I've had occasion over the last couple of months to play with a number of different drummers. Funny how profoundly that rhythm can affect the sound & feel of the music. Ask 3 drummers to play a shuffle, a rumba, or a flat-tire, and you'll get 9 distinctly different feels, I guarantee. I suppose that's as it should be, really - if it wasn't, we'd all be more comfortable just playing with a drum machine (not something I want to do).

And there's no reason to expect drummers to be any different from any other musician - a guitar player, or harmonica player, for instance - with their own individual feel. Still, it's remarkable how much it changes the whole feel of the band to play with a different drummer. For instance, when I play with Jack City Band, I want to play horn lines. It's not because of the guitar, vocals, or bass. It's something about the way Terry plays (and my role in that band) just makes me want to play big strong punches, octave splits, and simple phrases, and try to make them sound like a sax or 'bone. I play more Low Octave harmonicas with them than any other situation I play in. There's a quality to his 'swing' that just makes me feel "Big Band" - very cool.

Some musicians I've heard that impress me most with their use of rhythm don't even have drummers. I'm referring to the wild, careening syncopation of Satan & Adam, Eric Noden's relentless pounding left foot, and Nathan James' thumping suitcase kick-drum (hey, check-out Ben's cool washtub bass!). These guys have affected me so much I have even started making percussion instruments from scraps & found objects myself to try to integrate into my own performances at some point.

I've also found myself obsessed with trying to find a drummer willing to strip his kit down to nothing, like the drummer that plays with Bharath and his Rhythm Four. Check this guy out - he doesn't even use a hi-hat! Bharath's band plays authentic Chicago blues, with a primitive, elemental flavor that is very unique in the 21st century - really some primal, deep stuff.