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Old 11-12-2003, 08:10 AM   #1
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Review: Key Music, St. Niklaas, Belgium 8th Nov. 2003

Arriving in Belgium

That morning I woke up at 5am, still drunk from a night of heavy drinking, I was a state! Luckily I managed to get to the airport and check in alright.
Martin (jagdkommando) had driven overnight with his girlfriend Sandy and friend David from Austria and had already arrived and booked us into the ‘Hotel Spiegel’ (200m from the clinic) by the time I arrived in Belgium.
Unfortunately he went to the wrong airport to collect me! We spent lots of money on phone calls and eventually he arrived to collect me. We still had an hours drive to get back to St. Niklaas, and talked drums all the way! We eventually got to Key Music and dashed in to look for Virgil.

Key Music and Virgil at first sight

We were looking around wondering where to go and my ear caught the sound of a floor tom from down a corridor. We followed it and all of a sudden saw Virgil up on a small extended stage area setting up. We looked at each and just thought YES!! For me, I could feel Virgil’s charisma already. It was like a glowing aura around him, and I think it’s appropriate to mention the choir of angels singing ‘ahhh’ gently in my ear
Martin said to me, ‘Isn’t it strange there are many people around here in the store and no-one seems to notice Virgil up there?’ But before I could answer he said c’mon lets go!
He walked straight up to Virgil and when Virgil looked up at him he said, ‘Hello Virgil, I’m Martin, remember me? I saw you last year in Padova, Italy’.
V: Yes! I remember you. Hi! How are you?
M: Good, this is John, from Ireland.
J: (holy s**t) Hi! How’s it going??
I don’t remember the whole conversation but Martin said something to him in Italian (what did you say Martin?), and we him if he needed help with setting up. We could see he was nearly done anyway and he said it was grand, but we ended up putting the cymbals on the kit anyway


In the meantime, we were chatting a bit. I asked him a few questions, and Martin asked one or two but he seemed somewhat star struck.
I was curious why Joel Hoekstra never gigged at all after any of his album releases. Virgil said that Joel wanted to maybe soon but it might not happen because everyone is so busy.
I asked him about the online lessons that were filmed at M.I. for the re-launch of VD.com He said they were all done and filmed just before he began the European Tour.
I asked about the tour so far and was surprised to hear that they were many people at his Canary Islands clinics in La Palma and Tenerife. He explained that the islands are very densely populated and also always have many tourists so he had a great turnout.
About his toms being reversed again, Virgil simply answered that he likes change!
I said to him that EVERYONE on the board wants to know if you’ll do another solo album! He said he has a few ideas and he thinks so. He also said OTV want to get back together!! And ROF is in its final stages, and PX had begun work on the new album. (Wow!)
J: Whatever happened to those Remo Spoxe you had?
V: I think they are somewhere in my mother’s garage!
I asked him about his book and he said it was done but he was waiting for it to be compiled by Warner Bros. and then they had to proof read and check the layout etc. (later in Amsterdam he mentions more, and Frank has written about that, though I’m not sure if he mentions it was transcribed by Bruno Meeus)

Bruno Meeus

Virgil introduced us to Bruno, a good friend of his, and a great drummer too! He was very very friendly and stayed chatting for ages while Virgil left to practice. Before he left Bruno asked if they should do a drum duet during the clinic, Martin and I were saying yes yes! But I don’t think there was time, ah well.
We asked him how he feels about playing before Virgil. He said, ‘Well, I have to support GOD, what do you think?!?’
Excellent answer! He wasn’t going to get to upset with that thought and was concentrated on his own performance.
I saw him doing some snare tricks like Virgil and asked him about it He said he learned with the same teacher as Virgil did (I forget the name) and he showed me a bit. I only caught 40% of it and later he showed me again. I had a stick then so I got a bit more and I have the main concept anyway so that good!


When Virgil came back from practising, Ilse (justlikerock) was with him and I found out later that they were good friends and corresponded now and again.
While the store was being set up for the clinic, I got my first taste of all the things that make a live performance so special. Martin was still very excited though he had experienced Virgil live twice before.
During the warm up Virgil practised many all sorts of patterns with a lot of fast fills with snare hits ringing out at different times and cymbal whooshes.
The store didn’t ask him much for the soundcheck, and after they found out what he wanted, he left again to practise more. This meant later that there were a few problems with the sound during the clinic, but nothing serious.
Martin and I went back to the bar area after Virgil left and said hi to Ilse, who was talking to Martin’s girlfriend Sandy.
We started queuing and when the place was completely set up we were allowed in again.

The Clinic Solo

Virgil began with a solo, and a great one at that! I didn’t have a watch but I think it was a bit less than 25mins. As Martin said in his post, he played at lightning speed between the hands and feet. I hadn’t seen him live before so the absolute power he has really hit me. He started with crazy polyrhythm layered grooves using the 3 hi-hats and snare.
There was a big projected screen above him on the wall which showed us an overhead view of the kit to see more clearly what he was doing. That was cool although I found myself staring at his face through most of the clinic. The concentration, determination and the fire in his eyes were fascinating, and to take from Peter’s review, and sum up the clinic solo . . . . Total evisceration!!!!
During the solo, he had a couple of small problems with hardware that seemed to bother him, the hi-hat clutch was spinning around like mad and at one point oblivious to himself the remote hi-hat came loose and tipped over onto the 18” floor tom. I think Martin was enjoying the solo so much and wasn’t going to let anything stop Virgil’s train of thought so he leaped off his seat to the Key Music staff on the right side, knocking over a pile of cymbals on the way!! Well done to him though because it was re-attached straight away and Virgil didn’t know until we told him after.
After the solo, Virgil looked like he had just run a 10,00m race! And he said it was hard with all the travelling and no time to practise, to come out and play a solo like that. He also ‘claimed’ he was a bit rusty, and looking back, this definitely wasn’t true because had a few problems in Amsterdam the next day.


