Happy New Year Ninjas! This week we’ll be learning how to play the live version of Satellite by Dave Matthews Band which appeared on the 1997 album Live at Red Rocks. Despite being a live release, the album was very successful, hitting #3 on the album charts, and selling over two million copies.
Satellite is in 6/8 and really showcases drummer Carter Beauford’s dynamic and creative playing style. You’ll quickly realize that Carter rarely plays the same thing twice so you have to be on your toes to get to grips with his constantly changing parts.
The verse of Satellite is a chopped up semi-linear pattern played between the hi-hats, snare and bass drum. The snare drum is on the four of each bar and remains constant throughout. This creates continuity while the other voices are free to roam and to play syncopated patterns that move in and out of Dave’s guitar parts. Listen to the track a few times while reading the pdf and try to sing what Carter is playing. This will help you to feel the subdivisions and make it easier for you to play.
On the chorus of the tune Carter moves over to the ride cymbal and plays sixteenth notes. The eighth note pulse is accented on the bell while the notes in between are played on the body of the ride. To make it even more interesting Carter moves the snare drum hand up to the hi-hat to play in between the backbeats. Watch the video closely to see exactly what’s going on here.
The hardest thing with this track as well as most of the Dave Matthews Band tunes is mastering that broken hi-hat/linear style that Carter uses so much. Instead of trying to copy what he does note-for-note try to understand the different patterns he uses and start to improvise with them yourself. You’ll come up with some cool ideas of your own but you’ll also find that you start to sound a lot more like Carter. His infectious drumming comes from a place of fun and experimentation so you need to come from that same place to get it working.
Another thing to realize is that Carter plays with a left hand lead on a massive kit. It is possible to do most of what he does on a smaller set-up but you might need to be creative when looking for suitable alternatives to his parts.
Now Kill It! DN
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