An Old Post And A New Corresponding Site: The Bozzio Independence Method And Much More At

This post existed in the long, long ago version of this website (roughly June, 2001). With javascript-in-wordpress now figured out to my satisfaction (starting page HERE), I've reposted this drum exercise for official linking at, a website started by Roy SeGuine that included several excellent exchanges between Roy and myself and, I'm pleased to report, does a far more thorough job than this little page below does at explaining the procedure (and dig that Classic Gold Sparkle Gretsch kit on the readme page).

This is the method presented by Terry Bozzio in many of his clinics. Once you can play all 15 measures above against ANY rhythm possible from repeated combinations of the above measures (so-called "ostinatos"), then you've played every sixteenth note-based subdivision possible. There are, of course, actually 16 measures, the first being the one with nothing played (the easiest to master for most rhythms). The importance of this null case will be important in later sections. Note that the above is for sixteenth notes in 1/4. The game is played differently for 1/4 with triplets, quintuplets, etc. The mechanism is the same, however. If you feel inclined, the other possible combinations are easy to write down using the Pascal Triangle to keep track.

How to use…

Here's an easy coordination exercise sure to frustrate. Pick 3 limbs (or 4, if you want to use your voice as another instrument). Assign each of those limbs to a particular measure in the above list. Get that rhythm playing so you have some idea of what it will sound like and to try to internalize it for the next step. Finally, with the unselected limb, play through all 15 measures above (or 16, though you'll have played the null case to death getting the feel for the rhythm). Don't try to play through the exercise until you've internalized where the notes of every measure fall in the rhythm you're holding steady with the other limbs. That's the point of an ostinato. The rhythm over which you solo should be fixed and unwavering and something playable in your sleep. Soloing is secondary to locking down the groove.

Once you've played through all 15 (err… 16) measures, either make the "soloing" limb a fixed limb and solo with something else (a killer exercise for getting your hi-hat foot conditioned, for instance) or select another set of measures to hold constant and play the same 15 (err… 16) measures over that new rhythm.

A note to the ambitious: You've 16 measures to pick from and 3 (or 4) limbs to make rhythms out of. Therefore, the possible number of rhythms you can generate from the above are, including the null case, (16) x (16) x (16), or 4096. A lot of rhythms to try. Throw in a fifth soloing limb (your voice, for instance), and the number of possible "fixed" combinations to play against goes up to (4096) x (16), or 65536. Granted, some of these are quarter notes and the like and are easy to play, but many are completely uncharted (so to speak).

If you don't feel like thinking up the combinations yourself, here's a little script to get you started.






Grove Havener At Coleman's Irish Pub, 6 March 2009

Top o' the afternoon to ya, just in time for St. Patrick's Day.  A fortuitous occurrence above the western skies (relative to my apartment) of Syracuse in the direction of Tipperary Hill (where, for those interested in local trivia, the traffic light has the green on top thanks to the indefatigable efforts of Irish youths in the 1920's) brings to mind three questions about the most recent (and my first sub'ing) Grove Havener (who's name, for those interested in local trivia, is taken from an Earth Science teacher at Jamesville-DeWitt) gig at Coleman's Irish Pub on 6 March 2009:

(1) Will it go 'round in circles?

(2) Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

(3) Did we play that Billy Preston cover?

Answers: (1) people were trashed enough by the end of the night that it likely appeared that way, (2) I'd say we hit 60% pure rock-dom, and (3) regrettably, no.

Click on the image for a larger view (pretty cool).

Thanks to my trusty Olympus LS-10, the entire gig did get captured for posterity, with a few pick hits worked up in Garageband (for those interested in the clean-up procedure, slight added Compression and default Speech Enhancer, no bass enhancement, 320 kb MP3) and provided below.  In the interest of explaining the balance on the recording, the LS-10 was sitting 3 feet from my hi-hats (and splashes, they do come out strong) on top of the back of a wall of seats.  The fact that (1) you hear the rest of the band at all and (2) you hear them quite well despite the amps pointing away from the drums means that I clearly did not play hard enough.  I include a drummer-level visual (with Mark's cheat-sheets, through which several people thumbed in the interest of making requests) from behind an overworked and unprepared set of Pearl Masters Studio BSX's.

Mark refused to order me a Shirley Temple, "Johnny High Five" didn't go anywhere, and I did terrible things to a pair of Vater Super Jazz.

Featuring the artistic stylings (the most polite way to describe it after "almost two" rehearsals) of Mark Bell (vocals), Mike Grossman (guitar), Matt Bell (guitar), Andrew Willis (bass), and yours truly (drums and cowbell)…

1. Set 1 – Weezer – Say It Ain't So (4:10, 9.5 MB)

2. Set 1 – The Black Crowes – Hard To Handle (3:30, 8 MB)

3. Set 2 – The Rolling Stones – Sympathy For The Devil (6:14, 14.3 MB)

4. Set 2 – Pearl Jam – Animal (2:53, 6.6 MB)

5. Set 2 – Young MC – Bust A Move (5:39, 12.9 MB)

6. Set 3 – Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf (4:33, 10.4 MB)

7. Set 3 – Red Hot Chili Peppers – Suck My Kiss (3:53, 8.9 MB)

8. Set 3 – The Killers – All These Things That I've Done (4:54, 11.2 MB)

9. Recorded Quote Of The Night (0:04, 220 KB)

And, because they don't set up kits like that anymore…