Virgil then began to go through some exercises called, ‘Rhythmic Factors’. He played them all perfectly that night. This part was really interesting for me and I tried to follow his improvised changes the best I could. But modulated so much at the end I lost him after his 3rd or 4th change!


He played Ataraxia after quickly going over the transcription and accents. This is where I first noticed how much he had really improved. He played so well and did so much compared to the album version, it was sensational!
Quantum Factor came next and was also excellent, he came away from the unison accents without losing count, playing some really cool and sick fills in between and came back into time on the exact split-second!

Question Time

When he asked if anyone had questions, my hand shot up and I asked how are we to approach the layer exercises, like the double against single paradiddle exercise. He said that he himself count the common time signature for them but said you could also count 6/8 time against the 4/4 time of the single paradiddle and vice-versa. I think myself it helps with hearing where the accents of each layer fall and how they fit together, and how they feel against each other in general.
More questions about his favourite drummer, set up, double-bass balance and inverted double-bass strokes were asked as well.

Last Track

To my delight, he decided to finish off with Invisible Man from Dreamtower. This track was like the ROF equivalent of Dog Boots at the clinics. There were either some problems with the sound or Virgil didn’t want the mics on, but his kit was totally acoustic for this track and it was great. His power was superb and we had no problem hearing the drums over the backing track.

After the Clinic

I got one pair of sticks he used at this clinic and Virgil signed them both. Martin ran off to get one of the only 12 copies of ‘The Moon is Falling’ which came with free assault sticks.
It was great that Virgil had time to talk to everyone and waited until everyone had met him before deciding to call it a day. A boy came over to him and gave him a kiss (I didn’t see but I’m presuming it was on the cheek!!). Virgil said, ‘HEY! Was that straight or gay???’ LoL! He was reassured that it was straight but I’d say all the women were getting ideas by that stage!


What a great experience for both myself and Martin! It was such a dream come true and we were delighted it wasn’t yet over as we got back to the Hotel. I was so tired from the long day so I didn’t go for a beer and went straight to sleep for another big day in the Melkweg, Amsterdam.

I want to thank everyone who helped make that night so wonderful, Chris and Lisa, the Key Music staff and Martin! And ….

Thank You Virgil
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Old 11-12-2003, 08:30 AM   #2
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Wow Jimi,
Thanks for the review....sounds like you guys had a great time!!!
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Old 11-12-2003, 08:33 AM   #3
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We certainly did! And thats only half the story, i'm finishing the Amsterdam review now and that will be up tomorrow, we took some amazing photos too
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Old 11-12-2003, 09:37 AM   #4
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Jimi, thanks so much for this. It's awesome. Glad to hear everything turned out great!

Don't forget to send me the pics. I will add it to the pile.

Christopher Nalbandian
Virgildonati.com Webmaster
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Old 11-12-2003, 09:49 AM   #5
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wow, thank u as well, jimi, your writings just set me back to the berlin clinic

virgil play a song without the mics?
that's great, i think those clinics are very loud, but seems i was the only one who's not used to such loudness

...looking forward to see your pics
all the best


Last edited by Tom24 : 11-12-2003 at 02:48 PM.
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Old 11-12-2003, 12:21 PM   #6
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Great review jimi, nice read
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Old 11-12-2003, 02:33 PM   #7
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Great review Jimi. Glad you did enjoy it, just like me =)
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Old 11-12-2003, 03:28 PM   #8
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Thanks so much, Jimi! You can
quote me anytime but we both
know it will always fall short,
when it comes to Virgil!!!
To Virgil,
A Drummer Who is Changing the World
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Old 06-02-2008, 05:51 AM   #9
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I want to learn to play blues guitar

I am 23 years old college student. I want to learn to play blues guitar. What are the best guitar and lesson books/DVDs for a beginner? I know a lot about blues music but I am not a musician. This is for personal enjoyment. I am not looking to be onstage someday. And is it necessary to play all of the little practice songs that follow w/e you just learned? Please answer me. Thank you,
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:13 AM   #10
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Thumbs up

Wow jimi,thank you for informing us!You had a blast there!!!I was reading and thought that i was there,too,very good post!!!

sofia712,welcome here.I do not know why you posted a guitar lessons question in a drummers' forum and in this thread?Unfortunately,i can't help u,i hope some of the guys will.
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:30 AM   #11
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Yeah, u can definitely find a lot of info online for beginning guitar -- and most of it is free. All kinds of videos on youtube and stuff -- but beware....

I just got from the "beginner" level to the "intermediate" level -- but it was with help from an online course that I had to pay for. I had started with the free stuff but the problem was that I couldn't ORGANIZE the free lessons in any kind of moderately rational way.. I was always switching between various videos and there was no order to anything. So I was trying to do scales when I should have just been dealing with really basic picking technique and etc.

So eventually I decided I need to do an actual online course -- http://consumerfilter.org/products/jamorama -- it actually worked pretty well! I might recommend you try it out.

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