Drum Groove: “Vietnow” — Brad Wilk with Rage Against the Machine

Posted on June 26, 2022

I know that the purpose of this blog isn’t to comment on world events, and I had something else ready to share today… but I guess I need to react somehow.

There’s actually nothing more to say really, so this is little more than lip service. I just don’t want to come across as too tuned out from the world.

Unsurprisingly, I’ve been listening to a lot of Rage Against the Machine since Friday. I’ve realized that Rage is a perfect candidate for a Know Your Tempos Post, but I didn’t have enough time to clock the BPM of all the songs. I’ll guess I’ll save it for the next (seemingly inexorable) day the supreme court decides to violently defecate on the Constitution and the American people.

For today, here’s a quick look at a groove from “Vietnow”. In the words of Genius.com, “the song bashes right–wing Americans, which is what RATM are best at”. This groove shows up in the beginning and during the chorus, as well as a short bridge.

I like this one mainly because of the hi–hat bark thing on beat 4 in the second measure. This is sort of what I like to call a “filled groove”, where you take a fill and use it to keep time. I supposed it’s not totally necessary to write this one out, but maybe seeing it on paper will help someone make sense of it, and I think I’ve captured the gist of it.

The intro of the track has an interesting lope. The guitar riff that kicks off the song starts on beat 3, and there’s an unusual break in the middle of two measures that happens right before the full band comes in. It goes a little something like this:

The vocals actually come in on beat 2 of that third measure, so it sounds like the vocals are out of sync with the rest of the band until the first verse starts and you get a better idea of where the one is (thanks to the simpler drums). Fun stuff.

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“Vietnow” on Songwhip.


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