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DRUMMING FOR FANATICS

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BEATS THAT INVENTED ROCK DRUMMING

Bill Rieflin

NEW TRADING

CARDS!

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LT U IC M

M eo Th att rge Bo om Ke S ne a lly ch s s H D win TH a ROP d E TO mli KICK t FL SS ER n B MU OGG S LA RP ING CK HY M 47 S OLL

Y

RETURNS TO ITS ROOTS

M PU ER NK S

BILL RIEFLIN

Jim Keltner Joey Kramer Alphonse Mouzon

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MAY 2008

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ON SALE 04/14/08 – 05/19/08 VOL. 17, ISSUE 4

143 FEATURES 52 The Zen Of Rieflin

Rock’s elder statesman retraces his steps through the angst-ridden days of Ministry to his arrival at the altar of alt-rock superstardom with R.E.M. – all over a nice hot cup of tea. BY ANDREW NUSCA

67 Back To Basics

Beg, steal, or borrow a pair of blue suede shoes and prepare to boogie back to the birth of rock’s earliest beats, and learn why the classics never go out of style. BY BRAD SCHLUETER

75 Punk O’ The Irish

Four reluctant Celtic punk ambassadors – Matt Kelly of Dropkick Murphys, Bones of The Tossers, Thomas Hamlin of Black 47, and George Schwindt of Flogging Molly – talk about going green. BY DAVE CONSTANTIN

86 Live From The Panic Room

Spencer Smith talks about breaking out from the tyrannical bonds of over-production and the shackles of inexperience to become a lean, mean, live-tracking machine (minus the machine part). BY JARED COBB

95 Drum Teachers Roundtable

Four San Francisco Bay Area drum instructors gather at the DRUM! office to rap about the pitfalls and triumphs of being a purveyor of the world’s coolest craft. BY ANDREW LENTZ

107 Alternative To

The Alternatives

BY NORMAN WEINBERG

131 Come Out Swinging

In perhaps one of our most unpredictable transcriptions, metal slugger Paul Bostaph shuffles through “Killing Season” from Testament’s new CD, The Formation Of Damnation. BY DAVE CONSTANTIN

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THIS PAGE + COVER PHOTO BY KAREN MOSKOVITZ

Tireless electronic tinkerer Norman Weinberg takes us through a list of the latest and greatest toys for the virtual beat-crafting guru in you.

MAY 2008

DRUM!

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DDRUM DOMINION MAPLE DRUMS

Brad Schlueter marvels at how a company that started with e-drums has come to dominate affordable acoustics.

ZILDJIAN ARMAND SERIES CYMBALS

PRACTICE PAD

139

SERIES SNARES

David E. Libman drools over Craviotto’s newest effort: Limited-edition brass snares to kill for.

VIBE

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8 DRUM!

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JAMES KOTTAK finds drumming in

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ZAC FARRO becomes a man with

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middle age really stings.

Paramore – eyeliner and all.

DEE PLAKAS keeps the time tight and the flash to a minimum.

foundation with more fusion fills.

GLEN CARUBA brushes up on his

cajon technique.

140 JIM DONOVAN gets four limbs working, Liberian style.

Bathed in the sepia-toned glow of a classic bronze sound, Andy Doerschuk enjoys an auditory flashback.

124 CRAVIOTTO DIAMOND

PETER ERSKINE fairs up the

RICHIE “GAJATE” GARCIA trains

141

your left hand to box.

WALLY SCHNALLE gives up the funk.

EVERYTHING ELSE

12 16 20 24 32 115 146

EDITORANT FEEDBACK DRUM! NOTATION GUIDE SINGLE STROKES SHOWCASE DRUM! PICKS WIRETAP

FARRO PHOTO BY RYAN RUSSELL

SOUNDLAB

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Strike While The Iron’s Hot

IT ’S ONE THING FOR ME TO ESPOUSE

all this sage advice to DRUM! readers, but it’s a whole other thing for me to follow my own suggestions. Case in point: I wrote an editor’s column in the August, 2006 issue about acting quickly whenever a career opportunity comes your way – otherwise you run the risk of losing it. It’s just too bad I didn’t listen to myself. One evening last week, I got home from work and went to the gym for an hour or so. When I returned home, I noticed that someone had left a message on my cell phone. It was from a well-known blues guitarist named Ron Hacker, who recently sat in with a band in which I play. He explained he needed a drummer to do a month-long tour of Europe in May, and asked if I would like to go on the road with him. Yet, instead of rushing to the phone to call him back, I hesitated. After all, I’m not actually a full-time professional drummer anymore. I play a handful of gigs every month – just enough to keep my chops up and have some fun. Truth is, I love being the editor of a drumming magazine, but it’s more than a 9-to-5 job, and is punctuated by a series of deadlines that must be met like clockwork, otherwise the entire operation can go haywire. I consulted my production schedule to see how the dates for the tour would coincide with our deadlines in May, and realized that it was actually feasible. So I then opened my editorial database to see which issue my staff would be tackling in May, and how my absence would impact everyone’s workload. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a perfect fit. They would be working on the July issue at that point, which is the edition that will unveil an entirely new redesign for

DRUM! (you’ll hear more about it in upcoming issues). Hmm. It wasn’t a perfect fit after all. Stymied, I decided to go into the office and talk to my editorial staff and business partners about this the next morning. I couldn’t stop thinking about the tour for the rest of the evening. It sounded like such a great opportunity: An all-expense-paid vacation in Europe – and I get to play drums every night. I was still thinking about it as I fell asleep. First thing in the morning, I explained the situation to my coworkers and got a unanimous opinion: I’d be insane not to go. And they were right. I work with a bunch of highly talented people. They’d get along just fine without me. Invigorated, I ran to my office and got Hacker on the phone. But as soon as I told him that I could do the tour, he said, “Oh, sorry, but I already hired another drummer. I needed an answer last night so that I could get a good price on airplane tickets.” You might want to write this date on the calendar, because you’ll probably never hear me say this again: Don’t be like me. Jump on the next chance you get to do a cool gig or recording session. If you don’t, it’s likely that another drummer will beat you to the punch. And as always, thanks for reading DRUM! Magazine.

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ANDY DOERSCHUK Editor In Chief


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EDITORIAL EDITOR IN CHIEF Andy

Doerschuk Constantin ASSISTANT EDITOR Andrew Lentz MUSIC EDITOR Wally Schnalle SPECIAL PROJECTS Eric Kamm CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jim Aikin, John Aldridge, Ken Babal, Jim Batcho, Matt Bloom, Joe Bosso, Brain, Paula Bocciardi, Strother Bullins, Matt Byrne, Brian Carvell, Jared Cobb, Jon Cohan, Ian Croft, Robert L. Doerschuk, Jim Donovan, Peter Erskine, Chet Falzerano, Richie “Gajate” Garcia, Gary Gardner, Tony Horkins, Arthur Hull, Jason Jurgens, Eric Kamm, Heinz Kronberger, David Libman, Billy Lee Lewis, John Natelli, Andrew Nusca, John Nyman, Luga Podesta, Brad Ranola, Mario A. Riggio, Teri Saccone, Brad Schlueter, Mike Snyder, Karen Stackpole, Stark Raving Brad, Norman Weinberg, David Weiss ASSOCIATE EDITOR Dave

DESIGN DESIGN DIRECTOR Mauricio

Rams Yung PRODUCTION DESIGNER Heather Dey PRODUCTION ASSISTANT Cookie Williams CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Robert Downs, Eddie Malluk, Lissa Wales, Neil Zlozower CONTRIBUTING ILLUSTRATORS Dave Curd, Brandon Steen, Rick Eberly, Laura Brick, Josh Sukov DESIGNER Clarence

ADVERTISING ADVERTISING DIRECTOR Eric CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING Eric

Frank Kamm

ENTER MUSIC PUBLISHING, INC. PUBLISHER Phil

Hood Hood ACCOUNTING ASSISTANT Debbie Fowler CIRCULATION ASSISTANT Arline Hernandez DRUM! OFFICE: 95 SOUTH MARKET ST., #200, SAN JOSE, CA 95113 TEL: 408-971-9794 FAX: 408-971-0382 ACCOUNTING Connie

TALK TO DRUM! $19.95 per year in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, $41.95 in Canada, $59.95 (U.S.$) for all other countries. For subscription services call toll-free 1-888-DRUM-MAG (fax 408-971-0382) from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. Pacific Time, Monday through Friday. Or mail your subscription request to DRUM! Subscription Dept., P.O. Box 1120, San Jose, CA 95108-1120. Online orders: entermusicstore.com or email: arline@drumlink.com. SUBSCRIPTIONS

BACK ISSUES $4.50 + $2.00 for shipping and handling (U.S. only). Call toll-free 1-888-DRUM-MAG or email arline@drumlink.com for more information. Or order online at: entermusicstore.com LETTERS TO THE EDITOR We welcome letters to the editor, but due to the volume of mail, we cannot answer

each letter nor guarantee that your letter will be printed. Please include your name, address, and daytime phone or email address when sending mail to DRUM! Letters will be edited for clarity and space. TO CONTACT THE EDITOR VIA EMAIL GUEST EDITORIALS

andy@drumlink.com

Accepted occasionally. Call the editor to see what sort of mood he’s in.

ADVERTISING COMPLAINTS DRUM! is not responsible for the content of advertisements placed in the magazine. However, we take our commitment to readers seriously. If you have a complaint with an advertiser in DRUM!, let us hear about it. We will make the advertiser aware of the nature of the complaint and try to spur them to action.

Low pay and high standards? If that sounds appealing, then request our writers guide. Please address all inquiries to: andy@drumlink.com. Publisher assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts, photos, or artwork.

EDITORIAL SUBMISSIONS

DRUM! ONLINE Visit drummagazine.com and myspace.com/drummagazine

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ENTER MUSIC PUBLISHING, INC. Is a California corporation. PRESIDENT Connie Hood VICE PRESIDENT Andy Doerschuk VICE PRESIDENT Kristine Ekstrand VICE PRESIDENT Phil Hood MEMBER NAMM,

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Words Of Wisdom

After reading the beginning of the piece about endearing yourself to your contemporaries [Chuck Comeau, March 2008], the “war was on.” Okay fine, another spoiled “drumming isn’t enough for me” rave by some hack who should be practicing instead of talking to writers! Look, pal, you wouldn’t make a pimple on a drummer’s ... you know. However, after reading the entire article I was struck by the simple truth in what he says. Even if you don’t cowrite all of your band’s songs or whatever, get involved with more than just the drum part. Try to be more than “just the drummer,” a phrase that all of us have learned to hate! Get involved with produc-

tion, mix, lyrics, vocals, and harmonies (oh God, no!). Think Stewart Copeland! Your future will thank you. Keep up the pulse, DRUM! Mike Ledbetter Colorado

Props

It has been my pleasure to have written articles for Bill Ludwig in the Ludwig Drummer Magazine and for the Canadian National Band Directors Magazine for many years. This experience helps me to appreciate your work more fully. I have enjoyed every issue of DRUM! Magazine and would like to compliment you on three particular areas: Your diversity of articles/materials contributes to holistic and educational reading; the variety of illustrated musical scores and exercises are stimulating and present a measure of challenge to drummers at all stages; and your broad spectrum of drum set/percussion writers is a winner in reaching a plethora of musicians with a wide range of musical tastes. May your subscribers overflow! Now for a question. In your opinion, who are the two top rock drum set performers and drum set teachers in the world today? Rick C. Todd Via email EDITOR’S REPLY Thanks for your very nice comments about DRUM! Unfortunately, I’m at a loss to answer your questions because any answer would be subjective and rather unscientific. But I can tell you that our three biggest-selling cover artists are Travis Barker, Neil Peart, and Mike Portnoy. Not sure if that helps.

A Proud Mom

Your small article about our son meant the world to my husband and me. I can’t thank you enough for the special mention you gave Chris Morrow in DRUM!’s March, 2008 issue. That kindness meant a lot to Chris and our family. I read DRUM! Magazine for the first time when I went to buy copies from Borders ten days ago. It’s a powerful magazine for drummers. I enjoyed it for many reasons. The writing, photos, and the whole format are savvy, jazzy, fun, provocative, informing, and intelligently uplifting for musicians. But what I truly love most is the wonderful empowerment that’s given to drummers. By putting out such a good magazine, you give great honor to them. Inspiration and hope seem to be in short supply these days. Credit for great teachers from Berklee and Chris’ first mentor, Don Skoogs, must be given. Thanks for the recognition, inspiration, and hope you give to drummers and musicians all around the world. Almost all live with their passion for music and their hopes and dreams. Please continue doing the good work you do.

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Jacqueline Morrow Gross Pointe Farms, MI


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Thanks, But ...

First of all, I want to thank you for your review of Nada Surf ’s new album in the February issue. I was in a drum store buying some last-minute stuff for the tour that starts in two days, and as the salesman went through the magazine looking for a particular page I spotted the photo of the band and said, “Hey that guy looks pretty familiar.” It was just a perfect moment where the dude was looking back and forth between me and the magazine. Priceless. So thanks for that. One small detail, though: My name is Ira Elliot, but somehow the bass player’s and my name were combined into Daniel Ira, which – while sounding vaguely like Daniel Lanois – is still frustratingly incorrect. Grrrr. But all in all, thank you very much. Daniel Ira ... er Elliot Ira ... er ... Ira Elliot Via email

Missing Trading Cards

I just got my April 2008 issue in the mail, and it doesnt have any trading cards in it! Now, I don’t know whether they just happened to be missing from my subscriber issue or if you have discontinued them altogether. I’m bummed out either way, because I’ve become totally addicted to collecting them every month. Joseph Rogers Portland, ME EDITOR’S REPLY Good news. We had a glitch last month with the printer who normally prints our trading cards and had to forgo putting them into the April issue. As you can see, they are back in their rightful place. Go back to collecting.

CORRECTIONS I’m not sure what we were smoking when we proofread the “Extreme Metal Roundtable” feature in the April 2008 issue. For one thing, we completely massacred the cymbal setup in Chris Adler’s drum set diagram (check out his actual setup at meinlcymbals.com/artists.html). And then we bollocksed up Justin Foley’s discography. Sorry guys. Gol durn it.

We want to read your mail! Send love letters, complaints, and general rants to: DRUM! 95 South Market St., Suite 200, San Jose, CA 95113 EMAIL andy@drumlink.com

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GUIDE TO DRUM NOTATION

BY BRAD SCHLUETER

Drum Key

Music Clefs, Staffs, Measures, & Bar Lines

Music is written on a music staff, which features five parallel horizontal lines. The first thing you’ll see written on the staff is the clef, which determines the pitch of the notes. The drum/percussion clef looks like a vertical rectangle and is used with nonpitched percussion instruments. With nonpitched percussion instruments like a Measure

Drum Clef

Triplets

drum set, notes written on different spaces and lines indicate that you play a specific instrument: snare drum, bass drum, or cymbal. The staff is separated into individual measures (or bars) of music, with thin vertical lines, called bar lines. The number of beats in each measure is determined by the time signature.

Bar Line

Time Signature

Staff

Accent

Crescendo (gradually louder)

Time Signatures

A double bar line indicates the ending

Decrescendo (gradually softer)

sure and the quarter note lasts for one beat. The time signature is written at the beginning of the piece of music and wherever there is a meter change. Since most music is in 4/4, the time signature is often abbreviated with a large letter “C,” indicating “common” time.

Time signatures are written like fractions. The top number tells you how many beats are in each measure. The bottom number indicates the size of the note that represents the duration of one beat. For example, in the time signature of 5/4, there are five beats in each mea-

As we go from larger notes down the list to the smaller notes, the notes and rests are halved in length. If you want to divide a note into thirds, you’ll need to use a triplet. Quarter-notes naturally divide into two eighths, but if you want to divide it into thirds, you need to use an eighth-note triplet. An eighthnote triplet is played 50 percent faster than normal eighth notes and would be equivalent to a twelfthnote (although there is no such note). An eighth-note triplet is written as three eighth-notes beamed together with a number three above them. Any of the three notes can be replaced with an eighth rest or two sixteenths, or any other division of an eighth-note allowing for more notational flexibility. Triplets are usually counted “1 & ah 2 & ah 3 & ah 4 & ah.” You can also divide a note into fifths (quintuplet), sixths (sextuplet), sevenths (septuplet), and so on.

Dotted Notes & Rests

Sometimes you’ll see a note or a rest with a small dot written next to it. This indicates that the note will last 50 percent longer or 1 1/2 times its normal length.

Note & Rest Values Notes and rests come in different lengths, which are written as fractions. For every size note, there is an equivalent sized rest. The note and rest values include whole (1/1), half (1/2), quarter (1/4), eighth

(1/8), sixteenth (1/16), and thirty-second (1/32). These fractions represent the sizes of the notes and rests. For example, two eighths fit in the space (or time) of one quarter, so eighthnotes are twice as fast

Repeats & Counting Rhythms The simplest way to figure out rhythms is to count them with the smallest note value you have to play. For most drum music, that means counting sixteenthnotes. In 4/4, sixteenthnotes are counted “1 e

20 DRUM!

& ah 2 e & ah 3 e & ah 4 e & ah.” Since you are counting sixteenths, a sixteenth-note or rest will last for one count, an eighth-note/rest will last for two counts, a quarter-note/rest will last for four counts, a

drummagazine.com

WholeNote

Whole Rest

HalfNote

as quarter-notes. These relationships define the lengths (and speeds) of the notes. Rhythms are written by using combi-

1e&ah 2e&ah

Half Rest

Quarter- Quarter EighthNote Rest Note

Eighth Sixteenth Sixteenth Thirty- ThirtyRest -Note Rest Second- Second Note Rest

nations of notes and rests, so it is important to memorize them to quickly identify and play rhythms.

There are several different parts of a note: the note head, stem, and flags or beams. Recognizing them will

3 e & ah 4

One-Bar Repeat (repeat previous measure)

e & ah

Repeat Sign

half-note/rest will last for eight, and a wholenote/rest will last for sixteen.

Repeat signs are used to abbreviate a piece of music and minimize page turns. A few

different types of repeat signs are shown in the example above.

help you learn to identify notes.

Two-Bar Repeat (repeat two previous measures)

Repeat everything since the previous repeat sign


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NUTRITION FOR DRUMMERS BY KEN BABAL, C.N.

Can’t Tox This

T

he body is an amazing self-repairing machine that is constantly replacing old cells with new ones. To produce good copies, the body needs an array of essential nutrients in the right proportions. Equally important is how well we get rid of the waste products. Cleanse and nourish are the two factors in the health equation. It’s been said that we live in a virtual sea of chemicals. Natural and manmade toxins pervade our environment and are ingested via food, air, and water. It’s also been said that there is only one disease in the world whereby we voluntarily pollute ourselves with excessive amounts of food, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, and drugs: autointoxication, or self-poisoning. People sometimes reach a chemical burden that is so high they are said to suffer from “environmental illness.” Others may wonder why they suffer from fatigue, im-

mune disorders, joint or muscle pain, brain fog, allergic-like reactions, or other symptoms that can’t be explained medically. The solution might be to assist internal cleansing and detoxification processes. This is accomplished by supporting the five channels of elimination: the lungs, kidneys, bowel, skin, and lymphatic system. For example, singing and deep breathing exercises help to exchange carbon dioxide (a waste product) for oxygen. Adequate water intake dilutes the urine, helping to flush away toxins. Healthy elimination is encouraged by consuming fiber from generous amounts of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. (If you’re not getting your quota, a fiber supplement might be necessary.) Saunas and sweating facilitate elimination through the skin. Muscle contraction (exercise) stimulates lymphatic circulation to carry away cellular waste products.

The liver, the body’s largest internal organ, is our organ of detoxification. It has the task of breaking down harmful substances so they can be excreted. Things that typically stress the liver are excessive amounts of animal fat, sugar, alcohol, drugs, food additives, and other chemicals. We can support liver detoxification by consuming sulfur-containing vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. For additional support, consider supplements containing milk thistle, alpha lipoic acid, and Nacetyl-cysteine (NAC). Some experts believe that only those who protect themselves from the increasing toxic burden in the modern world will avoid chemically related health issues.

ROAD WORRIER

A Sound Investment

A

s the careers of our bands progress, we often find ourselves with a bit more income and new ideas about what to do with it. These various notions can range from in-ear monitors to a wet bar in the van. Since the knucklehead who suggested the wet bar probably won’t last long enough to see the next bump-up, perhaps your attention would best be focused on suggestions from planet earth. A major consideration for any upgrade must be that it benefit most, if not all, of the band. Ergo, a roomier vehicle, with bunks and a DVD player with cordless headphones would be a “yes,” whereas a new bedroom added on to the lead singer’s house would be a definite “no.” In my experience, one of the wisest investments a band could make is in what many of us call the

24 DRUM!

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“Fifth Beatle,” or sound tech. If you choose the right person for the gig, they soon become every bit as important as anyone on stage. Consider this scenario: You’ve gone into debt to buy a top-shelf kit. You expend great amounts of time and energy to keep it sounding as good as is humanly possible, and you regularly outlay money for new heads to ensure this. You shell out (no pun intended … I know, none taken) mad cash on a custom-made snare, and finally, you handpick your cymbals for harmonic compatibility. After going to such lengths, you sure as hell don’t want your instruments to sound like crap through the P.A., or worse, to not come through at all. Now, assuming your bandmates are as conscientious as you regarding gear, you multiply the preceding equation by however many

of you there are, and you have a virtually unassailable argument for a sound person. Remember: At each and every venue you enter, you’re at the mercy of a sound tech with unknown qualifications, and nothing (aside from their personal sense of professionalism) invested in your sound. Assuming, that is, that the venue has a sound tech. You’ve

spent years cultivating and perfecting your sound. Knowing that it’s only going to be as good as your mix, can you think of a better destination for your newly enriched income than someone who can consistently make you sound like you? If that’s not enough, how’s this? The wet bar won’t help with the load-out. BY

BILLY LEE LEWIS


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QUESTION OF THE MONTH

What’s the best drum clinic you’ve ever attended LEGAL EAGLES

HARRY BENNICH AGE 57

BY BRIAN K. CARVELL, ESQ.

What It’s Worth

F

or years now I have stressed the importance of obtaining a copyright for your work. In prior columns, I have explained how a copyright protects your interests, what your rights are in the event that someone else violates your copyright, and most importantly, that the “poor man’s copyright” (mailing a copy of your recorded work to yourself in a sealed envelope) does not afford any real protection. However, it occurred to me that I have never actually addressed what rights the copyright owner has in his or her own work. The rights bestowed upon the owner of a copyright are set forth in the Copyright Act of 1976, which grants control (akin to a limited ownership) to authors of original works. This control permits the author to benefit financially from others’ exploitation of the work. First and foremost, the copyright owner has the right to reproduce the work. Obviously, this is the most important right that a copyright owner has, as it gives you the sole power to make money off of your own creation. A copyright is a piece of property, albeit intangible, and like any other piece of property you own, you do have the right to sell it to another party, if you so choose. Along the same lines, the copyright owner also has the right to distribute the work, either by sale to the public, or by other agreement (such as use on a movie soundtrack, use in a video game, and so on). Be sure to understand that you have the right to 1) reproduce the work, and

2) distribute the work. These are two closely related but different rights, and it is key to understand the distinction between the two. You have the right to publicly perform the protected works. This is where ASCAP and BMI come into play. While you do own this exclusive right, the enforcement of it is not a realistic possibility. As such, it makes complete sense to register your work with one of the performing rights organizations, who monitor the public performance of the works that are registered with their respective organization, and then compensate the artist for such a performance. A copyright owner also has the right to prepare “derivative” works, which is a legal term meaning other works that are based on yours. For example, I can’t take the song “Imagine,” change a few words around, and claim it as my own composition. It would be considered a derivate work, and I would need permission from the Lennon estate to release such a song (and permission almost always means money). However, be advised that a parody isn’t considered a derivate work and doesn’t require permission because it’s supposed to remind the listener of the original work and isn’t intended to be considered a new original composition. So now that everyone knows even more about copyright law, you can take the steps necessary to protect your art. You will thank me for it down the road if you ever deal with a copyright infringement case.

MUSICIANS’ LEGAL REPRESENTATION. This article is not intended as legal advice. If you have specific legal concerns, I recommend you personally contact an attorney. musicianslegalrep.com

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DRUMMING EXPERIENCE BAND

None

20 years

Gregg Bissonette. He was absolutely phenomenal because he could play any style. He could play an intricate piece of music without ever having seen it before. His reading skills were phenomenal. DOMINIC BORELLI AGE 15 DRUMMING EXPERIENCE

years, 8 months. BAND “We don’t have a name yet.”

3

I’ve only attended one and that was Derico Watson. It was great; he did a lot of rudiments on the toms and a lot on the bass drum, and he taught a little bit, too. JOE KENNY AGE 29 DRUMMING EXPERIENCE

years BAND None

15

I guess it would be Dave DiCenso because of his whole approach to counting and fills – his whole approach to time and how to think about it. LOREN POTTS AGE 14

DRUMMING EXPERIENCE 3 years drum set; 4 years percussion. BAND High school symphonic band.

I do workshops a lot but this is my first clinic. My drum teacher, Jason Wall, recommended it because he said this is like nothing you’re ever going to see in your lifetime. THIS ISSUE’S QUESTION WAS POSED AT

THE JOJO MAYER DRUM CLINIC AT SAN JOSE PRO DRUM IN SAN JOSE, CA


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HEALTH TIPS BY LUGA PODESTA, MD.

Bad Vibes L

ast month I wrote about the negative impact of vibration on the appendages of drummers, who are particularly susceptible to it through feet, throne, hands, and wrists. The effects of excessive vibration exposure in the hands and wrists are well documented in medical literature. It can lead to nerve injury in the wrists and hands such as carpal tunnel syndrome, and can contribute to the development of tendonopathies within the forearms. The million-dollar question has always been: How do we reduce our exposure to vibration without losing the feel or grip of the stick? Drummers have used a variety of methods to improve grip on the sticks as well as reducing vibration exposure. Over the past few years a number of stick manufacturers have gotten in on the act, developing sticks with the intent to reduce vibration. Zildjian marketed the first anti-vibe stick I ever heard of. Though the company discovered roughly 50-percent less vibration with its patented Anti-Vibe technology, it was concerned that the results might vary from stick to stick since wood was an organic material. Alas, Zildjian couldn’t make

any claims about the health benefits of its Anti-Vibe stick. The basic concept behind the Hornets drum stick design was to combine art with ergonomics and function. Hornets sticks have incorporated a number of functional benefits into the design. The contoured handle fits more naturally into the shape of the hand than does a straight traditional stick. The raised handle reportedly allows the thumb to relax, reducing strain on the forearm tendons while simultaneously increasing stamina. The proprietary O-rings are supposed to reduce vibration and shock to the wrist. The rings also create excellent grip, helping prevent slippage when the hand becomes sweaty. Although there is no scientific data that I have been able to reference supporting the medical benefits of these sticks, I have recommended their use for many patients with nerve or tendon injuries, and the vast majority who have made the swap report a significant improvement in comfort, even if the evidence is anecdotal. Further research

needs to be conducted specifically measuring the beneficial effects these sticks may provide. In addition to sticks, gloves are also effective, not only in providing improved grip on the stick, but also in absorbing some of the vibration transferred from the drumhead through the stick and into the hands. A number of manufacturers now market gloves, however, the use of basic baseball batting gloves will serve the same purpose. Vibration is the foundation by which sound is produced when a drumhead is struck by a stick or by the hand. Reducing whatever amount that gets transferred through the various parts of our bodies while playing will inevitably lower the risks of vibration-induced injuries to our tendons and nerves. DR. LUGA PODESTA is an assistant clinical professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation, practicing orthopedic sports medicine and rehabilitative medicine in Thousand Oaks, California, specializing in the nonsurgical treatment of the upper extremities, knee, and spine. He is a sports medicine consultant and team physician for Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Angels and serves as head team physician for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League, Los Angeles Riptide of Major League Lacrosse, and is a drummer. Dr. Podesta can be reached at lugamd@aol.com.

NEW BLOOD BY WALDO THE SQUID SCOTT T. HOPKINS AGE

JEFFREY MCCORMACK

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Ludwig and Ayotte drums, Ludwig Acrolite and Pearl Master series snares, Zildjian cymbals, LP Aspire timbales and congas, Matador bongos, Roland electronics, and Vic Firth sticks.

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CONTACT

SUFFICE it to say Jeffrey is one bad mother, and The Squid’s not saying that just because the instructor/ clinician/studio manager has a monster 11-piece double bass kit, a whole grip of bronze including four Chinas, and even an ashiko drum. Dude shreds whether it’s jazz, country, blues, pop, or metal, and he’s as comfortable in the gospel choir as he is flashing devil’s horns. By the time you read this he’ll be on the road with Grammy nominees Gypsy Soul, working on new project Scream Of

Risen drums, DW hardware, Gibraltar rack, Audix mikes, Remo heads, Silverfox sticks.

EQUIPMENT

CONTACT

jeffreymcdrums@hotmail.com

ScottT@casanovastudios.com SCOTT T. Hopkins has great chops,

blah-blah-blah, but The Squid digs this Queens native because he lives and breathes percussion. We don’t mean just copping new licks but getting deep into the acoustics of the craft with his very own Casanova Studios in Brooklyn, soundproofing work, and his branching out into hand percussion for commercial spots. Hopkins’ band, Nova Clutch, has a new EP, The Death Of Me, that rocks

righteously, spotlighting his light touch at the throne, which can slow down a song by playing behind the beat, or rushing it if he so chooses – it’s an intuitive grasp of the space between notes. Hopkins also helped design a rehearsal space that was rented out to Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez, whose hair was clearly a big influence on this kid.

