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The inventor of blast beat

The Ultimate Guitar has a nice writeup on why Paicey is one of the best drummers of all time.

Inspired the Blast Beat Technique

Ian Paice is not thought of as a technical drummer, but in fact, his skills were incredibly impressive at the pique of his career. His drum parts have inspired countless drummers who openly talk about that from Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Chad Smith to Metallica’s Lars Ulrich. Some of the things Paice did, transferred to much heavier genres like death metal and grindcore since one of his trademark techniques was the fast hand-foot combinations that occasionally resulted in drum fills that would have fit perfectly in a much heavier setting. Just take a listen to one of Deep Purple’s biggest hits “Black Night” and go to the 2:23 mark to listen to what might just be the first blast beat in heavy rock or metal.

Read more in the Ultimate Guitar.

And we’re leaving you with an all star performance of Black Night from the Sunflower Jam 2012:

Thanks to Gary Poronovich for the info.

25 Comments to “The inventor of blast beat”:

  1. 1
    James Gemmell says:

    I think the writer meant “peak” of Paice’s career, not “pique”.

  2. 2
    James Steven Gemmell says:

    Impressive to have some members of Iron Maiden, Deep Purple, Queen and Led Zeppelin all jamming together on the same stage.

  3. 3
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Paicey is the most underrated instrumentalist in DP. That has only begun to slowly change in the last two decades or so. About time too. Better late than never.

    He’s my favourite drummer (and not because he’s in DP), by a mile. He combines brain, feel, chops and an innate talent for a swinging groove which many drummers have lost (or never found) over time.

  4. 4
    MacGregor says:

    I don’t think Ian Paice is under rated in DP, possibly over shadowed in a way by Blackmore & Lord so to speak. I am talking 70’s & 80’s era’a. Gillan back in the day would also steal the limelight because of his prowess with the vocals. Paice & Lord are the only two from that era who could cut it in progressive rock me thinks. I rate him highly, but I am a drummer tragic, so I would say that wouldn’t I. Cheers.

  5. 5
    MacGregor says:

    Ian Paice on the Drums, Yes! DP, one of the very first influences on me as an impressionable youth, 50 years ago. Where has that time gone? A guitarist friend of mine, a little older than me & into British rock at that time & still to this day, always raved about 3 drummers, Ian Paice, Carl Palmer & Barriemore Barlow. When I introduced him to Rush in the mid 80’s, then of course the maestro Neil Peart. I have often read glowing reports on Paice as a drummer over the decades. When I moved to a different location in NSW Australia during the mid 80’s, the musicians I became acquainted with often raved about ‘that’ DP drummer. So that is why in my years of musical endeavours, certain friendships, gatherings & rituals, I don’t think he has been under rated at all . Just my personal thoughts on 50 years of rock ‘n roll music in regards to Ian Paice, in my small world. Cheers.

  6. 6
    George in Ohio says:

    I saw Purple in 1971 in Cleveland when they opened for The Faces when they had Rod Stewart and Ronnie Wood. Paicey played a concise, 4 to 5 minute drum solo that I’ve never heard equaled, let alone beaten. He has the ability to express himself so eloquently in a brief period of time, an art lost on many drummers who rely on stamina to impress. By the way, the Faces had a near impossible task that night following the one hour virtuosic display by Messrs Blackmore, Lord, Paice, Glover and Gillan. The crowd wanted more Purple, but the boys superbly did their thing and then graciously ceded the stage to the headliners. Faces were great, but everyone left buzzing about the group that preceded them. A phenomenal night and a great memory – I was a Purple fan going into the concert, but that night I became a fanatic.

  7. 7
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I have dutifully listened to the two Jeff Beck Group albums with Cozy now, Herr MacGregor. He was not as ludicrously heavy-handed as he became with Rainbow, granted. But Chaman (a more than capable bassist) and him rarely “locked”. Compared to them Paicey & Glover, Paicey & Hughes, Paicey & Martinez and Paicey & Murray were all beating with one heart! That’s what I meant with “Cozy Powell doesn’t listen to bassists”. He’s one of those drummers who listen to guitar and (audibly on the JBG albums espeially) the keyboarder. (There are many drummers like that out there, let me tell you!)

