Vinnie Colaiuta Drum Clinic
Kapok Pavilion, Clearwater • November 8, 1998
I e-mailed Pat McDonald and told him I was going to see Vinnie Colaiuta play. I asked him if I should be on the look out for anything specific. He wrote back, summing it up in one sentence: “Bring toilet paper, cuz you’re gonna shit your pants.”
Frank Zappa’s favorite drummer came out on stage, acted kinda goofy, said hi, and proceeded to rock out solo for about 45 minutes. He played a lot of really cool stuff, and even screwed up a few times. (NOTE: The drums were too muddy in the large, overly-reverberating room/hall. Whoever is in charge should fix that crap. Also, it took forever to buy the $5.00 tickets at the admission booth. The clerk had to go through about 20-30 keystrokes just to ring me up. In the name of Amy Coats, I think Thoroughbred can be a little more punk rock than that. This concludes today’s complaint section.)
When Vinnie was finally too sweaty to continue, he came out and sat on the edge of the stage. He sat there just looking at everyone for a long enough time to make everyone in the front row really uncomfy. Finally, he said, “I don’t know what to say.” He gave off the aura of: I’m just a guy with some sticks. The audience asked various questions, which seemed to annoy Mr. Colaiuta. He was very humble and friendly, and spent a little time talking about God/praising Jesus. He also mentioned how hungry he was for pasta.
Colaiuta was quite a laid back and absent-minded fellow, and this was something that I really appreciated. Not at all as anal-retentive as I would expect from someone who can mentally conceive of temporal fractions like 15/17. Apparently this type of stuff just comes to him in a Good Will Hunting type of way. Pretty fucking amazing. He executed some very tricky syncopations and metric modulations that would sound like he was just fucking up a lot to the average listener.
The majority of people (not to mention musicians) on this planet are not epistemologically equipped to understand that stuff. It was great towards the end when someone asked him how the hell he does it, and he pretty much said, “Oh, like this,” played some more confusing shit, then said, “I just internalize it. Then it’s not so weird, see?”
Yeah. The cool thing is that he’s just improv jamming and it comes out that way. To hell with all of you.