Angels, and has a DVD, The Worship Drummer’s Toolbox, slated for summer. If this mollusk can offer some advice, McCormack should do a follow-up DVD called How To Master The Ashiko.

YOU CAN APPEAR IN NEW BLOOD. Send an audiocassette or CD of your drumming, a bio with your age, equipment setup, contact information, and a color or black-and-

white photo to Waldo The Squid, c/o New Blood, 95 S. Market St., #200, San Jose, CA 95113. No materials will be returned. Please indicate if you want your email contact published.

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Forever Young Whether you play ska or not, anyone can appreciate the Zildjian signature series stick that No Doubt's Adrian Young has redesigned for 2008. The back half of the stick features Young’s name in silver checkerboard graphic, while the front half is white, just to make sure you know his band plays “twotone” ska. The black nylon tip makes for effortless rebound (an avid golfer, Young’s saving

his wrists for his putting stroke these days), and offers a crisp ping on the ride and clean cut on the hats. Comes in hickory, 16.5" in length and 0.585" in diameter. Suggested retail price: $16.15.

Zildjian 22 Longwater Dr. Norwell, MA 02061 781-871-2200 zildjian.com

Living Out Loud Want increased volume without tearing a rotator cuff? Look no further than Sabian’s APX, a new high-decibel cymbal with exceptionally bright tone, focused response, and excellent cutting power. Thanks to a special production process that gives it an unusual finish, the cymbal packs plenty of loudness without any increased energy expenditure for the drummer. The APX is available as Sonically Matched prepacks in two

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Performance Set variations (14" hats/16" crash/20" ride or 14" hats/18" crash/22" ride) and an Effects Pack (10" splash/18" Chinese) and two different multi-holed O-Zone crashes for deliciously trashy sounds.

Sabian 219 Main Street Meductic NB E6H 2L5 Canada 506-272-2019 sabian.com


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Aged To Perfection If drum kits sound better the older they get, Yamaha’s PHX Phoenix accelerates the process. The secret is the unique exotic woods known as jatoba and kapur. The Phoenix’s 11-ply shells sport a center layer of hard jatoba with four plies of soft kapur on either side, topped off with an innermost ply of maple and an outermost ply of burled ash. This dense layering allows tones to wash over the player as though the kit had a natural preamp. In short, the PHX gives you that mature sound without having to spend a fortune on vintage drums. Other goodies include a wooden tom mount (that’s right – wooden) designed with shock-absorbing rubber contacts positioned at the shell’s nodal points, as well as newly designed detachable lugs positioned where the overtones are highest.

Yamaha Corporation Of America P.O. Box 6600, Buena Park, CA 90622 714-522-9011 yamahadrums.com

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Black Is Beautiful Drum corps fans will get their bling with Evans’ new MX Black series marching tenor and bass drumheads. The MX Black tenor heads’ advanced hoop concept prevents pullout, while two plies of a 7.5mm black film deliver an organic feel, excellent attack, open tone, and a dark contemporary look that is dope. MX1 bass drumheads sport a single 10mm ply incorporating a tone-damping system that focuses low end for superior

projection. A second option, the MX2 Black incorporates two 7.5mm plies of the same black film for extra durability and a low end that won’t be swallowed up in any ensemble.

Evans Drumheads 595 Smith St. Farmingdale, NY 11735 631-439-3300 evansdrumheads.com

Chill, Man

To help combat the sweat you work up shredding, the new Blowit Personal Cooling System helps drummers keep their cool in the studio, on stage, and in the practice room. Blowit’s powerful, threespeed motor spins a 7" turbo-style fan in a rugged housing, has omni-directional adjustments for precise cool-air targeting, and includes a high-strength, flexible gooseneck, and a universal mounting clamp that fits 0.5"–1.625" diameter cymbal stands, racks, and other hardware – even mike and music stands. The Blowit is also compact enough to travel in a standard drum bag or hardware case.

Personal Cooling Concepts, LLC PO Box 5452, Ft. Smith, AR 72913 479-646-0943 blowitfans.com

Just Plain Kooky Straight from the warped mind of Bill Saragosa comes the Helix Bowl, Meinl’s latest foray into exotic percussion. The Helix consists of a tightly wound steel coil welded to a semispherical resonating chamber. Altering the amount of muting on the chamber creates intriguing shamanic effects that recall a wahwah tube, or it can be struck with a supplied

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metal beater for spacey sounds. Instant damping is achieved with the touch of a finger.

Meinl 3300 Ambrose Ave., Nashville, TN 37207 877-886-3465 meinlpercussion.com


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Smooth Operator R&B/soul drumming legend Freddie Holliday got the inspiration for his signature snare following numerous tours and sessions with Boyz II Men and the O’Jays, massively popular musical entities where the details are everything. The 14" x 5.5" aluminum shell proves to be the perfect midpoint between wood and steel, with a warm sound that has enough crack to really project . With a Candy Apple Cobalt Blue finish, die-cast hoops and ten gold-finish Special Edition series snare lugs in a gold finish, a patented throw off, and Holliday’s signature badge, you’ll get your groove on in style. Retail price, $1,275.

GMS Drum Co. 855-C Conklin St., Farmingdale, NY 11735 631-293-4253 gmsdrums.com

Beats By The Pound If you want to capture the spirit of a flesh-and-blood drummer, Ableton Live 7 allows producers, artists, and sound engineers to wield control over beats like never before. The new “Drum Rack” program streamlines beat production via an easy drag-anddrop interface and brings endless creative possibilities. The Drum Rack’s “slicing” feature allows individual hits from REX or audio loops, and has its own sends, returns, and sub-mixes, plus each drum

can be dragged out of its rack for isolated pattern control and editing. Version 7 also improves fidelity with 64-bit mix summing, integrates three compression models, has a reworked MIDI engine, fully integrated side-chaining capability, and new memory management technology.

Ableton Inc. 43 West 24th St. 12th floor New York, NY 10010 646-723-4586 ableton.com

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JAMES KOTTAK

Potent As Ever BY DAVE CONSTANTIN

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hen a middleaged glam rock drummer throws his back out picking up a box of clothes on family moving day, it seems like the setup for an easy punch line – something about aging rock stars surviving decades of hedonistic self-abuse only to be crippled by domesticity. But in James Kottak’s case, it doesn’t quite work. For one thing, the back injury is actually a vestige from his younger days, an old drumming wound – of sorts – from a not-so-bygone era. “I was playing at a bar, which we all did six nights a week, forever,” he remembers (having just returned from a visit to the chiropractor). “It was with a club band back in, like, 1981 or ’82. And I sang a lot, so my head was always up. And I remember I dropped my drum key and I leaned back to pick it up and just, zap – there went the third and fourth lumbar, totally whacked out. And I could not stand up, could not

VITALS Scorpions, Kottak 45 BIRTHPLACE Louisville, KY INFLUENCES John Bonham, Don Brewer, Buddy Rich BANDS AGE

CURRENT RELEASE

Humanity Hour 1 WEB SITE

the-scorpions.com/english

ALL GEARED UP ddrum Zildjian STICKS Ahead HEADS Aquarian HARDWARE Yamaha DRUMS

CYMBALS

do anything. I finished the set, but it was just a night of the worst pain ever. It’s been an ongoing thing.” But if the steady upward trajectory of his career is any indication, Kottak is not a guy who’s about to roll over and die over something like a few blown discs. And you can bet nothing short of spontaneous combustion is going to keep him from finishing out a set. “I can count many times where I got some sort of stomach virus in Russia from weird food or something and been playing and throwing up in a bucket at the same time,” he says. That’s rock and roll, baby. This, no doubt, is the kind of attitude that pulls someone virtually unscathed through a musical era most notable for its fabulous career derailments. The post-’80s have not been kind to many of the denizens of rock’s Spandex school, but Kottak has managed to plod steadily up the ladder of hair metal ascension, from Montrose to Kingdom Come to Warrant, finally landing Herman Rarebell’s vacant spot at the Scorpions throne in 1996. And he’s been vigorously touring the world with the band ever since. “One thing about Scorpions is that they’ve always cultivated a world market,” Kottak says. So when the ’90s rolled around and grunge turned the hose on the coiffed titans of glam rock, Scorpions found solace with a still-rabid overseas fan base. It’s the reason why they can still show up in say, India, and play for 45,000 people at a pop. “We just played in Romania in

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JAMES KOTTAK QUICK LICKS

“We Will Rise Again” = ca. 58

TRANSCRIPTION BY JOHN

“We Will Rise Again,” one of many mighty rockers on Humanity, features some examples of Kottak’s excellent knack for part writing. The drumming in the first passage, as good as it sounds on its own, complements the guitars as if both were part of one bigger instrument. In the second passage, Kottak combines a 6/8 feel with a sixteenth-noteson-hi-hat groove – two ideas not often commingled. Added

1.

Ex. 1 0:04

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to this are numerous flourishes including a few thirtysecond-note figures, which can be sticked either as a diddle or alternately (as written). Judging by the sound of the recording, he utilizes both. Also notice the conveniently sticked tom fill in the last measure; sixteenth-note hi-hat grooves always have the added benefit of freeing up the right hand to move around the kit on the downbeats.

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September, and it was a good 60,000 people because … it was the Scorpions,” Kottak says. Likewise, the DVD the band just released is footage from their headline gig at the Wacken Festival in Germany in ’06 in front of 40,000 fans. Of course, Germany is Scorpions home soil (Kottak was and is the band’s only American member), but they also still top the charts in random places – like Greece. “It’s better to be number one in Greece than number 20 somewhere,” Kottak laughs. Kottak spent his early years in Louisville, Kentucky (“home of fast women and beautiful horses”), playing in cover bands and learning, he says, “every song that had ever been written in the history of the world.” He scored his first gig with Ronnie Montrose, “which I’m super proud of,” and then it was gradual progression through the ranks – Kingdom Come (he still has his the drum set from their ’88 tour), Wild Horses (a band of his own), The Cult (he appeared on

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1991’s Ceremony), on to CC Deville and Warrant. “The Scorpions thing came about because [Kingdom Come] opened for Scorpions on Monsters Of Rock in an indoor arena tour, and I got to be friends with them,” Kottak remembers of the 1988 festival that also featured Metallica, Dokken, and Van Halen. Down the road, Scorpions’

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Athena (that’s right, rocker Tommy Lee), who turned out to be a pretty hellacious drummer in her own right. “Tommy came to the Monsters Of Rock,” Kottak says. “He came back after the set to say, ‘Hey Kingdom Come, man, your album’s great. Who produced it?’ And I said, ‘Bob Rock.’ And of course they got Bob Rock to produce their very

“I was doing Scorpions tunes back in the ’80s when I was in cover bands” producer Keith Olsen, whom Kottak already knew, would ask him to play on 1990’s Crazy World. And so it began. But what was set in motion at that ’88 Monsters Of Rock tour would act as the turning point for more than just Kottak’s drumming career. It’s also where he would get hooked up with his soon-to-be wife – Tommy Lee’s little sister,

next album. But anyway, he talked me into coming and seeing his sister play that night. He’s like, ‘Aww man, you’d be perfect for her, man. She needs a cool boyfriend. I was like, ‘This is weird.’” But the Mötley Crüe skinsman’s instincts proved to be right on, and these days Kottak and his rocker wife, in addition to sharing the duties of

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raising three kids, share the stage whenever they can. “We started a band called KrunK back in ’95,” he says. “But then since Little Jon came along and all that rap-y stuff, we changed the name from KrunK to Kottak. So in that band I sing and play guitar and [Athena]’s the drummer. We’re like Cheap Trick meets Green Day on a bad day.” As for having Tommy Lee for a brother-in-law, a guy with a personality that eclipses the sun and who was able to turn his ’80s rocker status into solid gold, Kottak is quick to show respect, but not without a wisp of thinly veiled jealousy peeking through – especially when it comes to the touchy subject of competition for endorsement exposure. “With companies and products, it’s a name game,” he says. “And that’s how they sell their product. Yeah, these companies supply me with equipment and stuff, and they do ads and whatever, but it’s kind of hard to demand when you’ve got somebody like Tommy, who


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has a very famous name. When you’re with a company for a while, sometimes you kind of get put on the back burner. You’ve got to not let your ego get in the way.” But Kottak is hopeful for a boost in his exposure with a new ddrum endorsement, coming as it does on the heels of Scorpion’s most recent release, Humanity Hour 1. “For me it’s the best album – I’m not just saying this – but really, the best album I’ve done,” he says. “Not just the drum parts, but the whole vibe of the record. It just has a certain character to it.” Kottak was especially juiced at being able to wait until the very end of the recording process to lay down his final drum tracks. “Talk about luxury – it was great,” he says. “I was able to listen to the tracks; I practiced at home with the tracks, with the click, and with the music. And I had weeks to really create my parts around the

INSIDE TRACKS

Scorpions Humanity Hour 1 NEWDOOR

Memories of the classic stadium-rock era waft like an herb-scented breeze throughout the latest release from this apparently immortal band. Every ingredient is in play: the keening, two-part vocals, the squalling lead and massed backup guitars, the elephantine tempos. Sure, it’s well-trodden territory, but these guys rule it. And of course James Kottak is the definitive drummer for this idiom. Even on dirges like “The Future Never Dies,” he plays with a kind of slow-motion intensity, as if his kit had been set up underwater, compensating for the heavy tread of the beat by emphasizing the dynamics masterfully and using his fills to add punch to the vocal melody. And when things pick up, his performance remains predictable yet totally satisfying. Check out “321,” where he shifts the quarternote pulse from hi-hat to a crisp articulation on the bell of the ride, and then to a washier pattern on the choruses. It’s all been done before, but when executed absolutely right and with authority, it still coaxes a smile. For that reason alone, Kottak remains one of the most consistently rewarding players in rock and roll, on any instrument. BY ROBERT L. DOERSCHUK

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song, which makes way more sense – to do the drums last.” But new album aside, having been in the band for 12 years now, Kottak knows what really counts is what happens in front of those 50,000 screaming fans waiting to hear “Rock You Like A Hurricane” exactly how they remember it from the radio. “The recordings are really classic, so I don’t screw around with them too much,” he says. “But it has gradually

become my own style.” Luckily, Scorpions stuff is pretty straightforward rock – the kind of stuff Kottak has played his whole life. “I was doing Scorpions tunes back in the ’80s when I was in cover bands,” he says. “So it’s kind of like I’m still in a cover band. We just do all Scorpions music. “With this band consistency is king,” he continues. “Every gig, we play it as if it were our last gig. And that’s a lot to live up to.”


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ZAC FARRO

The Paramore Workout I

PHOTO BY RYAN RUSSELL

This is my drum set. There are many like it but this one is mine. My drum set is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life. My drum set without me is useless. Without my drum set, I am useless.

BY JARED COBB

t wouldn’t be surprising to hear Paramore drummer Zac Farro reciting this creed in his sleep as his tour bus rolls through the

night toward the next sold-out venue. Farro’s catchy, spunkpop band’s second album, Riot!, went gold in its first week, they toured incessantly for their rabid fan base, and were nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy. But all that seems to take a backseat to what seems to be Farro’s greatest accomplishment of late: He survived drummer boot camp.

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ZAC FARRO

“Some days he would take all my toms and cymbals away, saying I was playing too many fills” “He calls it Bendeth Boot Camp,” Farro says, still perky despite his transatlantic jetlag, “and he does it with every band, just breaks them down and reworks them.” Bendeth is David Bendeth, producer of bands like Hawthorne Heights, Killswitch Engage, and now Paramore, and his boot camp is a month-long musical melioration designed to turn good bands into great bands, to turn dreams and aspirations into hit singles and gold records. It’s intense; it’s effective (see: Grammy nod); and it’s not for the squeamish. “Going into recording this record I thought I’d be pretty good at it because of my expe-

rience with the first record and the work we did on the demos, but I was totally wrong. Bendeth was such a hard ass. He totally worked us. At one point he sat me down and said, ‘Zac, I know you’re 16 but you’re playing like a 16-year-old and you need to play like a 25-yearold. You’re just not playing well enough for this record.’ He knew I had the potential and that’s why he was so hard on me. He totally broke us down and rebuilt us. “A lot of times it was pretty emotional. I was pretty young – well, I still am – and I had this guy constantly over my shoulder telling me I sucked, just to make me better. I didn’t

quite get it at the time but my brother [guitarist Josh] told me to stick it out, that Bendeth was just trying to get the best out of me. And when I listen to the tracks I feel like what he did was worth it.” Farro’s playing on Riot! certainly does display a level of preparedness and craftsmanship that puts him well beyond his now 17 years. His drum stylings are creative and expressive without being distracting and overbearing. He plays to the song, but can easily be considered a highlight as well. The hard work paid off – and there was plenty of hard work. “Before we even started preproduction, Bendeth wrote down a list of things he wanted me to work on: consistency, velocity, all these things. But the main thing was consistency with the kick drum, snare, and hi-hat, and to make sure I hit the toms the same way all the way down the kit. Some days he would take all my toms and cymbals away, saying I was

QUICK LICKS

“For A Pessimist I’m Pretty Optimistic” = ca. 206 0:38

VITALS Paramore 17 BIRTHPLACE New Jersey INFLUENCES William Goldsmith, Dave Grohl, Riley Breckenridge, Zach Lind CURRENT RELEASE Riot! WEB SITE paramore.net BAND AGE

ALL GEARED UP Truth Meinl STICKS Pro-Mark HEADS Evans MICROPHONES Shure DRUMS

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playing too many fills. He was so crazy. He’s a wild dude. “On several different occasions we would sit in the preproduction room – just me, Bendeth and our bass player, Jeremy [Davis] – and we’d play funk music, jazz music, country music. We’d play with a click track and we’d just do it to groove, playing the same thing for three or four hours at a time. We’d take turns playing solos and everything.” TRANSCRIPTION BY JOHN

Zac Farro’s considerable talents as a drummer are highlighted by his key musical attribute: an incredibly short attention span. Tune out for five seconds and chances are you’ve missed two or three new grooves and an assortment of newly unveiled fill material. All too often this type of playing can leave a listener weary and unsatisfied, but Farro’s performance has the opposite effect. Instead of sounding unfocused and immature, the material comes across as

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exhilarating and highly evolved, making for an altogether exciting and downright fun listening experience. Within this 20-second excerpt from “For A Pessimist I’m Pretty Optimistic,” Farro conquers no less than four completely different groove feels, labeled A, B, C, and D, each of which add to the music as much as the last and indicate a very particular sense of craftsmanship.

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The lessons came hard and fast throughout the month of preproduction. Eventually, Farro became not only a good little soldier, but also almost a glutton for punishment. “I told Bendeth I wanted to learn to play in a band, not just play as a drummer, so simplicity kind of became our motto. There’s more to a band than just the drums, and I think a lot of drummers – especially young drummers like me – overplay a lot and try to be the voice of the band. And when you realize that drums are just one piece of the band, that’s when things start to fall into place.” Eventually, the boot camp ended and Farro version 2.0 stepped into the recording room confident and prepared, hammering out 15 songs in five days. His newfound musical fitness allowed him to keep the drum parts on Riot! natural and organic, with very few ed-

INSIDE TRACKS

Paramore Riot!

FUELED BY RAMEN

Paramore’s taut pop-punk poses a set of intricate challenges for Zac Farro, who accepts each one and returns it with his own dose of attitude attached. The band dashes in tight sync through blizzards of quick riffs and metrical shifts on 12 tracks, none of them touching four minutes in length yet most of them as complex as mazes filled with mirrors and laced with barbed wire. Just check out “Misery Business,” on which Farro negotiates quick pattern

its and manipulations. And in the end he got not only a record he can be proud of, but also a new friend and mentor. “That was one of the most amazing experiences of my life and I totally grew as a drummer

shifts, sudden stops, punchy unison accents, sudden dreamy reveries, solo moments, sudden crescendos, and unexpected flat-out sprints. Now and then he tosses out a quick, teasing glimpse at the solid technique he could display if allowed to flaunt for a moment or two. Even when he doesn’t have to alter the beat, as on the repeat of the chorus at the end of “Let The Flames Begin,” he does it anyway, as a result adding a personal touch as well as another perspective on the music and lyric. For a band that boasts this rare mix of élan and intelligence, it’s hard to imagine any drummer handling his role with more aplomb than Farro. BY ROBERT L. DOERSCHUK

and I don’t think I’d be half the drummer I am now without it. I took drum lessons for three years when I was younger and I learned more in a month with Bendeth than I did in those three years combined.

“And now I can always turn to Bendeth if I have any questions or need any guidance in the music industry. He worked at RCA for like 20 years as an A&R guy and before that he was a guitarist – his band opened up for The Police. And now he produces bands, so he’s been on every side of the music industry. He’s someone we can always talk to when we have a problem.” The problems for Paramore are few and far between. While they didn’t land that elusive Grammy this time around, their success continues. “It’s an amazing feeling but it’s not what you expect it to be. It’s all amazing and we know we’re so blessed and we’re thankful, but I don’t really feel any different at all. It doesn’t even feel real. When we see our band on MTV we don’t even think it’s actually us. It’s really bizarre.”


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DEE PLAKAS

The Sister Swing D

BY ANDREW LENTZ

ee Plakas is one lucky lady. As the drummer for Donita Sparks + The Stellar Moments, she has achieved a comfy working relationship with her old L7 bandmate that would be the envy of most groups. These two grrrls’ rapport is so snug, in fact, they finish each other’s sentences – or as the case may be – come up with drum parts together. “I’m not that precious about it. If she comes up with a great beat that she wrote and it really matches the song and I really dig it, I’m like, ‘Wow, less work for me,” Plakas explains in a vestigial Chicago accent, still getting through her first cup of coffee. “I don’t have to come up with the latest, greatest, newest neverbeen-invented drumbeat.” No worries there: Plakas is the queen of less-is-more. And she’s playing with the consistency of a click in every tune on the addictive new album, Transmiticate, where she takes that ol’ chestnut, “serve the music,” to heart. “When I first started playing the drums, I was self taught and I really wanted to be this busy, Keith Moon-type drummer, I wanted to be this explosion, just crazy. It’s funny because

VITALS Donita Sparks + The Stellar Moments AGE 46 (per Wikipedia – she was unwilling to divulge) BIRTHPLACE Chicago, IL INFLUENCES Keith Moon, John Bonham, Ringo Starr, Charlie Watts CURRENT RELEASE Transmiticate BAND

PHOTO BY ROBERT DOWNS

ALL GEARED UP DW Zildjian STICKS Pro-Mark HEADS Remo DRUMS

CYMBALS

MAY 2008

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JORDAN BURNS DEE PLAKAS what ended up being my niche is just this solid, nottoo-many-frills kind of drumming. Any time we worked on songs in the early days Donita would say, ‘Don’t put that roll at the end – I think it’s better when you just slam it down.’” The benefit of this straightahead approach is that when Plakas does essay a lil’ razzledazzle, it catches your ear and won’t let go, as with the dense fills on “Into The Hi-Fi” and “Curtains For Cathy.” These bits of flare are more than enough for Plakas, whose entire drumming philosophy was crystallized at a Cramps concert back in the day. “I remember seeing them and thinking, ‘Oh, my god, that guy [Jack Drumdini] did not do one fill throughout the whole set,’ and of course that was their whole trip – very caveman rock,” she marvels. “But it’s deceptively hard. It’s actually easier to fill up all that space with a lot of stuff as

“I discovered the fabulous world of the different sounds you can get on your snare” opposed to keeping it solid like a machine.” Oddly, the Transmiticate track where Plakas gets somewhat technical is “Creampuff,” an early ’60s girl group-esque tune with smooshy double hihat chicks. “It’s always harder to play the slow songs than the fast songs, because with a slow song, especially one like that, it requires more dynamics and finesse – you can’t just plod your way through it. It’s really delicate. “That’s a great example of a song that Donita brought to me soon after we started working on her solo project. She had written this drumbeat

on her little drum machine, and she’s like, ‘Okay, I know this beat on here is very bizarre. I don’t know what you want to do with it.’ On my own I would have never come up with that drumbeat – it’s just not me. When you have people listen to beats on machines and then you try to transfer it to a human being playing it, it doesn’t always translate.” Now an enthusiastic technophile, Plakas readily indulges her yen for machine-assisted trickery, both live and in the studio, such as the snare triggers on lead-off track “Fly Feather Fly,” which come

QUICK LICKS

“Need To Numb”

TRANSCRIPTION BY JOHN

On the trashy Transmiticate, Dee Plakas knows her part well, sticking to strong backbeats with plenty of snotty appeal. “Need To Numb” is an interesting track in the respect that it reveals a number of things going on underneath the pounding, straight-ahead feel. These smaller elements help to make the groove what it is. Spread throughout the four-bar phrase are small

= ca. 158 0:50

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across as flams at first but are actually hand-clap samples. Or the balloon-burst snare sound on “Dare Dare,” which she refers to as the “pop shot.” “I used to think of triggers as something for drummers who can’t hit quite as loud as they used to,” she laughs, “but then I discovered the fabulous world of the different sounds you can get on your snare.” The evolution in Plakas’ sophistication is remarkable for someone who wasn’t especially interested in percussion, even as late as her early twenties. “It wasn’t something I grew up thinking, ‘Gosh, I want to be a drummer,’” she explains. “Eventually one night, out of desperation, [a college band] decided to ask the ‘gal.’ I was the ‘Elaine’ of the group – I hung out with these guys in college and they couldn’t find anybody so they thought, ‘You’re a good dancer – we figured you might be a good drummer.’”

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NATELLI

embellishments that, upon first listen, seem to be coincidental. Once the phrase ends and the pattern starts over we realize these things are not coincidental at all, and actually play an important role in her overall feel. Examples of this are the unusual placement of slightly open hi-hat notes and the extra bass drum on the & of 1 in the second bar of each phrase.


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So Plakas set about learning the basics with the help of a drummer friend who let her play his kit. “He just showed me how to alternate the kick, the snare, and the ride cymbal and told me to sit there and do it for a couple of hours and see if I liked it. And I did,” she says. “At the time The Ramones were my favorite band, and The Clash, and I just started listening to those records and thought, ‘Oh, I can do this.’” After she graduated and moved out to Los Angeles, the rest is history. Not only would L7 be forever identified with the alt-rock explosion of the mid-’90s, but the allgirl grunge-sters helped set off the riot-grrrl movement. When the band broke up in 2000, Sparks wanted to branch out and do something more … fun. That’s where producer Ethan Allen (Luscious

INSIDE TRACKS

Donita Sparks + The Stellar Moments Transmiticate SPARKSFLY

The drum community is separating into two camps. The better players in both place a high priority on chops, but where Group A believes that the groove is best achieved by flaunting those chops as much as possible, if not all the time, Group B takes the contrary approach of paring down to basics in order to fit into, rather than overwhelm, what the rest of the band is doing. Dee Plakas is definitely a Group B girl. Throughout Transmiticate she boils almost everything down to a deadly backbeat, with nothing more than a straight cymbal beat and a spare, old-fashioned kick-drum complement. And, wow, does it work! The rest of the Stellar Moments follow her lead by keeping their parts minimal, which pushes Sparks’ vocals right where they belong, at the top of the mix. And by resisting the temptation to scatter fills all over the place, Plakas makes sure that every one she plays hits with maximum impact. Even the hihat openings on the 6/8 crawl, “Creampuff,” wind up meaning a lot. Someone find a throne for Plakas, the queen of the B’s. BY ROBERT L. DOERSCHUK

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Jackson) stepped in, with constructive criticism on every aspect of the recording of Transmiticate, including the drums. “He knows pocket when he hears it,” says Plakas. “There were some times when I thought I nailed it, but he said, ‘Well, Dee, that was a good take, but I think you got one better in you.’ Sometimes it’s just splitting hairs, but that’s the difference between a good take and a fabulous take.”

When asked whether she sits around at home practicing rudiments on hers days off, Plakas lets out a hearty guffaw. “Kids out there: Don’t do what I do. I’m horrible at rehearsing. I’m a very lazy drummer.” Unless a gig is imminent. “Then I’m all, ‘Yeah! Let’s do it.’ But if someone will say, ‘Hey Dee, do you want to just, like, jam?’ I’ll be like, ‘Nah, I’m going home to watch Jon Stewart.’” !


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.’s Bill R T TO A IT ’S WELL IN a cup of Scottish breakfast tea. flin has lived almost his enlf Rie se m hi g in Seattle, where is mak ence of Januly cold night in he gusts are evid ees above T e. ns te in It’s not a terrib e or m degr e wind makes it s still only a few tent tire life, but th d even then, it’ for Rieflin’s po an , er ts at en w e om th m e, g in sid sp In a . ga se to st or in la w e ary’s uld be urs som late hour. It co d drummer po ire t ha rho ve e sil th e to freezing at this th in d sing a light boil, an ack leaves, diffu brown. tea has reached h ates from the bl et di te ra s r hi lo d co ne ze ai mug. The bron the stuff is so strong it has st ys water. Rieflin sa

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d R.E.M U SC A t in January an By A N D R EW J. N HURSDAY nigh

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O W IT Z R EN M O SK Ph ot os By K A ieflin

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BILL RIEFLIN

It’s been a busy 24 hours. The soft-spoken drummer spent today in the studio, setting up his equipment for a weeklong session with The Humans, a side project with English associates Toyah Wilcox and Chris Wong. Any other musician with only a single week to lay down an entire record would be nervous about getting the job done in time. This Zen master is not worried. “I’ve laid down entire records in a day,” he says, between sips. “The first Minus 5 record I played on, I believe we recorded and overdubbed nine songs in a day. They were all mixed in a day. I think that’s even better than the first Beatles album. People say it was recorded in a day, but in fact it wasn’t. Certainly their songs were more popular.”

