Want to learn how to play rock drums? Listen to Aerosmith with Joey Kramer on drums, it’s that simple! Joey always provides the perfect driving rock feel for every Aerosmith song. His feel is so integral to the band that when he left the band, they found they couldn’t continue without him; no other drummer felt right, they had to beg him to come back! Here’s my attempt at emulating Joey on Trinity Rock & Pop’s version of Sweet Emotion.
Two drummers really influenced my use of the open hi-hat; one was Tico Torres from Bon Jovi and the other was Joey Kramer from Aerosmith. The groove on the verses of this song (0:25), with the open hi-hat on the “&” of 3 and then “&” of 4 is one of my favourite grooves to play. The challenge is trying to get a consistent open hi-hat sound and closing it perfectly on beats 4 & 1 every time. You may want to just practice that hi-hat part on its own for while before adding in the other limbs.
The guitar riff after every verse (0:43) with the driving snare on beats 2, 3 & 4 is a little unusual & will require practice. The use of the bell of the ride cymbal for this groove provides a great colour and really helps to distinguish this section. I elected to hit the crash on beat 1 with my left hand to allow my right hand to stay on the bell of the cymbal; the bell isn’t a huge target and is easy to miss so I find it’s easier just to leave my hand in place once it’s there. Make sure your crashes at the end of this section line up with the guitar.
The guitar solo features a 2 handed 16th note groove with 4 e & ah being played on the snare every bar. The 16th notes on the hi-hat & snare must be evenly played with an aggressive driving feel.
The ending of this song (2:42) is similar to how the band end it in live performances. Playing live, Joey accents the same rhythm as the guitar before playing his big ending licks. To accent with the guitar you could play something like this.
On my video I decided to keep it simple and just play the basic groove with crashes on beats 1, 3, and 1 of the two bar pattern. If I was performing with a band, I would accent it the same way as Joey before going on to my big ending show off lick.
With this song you are asked to fill around the kit for the big ending. On the Trinity rock & pop version of the song with the metronome on it, the metronome drops out at this point. However if you continue counting you’ll notice you actually have 9 1/4 note beats to play with here (two 4/4 bars + 1 beat). For this big ending I elected to crash on beat 1 and then start a 16th note triplet lick on beat 2. Here’s what it looks like:
I use “ti-ta” for counting 16th note triplets, so the counting for this lick is:
1 2 ti-ta & ti-ta 3 ti-ta & ti-ta 4 ti-ta & ti-ta 1 ti-ta & ti-ta 2 ti-ta & ti-ta 3 ti-ta & ti-ta 4 & 1.
Note that this lick is performed more by feel; I notice in my execution of it in the video that I’m a little late starting the 16th note triplets on beat 2 and I tend to ritard over the last three notes (4 & 1) and hit the last crash as the guitar dies out.
I used 16th note triplets between the hands and bass drum for this ending as it’s a fairly standard song ending lick & you should learn how to do it at some point. However, if you’re taking the exam & don’t have time to master it, you can try some 16th note alternatives like these:
This is great song to learn to play; it’s a lot of fun and really allows you to rock out & it’s always good to practice those big endings. In addition, the timing challenges presented by the song in the unison figures and also the big space between the last verse and the guitar solo will help to solidify your time feel if you work on them. Your open hi-hats will also benefit greatly from working on the verse groove.
The 2018 version of the Trinity Grade 3 Rock & Pop book is great to work through if you’re around 18 months to 2 years into your drumming career. You don’t have to take the exam to benefit from the book. The songs are great to work on & fun to play and will help to improve your drumming. In Singapore you can find the book at Robert Piano – Paragon Shopping Centre (and probably their other outlets). It’s also available from Amazon if you’re happy to pay the shipping!
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