Busted Stuff, the album, is a retooled version of the Steve Lillywhite sessions that were recorded then shelved in 2000, only to be replaced by the self-consciously commercial release Everyday, which featured drum parts that were out of character for Beauford. “I’ve wanted to kind of chill out and lay back and not be as busy on the kit,” he admitted in the May/June 2001 edition of DRUM! His new tactics confounded many Beauford followers, and left them hungry for the complex and melodic lines that put the drummer on the map.
So it’s interesting that the opening title song from Busted Stuff isn’t a barnburner. Instead it kicks off at a medium tempo, and the arrangement conveys an introspective mood. But you can still hear Beauford’s famous linear cymbal treatments right off the bat, dancing back and forth between his hi-hat, splash and ride.
He sprinkles the song with elegant pauses, such as in the eleventh bar on the following page, which echo Matthews’ acoustic guitar line and nudge the band into the next phase of the chorus. In fact, Beauford’s bass drum punctuates Matthews’ right-hand rhythms throughout the piece, and he reserves fills only for the most effective transitions. He then reinvents his groove on the closing fade by introducing a snare hit on the and of 2, around which he places strategic bass drum phrases that lead us out of the number.
“Busted Stuff” may not be Cater Beauford’s most explosive drum part, but it does represent the high level of musicianship he applies to every track, and gives you plenty of cool riffs to study and perfect.