THE FIVE OF US WERE IN THERE BANGING AWAY, MAKING STUFF HAPPEN. THE MOOD WAS VERY GOOD, VERY POSITIVE.

When the seven-day session is over, Rieflin will resume rehearsing with R.E.M., the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame band that he happens to play for. Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Mike Mills, and Rieflin will run through the songs from Accelerate, the band’s 14th studio album, with a major tour just around the corner. Rieflin says the band is locked, loaded, and ready to go. “Record-making can be just a real pain in the ass, especially when there are a lot of people involved and they don’t see eye-to-eye,” he says. “There was a general consensus on aim here: to be guys in a rock band playing music.” So here sits Bill Rieflin, the drummer for a band whose name alludes to the term “rapid eye movement,” and whose

own Germanic last name translates to “Wolf Of Renown,” relaxing by himself with a cup of Taylor’s Of Harrogate with milk and sugar. Zen master, indeed.

MAKING HASTE. Stripped down. That’s exactly what Accelerate sounds like. It’s a fitting name: guitars thrash, cymbals crash, and the album’s 11 tracks sound like they’ve been recorded in one high-speed session. Really, the album took nine weeks – which is pretty swift for R.E.M., according to Rieflin. “It was meant to be a few things, but a fun record is one of them,” he says. “I think it’s important to enjoy the creative process. If you do, it tends to show in the output.” Accelerate is said to be a sonic departure for R.E.M., but that might just be because the band finally gets to be the sum of its parts. The album opens with “Living Well Is The Best Revenge,” a raucous, punk-styled offensive that has Rieflin’s hi-hats in full swing. In fact, for most of the album’s 11 tracks – such as the straight-fours rocker, “Mansized Wreath,” and the title track, “Accelerate” – Rieflin’s drums unceasingly ring in the back of the mix like they would in a cluttered garage, right behind big, coarse guitar chords that carry the song. Even when the band takes an epic stroke, such as in the rollicking “Houston” and the pensive “Until The Day Is Done,” Rieflin’s snare cracks out the sentiment. As a whole, it’s an anxious-sounding concoction – one that ends on a full-tilt explosion with “Horse To Water” and “I’m Gonna DJ.” It’s easy to picture Rieflin hopping back and forth on his throne for all 35 minutes of the album. “[2004’s] Around The Sun was a studio record,” Rieflin says. “The new record is more a ‘band record’ recorded in the studio. The songs on the new record really came to life from us playing them together.”

RIEFLIN’S SETUP Gretsch (Blue Sparkle)

INFOGRAPHIC BY

DRUMS

1 2 3 4 5

22" x 14" Bass Drum 14" x 6.5" Ludwig Black Beauty Snare 13" x 9" Rack Tom 16" x 16" Floor Tom 18" x 16" Floor Tom

Paiste A 15" Medium Light Hi-Hats (two tops stacked) B 19" Dark Energy Crash C 22" Twenty Light Ride D 18" Dark Energy Crash

B D

C

A

3

CYMBALS

Bill Rieflin also uses Gibraltar 6600 series hardware, Regal Tip sticks, and DW pedals.

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4

2

5 1

JOSH SUKOV


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BILL RIEFLIN

SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY

1988 Land Of Rape And Honey

1989 The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Taste

MINISTRY

1989 Stainless Steel Providers REVOLTING COCKS

MINISTRY

1993 Linger Ficken’ Good …

1994 Shipwreck

1994 Light

CHRIS CONNELLY

KMFDM

REVOLTING COCKS

1990 In Case You Didn’t Feel Like Showing Up

1992 Psalm 69: The Way To Succeed & The Way To Suck Eggs

MINISTRY

MINISTRY

1995 Great Annihilator

1995 Salt Peter RUBY

SWANS

1996 Ten Seconds

1997 Symbols

TEN SECONDS

KMFDM

1998 Number One Of Three

1998 Recall

1998 Blue Orb

PETER MURPHY

ELECTRIC GAUCHOS

THE BODY LOVERS

1999 Birth Of A Giant

1999 Euphoria Morning

1999 Fragile

1999 New Mother

2000 Largo

BILL RIEFLIN

CHRIS CORNELL

NINE INCH NAILS

THE ANGELS OF LIGHT

RIEFLIN/ CONNELLY

2002 Attak

2003 Bad Day

KMFDM

R.E.M.

2004 In Rock

2005 Quadri + Chromies

2001 Field Songs

2001 Road Movies

MARK LANEGAN

LAND

2001 Short-Staffed At The Gene Pool RUBY

2004 Around The Sun

2004 Animal

R.E.M.

R.E.M.

2004 History In Reverse

THE MINUS 5

BLACKOUTS

HECTOR ZAZOU

2006 Minus 5

2006 Olé! Tarantula

2007 R.E.M. Live

2007 We Are Him

2008 Accelerate

THE MINUS 5

ROBYN HITCHCOCK & THE VENUS 3

R.E.M.

ANGELS OF LIGHT

R.E.M.

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Rieflin says the band demoed songs last year in Seattle and played a week’s worth of shows in Ireland before giving the material the green light in the studio. “It was made in three, three-week sessions,” Rieflin says. “Most of the tracking was done the first week of each of those sessions. We would work with what we had as we went along. Certainly, we did not overplay anything. We really wanted the record to be fresh and exciting, and to have good, positive energy. The tracks are essentially live tracks on which stuff was built. The five of us were in there banging away, making stuff happen. The mood was very good, very positive.” Among the album’s tracks and the “battalion of B-sides” that didn’t make it onto the record, Rieflin says his favorite is the first single from the record, the poppy, big-riff “Supernatural Superserious.”

I LIKE TO TAKE DIRECTION, AND I ALSO LIKE BEING LEFT ALONE TO COME UP WITH WHATEVER I COME UP WITH

“That was one of the last things we recorded in Ireland. I like that song a lot. It has one of my favorite moments on the record – the intro to verse two – and verse two has got the most awesome feel. It’s always such a huge pleasure to hear it.” But the new album is more than just an alternative assault and return to mid-’90s form for the band; it’s aural evidence of a growth process for five experienced musicians. Rieflin says he likes to talk ideas, and that the significance of Accelerate goes beyond Stipe’s signature lyrical acrobatics. “Meaning is not found only in lyrics. There is musical meaning,” Rieflin says. “The music has emotional content outside of whatever the lyrics are saying. Different songs have different aspects and meanings and ends, reasons for existing. Fun is really good. Fun suggests play, and play is sort of peer creativity. Children play. They don’t care about learning things or doing things. You can learn a lot through play, but it’s exuberant; it’s fun; it’s creative; it’s what you do when you’re alive. It’s a good natural condition.”


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The recording studio is very much Rieflin’s home. “I’m definitely all about the studio and getting the work done,” he says. “I really like being in the studio. It offers an entirely different set of challenges. I like playing with sounds, I like getting performances right, I like being meticulous. Live, you can essentially get away with murder. Whereas, in the studio, you can get away with a different sort of murder.” That’s not to say Rieflin doesn’t love a good live gig. He says touring with R.E.M. is “fantastic.” “I couldn’t ask for a better group of fellows to travel with. They’re all very nice guys; they’re all very smart guys. They’ve all been around for a long, long time and are essentially unfazed by much. It kind of suits me fine. I’m not a very exciting person. If there’s not a lot of excitement, that’s fine with me. The R.E.M. group – including the extended group – they are really exceptionally large-hearted individuals. It’s a sweet bunch of people.” Keeping the balance of recording and playing live in R.E.M. has been a rewarding exercise. “Recorded music vs. live music is like a love letter versus a hot date,” he says. “I like writing. I like playing with the skills it takes to write a love letter. I like working with those elements. But, like everyone else, I like a good, hot, steamy date.”

PHOTO BY CHRIS BILHEIME

FROM INDUSTRIAL TO INDUSTRY. Rieflin began his musical

PETER BUCK WHY HE DIGS RIEFLIN

E

x-Ministry basher Bill Rieflin may seem an odd choice as the “new” drummer for R.E.M., but not when you consider that Rieflin and guitarist Peter Buck have played together in different projects for more than ten years. Still, the jangle-pop icons had to have been a major adjustment for the erstwhile industrial icon. “Generally, say, if Bill was going to learn our old material, I would definitely suggest listening to the old records and do what [original R.E.M. drummer] Bill Berry does,” says Buck, relaxing in Hawaii before starting a major tour behind Accelerate. “Anything current, it’s all his arrangement ideas. He doesn’t have to play like Bill Berry would have. We hired him for his ability to use balance, so he’s totally free to play whatever he seems to feel makes sense.” One of Rieflin’s most unique traits is the way he takes rhythm cues from the singer rather than working off the bassist or guitarist. “We’ll play things instrumentally and he’ll have great parts,” says Buck, “but he’s definitely one of those guys that the minute he hears the vocal, his part changes a little bit.” According to Buck, R.E.M.’s past and present drummers – Berry, Joey Waronker, Barrett Martin (ex-Screaming Trees), and now, Rieflin – all brought different things to the table. “Bill Berry had a kind of unique style and I think a lot of it was about the way he used the hi-hat, the kick drum, and the snare drum – he had a very interesting way of syncopating them. It was a lot of late ’70s funk-disco feel in the way he played, except

life playing the piano. His first public performance, playing Beatles and Credence Clearwater songs at age ten, was on a spring day in 1971 at a Unitarian church on 35th Street in Seattle, not terribly far from where he currently lives. “I still have the program,” he says. Four years later, he joined his first band. “Some friends called and said their drummer hadn’t shown up for band rehearsal and would I sit in,” he remembers. “I hadn’t played in three years. Little did I know – I also wasn’t very good. Apparently, I was better than their real drummer, and I was asked to join the band, and I did. I’ve played drums pretty regularly since then.” His early drumming years were chaotic at best. “I was in a band in my teen years called The Telepaths, which was a very bizarre and furious experience,” he says. “That turned into The Blackouts, which had a pretty respectable history.” Rieflin spent the better part of the early ’80s with The Blackouts before things really got moving in 1984, when he and two Blackouts bandmates agreed to travel to Chicago to collaborate with Ministry frontman Al Jourgensen. Their work together would lay the foundation for what is now known as industrial metal, although Rieflin describes his eight years with Ministry as a difficult learning experience.

fit to the tempo of our songs. Joey was a session guy, so he could do a lot of different stuff – tropicalia and samba – and adding little elements of that into the music.” What Buck valued in Rieflin was well-roundedness. “As a player he can do almost anything and he’s also very musically knowledgeable. Not just about the drums – he’s got perfect pitch. And he’s a good keyboard player and guitar player and singer.”

For many longtime fans, however, Bill Berry will always be the R.E.M. drummer. “That’s the general perception, but when Bill left, he left, and as much as I love the guy, he’s gone,” says Buck. “Maybe the rest of the world sees [Rieflin] as a replacement – I don’t see it that way. A lot of people who know the band and have seen us play said the last tour that we did was the best tour that we’ve done performance-wise.” BY

ANDREW LENTZ

“Ministry brought aggravation and annoyance,” Rieflin says. “Years of suffering. There were good things and bad things about it. I don’t know if the good things outweigh the bad things. I learned to play with the kind of precision that I wouldn’t have learned to play with otherwise. My overall playing may have suffered some because what was required of me was specific.” Rieflin says Jourgensen’s work ethic was often in direct opposition to his own, and Rieflin left the band in the middle of the Filth Pig sessions in 1994. “The way that Ministry worked was very …” Rieflin pauses to think. “The kind way would say, ‘inefficient.’ Weeks and months in the studio MAY 2008

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ON TOUR MAY 23 Vancouver, B.C. (Deer Lake Park) MAY 29 Los Angeles, CA (Hollywood Bowl) MAY 31 Berkeley, CA (The Greek Theatre) JUNE 3 Denver, CO (Red Rocks Amphitheatre) JUNE 6 Chicago, IL (United Center) JUNE 8 Toronto, ONT (Molson Amphitheatre) JUNE 10 Raleigh, NC (Walnut Creek Amphitheatre) JUNE 11 Washington, DC (Merriweather Post Pavilion) JUNE 13 Boston, MA (Tweeter Center For The Performing Arts) JUNE 14 Long Island, NY (Jones Beach Teather) JUNE 18 Philadelphia, PA (Mann Center For The Performing Arts) JUNE 19 New York, NY (TBA) JUNE 21 Atlanta, GA (Lakewood Amphitheatre) JULY 2 Amsterdam, NETH (Westerpark) JULY 3 Werchter, BEL (Werchter Festival) JULY 5 Bilbao, SPN (Bilbao Festival) JULY 6 Catello d’Empuries, SPN (Doctor Loft 05.00 Festival) JULY 8 Lyon, FR (Le Nuits de Fourvieres – Theatre Romain) JULY 9 Nice, FR (Theatre De Verdure) JULY 12 Dublin, IRE (Oxegen Festival) JULY 13 Balado, UK (T In The Park) JULY 15 Dresden, GER (Elbufer)

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JULY 16 Berlin, GER (Waldbuhne) JULY 18 Locarno, SWZ (Moon And Stars, City Square) JULY 20 Perugia, ITA (Umbria Jazz Festival, Parco Guiliana) JULY 21 Verona, ITA (Arena) JULY 23 Naples, ITA (Neapolis Festival, Mostra D’Oltremare) JULY 24 Udine, ITA (Villa Manin) JULY 26 Milan, ITA (Arena Civica) AUGUST 14 Salzburg, AUS (Frequency Festival) AUGUST 16 Budapest, HUN (Sziget Festival) AUGUST 17 Prague, Czech Rep. (Slavia Stadium) AUGUST 19 Stuttgart, GER (Ehrenhof) AUGUST 20 Rhine, GER (Loreley) AUGUST 22 Wurzburg, GER (Marienfeste) AUGUST 24 Manchester, UK (L.C.C.C.) AUGUST 25 Cardiff, Wales, UK (Millennium Stadium) AUGUST 27 Southampton, UK (Rosebowl) AUGUST 30 London, UK (Twickenham) SEPTEMBER 3 Oslo, NOR (Ullevaal Stadium) SEPTEMBER 4 Bergen, NOR (Koengen Stadium) SEPTEMBER 6 Copenhagen, DEN (Parken Stadium) SEPTEMBER 7 Stockholm, SWE (Stadium) SEPTEMBER 9 Helsinki, FIN (Finnair Stadium)

where there was no point in me hanging around. A lot of those sessions were drug fueled. I didn’t use drugs, so there was no way I could keep up with the way things were going. Studios are expensive, you know. If you want to throw a party, there are cheaper ways to do it. “I played three songs on that record. It was an exceptionally unpleasant three weeks spent in Texas.” Out of work but still passionate about recording, Rieflin looked elsewhere, and returned to a long list of side projects, including collaborations with Swans in 1994, musical collective Pigface, industrial rock band KMFDM, and a high-profile job playing for Nine Inch Nails, which started with a phone call from Trent Reznor in 1997. “He called me and asked me if I’d play for him,” Rieflin says. “I played for, like, eight hours a day, three days in a row. I generated a lot of material for those guys. And I think they used two things out of it.” By the turn of the millennium, Rieflin had released his solo debut, Birth Of A Giant, started his own music label with longtime friend Chris Connelly, First World Music, and collaborated with him on 2000’s The Ultimate Seaside Companion and 2001’s Largo, which featured Rieflin on keyboard. “I get to follow my imagination and see what it needs,” Rieflin says. “I’ve never been in search of the spotlight. I respond well to direction, I like to take direction, and I also like being left alone to come up with whatever I come up with.” One of those collaborations, The Minus 5, also included R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck. R.E.M. had been missing a permanent drummer since the 1997 departure of Bill Berry, and in 2004, the band extended a temporary offer to Rieflin. Part of the initial challenge was channeling Bill Berry. “A greatest hits record had just come out, so a lot of the repertoire was focused on playing that,” he says. “The way for me to play those songs was really to make them sound as much as R.E.M. as I possibly could – really taking in Bill Berry’s playing and absorbing his feel and notes and style. Why he did things the way he did. I really wanted to become Bill Berry. I didn’t want to be some session drummer punching the clock. I always hated bands that bring in new players and everything’s just all wrong. It just never works. “A lot of it is really technical. In a way, it’s more psychological. Where does feel come from?” he asks rhetorically. “I wanted to feel like Bill Berry – nobody asked me to do that. The best compliment would be that no


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one would notice. They’ve got a musical and personal history that, when I joined, extended back over 20 years. It wasn’t just something you sort of come into. It took some time how to figure out what my place was, my role. My role was the drummer.” One listen to Accelerate, and its obvious Rieflin has truly found his place. “Bill [Berry] didn’t play on the new record. The other Bill did – Bill 2,” he says. “I don’t have to sound like Bill Berry anymore.”

LEARNING LEGENDS. It’s about noon on Monday in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, and Bill Rieflin is sitting at a table surrounded by drummers. When he can make it, it’s Rieflin’s usual scene, but there isn’t a bandmember in sight. Today, like many Mondays, Rieflin is a guest of jazz drummer Matt Jorgensen, a local who hosts a weekly drummer’s lunch for area players to come hang out over a good meal. There is laughter, wisecracks, and the usual sounds of a circle of friends. The group rarely mentions their common craft. Today’s an exception. Rieflin’s talking shop with local legend Gregg Keplinger, and though he’s fascinated by Keplinger’s talk of jazz technique and stories from being a Soundgarden drum tech, it makes him slightly uncomfortable. Unlike some sitting at this table, Rieflin never had formal technique training, and the gulf between him and those with schooling is enormous in Rieflin’s mind.

I’M WORKING ON MY IMAGINATION. I’M RESPONDING TO THINGS NOW THAT I DIDN’T RESPOND TO AS A YOUNGER PERSON. “These guys grew up learning how to play in a way I didn’t learn how to play,” Rieflin says. “I grew up in a different era, a few years behind them. How they learned and what they learned was different for me. I actually never took lessons until after I’ve been playing for a long time. The problem with that is that I had developed so many bad habits, developed in such miserable ways. I spent the last 15 or so years basically unwinding everything I’ve done up until now, with varying degrees of success.” To do that, Rieflin’s thrown himself full-force into his drumming history, opening his ears to the new, exciting sounds of unheard-of Seattle drummers, as well as the classic performances he missed as a youth. He could go on for hours about his idols. “The first time I heard Max Roach doing his solo on ‘St. Thomas’ – you go, ‘Oh, jeez, that was really exciting,’” he


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BILL RIEFLIN

DRUMMERS PAST JOEY WARONKER

I

n many ways, R.E.M. are the sacred cows of indie-rock, which makes it imposible for a replacement musician to waltz into the band without feeling the backbreaking weight of their legacy. “For R.E.M. fans it was the same as if Ringo was being replaced, honestly,” says Joey Waronker, who drummed with the band from 1997 to 2001. The role of R.E.M. timekeeper was a daunting one for Waronker even though he had already played with Beck, Elliot Smith, Smashing Pumpkins, and others. “One of my first impressions was, ‘Wow, I’m not playing in an R.E.M. cover band – this is the real thing.’ I had to learn all those albums worth of songs and get up to speed with that. If the guys decided they wanted to play something that maybe we hadn’t rehearsed and they haven’t played in ten years … just kind of be on top of it.” But Waronker quickly got past the abstract idea of playing in a famous

pop group before experiencing on a deeper level why the Athens, Georgia dudes are special. “Michael [Stipe] has a certain charisma and power as an artist that I can’t say I have experienced too many other times, particularly on stage.” So why would anyone leave such a sweet gig? “I wanted to make a bold move and switch directions from the side-band role – the hired gun,” he explains. “When it came time for the next round of stuff it had been five years and I just said, ‘I need to set a five-year limit for myself.’” As far as the choice of Rieflin for his replacement, Waronker admits it was a no brainer. “When I knew I wasn’t going to do it anymore I was like, ‘Well, they should just get Bill.’ They’re all buddies, they’ve been playing together for years, they all live in the same town [Buck and Rieflin both reside in Seattle]. I would have been shocked if they didn’t.” BY

ANDREW LENTZ


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says. “And I absolutely adore Budgie from [Siouxie &] The Banshees – really, really exciting player. I saw Dave Weckl play recently. You watch a guy like that play and it’s amazing. I recently took a drum lesson from Dave Garibaldi – the guy’s a deep groove player but he’s an amazing technician. Watching [Terry] Bozzio play, it’s a marvel. And Glen Kotche from Wilco – he does these solo things, it’s quite stunning. He does Steve Reich pieces, and these pieces with metric modulations. He’s playing pieces written for a group of guys all by himself.” For an “idea guy” like Rieflin, the inspiration is as much an exercise of the mind as it is of the limbs. “Amazing technique is always inspiring,” he says. “I’m working on my imagination. I’m responding to things now that I didn’t respond to as a younger person.” As Accelerate is R.E.M.’s liberation from middle age, so is technique training for Rieflin. “My current years are about acquiring a technique that I never had,” he says. “Learning how to do things well, better, with intention, instead of blazing and blasting. As I get older, I can’t get away with using sheer force. I don’t have that kind of energy anymore – I don’t feel like working so damn hard. I’m interested in acquiring a technique that lets me be lazier.” He stops and laughs. “A good technique allows a player to do what he wants to do. You can’t just walk in, sit behind the drum kit, and make that happen. That isn’t the way it works. “I was taught by someone who didn’t know what they were doing, which was myself. How long have I been play-

ing? I usually give two stock answers: long enough to know better; and long enough that I should be better.”

THE ROAD AHEAD. The Zen master is getting tired. The sun set hours ago, he finished his tea, and all he’s thinking about is that he must rise bright and early the next morning to get sounds in the studio for The Humans. Rieflin says that the studio is not far from his Seattle home, but “it could always be closer.” Even though he’s scheduled to return to R.E.M. soon, he’s thinking about his other side projects, including one improvisational group that includes Peter Buck. “I’ve got a Slow Music record in the bag, ready to go,” he says. “I like to be busy. I like time off – except when I get time off, I get antsy. Then I work, and I think, ‘God, I want time off.’ I have no hobbies – that’s my problem.” In the meantime, Rieflin says he will continue working to become a more versatile player. “I haven’t yet learned to play,” he says. It’s a part of Rieflin’s workaholic, exacting nature. He may be the Zen master, but he’s still the consummate professional musician – and nothing gets his pulse going like the prospects of a new musical direction. “I’d like to just make really, really, really, really great records,” he says. “There are always better ones waiting. I still take the approach that my best work is yet to come. I’m absolutely not interested or excited by my past. I’m absolutely interested and excited in my future.” !


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BILL RIEFLIN

GROOVE ANALYSIS Rieflin’s R.E.M. Riffs “LIVING WELL IS THE BEST REVENGE” It’s worth emulating Bill Rieflin’s brand of no-nonsense style. He’s lent his skills to a wide range of artists, and built his career by delivering straight-up powerhouse drumming. Every beat and fill is designed to propel the music and the band forward, which he clearly demonstrates on the lead-off track from R.E.M.’s Accelerate, “Living Well Is The Best Revenge.” He begins simply enough by playing a single-stroked crescendo that leads into a train-style snare groove with heavily accented backbeats. He moves it to his sloshy hihats for the verse and the crash during the final section of this transcription.

“MAN-SIZED WREATH” Rieflin plays a funkier groove for “Man-Sized Wreath,” with a bit of grease that he embellishes with ghosted snare notes on some of the e’s and ah’s. He changes the mood of these alternating sections by either playing his hi-hats clamped tight or open. It’s simple, but effective.

BY

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Chuck Berry

ROCK R & ROLL

PHOTO MICHAEL OCHS ARCHIVES/GETTY IMAGES

BY BRAD SCHLUETER

The Early Drummers

ock and roll began as a fusion of R&B chord patterns, boogie-woogie piano rhythms, and a strong backbeat, which made the music exciting and danceable. Other artists mixed popular country influences with R&B, creating what was later dubbed rockabilly. But this music was more than rhythms and chord progressions. Culturally, it

marked the beginning of the slow change in race relations in the U.S. and the gradual acceptance of minorities by the white majority, first as athletes and entertainers. In this era, the music was often recorded directly to acetate, which forced the musicians to get it right on the first take. Let’s take a look at some of the drum parts that launched a musical revolution.

MAY 2008

DRUM!

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ROCK & ROLL “Johnny B. Goode” BY CHUCK BERRY This was one of Berry’s many hit songs and its intro has carved itself into our collective consciousness. It was on “Johnny B. Goode” that Berry first employed the new studio technique of overdubbing to record the guitar solos. Fred Below recorded the drums on many of Berry’s Chess Records hits, and like much of the music from this era, this song has a light swing that falls somewhere between a sixteenth-note and a triplet feel.

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“Rock Around The Clock” BY BILL HALEY & THE COMETS This classic slice of Americana was one of the very first rock and roll hits, and it features an interesting drum part – or a couple of them. The intro section has unison hits on the snare drum with the rhythm section. During the body of the song there appears to be a couple of simultaneous drum parts – one playing a shuffle on the rim of a drum (notated on the high tom rim) and the snare kicks, and the other playing the hi-hat – though it’s possible one drummer played the entire part. Session drummer Billy Gussak was used for the recording of this track instead of Haley’s regular drummer, Dick Richards. The bass

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“Blue Suede Shoes” BY CARL PERKINS This song was one of rock’s first hits that also performed well on pop, country, and R&B charts, and was the first Sun release to sell a million copies. Out of friendship, Elvis delayed the release of his version until after Perkins’ original single had peaked on the charts. The beginning of this song has some 6/4 measures, which, according to drummer W. S. “Fluke” Holland, were the result of the band’s inexperience rather than an intentional compositional choice. The breaks later in the song revert to 4/4. Fluke went on to join Johnny Cash for a two-week tour, which lasted for the next 40 years. He also recorded all of Cash’s hits and was the first drummer to play a full set of drums at the Grand Ole Opry. We’ve notated the rim part as a tom rim, though

68 DRUM!

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ROCK & ROLL “A Little Less Conversation” BY ELVIS PRESLEY Elvis Presley was known for fusing R&B and country together, but this song is pure rock and roll. However, if you’re only familiar with Junkie XL’s remix of this song you’ve missed out on the funky drum fill that kicks off this cool track. The fill may sound a little odd since it starts on beat 2 – the sticking used was probably RL LR RL LR. The song has a boogaloo groove that’s got a nice little ghost note on the e of 2. The tasty fill in the third measure uses a RRL RRL sticking. DJ Fontana was Elvis’ drummer for 14 years and recorded well over 400 songs with the King, including this one, and he continues to record and tour.

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“Great Balls Of Fire” BY JERRY LEE LEWIS Jerry Lee Lewis was one of early rock’s most dynamic and scandalous performers, who mixed boogie-woogie, R&B, and gospel music to create his exciting and raucous songs. He was kicked out of Bible school for playing the Devil’s music, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his hit, “Great Balls Of Fire,” was considered blasphemous when it was released. There actually are only two instruments on this recording: Lewis’ piano and voice, and the great drumming of J.M. Van Eaton, who was one of Sun Records’ session drummers and played with many musicians of

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“Bo Diddley” BY BO DIDDLEY This tribal groove is based on a Latin 3:2 son clave, which, as many of you know, is a rhythmic pattern whose accents fall on 1 (2) & 4 2 3. The original recording is of very poor quality and I can’t make out a bass drum part at all, but was a bit surprised to detect the two-tom melody that is usually ignored. Drummers often play the classic groove on the floor tom and play either the clave pattern or straight quarternotes on the bass drum. It can also be played as a N’awlins second-line groove on the snare drum with rudimental flourishes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t source the original drummer from the 1957 session.

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“Keep A Knockin’” BY LITTLE RICHARD Most drummers don’t know that John Bonham based his intro to Led Zeppelin’s “Rock And Roll” very, very closely – or perhaps just plain stole it – from Charles Connor’s intro to Little Richard’s song “Keep A Knockin’.” Like “Rock And Roll,” the intro is all in 4/4, and starts on the & of beat 3, though some drummers prefer to think of it starting or ending with a measure of 3/8. It definitely helps to count it out. If you listen to the two songs back to back, there are subtle differences, but it’s obvious that Connor’s stellar drumming made a huge impact on Bonzo.

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ROCK & ROLL “I’m Walkin’” BY FATS DOMINO This song’s funky intro will get your toes tapping and Earl Palmer’s two-handed snare RLRL groove is another great drum pattern every drummer should know. The handclaps on the counts 2 and 4 keep the feel upbeat and moving. He plays this as a variation of a train beat with a light swing and a syncopated bass drum note on the ah of beat 2 in every other measure, which makes his groove ever-so-funky.

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“Ain’t That A Shame” BY FATS DOMINO You might be more familiar with Cheap Trick’s remake of this early rock hit than the 1955 original, but Fats’ voice and superb piano playing, coupled with the deep pocket of Earl Palmer’s drumming, made this song a classic.

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“Peggy Sue” BY BUDDY HOLLY AND THE CRICKETS Drummer Jerry Allison suggested a new title for this song, which was originally titled “Cindy Lou,” and also offered an unusual and signature sixteenth-note tom-tom groove that helped the song stand apart from other songs on the radio. More than a drummer, Allison cowrote “Peggy Sue,” “That’ll Be The Day,” “Not Fade Away,” and “More Than I Can Say,” though the band’s manager altered the songwriting

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changes the drum part during the song, but occasionally adds brief crescendos to this two-anda-half minute tom roll.