    Now not every rhythm section has to be the rock version of Sly & Robbie. Entwistle and Moon took a lot of liberties too, playing “lead bass” and “lead drums” simultaneously (and not always “together”). Chaman and Powell work in a way as a rhythm section too, there is always something going on at least. Though Chaman is more a foundation than Cozy is, who squeezes in his double bass drum salvos wherever he can – in 1970/71 that was still pretty new, Keith Moon liked to do it too and Powell has cited him as an inspiration for “bringing drums out of the background” – and I assume how it was exactly Powell’s “cheeky kick drum” that appealed to Jeff Beck. For a time at least, nothing lasts with Jeff.

    But thanks for the tip, I’ve bolstered my Jeff Beck collection! The Going Down version on the ‘Orange’ album is ace!

  8. 8
    Purple Sitner says:

    Ian Paice and Charlie Watts in my opinion are the only drummers in rock genre who have got the swing in their beat. And that’s what makes them special and outstanding. Long live rock and roll…long live Deep Purple…

  9. 9
    MATTHEW says:

    Nice to see someone from LZ tipping their hat to DP!

  10. 10
    MacGregor says:

    @ 7- To be honest Uwe I have only recently listened to more of The Jeff Beck Group with Powell myself.
    I can relate to what you are saying & it also makes me wonder if Cozy being hired by Blackmore, became a more heavy handed drummer than he already was, playing hard rock. As we know that is what Blackmore wanted at that time. Still that was Cozy’s niche, we all have our little (or big) way of doing things. I agree with the Entwistle & Moon thing, a busy rhythm at times & adventurous to boot. Talking of drum sound now & Powell, Paice & Bonham had a good sound with their drums, unlike some drummers, Bill Ward being one. That gets us back to Sabbath & their woeful production & mix of their bottom end sound from Volume 4 on wards. Ian Paice’s drum sound also went mediocre after he switched to Pearl drums, at least hearing what I have heard since then. Call me old fashioned but those older Ludwig drums were awesome. Maybe Cozy was too loud at times post Rainbow, until his Sabbath gigs, he did hit them hard though. It depends on the music, hard rock & metal does tend to require a heavier handed approach. Horses for courses. Ian Paice is more a nuanced type of player & along with Bill Bruford & Phil Collins also, they didn’t need that heavier handed approach at all in their respective bands. Back to the jazz influence again & as Purple Sitner @ 8 said, Charlie Watts also. Cheers.

  11. 11
    MacGregor says:

    @ 6 – I can only imagine what that performance from Purple would have been like, thanks for the insight. The support act blowing the main act off stage scenario has happened many times no doubt & will continue to occur on occasions well into the future. Purple were firing on all cylinders in 1971 & The (Small) Faces, a good band they were at times but not in Purple’s league at all. A lop sided pairing indeed! Cheers.

  12. 12
    MacGregor says:

    @ 7- continuing on with ‘the plight of the drummer’ he, he, he. The overbearing volume of the guitar & lead vocals back in the day no doubt helped harness the drummers attitude to ‘not being heard’ etc.
    Bill Bruford talks about it on the Yes history documentary, drummers reverted to rim shots on the snare drum in a futile attempt to be heard. No microphones on drums back then & no doubt Pete Townshend in the 60’s with those Hiwatt amplifiers would have frustrated both John Entwistle & Keith Moon. At least bass guitarists could turn it up, as long as they had the set up to compete of course. We are all familiar with Jon Lord’s story regarding Blackmore’s guitar volume on stage. Possibly the same scenario with Ginger Baker & even Carmine Appice in their respective bands at the time. Cozy Powell was no different when he came along, get a bigger kit & hit even harden than before. Sure that is not the answer as to the different technique & feel that some drummers have compared to others. It is the same as we know with any instrument & musician. That is where my previous comment lead to in regards to the quality of the drum kit & the over all sound back in the 60’s & 70’s. In regards to your bass playing Uwe & what you like or don’t like in a drummer, that is exactly where I am coming from also in what I like or don’t like with any instrument or musician. In regards to bass guitarists, I have a certain preference as to what I like. I guess that is why we seek out different music & musicians, trying to find the correct feel, vibe, chemistry & quality in other musicians & music in general. It is most interesting & has been rather entertaining for the most part for me. The positives far out weigh the negatives & that should be the way of it. Cheers.

