Jean Paul Gaster On Clutch’s Earth Rocker
Current Release Earth Rocker
Birthplace Fresno, California
Influences Elvin Jones, Earl Hudson, Buddy Miles, JuJu House
Website pro-rock.com, jeanpaulgaster.com
Drums Vintage Slingerland white marine pearl
Cymbals Meinl Byzance
Hardware Sonor JoJo Mayer Perfect Balance kick pedal, random cymbal stands, Meinl Kenny Arnoff Steel Bell series cowbell
Sticks Vater Westside, Wire Tap brushes
With so many modern recordings gridding and quantizing drum tracks until all vestige of humanity is quashed, listening to a living, breathing gem like Earth Rocker recalls a time when great rock drummers could be identified by feel alone. Jean-Paul Gaster’s liquid pocket sits slightly behind the beat, comfortably-yet-commandingly grounding Clutch’s thunderous din. Note how he sprinkles subtle grace notes throughout the riotous title tack, carving out ample space for guitarist Tim Sult’s menacing progression to open wide, or how he peppers lazy accents on the snare to retard the unrelenting kicks in “Crucial Velocity”’s ominous verses. Renowned for his cavernous grooves, Gaster shows just how low he can go on the swampy “D.C. Sound Attack,” which touts a tasty two-man cowbell jam with vocalist/raconteur Neil Fallon joining in on the funk-fest. Earth Rocker’s back half is dominated by a grip of shuffles that vary in speed and intensity, but never in swing-ability, proving that there’s simply no substitute for a seasoned timekeeper who can dish out supple meter all day long.
“The Wolfman Kindly Requests…”
Jean-Paul Gaster’s creative grooves explore the polyrhythmic possibilities of the song’s 12/8 time signature. The snare accent pattern during the intro superimposes a slightly disorienting quarter-note feel on top of the bass drum’s dotted quarter-note pulse, creating a two-over-three polyrhythm. The intro groove uses a quarter-note ride pattern that continues this 2:3 polyrhythmic feel. In the chorus he plays an interesting Afro Cuban bembe bell pattern on top of rock backbeats.