“The Twist,” “Let’s Twist Again,” and “Slow Twistin’” BY CHUBBY CHECKER The twist beat is a classic drum groove that features a snare pattern of three notes that fall on 2 & and 4, adding a little syncopation to the standard rock beat with backbeats on 2 and 4. Ironically, neither “The Twist” nor “Let’s Twist Again” uses that drumbeat. However, Checker’s duet with Dee Dee Sharp on “Slow Twistin’” does employ the beat the dance style is associ-

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ated with. Ellis Tollin was the creative drummer behind these slyly suggestive songs.

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est.

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CELTIC PUNK DRUMMERS But whatever you want to call the very specific kind of mash up that fuses gritty, bare-knuckle rock with bagpipes, tin whistles, and lyrics about girls named Maggie, you can rest assured that enough bands are doing it to where it ought to be classified as something. And though the four drummers we spoke to – Kelly, Bones from The Tossers, Thomas Hamlin from Black 47, and George Schwindt from Flogging Molly – seem (understandably) compelled to want to turn the attention away from some broad label and toward their specific work as musicians, there’s no denying that the Irish-ness of their music feels about as subtle as a sucker punch from a red-headed leprechaun. So while each of these guys considers himself a punk, rock, or folk drummer first and foremost, it’s the common Celtic denominator that keeps bubbling to the surface like the head on a well-poured pint of Guinness, making this style much more unique than any punk, rock, or folk label alone could suggest.

Matt KelYlSy DROPKICK MURPH

F

irst off, it wasn’t Scorcese who made Dropkick Murphys synonymous with Boston’s Irish working class. If anything, that distinction came with their 2004 redrafting of an admittedly awful Irish ballad for the Boston Red Sox called “Tesse,” which hadn’t been sung at a Sox game since 1918 and which, some say, was the lucky charm that helped the team reclaim the pennant after that infamous 86year dry spell. But if that made them Boston’s darlings, it was the high-profile placement of their raucous punk ballad, “I’m Shipping Up To Boston,” in Scorcese’s Oscar-winning 2006 film, The Departed, that made them everybody else’s. “The

Departed thing was ridiculous,” says Kelly. “We’re a bunch of dudes from Boston and these big-wig types are thanking us, using our songs. It’s like, holy cow.” But Kelly, whose thick Bahston accent the film’s stars might have used as a template, makes it clear that a little highfalutin Hollywood exposure isn’t about to sully the band’s connection to its roots. “We come from the callused hand side of society,” he says. “Our parents are laborers or waitresses or truckers, or in some cases mailmen.” And what salt-of-the-earth Boston lad would be complete without a little green blood flowing through his veins? “The Irish side of the family has always been in the forefront,” Kelly says. “I have cousins who play every manner of your accordions, concertinas, uilleann pipes, bagpipes, whistles, and fiddles – all that kind of stuff. So you’d go to a family event on St. Stephen’s day, and the family’d be singin’ Irish songs and somebody would be on the piano or the accordion or button box or whatever. And I think for the most part most of the guys in the band have had that sort of background.” Which is why, naturally, they all grew up despising it. “When we didn’t like something we’d say, ‘Yeah, that’s right up there with Irish music.’”

KELLY’S KIT

INFOGRAPHIC BY

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A

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SJC Custom 20" x 20" Bass Drum 14" x 7.75" Snare 12" x 8" Rack Tom 14" x 14" Floor Tom 16" x 16" Floor Tom CYMBALS Zildjian A 14" New Beat Hi-Hats B 17" A Zildjian Medium Thin Crash C 16" A Zildjian Medium Thin Crash D 22" A Custom Ping Ride E 18" A Zildjian Medium Thin Crash DRUMS

B

C

JOSH SUKOV

1 2 3 4 5

Matt Kelly also uses Tama Iron Cobra pedals, DW hardware, Pro-Mark sticks, Remo heads, and Audix, Shure, and Sennheiser microphones.

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For Kelly, all that changed in ’94 when he went overseas to do some busking on the streets of Germany with a few members of the extended Kelly clan, playing traditional Irish tunes (with him on kit) sometimes for eight hours at a stretch. “We were doing songs like ‘Peggy Gordon,’ which is a Scottish song, or ‘Come Out Ye Black And Tans,’ which is an Irish rebel song,” he says. “A lot of those types of songs, from a kid who grew up on AC/DC, they seem kind of light. But you listen to the lyrics and the delivery of the music and there’s a lot of pain and suffering that comes through in the songs, and the lyrics, and even the chord progressions. It’s very passionate music. And it just grabbed me.” Kelly was inspired enough to try his hand at the bodhran – the traditional Irish frame drum – on a visit to Ireland, and found the technique similar to strumming a guitar, only much harder. “I play [guitar] right-handed, and I’m a left-handed drummer,” he explains. “So my natural inclination was to hold the bodhran tipper with my left hand. So I didn’t really have a leg up on the playing because that was not my strumming hand. It took me a while, but I’m a passable player.” When he got back to the States, Kelly returned to his harder musical roots. “When I joined [Dropkick], we were just a straight-up punk rock band. I mean, there was the Irish kind of sound, and the story-telling kind of thing was sort of infused in the songs, but there wasn’t a lot of the fiddledeedee kinda thing – that sort of developed I guess. We have a lot of songs that have nothing to do with mandolins or bouzoukis or bagpipes or anything like that. It never really occurred to us till people told us, ‘You guys are an Irish punk band,’ or whatever people call it. We are what we are – you call it what you like. It just happened so gradually and so naturally that it never seemed like an issue one way or another, positively or negatively.” With Dropkick, Kelly quickly learned to fuse traditional Irish rhythms with the rudimental, martial-type beats he’d picked up from drummers like Clive Burr. “It’s not your typical hyper-polka beat. You kind of throw a little bit of

flavor in there. Most of it’s pretty simple stuff. I don’t know, maybe I’m self-effacing with this kind of stuff. But people see it and they go, ‘Whoa.’ But I’m left-handed, so just put me in a mirror – it’s much easier to play.” As for the Celtic jig stuff, he says, that mostly boils down to a basic threecount, or ternary rhythm. On the band’s newest album, The Meanest Of Times, you can hear this structure overlapped in songs like “The State Of Massachusetts” and “Echoes On ‘A’ Street” (which was just an acoustic number until the lastminute addition of drums). “Trying to make each of them unique from each other was sometimes a bit challenging,” Kelly admits. “But you just try to do what feels right for the song. Maybe they’ll all sound the same, but we like ’em, so what are you gonna do?”

DISCOGRAPHY

1998 Do Or Die DROPKICK MURPHYS

2003 Blackout DROPKICK MURPHYS

1999 The Gang’s All Here

2001 Sing Loud, Sing Proud!

DROPKICK MURPHYS

DROPKICK MURPHYS

2005 The Warrior’s Code

2008 The Meanest Of Times

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CELTIC PUNK DRUMMERS

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nother Irish lad frustrated with labels, Bones, from the Chicago-based – er – folk band, The Tossers, lays it out up front: “[Celtic punk] is just kind of a label that’s been tagged onto us,” he insists. “We more so classify ourselves as a folk band, because we use all acoustic instruments – we don’t use electric guitars or anything like that.” But even with the punk thing up for debate, there’s no denying the Celtic connection. Those in doubt need only look to the events of last year’s St. Patrick’s Day show at New York’s Roseland Ballroom, where The Tossers opened for The Pogues, the original sparkers of the Celtic punk flame, who even Matt Kelly flat-out admits “influenced every one of these bands.”

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I NEVER CONSIDERED MYSELF LIKE, A Celtic DRUMMER. I THINK I’M MORE OF A rock DRUMMER.

PHOTO BY STACY MCREYNOLDS

Bones

“When we started this band we did a lot of Pogues covers,” Bones says. “So it was just such an honor. And especially to be in New York on St. Patrick’s Day, you know? There’s this song called ‘Black Is The Color,’ which I don’t play on, it’s an old traditional song, and I was just sitting back there and I had time to collect all my thoughts, and just looking at [singer Tony Duggins] singing, and I couldn’t believe it, and all the thoughts that come rushing back into my head about when we started.” Speaking of those early days … “We were pretty much just a punk band,” he says. (Where have we heard this before?) “I don’t think that we had any idea – actually I know that we didn’t have any idea [that there was a similar scene going on]. I was surprised that people liked us. We were just doing our own thing. We didn’t really know about


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Dropkick Murphys or Flogging Molly – we didn’t really know there were other bands like that out there.” But Bones can be forgiven for his innocence. Even after 15 years hittin’ the skins with this Celtic folk-punk-whatever band, the drummer comes across as, well, a little green. His nervousness at this, his first interview, often translates into humility – a touch excessive at times. “I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” he says of his early days at the kit. “I never actually even set out to become a drummer. My grandfather was an old jazz drummer, and maybe it’s just in my blood or something. It was kind of a fluke because he had left this old 1928 Ludwig jazz kit he had with my mother.” Bones started banging around with his school chum, Tony (Duggins – vocals/mandolin), who he’s known since the fourth grade. “I’ve always played in bands with T – you know, just kind of messed around. It’s kind of like Spinal Tap – one drum, one guitar, make up funny songs. Over time, T just got into The Pogues pretty heavily. And from there it got him into The Clancy Brothers, Dubliners, and all that stuff, so we were just kind of tinkering around.” The tinkering trickled into bars and clubs, slowly gaining momentum – always with a nod toward the boys’ shared Irish heritage. “I suppose with some tom work I am trying to emulate the bodhran,” Bones says. “But I never considered myself like, a Celtic drummer. I think I’m more of a rock drummer … I’ll be honest with you – my drum parts aren’t that complicated.” But then, how does he explain that fancy traditional grip he whips out on the “No Booze, No Loot, No Fun” video from the band’s last album, The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death? “In the video I used traditional grip just because I can’t play traditional grip,” he laughs. “I thought it would look kind of cool. I just thought because it was black and white it would look classier.”

DISCOGRAPHY

2000 Long Dim Road

1996 We’ll Never Be Sober Again

THE TOSSERS

THE TOSSERS

2001 Communication & Conviction: Last Seven Years

THE TOSSERS

THE TOSSERS

2003 Purgatory

2005 The Valley Of The Shadow Of Death

THE TOSSERS

2007 Agony

2008 Live On St. Patrick’s Day

THE TOSSERS

THE TOSSERS

THE TOSSERS

But despite the self-deprecation, Bones knows he has the only skill any drummer really needs: time. “I’ve never played to a click track,” he says. In fact, he’s never really even tried. On the band’s latest album, Agony, recorded at Million Yen studio in Chicago, Bones says the drum parts came together like clockwork. “On Valley we took days to get the right drum sounds. It just was a much longer process.” Although, like Matt Kelly, Bones does cop to a tendency toward repetition. “But it seems like that’s what the song calls for,” he says, “So … I just keep on playing from the heart – that’s really all I can do.”

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CELTIC PUNK DRUMMERS

Thomas Hamlin

ure, The Pogues paved the way, but Black 47 was still brash enough to introduce a healthy dose of Irish folk to the unsuspecting thrashers packing NYC hardcore clubs back when it wasn’t exactly commonplace, and they’ve since become an NYC institution. Having crystallized, more or less, in the late ’80s, the band is now touring in support of its 12th album, Iraq. And though Black 47’s particular brand of hardened Celtic traditional falls more into the rock than punk category, the band’s 49year-old drummer, Thomas Hamlin, explains that, back when they were starting out, punk was all about the mindset. “A lot of people, in a broader sense, just think of punk music as guitar, bass, drums, and a singer,” says Hamlin, speaking over the occasional background wail of a siren passing beneath the window of his New York City apartment. “But in New York in those days you could have an all-female cello orchestra, and that would be considered punk, just because of the unusual lineup or approach.” By those standards, Black 47 was certainly punk enough. It began as a residency gig at a bar featuring only a pipe

HAMLIN’S SETUP

I ALWAYS thought THAT WHAT WE’RE DOING, IN THE CELTIC framework, WE’RE

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KIND OF LIKE A LOUD folk BAND

player and lead singer Larry Kirwan. Then came Hamlin, who would sit at a table surrounded by djembes and other assorted percussion. Horns were added later, followed by a growing list of instrumental cameos as the experiment broadened. “For the first year and a half, there was no set lineup of the band,” Hamlin says. “The whole thing sort of happened organically.” For a while, they even toured as a backing act to a poet calling himself Copernicus, improvising their way through Eastern Europe, and even passing through the Soviet Union in ’89 just before the fall of the Iron Curtain. This was mainly Kirwan’s doing. An Irish ex-pat, the singer has always given as much weight to political outspokenness

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DISCOGRAPHY

1987 A long Way Across

1990 Null

1991 Black 47

COPERNICUS

BLACK 47

1993 No Borderline

1993 Fire Of Freedom

COPERNICUS

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1994 Home Of The Brave

COPERNICUS

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(note the blatant anti-war propaganda of Iraq) as he has to his own Irish heritage (Black 47 is a reference to 1847, when the Great Irish Famine was at its nastiest). But politics has never much appealed to Hamlin. “I look at it as a musical contribution on my part,” he says. “I’m not really interested in getting involved in the politics of the whole thing. It’s not that I’m not interested one way or another. It’s just that I would choose not to get involved putting myself on one side or the other – I’m just not politically oriented ... let’s put it that way.” And what of the band’s strong Celtic flavor? How does this non-Irish, self-described “wild Colonial boy” feel about having devoted his career to what most people are content to simply refer to as an “Irish band.” “I don’t think that that’s a really good description of it,” he says. “But then, I don’t really have an alternative description to offer. I always thought that what we’re doing, in the Celtic framework, we’re kind of like a loud folk band. A lot of the tunes are based on traditional tunes, and we’re sort of doing a modern interpretation of that. And the only thing I find that that brings with it is, you know, a lot of folk tunes, they have the uneven bars of three and five, an extra beat here and there, or a beat taken out here and there. But other than that, I just try to play for the song.” Back in the early days, that meant playing the djembe in place of the bodhran. These days, Hamlin tends to keep his beats within the confines of rock – a better fit for the Springsteen-esque anthems that dominate Iraq. “With Black 47, there’s a lot going on up there on stage,” he says. “So I have to sort of pick and choose my spots. And there is a lot of improvising going on. That’s not really apparent on the records, but the live shows, it’s a lot looser. But a lot of times I’m playing referee up there. Or more or less directing traffic.”

1996 Green Suede Shoes

1997 Big Brown Sofa

1998 Keltic Kids

PAT MCGUIRE BAND

LARRY KIRWAN

BLACK 47

1999 Live In New York City

2000 Trouble In The Land

2001 On Fire

BLACK 47

BLACK 47

2003 Gods Of Electricity

2004 Eggman On The Deuce

SUNDIVING

2005 Bicycle Dreams TERRY HAMAN

BLACK 47

2004 New York Town BLACK 47

CHILL FACTION

2005 Elvis Murphy’s Green Suede Shoes

2008 Iraq BLACK 47

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CELTIC PUNK DRUMMERS

George Schwindt

FLOGGING MOLLY

W

hen somebody asks me I say it’s Irish-influenced rock,” says Flogging Molly’s George Schwindt (coming within a hair’s breadth of validating our pigeonholing attempts). “We tend to get boxed more in the U.S. And we don’t not want to be in there, but we don’t want to be limited by that either. People tend to put you in that, like, ‘Okay, The Pogues have already done that. We don’t need to hear that.’ And it’s really not true. It’s not the same sort of thing if you actually listen to it.” The 45-year-old Schwindt, lacking so much as a drop of Irish blood, doesn’t hesitate to point the finger at his lead singer, Dave King, as Molly’s Celtic fountainhead. “He writes in a certain style that, to me, is very Irish,” Schwindt says. “That’s a big influence as far as the Irish-ness of the band.” This makes sense, considering King is, you know, Irish – born and bred in Dublin. “But it wasn’t to the same degree, I don’t think, until Bridget [Regan], our violin player, joined the band,” Schwindt continues. “She was more from a traditional background. Up until then it was just kind of rock. Bridget and I were the only people to play with the old

Oddly ENOUGH, THIS RECORD TO ME sounds LESS Irish THAN SOME OF THE OTHER ONES WE’VE done guys in Flogging Molly. And then those guys left the band, and then Dave and Bridget and I went forward and pulled in four other people. We had never had an accordion player, and then Matt [Hensley] came in and that made it a little bit more Celtic-traditional sort of thing. [But] if we put up a bouzouki player and a lyra player, it’s a Greek punk band – there’s sort of that juxtaposition of instruments featured that immediately calls to mind certain things with regards to traditional music.” True enough. But how does that come across on the kit? “I think that it shows up for me in listening to the bodhran in traditional Irish music,” Schwindt says. To bring a little bodhran to his trap setup, Schwindt rigs up a Yamaha Groove Wedge to the front of his snare drum. “I use that click-y sound with the drum stick and that replicates when you’re

SCHWINDT’S SETUP

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Yamaha Oak Custom (Blue Ridge Blue Oak finish)

DRUMS

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Paiste

A 15" Signature Dark Energy Hi-Hats B 17" 2002 Rock Crash C 22" Signature Power Ride D 19" Signature Full Crash E 18" Signature Heavy China George Schwindt also uses Yamaha hardware, Remo drumheads, Puresound snares, and Vic Firth sticks.

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playing the Irish drum,” he explains. “And then when I go to a called Grouse Lodge Studios in County Westmeath, which is tom pattern, it’s sort of a swing, triplet feel: dah-da-da dah-da- pretty much dead center of the country. It was great, but it da cha, chuh, cha. I try to replicate what a bodhran would do definitely rained a lot over there.” A friend of King’s living on down there on the floor tom, because I don’t have a rack tom the coast lent the band his garage for a rehearsal space. “Every – I just have the kick, snare, 14", and 16" floor tom, and that’s day you’re out there rehearsing and looking out over the Irish it. And recently, in the last couple of years, I added the 16" Sea,” he says. “It’s picturesque.” tom. I only had one floor tom forever. So that’s where you But despite having gone native, the effect in the music is hear that – in a song like ‘Salty Dog’ or ‘The Likes Of You,’ not what you’d expect. “Oddly enough, this record to me again, where I’m doing a tom pattern with a violin in sort of a sounds less Irish than some of the other ones we’ve done,” jig style, and then you try to replicate that bodhran sound.” Schwindt says. “It kind of went the other way.” But that’s As for playing an actual bodhran, Schwindt admits it’s a just fine by him. “It’s interesting,” he says, “When we were foreign tongue to him. “It’s a crazy wrist action, but it’s a working up the songs for Within A Mile Of Home, which wrist action that you wouldn’t do playing mallets or timpani came out in 2004, [King] was reading a lot of James Joyce, or drum set or snare drum. I can keep it going for a while, and he was getting really wordy. Which is cool, but it but to play it to the proper tempos … that’s the kind of becomes difficult to work into a song sometimes. This thing – the really good players – that’s a lifetime of learning, album’s a lot more to the point.” ! and I’ve got enough to learn on the drum set.” For Float, the band’s latest release, they followed the Irish spring all the way back to its source, writing, rehearsing, and recording the entire album in the motherland. “Dave and Bridget live 2004 2008 2006 1997 2000 2002 near Wexford, on the Within A Mile Of Float Whiskey On A Alive Behind The Swagger Drunken southeast part of Ireland,” FLOGGING MOLLY Home Sunday Green Door FLOGGING MOLLY Lullabies FLOGGING MOLLY FLOGGING MOLLY FLOGGING MOLLY Schwindt says. “And we FLOGGING MOLLY recorded the album at a place

DISCOGRAPHY

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BY JARED COBB PHOTOS BY ANDREW ZAEH

THEY OFTEN SAY YOU HAVE YOUR WHOLE LIFE TO MAKE YOUR FIRST ALBUM, BUT ONLY A MATTER OF short, pressure-packed weeks to create your second. It’s the dreaded curse of the sophomore effort and it LOOMS OVER EVERY BAND SUCCESSFUL ENOUGH TO EARN ANOTHER IN-STUDIO AT-BAT. THOSE WHO so often fail inevitably tumble pitiless and plentiful, from heroic Rock God status to flailing and forgettable. 86 DRUM!

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SPENCER SMITH So what’s the best way to avoid total collapse on the doomed sophomore release after soaring platinum success on the first? Try this: Go ahead and make the second album – write it; rehearse it; record it – the whole deal. Then scrap it. Get rid of it. Bye-bye. Now start over with something completely different. Something completely fresh. Make your third album the ultimate second album, perhaps even better than your first. Make it however you want. And whatever you do, don’t ever, ever panic.

you hear a band more special and it gets harder for that band to overcome that, because it just isn’t fresh.” The band was not without ideas. Known as much for their vaudevillian showmanship as their hooky pop choruses, Smith and his bandmates drew from their days performing on the road as possible inspiration for their new blockbuster. “We had just come off the tour for the last record and we weren’t sure exactly what we wanted

“than TRYING TO THINK IT THROUGH ”

WITH RECORDING LIVE I tended to fall back and PLAY WHAT I WOULD NATURALLY PLAY, rather WISE BEYOND THEIR YEARS. What the four members

of Panic At The Disco may lack in age-worn wisdom, they make up for in youthful exuberance, even when skewered above the hot coals of the infernal record industry. In 2005, at the tender age of 17, they recorded their platinum debut, A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out, and, despite having never before played a live show, embarked on a whirlwind world tour of headlining dates and top festival appearances. And, here’s the thing: They survived. But when the heady days of headline tours came to an end, the young bandmembers came to the sobering reality that they needed to make another record. They may look too young to know any better, and all that guyliner may dumb them down even more, but in this case, as in many for Panic, they were undeniably wise to their predicament and all too aware of the foreseeable pitfalls laid out before them. “There was definitely more pressure on us,” recalls drummer Spencer Smith, “just understanding that we were going to have an audience when the new record came out. And knowing what level [of success] we were at made it a little bit scary. Plus, the thing about second albums is that the sounds that the listener heard the drummer, guitar player, bass player, and singer make on the first record will never be new to that person again. So sometimes that makes the first time

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to do,” Smith says. “Some of the songs on our first record were basically fictional short stories written by Ryan [Ross, guitar] and those were our favorite songs from that album. So we thought we’d elaborate on that and do something that tied the lyrics together from song to song.” There’s a name for that – linking songs lyrically and thematically through a fictional story – and the two combined words send chills down the spines of even the most hardened record executives: concept album. “We ended up writing five or six songs and realizing that it was actually confining us in what we could do because we felt like we had to change what we were playing to fit the lyrics,” Smith says. “We decided that maybe it was a little bit too much for us to take on, especially because it was our second record.


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So we just put it aside and decided to just write songs that we loved to play, making sure to make each song distinct. And I think we did a really good job with that. “The attention really just puts pressure on us to make great songs, and that’s good for us. We have a better understanding now of how to write songs, from every aspect. We realized that we don’t have one single formula that works every time. There are four or five different ways that these songs come about.” Each bandmember chipped in, even lyrically, when crafting the tracks for the new CD, titled Pretty. Odd. And, while previews of the album weren’t available at press time, we’re told the new Panic sound – born in a studio deep in the bowels of a Vegas casino – varies considerably from Fever’s platinumpolished emo-pop. The talk is of a more nat-

SPENCER’S SETUP

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ural, more mature feel in both the writing and execution of the new tracks – and there’s an urgency to it all that was fully intended.

RECORDING WITHOUT A NET. “We tracked most of the record live,” recalls Smith, “which can be rare in the digital age. So all of the drums and bass and most of the rhythm guitar parts are recorded live. It was a lot of fun for me.” Live tracking would certainly help accomplish this “natural/mature” sonic transition and likely surprises many fans and critics of Panic, considering the precise, laser-sharp finish on their first record. “You’re able now to make everything sound 100-percent perfect with the recording technology, and that’s kind of what our first record was. It was our first time being in the studio and we didn’t really think that far into it. We didn’t realize how much the production could change the way we sounded.” While Smith does seem to view Fever as an old high school yearbook photo – kind of embarrassing, a little goofy, but some great memories in there – it hasn’t kept him from reaching far and working hard to make good on a

Spencer Smith also uses DW hardware, Remo heads, and Pro-Mark sticks.

difficult recording process for this latest effort. “It was a little bit of a struggle the first couple times through,” he admits. “Tracking live is difficult to do and we definitely realized that early on. It requires a lot more musicianship and a lot more talent to be able to record live and actually use what you recorded without altering it with some kind of Beat Detective/Pro Tools thing. Being able to play together as a band tight enough that you’ll want to keep it can be tough. I’m just really glad that over the past couple years every show we’ve played, I’ve played to a click. Playing a couple hundred shows that way gets you really used to staying on that click, so that helped a lot. “It did take a little more time but the overall sound of it was definitely worth it. And we had more time – about two full months in the studio – than we did with the first record, so we’d do 15 or 16 takes until we got what we needed. On the last record, I hated sitting in there by myself in a room and having to record 14 drum tracks in four days. This time we went song-by-song and did a different song every three or four days. This was a lot of fun to record. MAY 2007

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SPENCER SMITH “We came in with seven or eight songs fully ready, so we had time to experiment with different drum kits, different iso booths, some big rooms, and that stuff. I don’t think we used the same drum configuration twice. It was cool to do and we had never really done that before. I wanted to try some different stuff, including a couple vintage kits that I wanted to use, and our engineer was on the same page from day one. He was into trying different setups and mike placements, trying to figure out what would help the song the most. We probably used three or four different kits.” In addition to the tracks Panic had crafted in preproduction before entering the studio, they also pieced together several songs while they tracked them. It was another challenge for Smith, and he handled it like an aged pro. “The last couple songs we wrote I didn’t have time to sit there and come up with the most creative drum fill ever,” he explains. “So for those songs you just sit down and play what feels right. Even when we were recording takes I’d try to do slight variations on everything each time just to have different things to pick from in the end. With recording live I tended to fall back and

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THROUGHOUT ALL THE SUCCESS OF [A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out] all of us still

LIVED IN OUR PARENTS’ HOUSES

play what I would naturally play, rather than trying to think it through. And the tempos are different on this record. The songs are more groove-oriented and there’s some swing stuff, so a lot of it was different for me.”

GROWING UP ON STAGE. Sounds to us like the winds of change have certainly howled through the Disco. Growth can be painful, but it is usually beneficial and always unavoidable for such a young band that has experienced so much success so quickly. “I was 17 when we recorded our first record,” Smith says, “and 20 when we recorded this one. When you’re going from 17 to 20 years old you change a lot. You outgrow this kind of teenage mentality and realize there are all these bands that have been making great music for 40 years that you didn’t want to like because your parents listened to them.

“My drumming has probably changed a lot, but the biggest changes have come from the music I’ve been listening to over the past few years. I’ve gotten into older bands, a lot of bands that my parents played every weekend in our house: Queen, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Zombies, The Pretty Things – great bands like that.” Ah, the British invasion and classic rock. Welcome to paradise, my little innocent. Another part of Smith and Co.’s maturation has been the grueling – albeit sinfully satisfying – months and years they spent grinding out performances on the unforgiving road. It’s made the band tighter than ever. Tight enough to track live, and Smith and his click are leading the way … through the good and the bad. “Playing live has given me more confidence and more feel, especially playing to a click. I’ve gotten so comfortable playing to a click that I don’t have to concentrate on it. Now I can play around it so it doesn’t sound like a robot playing drums. I try to relax so that it sounds real with a good feel, but there’s still a consistent tempo through the song.” The bad? “Oh yeah, there have been disasters [on stage]! You have four clicks to count the song off and if you mess up and hear four but it was actually only three, all the instrumentation you have sampled in the song is going to play one beat off and you won’t know it until the samples come in halfway through the song. It can be pretty surprising!” Ill-timed samples are an unwelcome – and undoubtedly rare – surprise in Panic’s onstage pageantry. Known as much for its costumed revelry as its sing-along hooks, the Panic live show is a full sensory performance with every last detail planned and scrutinized well in advance by each bandmember. Their stage is often a fantasyland, where sound and sight intertwine and boundaries disappear. “Well, we do have some strings and horns on this record,” Smith says. “And ultimately we’d love to tour with a string quartet and a three-piece horn section. That would


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SPENCER SMITH

THIS IS A JOB. IT’S AN AMAZING JOB and I wouldn’t want to do ANYTHING ELSE,

PATH TO FAME. While their shows always strive to be “out there,” the band’s career path remains grounded and serious. It also surprises many fans and critics that such a young band with so little previous experience could attain – much less retain – the amount of success Panic At The Disco has garnered. Flipping through their accumulated press clippings, it does seem like they were strapped to a rocket ship, careening vehemently toward the upper echelons without any pit stops on the way. But for Smith it began rather long ago, when he and neighborhood buddy Ryan Ross were turning 13 and blink-182 was on its own careening rocket ship. Cheap guitars and drums were acquired and garages

BUT IT’S STILL A JOB.

be amazing to do at some point, but for now we just don’t ever want to do the same things that we’ve done. And we never really want to do the stripped-down rock concert in jeans and a T-shirt. “There are a million endless concepts of what we could do live, and we’re having fun figuring out what would go well with these songs. We wanted to do something with

video but I get annoyed when I go to shows and there’s a giant video screen behind the band, just showing live footage from a couple camera guys standing in front of the stage filming what the guys are playing. It seems kind of weird. So we’ve talked about maybe doing more artistic kinds of music videos to play on stage. Something a little more out there.”

GROOVE ANALYSIS SPENCER SMITH’S PURE POP BEATS Warning: Panic At The Disco’s latest single “Nine In The Afternoon” is the kind of infectious pop-punk song that will probably get stuck in your head. This heavily orchestrated song owes more than a little to The Beatles and has a lot of feel changes, switching frequently from straight back beats to half-time grooves that are broken up by an occasional measure of 7/4. Like Ringo, Smith’s simple drum parts do a great job of tying them all together.

