Matt Cameron and unconventional time signatures

Ike WinstonIke Winston Posts: 7
edited September 2006 in Musicians and Gearheads
Today when I listened to Riot Act for the first time in awhile, I noticed for the first time that not only Cropduster (which I already knew about) but also You Are and Get Right are played in unconventional time signatures (which, to me, means anything other than 4/4, 3/4, or 6/8). This means that every Matt Cameron-composed Pearl Jam song is in a "weird meter" with the possible exception of Evacuation--which, metrically speaking, I can't remember the sound of right now. Does anyone remember or know the time sig for that tune?

Aside from that, can anyone think of non-Cameron-composed PJ songs in which Cameron does "metrically weird" things with his drum performance, like play 3-against-4 and that kind of thing? There seemed to be something metrically unusual in the drumming at the end of 1/2 Full but I couldn't tell for sure. And while we're at it, can anyone think of any non-Cameron PJ songs written in unusual meters? From what I remember it sounding like, I think the coda of Stone's All Those Yesterdays is in 6/4 or something of the like. But that's all I can think of off the top of my head, and I might even be wrong about that one.

In any case, thanks for discussing. I should mention that I'm a bassist/guitarist and not a drummer, so I apologize to the drummers if some of my terminology is a bit off. Looking forward to hear any examples anyone can think of.
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Comments

  • mrwalkerbmrwalkerb Posts: 1,015
    I'm not a drummer by any means and really am just a bad bass player but the Matt Cameron thing makes sense because I've been listening to Soundgarden a lot lately and they have all kinds of fucked up time sigs so maybe it's something he picked up from/contrbuted to there as well. Just a thought
    "I'm not suicidal, except when I drink. That's why we don't all drink at the same time, there'd be no-one alive to drive home..."
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  • enharmonicenharmonic Posts: 1,926
    There's nothing unconventional about it if you dig jazz. It's a different way of thinking and playing though for sure :)

    Check out Matt's band, Wellwater Conspiracy. Plenty of sick drumming :)
  • Matt is a pretty killer jazz drummer in addition to rock.
  • Pacomc79Pacomc79 Posts: 9,404
    Never The Machine forever from the Down on the Upside album is cool, come to think of it that whole album is cool for the most part.
    My Girlfriend said to me..."How many guitars do you need?" and I replied...."How many pairs of shoes do you need?" She got really quiet.
  • Brisk.Brisk. Posts: 11,179
    geese, matt cameron is amazing in soundgarden, isn't really his best in pearl jam unfortunatly, veder keeps going on how he thinks he is the best drummer , though he doesn't really show it :(
  • Cameron sure as hell does show his talent in Pearl Jam!

    Especially live,... so many amazing fills and slight changes to old songs that just breathe new life... he even managed to out-do the amazing Jack Irons (given to fly for a perfect example of this).

    And he's written some of the more interesting and challenging songs in their catalouge.

    Plus i've never heard him lose a beat.

    As for the other part of this thread...

    All Those Yesterdays is in a strange time signature for sure,.. As is Last Exit (i think..)
    Come on pilgrim you know he loves you..

    http://www.wishlistfoundation.org

    Oh my, they dropped the leash.



    Morgan Freeman/Clint Eastwood 08' for President!

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  • Pacomc79 wrote:
    Never The Machine forever from the Down on the Upside album is cool, come to think of it that whole album is cool for the most part.


    i just wanted to give a bump to Pac's mention of DOTUS ...
    a fucking phenomenal album, for sure.

    i almost feel stupid for mentioning SG's last album as one of their best, but it truly is amazing. and it's probably not as cheesy as saying i really love Superunknown or somthing ... and truthfully SUnknown really isn't my favorite at all ... much more of a badmotorfinger fan.

    :D

    but the writing and composition on DOTUS is amazing!
    and matt drummed the fuck out of every song he played on all SG albums.
    If I was to smile and I held out my hand
    If I opened it now would you not understand?
  • Pacomc79Pacomc79 Posts: 9,404
    i just wanted to give a bump to Pac's mention of DOTUS ...
    a fucking phenomenal album, for sure.

    i almost feel stupid for mentioning SG's last album as one of their best, but it truly is amazing. and it's probably not as cheesy as saying i really love Superunknown or somthing ... and truthfully SUnknown really isn't my favorite at all ... much more of a badmotorfinger fan.

