By now you’ve probably seen this version of Oceans getting bounced around the internets. I hope the people in that video have kept their heads held up high and aren’t shying away from playing, because that would be a real shame.
However, this scene is one that is repeated all over the nation, Sunday after Sunday. Musicians are getting up there and doing the best they can, what they think is the right thing, but there is no one stepping back to look at the big picture and make decisions. There is no one producing.
Just a couple weeks ago, I visited a church that had a couple play and sing during the sharing of the Lord’s Supper. The husband and wife duo brought in their own equipment – electric guitar, mics, ‘verb, mixing board – all great equipment, and they sub-mixed themselves down into the house system. What happened next may be accounted for by the fact that they didn’t have a monitor, so they were only hearing themselves being bounced back from the mains. Two things were apparent: there was way too much ‘verb on everything, and they were desperately pitchy. Much like these guys, the good folks involved are clearly good enough and gifted enough to be playing and leading church. But without someone who can diagnose what is going wrong and offer a suggestion, this kind of thing is going to continue Sunday after Sunday.
Here is a pretty fantastic drum tutorial for playing Oceans:
And let’s be honest – the guy on top wasn’t that far off was he? Ok, he got a little carried away with the triplet 16th note tom fils, but that’s kinda what the song does – come in like gangbusters. The drummer read at least a portion of the intent right. So what went wrong?
Let’s start with the electronic drums that are doing nobody any favors. It is really hard to control dynamics on those things. The whole point of those, by the way, is they aren’t supposed to be too loud. Where exactly was that most important musician, the sound tech who was mixing this? And yes, the drummer was rushing, so that didn’t help, but these are all things that can be dialed down.
Personally I’d be happy to walk into this situation and work with these guys. At least they showed up and were willing to bring it!