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TOM TOM MAGAZINE

SNL’S

VALERIE NARANJO HIT LIKE A GIRL CONTEST

VALERIA SEPULVEDA ON SET OF HBO’S GIRLS:

KATE RYAN

SHAUNEY BABY RECKE STING, WILL.I.AM, HILARY DUFF

I S S U E 17 | U SD $ 6 DIS P LAY SPR IN G 2 0 1 43

A MAGAZINE ABOUT FEMALE DRUMMERS THE BODY ISSUE


WELCOME TO TOM TOM ISSUE 17: THE BODY ISSUE. LET’S GET RIPPED!

FOUNDER/PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mindy Abovitz (info@tomtommag.com) MANAGING EDITOR Melody Allegra Berger DESIGN DIRECTOR Lauren Stec

CAPISCO MARKETING TEAM

SARA LAUTMAN (COMIC ILLUSRATOR)

(CODERS)

is a cartoonist from New Jersey and, Capisco Marketing is a woman drummerdrumroll please, a drummer! Her comics owned, full-service internet marketing and illustrations have been in and on agency. Co-founder Jen Carlson got her Bitch, Heeb, The L Magazine and right start in 1996 by building her band’s webhere in Tom Tom. She attends school in site. Since then, her life has been a mix Baltimore, where she draws pictures at of coding and music. Jen cut her teeth her desk and wipes the desk down with a touring with the Angry Amputees and damp rag. www.saralautman.com remains active playing with the piano-drum duo Young Bums. (SHOUT OUTS) www.capiscomarketing.com

TOM TOM

STAFF

DESIGNERS Rieko Yamanaka, Marisa Kurk CODERS Capisco Marketing WEB MANAGER Andrea Davis NORTHWEST CORRESPONDENT Lisa Schonberg NORTHWEST CREW Katherine Paul, Leif J. Lee, Fiona Campbell, Kristin Sidorak LA CORRESPONDENT Liv Marsico, Candace Hensen MIAMI CORRESPONDENT Emile Milgrim BOSTON CORRESPONDENT Kiran Gandhi BARCELONA CORRESPONDENT Cati Bestard NYC DISTRO Segrid Barr EUROPEAN DISTRO Max Markowsky COPY EDITOR Anika Sabin REVIEWS EDITOR Rebecca DeRosa (reviews@tomtommag.com)

RIEKO YAMANAKA (DESIGNER)

Rieko is a graduate of Barnard College and worked in theater and film as a professional dancer before studying graphic design and illustration at SVA. She has worked as a print and digital designer for Oliver Wyman, NYU School of Law, Blue Man Productions, Shabby Apple, Tom Tom Magazine, Mr. Boddington’s Studio, and many other lovely clients. Most recently, she was the lead in-house designer for Soap.com and Vine.com at Quidsi, an Amazon.com company. Rieko lives in Brooklyn with her husband and enjoys drawing, taking ballet classes, and challenging her personal Tetris record. www.riekoyamanaka.com

FIONA CAMPBELL

(STAFF)

is a drummer living in Portland, OR, hailing originally from New Zealand. She’s played in several bands the Vivian Girls, Coasting, Chain & The Gang, Cybelle Blood and the Coolies. She co-owns and runs two record labels, M’lady’s Records and Machu Picchu Ltd, the former boasting the most female artists on a label their size dedicated to showcasing and supporting women musicians. Fiona has also worked in all facets of music related things, booking, promoting, running festivals, volunteering at the Rock Camp for Girls and of course Tom Tom Magazine. www.mladysrecords.com

TOM TOM THE MISSION Tom Tom Magazine ® is the only magazine in the world dedicated to female drummers. We are a 64 page full color quarterly print magazine, website, events and more. Tom Tom serves as the ultimate go-to guide for the latest information of girl drummers and beat makers. Tom Tom seeks to raise awareness about female percussionists from all over the world and hopes to inspire women and girls of all ages to drum, all while strengthening and building the community of otherwise fragmented female musicians. We cover drummers of all ages, races, styles, skill level, and notoriety. Tom Tom Magazine is more than just a magazine it is a movement. Get into it.

WRITERS Sofia Pasternak, Kate Henderson, Chloe Saavedra, Arielle Angel, Shaina Machlus, Dr. Erin Kirwin, bo-Pah Seldge, Emi Kariya, Daiana Feuer, Liz Latty, Jenifer Marchain , Mariel Berger, Fred Armisen, Angela Smith, Lisa Schonberg, Beth Wooten, Jodi Darby, Macaulay Culkin, Craig Blundell, Heather Wagner TECHNIQUE WRITERS Morgan Doctor, Rene OrmaeJarmer, Kristen Gleeson-Prata, Vanessa Domonique PHOTOGRAPHERS Camilo Fuentealba, Gesi Schilling, Ikue Yoshida, Chloe Aftel, Stefano Galli, Daiana Feuer, Michael Franet, Efrat Kuper, Anthony Buhay, Adonnas Jones, Emy Martin, Nikki Nooteboom ILLUSTRATORS Sara Lautman, Akbar Ali REVIEW TEAM Jamie Varriale Velez, Stephanie Reisnour, Matthew D’Abate TOM TOM TV Katwo Puertollano and Flux Design Labs, Anthony Lozano, Anthony Buhay, Teale Failla INTERNS Gabby Smith THANK YOU All of you, Emily Mello, Katarina Llanes, Perez Art Museum Miami, Christy Gast, Ima, Girls Rock Camp Boston, Lauren Recchia, Emily Isenberg, Bells Atlas, Mental 99, Cave Clove, Rachel Goodrich, Awaken Cafe, Shamai, Xavier, Scoot, Tzip Tzop, Moog, Rough Trade NYC, UCLA, CalArts, Anna Luisa Petrisko, Bobbye Hall CORRECTIONS FROM ISSUE 16 Proper web address for Mental 99 is: www.mental99.com CONTACT US Address: 302 Bedford Ave PMB #85 Brooklyn, NY 11249 Email: info@tomtommag.com Facebook, Twitter, Instagram:@tomtommag ON THE COVER FRONT: Valeria Sepulveda by Akbar Ali TO SUBSCRIBE WWW.TOMTOMMAG.COM


LETTER FROM YOUR LOVING EDITOR

INSIDE ISSUE 17

Welcome to Issue 17 of Tom Tom Magazine: The Body Issue

Welcome to the Body Issue! This issue gives us a chance to focus on the amazing, powerful, complex machine that allows us to drum in the first place. Obviously, the body comes immediately into play when we’re talking about female drumming, which is an issue that we hope to both embrace and challenge in the larger (currently) maledominated world of drumming. But this particular issue of the magazine is less about gender politics and more about learning to understand and care for ourselves as musicians. And though we don’t tend to think of it as such, musicians, and drummers in particular, are the athletes of the creative world!

BACKSTAGE WITH CHARLI XCX 16

HBO’S GIRLS KATE RYAN 18

KANADE SATO

The multitude of ways we use our body to drum is something that requires strength, practice and the know-how to keep ourselves healthy in order to perform at our peak. In this issue, we also delve into ways to maintain stamina, whether that means playing a show for hours on end or maintaining a 30-year career (see Valerie Narnajo pg. 37). Good stuff!

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HE’S MY BRO SHE’S MY SIS 25

We lady drummers play one of the most physical instruments in the world and we thereby prove to ourselves and to everyone else, that women’s bodies are strong and resilient with every beat. I hope that this issue of Tom Tom reminds us all that no matter how we were built, whether tall or short, sturdy or delicate, or any combo in between, we can own our physicality, embrace who we are, and crush it in our unique and personal way. Let your body be your temple, whatever that means to you, and let’s get to work!

NOA VAX 30

SHAUNEY “BABY” RECKE 32

PHOTO OF MINDY ABOVITZ AT PAMM BY GESI SCHILLING

FRED INTERVIEWS BEVERLY

Strength and Drums,

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SNL’S VALERIE NARANJO 36

DEBRA DOBKIN 42

NEO BOYS 44

PIZZA UNDERGROUND 48

FEMKE 51

Mindy Seegal Abovitz Founder/Editor-in-Chief

1D1Q: VALERIA SEPULVEDA 53


Letters to the Editor Dear Mindy. Firstly, I should like to say that I think Tom Tom Magazine is a splendid and necessary publication. Congratulations on leading and champing such a superb contribution to the body of work in drummers’ journalism. I especially like your editorials. I have been a loud evangelist for Tom Tom Magazine at the college where I teach in London (The Institute of Contemporary Music Performance). My sincere hope is that the school’s library will be stocking Tom Tom Magazine from 2014. It’s a crime that we don’t already (I frequently take my personal copies in to class). Best wishes to you and all at Tom Tom. —Gareth Dylan Smith (UK) SUS Music Mindy! I am a total hippie and believer in the synchronicity of the universe as opposed to mere ‘coincidence’. That being said, it was awesome to run into you at the NAMM conference. Thank you for the magazine, I was totally blown away while reading it. I thought I had a good idea of what the female drum community consisted of and Tom Tom went ahead and squashed that notion for me in about 3 pages (which is so awesome by the way). Keep up the great work, you definitely have my support! Love + drums. ­—Emily Sully

Hello Kiran! Thank you so much for sharing the stage with me on Saturday night! You are such an inspirational drummer, I believe that there is definitely a reason I ran into you... I have pretty much read most of the Tom Tom Magazine already, and am so happy to read about such amazing women drummers. The Tom Tom website is cool too. Currently I’m surrounded by musicians who are all male, they’re great, but there’s nothing like the sound and feel of a woman drumming. I’m feeling so fortunate to have come across such powerful energy—Thank you again, I am inspired and will be keeping up with Tom Tom and continue this learning, hopefully {definitely} playing more with females. Happy holidays too, you really started mine off right! —Leslie

I have been playing drums for three years now and deciding to play drums is the best decision I could have ever made. At the moment, I am in a grunge rock, male-fronted band with three other guys and myself. I have a lot of respect for your magazine. I think it’s such a wonderful thing to have a magazine dedicated just for female drummers. I don’t know about other parts of the world but it is very apparent that here in Australia, female drummers are very unique and it is like a novelty to have one. I have also lived in Malaysia and Singapore for quite some time and even there, I did not meet one female drummer apart from myself. Drum on. —Sabrina (Gold Coast, Australia) Hi Mindy. I just got off the STOMP! European tour where I visited Denmark, Switzerland, France, and Iceland. It was amazing. I am now a full-time stomp performer in NYC. Having a strong female voice in such a male dominant field is very powerful. It inspires women, of any age, to know they can persevere and become what they want, despite the odds. TTM is a well organized, informative, and down-right fun magazine that gives a cornucopia of resources for the fellow woman who rocks the kit. I love it! It helps keep me updated on the latest of what’s going on in the world of lady drummers, which is my world. —Kris Lee Ramos (Full-time STOMP! performer in NYC)

