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.
May 17, 2009 @ 12:03:42
Am I the only one around here that knows anything about drumming history?
May 17, 2009 @ 22:13:51
I did do some research for the review, plus I feel the reader should know if I have prior knowledge of the drummer in question or not… that way they know that my review was my first introduction to the drummer.
That being said I realize I suck and fail at drummer history and should be put in the stocks for a month.
Go on, let me have it.
May 18, 2009 @ 07:32:28
No, no. I’m just saying Drummer Talk as a whole seems to lack a bit in accurate drumming/musical history. It’s one of the weaknesses of the podcast and site. Just an observation.
May 18, 2009 @ 10:50:28
Drummer Talk – both the site and podcast – is about just that: drummers talking. Dave ( and Carter etc.) don’t claim to the authorities or experts. It’s about opinion and dialog (or dialogue as we write over here). That’s its appeal for me. When I want straight up facts, I read an encyclopedia. It’s right and proper that JABB qualifies his reviews where appropriate but his reviews are about his opinion as a watcher, not as an ‘expert witness’. We can agree or disagree but he, like you, Terry, and me, is entitled to express his opinion without fear or favor (or favour as we write over hear. Sorry, I won’t keep doing that!).
Keep them coming, JABB!
May 18, 2009 @ 20:07:33
I thought it was cool.
Not every drum vid needs to compete with Steve Smith’s Drumset Technique/History of the U.S. Beat.
I felt like Mr Layton was sharing honestly and intimately, the unique quality that makes him who he is as a musician. Thats gutsy, brave and a lesson in itself.
May 29, 2009 @ 18:13:39
I got this DVD from Netflix and found it worthwhile. Not the most comprehensive instructional video, but it contained good information on a somewhat neglected style of drumming. That being said, I’m glad I didn’t pay $20 for it. However, the disk from Netflix didn’t come with the booklet, so the value was less than if it was actually purchased. Mr. Layton seemed sincere in his effort to communicate a style and philosophy that would be useful to the drumming community.
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