I just finished an article for the June issue of Guitar Player magazine about drummers. Since I am limited to around 600 words I felt the need to expound on the subject a bit more and relate it to a recent personal experience. As some of you may know, I’m currently working on a new CD for release later this year, Mustang Run. Instead of using a rhythm section (i.e. the CVB) for all 10 tracks, I decided to use a different rhythm section for every two songs.
This has proven to be a very enjoyable and musical decision because each drummer and bass player combination has brought out different musical sides of my own playing and the choices were specific to the songs. For a loose, 6/8 jazzy piece I used Chad Wackerman and Jimmy Johnson. Their playing on Allan Holdsworth’s CDs comes to mind and inspired a very open feel during the solos. They also played on an acoustic ballad of mine that goes electric, and since the two of them have been James Taylor’s rhythm section for most of last year it turned out to be very appropriate.
Gregg Bissonette and Dave Marotta played on two more songs, and Gregg’s high energy shuffle against Dave’s solid foundation seem to jump out of the speakers. Gregg has a shuffle like nobody else. It’s relentless whether it’s just warming up or full tilt boogie! Bernie Dresel on drums and Stu Hamm on bass is another powerful combination I used and their tracks are stellar. Bernie played on the Rumor Mill and Take One Step albums we did a while back and during subsequent CVB tours we attained a telepathic on-stage communication that exists in these new recordings, too. Stu, Bernie and I did a live show recently where we jammed in many styles, so I knew I HAD to capture that magic somewhere on the new record.
Walfredo Reyes, Jr. and Dave Marotta have been CVB members for the last five years, and since Trading 8s was released we’ve logged many hours on stage (and in the tour bus). There is a magic that happens in that rhythm section too, that is undeniably infectious. Nobody plays like Wally; his spirit comes though in every bar. If you listen to track one (“Highway 27”) on Trading 8s that we recorded with Joe Bonamassa, you hear a unique approach to the chorus that I guarantee nobody else would have thought of!
The last rhythm section I used was two guys that had never even met, but that I knew would compliment each other perfectly. Cliff Hugo, my partner in Supertramp and the bass player in the CVB for 10 years, was rock solid with Simon Phillips on drums. I’d seen Simon play with The Who a few years back and knew that his intense, groovular propulsion would drive the rocking, fusion-style tune I had recently written.
The entire project has been fun, inspiring and eye-opening. I learned a lot about my own playing and how it swings and locks in with the heartbeat and groove of all these great players. I’m lucky to be able to play with some of the finest drummers and bassists on the planet. Next time I’ll talk about the soloists and keyboard players….but that’s another story!
©2013 Carl Verheyen. All Rights Reserved.