Jeff Porcaro



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prasa > Modern Drummer, luty 1982

Modern Drummer, February 1982

Forum on the Linn drum machine

By Robyn Flans

[Artykuł zawiera również wywiady z Rogerem Linn i Jimem Keltner, które to nie są tu zawarte.]

RF: What are some of the projects on which you have used the Linn machine?

JP: I did a thing for George Benson, and then I used it on Elton John's "Nobody Wins." The reason it was used there was the fact that the whole tune is all microcomposer. There's not one acoustic instrument, except for Elton's voice. "Nobody Wins" was Steve (Porcaro) with the microcomposer, and he was the brain who ran all of these synthesizers. What I did was to program the Linn and then it was hooked up in sync to the microcomposer, with everything that Steve had programmed on it. So the day it was recorded, everything was set up in the studio, Steve hit one button, and you heard the whole tune. Now that's pretty far out.

RF: Did you use the machine on your recent Toto tracks?

JP: No, there was no need to. I personally won't use it unless it's required. I honestly know how to play drums and there are some things I won't use it for. I would have loved to have played real drums on the Elton John thing because it could have come out better on real drums, but it wasn't my gig.

RF: So basically, if you have the choice you don't choose to use it?

JP: I would never, ever choose to use it. There's nothing better than playing real drums. But that thing exists, and some of the biggest writers in the world want to use it once in a while. So I would tell cats not to ignore it; to get one and immediately learn it and know it, because the future of that is real heavy.

RF: Drummers are very curious about it now and wondering how it's going to affect them.

JP: Well, I've got this whole other thing of the future. With me, I see a future of walking into a studio with a brief case full of my own sounds--all different kinds of sounds. They will be electronically perfect. I can put them in a Linn machine, or whatever is available in the future, and play like I always play. You won't see a bunch of big drums, but if they get it to where it sounds totally real and I can get the same dynamics and everything, what's the problem? I actually played it. It's my idea and I played it. Another thing is that somebody can call me from Miami and send a sync tone over the phone lines. I will program the Linn machine with exactly what I would have played, and I'll take as much time as I want to make it exactly right. Then I'll call them back, send my sync tone back to Miami, they will load it into their machine, they will hit "go," and they'll hear exactly my ideas, and it will be in perfect time.

FR: Some might argue that it's a non-emotional approach to an instrument.

JP: Yeah, I've heard that argument. That was my argument too.

RF: How do you justify that?

JP: The song will justify that; the tune I'm doing will justify that. When a drummer programs it, it starts sounding like the drummer himself. It's his ideas that he picks to program, and then he can balance it the way he plays.

RF: Could this be viewed as being anti-drummer in any way?

JP: Sometimes, yeah. That's when musicians who are not drummers sit at home and use it and they make their demos with it, then they call you to cut a track with real drums and they're not satisfied with how perfect your time is. It bugs drummers when somebody says, "I want to use this instead of a real drummer."
Drummers shouldn't be worried about it, though. In the musical realm, this machine cannot exist independently. A guy who plays drums is needed to program it. This is why we all learned our instruments. Some people learned to play piano or guitar, and some learned how to play drums. This is just another piece of percussion--another instrument at our disposal. People shouldn't worry about it. It's just something fun and it's not like anybody's going to lose his gig.

RF: Do you own one?

JP: Oh yeah. I'm even going to buy another one. I want two of them in sync because then there's four dynamics available. The more dynamics available, the more real it is, and you can start getting the thing to feel pretty decent.

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