Thank you so much for your magazine. I received my first 4 issues in the mail last week. So exciting as I rarely get actual hard copy mail anymore. I’ve read every article three times and all the ads, drooled over the hardware and lusted after the little Ludwig kit. I’m 57, a New Zealander living in Australia and I first started drumming two years ago after watching a girl drummer at a bush party in northern NSW. I thought I could do that and I reckoned I could do it better...so I went home and ordered a cheap generic brand drum kit off ebay and fell in love with drumming. Your magazine has inspired me to keep at it...there is no right or wrong way to drum, [sic] just do it my way. Aroha nui. —Gaylyn Aitken (Australia) Here’s what I love about Tom Tom Magazine. You’re like a zine I might have picked up in the hip coffee shop back in college, but with distribution, a great website and no upside-down pages. I loved the Bobbye Hall piece. She has to have been Detroit’s most underrated studio musician. It is clear that Tom Tom has high standards for coolness, for musicianship and for equality. You don’t recycle the already established drummers and I’m impressed at your devotion to education and promotion of both young and old musicians. The simplicity of your page design is inviting. The fact that there’s an appetite for a feminist drum magazine is no surprise. I’m sure it is a ton of work, but there is no doubt of the void it fills. Thanks. —Rob Heath

CONTACT US 302 Bedford Ave PMB #85 Brooklyn, NY 11249 info@tomtommag.com @tomtommag


IN THIS ISSUE

LAUREN BROWN PH OT O BY DA IA NA F EU ER


CURRENT EVENTS DE S I G N BY M AGGIE RIV ERS

NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA // PUSSY RIOT PRESS CONFERENCE Tom Tom had the great pleasure of attending the Pussy Riot press conference and blow out Amnesty International concert that took place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, February 5th. The concert included luminaries like Madonna, Lauryn Hill, Tegan and Sara, Blondie, Bob Geldof, The Flaming Lips, Imagine Dragons, Yoko Ono, CAKE and Susan Sarandon. Recently released from Russian prison on December 23rd, 2013, just shy of their 2-year sentence, Masha and Nadya of Pussy Riot, are at the forefront of an enormous political movement with a musical slant—punk rock with a serious agenda. Asserting that anyone can be in Pussy Riot, worldwide, the decentralized leadership and non-hierarchal structures for the ‘band’ resemble feminist art movements in the states, like Ladyfest, with much higher stakes. For a group that is as anarchist and anti-establishment as Pussy Riot, having famous members who are

NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA // LATE NIGHT WITH SETH MYERS When Seth Meyers assumes his new seat as the host of Late Night (taking Jimmy Falon’s spot) he’s bringing his former SNL castmate and Tom Tom contributor, Fred Armisen with him. Fred is assuming the role as the show’s bandleader. You might have seen Fred’s Tom Tom TV videos in which he interviews some of his (and our) fav female drummers (Janet Weiss, Frankie Rose) or on his own show Portlandia. Congratulations to Kimberly Thompson (cover of Tom Tom Issue 5 and Beyoncé’s old drummer) on getting that seat as his drummer in the band. Other band members include: Seth Jabour (Les Savy Fav) on guitar; Eli Janney (Girls Against Boys) on keyboards; and Syd Butler (Les Savy Fav) on bass. When asked about the line-up he selected, here is what Fred had to say about Kim, “Kim Thompson is an incredible drummer. Getting to watch her play is the best thing ever.” [TIME Magazine] We couldn’t agree with you more Fred. Looking forward to seeing all of them make music together night after night on the glowing tube. Follow them here: @LateNightSeth —Mindy Abovitz

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cavorting with pop stars will obviously cause some strife. But when asked point blank whether they were having a hard time adjusting to the drastic change in their circumstances, going from the underground to being embraced by mainstream pop culture, Masha and Nadya quickly shot that down, saying they thought the question was insulting to all the other musicians they shared the stage with that night. We’ve covered Pussy Riot pretty extensively over the years, giving them shout outs well after the story was a hot item in most mainstream news outlets. Now that they’re free we’re rooting for them as they continue to act out against the unjust laws prohibiting free speech and protest in their country. —Melody Berger


WORLDWIDE // HIT LIKE A GIRL CONTEST On January 24, 2014, Hit Like A Girl female drumming contest launched it’s third year and acquired new video entries and many returning drummers as well. The intention of the contest is to increase awareness of girl and women drummers (who are at a competitive level) worldwide. The contest is now divided into under and over 18 age divisions with finalists and semi-finalists in both divisions. Weekly winners walked away with GoPro cameras and finalists win drumsets and gear from over 30 sponsors. Celebrity judges included Gina Schock, Sheila E, Kimberley Thompson, Cindy Blackman-Santana, Allison Miller, Jen Ledger, Jess Bowen, Meytal Cohen, Hannah Ford and Emmanuelle Caplette together with the top female executives in the drum business, such as Craigie Zildjian and Sarah Hagen (Zildjian), Prudence Elliot (Yamaha), Angela Zammit (D’Addario), Mindy Abovitz (Tom Tom Magazine) and others. The 2014 Hit Like A Girl Contest winners will be announced on a special, Drum Channel event in April. Look for it and check out the videos. We promise you will have a good time watching them. www.hitlikeagirlcontest.com

In an effort to be more conscious of the events happening around the world involving women and drummers, Tom Tom brings you Current Events. Current Events pinpoints news in a variety of countries, large and small, in both hemispheres of the globe. This issue Tom Tom travels to Madagascar to keep you connected with the women drummers of our world.

—Mindy Abovitz

MADAGASCAR // COCONUT WATER DRUMCORE More drums making a difference. All the way from Madagascar, the young ladies of Coconut Water Drumcore are making a small tour around Southeast Asia, video and pictures above are from their recent Cambodian performance. Coconut Water Foundation or Agua de Coco Foundation works with children in extreme poverty in an effort to fight child labor and ensure children their fundamental rights through quality, sustainable education, and resource building. The Foundation has programming in Spain, Andorra, France, Switzerland, Cambodia and Madagascar, with their drum programming focusing exclusively on lady empowerment. The young women of the Coconut Water Madagascar are out to demonstrate the power of music. Drumming is self esteem, for these women it is the opportunity to show people they have talent, in their hands and minds they hold as many possibilities as beat patterns. Their touring affords a unique chance to see the world and participate positively in each community visited.

Performing traditional song and dance while drumming, the girls introduce and educate the crowd into their own widely looked over culture. The women were eager to talk about how beautiful and proud drumming makes them feel, inside and out. And this is obvious as the girls absolutely sparkled on stage. It’s no easy task to command the attention of hoards of drunk, white tourists on the rooftop of the loudest bar in downtown Siem Reap, Cambodia. With the widest of smiles and dopest of beats, the bar literally shook, all eyes and ears were glued to these sparkling young women. In cases such as this, drumming conveys something way deeper than a steady beat. Communicating power and joy with a musical instrument is a mutually heartening experience for both the crowd and the beaming ladies on stage. For more info on the Coconut Water Foundation www.aguadecoco.org —Shaina Machlus


THE BEAT AND THE PULSE

HABIBI

This Brooklyn based all-girl band is about to blow up. Read our full interview with them in our Summer issue with more great photos from Ikue Yoshida. // habibimusic.bandcamp.com

SHISHIDO KAVKA Kavka Shishido,

the 28 year old Japanese drummer/singer/actress/ radio personality has some of the best music videos and sleekest photos that we have come across in our days at Tom Tom. Her technical prowess, ability to kill it on multiple instruments and sleek look is contagious. We want to be her! In her music video for Love Corrida, she plays herself in a black and white themed room classically thrashing on the drums pitted against a brightly colored split screened candy colored all girl band next door (which includes her again!) \\ www.shishido-kavka.com

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LA BELLE REBELLE

We found this amazing vintage inspired two-piece swimsuit while searching bras and drums on the Internet (research people!!!). When we got in touch with La Belle Rebelle Beach House, we found out that the woman behind this incredible Miami-based beachwear line is a drummer too (of course she is). The drum print fabric was found in their factory in Spain and Fab Silberstein (who has been running the company for two years now) drums on a Roland HD 1. You can buy this sweet swimsuit for around $100 and peruse the site for other eclectic beauties (we like the shell suit too). crafted with gorgeous Italian fabric in our delicious exclusive prints. //www.labellerebelle.us


PLANNING TO ROCK Jam Rostron, otherwise known as Planningtorock, is a Berlin based music producer, video director and founder of the record label HUMAN LEVEL. “I am really interested in expanding upon the limits that we live in – how we are defined – and it is an experiment.” [Dummy] Look for our exclusive interview with her by Producer/DJ Lauren Flax next issue. // soundcloud.com/planningtorock

RITSU TAINAKA is a character who plays the drummer of a Japanese four-panel comic strip called K-On! written and illustrated by Kakifly. In K-On!, four Japanese high schoolers attempt to save the music club at their high school by joining it. There, Yui, along with bassist Mio Akiyama, drummer Ritsu Tainaka, and keyboardist Tsumugi Kotobuki form a band and get really good at their instruments. Ritsu is pretty much a cult figure now in the anime scene. Get into it. Ritsu Tainaka

TAR A JA NE O ’NEIL P H O T O GR APHE D BE LOW COU RTE SY OF ARTI ST

BANDS TO LOOK OUT FOR // Brooklyn, NY // thejulieruinband.com // Chapel Hill, NC // ruraltone.com/dex Autumn Splendour // Auckland, NZ // autumnsplendour.bandcamp.com Thundera // NYC, NY // facebook.com/pages/Thundera Leah Lazonick // Brooklyn, NY // leahlazonick.com Pleasure Fix // San Deigo, CA // pleasurefix.com Skating Polly // Oklahoma City, OK // skatingpolly.com Amazones // Republic of Guinea // amazoneswomandrummers.com Liphemra // Los Angeles, LA // liphemra.bandcamp.com WILD ARROWS // Brooklyn, NY // wildarrows.bandcamp.com Femikseta // Belgrade, Serbia // femix.info Suzi Analogue // Brooklyn, NY // suzianalogue.com MOON // Brooklyn, NY // moonmoon.bandcamp.com Balancer // Brooklyn,NY // balancer.bandcamp.com Tara Jane Oneil // Los Angeles, CA // tarajaneoneil.com The Julie Ruin

Dex Romweber Duo

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ART

FIRST BEAT at PAMM

WORDS BY KAI T. HILL FROM ARTBURST MIAMI PHOTOS BY GESI SCHILLING

ON DECEMBER 14, 2013, Miami’s brand new palatial art museum, dubbed the Perez Art Museum Miami, invited Tom Tom Magazine to present First Beat, a female drummer performance that took over the entire museum. Held on their Second Saturday sponsored by Target, First Beat was performed by 15 female drummers from Miami and NYC. Each hour, on the hour, the drummers, including Mindy Abovitz (Tom Tom), Kiran Gandhi (MIA) and South Florida’s drum and dance ensemble Venus Rising, took the museum goers on a musical journey through jazz, rock, and the Latin and Afro-Caribbean rhythms that represent Miami. “We’re going to sonically christen the entire museum so that our beats touch every angle, every square,” said Mindy Abovitz, publisher of Tom Tom Magazine, who created and produced First Beat. In the process of welcoming the new museum to Miami, the group of trap set and hand drummers illustrated a little of their own history and realities in a male-dominated field. “We have chosen specific beats that women just don’t play,” said Abovitz, a native of South Florida and Brooklyn transplant. “Women have to fight a little bit to play the drums,” she says. “What I’m hoping is that this performance takes down one of the thousands of walls.” Abovitz was commissioned to produce a similar project in January 2013 at New York’s PS1 Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). Upon touring PAMM, she knew that bringing together a diverse mix of female percussionists would nicely compliment the new museum digs, which she described as “alive and breathing.” In addition to the trap set drummers, Zeva Soroker (Venus Rising) and seven of her percussionists will bring the West African and Caribbean flavor with the congas, jumjum, djembe and bumbuk drums, as well as the agogo bells and shakere. Fusing music, especially world beats, is Venus Risings’ specialty. “It illustrates to me the unity of music,” said Soroker, adding that finding commonality within the genres is how the women and drums will harmonize. “It’s going to be exciting to link up with the next generation of female drummers. We share a really important agenda.”

