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Here's my transcription of the intro fill and drum groove, as played by Aaron Comess, on the Spin Doctors tune, "Two Princes," from the band's 1991 album, Pocket Full Of Kryptonite. Two Princes peaked at #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

The opening fill starts with a 5-Stroke Roll followed by a 6-Stroke Roll with accompanying accents. Aside from the diddled strokes (RR LL) of the rolls, the entire fill can be played as alternating Single Strokes (R L R L).

How to Practice the Drum Intro

Break the fill down by leaving out the diddle strokes (aka rolls), accents, and Kick drum; just play the skeleton figure on the Snare drum. Next play the written accents on the Snare. Add the Kick drum which lines up with all of the accented Snare strokes, save one (sixteenth-note) just before Beat Three. Add the Toms (last three sixteenth-notes). Add the rolls. It may help to change the order that I've listed, but the important thing is to break it all down, as much as necessary, so you can play it cleanly/precisely/accurate. Own it!

Two Princes drum intro

The drum groove on "Two Princes" is awfully funky for a rock tune; it smells of New Orleans and Clyde Stubblefield. 

How to Practice the Drum Groove

First let's break this down into bite-sized pieces. Notice that the HiHat is just straight eighth-notes and the Snare accents are just the 2 and 4 backbeats. Get that happening first. Next, add the tap strokes on the Snare; take it slow and be sure to exaggerate the volume between the taps and accented notes. Next, add the Kick drum. Go slow and work for accuracy between the limbs; make sure the unisons are exact. If you have difficulty, break down the groove by leaving out the Snare and just focus on the HiHat and Kick drum pattern. Work slowly and build the groove slowly and methodically. Another approach is to build the groove note by note, playing all voices (HiHat, Snare and Kick) as they occur. Lastly, add the open HiHat on Beat One; HiHat foot closes on the AND of Two.

Two Princes drum intro

Bart Elliott

Bart Elliott is a degreed professional musician with a Bachelor of Music in Percussion Performance, and Master of Music post-graduate work. His 40+ years in the music and entertainment industry, over 100 album recordings to his credit, as well as an exhaustive understanding of contemporary and classical music makes him a complete and skilled master musician.

Bart continues to work as an active drummer, percussionist, composer, producer, music arranger, director, comedian, MC, educator, writer and visual artist. He is the owner and creator of DrummerCafe.com, which he founded in December of 1996.

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