Jan 252012

In a recent New Yorker music review of Dangermau5, Sasha Frere-Jones references a music production style that I wasn’t aware of:

The core and tempo of the music are provided by the kick drums and snare drums of disco, often without the high hat. Some producers call it the “Kate Bush” beat: kate (kick) bush (snare), kate (kick) bush (snare).

A drum style named after that English chanteuse? Are there other drum beats or production effects out there that are named after other musicians? Is there an Ig (floor tom) gy (floor tom) Pop (crash)? What would a “Paul Weller” sound like?

I’m just curious and hope that those of you in the know can help us out.


  25 Responses to “The Kick (drum) Inside”

  1. I take it Brother-Jones didn’t cite a particular producer who calls a beat that? This sounds like something Kanye West would cook up to impress critics – or something one of us would cook up as a goofball RTH Glossary entry. I can imagine a certain Kate Bush/Peter Gabriel style of drum beat when I read this. I guess that’s the beat being referred to.

    To your question, the Bo Diddley beat immediately comes to mind. That can’t be the only beat/production technique named after a musician. There is Fripp’s self-dubbed Frippertronics, but I don’t know if it’s possible to use that technique if you’re not Fripp.

  2. bostonhistorian

    All I can think of now is a montage scene in a movie about a plucky kid trying to learn drums to save his family farm and his teacher keeps yelling “Kate! Bush! Kate! Bush” over and over as the kid breaks down in tears because what he really wants to play is a Max Weinberg.

  3. I think I’ve mentioned this here before, but Big Boi from Outkast is a massive, massive Kate Bush fan. She’s his all-time favorite singer. No kidding.

    Mod: English pop star KT Tunstall (“Suddenly I See,” “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree, etc.) uses the Frippertronics technique both in the studio and live to build her songs, as does Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards. I think they’ve both acknowledged Fripp as the creator of the technique, in fact.

  4. tonyola

    I wonder if I’ve ever heard a “Darby Crash”? Also, I’ve heard people refer to a gated-reverb drum sound as the “Phil Collins” referring to the sound he used on “In the Air Tonight”.

  5. ladymisskirroyale

    You mean the “shave-and-a-haircut-two-bits” beat?

  6. ladymisskirroyale

    Maybe the film takes place in the Australian outback with young Katherine as our plucky heroine.

  7. Good to hear that Frippertronics is used by others and credited as such. I did not know that.

  8. Yes, that Phil Collins drum sound is a good example that probably fits what ladymiss is seeking. Recording people also refer to it by the engineer’s name, Hugh Padgham, right?

  9. A drummer friend of mine does refer to the distinctive outro fills by studio legend Hal Blaine by his name: “Hal Blaine outro fills.” The two of us know what we’re talking about, but I don’t know if this is a standard term.

  10. tonyola

    Just about anyone who plays country or honky-tonk piano knows what a “Floyd Cramer” slip-note lick is.

  11. An unexpected example of such: Norah Jones’ solo in “Don’t Know Why.”

  12. Isn’t there a stock Motown drum fill/intro that goes Bop Ba-da-da bop? (ie the intro to Dancing in the Street)

  13. And Ain’t Too Proud To Beg

  14. alexmagic

    The “WOO! YEAH!” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woo!_Yeah!) should be named the James Brown Break, but I guess whoever got around to formally writing it up just assumed everyone would know it was JB.

  15. I’ve never heard that drum beat called a Kate Bush before, but I’ll give my theory on it. It doesn’t mean KB uses that particular beat often. It’s just that when you say her name, you always have to put the accent on the first syllable, so her name is a perfect two beat name (used on polkas and fast country songs): KATE-bush, KATE-bush, KATE-bush.

    Similar to that, I heard the 3 major R&R beats explained by 3 different food names. If you say the words with the correct accents, you are capturing what the beat sounds like.

    Two beat: AP-ple, AP-ple, AP-ple

    3/4 Waltz: BLUE-ber-ry, BLUE-ber-ry, BLUE-ber-ry

    4/4 Rock beat: BAKE po-ta-to, BAKE po-ta-to, BAKE po-ta-to

    Kate just has a good 2 syllable name with the accent on KATE where saying it a lot sounds like a 2 beat.

    Dan Quayle, don’t pince nez me on potatoe.

  16. shawnkilroy

    Pea Soup Pea Soup Pea Soup Pea Soup.

    disco beat

  17. tonyola

    “Chucka-wucka” guitars – made famous by Isaac Hayes on “Theme from Shaft” and used in disco and cheesy TV themes throughout the 1970s.

  18. Ha! I always called that one “boompissboompissboompiss”. You could name it after a early DJ like Georgio Moroder.

  19. ladymisskirroyale

    I think your theory is correct (or at least the one intended).

  20. jeangray

    A while back an old friend was looking for a new drummer for his band, and said that he was tired of Keith Moon wannabes, he just wanted someone that played:

    That has been a serious earworm of mine ever since.

  21. jeangray

    Is this related to the “chicken-scratch” style of guitar playing?

  22. tonyola

    Not really. “Chicken-scratch” refers to a style of fretboard fingering. “Chucka-wucka” is using a wah-wah pedal on heavily-muted rhythm playing.

  23. My bandmates and I call that single-doubles.

  24. cliff sovinsanity

    For good or ill Reni from The Stone Roses essentially laid down the backbeat for the whole “Madchester” and groove orientated indie music of the 90’s. This fact shouldn’t negate his fine drumming. Truly unappreciated, at least on this side of the pond


  25. Good one! The ol’ whole note slur.

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