)

     In terms of presentation it comes off as very unplanned and almost like instruction wasn’t the goal. It honestly felt more like a SRV tribute then an instructional video. The only times Chris showed any real passion was when he was talking about SRV. The rest of the time he’s kinda meandering through something that resembles a drum lesson but he seems totally out of place. There were a bunch of musical performances but honestly all they did was to cover for the fact that Chris had very little to say. This says more about the director and producer of the films then it does Chris because I’m sure he had more to teach then this. It’s their job to give him direction and coax the knowledge from him… they failed

     For extras they have slow motion exercises, artist biography, selected discography, and suggested listening. That isn’t horrible when you consider the age of this thing but it’s nothing special.

     All in all this one is skippable. I wouldn’t bother, you’ll learn a lot more by listening to some SRV records.
As you can tell my no-mic scoring experiment is still in effect so tell me what you think about that in the comments section.

Later Days

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