    :D

    but the writing and composition on DOTUS is amazing!
    and matt drummed the fuck out of every song he played on all SG albums.


    when I met Matt in Memphis in at the show in 2000, I said as much. SG at the omni for the DOTUS show was my first big concert (I'm from a small town)
    They played this Encore that night I think it was Nazi Driver or part of it, from the Ultramega Ok Ep. just before Louder than Love. Cameron was going nuts starting at some ridiculous over 200 BPM while they all walked up. It was awesome. They broke up shortly after that show. I was pretty sad about that hoping that Cameron might resurface with Pearl Jam.....he said... Well you got your wish. Now I hope they turn him loose and he jazzes up some different stuff on this new album. His contributions like "You Are" have been some of the better recent offerings. He's more precise than Jack Irons and some people love that loose feel or the hard drumming style of Dave A, but overall as drummers go, he's probably the all around best the band has had even though I prefer others style sometimes. I really like the guy, cool, genuine, great musicians musician.
    My Girlfriend said to me..."How many guitars do you need?" and I replied...."How many pairs of shoes do you need?" She got really quiet.
  • Pacomc79 wrote:
    Now I hope they turn him loose and he jazzes up some different stuff on this new album. His contributions like "You Are" have been some of the better recent offerings.

    If you hadn't already, Pac, you just won my heart with that comment.

    I get so tired of hearing people bash on "You Are".
    I know it's completely different from anything PJ has ever done, in terms of the gate effect and overall feel of the song (but then again aren't most PJ songs pretty unique?) but it's NOT bad ... in fact, as you say ... it's one of the better songs on that album ... its actually the one that my friend and I heard while listening to RA for the first time and got that "oh my god, shivers down your spine" feeling ... the tears in your eye where you are just like "what the fuck is this? it's SOOoOoooo good" ... yeah ...

    and i agree ... Matt may not be the most agressive drummer, and he doens't nail that weird tribal funk that Jack had ... but he definately is the one to "MESH" with the band the best ...

    PJ has always been about "giving way" to the music ... surrendering and "not playing" at the right parts, but just letting the music be what it should be ( a lot of talk about that on SVT, if i recall) ... and i think Matt does do the best job of that ...
    If I was to smile and I held out my hand
    If I opened it now would you not understand?

  • All Those Yesterdays is in a strange time signature for sure,.. As is Last Exit (i think..)

    Yeah, there's an obvious example that slipped my mind when I wrote this post. 5/4 verse, 4/4 chorus.

    I guess I should've said "unconventional time signatures for rock music." I'm well aware that all kinds of time sigs get mileage in the jazz world, but in rock you don't hear them very much outside of groups like Tool or Dream Theater.

    I also think it's right to say Cameron is a "musician's musician." His facility in writing/playing odd meters is probably lost on listeners who can't pick out time signatures while they're listening. Not to say this makes them "worse listeners" by any means (no musician's superiority complex here!), just that the flashiness of Dave A. or the "tribal" feel of Jack Irons are more "obviously" picked up on as illustrative of drumming talent. In general though, I've reached the conclusion that when Ed (or anyone else in the band) heaps praise on Cameron as being such an awesome drummer/musician, the whole time-signature business is a big part of that.

    By the way, no one's said anything about 1/2 Full yet. Does anyone know if he's doing anything "unusual" at the end there?
  • i think matts dynamics are the best of any drummer they've had in the past.

    release is a good example of this for me.....he plays the quiet parts quiet and gets aggresive when the time calls for it.

    dave just cracked that snair with the same attack no matter if it fit or not in that song,and while jack had it down better than dave, matt just nails it how i've always heard it played in my head.

    he doesnt capture jacks feel on in my tree,but he has made it his own in it's own right.

    i was excited to hear he was going to record with them and hoped he would bring his different time signatures with him.i've read interviews where the other members have said his writing challenges them and that can only be a good thing.
  • Not sure about half full actually.

    i think it sounds like an odd signature because of the chord switches but it might be in 4/4.
    Come on pilgrim you know he loves you..

    http://www.wishlistfoundation.org

    Oh my, they dropped the leash.



