What do you call somebody who hangs out with musicians? A drummer.
Let’s face it. Drummers aren’t popular. Okay that’s not strictly accurate, but they do face an uphill battle to garner the same attention as the rest of the band. This is not a case of self-pity, but rather me championing the rights of drummers to equal recognition of their contribution.
It is little wonder then that online media focusing chiefly on the drummer was difficult to track down. This was eventually achieved in the form of Modern Drummer magazine who featured a piece on Bryan Devendorf of American alternative band The National. Imagine my delight: the focus is not only on the drummer, but his contribution to the song writing process and importance to the success of the band!
Questions are posed to Bryan regarding his evolution as a drummer, his influences and motivations. There is a tale and philosophy behind every drum part and as it is demonstrated here, it contributes significantly towards the song, and often drives it. Guitarist Bryce Dessner said:
‘Bryan often has the hardest and earliest job in the studio, and he spends weeks and weeks getting his drum parts down. He also has to deal with the [rest of the band] constantly commenting on direction and his parts’.
This a refreshingly honest assessment and a truth that often doesn’t surface in music journalism. Bryan is also asked if he has any advice for drummers in terms of crafting the music. These are the insights which allow us all identify with the artist, and appreciate the role of the drummer. When the right questions are asked in the right format, we discover the musician is, in fact, often humble and self-critical, contrary to stereotypes that point to an inflated ego.
My lengthy search for an article validates my theory that there exists a shortage in the depth of information about not only drummers, but musicians at large. Some have said that the collaborative and free nature of music journalism may have spelled the death of the craft. Granted there are many vital stories in existence, but how many line towing interviews offering the same cliches can one take before every musician blends into the one personality? It is my aim to tell the stories of music and drumming that are rarely told and bring them to a wider audience.