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Vinnie Paul: 5 drum tips for groove playing

Pantera founder and Hellyeah dynamo on feeling the flow

Vinnie Paul co-founded metal legends Pantera with his brother, Dimebag Darrell. Amongst other things, he now plays with Metal supergroup Hellyeah. He knows what he's talking about, so listen up.

1. Listen to Bonham

"Playing along with badass records is how I developed my groove. John Bonham always had the best groove ever, and he had the best feel. Phil Rudd is another amazing groove drummer – he just laid it down and made it simple.

"I'm a rock drummer. I couldn't sit down and pretend to be a jazz drummer. You should listen to the people that you like and that do something for you."

2. Lock in

"I don't ever have any bass in my monitors at all; I instead like to lock in with the guitar.

"I know the bass player has got to be locked in with the drummer, but to me, metal music is about the guitar and drums locking in and operating like a machine together.

"I played with my brother forever, and we were magically locked in together."

I played with my brother forever, and we were magically locked in together

3. Develop your internal clock

"You have a natural groove inside of you, but the more you practise, the more comfortable you will be with your instrument.

"A lot of people have issues speeding up and slowing down. If you play with a metronome, you can sort that out. But bands that play with click tracks live never develop that dangerous element.

"It can be perfect and right on the money all the time, but then a band like Van Halen have Alex Van Halen, who might by the end of a song be doing 10 beats a minute faster than at the start – but it's amazing."

4. Don't be rigid

"There can be little fluctuations, but that is what it is all about. Your heart doesn't beat the same every day. Music should flow.

"Nobody wants everything to be sterile and and to sound like a click track. Sometimes there is too much emphasis put on perfection."

5. Don't overdo it

"A lot of young drummers have a tendency to really overplay. Sometimes simple is better, and the notes that aren't played between the spaces are bigger than the notes that are.

"You've got to be really tasty. It's all about the groove of the song. I like a drummer to shine when it's their turn to shine.

"But most of the time it's about the singer and the melody... and we're carrying the whole thing along."


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