Butch Vig: Garbage Man Always Delivers

The Closer

Butch Vig is in the rare position to work with the best drummers in the business while he helms one of the world’s greatest and most enduring rock bands. And like many drummers, he sees himself as a supporting member, the glue that holds the ship together. He’s a curious soul with a broad mindset and a mad talent.

“I always put my drumming lowest on the totem pole after producing and songwriting,” Vig says. “But I’m always learning about drums and rhythms and how they work in the context of a song. Often on Sirius radio I hear great arrangements in songs from so many interesting young bands. Sometimes things come out of left field and they inspire me. Every time I hear something new on the radio that excites me it reminds me why I love making music. There’s still so much uncharted water out there. Hopefully I can still keep my ears and eyes open and find some of that uncharted water to help make me a better producer and a better drummer.”

Groove Analysis

Even though Butch Vig was a drummer long before he was a producer, that later career track did nothing but help his understanding of song structure and the drummer’s role. His playing with Garbage mixes treated and often distorted acoustic and electronic drum sounds to create a synthetic sound that fits the band perfectly. On Garbage’s latest release, Not Your Kind Of People, that trend continues, and Vig’s approach sounds that much more evolved.

“Blood For Poppies”
This track begins with a heavily distorted fill and follows it with a funky drum groove. Vig varies the beat in the second line by adding some open hi-hat notes that lead into each backbeat. At the chorus, the pattern changes to a sixteenth-note hi-hat pattern for more energy.

DRUM! Notation Guide

butch vig

“Not Your Kind Of People”
The title track has a slow and funky ride-cymbal groove with just the right amount of swing to give the song a sultry quality. The groove has some unusual snare-bass interaction for a pop song that continues at the chorus.

butch vig

“Man On A Wire”
This track starts with a heavily compressed and distorted snare playing a version of the “Motown Beat” originated by Funk Brother Benny Benjamin. At the chorus, the groove turns to a more traditional rock feel with the snares returning to 2 and 4.

butch vig
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