Drum Groove: “Take Me Back” — Benjamin Waterson with Saint Vrain

Posted on December 11, 2022

I know what you’re thinking: yeesh… this guy really must be running out of things to talk about if he’s dissecting his own playing!

Well, after writing a eulogy last week for my band Saint Vrain, I guess I want my drumming to have something of a legacy since the group will never amount to more than a misfire. Maybe it’s a little bit weird to analyze me, but you know what? I’m damn proud of the grooves I came up with for this song, so I’m giving myself something to celebrate. 

The tune (from our singular release Natural Born Killer) is built around the ubiquitous tresillo rhythm. I don’t remember exactly how I came up with the pattern for the verse, but I think I was trying to spice up the groove since it’s such a familiar rhythm. I do recall trying to work some simple fills into the groove, eventually settling on a five stroke roll, and a cool little drag thing (I honestly think it’s best to think of it as a lesson 25). 

For the chorus (notated on the second line), I have better memory — I had grown keen on throwing in hi–hat notes while focusing on the ride after meeting another drummer in college who liked to use that move to beef up his grooves. It’s hard to believe that I wrote this drum part back in school…

The sticking is the “rock paradiddle” (RLRR LRRL), but the secret sauce here is a left–hand flam on the first diddle. 

Here’s some more secret sauce that’s a bit tough to notate: I’m keeping the balls of my left foot on the hi–hat pedal while stomping out 8th notes using my heel. The effect is a subtle bark on the hi–hat notes. 

It’s not as challenging to play as it may seem on the sheet music. While I have it written as a two–bar groove, I end every two–measure phrase with a fill, so I’ve used slashes. 

Honestly, I fully intended to pick apart some of my recorded playing with this band, especially the unreleased song “Wish I Saw You”, which features a drum solo. I think that’s what kills me the most; we have some genuinely interesting and fun music that will never see the light of day, neither in concert nor on a release. Oh well. At least I got some material out of this whole ordeal. 

Download PDF

“Take Me Back” on Songwhip.