Happy Birthday Carlos Vega

Happy Birthday Carlos Vega

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite drummers, Carlos Vega.  So I thought I would repost this piece in his honor.

I wanted to write about Carlos Vega.

Carlos Vega is a session drummer I would put right up there with Steve Gadd and Jim Keltner.

My first encounter with the name Carlos Vega was when I was reviewing the credits on James Taylor’s album “Hourglass”.

“Hour Glass” was suggested to me by my friend.  He wanted me to listen to the inner workings of the bass and drums.  We thought it was Lee Sklar and Russ Kunkel.  So I was surprised when I checked the credits online (You can’t sit and read the cover and liner notes like in the old days.) and saw the names Carlos Vega on drums and Jimmy Johnson on bass.

At the time I wasn’t real familiar with either of them.  But over the past few years I have learned more and more about them and their work both separate and together.

The album “Hourglass” is a great album and the playing of Carlos Vega and Jimmy Johnson is great.

So after listening to this album over and over I started to see Carlos Vega’s name popping up on credits all over the place.  I started to seek out albums that he appeared on such as Michael Landau’s Tales from the Bulge and more James Taylor albums.  I found his name on the hit single “From A Distance” by Bette Midler.

The more I listened to him play the more I wanted to try to find out about him as a person. Continue reading

How To Make Music Boring

How To Make Music Boring

My grandson brought to our attention that he had done a report for school but didn’t get a very good grade on the report.   The teacher had pointed out where he scored poorly and the weak points of the report.  But the teacher was giving him the opportunity to rewrite the report and improve his grade.

Now this was very surprising to all of us since he has always done very well in school.  From kindergarten up to this year he has never had a bad test score or report card.

What was even more surprising to me was this report was on the snare drum. Continue reading

Carlos Vega

Carlos Vega

I wanted to write about Carlos Vega.

Carlos Vega is a session drummer I would put right up there with Steve Gadd and Jim Keltner.

My first encounter with the name Carlos Vega was when I was reviewing the credits on James Taylor’s album “Hourglass”.

“Hour Glass” was suggested to me by my friend Barney Lee.  He wanted me to listen to the inner workings of the bass and drums.  We thought it was Lee Sklar and Russ Kunkel.  So I was surprised when I checked the credits online (You can’t sit and read the cover and liner notes like in the old days.) and saw the names Carlos Vega on drums and Jimmy Johnson on bass.

At the time I wasn’t real familiar with either of them.  But over the past few years I have learned more and more about them and their work both separate and together.

The album “Hourglass” is a great album and the playing of Carlos Vega and Jimmy Johnson is great.

So after listening to this album over and over I started to see Carlos Vega’s name popping up on credits all over the place.  I started to seek out albums that he appeared on such as Michael Landau’s Tales from the Bulge and more James Taylor albums.  I found his name on the hit single “From A Distance” by Bette Midler.

The more I listened to him play the more I wanted to try to find out about him as a person. Continue reading

You Need New Head

You Need New Head

This is just a quick piece on home recording, but I guess it really covers anywhere you’re recording drums.  This is something that I was aware of and through doing reinforced my belief.

I watched a video on Lyndia.com (a site I recommend if you want to improve yourself and your skills). The video was on recording drums.

They talked about the basics such as mic placement, tuning, etc. The person they were interviewing was a prominent drum tech from Los Angeles.  He comes into the studio with just about any type of drum kit you can imagine.  He not only rents the kit of your choice for the session but he sets it up and tweaks it so it’s just right.

One of the subjects he discussed  was drum heads and that at a minimum, every day at the start of every session he installs brand new heads on all the drums. Continue reading

If It’s Not Serving, It Needs To Go

If It’s Not Serving, It Needs To Go

Here’s another recording lesson I learned or maybe it’s more like an affirmation of something I already knew.

I was writing a song based on a really cool drumbeat that I like to play.   As I am coming up with the bass lines and other rhythm parts this drumbeat is going through my head.  I’m thinking this will sound cool.

I lay down the bass, and keyboard parts.  I get the arrangement down and now I’m really excited to give this a try with my cool drumbeat.  I go to my electronic kit to start rehearsing and learning the drum parts. Continue reading

Habits, They Define Who You Are

Habits, They Define Who You Are

Habits, they define who you are.

The older I get the more I believe in that statement.

I think about it during my morning rituals. I have a very set way of doing things each morning, even to the point of how I lay out my toiletries.

My deodorant always goes on my left and my razor, toothbrush and dental floss are laid out in that order to my right with the mouthwash behind them.  They are laid out in the order in which they are used.

Twelve strokes with the deodorant as the water is filling the basin, then I reach for two Q-tips and clean my ears just as the water in the basin is at the proper level for shaving.  Then it’s shave, brush my teeth, floss and mouthwash.  And while I’m swishing the mouthwash around in my mouth I clean the mirror and the sink.  Finally I comb out my beard.

It’s quite the routine. Continue reading

I Practice, Practice, Practice

I Practice, Practice, Practice

It’s been a while since I wrote a piece about my endeavors in home recording.

I’ve been turning out a new song idea about every two weeks, sometimes a little more frequently.

I’d could turn out more songs but I am limited by the constraints of time and other responsibilities.

I work eight hours a day, five days a week.  I have a family and a house to take care of and I am practicing every day.

Over the past 10 months of exploring, learning and doing home recording I have established my days to work on song writing and recording.

Usually I write on Saturday nights between 10:00 PM and 1:00 AM.  That’s when I have a long enough stretch of uninterrupted time to work with all the ideas I have made notes about during the week.

If I am lucky I get the song’s basic tracks and arrangement laid down. Continue reading