Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sweat To The Beat

While reading the article I copied below, remember I'm thinking there may not be anything better than a good "I told you so". Much like my previous post proving how highly evolved I am.

This new article may very well prove I am also a finely tuned athlete. All these years existing as a primo catch and I marketed myself as PBR when I should've been going for a bottle of Dom, or at least a good boxed wine.

One of the best things about this article is the actual test subject. Clem Burke is a one time mentor, though I'm sure he wouldn't remember me from 3 decades ago, and lifelong idol/hero. I learned how to do a drumroll by emulating his style over and over again. Heck, I even learned a disco beat playing along to Heart of Glass and it didn't suck!

The article doesn't say anything I haven't been saying for years. At 43, I probably suffer from as many sport/drum related injuries as any athlete. Both my shoulders have bone spurs, I have tennis elbow which may need surgery some day. Both my calves are hyperdeveloped which often constricts lactic acid so I have chronic pain in both legs. (running helps this a bit, as does stretching) There are other minor aches and pains and I can't attribute all of them to old age, since I'm not that old.

It is true that I would have to spend about 15 minutes before and after shows doing various stretches while my band mates were working on 12-16 oz curls. Doing shows is like running in place for 40 minutes under 90 degree lights, and I won't even go into rehearsals.

Only problem is, most drummers tend to get a gut, myself included. We usually get the short end of the stick, no pun intended, since we're not as svelte as a singer or guitarist. This is from not doing any ab exercises and focusing more on speed than strength. We also get accustomed to eating more to keep our energy up since we burn so many calories. Sadly, our habits don't necessarily change when we're not gigging, or god forbid not working with 2 or 3 bands at a time.

It's all fine though. my wife says while every girl may want to date the singer or the guitarist, they all want to marry a drummer.

That's good enough for me.

here is the original article

Drumming beats most sport as exercise

Will Pavia | July 23, 2008

THEY have been the butt of jokes, and even the most agile of their number have seldom been regarded as paragons of physical virtue.

For all John Bonham's thunderous half-hour solos behind Led Zeppelin and Keith Moon's frenzied skinbashing with The Who, neither man - nor the generations of drummers who followed them - was ever recognised as a finely tuned athlete.

All that is about to change. After an eight-year study of Clem Burke, the veteran Blondie drummer, sports scientists have concluded drummers are comparable in their physical prowess with world-class sportsmen.

Marcus Smith of the University of Chichester said: "For me, as a sports scientist, he is no different to the Olympic athletes I have worked with."

Dr Smith and Steve Draper, of the University of Gloucestershire, monitored Burke's oxygen uptake, blood lactate and heart rate in rehearsals and live performances.

"He loses up to two litres of fluid in a performance, which is similar to a runner going out and doing 10,000m," Dr Smith said.

Burke burned 400-600 calories an hour. His heart rate averaged 140 to 150 beats a minute, though it could rise as high as 190 beats - equalling that of Cristiano Ronaldo in a Premier League football match.

Restoring the honour of the rock drummer has been a labour of love for Dr Smith, a lifelong Blondie fan. In 1998, as he was finishing his PhD, there were rumours the band was about to reform. He wrote to Burke that summer as a fan and as a sports scientist who had worked with professional football players and British Olympic boxers. They met at Wembley Arena, where Burke agreed to let Dr Smith follow him around on tour.

"There is a lot more to it than having a beer and walking on stage for two hours," Burke told The Times. Even if that was how he used to do business, "at this point in my career, I'm conscious of needing to be prepared".

He does not think, however, that he is the only one who requires the services of a sports scientist. "Rock and roll music is in middle age now," he added.

Burke needs to stay in peak physical condition and can sometimes suffer from joint pain. "Jacuzzis, saunas, massages, all that is incorporated into the life of the modern drummer," he said. The late Moon, whose manic performances seemed to create enough energy to power the national grid, was once his idol. "These days, I say he taught me what not to do. He was very physical but he basically killed himself with excessiveness," Burke said.

As he spoke, drummers up and down the country basked for a moment in the warm glow of recognition for their physical achievements.

Dave Rowntree, the drummer for Blur, said: "I would lose a stone every time I went on tour. You get a three-hour workout every night."

Sarah Jones, 22, who plays drums for indie band New Young Pony Club, said: "I think of drumming as exercise. Other musicians can stop occasionally but you have to be going like the clappers for the whole gig."

She now meets drummers with strict fitness regimes. "I do see drummers who start preparing hours before they go on. They say, 'Right, it's time for my banana now', and they will have specific energy drinks."

She wonders whether this fits within the rock and roll image. "It does seem rather boring," she said.

The Times

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