What Does Jeff Berlin Have Against Metronomes?

Discussion in 'Technique [BG]' started by jasper383, Jul 27, 2006.

  1. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    The older I get, the more I appreciate Jeff Berlin's comments. I used to think of him as a windbag who was doing more harm than good. I felt like, who is this yahoo from Craptown, Florida daring to spit in the face of thousands of years of teaching traditions? I felt that he had no respect for those who came before him, and had a way over-inflated sense of himself. I remember him saying that he played on lots of commercials to make a buck and insisted that the advertisers never say that he played on them. Well since when do advertisers ever advertise the musicians in their commercials? Coca-Cola doesn't give a rat's ass if Jeff Berlin is playing on their jingle and telling people he played on it is the least important thing on their agenda.

    But as I got older, I started thinking that some of the things he was saying were his way of getting people to think of new and different ways of approaching music rather than sticking to the tried and true. Yes, he says that stuff in a completely arrogant way like he's the only authority on anything musical out there. But in reality, he's just trying to mix it up a little and get us all to think in ways we might not have thought about before. Take away the overbearing ego, and a lot of the things he says are true. People do over-rely on metronomes. Going to bass camps where nature walks and zen discussions predominate have F-all with playing music. Musicians don't like having their safe little realities screwed with. All true.

    But this interview that Mike Visceglia did with him shows me that it seems like Jeff is becoming something I never thought he was capable of being...humble. Maybe having a child with cancer showed him that there were lots more important things out there than pushing his rampant egotism on the public. Or maybe it was years of people writing into Bass Player telling him he was FOS. I don't know. But rather than castigate him, as so many have done, maybe we should listen to some of the things he says, realize his intentions in saying them are to make people think about music in different and non-traditional ways, and (God forbid) maybe even listen to them.
    31HZ likes this.
  2. Read the text on the front page of his web site:

    If that's not arrogance, I don't know what is.

    It's one thing to think it (even if it is true). It's another thing to plaster it on the front of your web page.

    - Dave
  3. Phil Smith

    Phil Smith Mr Sumisu 2 U

    May 30, 2000
    Peoples Republic of Brooklyn
    Creator of: iGigBook for Android/iOS
    It looks more like a quote from some article. It's common for people to take quote like this and put them in their press and other materials including websites.
  4. Kristopher


    Mar 13, 2005
    Tempe, AZ
    Ha, I hadn't read that one before. But after reading the statesments presented, really reading them, I don't think any of them are untrue. I can see why someone might call those statements arrogant, but it's not exactly an interview with the guy (if even he's the one who is personally writing those statements), it's just a promo face to a website.
  5. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Although the term "Legend" is subjective, at best, in the eyes (ears?) of the beholder, I see nothing untrue written on that page.

    And as Jaco once said "It ain't bragging if you can back it up". :smug:
  6. pmaraziti


    Feb 12, 2006
    Uhmmm my teacher suggests to ALWAYS practice with metronome (and everything through the Circle of Fifths..but that's an other story) , sometimes is annoying... you know why... because the "click" shows exactly if you're or not on time... so... I'd defintely says is a useful tool...

    I also practice playing along with CDs, but then I find myslef depending a bit too much on melodies of other instruments.

  7. I didn't disagree with anything he said. I just felt it was kind of a lame thing to put on a home page. His music should speak for itself. Why does he feel the need to pimp himself like that? If what he says is true then he shouldn't need to say it.

    Yeah, it worked out great for Jaco. :(

    - Dave
  8. Dbassmon


    Oct 2, 2004
    Rutherford, NJ
    That's a BS thing to say IMOHO. There's no shortage of arrogance in this thread.

    Great players and not so great players are often really insecure. They compensate by telling everyone how great they play or pretenting how smart they are....
  9. Are you saying that Jeff is insecure?

    I'm sorry, but I'm not getting your point.

    Are you saying that I'm insecure about my playing so I'm pretenting (sic) to be smart?

    If you're trying to insult me, you'll have to do a better job at it.

