Nasty Lick 43: Vinnie Colaiuta on “Joe’s Garage”

This is a great lick that Vinnie plays on “Dong Work for Yuda” from the Frank Zappa album, “Joe’s Garage.” I immediately loved it because it sounded a lot like a famous Gadd lick I love.

The Gadd lick is a well known pattern, very similar to this one. (See example #2 from “Seven Gadd Licks,” else where in this blog). I am fairly certain that the first appearance of Gadd’s use of this lick was on Tom Scott’s tune, “Dirty Old Man,” from Scott’s 1975 album, “New York Connection.”

“Joe’s Garage” was released in 1979 and at the time, it is pretty well documented that Colaiuta was very heavily influenced by Steve Gadd’s playing. I believe that this “Dong Work” lick was inspired by the “Dirty Old Man” lick.

The basic premise here is to take 32nd notes, weave them between the hi hat, snare and bass drum and incorporate them into a groove. What makes these kind of patterns sound cool is that they are fully integrated into the groove of the song….they have a pocket.

Another great thing about licks like this is that they are distributed between multiple limbs in such a way that playing fast becomes very easy.

In order for this to sound good, you have to make sure that all the unaccented snare drum notes are ghosted.

So, have a look at the worksheet, and try this out. It’s sick. I promise. Here’s the link: Nasty Lick 43