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Old 09-22-2004, 10:28 AM   #1
D. Slam
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Join Date: Aug 2003
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A long past Virgil clinic

Hey all,

Below is a review I wrote of a Virgil clinic I attended this past April 20th. It was the first and thus far the only time I have seen him live. I posted this the very next day on Billy Cobham's website.

I just thought I'd share it with all of you.

I hope you enjoy it...


"Well guys, I really donít know what I can say that will justify what I witnessed last night. Physically and rhythmically, Virgil Donati has taken the art of drumming to a whole other level. He did some things on the drum kit I would have never thought possible. The man is unreal. Donít be mistaken! If you have never actually seen him perform, donít make the mistake of drawing any kind of conclusion about his ability from what youíve heard on some CD. If you love the drums and love to play them, then Virgil Donati is a must see.
Make no mistake about it this is extreme! Youíve heard of extreme sports? Well this is the ultimate in extreme drumming! Itís all or nothing and take no prisoners. He did some things with the triplet that simply blew my mind! He would show things like doing paradidles with his left hand and left foot, his right hand and right foot, then combine the two to make a linear beat! Amazing! He did this thing where he incorporated playing the sticks while doing this really funky beat on the drums. All I could do was shake my head. He also REALLY stresses groove and feel. He talked about that a lot.

I remember when writing about the Spectrum show at Yoshiís that you donít learn to play like that sitting behind your drum set in your garage. Well with Virgil, you can tell that he sat down behind his drums and proceeded to work out some REALLY difficult stuff. He practiced and really put it together and it shows. Truly practice makes better! His stick twirling was awesome, and he did some stick flipping single/double and flam combinations that would make any Drum Corp proud. We wonít even get into his feetÖ. Ridicules!

Let me say this, anyone who aspires to perform on his or her kit at THIS level will never get there unless you are in tiptop shape. Virgil talked a little about his fitness regiment. He does yoga, stretches, swims, runs and strength trains. He took at least a half-hour drum solo that included flurry after flurry. Just when I thought he was done, he would erupt into something else. The precision, the power!! His sense of polyrhythmic groove is just incredible!

He was asked how he felt about electronic drums. He said they have their place and heís dabbled in some things with them but heís exploring and discovering himself with acoustic drums and he feels thatís his calling.

After his drum solo, he played to some pre recorded tracks that he brought with him. After slamming those into orbit he had a question and answer session. Then after that, they raffled off his entire kit, cymbals, hardware and all. A deserving kid that could not have been any older than 15 won the kit and it was his birthday to boot! Everyone was really happy for him and stood up and sang him happy birthday.

Virgil went into the front lobby and signed his autograph for whoever wanted it. I got a T-shirt signed and got my picture taken with him. Iíll send that to Pete to post as soon as I can. Virgil is a very nice and personable man.

Oh and Pete, he used the Pearl eliminators with the blue cams and blue straps FYI. He said he didnít care too much for the feel of the red cams and that heís waiting for the purple ones to come out.

I must say though what I found lacking a bit in Virgilís playing is variation in dynamics, or more of them. Everything is pretty much ďDamn the torpedoes, full speed aheadĒ. But thatís what he does, and nobody does it better. Thereís nothing wrong with having that kind of ability at all! And let me say this, Virgil plays with great feel! Just so weíre clear on that.

In conclusion, let me say that anyone that doesnít care for Virgilís playing has probably never seen him play. All I can recommend is if he is ever doing a clinic in your area try like the ****ens not to miss it."

D.
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Last edited by D. Slam : 09-22-2004 at 10:34 AM.
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