  13. 13
    Ivica says:

    “Jazz soul “trapped in the body of a rock drummer … little Ian and Brian Downey my favorite rock drummers

  14. 14
    Mike Nagoda says:

    This article claims the upcoming tour is to be their final tour??? Surely this is nonsense, we would have heard something from the guys if this were true!

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I like a drummer to be slightly ahead of the beat, without rushing. Behind the beat dragging drives me nuts, though it’s become very popular for whatever reason (surely, Bonzo can’t be blamed for everything!). I like him to have swing on hi-hat & cymbals and his bass drum to have some funk. And he shouldn’t be afraid to do rolls lasting more than one or two bars. Oh yeah, and a nimble snare!

    Reading this now, I believe Paicey’s style did leave a mark on my drummer preferences! ; – )

    Of the usual suspects in the drummers’ elite, Simon Phillips is my favorite. A drummer buddy of mine once quipped to that: “Yeah, because he sounds as if Ian Paice had studied music at an university!” There might be a grain of truth in that. ; – )

  16. 16
    MacGregor says:

    Ah, Simon Phillips now you are talking. A drummer who I often mention in my list of favourites. A down to earth chap also, like so many drummers. Hey, now there’s a thought, why are so many great drummers, such nice people. Phillips was a ‘student’ member of his fathers band & also his fathers discipline apparently. No doubt that has kept him in good stead for what has become an illustrious career indeed. Starting out so young & getting to work with superb musicians for decades to come. I have him playing on Pete Townshend solo records and also Mike Oldfield & a few other artists here & there. Phillips drumming on Jon Lord’s Bach Onto This is other worldly. A good producer also. Regarding Ian Paice, I have noticed you as a Paice aficionado lately, not sure how that has transpired, the jury is still out on that one, he, he, he! Cheers.

  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    George@6: I’ve read about a hungry DP upstaging The Faces on that legendary US tour, but it’s nice to meet an eyewitness who still remembers a gig! Vielen lieben Dank!

    To give The Faces some credit: The fact that they took DP on as an opening act and let them finish the tour shows them as great sports. The Faces had charm and were an institution, if you dislike them you don’t have a rock’n’roll heart, but they were neither on album nor live ever focused at what they did. It was slapdash most of the time – and unlike the Stones with disciplinarian ringmaster Jagger, The Faces didn’t just artfully PRETEND to be slapdash, they actually were the real thing. If you then let a well-oiled machine like DP be your opening act – and for all the improvisational mayhem, Purple were always live a well-oiled machine – which has virtuoso players to boot, you do have some balls as the main act.

    And it is fitting that from what I have read, all the Mk II Purple guys hold that Faces tour in dear memory, they were treated well and as equals plus always invited to The Faces’ rampageous after-show parties.

  18. 18
    DeeperPurps says:

    MacGregor @16. You’re absolultely right about Simon Phillips – fantastic drummer. I had the privilege of seeing him play with Jeff Beck in 1980 during the There & Back tour. Great musicianship by all concerned. Great show.

  19. 19
    MacGregor says:

    DeeperPurps @ 18 – lucky you, what a gig to witness. I was watching a few recent online interviews with Phillips were he talks about his humble beginnings. All of a sudden he is working with Jack Bruce, Phil Collins calling him wanting him to drum live on tour with Genesis. About 1976 era after Bill Bruford played with them. Then to Jeff Beck then to Pete Townshend. And that was just the start of his illustrious career. What a performer he is. Cheers.

