I like listening to other drummers and duplicating what they play, though usually I end up playing the lick a little differently than how it was originally played. I think that’s really cool because you make it your own lick, rhythm, beat, groove – whatever you want to call it. It stays with you and you use it more naturally.
Some drummers learn licks and grooves note for note, and call them up, like, “Well, I think I’ll use lick A now followed by lick B and C.” But I don’t feel that’s playing music. It’s what I call “catalog playing.” You’re not conversing – you’re basically repeating things you either learned off of a record or read out of a book.
Here are three different examples of how I thought David Garibaldi played “Oakland Stroke” (from Back To Oakland by Tower of Power). None of these examples are exactly what he played. I learned the beat a long time ago, before we had color TV (yuk, yuk!).
Take care. Talk to you next time.