Some of the slang and terminology in Zoonbats is made up for this world, while others are real-world terms that I tend to assume readers will be familiar with… but when I go to double-check these sorts of things, I’m often surprised to find that there is very little presence on the internet of definitions or explanations for these terms. Most of these words and phrases are familiar to musicians, particularly funky musicians, but I reckon that’s not a prevalent demographic lighting up the Twitters and such… some of these phrases I’m sure have been used before in Zoonbats, such as ‘the skins’ meaning drums, or an old-fashioned term for the trombone, ‘slushpump.’ On this page, Myra tells Wayne that he knows what he needs to do when he slips out the pocket – the implication being that he has to get back in it, ASAP. A semi-equivalent phrase might be something like ‘when you fall off a horse, you have to get back on,’ or at least the first half of the phrase, since she’s left the second half to be filled in. Well, anyway, back to ‘the pocket’ – I generally understand it as the groove shared by a band’s rhythm section. Here’s a good explanation I found by Guy Capuano:
“This mystical term “Playing in the Pocket” may sound like nonsense to the uninitiated or untrained, but to any serious bass player or drummer it is absolute necessity. “In the pocket” is where a solid rhythm section lives. Let’s discuss exactly what this phrase means. Some may say the pocket is the place of consistency of the kick drum, actually playing the same rhythm, and the bass player linking up and playing to that very same rhythm, or playing off that rhythm. Keeping the groove consistent and never losing timing. Others may say of the pocket “Its nothing more than keeping good time and playing a part that sounds good for the song.” To me the pocket is the rhythmic glue that holds a band, and most good music in general, together.
“Nothing gets an audience moving like a solid rhythm team, and a solid rhythm team is one of the pocket. Sure most audiences will never be able to point out if a team is “playing in the pocket.” But whether they know the terminology or not, what they will know is they feel like dancing. Good grooves are made from the place of the pocket, there is no compromise to this.
“Occasionally I have the pleasure of playing with a young drummer who is very talented. Yet until last year he did not know what I meant when I asked him about the pocket. Mainly because he did not have one. This was a bit aggravating as a bass player. It was even more aggravating trying to continually search for the pocket while playing with him. But I will admit he has some real talent. He went away to a musical camp this summer and is now working on his “pocket.” I played bass with him again this past weekend and it was like night and day. Sure his pocket is not flawless and much more work is required, but he is putting in a great effort nonetheless and the overall feel of that band is considerably better. It was a pleasure to play with him this weekend.”