  20. 20
    George in Ohio says:

    Uwe Hornung, you are absolutely right about The Faces. Musically, they were not on the same level as Purple (at least not in the ability to improvise, as their songs were much more precise), but they were extremely enjoyable and a lot of fun to watch. I do remember Rod Stewart having some nice things to say at the outset (i.e., “Wasn’t Purple terrific?” or something to that effect). I was sitting on almost a right angle to the stage and one tier higher up. From there, I could see Paicey standing at the rear of the stage next to/behind a curtain watching all of the Faces’ set. That’s not much to go on, but it sure seemed that the two groups got along well.

    A few other things I remember: Jon smiled an awful lot while he was playing these remarkable organ improvisations. He must have enjoyed the gig, although this was consistent with his genial personality. Ritchie was closest on stage to us, and during his “Child in Time” solo, used a strobe light to create a spectacular visual to complement the astonishing playing. My main Paicey memory is that he was just a dynamo – a whirlwind of energy, yet incredibly precise in his playing. Big Ian was in terrific form, particularly on “Child in Time” – I get goose bumps just thinking about it. And Roger was rock solid, his trademark hat rocking back and forth as he pounded out the bass lines. And the crowd : wow, were they ever into it. Yeah, you have to give the Faces credit for embracing an opening act that was dynamite. Fabulous memories!

  21. 21
    Uwe Hornung says:

    ‘Ere’s something on that Faces/DP tour from the Summer of ’71 …


  22. 22
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Jon must have known Ron Wood from his Artwoods days, Ron was the kid brother of Art Wood.


    And of course Jon played with Ron in the short-lived Santa Barbara Machine Head.


    Ron’s bass playing with the Jeff Beck Group was widely regarded as pivotal at the time (he wasn’t credited on the rear sleeve of Beck-Ola as “guitar bass” for nothing!), Gene Simmons (himself underneath all that make-up and “The Demon”-armor a very underrated bass player) cites him as a major influence. He is also the man who played the brilliantly melodic bass on Stewart’s Maggie May (never mind some sloppy timing, hey, it’s Ronnie Wood!). Given Blackmore’s respect for Beck, he must have been aware of Ron’s musicality as well.

    Rod Stewart, otoh, had been shortlisted as a potential DP singer at a time.

    And Ronnie Lane was just a natural musician’s musician, singer, songwriter, guitarist and another melodically extremely creative and intuitive bassist.

    So The Faces were not a band to look down upon, even though hardly the tightest outfit on earth!

    Not to forget, Kenny Jones got the job with The Who as Keith Moon’s replacement and Little Ian did not, though he auditioned with them (before he joined Whitesnake). In hindsight, a bad move, Paicey would have given The Who a better moon-less lease of life I think, but Pete Townshend knew Jones better (or perhaps he was concerned about Ian’s Deep Purple pedigree). Entwistle plus Ian Paice, my, what a rhythm section that would have been!

  23. 23
    Dr. Bob says:

    #8, a lot of hard rock drummers of that era including Paice, Ward, Baker, & Bonzo had that swing.

  24. 24
    MacGregor says:

    I remember hearing about The Who & Ian Paice possibly replacing Keith Moon many years ago & I thought then as I do now, I could not see that working. However as we know The Who or I should say Townshend did take a more straight ahead approach to their songs at that period, possibly influenced by Townshend’s success with his solo albums Empty Glass & later on Cowboys Eyes.Kenny Jones was very on the line in the way he played, a fine drummer but it didn’t last long & some people were not happy.
    Also, I could only imagine what the reaction would have been if Thunder fingers Entwistle was told by Paice, ‘by the way, I lead, you follow’! Can you imagine that scenario, it may have been the shortest group cameo that never happened! Ha Ha!
    Drummers eh? Just who do they think they are? Cheers.

  25. 25
    RB says:

    Always heard and read about Paicey as a very technically proficient drummer. Rick Wakeman referred to him as being technically brilliant. Plus, he has feel to back it up, as well as flare and imagination. Monster player!

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