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Tommy Aldridge says he was playing double-bass drums before everyone

Tommy Aldridge 2020

Classic Rock

Tommy Aldridge says he was playing double-bass drums before everyone

Legendary Whitesnake drummer Tommy Aldridge (Also played with Ozzy Osbourne and more) said that he started playing the double-bass drums before everyone. The musician talked in an interview with The Sessions Panel about this technique.


Tommy Aldridge said about playing double-bass drums before everyone:

“When I started playing two-bass drums, it was really early on in my journey of learning. I got another bass drum not because that was really something in my mind that I really needed to do that. It’s just a friend of mine, who was a drummer, stopped playing.”

“And I said, ‘Oh, could I borrow your bass drum, just to mess around with it?’ Because I saw a picture of Louis Bellson with two bass drums, and I went, ‘Wow! What are you gonna do with that?’

“I wasn’t that familiar with Louis Bellson’s playing, and when I did hear of it, I didn’t hear a lot of two bass drums going on. So when I got that other bass drum. It was only just to play around in my rehearsal room when I was growing up.”

“And so I would do the same thing that I was doing on the kick, snare and hi-hat, and tom-tom and was just applying the rudiments. Taking a paradiddle and just playing eighth notes and just splitting the paradiddle between my left hand and right foot. Then I would split the paradiddle between my right hand and left foot – just for exercises.”

Tommy Aldridge continued:

“It was nothing that anyone said, ‘Oh, you should do that,’ or anything like that. It was just a way for me to spend time in my rehearsal room… And so it wasn’t something that I planned. Or that I’m a really smart cat and I said, ‘Oh, I’m gonna do this, and nobody else is gonna do it. I’m gonna be the first one.'”

“I never thought like that at all. I was only just messing around with the rudiments and trying to come out of my drum room with a pattern or something that I hadn’t heard on a record or heard someone else do. That was my goal.”

“And so I was playing two bass drums before it became fashionable – before I even learned what I was doing. As months went by and a year or so went by. I was still quite a young kid. I’d start doing some of these silly things at rehearsal with the band.”

“And the guitar player said, ‘Wow! That was really cool. What was that?’ And I said, ‘It’s just a silly exercise I was doing.’ They said, ‘Try it within a song.’ So it was other people that picked up on it, that I was working with – young guys; kids that I was growing up with, and learned to play together with.”

About John Bonham using the same technique, Tommy said:

“And he said, ‘We should try that in a song.’ So it was other people that encouraged it. It didn’t seem like there was a musical context that it would be applicable. And then Led Zeppelin came out, and when I heard John Bonham doing all this crazy stuff on the kick drum that is typically not played on that part of the instrument – the same patterns but not played on that part of the instrument.”

“I said, ‘Oh, there is room to play heavy new stuff on the kick drums. Not that I beat anyone to the punch; it’s just that when I heard him play, it really solidified that way of thinking in my head. At 125, 130 pounds, which I weigh about that now, I was only trying to find ways to be heavier, to sound heavier.”

“The music that I was starting to play, lean toward and gravitate to and what accommodated me most emotionally was heavier and heavier and heavier music, and so I was trying to find a way to play the music that we were coming up with, in a way that made it sound heavier. Necessity was the mother of that invention.”

I am a Brazilian journalist, a Classic Rock and Heavy Metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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