Ladies & Gentlemen, The Band:
The Band were an extremely talented group of musicians who played with Bob Dylan amongst others. Bob Dylan, and other musicians they played with, always introduced them simply as “The Band” so when they decided to strike out on their own they took “The Band” as their name.
The Weight is probably the most well known of their songs and is ranked as #41 in Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 500 songs.
This song is fairly straight forward to play & if you are doing the exam you’re given a lot of freedom to choose what to play. The initial pick-up fill is defined for you, but the rest of the fills are up to you. The groove for the most of the verse is also up to you.
The tempo of this song is fairly slow at 74 bpm. You should practice playing the groove with a metronome at that speed and even slower to work on playing confidently at that speed. Slow speeds are tough to play at securely as there is a lot of space for you to place your notes. I would suggest counting all the eighth notes as you practice. Generally the slower the tempo, the more you count; The faster the tempo, the less you count. If I’m playing at 40bpm, I’ll be counting 16th notes; at 150 bpm I’ll be counting quarters & at 300 I’m just counting beat 1 of each bar.
For the first verse I chose to repeat the 2 bar pattern from the first 2 bars of the verse for the duration of the verse. This seems to fit quite nicely, but it’s not the only option, you may want to experiment with other simple rock beats to see if you can find something that sounds good to you.
For the fill at the end of the first verse, you want to start it on beat 3 so it doesn’t overshadow the vocals. If you’re struggling for ideas, here’s a few for you. The first one is the fill I play in the video:
The chorus groove sees us playing the snare on all 4 beats with a bass drum happening on the & of 3. It’s a simple groove to play, but really helps to drive the chorus and adds a nice dynamic to the song and contrasts nicely with more laid back feel of the verse. Don’t forget to hit your snare a little harder here to get up to the forte dynamic. The chorus sees us stopping on the and of 1 of the 4th bar and letting the vocalists shine. This is where you need to count as the bar of 3/4 can make coming back in tricky. I suggest listening to the song a load of times and just counting & clapping along with it to get familiar with how it sounds in relation to the time.
The final bars see us playing a figure that’s very common… crashing on the & of 2 and then filling out the rest of the bar. I recorded myself playing this song 6 times and every time I did different fills. I would encourage you to practice it the same way. Don’t get stuck on just playing the same fill every time. Practicing with a variety of fills will help your flow on the kit and make you more responsive in real life playing situations. Here’s some fills you could try (create some of your own too!) The first two are the ones I played in the video.
This is good song to learn for practicing playing slower tempos and working on your fills. Levon Helm, the drummer and one of the singers, is considered one of the best song drummers and has a great feel, you can learn a lot from trying to emulate him so be sure to check out the original.
The 2018 version of the Trinity Grade 1 Rock & Pop book is great to work through if you’re still in the early stages of your drumming journey. 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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