Groove Master, No Doubt
Part 1: Does Golfing Make for Good Drumming? / Avoiding the Sophomore Slump / Dealing with Drum Loops and Click Tracks
Thirty-year-old Adrian Young has said that golf gets him off as much as drumming, but that doesn't mean this northern California kid is a nerd. When not editing his Schwing Golf Magazine, or working on his handicap, Young plays some of the meanest rock-ska around. His hurly burly grooves infuse Return of Saturn, No Doubt's follow-up to the multi platinum Tragic Kingdom, the album that made No Doubt a household name and lead singer Gwen Stefani a star.
Return of Saturn shows Young to be a drummer with his own unique sound and style as he creates indelible rhythms from blazing technique and old - fashioned good taste. From the straight eighth rock-meets-dub of "Ex-Girlfriend" and the progressive rock fills of "Home Now" to the rock solid reggae of "Marry Me" and "Magic's in the Makeup" Young's memorable drumming should inspire other rhythmatists to new heights, new flights.
Never mind the golf, here's Adrian Young.
Musician.com: Does playing golf keep your wrists limber?
Adrian Young: Yea, I play basketball. I play a lot of things that involve using all of my limb parts. I play tennis too. I am durable enough, I am not too fearful of getting stiff arms. I just don't lift weights on show days because then I am too stiff.
Musician.com: How did No Doubt avoid the dreaded sophomore slump after the huge success of Tragic Kingdom?
Young: We feel like a lot of that is out of our hands. We weren't thinking about how can we not have a slump and sell millions of records again. We just saw it as an opportunity to make a kick ass record that people would like and would be critically acclaimed. And to prove to ourselves that we could do something that we haven't been able to do before on a creative level. We weren't trying to write "Don't Speak Part 2," or anything like that.
Musician.com: How did the band expand creatively?
Young: Glenn Ballard really facilitated an environment for us to be experimental. We took so long to make the record, we went down a lot of different musical avenues.
Musician.com: It sounds like there is more looping on the album, drum sounds that aren't entirely organic . . .
Young: It is organic and I will tell you why. I played all those beats, they are not really loops. Then on certain sections we ran the drums through pedals and effects to make them sound different. They are basically our own samples. So it is completely organic. There are no drum machine noises or lifted samples from anything else.
Musician.com: At the end of one chorus of "Girlfriend" you play small splashes, but they sound filtered.
Young: It has definitely been treated. [Laughs]
Musician.com: Was it easy to work with Glen Ballard? When Gary Novak was with Alanis Morisette, he said looping was Ballard's domain and he had to fit his drumming around that.
Young: I had a lot of freedom. The difference is that Gary was a hired musician with Alanis. This is my band. We lifted Glen for help, but it was my call. I am not one who wants to rely on looping or anything like that. I like performances. I like little nuances. Glenn was cool with that."We don't need no stinking drum loops!" [Laughs]
Musician.com: Were you already comfortable playing with a click from the first No Doubt album?
Young: I played to two songs on a click on the first album, the rest were freeform. On The Beacon Street Collection I don't remember, and on Tragic Kingdom, most of it was to a click. "Excuse Mr Mister" wasn't because it felt better to speed it up in certain spots.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4