    Morgan Freeman/Clint Eastwood 08' for President!

    "Make our day"
  • the unseen wrote:
    i think matts dynamics are the best of any drummer they've had in the past.

    release is a good example of this for me.....he plays the quiet parts quiet and gets aggresive when the time calls for it.

    dave just cracked that snair with the same attack no matter if it fit or not in that song,and while jack had it down better than dave, matt just nails it how i've always heard it played in my head.

    he doesnt capture jacks feel on in my tree,but he has made it his own in it's own right.

    i was excited to hear he was going to record with them and hoped he would bring his different time signatures with him.i've read interviews where the other members have said his writing challenges them and that can only be a good thing.
    yeah i think stone (maybe Ed) said something like "Matt writes things that at first leave us with our heads cocked in confusion" :cool:
    Come on pilgrim you know he loves you..

    http://www.wishlistfoundation.org

    Oh my, they dropped the leash.



    Morgan Freeman/Clint Eastwood 08' for President!

    "Make our day"
  • enharmonicenharmonic Posts: 1,926
    yeah i think stone (maybe Ed) said something like "Matt writes things that at first leave us with our heads cocked in confusion" :cool:

    That's because Matt Cameron is a musical genius. :)
  • Can someone please tell me how to figure out the time signature to any piece of music just by listening to it?

    I really can't do it...
    When this just feels like spinning plates.
  • enharmonicenharmonic Posts: 1,926
    Can someone please tell me how to figure out the time signature to any piece of music just by listening to it?

    I really can't do it...

    http://www.musictheory.halifax.ns.ca/13ts.html

    http://www.dolmetsch.com/musictheory4.htm

    The simplest way I can think of to help you out :)
  • Just count the beats of the song,.. focus on the drums (mainly the bass drum). tis not hard. :)

    Also..

    i think Sleight Of Hand is in a funky time measure.
    Come on pilgrim you know he loves you..

    http://www.wishlistfoundation.org

    Oh my, they dropped the leash.



    Morgan Freeman/Clint Eastwood 08' for President!

    "Make our day"
  • the unseen wrote:
    he doesnt capture jacks feel on in my tree,but he has made it his own in it's own right.

    I love Matt but when it comes to stuff like "In My Tree", "Given To Fly" and anything else with continuous tom-tom-tommery, there's no substitute for Jack.
    www.PintoMusic.com
    ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯
  • enharmonicenharmonic Posts: 1,926
    PintoMusic wrote:
    I love Matt but when it comes to stuff like "In My Tree", "Given To Fly" and anything else with continuous tom-tom-tommery, there's no substitute for Jack.

    +1

    Have you head his solo album...Attention Dimension?
  • i think Sleight Of Hand is in a funky time measure.

    Yeah, there's another one. Jeff wrote that one if memory serves. I think the verse is like 5/8, or maybe 25/8 depending on how you look at it since the whole thing repeats every 5 groups of 5.

    And to whomever asked a few posts up: speaking as someone who's 95% self-taught in terms of music theory, I'd say counting the drumbeats (particularly kick and snare) is definitely the easiest way to determine meter. Whenever the guitar riff starts to repeat, that's when you start the new count. Songs like we've been mentioning (Sleight of Hand, Last Exit, All Those Yesterdays, most anything by Matt, etc.) are good practice. Also, I Am Mine is a good one for figuring out what 3/4 sounds like as opposed to common 4/4 time. Happy listening . . .
  • 62strat62strat Posts: 638
    in my opinion, anyone that says "matt cameron cant drum to given to fly"

    is an idiot.

    People who also say matt cameron is too straight ahead. Have no clue what they are talking about.

