“Count me in” on the Netflix review
What do you call a guy who likes to hang out with musicians? A drummer. How do you know the drum riser is level? Because drool comes out from both sides of the drummer’s mouth. What is the difference between a pig and a beater? I’ll spare you the punchline in the name of decency. These are just a few of the often cruel jokes musicians tell each other and trust me, they exist for all instruments (my favorite; what do you throw at a drowning guitarist? ). If singers are laughed at for being prima donnas and guitarists are trolled for their inability to do anything but play guitar, drummers are dismissed as thoughtless morons whose only skill is to hit things. Nothing could in fact be further from the truth. The art of drumming requires coordination, physical strength, and the ability to effectively solve mathematical problems in the middle of a song – counting bars, keeping time and changing tempo – while applying esoteric musical values. like the swing and the feeling.
The new Netflix documentary Count on me is a love letter from drummers on drums. In fact, âI love playing drums,â are the first words we hear in the movie, courtesy of Jane’s Addiction percussionist Stephen Perkins. “It’s punctuating life,” he adds, showing a gift for language and insight at odds with the reputation of his chosen instruments as the province of mute jocks. Directed by veteran music supervisor Mark Lo, the film is an impressionistic rumination about the life behind the Trap Kit, told by some of rock’s most notable.
Every song you’ve heard started with a count. This is where the film got its name. As we meet the various musicians featured in the Count on me, we learn their beginnings. For Perkins, it was seeing legendary jazzman Gene Krupa on television that made him want to become a drummer. For Nicko McBrain of Iron Maiden, it was about seeing Joe Morello with The Dave Brubek Quartet. Tommy Lee spinning upside down in MÃ¶tley CrÃ¼e’s âWild Sideâ video inspired Samantha Maloney to pick up the chopsticks. She would replace him decades later. The Surfaris ‘”Wipe Out” surfing instrument left a permanent impression on Queen’s Roger Taylor, who in turn would influence Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins. The aspiring percussionists beat mom’s pots and pans and dad’s hockey gear before receiving their first proper drum kits.
The drummers of Count on me come from diverse backgrounds, although the emphasis is on rock drums, their history and most notable players. The Beatles’ appearance on Ed Sullivan inspired a generation of musicians, and Ringo Starr, sitting center stage on a raised drum lifter, was not only a backing musician, but a fully integrated member of the group. The recently deceased Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts is famous for his groove. Keith Moon of Who and Ginger Baker of Cream are recognized for raising the bar and innovating. âEvery American drummer in 1975 wanted to be like John Bonham because he was the best,â Hawkins says of famous percussionist Led Zeppelin and he’s not the only one to bow to his throne. Some of the drummers named are actually interviewed in the movie and it’s fun to hear them honored one minute and talk about their favorite drummers the next.
Yes Count on me focuses on rock, it also pays homage to the jazz drummers who inspired so many. The influence of reggae, meanwhile, came in the punk era and left its mark on the music of The Clash and The Police. Drum machines are discussed and while they’re not exactly naughty, they don’t come out unscathed. “The human element of feeling has been removed,” says former Lenny Kravitz drummer Cindy Blackman Santana. âI like the human element, because I am a human being.
Impressive, Count on me includes almost as many women as men. For decades rock music has been dominated by male musicians, but this started to change in the 1990s. Musicians like Blackman and Maloney have shown that women can hit as hard and play as well as any. man. Along with young musicians Emily Dolan Davies and Jess Bowen, they talk about the sexism they face from drunken fans and condescending stage technicians. For Maloney, playing the drums was a form of liberation from what she describes as a difficult childhood. âGuys take a guitar to get laid, but girls play drums because they want to,â she says.
While Count on me is made for, on and by drummers, you don’t have to be the type to enjoy it. The discussion never gets bogged down in details only a drummer would understand and a love of music, not just drums, is at the heart of the discussion. The film ends with a drum-off between Perkins, Blackman-Santana, Bowen and Red Hot Chili Pepper Chad Smith. If it’s not better than any other drum solo you’ve ever heard, it’s definitely no worse and shows the drummers playing against each other, showing off their skills, and then setting a beat for that. the next one resumes. It’s fun to watch, which is in keeping with the movie and its subject. As Smith says, âplaying the drums is funâ.
Benjamin H. Smith is a New York-based writer, producer and musician. Follow him on Twitter:@BHsmithNYC.
Flux Count on me on Netflix