Writing Junk

Posted on June 6, 2024

I’m closing in on the four–year anniversary of my blog; a typical college stint of writing work! With this article, I’ve shared 165 posts, and I think it’s time for a little introspection.

At least once a week, I’ll pick a random article of mine and reread it, changing whatever I don’t like. It’s one of the things that’s great about running a blog: nothing is set in stone so I can improve things as I want. That being said, sometimes I come across a piece of mine and realize that I’ve written a bit of a train wreck that could only be improved by blowing the whole thing up, which I generally don’t want to do without rewriting the article as a new post.

So then, let’s look at some parts of my work that I’m not too happy about.

The Nick Mason Fill Recipe

I think this one was probably the biggest waste of time yet.

I wanted to produce some sort of lover letter to Pink Floyd while also staying in my wheelhouse. But pursuing a good chunk of Pink Floyd’s discography for examples of Nick Mason playing the same fill over and over again was not necessary.

Pink Floyd was kind of a turning point for me since I started to enjoy music less for pure drumming (like with the Who and Zeppelin) and more for pure songwriting and lyricism. That’s not to imply that those earlier bands are lacking in those regards, but the drumming was what pulled me in.

Nick Mason is a fine drummer, but his playing has never truly left a strong impact on me. I was really grasping at straws trying to come up with some drum sheet music for him. I don’t think there are any Pink Floyd songs with drum parts that need a transcription for full understanding.

“Lycanthrope” Drum Transcription

When I rediscovered +44’s one and only album early in college, I’m not sure what motivated me to pick apart the opening track. It’s a fun song, but again, is sheet music really needed for proper comprehension?

Perhaps my standards for what deserves a transcription have risen over the years. Since I had the sheet music, I figured I might as well share it with the world.

Still, it’s an odd reflection that I haven’t yet talked about guys like Elvin Jones (a glaring omission), but at least I have track 1 off of +44’s first and last LP When Your Heart Stops Beating.

While we’re at it, maybe reread this section, but replace “Lycanthrope” with “Like Eating Glass”.

“Horizon” Drum Transcription

Ryo Fukui’s song “Horizon” is one of my biggest disasters. I remember the horror I felt when I discovered that, after a few hours of work, the timekeeping of the drum solo was a mess that was not getting any better, and that I could barely make out the kit.

My transcription of Ryo’s other song “Early Summer” was one of the first things I shared that actually got some traction online, so I put another Fukui drum solo on my to–do list. As I said in my “Horizon” article, I got myself into a bit of a sunk–cost situation, and so I tried to salvage some of the score to have something to share. But the transcription isn’t very good, and the whole thing was a waste of time.

Higher Sample Rates

I’ve actually taken this off the blog. This one actually started to gain some traction, and after rereading it, I decided I didn’t like it at all.

Most of that post involved regurgitating what other people around the internet have said regarding digital audio, which can be helpful, but I was worried that I came across as that guy who reads a couple of articles and fancies himself some sort of expert.

The guy I referenced the most, Monty Montgomery, is a real engineer (and ostensibly a polymath), so if he can’t convince someone as to the niche utility of a higher sample rate, then certainly some random drummer can’t.

The Four Kinds of Band Names

So… I’m mostly okay with this one. I wrote it mainly in jest, especially because of my own history of being in a band that could decide what to call itself.

This one has gotten some traction, and whenever I write something that unexpectedly becomes somewhat popular, I find myself thinking, hmm… should people really be reading this?

When you write a listicle, the natural response is for people to think about what’s missing, or perhaps that it’s a faulty premise outright. Do I sincerely think all band names fit into one of five categories? Yeah, generally.

Bottom Snare Mic

This is another article that’s mainly a personal reflection — in this case, the woes of being my own audio engineer. And naturally, it ranks pretty highly when you Google “bottom snare mic.” *

No, a bottom snare mic is not a waste of time. Any pro recording team should have the inputs to spare; the mic couldn’t be more out of the way; and everyone uses an SM57, a cheap mic that’s always to be found. If you don’t like the bottom snare track, just mute it.

Now, if you’re simultaneously broke and trying to put a home recording studio together, bottom snare mics are… negotiable. If you’re not getting enough snare wire sound, you can always tighten the wires. As far as miking a drum twice goes, two mics on the kick (a dynamic and condenser) should probably be a bigger priority.

Maybe someday I’ll talk about three mics on the snare…

First Drum Book

This one was a frustrating one to write, because the early history of the drum set is not well documented, and I’m not sure I found the right answer as to what the first drum set book ever published was.

I’ve been meaning to write a follow–up to this one; I want to reach out to whoever runs the Vintage Drum Book Instagram account. They seem to have better access and knowledge of old drum books than anyone else.

So… there you go. As far as writing careers go, four years isn’t much. I’m still learning, not just how to write, but also how to find topics that are worth discussing, either objectively or just based on my know–how. Anyway, happy D–Day everyone.

* I’m sure we all know how much of a mess Google is right now, and I love how the algorithm seems to favor the articles I’m the least proud of. I’ve had to deal with posts I think very highly of getting outright yanked from search results. It’s a never–ending struggle.

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