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SPENCER SMITH were rattled with the mysteries of “What’s My Age Again?” as one aspiring musician shredded atop another’s frustrations. “Blink-182 was a great band for Ryan to play to because the guitar parts were all three-chord songs,” Smith says. “But Travis Barker’s drum parts were so far musically beyond that – it was just frustrating.” Eventually, the frustration was overcome and Smith became his own drummer with his own band. And, while the climb up the charts has been breakneck quick, it was far from instantaneous and Smith and his bandmates somehow remain humble. “[Our success] was definitely not like people think it is,” he says. “It was slower for us than for people looking in. We were touring in a van for four months, which was really exciting, but we were still opening shows. Eventually, as the record started selling, we started noticing more kids at the shows knowing more words to the songs. But throughout all the success of that record all of us still lived in our parents’ houses. “We do understand how lucky we are and it is kind of a surreal thing. Our goal with the first album was to be able to make a living doing this, just to be able to drive the van from show to show and not have to get another job. Then it just took off from there and exceeded our expectations so much more than we could’ve thought. I don’t know if it

just hasn’t set in yet or it just hasn’t affected me. There’s still always that next thing we have to go do. As popular as our first CD was, that’s great, but that’s only one record. “I wish I could just sit back and say life is great – which it is – but we have a European tour and a U.S. tour to put together. So it’s a constant workload and we always stay busy. I think that helps because if we were just sitting back watching everything happen, we wouldn’t even feel like we were doing it. This is a job. It’s an amazing job and I wouldn’t want to do anything else, but it’s still a job. You spend five months doing a record, then two years kind of as an entertainer, then do it all over again. It’s pretty cool.”

SO THE CYCLE CONTINUES. Spencer Smith and Panic At The Disco seem wise beyond their years (and eye makeup) and their friendships and humility should help them continue to impress fans and surprise critics around the world, even if every album from this point forward is, in fact, a do-over. Because, in the land of art, getting it done right is always more important than simply getting it done. But you get the feeling it will always get done right as long as Smith is on the throne. And, in the odd case that it doesn’t, and things no longer rocket toward space for the young drummer, he gives the impression

that he could certainly handle that challenge as well as he’s handled any other. “Recording this album really reminded me of how much I love to play the drums,” he says. “Whether I’m with the band or the band’s successful or what, I just love to play. And it makes you realize that if you really love playing drums, you’ll always have that. Whether the CD is successful or not, whether I’m a professional musician or not, I can always have a drum kit in the living room and play whenever I want. And that love for the instrument will hopefully never go away. “Obviously, playing professionally in a successful band is what you dream about and it is a little scary now because the music business is changing and we kind of got in right at the end, before it switched around for the major labels. Nobody’s really signing bands now, they’re just trying to make more money off of their [current] artists. So if you’re starting out, you need to care about the business side of it or you’ll look back and think, ‘Oh I should’ve signed that and I shouldn’t have signed that.’ Take the time to make sure what you’re doing is what you really want. It’s hard not to just jump at the first thing that comes along because it’s such a dream. “If you do get to play the drums, or any instrument, for a living, it should be fun. It should be amazing.” !


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What happens when you put four of the San Francisco Bay Area’s premier drum teachers together in a small room? If you ply them with enough Starbucks and bagels, you’d be surprised at what they reveal, especially when it’s a diverse group of pedagogues like noted percussion author John Xepoleas, ex-Four Non-Blondes skins woman Dawn Richardson, DRUM! Magazine music editor at large Wally Schnalle, and world-renowned vintage snare collector Mike Curotto. Not only did they share their hard-earned wisdom, they did so without throwing a single punch.

BY

ANDREW LENTZ

PHOTOS BY

DAVE CONSTANTIN

MAY 2008

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DRUMMING INSTRUCTORS ROUNDTABLE DRUM! How do you inspire your students to practice? SCHNALLE There’s what we do to inspire them and what they do that inspires them. And when they have successes, then they start moving faster. CUROTTO Or when you play it for them and they see that they can play it. If you do it in the non-ego way … I always like to start something slow, like, ‘Look, I’m doing this slow. I’m going to dazzle you with it in about two minutes.’ Then I play it at the full speed, so hopefully it registers. That’s one way – maybe they see the teacher being able to play it, but explain it in a way that gets to them also. XEPOLEAS If they’re going to practice something, if it’s something they feel they need that’s going to get them to the next step, you know, you shouldn’t have to force them to make sure you’re on the ticket. This is what this student needs; this is what he’s looking

for; this is why he’s here; and that’s why he’s going to practice it. SCHNALLE But what I’ve also had experience with is if you show the kids a paradiddle or a nine-stroke roll or something, I’ve actually had kids go, ‘Pffft! Yeah, what am I going to do with that?’ Then you set up the drum set and go, ‘Here’s a couple of things,’ and then all of a sudden they go, ‘Ohhhh, hey, that’s a cool thing.’ RICHARDSON It’s sometimes hard to always show them the application of why this is good for you. You know, it’s like eating broccoli. DRUM! What’s the best way to generate business?

I’ve had articles in magazines and books and things – all that kind of stuff helps, but the word of mouth is like … RICHARDSON Yeah, and [pointing to Schnalle] we taught at the same store together … XEPOLEAS

“It’s just having a positive ey’re experience for them when th there and kind of just being hardson –Dawn Ric focused”

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SCHNALLE And I think those are both of our experiences. RICHARDSON Yes. SCHNALLE But now I think it’s word of mouth, and being at home and, you know, I took out an ad in the Yellow Pages and whatever else I do that keeps my name out there. But, you know, just recommendations, and now people finding everything on the Internet. CUROTTO There are five ways that I generate business: Being at a store, some kind of advertisement, word of mouth, return business, and then the fifth way is if they see you play. I [met] one of my drum teachers [when] my parents were at a wedding – he was playing drums.

DRUM! How good of a living can an instructor expect to make? CUROTTO My viewpoint is: This is not a hobby. I already have a hobby: I collect vintage snare drums. So I’m going to run this like a business. Personally, I get 48 hours notice to cancel and I’m not going to bear the brunt of the soccer coach calling in a last-minute practice. You give me 48 hours notice, you get the privilege of making the lesson up. Because they don’t understand that now I’m giving you two hours of my time: The hour that you bailed, and the hour that I have to open up to make up. Also I tell them that it’s going to take a while because I already teach 50 hours a week. SCHNALLE It’s like, where do you put that extra hour? CUROTTO It’s kind of hardcore, but it’s business. XEPOLEAS I think you have to run it like a business, but I think you teach about twice as much as I do [to Curotto]. I think you can make a great living at it just depending on how much you’re willing to teach, but I think the ticket for all of us is to teach – for me, I manage, I perform, I record, I write books and … RICHARDSON Doing a lot of things … XEPOLEAS To be able to do a lot of different things, to put it all in the pot, it makes it more exciting. I actually limit my teaching to 20 hours a week because I wouldn’t be able to do the other things that just make me happy as a person. I used to teach more and, for me, personally, it was too much – I lost the passion for teaching. SCHNALLE I can remember saying this, “If I could just pay my bills playing music, I’d be a happy man.” And on that level I just have to take stock and say, ‘Dude, you did it.’ I’m certainly not rich but I’m happy doing what I’m doing and paying my bills.


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DRUMMING INSTRUCTORS ROUNDTABLE DRUM! Do students seek you out because you’re known for a specific drumming style? SCHNALLE I’d say it’s like 50/50. Some of the adults are like, “I shouldn’t have given it up when I was in high school,” and they come and they want to go back to it. But the older students will come to me because they’ve developed it to a certain level and have heard me play or whatever. Then there are junior high or younger kids that – even though I give them a CD – have no clue what I do or how I play outside that room where I spend that half hour with them. RICHARDSON I think it’s about 50/50 for me, too. Some people might come because they know the reputation or they want to play rock music mostly. And then there is the other half that it’s just geography. It’s like you’re the person in the area that gets recommended a lot and, you know, little kids don’t care. Anybody can be teaching them a paradiddle. I think it’s just having a positive experience for them when they’re there and kind of just being focused, right? CUROTTO That’s an excellent point. I tell older students, “Look, you’re the CEO of whatever company you’re at, I know this is your ‘golf,’ so you’re not trying to get in a band by next week. Do what you can, we’ll have fun.” RICHARDSON Right. SCHNALLE At first I expected students to have the same passion I had. Then I realized everybody comes at it with a different level. I had a cat, years ago, after like six lessons we’re trying to play eighth-notes in time with the metronome and it was not even close, and I eventually had to say, “This may not be for you.” We were really trying hard and it wasn’t happening. But I bit my tongue and then months later he would come in so gleeful, and so happy like, [imitating a student who is totally stoked] “I got through this Stones tune this week …” [Appreciative laughter from all] CUROTTO The fact that he’s trying … XEPOLEAS I have students who come to me in junior high and high school who are coming to me specifically to be in one of those bands, so they need to know how to read charts and they need to know how to play all the styles. I don’t particularly take students who just want to come in and learn songs. It’s not fun for me. I don’t think they’re really benefiting from it. Along the way, if it comes up, I’ll help them. CUROTTO Right. XEPOLEAS But my reputation is kind of, “Okay, he’s going to give you a real solid foundation,” and I tell them when they all walk in the door that if you want to become a professional musician – great. That isn’t

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“I tell the stude nt I you ready to pla can get y in two to four w a drum set eeks” –Mike C our priority but my goal is to get you to sound like one. My expectations – I don’t care if you’re 12 – but if you do things right and you approach this right and you hit the drums right and you know how to phrase, you can sound like a pro drummer. And it’s not going to happen overnight, but that’s my goal for you. And I think people see that and go, “That’s a little different approach from Andy down the street or Fred over there,” you know what I mean? CUROTTO What you brought up, about how you don’t take anyone younger than 12? I

urotto

used to not want to take six- and seven-yearolds, but this year I just had a little revelation. My daughter is 18 and she’s a dance major in New York and doing very well, and when she was three my mom started her in tap and ballet, and that just hit. So consequently, I’ve taken a couple of six-year-olds. I even have a four-and-a-half-year-old – and you’re not going to believe this – this guy is playing eighth-notes to a metronome at 100 [bpm], and tapping his foot on the floor, and counting.


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DRUMMING INSTRUCTORS ROUNDTABLE DRUM! Do you all have strict policies about students learning the rudiments on pads before you’ll let them get on a kit? XEPOLEAS Oh, no – old-school. RICHARDSON No, no. CUROTTO Nah. SCHNALLE [Not getting to play on

a drum set right away] was my experience, too. And I will still do that if they’re willing. If they don’t have a drum set yet, I’m like, “Let’s work on the pads for a little while until the drum set’s right,” but a lot of times it’s like, “I got a drum set for Christmas.” RICHARDSON Yeah, they already have one. XEPOLEAS At the first lesson I’ll explain it to them: “We’re going to work on the drum set, I know that’s what you’re here for, but there’s other parts of it. There’s the part on the practice pad to get your hands going, and there’s this reading part. If you work on all three parts you’re going to have success,” but I’m not going to be like an old-school teacher – “Maybe if you work on these rudiments and spend years” – because they’re not going to hang in there. CUROTTO I tell the student I can get you ready to play a drum set in two to four

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weeks. And my goal there is to get them to read eighth-notes so that we start on Funky Primer [by Charles Dowd]. Funky Primer starts with eighth-notes, so at least [it takes] a gradient approach. And I tell the parents, so they don’t get shell shocked, that doesn’t mean I’m going to force you to buy a drum set.

on, like, the first day because they’re sitting there anyway. XEPOLEAS “A couple of months” seems like the magic number. I say, “I’m going to give you this page of beats. Make a drum set.”

want s y a w l a e “Don’t w as a g n i v l o v e s to be hn Xepolea Jo – teacher?”

I try to do both things, too, because when they get on the kit, then they’re worried about the coordination of doing all the things with their body. So if you can get them to think like, “This is the time when you’re just going to work on your hands,” because you know when they get on the kit everything goes out the window. You can’t think about everything at the same time, so usually I get everybody RICHARDSON

When I was a kid, put two books on the edge of a bed. Here’s your hi-hat, here’s your snare, hit the floor [stomps foot on carpet to mimic bass drum] get this coordination and when you come here I’ll let you play drums for a few minutes and get the feel for it. And if you stick with it, and you show your parents that you’re doing it, your parents are going to want to come in and hear you play the groove – they’re going to be more inspired to get you that set.


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DRUMMING INSTRUCTORS ROUNDTABLE CUROTTO The first lesson, at the end, we just jam. If the kid is totally raw, [I’ll say] “Just hit the drums.” I tell them, “Play as loud, as soft, as little, or much, or as fast as you want to, just do something,” and then they get an idea of what it’s going to be like to be on a real drum set, and maybe that plants the seeds of, “This is going to be fun,” or maybe not. SCHNALLE So how often do you have to change heads? [Group laughter] CUROTTO Yeah, tell me about it.

DRUM! What is your setup in the studio? One kit? Two kits side by side?

I just have two drum sets and this little station next to it. I use that Roland electronic thing through a speaker for the pad, and I have a pad on a stand I can put up next to them. So we do a little padding and just sit right over two drum sets, the stereo and the DVD and the TV if we need it for DVDs. You’ve got to be able to show them, inspire them. RICHARDSON That’s what I do, too, so when we’re doing pad work they can put the pad on their drum set and I also have a snare drum where I can stand in front of them so they can see me, my hands. CUROTTO But I think you’ve really got to have two drum sets. XEPOLEAS Absolutely. I have more of a rock set, bigger sizes, that’s all miked up and it can be recorded. And next to it I have a little bebop set. CUROTTO There you go. XEPOLEAS And so for the jazz students who really want to play jazz, I make them CUROTTO

playing, and later on you go, “Oh, was it me misinterpreting that teacher in the beginning or was it just them being wrong and absolute.” So I always try to make sure there is

yself m d le e d o m e v I’ “I think e taken v I’ e n o y r e v e r e aft –Wally Schnalle ” m o fr lessons play on that so they know what it’s like to play on a 18" bass drum with two heads on, and the beater coming back off. It’s going to sound different. DRUM! Did you all learn the ropes on the job or did you style yourselves against instructors you once had? SCHNALLE I think I’ve modeled myself after everyone I’ve taken lessons from. One of the things I still think about is some teacher going, “Always do this, and never do that.” And that voice is in your head when you’re

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a strong understanding and that I’m not speaking in absolutes. XEPOLEAS Don’t we always want to be evolving as a teacher? You may bring in the influences from teachers that you had, like you said, what you do want to teach, what you don’t want to teach, and things that come along the way – and learn from students. CUROTTO My original teacher that helped me to become a pro, Mike DeLucca – I kind of formed my teaching like he [did], but I studied with another guy, George Marsh – great drummer. I copied a thing that he did.

He would write down what he gives a student, and that’s what I do. I have every student’s name and all the information – I write down what I give them. XEPOLEAS You write it down separately or in their book? CUROTTO Separately. XEPOLEAS Really? CUROTTO Yeah, first of all it works well when they forget their books, either on purpose or they forgot. I say, “Oh, no problem, I got copies of the book and here’s what we did last week.” XEPOLEAS You’re insane. SCHNALLE He’s writing out everything twice for the student, and for yourself, and the monetary things as well. CUROTTO That’s only at the beginning of the month. SCHNALLE You need a secretary, man. XEPOLEAS He’s got 50-plus minutes he has to fill up. [Group laughter] DRUM! Have any of your former students gone on to major gigs?

One of my students, well, I only had him for a brief time but he played in

XEPOLEAS


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Counting Crowes. He came to a lesson one day and he was totally frustrated, like, “I’ve been in this business for so long and I don’t know what I’m doing, blah-blah-blah.” I get a letter from him like six months later – “I’m living in a mansion in L.A. and I’m in this band and we’re recording our first record – keep an eye out for it.” The next thing you know I hear this tune, “Mr. Jones,” on the radio.

hadn’t taken lessons from me in two years but I was on the list to get the phone call. And then he came back before they did their second record – “I want to take some lessons – tighten it up for the next record.” He came to the lesson in a tour van and stuff, and I went out: “Let me see the tour van,” and it’s this white, beat-up old ’70s van. I go, “Do you get tour support?” And

bby. I already o h a t o n is is h “T llect vintage o c I : y b b o h a have ing to run o g m I’ o S . s m snare dru –Mike Curotto .” s s e in s u b a e k this li RICHARDSON Who? [Steve] Bowman? XEPOLEAS Yeah. RICHARDSON [laughs] SCHNALLE I once got a phone call, it was

message machine that was like, “Hey Wally, I’m in the offices in New York at Wind Up Records.” It’s this kid [Adrian Robison] that plays with Strata now. He

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a

he looks at me all excited, “Yeah, $20 a day.” He was way into it. RICHARDSON Sweet! SCHNALLE But I had another kid that’s in Stomp! now. CUROTTO Oh yeah, I had a kid in Stomp! SCHNALLE And one of my ex-students played with Lauryn Hill for a while. CUROTTO I did a couple of months’ lessons

with Paul Bostaph who went on to Slayer [see pg. 131]. But please don’t misprint this because I tell students this if they ever ask: Paul is a great drummer and already knew how to play. He just wanted some extra things to learn when he was just finishing one band before he joined Slayer. RICHARDSON Let’s see, [nodding at Schnalle] we both taught Jen [Carlson of Angry Amputees]. She’s toured. I haven’t had any big rock stars yet, but they’re coming. DRUM! In ten words or less, what’s the best piece of advice you would you give to anyone contemplating becoming an instructor?

I got the perfect answer: You’ve got to be doing what we’re doing or better. SCHNALLE You have to have a sense of responsibility toward the students – be responsible for what you teach. XEPOLEAS If you’re passionate about it and have an overwhelming desire to do it, just be responsible, be the best player you can be, be a good person, and you’ll be successful. RICHARDSON I think all of us are doing this because we love the drums. If you don’t love it I don’t think you can survive. ! CUROTTO


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Alternative, Alternative Controllers

is used to describe instrument interfaces/controllers that don’t have an acoustic instrument counterpart. The purpose of this article is to expose you to some of the newest advances in controllers that just might change the way you think about playing drums and creating music. If any of these devices spark your creative THE FUTURE OF FABRICATION impulse, dive in, do some additional research, and see if one of BY NORMAN WEINBERG these tools is a good match for term “alternative” was once be- you and your muse. n the world of popular Before going completely off stowed on any music that didn’t music, musicians and bands are constantly creat- fit into one of the then-current the deep end, however, let’s take mainstream musical styles (un- a look at some of the more poping new means of musical exular alternative controllers that til it became, itself, a mainpression. It’s not just a matter have been adopted by drumstream musical style). In the of being different – it’s all world of electronic music, the mers and percussionists during about pushing the boundaries phrase “alternative controllers” the electronic revolution. of the creative process. The

I

PLAYING WITH SURFACES The very first electronic drums were simple surfaces that looked pretty much like actual drums (and disco music wouldn’t have been the same without them). True, they may have been hexagonally shaped, or made only one disturbing, descending-pitchbend tom sound, but they were still comprised of a single surface with a “head” that was struck by a stick to create sound. The first new development of a man/machine interface was Roland’s Octapad, which debuted in 1987. Instead of having a single striking surface, this multi-pad had a face divided into eight zones. By making multiple sounds available on one surface, it was unlike any

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previous percussion controller on the market. In a very real sense, this was the first alternative percussion controller because it didn’t look, feel, or act like a traditional drum or drum set. The next big advance in alternative controllers came out one year later when a company called KAT brought the drumKAT to the market. It came with ten rubber surfaces, a super-advanced set of MIDI instructions, and FSR pads rather than piezos. With the release of the drumKAT, it was possible to control drum, percussion, and synth sounds using sticks or fingers, and even have applied pressure affect the way the sounds moved through time. This was a radical departure from an analog drum kit. As a testament to the strength of their designs, both of these instruments are still available – of course with several generations of software improvements and updated features.

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For those who wanted to play with their hands rather than sticks or fingers, the Korg Wavedrum set the pace. This instrument was the first to take the conga/hand-drumming interface and use it to control electronic sounds. Roland’s HandSonic is a newer and more feature-rich web site. Zendrum makes three approach to this particular alter- versions of this unique alternanate controller idea. tive controller: the Zendrum ZX, the Zendrum LT, and the PLAYING WITH BUTTONS new Zendrum Zap, each with a slightly different trigger button Today’s alternative controllers continue to offer the drummer layout. Since you play these controllers with your fingers, new and evolving ways to apand you can put any MIDI proach the music-making note under any trigger button, process. In fact, they often break the mold of playing on a you’re free to either take the more traditional approach to surface with either sticks or your drumming or find an enhands. The move to playing buttons with fingers (like an ac- tirely new direction. Some players – most notably cordion) has been surprisingly Kenny Aronoff – change the popular and effective. customary position of their rack If you haven’t seen the Zendrum stable of percussion con- toms in order to come up with more unique drum fills. Well, trollers, you should make the imagine the creative ideas you pilgrimage to the company’s

Your perfect controller may just be one that you design and build yourself

Wavedrum

Axis

Trigger Finger

Octopad

Zendrum

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can generate when you can put any sound in any position. While it’s easy to do this with just about any electronic drum kit, you won’t have the large number of available triggers that the Zendrums offer. Having a new performance paradigm such as the Zendrum at your fingertips takes creativity to a much higher level. Speaking of finger-style controllers, don’t write off the new wave of USB controllers that have sprung up during the last couple of years. The M-Audio Trigger Finger, Korg’s PadControl, and the Akai MPD24 are three killer controllers that can be just as comfortable at home in the project studio as they can be on stage replacing a traditional kit. If you don’t think that a finger-based pad controller can really cook on stage, just catch some of the YouTube videos of David “Fingers” Haynes doing his thing. N’uff said! PLAYING WITH GRIDS C-Thru Music’s AXiS-64 Pro takes the finger drummer concept to yet another level. This baby’s got 192 buttons, pitch bend and mod wheels, two rotary controllers, and for the kit emulation folks, two pedal inputs. Sounds like this thing was designed and built specifically for us drummers, doesn’t it? Well, it wasn’t – not exactly. The AXiS’s buttons are laid out in a “harmonic axis,” where any adjacent key is a perfect fifth, or a major or minor third away. For this reason, any three adjacent keys will result in some sort of a triad. It’s easy to play major, minor, augmented, or diminished chords, as well as complex arpeggio patterns. These are not typically concepts familiar to drummers. But while the rest of


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the world is worried about white and black notes, harmonic progression, and cadence formulas, we’ve got better ideas. With this many buttons, we can be playing drums, percussion, loops, pads, special effects, and just about any sound under these MIDI note numbers to create some killer moods, textures, grooves, and so on. The close proximity and small size of the buttons makes the unit very agile and responsive for fast patterns. To make this system even more versatile, The AXiS can operate in one of three different modes: single (a single MIDI channel with three instances of each note), split (three zones of 64 keys each), or layer (up to three channels simultaneously). If you’re starting to drool over what you might be able to do with a controller like this and a program like Abelton Live, you’re beginning to get the picture. This is truly thinking outside the box. But what if you don’t want to think outside the box? What if you want to rebuild the box into a cylinder, a Mobius strip, or even a black hole? Then the Monome might be your percussion chameleon of choice. If you’re interested in buying a Monome controller, you’ll need to act fast. One hundred of the company’s “128”model units went on sale in December of 2007. They sold out in five hours. In January of 2008, the company put 100 “64” units up for sale and these sold out in two minutes. Monome is actually the brainchild of Brian Crabtree and Kelli Cain, who design and build what they call “adaptable, minimalist interfaces” – a combination of opensource hardware and software. This idea of a piece of hardware that is both open source and totally reconfigurable has made quite a splash. In addition to the 128 and 64, Monome also makes a third model called the “256.” All three take their names from the number of keys on the grid. A 64 is an 8 x 8 grid, the 128 is 16 x 8, and the 256 is a massive 16 x 16 grid. Each model’s backlit keypad connects directly to your computer. The exact function of each key is determined entirely by the particular application running

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Monome

TENORI-ON

on the computer; there are no hard-wired functions on the box. Because of this, the Monome can serve as a controller for a soft synth, sequencer, mixing program, DAW, light board, or any other device. While you’re certainly able to do your own programming for the machines, consumers who buy into the Monome community share the software they write with other users without cost – a sort of legal software Napster. Most users create their patches in Max/MSP, a graphic programming language for music, audio, and multimedia. Max/MSP is a very sophisticated program, but it’s pretty easy to download the free runtime version and work with other folks’ patches. Since the Monome it totally configurable, you can go way beyond playing individual sounds or samples with the buttons. Yes, it’s a finger-style interface, but the buttons can be

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You’re not just interacting with sounds – you’re interacting with the software used for cutting beats, creating loops on the fly, adjusting faders or knobs, editing values, or anything else you might be able to think of. You’re not just interacting with sounds – you’re interacting with the software itself. If you live in the U.K., you might want to see if you can get your hands on Yamaha’s Tenori-On device. It’s not available in the U.S., but it might be soon. It’s a music controller with a 16 x 16 grid that is totally self-contained. With its built-in sounds and battery operation, this might be the ultimate portable musicmaking machine. At first glance, this device might seem like a toy. After checking out all

of the available features, it clearly is not. Going deeper inside the machine reveals six different modes of operation: Score, Random, Draw, Bounce, Push, and Solo, which comprise 16 different layers that can all be played simultaneously. A MIDI interface means that the patterns created on the Tenori-On can be played by any MIDI device or recorded into a sequencer. If you want to go further, you can even synchronize two machines together. BEYOND BUTTONS “Tangible user interface” is the new buzzword for musical systems that require a number of different parts manipulated by

the performer. Once you totally cut the bonds of playing surfaces, pads, or buttons, you enter a new dimension. You might have seen some of the Percussa AudioCube videos floating around the Net. The Belgium-based Percussa offers a unique and clever interface for audio software programs. According to Bert Schiettecatte, founder and director of Percussa, the cubes were born “out of my frustration with going through menus to actually use the hardware and software.” Here’s a brief explanation of how these cubes interact with each other and how they can control sound. Each cube uses an infrared system to communicate with other cubes. Cubes can operate in one of three different modes: Sender, Receiver, or Sensor. In Sender mode, the cube sends information wirelessly to other nearby cubes. In Receiver mode, the cube will read information from other cubes. In Sensor mode, the cube senses distance to another object such as your hand or another cube. Let’s say you have one cube connected by USB to your computer. Other nearby cubes will be recognized by both an identification number and by the number of the face pointed at the host cube. The top and bottom of the cube aren’t used, so each cube has four different sides that can be programmed to react in unique ways. For any two cubes, there are 16 possible relationships. The company sells two-cube sets and four-cube sets, but there is no limit to the number of cubes you can have interacting with each other. A software program called MIDI Bridge takes this information from the cubes and turns it into MIDI data. It’s easy to program the cubes to send MIDI note number information for firing sounds, loops, sequences, and so on. It’s also common to see cubes used to send continuous controller information that can affect filter, reverb levels, delay times, or any other aspect of


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the sound. As an added bonus, the cubes can also receive MIDI data from the computer and change colors based on their function. For example, with CC 14, 15, and 16 controlling red, green, and blue, you can mix those three fundamental colors to create any other color. While MIDI Bridge is the first software designed for the cubes, Schiettecatte says that as the company learns that “different people want to use the cubes for different things, we’ll be developing additional software for the cube platform. We have all these new ideas about how we can use the cubes.” Since MIDI Bridge is open source, users with Max/MSP can edit the front panel on MIDI Bridge to create even more functions. Another tangible user interface system is the Reactable. If you’ve spent some time on YouTube searching for new elec-

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tronic instruments, or if you’ve seen a recent Björk performance, you’ve likely encountered the Reactable. While it’s not yet on the market, plans are in the works to bring a consumer version of this creative new device to the general public. The Reactable is an extremely complex system, but it’s an entirely new way to work with sounds. A video camera constantly monitors a multi-touch translucent surface. The camera and associated software recognize the player’s fingertips and a variety of objects that can be moved around the surface. Each object is somewhat related to the parts of a modular synthesizer. As an added bonus, a projector mounted under the table also throws dynamic images onto the table to represent what each of the objects is doing and how it affects other objects. If you feel up to the challenge, you

AudioCubes


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Reactable

can build a Reactable of your own. The company’s web site has the basic instructions necessary to build a simple table. While not exactly a tangible user interface, JazzMutant’s Lemur and Dexter interfaces are built around a 12", fully multitouch display. On Lemur, instead of finding a MIDI jack, you’ll see an Ethernet port that connects directly to your computer. Once connected, it communicates with your software by either MIDI or OpenSound Control (OSC). Instead of interacting with physical materials, all of Lemur’s controls are virtual. Lemur doesn’t have any physical objects on the box such as pads, faders, knobs, or keys. In place of these, Lemur lets you create your own virtual objects right on the touch screen. Objects can be buttons, faders, LEDs, knobs, pads, multi-balls, multi-sliders, switches, text, and more. Each object can send or

receive a number of different MIDI or OSC messages to and from different applications. In addition, each of these objects can be customized in terms of their size, color, and brightness. Since you add the features you want, as well as design the actual layout of how a particular object appears on the screen, Lemur functions exactly the way you want it to.

