“I like what you’re playing, just play less.”

I play drums for a great band called Sarah White and the Pearls.  I have been a fan of Sarah for a long time and I am really happy to be a part of her band.  I am filling the shoes of the great Steve Ingham, who would still be her drummer if he hadn’t moved to Verona, Italy.  He is a great artist.  Check him out here: http://www.steveingham.com  He was the perfect drummer for Sarah.  He played a bass drum and a snare drum, and he sang great back-up vocals.  I find Sarah’s music a challenge and deeply moving.

Steve provided such skeletal and muscular support with his bare-bones drumming.   It was perfect for her music, letting the subtleties of her words and guitar playing shimmer above everything.  I love playing the drums–I like the bombastic volume and flurry of whacked-out notes.  And I like cymbals.  I used to have a lot of cymbals.  Some might say too many.  Now I only use two.  Sarah thinks that’s two too many.  Which has become a kind of joke between us.  But she has a point.

Cymbals are loud and can be distracting.  I have learned a lot from Sarah and Steve about being sparse.  Sarah really likes to work a song until she feels it is “totally perfect.”  The other night, after playing a song, “That was perfect.  Let’s do it again so we can work on totally perfect.”  Now, I’m no perfectionist (just ask my wife), but I appreciate the effort.  The more we parse these songs, the better they sound.  One of my favorite sentences that came out of Sarah’s mouth was, “I love what you’re playing, just play less.”

How am I going to tie this to food?  Who knows?  The one thing I can think of is salt.  As my mother says, “You can always add more, but it’s hard to take it out.”  So, play well.  Cook well.  Use salt.  Use cymbals.  And remember, I like what you’re playing, just play less.

One Response to ““I like what you’re playing, just play less.””

  1. keith Says:

    “You can always add more [salt], but it’s hard to take it out.”

    interesting reading. i’m a fan of sarah’s too. and, yep, one of my hobbies is soup making. amazing what you can learn about making music by studying soup-making. no joke. the same principles at play with soupery apply to songwriting, playing with a band, and producing a record.

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