Agree all around with Mr Jacobson’s sentiments. Interesting division on this forum it seems viewed over the 2+ years I’ve become a BB addict coupled with my own developing appreciation as we adopted it. Some folks are deep into MIDI, some are happy enough to play all pre-packaged songs all night and some are adamant about avoiding the shadow of karaoke in any form. I’m more the latter group.
BB replaced our last drummer as we morphed into a trio (hence the name Shaemus we gave it at least initially) at the suggestion of a guitarist who had ‘read about it somewhere’. I’m not interested in going back to a solo/duo gig and the trio fits in enough rooms allowing a wider diversity of vocals, harmonies, instruments for a ‘reasonable’ fee (really I’m fortunate that is not a driving force!)
I thought this artificial drum would work to broaden the appeal of our sets using it on a handful of songs. Certainly tidy up our timing. I was at first leery of adding the outboard 2 button device but less keen to double tap the main. BB became instantly indispensable. We use it on all but a couple of songs - those are the purposeful exceptions now. The wide variety of kits folks have crafted make subtle but meaningful changes as needed for any given song. I don’t think much about functions live anymore (Pause/unpause, tap in to restart with a fill, outro, etc) since the parts flow so well in what we do and even the occasional misstep often is useful and recoverable in real time.
Thanks to some fine work (for instance Phil Flood’s ‘Willin’ and Phil’s ‘Black Magic Woman’ which we do live now) I now am now considering laying out some serious money (Mac Mini and Logic Pro X) to craft MIDI to our own needs (with some advice from very competent folks here like Persist and Phil Flood). Its interesting to have the gorgeous sound of the ‘Big Bose’ underneath our guitarists lead or to experiment with 2 basses (hey John Coltrane did it) with me playing live against the recorded bass and of course to have layers of congas and bits of Hammond to spice things without ironing the life out of it.
Not surprising is it that music being a creative rather than a static process demands that you walk a fine line between weaving in additive static elements and not stifling the live energy. We even capture some recorded intros from the original (about 10-12 secs to play to set up a song - Ozzie’s ‘Crazy Train’ and to start Pink Floyd’s ‘Breathe & Time’). You have to ask yourself “are we crossing the dreaded ‘K line’ or creating music”. Being human we have enough off-nights when its ‘show time’ all by ourselves so helpful electronics are welcome.