MORE INFORMATION AKAI akaipro.com ALTERNATE MODE alternatemode.com C-THRU MUSIC c-thru-music.com EOWAVE eowave.com INFUSION SYSTEMS infusionsystems.com/catalog/index.php JAZZMUTANT jazzmutant.com KORG korg.com M-AUDIO m-audio.com MAX/MSP cycling74.com PERCUSSA percussa.com REACTABLE reactable.iua.upf.edu ROLAND rolandus.com YAMAHA TENORI-ON global.yamaha.com/design/tenori-on ZENDRUM zendrum.com

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you, the manual includes instructions to make your own sensor switches, potentiometers, and other kinds of sensors. The Eobody2 can send five different types of MIDI messages: continuous controller, note-on trigger, program change, pitch bend, and monophonic aftertouch. Along with playing with sticks or fingers or moving physical objects, you can use your own body movements to control additional sounds or processing. If you’re looking for more ways to interact with your art, Eowave isn’t the only game in town, I-CubeX is another sensor system made by Infusion Systems. The controller is called the Digitizer, and is capable of encoding up to 32 sensors into MIDI data. The WAY BEYOND Digitizer can create note-on The next step in controllers is almost no controller at all. Hu- messages, pitch bend, key pressure, control change, program man/machine interaction is easiest with the fewest possible change, or aftertouch messages. Infusion sells a wide variety steps between action and result. of sensors (nearly 50) that react For this reason, your perfect controller may just be one that to just about anything: temperature, humidity, light, volume, you design and build yourself. magnetism, and even one that The French company, Eowave, produces the Eobody2 senses by “triple-axis earth’s magnetic field intensity” to obUSB SensorBox. This box allows you to connect up to eight tain the pitch, yaw, and roll of any object. Check out the comof the company’s sensors directly to your computer. If you pany’s web site to see some need more than eight sensors at demo videos of how the sensors can be used to control sound in a time, you can add additional a number of ways. SensorBox systems to your computer until you use up all your USB inputs. If you want WHAT’S NEXT? to bypass the computer and use As you can see in this overview, sensors to directly play hardthe world of alternative conware MIDI devices, Eowave trollers is constantly evolving. makes an 8M model of the Sen- It’s no longer necessary to apsorBox that contains a MIDI proach drumming in the same output right on the case. old way. You might find that So, what types of sensors can some of these tools are attracbe used with the SensorBox? tive to you. You might also deHere are just a few: two-direccide that you’re more at home tion accelerometer, distance sen- hitting real skins with real sors, motion sensor, flexion sticks. But, if you’re looking for sensor that can be integrated a new way to move your playinto a glove, footswitch, joying into the future, give some stick, light sensors, pressure sen- of these devices your serious sors, shock sensors, temperature consideration. You will not be sensors, breath sensors, pressure- disappointed. ! ribbon sensors, and many more. SPECIAL THANKS TO JACK STERBIS If these aren’t quite enough for FOR HIS HELP WITH THIS ARTICLE. Lemur

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Sevendust

Chapter VII: Hope And Sorrow

Y

7BROS/ASYLUM

eah, the melodic metal band Sevendust has been dragged through steaming heaps of rancid manure time and time again throughout their tumultuous 12year span. Yeah, they’ve fallen victim to just about every evil music biz experience imaginable. And yeah, sometimes they deserved it and sometimes they didn’t. But, you know what? Whatever! They still survived a dozen years of making a living doing what most people only dream of doing. And they picked up a couple of gold

records in the process. Not bad. In fact, pretty damn good. So we’re moving on … We just wish Sevendust would move on, too. Their seventh studio release, Chapter VII: Hope And Sorrow, brings to the table every delectable entrée Sevendust fans demand: fierce, driving guitar riffs, savory, energetic rhythms, soaring vocals, and layered harmonies. The job gets done and it gets done well. While Chapter VII is by no means Sevendust’s most aggressive work, it is a reliable stack of tracks that dares to show a bit of diversity. The album opens with a spacey, industrial zombie feel before dueling guitar riffs pummel their way into “Inside.” Aside from the Saw movie intro (and breakdown), it’s a relatively safe way to start the record, showcasing the dependable formula behind that established Sevendust sound. The eeriness continues with a spooky synth intro to another rather

formulaic track in “Enough.” Then we’re on to the intriguing but inevitably confused “Hope,” which begins with a sappy piano before stretching slowly into a sappy screamo part. The ambition of the song is admirable, but it’s difficult to envision “Hope” as anything but a bathroom break during a ripping live set. Time for another eerie intro before “Scapegoat” slips through some synth effects and into a heavy bounce – a much-welcomed transition at this point in the record. Then – guess what? – another slow, creepy electro-intro into another formulaic Sevendust track titled “Fear.” Now, to be fair, the Sevendust formula is itself unique. The brutality of the guitars, the insanity of the drums, the oft-sweet vocal over the occasional scream – that’s a cool, original, powerful thing. But eventually it all starts to sound the same. The hooks disappear. The rhythms bury each other. The

themes tire. The listener, alas, takes a bathroom break. But then there’s Morgan Rose. While he does seem to play less here than on albums past (perhaps saving energy for his increased vocal contributions) his hits are as psychotic as ever. Cut straight to “Prodigal Son” where Rose lays heavy funk – yeah, funk – under mean metal guitars; then syncopated accent hits between wideopen grooves; now addictive ride-rock beats leading into fresh, creative mega-fills. And that’s one song. Rose near his finest for sure. But Rose is only one man. For a band that claims to reinvent itself with each album, Sevendust sure feels like it needs a refresh. They’re too old for the angst, and sympathy is hard to find nowadays. Maybe they should try what several of their Alter Bridge friends did (two of whom guest appear on the album) and make a frightful leap into complete renewal.

MAY 2008

DRUM!

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ened edge. Each is a snapshot, freezing some messy moment in the drama of humdrum life against a backdrop of guitars strummed urgently or sentimentally, bits of banjo, squeezebox, a bleak trumpet bleat now and then, beat-up piano, and elemental drums.

Another Day Late

News Said It’s Raining In New York BAND RECORDINGS/DOGHOUSE

MUSIC Reminiscent of The Police at their hungriest, this Ithaca-based quintet plays with a furiously concentrated intelligence, packing its bite-sized songs with dense intricacies that never compromise the emotional directness of the material. DRUMMING Josh Hubberman is described in the band bio as an “energetic personality.” Well, duh, we might reply: His drumming is a marvel of technical precision and wild abandon, whether channeled through a 7/8 maze on “Greetings From Nowhere,” spun through a pinwheel of pattern variations on “Play On,” or unleashed on “Scenes From An Airport Bar,” where a more open feel allows plenty of room to stretch from delicate cymbal work to a high-impact attack. VERDICT With chops that blaze but never distract, with imagination that finds and enhances the essence of his band’s performance, Hubberman epitomizes the best of contemporary rock drumming.

Frightened Rabbit

The Midnight Organ Fight FATCAT

MUSIC The emphasis is on the writing, a set of 14 quirky tunes delivered with a rugged, pub-rough-

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DRUMMING There isn’t a moment on this album that would expose Grant Hutchison as a drummer with a visionary imagination or Class-A chops. And that doesn’t matter in the least. If he can in fact whip around the kit, rather than thump out a basic beat, he’s to be commended for resisting that temptation. VERDICT Ratchet both the poetry and the self-destructive edge of The Pogues down just a bit and Frightened Rabbit emerges, a little more accessible and nearly as likely to raise a dolorous smile.

Secret And Whisper Great White Whale TOOTH & NAIL

MUSIC The S&W sound is a mist of cloudy guitar and dynamics that roll and wash away in sometimes stormy surges, through which Charles Furney’s wails beam like a searchlight off the foggy coastline. It’s big but not sloppy, with plenty of deftly executed licks lacing this otherwise predictable emo package. DRUMMING Most of the band has played together for several years as Stutterfly, and it shows in drummer Ryan Loerke’s ability to underscore his band’s rapid passagework as well as inject a passionate intensity into billowing,


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Lenny Kravitz

slower moments. His finest performances come in the thundering but economical fills he contributes while shifting in and out of doubletime, and from 4/4 to a loping 6/8 on “Vanishings.” VERDICT These guys aren’t innovators but they do deliver a performance that wallops and soothes with equal aplomb, thanks in no small part to Loerke’s empathetic energies.

VERDICT Kravitz has achieved an admirable reputation, which might be enhanced by bringing in a drummer who can light a few fires next time out.

Swamp Cabbage Squeal

ZOHO ROOTS

Lenny Kravitz

It’s Time For A Love Revolution VIRGIN

MUSIC Doing the composing, singing lead and backup, and playing pretty much all the parts, Kravitz sows a lot of seeds but reaps a thin harvest. Sounding tired and derivative, “Bring It On” morphs Led Zeppelin and The Guess Who, “Dancin’ ’Til Dawn” is warmed-over “Miss You” by The Stones, complete with squeaky sax solo, and “Good Morning,” from the strings to the harmonies to even the title, suggests late-period Beatles, though with some weird dissonances in the melody. DRUMMING The drummer hat hangs in the back of the Kravitz closet. Aside from a few nice rolls and licks, he basically keeps time. Certainly his Clyde Stubblefield routine on “Will You Marry Me” could have opened up a bit.

MUSIC Squeal rises from the swamp that spawned the North Mississippi Allstars, spiritually if not geographically. This Floridabased trio knows how to overdrive a slide guitar through a cheap amp and come up with what the first track tags a “Jesus Tone.” More than that, they shamble and shuffle as if born to burn on a juke-joint stage. DRUMMING He’s got one name and one mission: Whether channeling Ringo’s “Get Back” feel on “Dixieland,” allowing a little paradeground jazz into “Sopchoppy,” “Softshoe,” and the kickoff cadence on “Delegation,” or dragging the beat to the point of inertia on “Feedbag,” Jagoda plays with a feel that’s hot yet also a little sleepy, like highway tar on an Alabama summer afternoon. VERDICT Two prerequisites are necessary for this kind of music: an aversion to caricature and a relaxed attitude. Swamp Cabbage does pose a bit, it’s true, but on that second count they’re irresistible.

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Haale

Haale

No Ceiling CHANNEL A MUSIC

MUSIC Haale (as in halle-lujah) is an Iranian-American hottie from NYC whose craft is colored by her roots. There’s the hint of a wail in her strong voice, and foreign axes in the mix. The ethnic mood is not sacrosanct. “Middle Of Fire” and “Town On The Sea,” for example, don’t have enough foreign flavor to keep us from hearing her as another singer-songwriter in the pop field and comparing her to Björk or even Shawn Colvin. DRUMMING Producer-percussionist Matt Kilmer flavors with dumbek-type rhythms, but builds a foundation favoring the pop pulse of handclaps and bass drums. Outstanding exceptions to this boring standard are “Ay Dar Shekasteh” and “Hastee.” VERDICT If sticking a toe into ethnic music floats your boat, fine. But Haale’s pop sensibilities need more chops to get over the bar set by others. However, the tracks hold the promise of a smoking live show.

Opeth

Watershed ROADRUNNER

MUSIC Last year we positively reviewed Opeth’s live The Roundhouse Tapes. We suspect it bought them time while working on Water-

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shed, their first studio release since 2005. Watershed is well worth the wait. The opener, “Coil,” is an acoustic folk song. It leads into “Heir Apparent,” a raging rock song that pauses for a piano interlude. Crazy? Yes. But Opeth makes it work as a whole, even as they move to gruff vocals over blastbeats or play an old-school prog verse. DRUMMING Martin Axenrot has a driving groove that rolls like a downhill toboggan. His tone is wet and loose, and his concept is scrupulously musical. He manages to answer all the rock questions without sounding clichéd. VERDICT Opeth manages to play metal, rock, folk, and prog all together and back-to-back and make it work. This is an entirely enjoyable album that brims with energy and ideas within the genres.

Pennywise

Reason To Believe MYSPACE RECORDS

MUSIC This new Pennywise disk is on Myspace Records and available free from the band. It’s proof that everything in the rock biz has changed except power chords and fast beats. Even the press release speaks not one word of the music, only of Myspace and downloads. Okay, we’ll follow suit. After all, it’s a Pennywise record: fast punk with anthems. Enough said. DRUMMING Byron McMackin is some sort of relentless cyborg. His beats on Reason To Believe are tricky, fast, and in your face. We want a poster of him – for the gym.


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VERDICT The outstanding thing about Pennywise is the relentless attitude: The beats never falter; the conviction rings true; the bass and guitar threaten to sweep you away. It doesn’t matter you know not what Jim Lindberg is singing about. The energy sweeps you up, and you yell “Yeah! What he said!” and turn up the volume.

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not quite like this. Phantom Planet is fresh and hot. We will compare others to them years from now. This is an exciting disc.

P.O.D.

When Angels And Serpents Dance COLUMBIA

Phantom Planet Raise The Dead FUELED BY RAMEN

MUSIC This power pop is instantly great. For no single reason it is fantastic. Opener “Raise The Dead” features a disintegrating Alex Greenwald singing his lungs right up through his larynx. “Dropped” has layered vocals from the ’80s atop cheesy handclaps and a craptastic drum sound. Righteous power pop continues through “Leader” but pauses for the verses of “Do The Panic.” However, great sounds return with the chorus. “You Can Be My Ship” is a layer cake of great pop parts and uninhibited singing. DRUMMING Jeff Conrad just beats the snot out of these really crappy-sounding drums. How fun! VERDICT Geezers will liken this to a T. Rex flashback produced by Beck in a disco. But that implies that it’s been done before. Well,

MUSIC Guitarist Marcos Curiel has returned to P.O.D. to continue the garage-born-again buzz saw sound of the band. This step back to the lineup that sold millions is accompanied by new textures and musical explorations, including a touch of reggae in “I’ll Be Ready,” a delivery of heavy nü-metal in “God Forbid,” a touch of flamenco scene-setting in “Roman Empire,” and string accompaniment to the political lyrics of “Tell Me Why.” DRUMMING Wuv, well known in these parts, crisply dispatches the tight metal beats and the driving punk thrashes. He’s no slacker, and his time is tight. VERDICT P.O.D. has matured and are taking chances. That’s good, and is also the moral imperative of art. But growth doesn’t guarantee success, and on this disc each dip into a genre – Rageintense punk, Marley-cool reggae, Korn-y nü-metal – invites a comparison to bands that have recorded tracks more sparkling than what P.O.D. gives us here. P.O.D.

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DDRUM Dominion Maple Drums THE TOTAL PACKAGE

I

BY BRAD SCHLUETER

f you thought Roland and Yamaha had the electronic drum market cornered, think again. Ddrum has been making

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some of the finest electronic drum equipment out there for 25 years, products often chosen by touring professionals for their simplicity of use, realistic sounds, and rock-solid

www.drummagazine.com

reliability. The company’s expansion into the realm of acoustic drums initially raised some eyebrows, but those who’ve seen and played the acoustic drums know something the skeptics don’t: Ddrum was able to do for acoustic what it had long been doing for electric. Unlike some newer companies, ddrum is making a full range of drum lines suitable for any budget, which, incidentally, all begin with the letter “D” – Dios, Dominion, Diablo, and so on. Some of its kits are perfect for niche players wanting a punk kit with a tartan finish, or a glam drummer looking for a colorful acrylic kit. But ddrum drums aren’t only about image. A year ago I re-

viewed two high-end yet mid-priced kits from the Dios line. One kit was made from bubinga and the other from walnut, and frankly, I’m still kicking myself for not buying one or both of those kits. Luckily, I got another crack at a ddrum acoustic kit, this time in the Dominion maple line. I wasn’t going to let this one get away so easily.

OUT OF THE BOX

From the Dominion Maple series, I received a Dorian configuration, which is a “one up, two down” 5piece kit consisting of a 14" x 6.5" snare, a 24" x 18" kick, a 13" x 9" rack tom, and 14" x 14" and 16" x 14" floor toms. This kit is clearly a


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DETAILS Dominion Maple Dorian 5piece kit MODEL

14" x 6.5" snare, 24" x 18" bass drum, 13" x 9" tom, 14" x 14" and 16" x 14" floor toms. CONFIGURATION

SHELLS 100-percent maple with 6mm 6-ply toms and 8mm 8-ply snare and bass drum.

Natural, Wine Red, Black, Orange Sparkle, Tobacco Sunburst, and Dark Blue. FINISHES

New line of DX Touring hardware included; die-cast hoops; “virgin”-style bass drum; low price. FEATURES

PRICE

$1,372.99

CONTACT Ddrum, 4924 W. Waters Ave., Tampa, FL 33634. 813-600-3920. ddrum.com

rock kit, but if you require an even more insanely huge bass drum and toms for added sonic boom, ddrum’s appropriately named Dominator configuration is the kit for you. There’s also a more general-purpose kit with two hanging toms and one floor tom with a modern 22" x 20" bass drum. As of 2008, these kits are available as shell packs only, though ddrum does include its new line of DX Touring hardware. As mentioned, the shells are 100-percent maple, with 6-ply 6mm toms, and 8-ply 8mm shells for the snares and bass drums. The Dorian configuration I received is available in several high-gloss lacquer finishes: Natural, Wine Red, Black, Orange Sparkle, Tobacco Sunburst (5-percent up charge), and Dark Blue. The other configurations offer different finish selections. The kit I received had the new Dark Blue finish – a rich blue lacquer that reveals the grain of the maple under bright lighting. It was an attractive and classy, if understated finish. On four of the drums the gloss was very smoothly finished, but oddly, the 14" floor tom had some subtle striations in the gloss, making me wonder if someone went out to lunch and forgot a buffing step on that drum. I preferred this Dorian configuration over the very ’80s-feeling and fairly massive Dominator configuration. Since the 13" mounted tom was a shallow 9" deep, I could still get the drum into a comfortable playing position. Deep toms placed over large bass drums force drummers to set everything up at steep angles (think Lars Ulrich), which quickly results in dented heads. You could also set them very flat and high, which forces more arm movement into your technique. That looks cool for rock, but if you’re more of a finesse player and

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like to minimize unnecessary motions, that could introduce technique issues. Moving the rack tom further to the left, a la Tommy Lee, widens the distance between the high tom and the floor toms, requiring more effort to move between them. This configuration solved all of these potential problems simply by keeping the rack tom on the short side. The kit as a whole is also more compact.

HARDWARE

All the drums include die-cast hoops, which used to be a feature on more expensive drum sets but are now beginning to make an appearance on midrange kits. I prefer the look of die-cast hoops to tripleflanged hoops. Die-cast hoops tend to add attack to toms, a plus for lighter hitters, and give snare drums loud, woody, and easy-tofind rim-click sounds. The bass drum claws are made from stamped steel and the straight tension rods require a drum key for tuning but will fit easily into your cases without getting caught, unlike the older, less-fashionable Trod design found on some drums. The lugs are tasteful and shouldn’t offend anyone’s aesthetic preferences. Same goes for the badges. The bass drum is “virgin” style, which means it has no tom-mounting bracket, so you’ll need to hang your mounted toms from a cymbal stand. I prefer bass drum mounting brackets for the added convenience they offer, though some people feel the added holes and hardware affect the tone of a bass drum. Of course, if you use a rack, virgin bass drums are the way to go. The bass drum is a 20-lug design, which purportedly allows for smoother and more even tensioning than 16-lug designs, but puts more hardware on the shell. The bass drum also features a set of foldout spurs with retractable spikes that help hold the drum in place.

PLAYABILITY

While unpacking the kit I noticed that the floor tom legs have small, hard rubber feet that don’t offer the air-pocket style suspension found on some other companies’ tom legs. But after playing them I determined the toms had enough sustain as they were and didn’t actually need any more. The floor toms had a similar open sound with lots of attack to the mounted tom, but obviously with deeper pitches. For the rock music this kit seems designed for, I’d probably replace the second-tier Remo UK batter heads that came on the toms with some of better quality. Two-ply heads would add even more fullness to the drums and a more typical contem-

porary rock tom sound. Ddrum suggested the same thing. When I put higher quality heads on the toms, the kit sounded even better than it did on its first gig out. The bass drum came outfitted with Powerstroke-type batter heads front and back that feature internal muffling rings to reduce overtones, though the resonant head was a white ddrum logo head. For some reason, the logo head didn’t want to lay flat on the bearing edge of the shell. I don’t normally use 24" bass drums and didn’t have an extra head that size handy, so I applied extra tension to the claws to take the wrinkles out. Since this all took place during the week prior to the NAMM show, a replacement head wasn’t sent before the completion of this review. My brute force solution seemed to work, though, and the problem with the head was forgotten as soon as I started playing the kit. I’ve finished plenty of gigs only to notice after the fact that my bass drum’s resonant head was a little wrinkled, without it affecting the sound at all. In this case I was able to get a big, deep sound out of the bass, which, in any case, probably had less to do with head seating and more to do with the drum’s sheer size and added diameter. The 13" mounted tom was easy to tune and its suspension mount helped add sustain. The drum had a reasonable tuning range and an open, clear tone. It definitely wanted to be tuned a bit low, so if I were only using two toms on a smaller stage, I might choose the 16" over the 14" tom to get a more definitive pitch difference. Right out of the box, the snare drum was a winner. I expected and

received loud and clear rim-clicks from the die-cast hoops, and it produced a meaty sound and tons of crack when I pounded out rimshots. Even tuned way up, the snare produced a nice, full tone, in part due to its 6.5" depth. It was lively but not too lively, and held its tuning well. I liked the die-cast throw-off too, which operated both smoothly and quietly. It has a relatively short lever that didn’t force me to move my legs when operating it. All in all, this is a very nice snare drum worthy of a higher priced kit.

AT THE GIG

I used this kit at a couple of gigs and found it not only sounded good but its appearance generated several compliments as well. At one of the gigs I played the kit completely unmiked. Apparently, this club didn’t provide mikes or monitors for the band, which my fellow bandmembers had neglected to mention. As a result, I had to play the $@*# out of the bass drum to try to match my volume with the band’s. Fortunately, I tend to have loud feet and, coupled with the large kick, snare, and toms, I was able to keep pace. Several people told me afterward that the drums sounded great and my volume balanced well. I did dent several of the heads during this show, which is another reason a pro might want to drop a little more money on better heads.

VERDICT With die-cast hoops, all-maple shells, professional sound, beautiful finishes, and a great price tag, it would be impossible not to recommend these drums.

MAY 2008

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ZILDJIAN Armand Series Cymbals BLAST FROM MY PAST BY ANDY DOERSCHUK

E

ver feel victimized by the fine print? Do you long for some truth in advertising? Well so did I, until I got the chance to play the muchballyhooed Armand Zildjian series. Zildjian introduced these cymbals in the Summer of ’07, touting them as classics that harkened back to the sound of ’60s drummers like Hal Blaine and Ginger Baker. Named after the company’s deceased patriarch, Armand Zildjian, who cut his teeth in the family factory, these cymbals promised to bring back the nostalgic sound of early A’s – fertile territory for old codgers like me, who consider Are You Experienced and Wheels Of Fire to be the first and last words in drumming. So after taking an extra swig out of the Geritol bottle, I opened up the package and began throwing cymbals on stands. Within minutes, I became a believer.

CLASSIC PROFILE

You have to give Zildjian credit for showing restraint. At first glance, the Armand series is most notable for its traditional qualities rather than wild reinvention. With a low profile and a large, gently tapered bell, each size and type features

DETAILS Armand Zildjian Series Cymbals MODEL

SIZES

PRICE

20" Ride 21" Ride 16" Thin 16" Medium Thin Crash 18" Thin Crash 18" Medium Thin Crash 13" Hi-Hats 14" Hi-Hats 10" Splash

$471 $517 $348 $348 $410 $410 $518 $578 $198

FEATURES Tight lathing on top, A Zildjian lathing on the bottom; machine hammering; uncoated finish. CONTACT Avedis Zildjian Company,

22 Longwater Dr., Norwell, MA 02061. 781-871-2200. zildjian.com

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tight lathing on top and the company’s standard A Zildjian lathing underneath. Small and shallow machine hammered dimples encircle the bell in virtually indecipherable rings that are spaced approximately 0.5" apart. Nothing is overstated or flashy – from the low-key silk-screened logos on both sides of the disc to the untreated finish, which promises to give Armand cymbals a nostalgic road-worn patina over time, these cymbals seemed as if they had just stepped out of a time machine.

RIDE CYMBALS

Noticeably heavy in your hands, the 21" ride cymbal packs a lot of bronze. It offers a vast number of sounds and dynamics, including a surprising delicacy when played softly in the middle of the bow with a wood-tip stick. At this volume it emits a dainty high-end ping hovering above a warm smokiness, which enjoys a long hang time. It’s surprising how quickly the character changes as you gradually increase the attack – suddenly it shouts with much greater authority, adding a host of complementary frequencies to that cutting ping. All these characteristics explode violently when you glance a blow across the lip. Playing the bell with the taper of your stick brings out a new set of even higher-pitched tones. Predictably, the 20" ride sings in a higher voice than the 21", although I found that pitch wasn’t the only difference a measly inch could make. By comparison, the fundamental tone of the 20" was more focused, with a narrower range of overtones that replaced the smokiness of the 21" with a more metallic undertone. Crashes delivered less of a roar and more gong-like notes, while riding the bell offered a better approximation of a cowbell than on the 21".

CRASHES

My selection of Armand crashes came in two sizes (16" and 18") and two weights (Thin and Medium

Thin), which offered an excellent opportunity to explore the differences inherent in such specs. Speaking in ballpark terms, the small sizes erupted with a more diminutive crash while the larger ones were decidedly more assertive. Similarly, the Thin crashes possessed more high-end overtones while the Medium Thin models hovered somewhere in the middle of the scale. Let’s take a look at each one individually. The 16" Thin crash revealed an appealing bell-like tone with ample splashy-ness that effectively cut

through amplified performances and a shimmering decay that quickly dissipated. Though the 16" Medium Thin model felt beefier in the hand, it reacted to a swift stick stroke in a manner that was remarkably similar to its thinner cousin, with almost precisely the same degree of volume and decay. The only discernable difference was the fundamental pitch, which inhabited a lower range. A strong stroke quickly opened up the 18" Thin into a wide range of dancing high-end overtones, which faded just as rapidly into a


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medium fundamental that dropped to a purr within seconds. Oddly, the 18" Medium Thin crash possessed the exact same pitch as that of the 18" Thin, but answered to a hard hit with a single, focused, gong-like tone that rang a bit longer that I cared for.

HI-HATS & SPLASH

Unlike the other types of cymbals in the Armand series, the 13" and 14" hi-hats performed almost identically, with only the barest variance in pitch. Otherwise, both pairs were articulate when ridden closed, with a raspy complexity that sliced through amplified music. Played slightly open, they were capable of delivering raw, clanging power. Their chick and splash sounds were bright and musical. And speaking of splashes, the lone 10" model did what every splash is designed to do, discharging an immediate high-frequency accent that exited as quickly as it arrived.

AT THE GIG

I was able to experiment with these cymbals for a long time, and within a few gigs narrowed down the selection to a single go-to setup. I generally play on small stages and

am always conscious of my kit’s footprint, so I gravitated toward a three-cymbal setup that included the 21" ride, 18" Thin crash, and 13" hi-hats. I found the 21" to be a versatile, controllable ride that followed my dynamic peaks and valleys with ease. In contrast, the 20" ride was less expressive. The 18" Thin had everything I look for in a crash, with its combination of brute force, pretty colors, and dynamic adaptability, while the loud, mid-range voice of the 18" Medium Thin crash was harder to control. I was never able to pull it down to a pianissimo for soft passages. I actually liked both 16" models quite a bit, but wouldn’t use either as a standalone crash, since neither possessed enough power to deliver a

solid stomach punch. However, they would work well within a multi-crash setup for softer accents, different colors, or when hit in tandem with a crunchier crash. I probably used the 14" hats just as much as the 13" set. But if I had to choose one over the other I would go with the 13" pair since they more easily snuggle into a small setup space. I generally don’t use splashes, or any other effects cymbals for that matter, so the 10" regrettably never made it onto the stage. However, the entire time I played these cymbals in their various configurations, it was clear that they were born from the same concept and belonged together. Nothing was out of place. They sounded like a family.

VERDICT Even though a couple of models didn’t work for my drumming style, I had a great time playing the new Armand Zildjian range. These cymbals strike a sweet balance between the creaminess of A Customs and the articulation of K Customs – a sound that is both traditional and versatile, which provides plenty of expressiveness for both strong and gentle play. They looked great within my setup, with their classic lines and shimmering surfaces. You can believe what you read – these cymbals live up to the hype.


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CRAVIOTTO Diamond Series Snares ENTER THE BRASS RING

F

BY DAVID E. LIBMAN

or more than 20 years, Johnny Craviotto has cultivated a reputation as a master builder of solid shell wood snare drums. He’s also kept things interesting by punctuating his career with some notable collaborations. In the mid-’80s, for example, Craviotto teamed up with Bill Gibson (drummer for Huey Lewis And The News) to form the Solid Snare Drum Company – which didn’t last long, but which produced some outstanding and now highly collectible snares. In the early ’90s, Craviotto started Craviotto Percussion and soon after collaborated with DW in developing the now-famous DW Craviotto solid shell snares. By 2004, Craviotto launched his own line of solid shell snare drums complete with proprietary lugs and badges. (At that point, the DW Craviotto snare drum was no longer officially available, though the two companies maintain a healthy relationship in which Craviotto provides DW with solid shells for certain artist requests or other special needs.) More recently, Craviotto has created quite a buzz in the custom drum market by expanding his offerings to include complete – and completely gorgeous – solid wood shell drum sets.

DETAILS MODEL

Diamond Series Snares

& SIZES 50 at 14" x 5.5" and 50 at 14" x 6.5". AVAILABILITY

SHELLS

0.7mm nickel-plated brass.