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When a new museum building is opening, I suppose there are two approaches you could take to programming. One is to have some parties and then let everything politely settle into regular, expected, programs, some perhaps long gone idea of a pure, or quiet museum experience, before you start messing with expectations for programming later on down the road. The other is to begin with changed expectations. I wanted to do something active and artist driven, that would highlight the fluidity of the indoor and outdoor experience of the architecture, and be an inviting celebration to an audience who are diverse in age and reflective of Miami. I really liked that the piece was tailored to our site specifically - not only the architecture, but to the museum as a site of cultural convergence. — Emily Mello (Deputy Director of Education and Public Programs)


ART

PULSE MACHINE

WORDS BY MINDY ABOVITZ PHOTOS BY MIKE FLEMING

ALICIA EGGERT (b. 1981) is an interdisciplinary artist whose work primarily takes the form of kinetic, electronic and interactive sculpture. She received a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University in Philadelphia, and then practiced at an architectural firm in New York for several years before earning an MFA in Sculpture from Alfred University in New York. Her artwork, which remains strongly rooted in design, focuses on the relationship between language, image and time. She currently lives in Portland, Maine and is an Assistant Professor of Art at Bowdoin College. Her artwork, Pulse Machine, pictured here, is an electromechanical sculpture that was made in collaboration with Alexander Reben. It has been programmed to have the average human lifespan of babies born in Tennessee on that same day: approximately 78 years. The kick drum beats the sculpture’s pulse at 60 beats per minute, and the mechanical counter displays the number of heartbeats remaining in its lifetime. An internal, battery-operated clock keeps track of the passing time when the sculpture is unplugged. The sculpture will ‘die’ when the counter reaches zero.

Tom Tom Magazine: Aside from the obvious bass drum heart-beat analogy was there another reason for using the bass drum in your Pulse Machine piece? Alicia Eggert: I have always associated the bass drum with the underlying rhythm in a song, the beat that keeps time. How else do you work with and around the idea of time? If time is a construct, my work seeks to figure out how, exactly, it’s constructed. I’m interested in the way time serves as a constant reminder of our mortality. So, like everything else in the world, my work often moves, changes, deteriorates, and in some cases, even dies.

What is this piece meant to communicate aside from mortality? It’s also meant to challenge our desire for artworks to last forever. Museums exist to preserve and maintain works of art for posterity, but the moving parts and electronics in kinetic sculptures will naturally break down over time, so they are very difficult to collect. Alex and I will die many years before this sculpture, so in order for it to live the full 78 years, someone else will have to maintain and care for it, like a child. But it, too, will die, and how will its value and meaning change once it does?


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THE HOLISTIC DRUMMER All Rocked out? We got you. BY DR. ERIN KIRWIN AND KATE HENDERSON

Dr. Erin Kirwin is a certified naturopathic doctor, Kate Henderson is a licensed acupuncturist. Both ladies work at Remede Naturopathics in NYC and between them they have 13 years of experience treating patients holistically. Seeking reliable, natural health care advice? Submit your questions!

What if stretching and massage don’t loosen me up as much as I want? Well, it would depend on what your stretch/massage routine is. Are your stretches targeted correctly, are you doing them long enough, and is the massage vigorous enough to tackle the tensions from athletic strain? Is this before or after drumming? Are there other muscular abnormalities such as eyelid twitches or heart palpitations? Is the remaining muscle tension mostly in the areas that were just worked out, or all over? And is there anxiety, insomnia or constipation present? All of these symptoms would be classified in Chinese Medicine as a type of “yin deficiency”; simply put, your body is in active mode too often, and doesn’t seem to know when to dial it down to rest and digest mode. Often with that constellation of symptoms, we may suspect a Magnesium deficiency, and supplementing with Magnesium at an appropriate dose may alleviate some of the symptoms even if there is another cause. If you are experiencing irritability, especially before your period, and tension is concentrated at the sides of the body (neck, shoulders, hip flexors, IT band, etc.), a patent herbal formula called Xiao Yao San can be amazingly helpful for all of the above mentioned symptoms. The brand doesn’t matter so much, and Xiao Yao San is the name of the recipe, so any brand that carries it will have the same ingredient. I personally like Plum Flower, and usually get mine online if I don’t have time to find it at an herbal pharmacy. It’s inexpensive and should provide some help. Trigger point therapy is also a highly effective way of re-training muscle tissue that has learned a constant pattern of

contraction (think muscle ‘knots’ and stringy, cordlike muscle fibers in the neck and shoulders). This can come from longstanding patterns of tension from stress, or an old injury that has lost mobility in the muscles because of patterns of guarding the area that we may do unconsciously. Trigger point therapy involves needling into the tight muscle fibers to cause a momentary ‘twitch’ response, which helps to disrupt the neural firing of contractions. A few sessions of this can show great improvement in muscle relaxation, lengthening and mobility. An acupuncturist or a physiatrist can perform trigger point therapy. Also, be mindful of water intake. Our bodies lose a significant amount of water from elevated respiration and sweating during performance. (Whenever we breath harder and faster and sweat we lose fluids.) Compounded with the diuretic effects of caffeine, alcohol, and sugar this quickly leads to dehydration. Dehydration causes muscle tightness and cramping, and if chronic leads to tense fascia, tendons, and ligaments (dry connective tissues in the joints.) In order to stay hydrated on an average day you’ll need to consume half your weight in ounces of water (for example a 150 lb person needs 75 oz of water); with performance or during any illness you will need to increase your water intake above and beyond this to compensate for fluid loss. Electrolytes are also lost in perspiration, so snacking on bananas, avocados, olives, citrus, and salted nuts can help keep the fluid balance stable.


BACKSTAGE WITH UK’s Charli XCX W IT H D R U M M E R D E B B I E K N OX- H EW S O N BY M I N DY A B OV I T Z | P H O T O BY M A RY O E I L L A R D L A F O R G E

I GOT TO MEET UP WITH drummer Debbie Knox-Hewson when I was out in England for the London Drum Show this past October. The show, which was an eighth the size of NAMM (USA’s industry trade show), had less women in attendance then I could have possibly imagined. I could have counted the number of female drummers I met there on my hand. But I knew that London was crawling with female drummers so where were they?!? Luckily, Debbie was on my radar before I headed out to the UK and when we missed each other at the trade show, we made a date to meet up at a coffee shop to discuss her drumming career and upcoming tour with UK’s party pop sweetheart Charli XCX. Here’s what she had to say.

Tom Tom Magazine: How did you get the opportunity to drum for Charli XCX? Debbie Knox-Hewson: I heard about the audition through my girlfriend Liz, who heard about it from a friend. I was really lucky the MD wanted more drummers to audition! What did you do to prepare for the audition? We got 3 songs to practice for the audition, and about 4 days to learn them. I spent about 4 or 5 hours a day playing the grooves on their own, along to the song and just to click. I also checked out how Charli’s previous drummer played them and tried to keep some parts of the grooves the same. I wanted everything to support the melody and tried to make my fills and dynamics suit what was already there on track. It was really fun dissecting everything. I thought hard about everything I played, and I tried to be daring with how aggressively I played some parts. What do you think separated you out from the rest of the drummers? I’m not sure; I knew some of the girls that went for it. They are great players, and I knew how experienced they were. I didn’t have much session experience. I made a real effort in 2013 to gig as much as I could, drumming for local bands, but this was the first high profile session gig I’d gone for. I think they wanted a raw sound, without the ‘session musician’ vibe. I tried to make all my parts have that chaotic raw energy, and a mass amount of audition nerves definitely helped that. I was really overwhelmed when I got the call. What is different about your drumming for Charli that you don’t do in your other drum projects? Loads! In-ears, triggers, backing tracks … there’s so much about the Charli XCX gig that I’d never done before. It’s been so great learning all the time. My other projects are really different. I’m in a function band that plays rock covers, and a new project that is an all-girl fusion band. So all my projects are very different from one another. Charli’s set-up is the most challenging as I play a hybrid set-up, with triggers and acoustic drums. How will you grow as a drummer from this experience? I feel like I’m a lot more comfortable playing to a click, and hope I get better at expressing myself on the kit. I also hope that the more live experience I get, the more comfortable I am with 16

my own sound, and developing it. I want to sound distinctive. I want to sound explosive. It’s important to try and create something original and seek out different ideas you get on the kit. I feel so fortunate to have got this gig, and going on tour around the world to countries I’d never seen. It’s made me want to practice as much as I can, and constantly get better. What has been the biggest challenge you have faced drumming with her? Endurance when on tour. When we did Charli’s North America Headline Tour, I found it hard to perform the headline set energetically every night. I get quite nervous before I perform, and then we would get on stage and see Charli’s fans go crazy, making my adrenaline kick in like mad. It was really strange to have that wave every night for 5 weeks! When I have time off, I try to focus my practice on Moeller technique, so I don’t tire myself out so quickly and can be economic with my strokes. What was the least expected part of drumming for her? The energy required on stage. I really held back the first few gigs because I thought I should be blending into the background … but that just doesn’t suit this music. Charli goes so hard on stage; I wanted to support that more. It’s so cool working with an artist that digs your individuality on stage, and encourages it. I can hit my hardest, grit my teeth and whip my hair around as much as I want. I think it’s really cool having a girl session band that’s very raw and punk live. What advice would you give another drummer looking to land a job with a bigger artist? Practice to a click, and think about your sound and appearance when you perform. Sound wise work hard on consistency, it makes everyone’s job easier if you play the whole set with the same levels. Thirteen songs in, you don’t want your bass drum to be quieter than at the start of the set. Appearance wise, make sure you perform the set and not recite it. I find it easy to practice with my head down in my own world, analysing everything I do, but it’s important to leave that behind when you play live. My favorite musicians have everything bursting out of them live. If you practice enough, you should be able to lose yourself when you perform. Go mad.


