A Different Drummer
by Jaclyn Killins
Scott Doyle must be a cartoon. He maneuvers the drums as Mogley swings from tree to tree in the Jungle Book, all with the innocent humility of Franklin the Turtle and the manic energy of Road Runner.
Growing up in Montague meant there was always someone to play music with. More than bands, there were bevies of musicians constantly getting together to freak each other out in jam sessions.
Doyle’s parents supported his thunderous pastime because they realized how much he liked it. “They didn’t clamp down on the noise factor.” Twenty-two-year-old Doyle said.
In high school, Doyle picked up a reputation. In one battle of the bands he played drums for 3 out of the 7 bands. “I won,” he laughed. He was a band tramp, eager to play for whoever needed him.
Doyle is still a bit of a two-timer. He keeps the beat for funk rock outfit The Mystery System and jam band Disco Rockin Llamas. The Mystery System is influenced by electronic music like Daft Punk and New Deal whereas the Llamas look up to jam greats Phish and The Greatful Dead. Both bands share a common thread, a funk factor that gets people dancing. Doyle, with his off the beatin’ path groove is that thread.
He has always approached music from the perspective of the grove instead of trying to emulate the exact patters of a song. “My ears just always told me what to play,” he said.
This gives Doyle’s sound an unlimited freshness.
More than a performer, Doyle is an educator who teaches drum lessons at the Funkfactory drum shop in Charlottetown.
“The first time I taught a lesson I blew apart the three years of my own playing and how I learned them,” Doyle explained.
As a teacher he doesn’t preach instead he thinks back to the revelations he made while learning to play the drums and sets the conditions for his students to make their own revelations.
Doyle, who is in the middle of a degree in classical percussion at UPEI, works on drumming techniques constantly and has a lot of tricks up his sleeve, but don’t expect to be privy to them any time soon. He’s not a fan of showy drumming and prefers to focus on playing for the song.
“I’m blown away by drummers who don’t flash their skills,” he said. This restraint is something Doyle admires in one of his favorite bands, Radiohead.
Doyle is a self professed music geek who admits to liking everything from industrial noise to Gregorian chant.
Art Blakie’s “Moanin’” got Doyle into jazz, and he is forever indebted to him for this. “Jazz brings a different perspective to music because it is all reaction. When you bring this back to a rock song everything is so much clearer, you can really feel what the beat is supposed to be,” Doyle explained.
Peter Erskine, Elvin Jones, Miles Davis and especially Jojo Mayer are other jazz greats Doyle admires. In other genres, Doyle is a fan of funk masters James Brown and John Scofield, progressive rockers Yes and Rush, and legendary rock ’n’ rollers Led Zeppelin and The Beatles.