Groove Of The Month – January 2017

“A Quick Death In Texas” – Clutch – 2015 – Jean-Paul Gaster – 94bpm

We’re doing something a little different this time around in that we are featuring a specific section of a song. In this case it is the bridge from Clutch’s “A Quick Death In Texas.” For this section Jean-Paul Gaster creates a more than the sum of it’s parts kind of groove. The kind of groove that feels as though it would take more than one person to play.

If you’re not familiar with Clutch, they are in the best possible way the apex in the cross of hard rock and blues. This is not a blues band that turned up the distortion or a stoner band that pulled out a slide, they blend the elements of these closely related genres to become the missing link between the two. They are the ultimate working man’s band. Gaster has a deep feel and if he weren’t such a perfect fit I would say he should be in a different band. You know how Tony Williams was the jazz guy that played like a rocker? Jean-Paul Gaster is the rocker that plays like he should be in a swampy, funky, soul band.

Groove Scribe provided by

This groove is based around the conversation between the cowbell and the bass drum. The cowbell plays all of the &’s while adding an extra hit on the 2a. The bass drum plays a son-clave pattern on the 1, 1a, 2&, 3& and 4e. The snare keeps us rooted in rock feel by hitting on the 2 and 4. The hardest part is adding the hihat which plays straight quarter notes with an opening on 1, but also plays 3e, a, as opposed to just the quarter note. All of this can be improvised upon as well.

One of the challenges is how to stick this groove. As you will see in the video, Gaster performs it by playing the cowbell and snare with the right hand, and the hihat with the left, but there are multiple ways that this could be approached. Hand in hand with that issue is just how to approach the coordination of this groove. Is it easier to take a vertical approach, looking at each count as it goes by? or a horizontal approach looking at each limb and building it that way.Any way you slice it, this groove is a good challenging doorway into creating a natural feeling polyrhythmic texture.

What would you choose for groove of the month? Leave your comments below or send us a tweet @musiciansnotes with the hashtag #gotm. You can go back and check out the previous grooves of the month with our spotify playlist embedded below. Please be sure to like, comment, and subscribe, all that stuff. Let’s hit it.

Groove of the month is a monthly column dedicated to drumset beats that generally do not fall into my standard teaching patterns. They tend to be interesting beats that function on a few different levels, that way the beat can be used with many different students for many different reasons

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Jeremy Otto wears many hats. He is a music educator, composer, performer, recording engineer, and hack writer. He holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. When he's not teaching you can find him doing any of the other aforementioned activities.