Name: Debbie Knox-Hewson Age: 21 Hometown & Lives in: London Past Bands: Cara Sebastian, Cocoa Hue, Leela, Castle Radio Current Bands: Charli XCX, Rock City Dolls Day Job: Drummer Drum Set: Tama Superstar Hyper-Drive Limited Edition “Classy Banded” Finish. I use a Tama Silverstar Metro Jam for smaller gigs and recording sessions. Cymbal Set Up: Zildjian 22” K Custom Dark Ride, Zildjian 20” K Custom Hybrid Ride, Zildjian 13” Avedis Mastersound Hi Hats, Sabian 17” AAXplosion Crash. Pedal: Tama Cobra Sticks: 5a Vic Firths Throne: Big Dog Any other specific gear you love: Thump Drums, Remo Heads, ACS ear protection, Protection Racket Fav Venue: Green Door Store, Brighton Fav Food: Greek


BACKSTAGE ON THE SET OF HBO’S GIRLS WITH DRUMMER K ATE RYAN BY MINDY AB OVI TZ P H O T O T H IS PAGE BY E MI LYN BROD SKY PH O T O O PP O SIT E PAG E BY KATE RYAN

Name: Kate Ryan Age: 27 Hometown & Lives in: Brooklyn Past Bands: Frankie Rose and the Outs Current Bands: FLOWN, Hexbane Day Job: Writer, Teacher Drum Set I Play: Dee Plakas (L7) kit Cymbal Set Up: Dark crash ride, dark hi-hats. Sticks: 5A Fav Gear: Tibetan bell in B flat that we refer to as the fourth member of FLOWN Fav Venue: Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls!


Our friend and local drummer, Kate Ryan, has been slowly building up steam in her drumming career, creating buzz around her in Brooklyn and beyond. She played drums in the boiler room of MoMA PS1 as part of Tom Tom’s museum takeover, and regularly slays at her kit behind Brooklyn metal band FLOWN. So it didn’t come as a huge surprise when we

were watching one of our favorite TV shows, GIRLS, and saw Kate throwing down on the drums at a birthday party for Leah Dunham. (Spoiler alert: the scene also fabulously features John Cameron Mitchell in a fist fight.) We asked Kate a few questions about what it’s like to drum for TV.

Tom Tom Magazine: How did you get the opportunity to drum on the show? Kate Ryan: A dear friend of mine, Emilyn Brodsky, got a call from GIRLS to perform on the show— they needed a ukulele-playing singer-songwriting babe, and that’s what she is, and Lena knew about her. I was thrilled for her, of course, and a couple days later she called and asked me to be her on-camera drummer. We’ve played together a few times before.

What was the least expected part of being on set or drumming on the show? I was surprised at how fast it all went! We were told to expect a whole lot of sitting around in our trailers, but we really just barely had time to raid the excellent craft services set-up after wardrobe. Also, it wasn’t exactly surprising, but I was impressed with how totally nice and funny and friendly everyone was on set.

What did you do to prepare for the audition? There was no audition. They asked for some links to videos of me playing in various bands (which I’m sure were not at all what they were expecting), and some pictures, and just told me when to come in. What do you think separated you out from the rest of the drummers? Flair. What’s different about drumming for TV? It’s so weird and hard to pretend to drum. We did several takes of us actually playing the song and then they shot the scene with the actors and we had to mime our parts. So I had to try to look natural and like I was just rocking out as usual, while making sure not to actually hit the drums or make any noise at all. It made me extremely grateful for the release of letting loose and playing as loud as I could when I got to my practice space the next day.

What advice would you give another drummer looking to land a job like this? It helps to have friends who do a wide range of interesting things—sometimes I get pulled in to do live percussion for dance and theater, and I regularly do percussion and foley for live cinema. Don’t limit yourself to whatever your music scene is, it’s really fun and challenging to get into different kinds of gigs. Do you have any funny stories to share with us from the set? The director of that episode was Jesse Peretz, and we chatted while we were setting up our gear. He casually mentioned that he “used to play in bands,” and when I found out a minute later that he was one of the founding members of the Lemonheads I almost fell off the stage. Not a starstruck experience I expected to have on the set of GIRLS.

How will you grow as a drummer from this experience? I definitely appreciate on-screen drummers in a whole new way now, it’s a totally different skill set. It’s also just awesome to get to drum in a new context, and it reminded me that there’s all different kinds of ways to be a drummer in addition to playing in bands. What was the biggest challenge you faced shooting this? I’m very committed, as a woman in rock music, to looking however the hell I want to look while I’m on stage. That ranges from my bandmate’s Bowie-inspired elaborate costumes, to my cutoffs and band shirts—it’s just about valuing self-expression and music above being perceived as a super-styled girl band. It was actually kind of hard for me to let that go and let the Girls stylists put me in clothes I wouldn’t wear, makeup I wouldn’t wear, and a hairdo that I don’t even understand how it got on my head. I mean, it looked great and strange, but it didn’t really look like me. 19


KANADE SATO drum princess I NTE RVI E WE D BY B O - PA H ‘MINI BEA ST ’ SL EDG E TRANSL AT ED BY EMI KA R IYA

E

leven year old Japanese drummer Kanade Sato came to our attention when we were forwarded a bunch of her fantastic Youtube videos that go back to when she was seven. Girl can play! When it came down to interviewing her we thought it best to hand the reins to last issue’s Mini Beast, bo-Pah Sledge, fellow 11-year-old drummer extraordinaire. Because, yay, mini beast pen pals! The girls communicated across the world with the help of our drummer/translator Emi Kariya. Enjoy! BO-PAH SLEDGE: HI! MY NAME IS BO-PAH AND I AM AN 11-YEAR-OLD DRUMMER TOO!! I AM SO HAPPY TO MEET YOU! I HAVE A FEW QUESTIONS FOR YOU: LET’S START EASY!

Kanade Sato: Hi, bo-Pah! I’m Kanade. So nice to have this opportunity to meet you too! WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SNACK WHEN YOU ARE PLAYING DRUMS?

I’d love to eat snacks but we have a nosnacks rule when I’m drumming. WHAT IS YOUR PRACTICE ROUTINE LIKE?

I do single strokes to a click and gradually increase them to double strokes and triple strokes. Also I practice basic beats to a click, like 8-beats, and keep the rhythm for about five minutes. ANY SPECIAL EXERCISES YOU DO TO KEEP YOUR BODY IN DRUMMING SHAPE?

Some good long stretches by putting both of my arms up high above my head and stretching them back and forth and sideways, left and right.

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WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT DRUMMING?

When I can groove along to the music well I start to really have fun. Also the moment when I master a beat/trick I couldn’t do before. And I love it when the audience starts dancing at live shows! WHAT MADE YOU WANT TO PLAY THE DRUMS?

My dad plays drums and it looked so fun I wanted to drum too! WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT PLAYING DRUMS?

I play some video games with my younger brother and play with my dog. I like drawing too. WHO TAUGHT YOU HOW TO DRUM?

My dad taught me at first. I still learn from him, but I also have a professional drum teacher I take lessons from.

I LOVE BEING IN A BAND WITH MY SISTERS! THE BEST PART IS THE TRAVELING, LAUGHING, SILLINESS AND FUN. WE WORK VERY HARD AND IT’S NICE THAT WE ALL LOVE MUSIC SO WE CAN SHARE EVERYTHING TOGETHER. WE ONLY FIGHT SOMETIMES, BUT WE USUALLY GET OVER IT FAST.

I’m always the smallest one in class... how about you? MY BIG HAIR MAKES ME LOOK TALLER, BUT I AM THE SAME SIZE AS MY SISTER MIMI (WHO IS THREE YEARS OLDER THAN ME) !!! SO MAYBE I AM A LITTLE TALL. THANK YOU FOR SPENDING SOME TIME WITH ME, KANADE! EVEN THOUGH WE ARE FAR APART FROM EACH OTHER I FEEL LIKE I KNOW YOU. WE ARE BOTH YOUNG GIRLS THAT LOVE DRUMS AND MY MOMMY IS HALF JAPANESE ! MAYBE SOMEDAY WE CAN DO A SHOW TOGETHER!

I look forward to meeting you in person! I should study English by then!! Thank you so much and I hope to talk again soon!

FAVORITE EXPERIENCE SO FAR DRUMMING?

I have so many it’s hard to pick one ... but maybe having the experience of being able to go all over the place in Japan to play? I HAVE A BEAR (DIXIE) THAT GOES WITH ME TO ALL MY CONCERTS. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL THING YOU BRING TO ALL YOUR SHOWS?

My tiara!! I always wear my tiara since my first show! I have a couple of questions for you, boPah! It looks like you have a band with your sisters. What are the greatest things about playing with your sisters? Do you guys ever fight?

NAME: KANADE SATO AGE: 11 HOME: SAITAMA, JAPAN BANDS: MINORU MUKAIYA WITH CHARGE & BACKS DRUMS (ACOUSTIC): PEARL GAX (MAPLE FIBERGLASS) & VMX (MAPLE), BD=18X14, TOM=8X7,8X8,10X8,14X12, SD=13X5 (SONOR) DRUMS (ELECTRONIC): ROLAND V-DRUMS TD-30KV-S CYMBALS: SABIAN & ZILDJIAN & KOIDE HARDWARE: PEARL DRUM RACK & OTHERS FAVORITE VENUES: VINAWALK, STB139, BLUE NOTE TOKYO, COTTON CLUB FAVORITE BANDS: CASIOPEA, MINORU MUKAIYA WITH CHARGE & BACKS, STEVE GADD BAND FAVORITE FOOD: AVOCADO, CHEESE, GRAPES


“I LOVE IT WHEN THE AUDIENCE STARTS DANCING AT LIVE SHOWS!”

P H O T O CO URT ES Y O F T H E A RTI ST

ドラムのお姫さま

佐藤 奏

インタビュー/ボーパ・スレッジ 翻訳/刈屋恵美

ボーパ・スレッジ:初めまして!私の名前はボ

ーパです。奏さんと同じように11歳のドラマ ーなので、 出会うことができて本当に嬉しいで

す!奏さんに質問したいことがいくつかある の。簡単なものから始めるね!

佐藤奏:はじめまして!Kanadeです。私も、 こう

クリックに合わせてシングルストロークから2

誰がドラムを教えてくれたの?

ビートなどの基本ビートをクリックの裏で合わ

の先生とお父さんの両方に教わってる。

いいコンディションでドラムを叩くためにして

いっぱいあって、一つに決めるのは難しいけど、

つ打ち、 3つ打ち・・・と、増やして行くの。 あと、8 せて、 5分位キープ。

いるエクササイズとかストレッチは?

腕を伸ばして頭の上に上げて、 ゆっくり前後左 右に倒したりして、 良く伸ばす。

ドラムを叩くことのどんなところが一番好き?

音楽に合った演奏が出来た時、 すごく楽しくな

る。できなかった事ができるようになったりと

か。Liveで、 お客さんが踊ってくれたりすると、

やってボーパさんと出会えて嬉しいです!よろ

すごくうれしい!

ドラムを叩いてる時に、 どんなスナック (おや

お父さんがやっているのを見て、楽しそうだか

しくね!

つ) をよく食べてる?

ドラムを叩いている時にはおやつ禁止なの。

(本当は食べたいけど)

ドラムの練習をする時のルーティーンは?ど んな練習をしてるの?

何がきっかけでドラムを叩きたいと思ったの?

らやりたくなったの。

ドラムを叩いてる以外の時間は何してるの? 何するのが好き?

弟と一緒にTVゲームしたり、 ペットの犬と遊ん

最初はお父さんに教わって、 5歳から今もプロ 今までのドラム経験の中で、一番の思い出は?

日本の色んなところへ演奏しに行った事かな?

私は、 コンサートをする時に、必ずクマのディ

クシーを連れて行くんだけど、奏ちゃんは必ず 持って行くものってある?

