Vlamo Jeff Queen Interview
On Saturday April 20 2013 Vlamo (Flemish organisation for not-professional musicians) organised the clinic “Vlamo meets Blast” in Evergem (Belgium). Two former performers of Blast taught the participants in brass (Sanford Jones) and percussion (Jeff Queen). We asked Jeff to respond to a few questions.
It is said, percussionists are no brass players. Why choose someone (you) to play snare drum?
I started playing drums in 5th grade (around 10 years old), I always seemed to be more drawn to the drums than to a wind instrument. I think it more to do with watching rock bands and wanting to play drumset than any dislike for brass/wind instruments.
The basic techniques are really that important?
Yes. Without them, you have nothing to build on. All of the hard stuff is build off something basic and expanded on. If you have problems playing a certain pattern or skill, you can probably break it down to something relatively simple.
How do you become a better drummer?
Practice and patience. Focus on the basics and keep trying to push yourself. In terms of drumming, get better at timing skills, control of multiple heights, diddles, rolls, and flams. Go slow, be patient, try to practice every day.
Is there a magic formula to get a good snare drum solo to write?
I don’t know. I know the methods that I use work for me, and there are times where the notes take longer to come out than others. I just know that if I stick to it, keep trying to find different ways to approach phrases, I will eventually come up with something that I like and be able to keep pressing forward with a composition.
Why did the theatre production BLAST as many musicians, choreographers, arrangers and bands inspired?
It was inspired by the skills that it takes to be in a drum corps. The producers wanted to be able to showcase the oustanding virtuosity that is present in drum corps and that was the inpiration behind the show. We tried to incorporate as much of what we knew from the activity as possible and showcase it in our respective moments of the show. I think everyone pretty much had that mindset and was able to put something pretty great together.
Finally, what advice would you like to give young musicians?
Do what you love and the rest will follow. Keep after whatever inspires you, no matter what. It will take a lot of time, effort and sacrifice, but in the end, it will be worth it.
Interview: Geert Vanmaeckelberghe
Picture: Antony Petit