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“Whiplash,” Jazz, Drumming, Prog Metal, and a young woman named Devikah.

August 18, 2017

So I finally got around to watching the movie “Whiplash.” It is about a student drummer at a prestigious (fictional) school, having to deal with a horrifyingly sadistic music teacher/band leader (think drill sergeant from “Full Metal Jacket,” but a lot less funny). The kid almost kills himself (literally) trying to be the best drummer he can, and avoid being abused by his teacher.

Was the film worth watching? A little, since I like jazz on occasion, and really appreciate great drumming, no matter the genre. However, the film was quite disturbing and hard to stomach.

I’ve just done some research, and it seems the movie is mostly B.S. A teacher could never legally be as abusive as the teacher in the film (using an incredible amount of homophobic, racist insults, physically assaulting students). The student’s practicing methods are not portrayed accurately, anyone who bleeds that much while playing drums is doing something very very wrong, etc.

The actor Miles Teller (no, I’d never heard of him before either) who played the student, is, it turns out, very musically gifted. He was a self-taught drummer. and had been playing for many years.. rock cover bands.. but learned all the immeasurably difficult drum parts in less than a month.

The film.. if you want to see some great acting (J. K. Simmons won Best Supporting actor for his performance as the sadistic teacher), don’t mind being disturbed, and really like jazz, you might want to watch it.. maybe.. but otherwise.. skip it. Seriously.

For those who are morbidly curious, here is trailer:

The rest of this post is not about the film. I’m now going to write a bit about a drummer I found on youtube. Her name is Devikah, she is only 18, and looks like a really cute anime character. She’s also a damn good drummer.

I found Devikah while looking up tunes from the “Whiplash” soundtrack. One of the videos that showed up was Devikah playing drum covers of the two main musical pieces from the film.

Here is the video:

After the video, I clicked on one of her comments, which led to some info about her, also on youtube, and found a link to her website. On there, as on her youtube channel, are many more videos. Turns out she is quite versatile, and can play various styles of music, including prog metal. Devikah is in college now, but is available to play gigs a few nights a week. She’s a drummer for hire, living in Las Vegas.

Here is Devikah performing a prog metal cover of a song by a band called X Japan:

Here is her website: https://www.bandmix.com/devikah/

Some of you are likely not familiar with the genre of music called “prog metal.” “Prog” stands for “progressive.” The most famous prog metal band in America is Dream Theater. Prog metal is crazily hard to play. It is, or, should I say, it can be, a mixture of metal and other musical styles, including jazz and classical. Like jazz, prog metal is something of an acquired taste. I’ve been into jazz off and on for quite awhile, but have only been listening to prog metal for a few years.

Here is my favorite song by Dream Theater:

Dream Theater is not my favorite prog metal band. I prefer a band from Sweden, called Opeth.. formerly mostly a death metal band that went prog..

Prospekt (spelled with a “k” on purpose) from England (sadly, they have a different singer now than the one on their first album). Unfortunately, this amazing band is practically unknown.. I’m trying to change that. Here’s an audio-only video of their song, “Shroud.”

I also really like some music by the band Pesefone. This band is from a tiny European country I’d never heard of before, called Andorra. I only like this band’s instrumentals. For the most part, I do not like the singer’s voice. But the instrumentals are fantastic. This band is also pretty much unknown. Here’s an intense instrumental (audio only):

And some American instrumental bands.. Scale the Summit.. I listen to this band quite often.. hmm.. hard to choose which track to put here.. Alright.. this is a video of one of the guitarists playing “Black Hills,” which is the first Scale the Summit track I bought (please pay for your downloads if you can find them available for sale):

The Fine Constant:

Animals As Leaders:

And lastly, the band Liquid Tension Experiment, made up of three of the guys from Dream Theater, plus bassist Tony Levin:

Alright then.. thanks for coming along on this musical journey through film, jazz, and prog rock. I hope you’ve enjoyed the trip.

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