ティアラ!初めてのステージの時からずっと、 い

つも付けてるよ。

私たち、住んでいる場所はすごく離れているけ

れど、 こうして時間を共有できて嬉しいです。 同い年でドラムが大好きだし、私のお母さんは

日本人とのハーフなのo(^▽^)oいつか一緒に

コンサートができるといいね!!お返事楽しみ にしてるね。 ありがとう!またね!

いつか会える日を楽しみにしてるよ!それまで に英語を勉強しなくちゃ!ありがとう!またね!

だり。絵を描くのも好き。

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THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS

Small, 3-string guitars.

loogguitars.com


LITTLE BOOTS, A MOOG SUB PHATTY, AND A DOPE NEW TRACK BY MI NDY AB OVI TZ | PH OT O C OU RT ESY OF A RT IST

We recently gave three of our favorite producers (Little Boots, Tokimonsta and Asma of ngunzungunzu) a chance to write a track using Moog’s newest analog synthesizer Sub Phatty as the track foundation (drums and bass). Our first installment of that series features the one and only UK producer Victoria Hesketh better known as Little Boots. Here is quick convo we had with her about the process and what she is up to. Head to our website to hear the exclusive track. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: WHEN THE SUB PHATTY ARRIVED DID YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WERE GOING TO DO WITH IT STRAIGHT AWAY?

Little Boots: Not at all! We were quite intrigued as we have loved and used to death the Moog Little Phatty. We have one of the first tribute editions of the Little Phatty so were interested to see if the new guy [Sub Phatty] could replace it. WHAT WAS YOUR SONG-WRITING PROCESS LIKE FOR THIS TRACK?

For this track we really had to let the track lead us as we wanted to showcase what the synth could do, so we played around with the sounds and also used it as a midi controller. We were expecting to get the baseline from it first being a bass synth but actually it was the arp pattern that really lead the track. We weren’t expecting that. Once we had that and the chords locked in everything else came pretty quickly. YOU JUST RELEASED A NEW MUSIC VIDEO AT THE END OF LAST YEAR. CAN YOU TELL US WHAT SHOOTING THAT AND THE PROCESS WAS LIKE? It was the first time I have co-directed

a video and I also came up with the concept so it was

very different from previous videos and took a lot of planning and confidence. I was really pleased with the result. WHAT ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT FOR 2014? .Writing new music! I

spent most of last year touring all over the world so its nice to be in one place for a while and get creative. I’m also running my record label onrepeatrecords.com and looking forward to releasing the other artists we have coming up. NAME: VICTORIA HESKETH AGE: 25 HOMETOWN: BLACKPOOL LIVES IN: LONDON CURRENT PROJECTS: LITTLE BOOTS GEAR SET UP LIVE: MOOG LITTLE PHATTY, MOOG SUB PHATTY, PROPHET 08, KORG MS20 MINI, KORG R3, KORG MICROKONTROL, DOPFER ARPEGGIATOR, LIVE DRUMS, ROLAND SPD SX, AKAI MPK25 STUDIO GEAR SET UP: SAME AS ABOVE PLUS KORG POLYSIX, APOGEE DUET, RODE MIC FAV PIECE OF GEAR: KORG MS 20 MINI


www.sparkydog.com


THE BODY ISSUE + P H O T O BY MICH AEL F RANE T

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LAUREN BROWN OF HE’S MY BROTHER, SHE’S MY SISTER BY DAI ANA F EUER | P H O T O S BY MI CHAE L FRANE T

Five years ago, on a warm day in Los Angeles, siblings Rob and Rachel Kolar were at Rachel’s house writing a song for their band He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, when Rob’s girlfriend/Rachel’s best friend Lauren Brown started tap dancing along on the hardwood dining room floor. Lightning struck. Who else had a tap dancer for percussion?! It added a visual and sonic kick to the band’s fun, theatrical, glam folk rock. It was explosive. Then something else happened. The drummer left the band. Lightning struck again—they put mallets in Lauren’s hands, propped her up on a revamped bass drum, and gave her a stripped down kit and two months to figure out how to play drums and tap dance at the same time. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HOW DID YOU TRANSITION FROM TAP DANCER TO TAP DANCING DRUMMER? LAUREN BROWN: Somewhere in me I always want-

ed to be a drummer. I think that I could have started drumming earlier on but the noise factor of that in our household was questionable so I went into tap dancing. Flash forward to now, I’ve spent my life tap dancing. He’s My Brother She’s My Sister had a fantastic drummer, Pipé. At first I was tapping with Pipé. I would fill in the gaps of his rhythm, hi-hat rhythms or whatever would work. When he left, the band encouraged me to try drumming and tapping at the same time. It would be historic and cool. It was frightening and took a lot of work but I fell in love with it. Not only did it feel like I served a more important purpose in the group, but the drums are a very primal, powerful instrument to play. Especially being a woman. HOW LONG DID YOU WORK ON IT IN THE BEGINNING STAGES? A long time.

Orpheo Mccord, who is Rachel’s fiancé and plays in Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, and Steven Edelstein of Caught A Ghost gave me some lessons. They could show me how to hold a stick and what kind of beats would go but I had to figure out how to put a tap dance rhythm in between those beats. I looked on the Internet and there was no reference point. There are Fred Astaire dance pieces where he’s playing drums a little but it’s more of a jazz dance with tap. I had to go on tour in eight weeks so I holed up in our rehearsal space and worked on it every day. Then I had to start doing shows and I had to suck it up about whether I thought it was good. That’s how I really learned. Performing it live was the biggest teacher. HOW DID YOU APPROACH FIGURING OUT THE SONGS? I looked at every

song like a math problem. I broke it all into dance choreography

26

and memorized it. I would write it out on paper in a language probably only I could understand: BOOP BEEP BANG BANG. It was very mathematical. When you’re doing dance choreography, you’re dealing with 8-counts and trying to figure out what can fit in an 8-count rhythm. That helped me in understanding music because you’re also dealing with phrases—the verse and chorus have patterns you can work with. DO YOU HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH CHOREOGRAPHY? I went to school at

NYU for experimental theatre and my track was performance art. I always leaned towards the physical and comedy. I studied commedia dell’arte, which is about trying to make people laugh with your body, like slipping on a banana peel but on another level. DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF MORE OF A PERFORMANCE ARTIST? Absolute-

ly. When I’m up on those drums and dancing, I feel like I’m doing a performance piece. It doesn’t necessarily feel like I’m playing a song as a musician with an instrument. Maybe it’s because of how I learned to do it, that it started from dance choreography. How I create a step, it’s like, I’m going to start on the ball of my left foot and end on the snare drum with my left foot and right arm, heel here, crash there. It’s all choreography. I think that’s very linked to theater, dance and performance art. IF THE BAND PLAYS A SPONTANEOUS SONG AT A SHOW, WHAT DO YOU DO? I

think of how I want to dance to the song. Even when we’re creating something for the album, instinctively it’s all linked to dance.


So when we’re improvising at a show, I know the kick drum needs to go “there” and that feels good because it makes me want to move my hip. HOW DO YOU STAY FREE IF YOU HAVE ALL THESE SPECIFIC THINGS TO DO?

That’s the beauty of it. For me it’s rehearse, rehearse, rehearse, memorize, memorize, memorize, and then when you get up to do the show you’re completely free. My body remembers the routine and my brain can take a break. That’s the best part. Something about that energy, working off people, being in that environment, you feel like you don’t need to think anymore about anything and that’s what you become addicted to. It’s not even about wanting people to watch me. IF IT’S A ROUTINE, HOW DO YOU KEEP IT FROM BECOMING MECHANICAL?

My theory is that you have to love doing it and then you’re not mechanical. If you’re over-thinking or uptight, worrying about whether you’re doing it right or if the crowd likes it—then you’re not happy, you’re self conscious, you’re tense, and your body incorporates that into your rhythm. If you’re loose and having fun and not thinking, you naturally move in a way that correlates with that emotion. IS THERE A CERTAIN INJURY THAT TAP DANCERS HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT?

Yeah, shin splints, knee problems. There’s certain dance rules I don’t really abide by. I jump up and down on that wood block

so much and land flat footed often. There’s a stretching process that I avoid generally. There might be injuries to come but I feel pretty good and strong right now. Drumming makes you feel very strong. It’s a crazy workout and you have to carry all your shit. When I first started, guys were always like, ‘oh you’re a girl you shouldn’t have to carry all that.’ I mean, it’s sweet of them to offer but I just don’t believe in that stuff. There’s no reason why I couldn’t. If I let a guy always carry my shit for me, I’m never going to get strong enough to carry that heavy shit. THAT MAKES EVOLUTIONARY SENSE. You go to a venue and it’s very

much a dude world. I’m in a band with a girl and that’s rad because I get to see a girl every day. The only girls I run into are occasionally the lead singers of other bands or a merch girl or maybe a bartender. There’s rarely a female sound person. Most of the bands we play with are all men. I know how I like my stuff mic’d. I know how I like it set up. But I’m questioned far more than the guy standing next to me and sometimes that really pisses me off. Usually when I say I’m in a band people assume I’m either the singer or the keyboard player. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU NEED TO HAVE SOME SORT OF FEMINIST IMPERATIVE?

Yes and no. I just want to do what I’m doing and I’m excited when it’s a surprise for people. I’m not trying to prove a point. If it inspires other girls, and if it makes tap dancing cooler or more rock and roll, then good! 27


ALESSANDRA SBRANA OF SKINFLINT BY L IZ L AT T Y | PH OT O BY IVO SBR A NA

When Alessandra Sbrana steps on stage and takes a seat at her throne, jaws hit the floor. One of the only female drummers in Botswana and the hardest hitting member of the internationally acclaimed African heavy metal trio, Skinflint, the 24-year-old is used to this gaping reaction. In fact, she kind of loves it. Known as pioneers for their unique style, Skinflint have garnered international media attention as one of the most influential bands in a burgeoning African metal scene that includes legions of metalheads who follow their favorite bands, dress in black leather and cowboy hats and have a collective ethos of guardian angelship toward their communities. At the forefront of this scene, Alessandra and her bandmates, cousin Giuseppe Sbrana and longtime friend Kebonye Nkoloso, are poised to release their fifth album on the heels of a successful Swedish tour, winning the award for general excellence at the 2nd annual African Metal Awards, and topping the African Metal charts with their song “Dipoko” from their fourth album of the same name. Recently, I had the pleasure of talking with Alessandra, whom fans have nicknamed “Hurricane Sandy” for her tenacious energy and furious skills. TOM TOM: YOU COME FROM A MUSICAL FAMILY—YOUR DAD, AUNT, AND UNCLE WERE IN THE NOSEY ROAD BAND, CREDITED WITH BRINGING CLASSIC ROCK TO BOTSWANA IN THE 1970S. WHAT WAS YOUR CHILDHOOD LIKE? ALESSANDRA: We were really small when they started playing.

