This post can be placed in the virtual “Meant To Be” file, but first a little set up is needed.
I was raised in Florence, South Carolina (population 326.....including cats and dogs) and I’ve been a HUGE Washington Redskins fan since I was 8 years old. Why The Redskins???
I grew up in a very athletic, sports loving family of 3 brothers and 2 sisters. Each one of us had our own favorite NFL team including my mother and father. Some team choices were established by the city or state where kids were born, but not in my case.
I was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and my sister Barbara Jean (BJ) was born a year later in Jacksonville, Florida. Both my father and sister BJ became Miami Dolphin fans. (This was the late 70‘s - early 80’s before The Jacksonville Jaguars came along.) I’m not sure why my dad became a ‘fin fan’ being that he is from upstate New York. (?)
Ever since I can remember I’ve always felt the need to have my own identity, so there was no way that I was going to join forces with my father and little sister to back The Miami Dolphins. (You don’t spell "team" with an "I", but if you do a little cut and paste you get..... "ME"!!!)
So in an effort to help, my father put a Washington Redskins sweatshirt on me when I was 8 years old................and that was that.
Fast forward 38 years later, I get an email from a film composer named JJ Farris. JJ and his writing partner Jonas Sorman are currently working on a 30 for 30 documentary for ESPN Films featuring South Carolina Gamecocks SEC Champion football coach, Steve Spurrier.
I LOVE watching those 30 for 30 documentaries, but it wasn’t until later that JJ explained who the documentary was about. Eventually JJ and I speak on the phone and he explains that he needs drum tracks for the film including the main theme.
So we work out the details and then he mentions “The documentary is about a South Carolina college football coach.” (Wait.... did he just say South Carolina college football?....as in South Carolina Gamecocks football???? )
Let me ‘splain sumin’ to y’all.......
Although there are many college teams in South Carolina, there are only 2 that really matter........(well, 1 depending on who you ask). They would be The South Carolina Gamecocks and/or The Clemson Tigers. Fans buy anything and everything to show their allegiance by dressing themselves, their children, their pets, decorate their homes, cars and places of business with credit card tapping amounts of Carolina or Clemson colors and merchandise.
Here’s one for ya.
"Nuthin' can lick our COCKS!!!!" (????)
One night when I was in Florence visiting family over the Christmas holidays I drove past a home that had a lit up nativity scene in the owner’s front yard. All the decoration figures stood about 3 feet high which included the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, the 3 Kings, stable animals, and.....................................................a Gamecock.
Ok????? Get it???
I still get nauseous when I see a Clemson flag or somebody wearing Tiger merch, but I'm biased. I never attended USC (the east coast one, not the other one) but I have 4 siblings and 2 in-laws that are alumni. I route for The Gamecocks and did so for 14 years while growing up in Florence, but my real passion was always for The Washington Redskins.
So. Back to 2014.
Like I mentioned before, the film composer JJ tells me that it’s a documentary featuring The Carolina Gamecocks football coach Steve Spurrier. I told JJ that he called the right drummer for the gig!!! Then I told him that I didn’t watch too much college ball and was more of a Redskins fan. That’s when JJ said, “I think Spurrier coached The Redskins because there’s footage of him with the Redskins in the film.” (WHAT???........wait a minute............)
THAT’S RIGHT!!!! Spurrier DID coach The SKINS!!!!.......................for 2 losing seasons. 2002 (7-9) and 2003 (5-11).
No wonder I chose not to remember!
Spurrier returned to coaching college football and has led The Carolina Gamecocks to their 3rd straight 11- win season. (according to author Chris Low @ ESPN's SEC Blog)
GO COCKS!!!!!! (There's another uncomfortable one.)
So we booked the session at Studio City Sound with engineer Tom Weir at the helm. JJ emailed me his session files of 4 cues and 1 theme song. Tracking was extreeeeeemely difficult. My job was to cop the feel of all the temp tracks (unlicensed music that is temporarily synched to picture). Then JJ and his writing partner Jonas would write original music to my newly tracked drums.
Here’s the difficult part.
The film editor didn’t give a rat's ass about how the music felt when making the edits. So you've got football players crashing into each other on film, but the temp music skips like an old scratched vinyl record!!! (remember that?) It took me an hour and a half just to chart out the stuff. AND! Whoever tracked the temp tracks didn’t play to a click!!! JJ told me that it took him 5 hours to synch up a click track to all the edits. On some cues I had to stare at a flat screen monitor that was placed in front of my drums watching the time code (numbers counting at the bottom of the screen) and listen to the click at the same time while playing. It was "mind bottling!"....(any Ron Burgundy fans out there???)
The speed of the time code was no where near the tempo of the click, but my transition from one section to the next needed to lock to picture at 05:16:02. YIKES!!!!! Some of the edits were a simple 7/8 bar or something else. Then there were the ones that I had no way of counting. For those gems I had Tom mute the click at the crazy edit moment and tried my best to make sense of the "drop the needle anywhere" temp music since it was edited to picture.
4.5 hours later I had finished charting and tracking all of the cues. It was a real challenge and I am so happy that JJ and Jonas are thrilled with the results.
I can’t wait to see the movie! I’ll let you know when it’s set to air on ESPN.
Thanks for reading!!!
This video was made for film composer JJ Farris who was not able to attend the session. JJ was very happy with the end result and wanted to see what gear was used to get such great drum tones. I can do the same for you!
To learn how to book a LIVE online drum session please click here.
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Thanks for reading!!!