Time and Experience Invested
Fred: A band isn't just a group of musicians. It's a group of musicians at a certain moment in their lives. John, Paul, George and Ringo in 1964 would have sounded completely different than John, Paul, George, and Ringo in 1978.
But then again, there is that kind of DNA thing that musicians have. Everybody's place within the note is how they define themselves as musicians. Some drummers rush the beat. I rush the beat. I'm on top of the beat all the time. Some drummers, like Ringo or John Bonham, they lay back.
It's the placement within the spectrum of the actual note that defines who you are as a musician. Certain players, when they get together, it's magic, just because of some intangible element. You have some bands, like Hootie and the Blowfish, REM, the Rolling Stones, or even the Beatles. They have that experience of not only playing together over a long period of time, but they also grew up together. That's how those bands have always all been able to make such great records. They have such time and experience invested in what they're doing. They know subconsciously “this person is going to hit this note this way. So I will play with that person in order to make that work.” It gets to that point where, once again, the music plays you. You're not playing the music.
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