FEATURES Diamond-shaped

Craviotto tube lugs and butt plate; comes with a Trick GS007 throwoff with laser-engraved Craviotto logo; hand-engraved Craviotto logo and diamond pattern engraved around the entire drum; handengraved serial number under the Craviotto logo; limited-edition collector’s series with certificate of authenticity; hand-made shells; plush carrying case included. PRICE

$3,700

CONTACT Craviotto Drum Company, PO Box 719, Freedom, CA 95019 831-763-0855. craviottodrums.com

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Although the names and affiliations have morphed, one thing has remained constant: Craviotto continues to specialize in making solid wood shell drums. Therefore, it seemed somewhat ironic to me that my first opportunity to review Craviotto snares would focus not on wood, but on the nickel-plated brass shells that now constitute Craviotto’s Diamond Series Snare Drums. But since Craviotto is only making a total of 100 of these limited edition beauties (50 at 14" x 5.5" and another 50 at 14" x 6.5"), I wasn’t about to complain. Not surprisingly, and probably quite wisely, Craviotto opted to embark on this journey into the realm of metal shells through – you guessed it – another collaboration. Specifically, Craviotto teamed up with Adrian Kirchler of AK Drums in Italy. Kirchler, a drummer who was at one time a goldsmith, capitalized on his divergent interests to become a vintage drum restorer, as well as a maker of handmade and engraved metal shell snares. Kirchler makes each one of the Diamond Series Snare shells by hand. If the explanation above has failed to adequately drive home the point, let me be clear: The Craviotto Diamond Series is not one of those situations where a manufacturer teams with an offshore supplier in order to offer a limited quantity of some product he doesn’t normally make on the cheap. Rather, the Diamond Series Snares – with their handwork, engraving, and $3,700 retail price tag (as in, 37 $100 gigs) – represent a manufacturer’s limited offering of a true artistic collectible.

SHELLS: DIAMONDS IN THE BUFF

I met Kirchler at this year’s NAMM show. Although we had a bit of a language barrier (his English was pretty good, and the only Italian word I know is “pizza”), I was able to discern that he makes these ultra-thin 0.7mm brass shells entirely by hand via a process that includes a combination of rolling, hand hammering, nickel plating, engraving, and buffing. Kirchler hand engraves the entire circumference of each Diamond Series shell with Craviotto’s distinctive

diamond logo. Most engraved drums I’ve seen are the Black Beauty variety with gold-colored etching. But the Diamond Series’ engraving features a stunning combination of highly polished nickel logos framed by a dulled and buffed nickel background. On each snare, one engraved diamond frames Craviotto’s name, another frames a small air vent, and yet another frames the snare’s limited edition series number. In this case, I received 22/50 of the 14" x 5.5" model and 19/50 of the 14" x 6.5" model. Some of the lower numbers in the Diamond Series already reside in the snare drum collections of famous drummers like Ronnie Vannucci and Matt Chamberlain.

PROPRIETARY COMPONENTS

Too often, in my opinion, high-end snare drum makers spend so much effort making beautiful custom

shells only to taint them with inferior, generic hardware. As a result, those “custom” or “high-end” drums sometimes end up looking commonplace in the end. Craviotto avoids this pitfall by ensuring that every aspect of the Diamond Series’ look and specs are uniquely “Craviotto.” Specifically, Craviotto completes the Diamond Series Snares with nickel-plated brass tube lugs that incorporate diamond shapes where they connect to the shell. The snare butt is cast in a diamond shape, as is the included drum key. The snare wires are Craviotto Custom Snare Wires. The included grey-and-black case (very plush) prominently displays a Craviotto patch. Even the two aspects of these snares that are not uniquely Craviotto – their Trick GS007 snare strainers and Remo heads – still sport Craviotto logos. Some may view this as excessive branding. But to me, if I’m spend-


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ing thousands for a collectible snare, I want every aspect of it to be distinct: Craviotto has achieved this goal in spades (or, I suppose, diamonds).

SOUND OF DIAMONDS

Really though, who cares? Shouldn’t drums this fancy and expensive just be placed in a hermetically sealed glass case for 20 years until they’re eventually sold for exorbitant prices on eBay? Probably, but because I didn’t have to pay for these snares, I wasn’t afraid to use them. So I embarked on an almost sacrilegious cycle of taking them to a bunch of gigs at bars and restaurants – and, of course, subjected them to ample use at home as well. The sound of these snares can aptly be summed up with two adjectives: “resonant” and “sensitive.” Of course, a twoword description couldn’t possibly satisfy DRUM!’s discriminating readers, so I’ll gladly expound.

Page 125

Of the various metals used to make snare drums, brass is often described as having a particularly bright sound with lots of overtones. True to form, these brass shells sing with several bright mids and highs but not that many low-pitched overtones. That, however, is only half the story. The sounds that emanate from these snares include substantial sustain

and breathiness, engulfed by a lovely overtone series that is both dry and controlled. Compared to the typical standard-fare Black Beauty or chrome-over-brass snares that I’ve heard, the Diamond Series Snare sounds noticeably less harsh, warmer, and more airy. That’s not to say that these snares can’t be played loud. They have volume to spare. It’s

just that they have a delicate nature and dynamic range that seems remarkably subtle and refined for brass snares. For example, when I played these snares with brushes, they gave a length to the swish sounds that sounded like an ocean breeze. With sticks, the drums’ sensitivity allowed me to play softer songs and still achieve full, rich sounds that might otherwise have sounded clipped or pingy on less-dynamic drums. Overall, the 5.5"- and 6.5"-deep models speak with very similar sonic characteristics. The 5.5" model is, however, a bit higher in pitch with some more crispiness, whereas the 6.5" model sounds slightly lower in pitch with certain fatter aspects. How is it that these brass snares have such refinement to their sound? I suspect a number of variables contribute to the overall effect. The shells’ bearing edges are a 30-degree round over variety, which are triangulated and then soldered back to the inner shell. I assume that sealing the bearing edge back onto the shell helps to capture vibration transmitted from the batter head back into the shell. Moreover, the walls of the superthin shell seem to have an inherent give to them that allows them to resonate more freely. Shell resonance may also be enhanced by the fact that nickel plating typically involves one less step in the plating process than chrome plating. Again, less layers of plating might allow for more metal vibration. The nickel-plated brass flanged hoops allow for free, un-choked batter head response. Craviotto’s tube lugs hold the tension rods snug and didn’t detune while I played. The Diamond Series’ quality snare wires and crafted snare beds no doubt also help to achieve enhanced snare response. And finally, the Trick GS007’s strainers, with their solid machined parts and ultra-smooth twisting engagement levers, are always a welcome addition to any high-end snare drum because they are so quiet and effortless to use. !

VERDICT In terms of looks and sound, I could not find anything negative about the Diamond Series Snares, but the positives are endless. These drums sound as good as they look. Truthfully, that’s no shocker, considering that two master builders teamed up to make these snares, and they apparently spared no expense in the process. In that regard, the only potential negative for some might be the price. At $3,700, these are some of the most expensive snares I have ever reviewed. Nonetheless, once a

snare exceeds $700–$800 range, it leaves the priceconscious “geared for the working player” territory and enters a more affluent neighborhood filled with “collectors, famous drummers, and weekend warriors with high-paying day gigs.” For those who can afford it, the Diamond Series might actually prove to be a worthwhile investment as a collectible drum because of its limited edition status, master builder name pedigree, engraving and hand work, and signed certificate of authenticity.

MAY 2008

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126-127 Drummies Ballot

3/19/08

11:01 AM

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gear DRUM KITS

d that we 382. Please keep in min 95113 or fax 408-971-0 lot box bal and s , iou ists Obv sion . cus der lot per rea drummers, per are accepting one bal t’s time to vote for the in the past year. nce d. ere lifie diff a qua de dis ma be t lish the instruments tha gories to stuffing will vote is May 15. We’ll pub es within the gear cate The deadline for your We included check box drums, cymr. rite me favo r sum you this ut out abo e results in an issu help jog your memory rus. While we selected inst bals, and other hittable t pas the in with ! UM DR featured in ____________ ments that have been those speci____________________ ____________________ alternatives other than NAM E_______________ new a year, you may write in be st mu it t keep in mind tha fied on our list – please nths. New finced in the past 12 mo _____________ model that was introdu ____________________ new instruments. as lify qua ’t ____________________ don es ADDRESS___________ ishes or minor upgrad at you can vote online To make things easier, fans of snail drummies, although m/ e.co zin aga ZIP_______________ mm dru send it to and ____ STATE___________ lot bal this es on ____________________ e, CA CITY________ mail can mark your vot Jos San , 200 te Sui Market St., Drummies!, 95 South

I

Drummers

DRUMMER OF THE YEAR _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

PUNK ____________________________ ______________________________

PROG RESS IVE ROCK ______________ _____________________________

R&B/B LUES _____________________ _______________________________

______________________________

JAM BAND _____________________ _________________________________ FUNK ____________________________ _______________________________ MAINSTREAM POP/ROCK _______ ________________________________ ALTER NATIVE ROCK ________________ _____________________________

___

JAZZ/ FUSION _____________________ ______________________________ COUNTRY _____________________ __________________________________ DRUM CLINICIAN ______________ _________________________________ STUDIO ____________________________ _____________________________ LIVE PERFORMER ______________ ________________________________

Percussionists

_______ PERCUSSIONIST OF THE YEAR__________________________________________________________________________________________________

RISING STAR ___________________________________________________ LATIN ___________________________________________________________ JAZZ/FUSION __________________________________________________

PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE _______________________________________ STUDIO ________________________________________________________ LIVE PERFORME R______________________________________________

_ ROCK/POP ____________________________________________________ WORLDBEAT ___________________________________________________

126 DRUM!

Bubinga/Birch sets

o Tama Warlord Exotix Masai Limited Edition o Tama Superstar Hyper-Drive o Tama Imperialstar Compact Kit o Tama Imperialstar with Meinl HCS cymbals o Taye GO Kit o Taye Original o Yamaha Temple Anniversary o Yamaha Washi Anniversary

o OTHER______________________________________

RISING STAR _____________________ _______________________________

METAL ________________________

o Buddy Rich Drum Company Signature o ddrum Maple Pocket o ddrum AMX o ddrum Dios ST o ddrum Defiant o DW Jazz o DW Collector’s Twisted Exotics o Gretsch New Classic Bop o Gretsch Blackhawk o Gretsch Renown Purewood Rosewood o Ludwig Legacy Classic o Ludwig Accent CS Elite o Pacific X7 o Pacific 805 o Peace Kahuna o Peace Echoplasma o Peace Neorebel o Pearl Vision VSX o Pearl Vision VLX o Pearl Masters MCX o Premier Cabria XPK o Premier Cabria APK o Premier Cabria PK o Rogers Trailblazer o Rogers Prospector o Sonor S Classix o Tama Starclassic Performer

SNARE DRUMS

o Black Panther Thick Flame Maple o Black Panther SS Solid Steel o Black Panther Premium Walnut o ddrum Mike Marsh Signature Cast Stainless

Steel

o ddrum 14" x 6.5" Bamboo o ddrum 13" x 7" Dominion Ash And Maple o Gretsch G-4000 Series 14" x 6.5"

Solid Brass

o Gretsch G-4000 Series 13" x 6"

Hammered Chrome Over Brass o Pacific “Ace” Model o Peace SD-521 Hammered Steel With Black Nickel Finish o Peace SD-522 Maple Shell/Maple Hoops o Pearl 13 x 8" Maple Power Piccolo With Tamo Finish o Pearl 14 x 8" Maple Snare In Natural Maple Finish o Pearl 10 x 5" Firecracker Snare With Mud Flap Girl Graphic o Pearl 14" x 4" Black Nickel Steel o Pearl 14 x 5" Beaded Aluminum With Anodized Gold Finish o Pro-Mark 50th Anniversary o Tama Simon Phillips Monarch Signature Palette Snare o Tama John Blackwell JB Signature Palette Snare Drum o Tama 13" Warlord Limited Edition o Yamaha 14" x 5.5" Kabuto

_ PERCUSSION CLINICIAN _______________________________________

o OTHER______________________________________

www.drummagazine.com


86-87 Ballot

2/14/08

12:07 PM

Page 86

gear DRUM KITS

d that we 382. Please keep in min 95113 or fax 408-971-0 lot box bal and s , iou ists Obv sion . cus der lot per rea drummers, per are accepting one bal t’s time to vote for the in the past year. nce d. ere lifie diff a qua de dis ma be t lish the instruments tha gories to stuffing will vote is May 15. We’ll pub es within the gear cate The deadline for your We included check box drums, cymr. rite me favo r sum you this ut out abo e results in an issu help jog your memory rus. While we selected inst bals, and other hittable t pas the in with ! UM DR featured in ____________ ments that have been those speci____________________ ____________________ alternatives other than NAM E_______________ new a year, you may write in be st mu it t keep in mind tha fied on our list – please nths. New finced in the past 12 mo _____________ model that was introdu ____________________ new instruments. as lify qua ’t ____________________ don es ADDRESS___________ ishes or minor upgrad at you can vote online To make things easier, fans of snail drummies, although m/ e.co zin aga ZIP_______________ mm dru send it to and ____ STATE___________ lot bal this es on ____________________ e, CA CITY________ mail can mark your vot Jos San , 200 te Sui Market St., Drummies!, 95 South

I

Drummers

DRUMMER OF THE YEAR _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________

PUNK ____________________________ ______________________________

PROG RESS IVE ROCK ______________ _____________________________

R&B/B LUES _____________________ _______________________________

______________________________

JAM BAND _____________________ _________________________________ FUNK ____________________________ _______________________________ MAINSTREAM POP/ROCK _______ ________________________________ ALTER NATIVE ROCK ________________ _____________________________

___

JAZZ/ FUSION _____________________ ______________________________ COUNTRY _____________________ __________________________________ DRUM CLINICIAN ______________ _________________________________ STUDIO ____________________________ _____________________________ LIVE PERFORMER ______________ ________________________________

Percussionists

_______ PERCUSSIONIST OF THE YEAR__________________________________________________________________________________________________

RISING STAR ___________________________________________________ LATIN ___________________________________________________________ JAZZ/FUSION __________________________________________________

PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE _______________________________________ STUDIO ________________________________________________________ LIVE PERFORME R______________________________________________

_ ROCK/POP ____________________________________________________ WORLDBEAT ___________________________________________________

86 DRUM!

! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Bubinga/Birch sets Tama Warlord Exotix Masai Limited Edition Tama Superstar Hyper-Drive Tama Imperialstar Compact Kit Tama Imperialstar with Meinl HCS cymbals Taye GO Kit Taye Original Yamaha Temple Anniversary Yamaha Washi Anniversary

! OTHER______________________________________

RISING STAR _____________________ _______________________________

METAL ________________________

! Buddy Rich Drum Company Signature ! ddrum Maple Pocket ! ddrum AMX ! ddrum Dios ST ! ddrum Defiant ! DW Jazz ! DW Collector’s Twisted Exotics ! Gretsch New Classic Bop ! Gretsch Blackhawk ! Gretsch Renown Purewood Rosewood ! Ludwig Legacy Classic ! Ludwig Accent CS Elite ! Pacific X7 ! Pacific 805 ! Peace Kahuna ! Peace Echoplasma ! Peace Neorebel ! Pearl Vision VSX ! Pearl Vision VLX ! Pearl Masters MCX ! Premier Cabria XPK ! Premier Cabria APK ! Premier Cabria PK ! Rogers Trailblazer ! Rogers Prospector ! Sonor S Classix ! Tama Starclassic Performer

SNARE DRUMS

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_ PERCUSSION CLINICIAN _______________________________________

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126-127 Drummies Ballot

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CUSTOM DRUM MAKERS

o Allegra o Artisan o Battlefield o Brady o Canopus o Craviotto o C&C o D’Amico o Dunnett o Ford o Heartwood o GMS o Longo o OCDP o Oregon o Phattie o Pork Pie o San Francisco Drum Company o Shine o Spaun o SJC o Thrust o Truth

o OTHER______________________________________

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o Alchemy Power-X o Bosphorus Gold Standard Power Pack o Hammeraxe o Istanbul Agop Traditional Light 16" Hi-Hats o Istanbul Agop 26" Signature Ride o Istanbul Agop 16" Signature Hi-Hats o Istanbul Agop 24" Turk Flat Ride o Meinl Byzance Spectrum Ride o Meinl Byzance Extra Dry o Meinl Byzance Jazz o Meinl Generation X Trash Hats o Meinl Generation X Jingle Filter Chinas o Paiste Twenty o Paiste 22" Blue Bell Ride o Paiste 22" and 24" 2002 Crashes o Paiste 24" Mega Power Ride o Paiste 22" 2002 China o Paiste 17"–20" Rude Wild Crash o Paiste 24" Eclipse Mega Power Ride o Sabian 20" HHX Evolution O-Zone Crash o Sabian 10" and 12" AAX O-Zone Splashes o Sabian 13" and 15" AAX-Celerator Hi-Hats o Sabian 13", 14", and 15"

HHX X-Celerator Hi-Hats

o Sabian 20" AAXplosion Crash o TRX 20" Crash/Rides o Zildjian Armand o Zildjian K Zildjian Light o Zildjian 16" and 18" A Custom EFX o Zildjian 22" K Dark Medium Ride o Zildjian 20" ZHT Crash Ride

o OTHER______________________________________

HARDWARE

o Dixon 911DB Double Pedal o Dixon 908 Throne o Drumnetics Bass Pedal o DW 8000 Series Pedals o Ego Drum Lugs o Gibraltar Catapult Single Bass Drum Pedal o Gibraltar Ultra Adjust Hi-Hat Stand o Gibraltar Ultra Adjust Cymbal Boom Arms o Gibraltar Dome Throne o Gibraltar JZ Series Stands o Pearl 900 Series o Pearl Conga Kick Stand o Premier 2000 Flush Base Leg System o Premier 4000 Flush Base Leg System o Premier 6000 Flush Base Leg System o Premier 4000 Series Deluxe Pedal o Tama Iron Cobra Rolling Glide Pedals

Page 127

PERCUSSION

o Factory Metal Percussion StackBasherz o Gon Bops Timbero Cowbells o Gon Bops Tumbao Pro Series

Congas and Bongos o Gon Bops Pedal Cajon o Grover T2/HTS-8 8" Heat Treated Silver Tambourine o LP “More Cowbell” T-Shirt & Ridge Rider Bell Pack o LP Hinged Barchimes o LP Guiro Jam Block o LP John Dolmayan Mini Timbales o LP Accents Eddie Montalvo Signature Series Congas o Meinl Marathon Classic Coffee Burst Finish Congas o Meinl African Rope Tuned Djembes o Meinl Bass Pedal Cajon o Meinl Bongo Cajon o Meinl Turbo Cabasa o Pearl Travel Conga o Pearl Marc Quinones Q-Popper Timbale/Snare o Pearl Jesus Diaz Signature Cuban Cajons o Pearl Elite Mahogany Series Congas and Bongos o Pearl Primero Anarchy Heavy Metal Cowbell o Pearl Gatling Cabasa o Remo Key-Tuned Djembes o Remo Ergo-Drum System Dumbek o Remo Modular Drum Pack o Rhythm Tech Metalworks o Toca Freestyle Mechanically Tuned Djembes o Toca Acrylic Mini Timbales o Toca Rafael Padilla Bongos o Toca Pro Line Timbales o Toca Pro Line Cowbells o Tycoon Master Hand Crafted Series Congas o Tycoon Dancing Drum Signature Series Djembes and Djun Djuns o Tycoon Supremo Series Conga Set o Tycoon Ritmo Bongo Set

o OTHER______________________________________

STICKS

o 3 Drum Sticks o Hot Sticks Artisticks o Pro-Mark Pro-Grip Line o Pro-Mark Jason Bittner o Pro-Mark Chris Adler o Pro-Mark Benny Greb o Pro-Mark Peter Criss o Regal Tip JR Robinson Performer Stick o Regal Tip JR Robinson Brush o Regal Tip Fat Cat Brush o Regal Tip Wide Taper Nylon Sticks o Silverfox Clawstick Multi-Rod o Silverfox 5B o Silverfox 5B-XT o Trueline Stretch 5A o Trueline Stretch 5B o Trueline 2B Rebound o Trueline Chip Ritter Signature

“Stick Tricks” 3-Pack

o Vater Sean Kinney Signature o Vater Morgan Rose’s Whiplash o Vater Stick Whip o Vater Limited Edition 2007

Stewart Copeland Standard o Vic Firth Abe Laboriel Signature o Vic Firth Tomas Haake Signature o Vic Firth Mike Terrana Signature o Vic Firth Danny Carey Nylon Tip Signature o Vic Firth Scott Johnson Nylon Tip Practice Sticks o Zildjian Zak Starkey Artist o Zildjian Backbeat Series

Media

BOOKS

HEADS

o Aquarian Super-2 o Aquarian SKIII Bass Drumhead o Attack Old School Signature o Evans EC1 o Remo PowerSonic™ Bass Drumhead o Remo Powerstroke X Snare Drumhead o Remo Vintage A Snare Drumhead o Remo Limited Edition Coated Ambassador

With 50th Anniversary Logo o Remo Skyndeep Graphic Djembe and Doumbek Drumheads

ms For

o Afro-Caribbean & Brazilian Rhyth Katz, The Drums by Memo Acevedo, Frank o Chris Lacinak, Kim Plainfield, Adrian Santos, and Maciek Schijbal

lete

o Alfred’s Kid’s Drum Course: Comp by Dave Black and Steve Houghton o Contemporary Rock Styles For by Sandy Gennaro

Drums

o Drumming Out Of The Shadows by Jason Bittner o Drumset 101 by Dave Black and Steve Houghton es You Can Use by Scott Schroedl Groov o o Jimi Hendrix: Smash Hits

o OTHER______________________________________

ELECTRONICS

o Akai MPD24 o Alesis Control Pad o Alesis Trigger iO o Alesis DM5 Pro o Alternative Mode panKAT o Roland HD-1 V-Drums Lite

electronic drums o Roland PM-01 Personal Monitor o Yamaha DTXPRESS IV

Drum Play-Along

mer’s Guide To Musical Styles And The Legends Who Defined Them

o On The Beaten Path: The Drum by Rich Lackowski

o Polyrhythmic Potential by Chris Pennie with Joe Bergamini o Realistic Rock 35th Anniversary by Carmine Appice

Edition

o The Doors Drum Play-Along Jain o The Total Jazz Drummer by Sunny

& s Contemporary Funk Styles For Drum

o The Roots of Groove: R&B/Soul by Pat Petrillo

________

o OTHER______________________________________

o OTHER______________________________

VIDEOS/DVDS

ACCESSORIES

o Aquarian Super-Thin Kick Pads o DW Daniel de los Reyes Practice Pro o DW Efrain Toro Super Pad o DW Steve Smith Backstage Pads o HQ 22" Cymbal Pad o HQ Cymbal Ride and Hi-Hat Mutes o Kik Brik o ProLogix All-N-1 Russ Miller Practice Pad o Pro-Mark Drummer Gloves o Pro-Mark DK40 Hi Torque Ratchet Key o Pro-Mark DK30 Low Torque Ratchet Key o Protection Racket Deluxe Cymbal

Case On Wheels

o Roland TDM-1 Drum Mat o Roland DAP-1 Accessory Package o SKB Roto-X Cases o Slug Percussion Uni-Badge o Vater Safe N Sound Earplugs o Zildjian Travis Barker Artist Series

Cymbal and Drumstick Bags

o Zildjian Tommy Lee Artist Series

Cymbal Bag

Drumset

o Afro-Cuban Drumming For The by Phil Maturano ew Ritter o Bass Drum Techniques by Matth Cobham o Billy Cobham: Live at 60 by Billy o Classic Rock Solos

o Funk, Blues & Straight-Ahead Jazz by Mike Clark y o In Constant Motion by Mike Portno

rn

o Secret Weapons For The Mode Drummer by Jojo Mayer o Simon Phillips: Complete by Simon Phillips

o The Art Of Brushes by Steve Smith and Adam Nussbaum mann o The Marco Show by Marco Minne Acuña Alex by ctor Colle m Rhyth The o o The Rhythmic Construction of

a Salsa Tune, Vol. 2 featuring Pablo “Chino” Nuñez lete o Ultimate Realistic Rock – Comp by Carmine Appice

o Voices In My Head by Billy Ward ________

o OTHER______________________________

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with Cobra Coil Speed Spring

o Tama Stage Master Hardware Series o Taye Metalworks XP1.01 and 1.02

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o Taye Go Kit “DZ” Rack System o Trick Big Foot Pro 1 V o Trick Multi-Step GS007 Throw Off

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86-87 Ballot

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11:12 AM

Page 87

CUSTOM DRUM MAKERS ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Allegra Artisan Battlefield Brady Canopus Craviotto C&C D’Amico Dunnett Ford Heartwood GMS Longo OCDP Oregon Phattie Pork Pie San Francisco Drum Company Shine Spaun SJC Thrust Truth

PERCUSSION

! Factory Metal Percussion StackBasherz ! Gon Bops Timbero Cowbells ! Gon Bops Tumbao Pro Series ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

! OTHER______________________________________

CYMBALS

Alchemy Power-X Bosphorus Gold Standard Power Pack Hammeraxe Istanbul Agop Traditional Light 16" Hi-Hats Istanbul Agop 26" Signature Ride Istanbul Agop 16" Signature Hi-Hats Istanbul Agop 24" Turk Flat Ride Meinl Byzance Spectrum Ride Meinl Byzance Extra Dry Meinl Byzance Jazz Meinl Generation X Trash Hats Meinl Generation X Jingle Filter Chinas Paiste Twenty Paiste 22" Blue Bell Ride Paiste 22" and 24" 2002 Crashes Paiste 24" Mega Power Ride Paiste 22" 2002 China Paiste 17"–20" Rude Wild Crash Paiste 24" Eclipse Mega Power Ride Sabian 20" HHX Evolution O-Zone Crash Sabian 10" and 12" AAX O-Zone Splashes Sabian 13" and 15" AAX-Celerator Hi-Hats Sabian 13", 14", and 15" HHX X-Celerator Hi-Hats ! Sabian 20" AAXplosion Crash ! TRX 20" Crash/Rides ! Zildjian Armand ! Zildjian K Zildjian Light ! Zildjian 16" and 18" A Custom EFX ! Zildjian 22" K Dark Medium Ride ! Zildjian 20" ZHT Crash Ride

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

!

OTHER______________________________________

HARDWARE

Dixon 911DB Double Pedal Dixon 908 Throne Drumnetics Bass Pedal DW 8000 Series Pedals Ego Drum Lugs Gibraltar Catapult Single Bass Drum Pedal Gibraltar Ultra Adjust Hi-Hat Stand Gibraltar Ultra Adjust Cymbal Boom Arms Gibraltar Dome Throne Gibraltar JZ Series Stands Pearl 900 Series Pearl Conga Kick Stand Premier 2000 Flush Base Leg System Premier 4000 Flush Base Leg System Premier 6000 Flush Base Leg System Premier 4000 Series Deluxe Pedal Tama Iron Cobra Rolling Glide Pedals with Cobra Coil Speed Spring ! Tama Stage Master Hardware Series ! Taye Metalworks XP1.01 and 1.02 Modular Pedal System ! Taye Go Kit “DZ” Rack System ! Trick Big Foot Pro 1 V ! Trick Multi-Step GS007 Throw Off

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

! OTHER______________________________________

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

Congas and Bongos Gon Bops Pedal Cajon Grover T2/HTS-8 8" Heat Treated Silver Tambourine LP “More Cowbell” T-Shirt & Ridge Rider Bell Pack LP Hinged Barchimes LP Guiro Jam Block LP John Dolmayan Mini Timbales LP Accents Eddie Montalvo Signature Series Congas Meinl Marathon Classic Coffee Burst Finish Congas Meinl African Rope Tuned Djembes Meinl Bass Pedal Cajon Meinl Bongo Cajon Meinl Turbo Cabasa Pearl Travel Conga Pearl Marc Quinones Q-Popper Timbale/Snare Pearl Jesus Diaz Signature Cuban Cajons Pearl Elite Mahogany Series Congas and Bongos Pearl Primero Anarchy Heavy Metal Cowbell Pearl Gatling Cabasa Remo Key-Tuned Djembes Remo Ergo-Drum System Dumbek Remo Modular Drum Pack Rhythm Tech Metalworks Toca Freestyle Mechanically Tuned Djembes Toca Acrylic Mini Timbales Toca Rafael Padilla Bongos Toca Pro Line Timbales Toca Pro Line Cowbells Tycoon Master Hand Crafted Series Congas Tycoon Dancing Drum Signature Series Djembes and Djun Djuns Tycoon Supremo Series Conga Set Tycoon Ritmo Bongo Set

BOOKS

HEADS

Aquarian Super-2 Aquarian SKIII Bass Drumhead Attack Old School Signature Evans EC1 Remo PowerSonic™ Bass Drumhead Remo Powerstroke X Snare Drumhead Remo Vintage A Snare Drumhead Remo Limited Edition Coated Ambassador With 50th Anniversary Logo ! Remo Skyndeep Graphic Djembe and Doumbek Drumheads ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

! OTHER______________________________________

ms For

! Afro-Caribbean & Brazilian Rhyth Katz, The Drums by Memo Acevedo, Frank o Chris Lacinak, Kim Plainfield, Adrian Santos, and Maciek Schijbal

lete

Comp ! Alfred’s Kid’s Drum Course: by Dave Black and Steve Houghton

s

Drum ! Contemporary Rock Styles For by Sandy Gennaro ! Drumming Out Of The Shadows by Jason Bittner

! Drumset 101 by Dave Black and Steve Houghton Schroedl ! Grooves You Can Use by Scott ! Jimi Hendrix: Smash Hits

! OTHER______________________________________

ELECTRONICS

Akai MPD24 Alesis Control Pad Alesis Trigger iO Alesis DM5 Pro Alternative Mode panKAT Roland HD-1 V-Drums Lite electronic drums ! Roland PM-01 Personal Monitor ! Yamaha DTXPRESS IV ! ! ! ! ! !