I was three years old when I went to my first show. I attended most of their shows growing up—club shows, stadium concerts, beerfests. It was all quite exciting! My cousin and I used to watch their practice sessions as well. When I was 16, I started learning how to play drums. My cousin and I would have jam sessions in our home studio for hours at a time. My uncle, who is our manager now, showed me some basic beats and I took it from there. WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO DRUM? Drumming is a form of escape for

me. It is the most liberating activity I have ever experienced. I am inspired by drums because there is always something new to learn, a technique to practice. It is expression with no limits. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE FEELING YOU GET WHILE PLAYING? I get so

involved in the music that sometimes I feel like my hands are moving on their own and the music that I play is kind of involuntary. I forget about the outside world and when the band is playing it’s like you’re all in one little bubble together, connected by invisible wires, and you’re all just moving together. It’s like your musical minds are playing as one. 28

YOU TOOK A BREAK FROM THE BAND TO GET A DEGREE IN ARCHITECTURAL STUDIES. NOW THAT YOU’RE BACK, DO YOU PLAN TO PURSUE MUSIC FULL TIME? Architecture is something that I continuously study and

pursue. It is a challenge being a full-time musician in Botswana. Most of us have day jobs and perform and record at night. I also design our album covers and all the digital work, everything artistic. Currently my main priority is to be a full-time musician, so I am striving to achieve that. HOW DOES THE CULTURE OF BOTSWANA INFLUENCE YOUR MUSIC? Our

music is largely driven by African mythology and culture. It is prevalent in both our lyrics and image. More emphasis is placed on storytelling, which is a very strong aspect of African culture. We also incorporate odd song structures, exotic melodies, and tribal percussions in our music. CAN YOU GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF AN AFRICAN MYTH OR STORY THAT APPEARS IN YOUR LYRICS AND WHY IT’S SIGNIFICANT TO YOU? With us

it’s all about storytelling and our latest album is called Dipoko, meaning ‘ghost’ in Setswana. Basically throughout the album we speak about ghost stories that we used to hear. We speak about rituals, sacrifices involving cattle and livestock—things that used to happen hundreds of years ago. SKINFLINT IS KNOWN FOR BEING ONE OF THE FIRST BANDS IN BOTSWANA TO PLAY DISTINCTIVELY AFRICAN HEAVY METAL MUSIC. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN TO YOU? African heavy metal represents individuality. As a band,

we strive to stay true to our musical expression without trying to be something we are not. We make every effort to play music that is powerful, memorable and unique. African heavy metal, in my opinion, is all of those things combined. I’M CURIOUS WHERE GENDER COMES INTO ALL OF THIS. I’VE YET TO COME ACROSS ANY PRESS THAT EVEN ACKNOWLEDGES THAT YOU’RE A FEMALE DRUMMER IN A VERY MALE-HEAVY GENRE AND SUBCULTURE OF FANS.

We’ve had a lot of occasions where people will come to gigs and they have heard our music on the radio and they just look at me with their jaws open. They are like, ‘Oh my gosh, are you seriously playing heavy metal right now? You little girl?’ So yeah, they’re usually quite shocked. But by the end of the show, they’re really supportive. They congratulate me and say, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing, be one of the boys, play with the boys, show them how it’s done!’ I am certainly proud to be one of the few female drummers in Botswana, perhaps the only one to play heavy metal. I hope that I will inspire other women and people, in general, to partake in activities they are passionate about.


“DRUMMING IS A FORM OF ESCAPE FOR ME. IT IS THE MOST LIBERATING ACTIVITY I HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED.”

Ultimately, it is not a question of being male or female. I think the importance lies within the quality of the music. I believe that if the music is honest and impactful, then gender, appearance or age should not be a big concern.

doing a pretty good job at proving that such stereotypes need to be eliminated.

THE METALHEADS IN BOTSWANA ARE RESPECTED AND LOOKED UP TO IN THEIR COMMUNITIES. SOME PEOPLE HAVE SAID THEY ARE LIKE “GUARDIAN ANGELS.” IT’S A STRIKING JUXTAPOSITION WITH THEIR AESTHETICS, WHICH SEEM SOMETHING LIKE THE HELLS ANGELS MEETS JOHN WAYNE. THE FANS THEMSELVES TALK ABOUT HAVING A COLLECTIVE SENSE OF SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY. HOW DO YOU THINK THIS EVOLVED? I think they want to break the negative

We have a unique style, sound, and brand. Being a musician in Botswana is 200% about passion and dedication. We are a new country with big dreams to show the world our unique talents.

stereotypes associated with people who listen to heavy metal or rock. Their powerful, unconventional aesthetic is not an absolute depiction of who they are on the inside. It is a form of expressing part, not all of who they are. They are breaking the misconceptions placed upon them, by being genuinely good people. There are still small minded beliefs that all metal heads are evil or worshippers of evil beings. I think these “guardian angels” are

WHAT DO YOU WANT THE WORLD TO KNOW ABOUT THE MUSIC THAT’S COMING OUT OF BOTSWANA? Botswana has really talented musicians.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING FEMALE DRUMMERS? Just keep

doing what makes you happy and you will find a way to make your passion something you can live off. I think that’s the main thing that I can relate to, that a lot of people say being a musician is not a real job. But, in a lot of possible worlds, it is a real career.

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NOA VAX: AMBASSADOR OF RHYTHM BY MA R IEL BER G ER PH OT OS BY EF R AT KU PER MAKE U P AYEL ET SH A ST EL

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sraeli percussionist Noa Vax has a mission to cross borders and bring people together through music. She has traveled the world extensively, studying the rhythms of Cuba, Africa, India and the Middle East, and has performed as the representative for Israel at World Music Festivals at Lincoln Center, and in Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Taiwan, Australia, England and more. Noa’s compositions seamlessly fuse together all her world music studies. In her Granny Memi project she might start a song with an Indian drone, transitioning into a traditional Turkish song in Ladino, morphing into an interlude of recited South Indian Konokol and ending with a Flamenco guitar solo. Vax has also developed her own form of body percussion and gives workshops worldwide about what she refers to as a ‘global language.’ She teaches people from different cultures how to relate and connect in ways stripped clear of words, helping them beat together their common ground. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HOW DID YOU START PLAYING? NOA VAX: I began at nine years old be-

cause in my school the conductor needed a drummer for the marching band. Nobody in my family is a musician, so I was the first. Then I moved to drum set for a few years, playing in heavy metal and rock bands. In high school I changed to percussion. First Latin percussion, but I was always curious about Indian and Middle Eastern music. DO YOU ENCOURAGE WOMEN TO PLAY PERCUSSION? In the last seven years I’ve been the

head of the Rhythm Department at the Muzik School of Creation and Production in Tel Aviv. Musicians there take my course as part of their general studies where I teach them basic rhythm and Darbuka, my middle eastern drum. It’s really nice to see that after two years with me some of them really want to be percussionists! Also I lead body percussion workshops for teachers in Israel, most of whom are women. It’s creating a new generation of people who are aware of rhythm.

YOUR PROJECT, GRANNY MEMI, FEATURES YOU, YOUR MOM AND YOUR GRANDMA SINGING ALONGSIDE TWO OTHER MUSICIANS AND PROJECTIONS OF VIDEO ART OF OLD PHOTOS FROM YOUR FAMILY. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO BE IN A PROJECT WITH YOUR MOM AND GRANDMA? Ha! Good question. In

concert it is funny because they are not musicians. So, there was a process to teach them how to be on stage. My grandmother has a really funny temperament and not much patience, so she would finish a song and say, ‘ok, now can I go?’ and I’d say, ‘no no no we have another song!’ The first time it was annoying me, but then I thought, okay, it’s so cute and the audience loves it. She’s really original, she’s really herself. I am very happy for this opportunity to get closer to my mother, my grandmother and my tradition. It’s very spiritual to do something musical with my family.

YOU ARE HALF-TURKISH. DID YOU GROW UP LISTENING TO TRADITIONAL TURKISH MUSIC? Grow-

ing up I didn’t feel connected to my Turkish roots. I wanted to be like an American. So, I played rock, I played heavy metal. I listened to Led Zeppelin. When I grew older I searched for my meaning as a musician. What is my message? That’s when I started to listen to Arabic and Turkish music and realize that it belongs to me. It felt really comfortable, even though I didn’t listen to this music growing up. Maybe it’s something that’s in your genes. These are your roots so you feel comfortable, you feel connected. HOW DID YOU START PLAYING RHYTHMS ON YOUR BODY? I went on a trip to Jamaica and it

was too heavy to carry my drum there. This body percussion came to me because I had


‘MY DREAM IS TO ONE DAY CREATE A BAND OF WOMEN FROM ISRAEL AND PALESTINE. ”

this urge to play music but I didn’t have anything to play on. So, okay I can play on pots and garbage cans or find something. Or, I can just improvise on my body and play with people. YOU’VE SAID THAT BODY PERCUSSION BREAKS DOWN BARRIERS. HOW SO? I have the opportu-

nity to teach all kinds of society in Israel. I work with the ministry office of music education and I am doing lectures to Palestinian teachers, orthodox religious teachers and secular teachers. Some of them don’t know Hebrew, so I start with the body percussion. It’s really a global language: rhythm. You see me, and you repeat after me. I WATCHED YOUR TEDX TALK WHERE YOU GIVE THE AUDIENCE RHYTHMS TO PLAY ON THEIR BODY WHILE YOUR BAND PLAYS. HAVE YOU EVER HAD OBSTACLES IN TEACHING THIS? No. Everybody

connects. You feel your hand on your body. You feel the sound that your body can make. Every part of the body has a different sound. I’m checking the edge of the audience. I want to extend their knowledge and the boundaries of their understanding

of music. With my workshops, even if you are not a musician, you play and you are a part of the band. You might think that you don’t have any sense of rhythm, but then you become the drummer of the band. WOMEN’S BODIES ARE OFTEN PORTRAYED AS FRAGILE AND DELICATE. THROUGH BODY PERCUSSION IT SEEMS LIKE YOU’RE REVOLUTIONIZING THIS IMAGE AND SHOWING YOU CAN BE DURABLE AND STRONG LIKE A DRUM. When people see

me nobody can believe that I’m a drummer, because I’m short, I’m small, I’m nice, I’m smiling. And then they come to a concert, and it’s like, ‘Wow, how can this come out of you?? You look so delicate!’ And I think I am still delicate on stage. If you want to be a drummer you don’t have to be very big. You can play wonderful things without being a big muscular guy. These are small victories for me. I like that I’m changing something in people’s minds. IT’S INCREDIBLE THAT YOU TRAVEL AROUND THE WORLD DOING WORKSHOPS ON BODY PERCUSSION. DO YOU THINK THAT TEACHING THIS GLOBAL LANGUAGE COULD BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER WHO ARE IN CONFLICT? I’m part of a project that

combines Israelis and Palestinians over the course of six months. I was in the women’s group where we would go on hikes and do workshops in different places in the world. The idea is to mix people and find

the common ground. They asked me to do a workshop on body percussion, and I found that it immediately breaks the ice. There are obviously big barriers between Palestinians and Israelis. I remember, one time, there was an argument. But then we started to play the rhythms, and everyone became quiet and started to play, and the argument calmed down. It’s nice to see we don’t need English, Arabic, or Hebrew. We just play and everyone comes together. SO, DO YOU THINK PEOPLE FROM DIFFERENT REGIONS COULD PLAY MUSIC WITH EACH OTHER AS A PATH TOWARDS PEACE? If you really put

aside the politics, the problem is not between the people. And, as a musician, I’ve found that we want to connect as much as we can. We want to learn different kinds of music. We want to experience as many different cultures as possible. In music we don’t have barriers. If you have barriers you break them. We need to come together with different people and play music together. For me I’m really sorry that, aside from this project, I cannot have the opportunity to meet the other side. They love the same music that I love. It’s really a shame that I cannot perform there and they cannot come here. My dream is to one day create a band of women from Israel and Palestine. 31