    - Dave
  10. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Actually it did - as he landed the job with Weather Report as a result of his constant "bragadoccio" !! ;)

    What better job could he have got!! :)

    His later life wasn't so good, of course - but that was down to the combination of drink/drugs with mental illness ...:(
  11. PhatBasstard

    PhatBasstard Spector Dissector Supporting Member

    Feb 3, 2002
    Las Vegas, NV.
    Let's stay on point, shall we.
    Jaco's downfall was due to mental illness.
    His death was due to an overzealous a$$hole of a bouncer.

    Neither of which had anything to due with his musical ability. Although the mental illness was a big contributer to it's deteriorization in later years.

    Jaco was at his best (and letting us all know it) when he was at his most lucid.
  12. JimmyM


    Apr 11, 2005
    Apopka, FL
    Endorsing: Yamaha, Ampeg, Line 6, EMG
    I can't stand people who brag about themselves and try to tell everyone they're the greatest thing in the world.
  13. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    I play in a duo setting with a guitar player. He's a bit of an enigma to me. Improvises over changes well. Great memory for tunes. But playing with him is always an excercise becuase beats and bars will drop. Even in a 12 bar blues. So partly its that he's not listening but also because his sense of time is way out of whack. We played a gig this weekend, he called a tune, the drummer started the groove in a completely acceptable tempo but the guitar player counted of a different time despite the set up by the drummer. Other times I have started walking a chorus of a tune but he'll come in somewhere bizarre at the top of the tune. That's ears but it still bizarre that even with a drummer he'll drop beats and bars. I'm not sure how to tactfully ask him to use a metronome. I guess Mr Berlin would not be tactful at all.
  14. ras1983


    Dec 28, 2004
    Sydney, Australia
    Well, you could always buy 1000 metronomes and have them delivered to his front door.:D
  15. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    But would it make any difference if, as you say he can't hear he's out of time with everybody else...:meh:
  16. Steve Clark

    Steve Clark

    Jan 9, 2004
    London ON
    That is probably true. It's just very odd to me that someone with such great harmonic and melodic sense has such a weird sense of time. The listening issue was a recent conclusion after doing a couple of gigs with a bigger band. The duo was less of an issue since I would just switch gears when he went somewhere else.
  17. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I meet people playing Jazz like that all the time - not sure, but I think it's down to too much time playing solo...?

    I also think this is part of Jeff Berlin's point - so it's no use just saying to somebody : go away and practice with a metronome; if they have other issues and if they are not using practice time well, then it may just make them worse or put them off practicing...:meh:

    So - I was mentioning before, how Jazz Summerschool I attended is more focused on feeling a common sense of pulse in a large group of people - maybe not practical here - but I think the point is that people are thinking more now, about how to address this kind of issue and develop different strategies, to instill good time .
  18. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    Sounds like a metronome may not be the answer. Buy him this instead... :D

  19. From Wikipedia:

    "Jaco often got into trouble with other kids in the neighborhood for his arrogance; once, he was ambushed at football tryouts by an upset quarterback. The result was a broken left wrist, which severely affected his drumming ability."

    His attitude affected his behavior which was made worse by his illness and drug and alcohol problems. I never had any doubts that Jaco was probably being a bit of an arrogant prick when he got bounced and subsequently killed. He certainly didn't deserve what happened but it wouldn't have happened if he had less of an attitude.

    I know people want to live in a fantasy world where Jaco was this great guy and wasn't responsible for his actions because of his mental illness and drug abuse. There is such a thing as personal responsibility though.

    I love Jaco's music. He was one of my earliest and biggest influences and I have tons of live CD's that I've collected over the years. However, I have lost some respect for him due to the way he has presented himself. Unfortunately, that's the legacy that he made for himself.

    - Dave
  20. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    I think the point people are making though is that it's obviously not the case that you need to be humble and easy to get on with - to get the best gigs!

    So Jaco landed probably the best possible gig , from his point of view - Weather Report - and Jeff Berlin has played with loads of great musicians .....
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