So many people getting their start on drums seem to grab a chart and attempt to learn to read and play note-for-note renditions of some person’s transcription of what was played by a drummer on a recording. With most pop and rock tunes, the drummer didn’t “compose” what they played by writing it out on a bit of manuscript paper and then read and play it. That would be ridiculous and no fun at all. So why should we attempt to read of a chart?
Before you start getting all uppity with me, I’m not saying you shouldn’t explore the specifics of another drummer’s vocabulary but it’s really not the essence of learning to play. It’s certainly an optional thing.
So let’s take a look at the structure of the great Jimi Hendrix’s Hey Joe in which Mitch Mitchell is playing his socks off using a bunch of snazzy rudimental fills made up of stuff like six stroke rolls and paradiddles. We’re going to use whatever vocabulary we have to play fills in 16ths, 16th triplets and 32’s. Improvise, experiment and learn to follow what feels good.
A PDF with some examples from the video is here.