    What i will accept is "i prefer jack irons to matt cameron"

    But matt cameron is far and above jack irons. Matt cameron is a beast.
    "...and he who forgets, will be destined to remember..."
    E.V
  • Yeah, there's another one. Jeff wrote that one if memory serves. I think the verse is like 5/8, or maybe 25/8 depending on how you look at it since the whole thing repeats every 5 groups of 5.
    .

    isn't it kind of hard to count bass drum kicks on songs written in 5/8 ?

    SOH has a synchopated beat, i think ... the drum isn't really driving the song, so if you were looking for the kick, wouldn't you be counting a lot of dead air\ rests ?

    seems like it's best to just start counting fast (8th note fast) when the riff starts up ... you get 5 in on the first appregiation ... 5 in between, then 5 on the next little piece ... right?

    i dunno ... i hate time signatures ...

    grrr.
    If I was to smile and I held out my hand
    If I opened it now would you not understand?
  • Listen to Money by Pink Floyd. Its in 7/8 time. The bass line repeats every 7 8th notes.
  • 62strat wrote:
    People who also say matt cameron is too straight ahead. Have no clue what they are talking about.

    What i will accept is "i prefer jack irons to matt cameron"

    But matt cameron is far and above jack irons. Matt cameron is a beast.


    yeah. while we are on this subject, lets compare:

    jack wrote: the whale song (!?!)
    matt wrote: IN THE MOON LIGHT ...

    and many others ... but i love in the moon light ....

    that song kicks serious ass!
    If I was to smile and I held out my hand
    If I opened it now would you not understand?
  • surferdudesurferdude Posts: 2,057
    yeah. while we are on this subject, lets compare:

    jack wrote: the whale song (!?!)
    matt wrote: IN THE MOON LIGHT ...

    and many others ... but i love in the moon light ....

    that song kicks serious ass!
    About the last thing I look for in a drummer is songwriting ability. I love In The Moonlight but I equally hate Evacuation, the weakest album song in the PJ catalogue.
    “One good thing about music,
    when it hits you, you feel to pain.
    So brutalize me with music.”
    ~ Bob Marley
  • surferdude wrote:
    About the last thing I look for in a drummer is songwriting ability. I love In The Moonlight but I equally hate Evacuation, the weakest album song in the PJ catalogue.

    i agree that evacuation isn't the greatest piece of music to listen to, but i think the lyrics are amazing ... straight forward and amazing.

    i know that doesn't go too far towards crediting mr. cameron ...

    my last post was really just looking for an excuse to heap praise on him ...
    ... in addition to me thinking that he is incredible and stands on his own as a drummer ... it was just an extra comment ...

    ... i think it's great that he can write too ...

    ... and everyone in that band has written a song that "sucks" ... imho, Not For You should be dropped from the setlist, it's boring.

    but that's just my opinion.

    :D
    If I was to smile and I held out my hand
    If I opened it now would you not understand?
  • surferdudesurferdude Posts: 2,057
    ... imho, Not For You should be dropped from the setlist, it's boring.

    but that's just my opinion.
    :D
    Biggest problem with Not For You live is that Matt drums it nearly identically to Light Years. There's no sense of urgency in the drums, mid-tempo slush.
    “One good thing about music,
    when it hits you, you feel to pain.
    So brutalize me with music.”
    ~ Bob Marley
  • surferdude wrote:
    About the last thing I look for in a drummer is songwriting ability. I love In The Moonlight but I equally hate Evacuation, the weakest album song in the PJ catalogue.

    evacuation is way more inaresting then mankind.
  • chopitdownchopitdown Posts: 2,222
    PintoMusic wrote:
    I love Matt but when it comes to stuff like "In My Tree", "Given To Fly" and anything else with continuous tom-tom-tommery, there's no substitute for Jack.

    i don't know matt wrote this one song called jesus christ pose that used a fair amount of toms and it wasn't too shabby
    make sure the fortune that you seek...is the fortune that you need
  • Just thought of a new non-Matt example for anyone who still cares: Low Light. For the people who are trying to figure out this time signature stuff, it's pretty easy to pick up on the extra beat at the end of each measure in the verses.
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