Blog Archives

The Benefits of Saying ‘Yes’

I have been thinking a lot about the benefits of saying ‘yes’ to various playing opportunities.  In this post I want to look at some of the obvious, and perhaps not so obvious benefits of saying ‘yes’. 

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What’s Spinning? Summer 2016 Edition!

I like to ask friends what they are listening to when we hang out.  It’s definitely become a thing for me.  I love the wide range of answers that I get and I often times come away with more than a few cool options to check out.  So, I thought I would share some of the nuggets I’ve been checking out recently with you, good reader.  Maybe some of the descriptions will get you intrigued enough to check some of the releases out yourself.  That is my sincere hope.  So, read on and enjoy!  (Note:  you’ll see a trend in format purchased).

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Ludwig Copper-Phonic: Penny For My Thoughts? Gladly!

I get asked a lot about why I play and endorse the gear that I use.
“Do you get it for free?”  –  No. I get gear at a discount.  I still buy it.
“Then why play it if they aren’t giving you stuff?”  –  Well, it’s the sound that I hear in my head.  Why else would you play it?

That is the simple honest truth.  Despite having played and owned a wealth of drum kits from numerous manufacturers big and small, I love the sound of Ludwig.  I love the look of Ludwig.  I love the history of the Ludwig brand.  They were the first kits I ever played when I started out and that’s why I play and endorse them with the enthusiasm I do today. 

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Topher and Remo Drumheads – Feels Like Home

I’ve written about endorsements before and I certainly have specific ideas about them.  Not surprisingly, those ideas have changed over time (I think, for the better).  I definitely don’t take the concept of an endorsement lightly.  I know it’s a two-way street and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  A two-way street means a lot of things.  That informed my recent decisions to make a big change in my gear.

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One Drum Kit – Endless Sound Options

When we look at the drumset we are looking at a thoroughly modern invention.  It was only since the turn of the 20th century that this instrument even EXISTED!  We’ve gone from ‘low boy’ hi-hats and tacked head toms to remote cable hi-hats, every depth and diameter of tom, bass drum, and snare drum imaginable; not to mention enough cymbal varieties that we could sheath the great pyramid and still have bronze left over.

Here’s the thing though.  Maybe you don’t have that much gear.  Maybe you have a nice sounding 4 or 5 piece kit with a ride, a crash, and a set of hi-hats.   Why do the cats with the big kits have to have all of the fun of making interesting noises?  Have you ever asked yourself: ‘How can you get more sounds out of my kit?’

It’s easier than than you might think?  In this post I hope to be able to offer some ideas (some my own, some I’ve knicked from fellow drummers, articles, etc…)  These are just some of the ideas available for you to create your own unique sounds on your kit.

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Red Light Mentality – Being On Your Game

I recently did a session where we were doing minimal mic-ing, single take performances (no overdubs) AND shooting video.  The results came out quite nice and that had no small part to do with the preparation that most all of the folks involved put in ahead of time.  This experience, and many others besides over the last few years have coalesced into a philosophy I try to be mindful of all the time:  “The Red Light is Always On”.  It’s not just an axiom that holds true in the recording studio.  Be it a rehearsal, a gig, etc… you are always being recorded.  Maybe it’s a small recording device.  Maybe it’s an iphone.  Maybe it’s a full blown recording rig.  It could just be the people in the room you’re working with paying especially close attention to what’s going on in a particular moment.  The point is, it’s always happening.  I’m not being paranoid or alarmist.  It is a simple fact of the world we live in now.  It’s posted on Facebook or YouTube.  It’s shared amongst friends and fans of the people you are working with.  It’s heard by colleagues and co-conspirators.  This stuff gets out there in the world.  It sticks around.  This reality has one very important ramification:  being on your game is imperative.  All the time.  You.  Your gear.  Everything. 

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Give the ‘e-drum’ some! (One drummer’s journey…)

Despite their being around for over 30 years, there’s still a bit of a stigma associated with ‘electronic drums’.  True, in the beginning you had the impossibly hard pads and limited sounds, etc.; but time marches on and the e-drum is still here.  It’s still viable.  In fact, more of us are using them than some may want to acknowledge.  So, why does the stigma still stick?  Do we just have to be primitive bashers of trees?  For this drummer, I don’t think so.  I’ve embraced e-drums for a variety of reasons and want to talk about some of them in this post.  So, read on, intrepid and curious drum fan… read on…

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A Bit About My Gear… Beware: “Geek Zone” Ahead

I once heard a story from Billy Ward that he took a lesson with Elvin Jones on a trip to New York City when he was a kid.  The drum studio had this beat up kit and when Elvin sat down at it and played it, the kit sounded like a million bucks.  Moral?  It’s NOT the kit, it’s the player.  That said, a nice kit sure makes your music making experience more fun and often times, more inspiring.  I love drum gear – LOVE IT.  As such, I have a fair bit of it kicking around. Of course, what I use depends on the gig, but here’s a list of goodies you might see at a gig or session.

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Studio Sausage – Recent Sessions and Revelations

Over the past couple of months I’ve been doing a wide variety of sessions for clients including Vox Lumiere, Tyrone Wells, Nickelodeon, The Voice, Robin Grubert, Ronan Chris Murphy, Lee Ferris, David Bowick, and Michael ‘Smidi’ Smith.

I’m humbly grateful for all of these experiences.  They enrich me in a variety of ways.  There’s the obvious financial one (so I can keep the lights on), but there are plenty of others.  One of them is re-imagining what a drumkit is and can be.  These sessions got me thinking about some of my favorite players.

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The Healing Power of Music

Greetings all.

I wanted to spend a little time in these pages talking about something I think we often (I know I have in the past) take for granted.  The power of music to heal.

I’m talking more in the framework of emotional catharsis here; but it also extends into some amazing work being done with music for everyone regardless of age:  from infants and children with mental and emotional disorders to elderly with dementia, Alzheimers, and Parkinsons.

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