Sunday, December 22, 2013

Avery Molek. Seven-year-old drummer.

I'm a guitarist who loves the drums. 

In my late teens and early twenties (my hard rock/metal years) I was a disciplined air drummer. When I couldn't "play" a part I rewound the tape as many times as were necessary until I "had it down."

In my thirties, I had a chance to sit behind a real drum kit and became a passable four-four drummer in a jam rock context. 

And I've always listened closely to drums. Other than the complicated rhythm patterns of Elvin Jones and other jazz giants, I can generally visualize drum parts that I can't play. When I hear a skilled drummer, I'm instantly engaged in both heart (the rhythmic vibe) and head (the technique).

Which brings us to seven-year-old drummer and Internet phenomenon Avery Molek. 

My first exposure to Avery was the below rendition of "Hot for Teacher," recorded when he was just six. Van Halen was my favorite band at the time this song was on the airwaves, so I was intimately familiar with the drum track. Though Avery didn't use four bass drums in the introduction as Alex Van Halen did, he mostly blows through the rest of this song. Watching Avery the first time, I experienced cognitive dissonance; it was hard to wrap my head around the image of a little boy with such advanced motor skills. 

But what impressed me even more was Avery's interpretation of "Girl Gone Bad," off of "1984," the last release by the original--the only--Van Halen. One, I'm impressed Avery found and learned an underappreciated deep album track which came out twenty years before he was born (according to Avery's website, he chooses what to play). Two, though "Hot for Teacher" has a famous introduction, to my ears "Girl Gone Bad" has a more aggressive and dynamic drum track which offers a better window into the primal (and precise) power of Alex Van Halen.

For closeness of interpretation, I tip my hat to Avery's version of "Enter Sandman." Though I'm much more partial to the material on the early Metallica albums, I've heard this song (and visualized the drum parts) many, many times simply by existing these past two decades. I would be willing to bet that Avery's technique in this video is not noticeably different than Lars Ulrich's. Something tells me this kid has a bright future.

1 comment:

  1. Fun and insightful as always. I think this kid is BETTER than A Van Halen and L Ulrich, but that's my own jaundiced opinion...