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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'm a Brazilian journalist who always loved Classic Rock and Heavy Metal music. That passion inspired me to create Rock and Roll Garage over 6 years ago. Music has always been a part of my life, helping me through tough times and being a support to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist, I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After graduating in journalism from the Pontifical Catholic University of Minas Gerais, I pursued a postgraduate degree in digital communication at the same institution. The studies and experience in the field helped me improve the website and always bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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