Clutch Drummer JP Gaster Offers Drumming Rudiment Tips
Jean-Paul Gaster provides groove-infused hard rock act Clutch with its unbreakable backbone. His chops are rooted in hard rock and jazz, and he’s consistently been one of the most original, hardest-rocking drummers since 1990. The drummer took some time to make a video with Music Radar, showing the importance of learning some rudiments for rock drumming.
In the video, Gaster went over his take on the very basic paradiddle exercise. He stressed the importance of playing through the exercises slowly in order to get an ingrained feeling for all of the notes. The drummer warms up before shows by playing slow paradiddles and throws in a “dragged” hit, where the hit lasts a bit longer than normal, rolling somewhat. He said that he practices putting a dragged hit into different places within the paradiddle. Ultimately, he believes, drummers can take this concept and work it into music.
The Clutch rhythm machine spoke more in depth about his role during an interview with Music Radar backstage at a recent show. Gaster said that with every song, he plays to support another part, be it Tim Sult’s heavy, bluesy guitar riffs, or Dan Maines’ huge rumbling bass. More often than not, though, he’s laying down asphalt for the enigmatic vocals of frontman Neil Fallon.
Fans of Clutch are often borderline-obsessive about Fallon’s lyrics, and Gaster plays to that. “The vocal is the focal point of the music for most people so my job is to support that vocal,” explained the drummer. “Depending on how Neil is delivering his lines and what kind of rhythmic and melodic delivery he has, that all goes into it.”
Gaster credits his indelible gift for groove to the gogo records he was surrounded by when he was young. “It was all around and I didn't realize it was a local sound,” said Gaster. “I loved hearing these gogo records, bands like Trouble Funk and Experience Unlimited. The groove on those records is like a damn freight train; you can't deny it.”
Clutch will head out on their U.S. tour in September. To check on tour dates and band news, visit their website.