Drum Play-Along

mer’s ! On The Beaten Path: The Drum Guide To Musical Styles And The Legends Who Defined Them by Rich Lackowski

! Polyrhythmic Potential by Chris Pennie with Joe Bergamini ! Realistic Rock 35th Anniversary by Carmine Appice

Edition

! The Doors Drum Play-Along Jain ! The Total Jazz Drummer by Sunny

& s Contemporary Funk Styles For Drum

! The Roots of Groove: R&B/Soul by Pat Petrillo

________

! OTHER______________________________________

! OTHER______________________________

VIDEOS/DVDS

ACCESSORIES

! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! OTHER______________________________________ ! ! ! ! ! STICKS ! ! 3 Drum Sticks ! Hot Sticks Artisticks ! ! Pro-Mark Pro-Grip Line ! ! Pro-Mark Jason Bittner ! ! Pro-Mark Chris Adler ! ! Pro-Mark Benny Greb ! ! Pro-Mark Peter Criss ! ! Regal Tip JR Robinson Performer Stick ! Regal Tip JR Robinson Brush ! ! Regal Tip Fat Cat Brush ! Regal Tip Wide Taper Nylon Sticks ! Silverfox Clawstick Multi-Rod ! Silverfox 5B ! Silverfox 5B-XT ! ! Trueline Stretch 5A ! Trueline Stretch 5B ! Trueline 2B Rebound ! Trueline Chip Ritter Signature

“Stick Tricks” 3-Pack Vater Sean Kinney Signature Vater Morgan Rose’s Whiplash Vater Stick Whip Vater Limited Edition 2007 Stewart Copeland Standard Vic Firth Abe Laboriel Signature Vic Firth Tomas Haake Signature Vic Firth Mike Terrana Signature Vic Firth Danny Carey Nylon Tip Signature Vic Firth Scott Johnson Nylon Tip Practice Sticks Zildjian Zak Starkey Artist Zildjian Backbeat Series

Media

Aquarian Super-Thin Kick Pads DW Daniel de los Reyes Practice Pro DW Efrain Toro Super Pad DW Steve Smith Backstage Pads HQ 22" Cymbal Pad HQ Cymbal Ride and Hi-Hat Mutes Kik Brik ProLogix All-N-1 Russ Miller Practice Pad Pro-Mark Drummer Gloves Pro-Mark DK40 Hi Torque Ratchet Key Pro-Mark DK30 Low Torque Ratchet Key Protection Racket Deluxe Cymbal Case On Wheels Roland TDM-1 Drum Mat Roland DAP-1 Accessory Package SKB Roto-X Cases Slug Percussion Uni-Badge Vater Safe N Sound Earplugs Zildjian Travis Barker Artist Series Cymbal and Drumstick Bags Zildjian Tommy Lee Artist Series Cymbal Bag

set

Drum ! Afro-Cuban Drumming For The by Phil Maturano ew Ritter ! Bass Drum Techniques by Matth Cobham ! Billy Cobham: Live at 60 by Billy ! Classic Rock Solos

Jazz ! Funk, Blues & Straight-Ahead by Mike Clark y ! In Constant Motion by Mike Portno rn ! Secret Weapons For The Mode Drummer by Jojo Mayer ! Simon Phillips: Complete by Simon Phillips

! The Art Of Brushes by Steve Smith and Adam Nussbaum mann ! The Marco Show by Marco Minne Acuña Alex by ctor Colle m Rhyth The ! ! The Rhythmic Construction of

a Salsa Tune, Vol. 2 featuring Pablo “Chino” Nuñez lete ! Ultimate Realistic Rock – Comp by Carmine Appice

! Voices In My Head by Billy Ward ________

! OTHER______________________________ OTHER______________________________________

BEST DRUMMING __________________ ALBUM________________________

PERCUSSION __________________ ALBUM________________________

BEST DRUM / PERCUSSION WEB

SITE

___________________ WWW_________________________

BEST PRINT _______________ ADVERTISEMENT__________


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SHOP

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Page 131

PAUL BOSTAPH “Killing Season” BY

TESTAMENT

PHOTO BY TYLER CLINTON

BY DAVE CONSTANTIN

“I think it’s 4/4. Unless it’s 3/4. To be honest with you, it could be 6/8, but I’m not a big time signature guy. It’s like, I hear the track and I play it … It’s a triplet feel.” –Paul Bostaph on “Killing Season.”

O

kay, this might just have been the paint fumes talking (Bostaph did admit he was feeling a little “spacey” during our interview after having spent the day house painting). After all, how could this world-class veteran metal giant, rhythmic backbone for such demanding acts as Slayer, Forbidden, Exodus, and now

Testament, never have to count? In the case of “Killing Season” at least, the answer is: easily. In this song, having the right feel is what it’s all about. That’s because “Killing Season,” unlike every other thrash metal song you’ve ever encountered, actually swings! And while you’re not likely to confuse Testament with The Count Basie Orchestra, that swing factor does make “Killing Season” a standout among a series of already eclectic, brutally powerful tracks on the band’s ninth studio album, The Formation Of Damnation.

It’s also the thing that almost damned it from the start. “It definitely was one of the hardest songs to compose – definitely one of the ones we weren’t sure if it was going to make it to the record,” Bostaph says. “It was one of those songs where, if you don’t do it just right, it could just be a dud – because it is different; because it’s a shuffle song, but you have to fit it into this heavy format with all these other heavy songs. So it’s like, ‘How do I take this song and still make it cool for what it is, but yet not overplay

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PAUL BOSTAPH it, and still not take away from the most important part of the song, which is the vocals?’” The answer? By striking just the right balance of thrash and swing to ensure the song retains plenty of what sets it apart without ending up sounding like some hokey blues/thrash mash up. “When we first started playing the song, the emphasis wasn’t on the swing; it was on the heaviness of the tune,” says Bostaph. “And then as we started playing it more, and when Chuck started singing the vocals, we said, ‘You know, the coolest part of this song is the swing of the vocals.’ So once we honed in on that, then it was a matter of – when we were doing the drum takes – just kind of getting the right energy conveyed in the drum fills and the accents.”

and faster and faster,” Bostaph says. “I’d say, right up until the time we went into the studio, the song really didn’t find itself.” It took the band jamming through several takes until the “keeper” tempo was finally established at 145 bpm. “Sometimes I think if you just regulate yourself to a click track, and that’s all you do, you’re never going to find out what the real energy of the room will do,” Bostaph says. “When we went back and did the preproduction demo we’d go back and listen to a certain take that we all liked and we’d take the bpm’s from that vibe, and we’d use that as our template.” But the song’s inherent tension – its need for speed, as it were – is still palpable in the final version. At times it feels as if the guitars will suddenly rip

DETAILS SONG

“Killing Season” ALBUM

The Formation Of Damnation BAND Testament

The song opens with a fairly straight-time metal intro fill that waits until the vocals make an entrance at around the 0:20 mark before dropping into the authoritative shuffle that dominates the remainder. Bostaph keeps it interesting by peppering the groove with tasty double bass flourishes that curl up under blistering tom fills, all without ever breaking from the song’s essential character. Those who attempt this track will most likely find that keeping that pulse under control is the trickiest part. “First we kept playing it faster

BOSTAPH’S SETUP

INFOGRAPHIC BY

E

JOSH SUKOV

I G

C

D H F

J

B 4

3

5

A 2 6 1

1 7

Pacific LXE (Charcoal Fade over Kurillian Birch with Black Hardware)

DRUMS

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

22" x 18" Bass Drum 14" x 5" Snare Drum 10" x 9" Rack Tom 12" x 10" Rack Tom 14" x 12" Rack Tom 16" x 14" Floor Tom 18" x 16" Floor Tom

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CYMBALS

A B C D E

Paiste

15" Signature Power Hi-Hats 18" Wild Crash 20" Dimension Thin China 19" Signature Power Crash 19" Wild Crash

F 15" Signature Sound Edge Hi-Hats G 20" Wild Crash H 22" Signature Power Bell Ride I 20" Heavy China J 20" Wild Crash

Paul Bostaph also uses DW hardware, Remo heads, and Vater sticks.

away from the drums and go racing off into the horizon at their own blistering pace. But that relentless shuffle is like a piece of magnetized machinery, keeping everything in orbit. Listen closely and you’ll also hear evidence of Bostaph’s collaboration with guitarist Eric Peterson, whose tendency to oversee every aspect of the writing process had him chiming in more than a little on the drum parts. “This is probably the most, I’d say, meticulous I’ve gone over drum parts in the studio with a bandmate,” Bostaph says. “It’s funny because if you work with Eric you’ll realize that one of his favorite things is a very like, bop ba-da-bop bop, fill. It’s like a marching, very staccato-y, kind of snare-y kind of thing, because that’s how he plays guitar. Like the very first fill of the song – that’s an Ericism right there. After the first accent of the song, I had something written for that that was kind of the same thing, but Eric threw his little twist on it. “The hardest part of the whole recording was somebody saying, ‘Hey, play the fill like this,’” Bostaph continues. “As a drummer I hate that. I always like to come in and create everything I do. But I’ve learned that every band has a different way of working, and Eric has been very involved with all the drummers. If you listen to Testament records, there are certain things that the drummers have always done.” Although it’s safe to say that swinging their thrash metal beats probably isn’t one of them. But that’s what should make this one an interesting song to tackle, even if Bostaph wants to play it off as just another day at the office. “Even though this one was a creatively more difficult one to nail, it wasn’t the one that, performance-wise, was taxing on me,” he says. Either that’s still the paint fumes talking or this song really is a lot easier than it seems. Give it a whirl and see for yourself.


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“KILLING SEASON”

TRANSCRIPTION BY

q = 145

133

WALLY SCHNALLE


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LOREM IPSUM DOLOR PAUL BOSTAPH “KILLING SEASON” (CONTINUED)

134


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135


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LOREM IPSUM DOLOR PAUL BOSTAPH “KILLING SEASON” (CONTINUED)

136


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JAZZ

Fusion Fills PART 2 BY PETER ERSKINE

Continuing from last month, here are six more fusion-style fills that use the same rhythmic springboard (the accented notes on beat 1 and the & of 2) for fills and solo practice. While Ex. 6 requires some good chops and the ability to move around the drum set, the others are exercises in phrasing and rhythmic confidence. The clever use of dynamic shaping will make these rhythms feel and sound much better than if the notes are merely played “right.” Experiment with these one-bar examples and then build upon them, creating multi-bar patterns and phrases that cross over the bar line. Be aware of the form while you create drum melodies.

Ex. 1

Ex. 3

5

5

Ex. 5

Ex. 2

Ex. 4

3

Ex. 6

PETER ERSKINE has played with Weather Report, Steps Ahead, and the Stan Kenton Orchestra, and holds an honorary doctor of music degree from Berklee College Of Music. petererskine.com

PHOTO LESSON

Brush Up On Cajon

1

5

5

BY

GLEN CARUBA

When you’re tight on space or time and need to approximate the sound of kick, snare, and hi-hat, pull out a cajon and a pair of brushes and use the following strokes to add some different colors to your musical canvas. Keep in mind that these techniques can be used on either the cube-shaped box cajon or the wedgeshaped version (pictured).

Try substituting light sixteenth-notes instead of a shaker or a hi-hat.

2

For some swing or bossa nova grooves try “stirring the soup” like you would on a snare (the cool thing about this is that your accents have a nice bass tone).

3

Go with just one brush, and do combinations with your bare hand of bass, slap, and open tones. With a little practice you can make this sound like a complete drum kit.

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WORLD

Shiko: Independence Builders BY JIM DONOVAN

Ex. 1

Here are some challenging exercises designed to work your four-way independence. I’ve based the patterns for the feet on rhythms from a traditional Liberian piece called Shiko. Double kick drum players can substitute their left kick drum for the hi-hat lines. Mix and match foot and hand patterns to create lots of exercise variations. To make the most of these exercises, it’s best to aim for complete accuracy before doing them fast. Definitely work with a click to help you gauge your timing and stroke accuracy. You can find dozens of traditional rhythms that you can use in this manner on my new DVD titled Rhythmic Foundation: Interactive African Drumming For Everyone, available at JimDonovanMusic.com.

Ex. 2

Ex. 3

Ex. 4

Ex. 5

Ex. 6

Ex. 7 JIM DONOVAN is a current and founding

member of the multiplatinum band Rusted Root. He has released three solo CDs as well as four instructional drumming CDs. jimdonovanmusic.com

Ex. 8

LATIN PERCUSSION

Left-Hand Exercises

BY RICHIE “GAJATE” GARCIA In my last lesson I provided a drum set pattern to be played on a cajon. To better help you work on your independence, play the following exercises on the cajon with the left hand and then play the other rhythm on any instrument, including a shaker, a tambourine, cowbell, hi-hat, or ride cymbal. RICHIE “GAJATE” GARCIA has played

with Phil Collins, Diana Ross, Hiroshima, and John Denver, recorded movie soundtracks, taught at Musician’s Institute for ten years, and performs clinics worldwide.

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Key: B = Bass Tone, S = Slap Tone Ex. 1

Ex. 2

B

L

B L

S

B

L

B

L

L

S

B

L

B

L

Ex. 3

B

L

B

L

L

Ex. 4

S L

B L

S L

B L

B L

B L

S L


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FUSION

Fleshing Out Your Funk BY WALLY SCHNALLE

Sometimes all that’s needed is a fat backbeat on the snare and a bass drum pattern that complements the bass line – something like Ex. 1. But other times the grove can be a little thicker or seasoned in a slightly different way that can powerfully affect the music. Exs. 2 and 3 take the same groove and change the feel by changing the hi-hat pattern. This is subtle but very effective. Exs. 4–6 change the ride pattern to fill in the cracks a bit. These can be helpful to lock in the feel at different tempos. And Exs. 7 and 8 flesh out the snare pattern with some ghost notes. Be careful to keep these low and subtle, as they can be distracting when they get too loud, and the power of your groove may suffer. And of course, all of these ideas can and should be combined in a myriad of ways. DRUM! Music Editor WALLY SCHNALLE is a drummer, composer, and teacher based in the San Francisco Bay Area, and has performed with Eddie Gale, Ernie Watts, and the San Jose Symphony Orchestra. itrhymes.com

Ex. 1

Ex. 2

Ex. 3

Ex. 4

Ex. 5

Ex. 6

Ex. 7

Ex. 8


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CLASSIFIEDS DRUM EQUIPMENT

Medicine Man Drums: All your drum needs. Please visit our new website and check out our new finishes: www.medicinemandrums.com. Call for our specials: 740-754-2843.

UGLY PERCUSSION Lounge kit, 6 ply maple, 12 x 18 bass, 5.5 x 12 snare, 6.5 x 10 tom, 12 x 12 floor tom. $985. Free shipping! www.uglypercussion.com

DISCOUNT DRUM SHOP. Drums: Discount prices on the best names! Pearl - Tama - DW - Zildjian Sabian - Paiste - Gibraltar - LP - Accessories - More! Shop online, or call for catalogs or pricing. www.massmusic.net 888-805-8004.

RJS CUSTOM PERCUSSION. All maple kits and snares made for you. Ask for brochure. P.O. Box 562, Cle Elum, WA 98922-0562. Phone/fax 509-674-5337 www.rjscustompercussion.com

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CDS/BOOKS/VIDEOS POWER ROCK DVDs and Videos- Learn to play drums, guitar and bass from real rockers like Carmine Appice, Vinny Appice, Slim Jim Phantom, Tris Imboden and others. Check us out at www.powerrock.com Complete drum building supplies. Catalog online at www.amdrumparts.com. One hole mini-lugs. 541-895-5563.

SALUDA

CYMBALS & DRUMWORKS

CUSTOM CYMBALS & DRUMS www.saludacymbals.com 803.776.6898

PERCUSSION www.FredricoPercussion.com 717-766-1332.

MAY 2008

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CLASSIFIEDS VINTAGE DRUMS

TEACHERS

THE LUDWIG BOOK! by Rob Cook. Business history and dating guide, 300 pages with 64 in full color. Also: Wm.F Ludwig II Autobiography, books on Rogers, Leedy, Slingerland, calfskin heads, gut snares, and more. Contact Rob Cook at Rebeats, 989-463-4757. rob@rebeats.com Website: www.Rebeats.com You need Bobby Chiasson’s vintage drum list! 420 Coach Road, Argyle, NY 12809 Tel: 518-638-8559. www.drumfarm.com BackBeat Drums - Vintage and restored drums, cymbals, stands and parts. Free list. 208-265-4336, www.backbeatdrums.com

ACCESSORIES Simon Kirke of Bad Company. Available for teaching in my own studio in Manhattan. Call: 516-448-0211.

DRUM BUM.com: T-Shirts, hats, stickers, keychains, FREE STUFF, and links to over 500 free lessons!

NYC - Drummers. Study with John Sarracco, one of the most knowledgeable pros in the NY area. Accepting only the serious-minded for drum instruction the professional way. Staten Island studio locations. 718-351-4031. drummerboy@si.rr.com NYC--Westchester. Learn the art of playing the drums. Students include platinum artists. All welcome. “It’s about time.” www.edbettinelli.com or www.drummersed.com. Tel: 914-591-3383, 914-674-4549.

MISCELLANEOUS

INSTRUCTIONAL Free video lessons, cymbal and t-shirt giveaway every month, drum DVDs and now PODCASTS at Dave Bedrock’s: americandrumschool.com Jazz and Blues Drummers www.practicethis.info www.do-it-yourselfdrums.com --- Deaf Symphony drummer Larry Cox’s comprehensive system. Learn to solo on djembe or conga. Courses on CDs and DVDs. Available at: www.dancinghands.com

NYC-Long Island-Peter Greco accepting limited number of students. Study reading, technique, and practical applications. Huntington Studio. 516-241-9260.

T-shirts! T-shirts! T-shirts! Drum Tribe – Alternative, original t-shirts for drummers. Kid’s Beat – Cool drum and music t-shirts for kids and toddlers. drumtribe.com

Seattle Fun Pro Drummer Teaching All Styles, Levels, Ages, Races, and Genders. Call Now for FREE introductory lesson! www.nedzeppelin.com 425-577-4777 ned.zeppelin@hotmail.com San Francisco Bay Area: John Xepoleas, author of "Style Studies for the Creative Drummer" and "Drum Lessons with the Greats," is accepting students. 925-947-2066. www.johnxdrums.com

DRUMMERS WANTED www.MusiciansContact.com. Need work? Paying jobs and resumes online. Thousands of satisfied members since 1969, tel: 818-888-7879.

Drummer for Lauper, Jett, Monkees, Diddley available for private drum instruction. Drummers Collective Faculty member. 20 year teaching experience. Staten Island NY studio. www.sandygennaro.com 917-903-3815.

REACH THE WORLD’S MOST FANATICAL DRUMMERS CHOOSE YOUR SIZE AND RATES 1

2 WRITE YOUR AD COPY

1-issue: $1.50 per word; 3-issue: $1.30 per word per month (pwpm); 6-issue: $1.20 pwpm; 12-issue: $1.00 pwpm.* Color headline, add $1.55 pwpm (5 words max); Boldface words, add $.80 pwpm. 3 ALL CAPITAL WORDS, add $.25 pwpm Web or email address: $2.50 per month.** TOTAL YOUR AMOUNT Studio and Teacher Rates: $150 per year Word Count for 20 words. Display Classified Rates: Rates are per column inch (2 1/4” wide) per month. 3x 6x 12x B&W.............$80..........$70........$65 4-Color.......$99..........$85........$75 *Minimum ad charge: $7.50. *Minimum billing amount: $25.00 *Phone or fax numbers count as one word.

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Coming Next Month IN

Mike Wengren All New DISTURBED! PLUS! Iggor Cavalera

Back Bangin’ With His Bro

Jason Bittner, Ray Luzier & Shannon Larkin Explain

How To Play To A Click Track

10 Ways To Sound Exactly Like Stewart Copeland

AD INDEX DRUMS

A.D.H. acrylicdrumsheaven.com Allegra allegradrums.com Craviotto craviottodrums.com ddrum ddrum.com DW dwdrums.com Gretsch gretschdrums.com Ludwig ludwig-drums.com Mapex usa.mapexdrums.com Maxwell maxwelldrums.com Pacific pacificdrums.com Peace peacedrum.com Pearl pearldrum.com Phattie phattiedrums.com Pork Pie porkpiedrums.com Shine shinedrums.com Six Gun sixgundrums.com SJC sjcdrums.com Tama tama.com Taye tayedrums.com Thrust thrustdrums.com

HARDWARE 128 130 111 44 64/65 63, 119 21 97 101 15 10/11, 91 129 117 129 128

147 128 19 118 128 30

ONLINE SERVICES

Interstate Music interstatemusic.com

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DRUM INSTRUCTION

Drummers Collective drummerscollective.com Gelb Teaching Institute gelbmusic.com KoSA kosamusic.com Tiger Bill’s DrumBeat tigerbill.com

105

9 128

69 27 60/61 6, 74 2/3 48/49, 148

MEDIA 103

HEADS

Alternate Mode alternatemode.com 106 B-Band Inc. b-band.com 72 Drumometer drumometer.com 130 Extreme Headphones extremeheadphones.com 128 Olympus getolympus.com/audio 113 Pintech USA PintechWorld.com 118 Roland rolandus.com 4 Westone westone.com/music 117 Yamaha yamahadrums.com 31

134

12 129 43 18 129 73 114 99

129 109 129 70/71

17 116

RETAIL STORES

119

West Coast Drum Ctr. westcoastdrums.com West L.A. Music westlamusic.com

29

3 Drumsticks 3drumsticks.com 93 Hot Sticks hotsticksdrumsticks.com 59 Power Wrist Builders powerwristbuilders.com 130 Power-Band wedgie.com 16 Pro-Mark promark.com 5, 133 Silver Fox beststick.com 14 Vater vater.com 66 Vic Firth vicfirth.com 25 Zildjian zildjian.com 13 ELECTRONICS

ACCESSORIES

Clearsonic clearsonic.com Drum Bum drumbum.com QwikStix qwikstix.com Vic Firth vicfirth.com

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STICKS

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PERCUSSION

Factory Metal Percussion lpmusic.com Fat Congas fatcongas.com Gon Bops gonbops.com LP lpmusic.com Mountain Rythym mountainrythym.com Pearl pearldrum.com Remo remo.com Toca tocapercussion.com

SKB skbcase.com

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94 22/23, 84/85, 123

Istanbul Agop istanbulcymbals.com Istanbul Alchemy alchemycymbals.com Meinl meinlcymbals.com Paiste paiste.com Sabian sabian.com Zildjian zildjian.com

Aquarian aquariandrumheads.com DrumART drumart.com Head First headfirst-online.com Remo remo.com

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40

CYMBALS

Hudson Music hudsonmusic.com

CASES

Axis axispercussion.com DW dwdrums.com Ego Drum Supply egodrumlugs.com Gibraltar gibraltarhardware.com Pork Pie porkpiedrums.com Roc-N-Soc rocnsoc.com Yamaha yamahadrums.com

109 109

MISCELLANEOUS

08 Drummies drummagazine.com/drummies/ 126/127 Buddy Rich Concert buddyrich.com 136 Chicago Drum Show chicagodrumshow.com 137 DRUM! Digital Edition drumdigital.com 138 DRUM! Merchandise entermusicstore.com 47 DRUM! Next Month drummagazine.com 145 Giveaway drummagazine.com/giveaways 50/51 Slipcase tncenterprises.net 130 The Rhythmic Arts Project traponline.com 130 Traps Back Issues entermusicstore.com 135

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Foxy drumsticks

LeBlanc emits a mighty roar

Life’s Rough

Dressed To Drum

MATT SORUM has always been natty as all get-out, so we weren’t shocked to learn that Velvet Revolver’s drummer teamed up with fashion designer Max Noce to create an elegant line of rock-inspired couture. The Sorum Noce clothing line launched in March, and the grand opening of the duo’s West Hollywood, California boutique at 8568 1⁄4 Melrose Avenue is set for mid-April 2008. Check out all the fab gear at sorumnoce.com.

Schulman loves his Remos

Knowles doing it for the kids

Sorum and Noce: What a couple of studs

Virtually London Mash-Up Rad Hey you, Yanks! At the current monetary conversion rate, it will only cost about a billion dollars to fly to London to attend Remo Drummer’s Night on June 14, which will feature performances by CHAD SMITH, MARK SCHULMAN, STEVE WHITE, GEOFF DUGMORE, and a host of other hotshots showing off their chops. There’s plenty of time to refinance your house, so visit DRUMMERNIGHT.CO.UK for more info.

Now you can luxuriate in your favorite easy chair completely naked while designing your very own allmaple Pro M drum set on MAPEX’S new interactive web site, USA.MAPEXDRUMS.COM/MY-PRO-M. Choose from a wide array of Pro M components and finishes, as well as a wealth of snare drums (including all 29 Black Panther models), throw in any piece of Mapex hardware, fiddle around with cymbal placement, grab a snack, then hit “go,” and Mapex will do the rest.

drummer/lead vocalist FRED makes a detour from the stage to perform on the hot tub on the Lido Deck of Carnival Imagination during Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Simple Man Cruise 2008. The cruise was held January 10–14 and sailed from Miami, Florida to Key West and Calica, Mexico.

COWBOY MOUTH LEBLANC

Very Important Gift DEBORAH KATZ KNOWLES,

new president of the Very Important Percussionists-Chicago, presented Chicago’s Merit School Of Music, with a brand new, 5piece Ludwig drum set with Zildjian cymbals and a host of percussion ac-

School Of Thrash thought it was cool when his stepson told him that he had learned to play “Smoke On The Water” in school one day. So it didn’t take much coaxing to convince Anthrax’s legendary drummer to make an appearance on February 11 at the Woodlawn Middle School in Lawn Grove, Illinois, to speak to 75 seventh grade music and art stu-

CHARLIE BENANTE

cessories. The equipment was donated by the family of the late William D. Olive, who was the founder of the VIP-C, and owner of Glenview, Illinois drum shop, Drum Specialist, for 41 years.

Middle school will never be the same

dents about how he learned to play music. “Charlie had a profound effect on the students,” says school librarian and technology director Howard Frishman, who organized the event. “He’s a great motivational speaker.” So what next? Tommy Lee teaching home economics?

SPEEDREADING Look for a gaggle of Sabian endorsers to hit the clinic trail this April and May, including DOM FAMULARO, JIM RILEY, JOHN FAVICCHIA, MICHAEL SPIRO, BOB BECKER, and JIM GREINER. KOSA has announced the lineup of stellar drummers and percussionists that will teach and perform at its 13th annual percussion camp in Vermont in late July. The faculty will include MEMO ACEVEDO, CINDY BLACKMAN, IGNACIO BERROA, JASON BITTNER, MARC DICCIANI, DOM FAMULARO, RAJNA SWAMINATHAN, MARIO DECIUTIIS, ARNIE LANG, CYRO BAPTISTA, JIM ROYAL, GLEN VELEZ,

company recently recruited two new hotshots onto the drum team: drummer and acoustical engineer, BRANDON SIMS, has accepted the position of design engineer; and the company’s new director of marketing, KEVIN PACKARD, brings lots of branding expertise from his long history at both ddrum and Peace.

GORDON GOTTLIEB, EMIL RICHARDS, MARCO LIENHARD, ALLAN MOLNAR, ALDO MAZZA,

and LOU ROBINSON. For more info visit kosamusic.com. – home of Evans drumheads, Puresound snare wires, and HQ Percussion – has created the D’Addario Music Business Endowed Scholarship at Hofstra University, alma mater of D’Addario chairman and CEO Jim D’Addario (Class of ’70). The University’s financial aid office will award $100,000 to various recipients upon the recommendation of the dean of the Hofstra College Of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

D’ADDARIO

Happy Mr. Packard

Regular Wiretap readers have already recognized that LUDWIG has been going through an impressive growth spurt in the last year, and it hasn’t stopped. The

Has your band got what it takes? Well, it’s not too late to enter the NEXT GRETSCH GREATS UNSIGNED ARTIST COMPETITION,

an online contest to identify the world’s hottest unsigned bands. To enter, artists must simply visit

gretsch125th.com and submit an mp3 file of an original song. Every artist who enters will receive a free commemorative Gretsch 125th Anniversary poster, while the top three prizes include the opportunity to perform at Gretsch’s 125th Anniversary Concert in New York City and a load of Gretsch gear. The grand prize winner will not only perform at the concert, they’ll also take home a host of Grestch guitar, bass, and drum equipment valued at $20,000. The competition entry period begins May 1 and ends May 31, 2008, so don’t hesitate. And best of luck to all applicants!

DRUM! (USPS-23586) is a registered trademark of Enter Music Publishing, Inc. DRUM! is published 12 times per year for $19.95 by Enter Music Publishing, Inc. DRUM! Subscription Dept., 95 South Market Street, Suite 200, San Jose, CA 95113. Tel: 1-408-971-9794 extension 202. Fax: 1-408-971-0382. Periodical Postage Paid at San Jose and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to DRUM!, 95 South Market Street, Suite 200, San Jose, CA 95113. All material published in DRUM! is copyrighted © 2008 by Enter Music Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of material appearing in DRUM! is forbidden without written permission. Distributed by Rider Circulation Services. ISSN# 1097-0614. PRINTED IN THE USA.

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