SO far in this series we’ve checked out the drum beats from SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT, and FIFTY WAYS TO LEAVE YOUR LOVER. Well, continuing with the classic drum beats series, today we are looking at a super funky groove from the track Chameleon played by Harvey Mason on the 1973 Herbie Hancock Headhunters album. The track is around 15 minutes long and this drum pattern dominates a majority of that track, starting quite slowly and building as the excitement of the music develops. Watch out for some interesting phrasing in the middle of the track as well when the band all hit stabs that’ll leave you confused and out of time unless you count through it carefully.
Just like the SMELLS LIKE TEEN SPIRIT groove, it is not particularly difficult, being based on the basic 8 beat that all rock, pop, and funk drummers are familiar with. But to spice things up and give it that funky edge, Mason has included some 16th note (semiquaver) bass drum and snare notes to create a very syncopated pattern that works well with the iconic bass riff.
This beat is great fun to play, and very usable in loads of other music so take your time to learn it accurately and it’ll give you loads of pleasure when you can pull this groove out of the bag and watch the crowd unable to resist dancing.