Author: Tolleson, Robin
Date published: May 1, 2012
"I've always been in bands where I was encouraged to play as fast as I possibly could," Eric Slick says. "Now I'm in one where I'm encouraged to play as few notes as possible."
Slick, twenty-five, began drumming for the Philadelphia rock band Dr. Dog in 2010, after stints with the Frank Zappa tribute Project/Object and the Adrian Belew Power Trio. "With Adrian I was trying to emulate Bill Bruford, Danny Carey, and other monster drummers who are known for their chops," Slick says. The same with Project/Object."
Dr. Dog offers a different challenge. The guys in the band are fans of groove music and drumming that's expressive but simple, like Jim Keltner or Ringo," Slick explains. "Ringo was great at following the lyric phrasing, and that's how I come up with fills and grooves. It's about serving the song, leaving space for the song to breathe. I'm learning to be more dedicated to the part, knowing that it's going to be mostly the same every night. The part needs to be the glue."
Slick says he had fun recording Dr. Dog's new release. Be the Void, playing 18'' Paiste Giant Beats as hi-hats, running his '65 Ludwig Club Date drums through vintage guitar amps, and lifting the end of "That Old Black Hole" with a powerful double-time pattern that hints at the controlled chaos of the band's shows. "Live we try to go for the reckless abandon," Slick says. "Controlled, barely. Just enough."
Before working with bassist Toby Leaman in Dr. Dog, Slick had mostly played with Julie Slick-his sister-on bass; the siblings have worked together in various situations since Eric was eleven. Toby is really solid and melodic," Slick says, "whereas with Julie it's more like playing with a guitarist than a bassist Toby is also a singer, so there are all kinds of new pockets to follow. It's all about locking in." Robin Tolleson