SHAUNEY “BABY” RECKE BY J E NI FE R MARC H A IN | PH OT O BY C H L OE A F T EL

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elebrated both nationally and internationally as one of the best female drummers in the industry, Shauney “Baby” Recke has played with Sting, Will.I.Am, Hilary Duff, The Pussycat Dolls, and Robin Thicke, among others. Shauney became enthralled with music at a young age—her father was a member of pivotal soul group the Delfonics, known for such hits as “La-La (Means I Love You),” and ‘Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time).” For Recke, opportunity is not just about the experiences you have in life, but about giving back to others. In addition to bringing people joy through her music, she is known offstage as a philanthropist as well. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: THE THEME FOR THIS ISSUE IS ‘BODY.’ ANY THOUGHTS ON THE MATTER? SHAUNEY RECKE: The concept of ‘Body’

in and of itself is powerful, especially in terms of an interview with a woman who is a drummer. In so many ways we are different than our mostly male colleagues and I have come to appreciate everything feminine about who I am—all my being and how it plays such an impact in my life as a whole and what I portray in my playing. I WAS READING ON YOUR BLOG THAT MUSIC AND PHILANTHROPY ARE VERY IMPORTANT TO YOU. TELL US ABOUT THE AMAZING ORGANIZATION YOU FOUNDED CALLED DRUM FOR GOODNESS SAKE. WHAT’S THE PURPOSE BEHIND IT AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START THE PROGRAM?

DFGS is a company that provides “music therapy” to people of all ages, from depression to autism to dementia. I don’t call it music therapy because I’m not a licensed therapist at the moment, but rather ‘music programs that cater to specific needs.’ There are other great companies out there that provide a wide range of services in addition to what I do, but there are unnecessary politics involved and I just want to make people feel better and don’t really have time for all the other stuff. So I started this company to fill a need and it’s been going well.

THAT’S REALLY AMAZING WORK AND A GREAT WAY TO GIVE BACK. I KNOW YOU WERE EXPOSED TO MUSIC QUITE EARLY IN YOUR LIFE AS YOUR FATHER WAS ALSO A MUSICIAN. HOW OLD WERE YOU WHEN MUSIC TURNED INTO A PASSION FOR YOU? I was very young. I remember

we would perform and put on shows for our family members. I was probably five or six, and I just remember always singing around the house. It made me feel good. The drumming didn’t come until later.

YOU STUDIED AT DUKE ELLINGTON SCHOOL OF THE ARTS IN WASHINGTON D.C., WITH AN EMPHASIS IN VOICE AND PERCUSSION. HOW DID THAT EDUCATION PREPARE YOU FOR THE INDUSTRY THAT YOU WOULD SOON WORK IN? The discipline of putting in the time and work

into perfecting your craft is definitely a big thing I learned there. Also, the ability to adapt and work well with others under sometimes extreme pressure was something I got out of the school. The hours you put in at the school, and all of the techniques and theory, are concepts that stay with you. Learning to stay healthy through it all is key as well.

LOOKING AT YOUR CAREER, WAS THERE ANY PARTICULAR EXPERIENCE THAT YOU HAD THAT WAS THE CATALYST IN MOVING UP IN THE INDUSTRY? I think that every experience gives you opportunity for

growth, moves you forward and propels you to another level of playing and creating, which always is good for future opportunities. It’s difficult to say specifically if one gig helps elevate you to another and so on. There is a saying, ‘You’re only as good as your last hit.’ I am grateful to have worked with some incredibly talented iconic artists, and of course it looks impressive on the résumé. But I’m just like everyone else, in that, I go to auditions and have to work continuously on all aspects for the next gig. WHILE YOU ARE TOURING, WHAT DO YOU DO TO STAY FOCUSED AND IN SHAPE TO TURN OUT YOUR FIERCE PERFORMANCES? I am always

grateful anytime I get an opportunity to play, but what works for me is eating nutritious foods and working out. Meditation is also helpful for me to find my center.

WHAT LESSONS HAVE YOU LEARNED WHILE WORKING IN AN EXCITING, YET TOUGH MUSIC BUSINESS? Stay focused. Do things you enjoy

outside of music. Find experiences to play music just because you enjoy playing music and find good things for your soul such as great books, nature, or whatever works for you.

IS THERE ADVICE YOU CAN OFFER YOUNG WOMEN WHO ARE SEEKING SUCCESS IN THE SAME INDUSTRY? No matter how often you hear

‘no’ or ‘you’re not good enough,’ continue to practice, learn and grow. Never think you have arrived, be nice, humble and always find the space for loving what you’re doing and yourself.

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Frankie Rose & Drew Citron are

BEVERLY

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INT ERVIEW ED BY F R ED A R MISEN PH OT O A ND VIDEO BY A NT H ONY B U H AY T R A NSC R IBED BY MEL ODY BER G E R


“I COULD DO WITHOUT A RIDE CYMBAL FOREVER.” —FRANKIE ROSE

red Armisen met up with Frankie Rose and her bandmate Drew Citron (who now make up the new duo ‘Beverly’) backstage at a Frankie Rose show in Los Angeles to shoot a segment for Tom Tom TV. They talked about packing the van, family origins, and what “less is more” means for the drummer. The following is an excerpt from their conversation. Head to Tom Tom TV online to watch the full interview plus their improv jam session.

DREW, YOU’RE A MULTI-INSTRUMENTALIST AS WELL.

NO, WE’RE THE SAME!

D: I play it all. I try to play drums. F: She’s learning. D: It’s the most fun instrument. F: You think so? D: Yeah, for sure.

D: No, because I think Frankie’s aesthetic is real simple with as little cymbals and stuff as possible. F: I don’t like fills.

FRED ARMISEN: FRANKIE, YOU WERE ON THE VERY FIRST BACK COVER OF TOM TOM. HOW MUCH HAS CHANGED FOR YOU IN YOUR CAREER SINCE THEN?

WHEN YOU MESS UP ON DRUMS IT’S KIND OF NOT A BIG DEAL, BUT IF YOU MESS UP ON GUITAR YOU REALLY HEAR IT.

Frankie Rose: Well, it definitely was not a career when I started playing music. It was just punk bands and I never ever thought that I would do it for a career. It became a career, it’s what I do all the time now. So, that’s a huge change, actually. And I can do things that I couldn’t do before like take really amazing people on tour with me. I just never thought that it would come to this, so I feel really lucky. I was used to this being for fun and for free. FRED: DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF A SINGER FIRST, A GUITAR PLAYER FIRST OR A DRUMMER?

F: I guess it’s whatever I’m doing at the time. When Beverly’s record comes out I’ll feel more like a drummer because that’s what I’ll be doing live, and because that’s honestly what I’m the best at. Drew Citron: You’re really good at drums, and you’re happy doing it. I THINK OF YOU AS A DRUMMER.

F: Hence ‘Beverly.’ I wanted to do something freer and looser where I’m playing drums.

DEFINITELY. IT’S THE BEST INSTRUMENT!

F: I guess guitar is like a real challenge for me, but drumming is a little easier. D: I think you’re a natural. F: I don’t have to think about it when I’m behind the drum-set it’s just easy. It was a real challenge moving to the guitar.

F: Really? I think it’s the opposite! I THINK IT’S THE OPPOSITE!

D: I think that both of you are correct. And both instruments are incredibly meditative and if you don’t think about it at all you’re going to play better. IT’S HARD MAKING YOUR BRAIN LET GO.

D: What kind of drums do you like to play, Fred? VERY FRENETIC, CHAOTIC SORT OF LATINY KIND OF PUNK TIMBALE STUFF. LIKE DAVE BARBAROSSA FROM BOW WOW WOW WITH TIMBALES. I’M A FAN OF ZACH HILL, DO YOU KNOW THAT DRUMMER?

F: Oh my goodness, he’s a sports drummer! That’s what I call it. I like to think I made up that term. THAT’S GOOD, A SPORTS DRUMMER.

F: I played on a bill with him at Bottom of the Hill (in San Francisco) and it was just him with a kit and he was bananas! It was like nothing I’ve ever seen. IT IS BANANAS.

D: You guys are opposite again.

OH! SO IT DRIVES YOU CRAZY WHEN YOU SEE SOMEONE DRUMMING TOO MUCH.

F: I had a drummer who thought it was really funny to play the bell, which to me is one of the worst sounds in the world, someone riding on a bell. He’d do that in soundcheck just to get an immediate reaction from me. D: Do you think he did it on purpose? F: Oh, yeah! He was just messing with me because he knew what kind of response he’d get. I could do without a ride cymbal forever. WHAT ABOUT DOING WITHOUT A DRUMMER?

F: Well, that’s incredibly boring. BUT IT MIGHT BE A GOOD OPTION. I’M JUST KIDDING.

F: I think that’s the most important thing to have on stage for sure. I THINK THAT PEOPLE LIKE LOOKING AT DRUMMERS.

F: Yeah, it’s like something’s happening! It’s the life of a band. D: I mean, of course you could just press play on a laptop, but that’s super boring. I don’t like watching bands that don’t have drummers. BUT NO OFFENSE TO BANDS THAT DON’T HAVE DRUMMERS!

F: No! No offense. TOM TOM SHOULD PUT OUT AN ISSUE THAT’S ALL ABOUT BANDS WITHOUT DRUMMERS. SO IT’S JUST EMPTY PAGES. WATCH THE FULL INTERVIEW ON TOM TOM TV


LIVE FROM NEW YORK,

It’s Valerie Naranjo! BY S O F IA PAST ERNAC K | PHOTOS BY CAMI LO FU E NTE ALBA

It’s 10:40 am on a Saturday in October and I’m standing in the lobby of 30 Rockefeller Center, waiting for my guest pass for Studio 8H. I’m practically shaking with excitement. This is the holy grail (for me at least) of TV show studios: Saturday Night Live. A few weeks earlier I had gotten in touch with Valerie Naranjo, the percussionist for the SNL house band. You may have seen her in the back of the stage when the host runs on to give his or her opening


monologue, her long hair flying around as she wails away. She had invited me to a Saturday morning band rehearsal, and I got to sit in the seats closest to the stage as the band played their cues. I watched Taran Killam, dressed as an astronaut, rehearse a scene while Keenan Thompson practiced singing a staged number with the band. During a short band break, Valerie showed me around the studio. On my way out Bruce Willis, that week’s host, said hello. It was surreal, to say the least. For Valerie though, SNL is just one of her numerous jobs. She also plays percussion for The Lion King on Broadway an average of four days a week. She also teaches. In addition to her private students, young and old, she has permanent teaching positions at Ithaca College and New York University. At NYU she teaches private lessons and leads an African percussion ensemble. And on top of all of that, she spends seven to eight hours on her off days working on pieces for the gyil, the instrument that is closest to her heart. The gyil is a relative of the marimba, originating from West Africa. It is the national instrument of the Lobi and Dagara tribes of Ghana, and Valerie’s playing of the gyil led to a 1988 chiefly decree in the Dagara nation that women be allowed to play the instrument for the first time. Valerie is from a rural part of Southern Colorado where her family settled after moving off the Native American Reservation. Her community and her family valued music and she felt like her Native American/Latina heritage was something to celebrate. She did her undergrad at the University of Oklahoma, studying vocal and instrumental music education. The department had a huge budget for visiting artists, one of whom was Leigh Howard Stevens, the renowned marimbist. He spent a week at OU, and by the end of that week Valerie had decided that she wanted to be a music teacher and percussionist just like him. She finished her degree in Oklahoma, and moved to New York City that summer to study with him. She spent the next year in Ithaca, NY getting a Masters in Percussion Performance from Ithaca College. She explained that she was in a rush to get back to New York City to keep working and learning and playing, plus she had already met her future husband there. One of the most amazing things about Valerie is that, after spending over 30 years in New York City, she has only had one job (a brief stint painting houses) that was not related to music. She attributes this to not being afraid to go out onto the street: for many years in the 1980s she paid her bills with the money she made while busking. She would haul her marimba out to a familiar street corner and play until she made $350, which could take an afternoon or a few days.

