Monday, April 18, 2016

Iron Maiden's Nicko McBrain: "Double-bass drumming is not for me"

Iron Maiden drummer Nicko McBrain was interviewed by Madcap Music Review at this year's NAMM show, you can read some excerpts below.

About why he has steadfastly refused to incorporate a double-bass setup into his playing technique, McBrain said: "People like Keith Moon… Well, Mooney had two bass drums, but he very rarely played on that side. I don't think he ever had a pedal on it. John Bonham… Ringo Starr… When I was growing up, learning and being enticed into the music of that genre, that decade… Yeah, Ed Shaughnessy was a a double-bass player, Louie Bellson, of course, and then the great Ginger Baker. But at that time, I was a Cream fan, but I wasn't a fan of Ginger's. It was weird. It's only later in life [that] I realized how really good Ginger Baker is… And then, of course, Cozy Powell came along a little later, and Tommy Aldridge, and in the late '70s, you'd see more of these double-bass-drum players. But I kind of grew up and learned with one, and I found it hard enough… I mean, I've always said the analogy, it's bad enough trying to use one pedal. Why compound it with two? But, in fact, it's the reverse: when you have two pedals, certain patterns are easier."

He continued: "I don't know… It's just… Why change it? You know, in late '75, when I joined Pat Travers, he asked me to use a big drum set; he wanted me to play a double-bass drum kit. I said, 'I will get a big kit, but I'm not playing two bass drums.' I see these guys like Dave Lombardo, and then you look at people like Thomas Lang; he's phenomenal. Aquiles Priester… you know, these wonderful double-bass players. I couldn't get into that. I mean, I would if I sat down probably for a year or two and practiced every day for eleven hours."

McBrain added: "Horse for courses. Whatever rocks your boat."

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