In fact, she got two of her biggest jobs because of busking. A couple decades ago she was busking in the Times Square subway station when a man approached her about needing a percussionist for a production of The Tempest. She told him the same thing she had told countless others: she would be happy to have him over to her house for an audition, as long as he paid her $25. This was her way of weeding out the people who weren’t serious about her. They made a plan for him and his wife to meet Valerie at her house in Harlem. As Valerie told me this story at a diner in Midtown a few weeks ago, she started to grin. “I had no idea I had charged Julie Taymor and her husband $25 to come to my house!” The meeting was successful, though. Valerie and Julie Taymor became good friends, and Valerie has worked on several productions of hers since. Valerie was one of the first people to sign on to Taymor’s production of The Lion King for Broadway. In fact, Valerie admitted that neither she nor Taymor had seen the film before working on the musical, so they watched it together for the first time. She is still one of five percussionists in the band, and wrote some of the original arrangements. Another day of busking indirectly led to her gig at SNL. One weekday afternoon in the mid80s, Valerie was busking with her marimba outside the Metropolitan Museum, as she often did. It was a slow day, and she decided to pick up and move down to the corner of 14th Street and Avenue A. She set up in front of a church, and began to play her marimba. A woman came out of the church and screamed at her, how dare she play that in front of God’s house! She didn’t even make very much money, $12 or so she remembers. But late in the afternoon a car drove up, and a woman got out and ran towards her. She said they were doing a production for the Latin American Workshop and needed a marimba player. The Workshop is based on the Upper West Side and is a non-profit cultural arts center. Valerie joined and became a part of their house band, where she told me she got some of the best training of her life. She learned to play the hand drums, sing with a band, and write arrangements. In the late 80s the Workshop put on a concert for Philip Glass. Valerie continued to work with him afterwards; he was making a film and asked Valerie to be a part of it, and she toured with his group, The Philip Glass Ensemble. Valerie was in Drummer’s World in Midtown one day in the late 80s, and Lenny Pickett walked in. He was shocked to see her. He had heard about her from Philip Glass and the great percussionist Roger Squiterro, and had been trying to contact her. He offered her a gig with his band, and she toured Germany with them. Almost a decade passed before she heard from Lenny

AFTER SPENDING OVER 30 YEARS IN NEW YORK CITY, VALERIE HAS ONLY HAD ONE JOB THAT WAS NOT RELATED TO MUSIC.


“I HAD NO IDEA I HAD CHARGED JULIE TAYMOR AND HER HUSBAND $25 TO COME TO MY HOUSE!” again. He called her up in 1995 to offer her a spot in the SNL band. 1995–1996 was a probationary year for the show, which meant they either needed to raise their ratings or they would be taken off the air. Lenny made it very clear that Valerie was a key part of that. He called her the “wild card.” The band needed to be more visual to bring up the energy of the audience members, so Valerie played with her whole body. If you look for her on a recent SNL show, you’ll see her still playing with everything she’s got, letting her long hair fly and her arms wail. In my conversations with Valerie I met a humble artist and a confident woman. Named “World Percussionist of the Year” in 2005 and 2008 and “Mallet Player of the Year” in 2012 by DRUM! Magazine, to call her an inspiration is simply an understatement. She is not only one of the most prolific female percussionists, but one of the world’s foremost percussionists of any gender.

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RULE THE THRONE RULE THE WORLD THE CONTEST FOR FEMALE DRUMMERS IS BACK! ENTRY OPENS JAN. 24, 2014

HitLikeAGirlContest.com The Hit Like A Girl Contest is proud to partner with the Percussive Arts Society to support the female drumming community. Hit Like A Girl TM is a Trademark of the Percussion Marketing Council. www.playdrums.com


ADONNAS PH OT O BY A DONNA S J ONES

Adonnas “Beat Crusher” Jones was born in a place where the sun never ceases to shine and the beach is always a skip, hop, or jump away—the lovely city of Miami, Florida. As the baby girl of a very musically talented family, she always gravitated towards the drums—using pots, pencils, spatula, and pens as her first tools of choice. Adonnas’ musical style was developed at her father’s church, Holy Spirit Ministries, where she currently serves as Musical Director. Jones has played for some of gospel music’s biggest talents such as John P. Kee, Mary Mary, Sensere, J. Moss, Deitrick Haddon, Rance Allen and more. In addition to gospel, Adonnas plays a wide variety of styles including rock, latin, reggae, pop, country, hip hop and R&B. This past October, she played drums for Saskya Sky to uplift women at a breast cancer awareness event. “That event will be one to remember because I was able to encourage and empower other women,” she said. Adonnas’ talents are as diverse and unique as her first name! She’s not only a drummer, she is a singer, pianist, music producer, sound engineer, graphic designer, videographer and professional photographer. (She took this awesome selfportrait) Additionally, she’s learning to play both the bass and guitar. In the grand scheme of things, however, the drums hold her heart. People often comment on Adonnas’ drumming technique, with the most common remarks being ‘You play like a dude!’ ‘Pocket Player!’ ‘The truth!’—and the question, ‘You play in heels?’ The 24-year-old drummer understands that there will always be comparisons between guys and girls in the music arena, but she does not let it stop her. She aspires to be an inspiration for female drummers around the world, saying: “Drums are my way of life. It’s a way to be creative, inspirational and unique.”

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DEBRA DOBKIN: A PALETTE OF INFINITE POSSIBILITIES

BY A NG EL A S M I T H PH OT O BY STE FA N O G A L L I

The following article includes excerpts from the book Women Drummers: A History from Rock and Jazz to Blues and Country by Angela Smith to be released by Rowman and Littlefield in April 2014.

D

ebra Dobkin was born with a good ear. “From the time I was very little, I would sing harmony with my sisters, play folk songs on guitar, and pretend that I could read the music my piano teacher was giving me, but it was really all by ear,” she said. Dobkin has drummed with some of the greatest, including Bonnie Raitt, Richard Thompson, Don Henley, Jackson Browne, Shawn Colvin, Al Jarreau, Marcia Ball, Stephen Bruton, Ann and Nancy Wilson of Heart and many, many others. She says Chicago radio stations and records were her “salvation” all through grade and high school. “I listened to the blues, the Beatles, folk, R&B, and jazz. Music was all so new and amazing. I find it really interesting that although I wasn’t conscious of it, whatever song was on the radio stored itself in my brain. I’m amazed at the amount of material that I can call up when performing or recording a track.” When she first started playing in bands, Dobkin was a vocalist and utility player. “If rhythm guitar, a keyboard part, or hand percussion was needed in a song, I would jump in. It became clear to me that if I was going to ever be really good at music I needed to go to school for it.” Dobkin said she had planned to major in composition. “I was playing in bands until three in the morning and then getting up to go to music school by 8:30 a.m. I lasted a few semesters until that school of ‘earn while you learn playing bars’ won out.” While she was in music school she met some fellow musicians who turned her on to Brazilian and African music. “I completely fell in love with the earthiness of the instruments and the rhythms. I found my voice as a player from it. Moving to percussion and drums was a very natural transition for me. I was able to use those different flavors to make whatever kind of music I was playing move and feel good. I have never been a purist when it comes to any particular style of music. I use whatever works for the song. All of my early influences inform the way I play now,” she said. Dobkin said she was 17 when she got her first paying gig. None of the members of the band were 21, and all lied about their ages so that they could get bookings in bars. Dobkin left Chicago and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. “The band I was in at the time got a record deal, but as that faded, I found I was on my own. As a working musician you always have to reinvent yourself to fit the situation so I worked hard at learning how to be a good side person. I found it to be so much more rewarding musically, 42

“THE AIR WAS ELECTRIFIED WITH SO MUCH EMOTION, PURE JOY AND SORROW THAT IT FELT THAT WE ALL, AS ONE, WERE LIFTED INTO THE AIR AND TRANSFORMED THAT NIGHT.”


more fun, and it suited my personality better than being the main focus.” Dobkin learned from a good friend that Don Henley was putting together a band. The friend suggested she audition. “Luck was with me and I wound up on tour with Henley. That was my first major tour and I was able to keep working steadily from there developing the emphasis on drums and percussion.” She says her career has been filled with “musical high moments,” such as playing on stage in a collaboration featuring Sonny Rollins, the David Sanborn Band, Leonard Cohen and a few of us from Was (not Was) band on a show called Night Music.

“I look back at that video, and the memory comes flooding back. I recall looking around the stage, thinking, ‘This is incredible. I’m here and I’m not dreaming.’ Another highlight would be sitting in on drums with Spinal Tap and living to tell the tale.” Since 2003, Dobkin has been playing with Richard Thompson in a trio for 1000 Years of Popular Music and then in a fully staged production of Richard Thompson’s Cabaret of Souls. She says these particular projects were special for her because she was able to “incorporate all the different facets of my musical knowledge.” She considers herself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with artists who are not only great musicians but socially conscious. “Both Bonnie Raitt and Jackson Browne were actively involved in using their celebrity to shine a light on current issues of human rights, the environment and social change.” She recalls one incident, in particular. “After the fall of General Augusto Pinochet’s 16 years of authoritarian rule in Chile, Amnesty International organized the first music concert in Santiago with Sting, Jackson Browne (who Debra played with), Sinead O’Connor, Ruben Blades and many others, including local musicians who had fled their country and now returned to take part. It was held in the National Stadium where Pinochet had tortured and killed hundreds of his people during the regime. There were still bullet holes in the walls of the streets, and the military presence was still in place. People in Chili had not gathered together to hear music in all that time.” Dobkin said there were estimates of as many as 80,000 people in the stands. As the concert began, she said the entire audience started singing, “The air was electrified with so much emotion, pure joy and sorrow that it felt that we all, as one, were lifted into the air and transformed that night. At one point during Sting’s set, he asked the audience to hold up a lit match or their lighters for a moment of silence for those who had died in the stadium. The quiet was just as deafening as the music. For me, this concert was the ultimate expression of the power of music to bring people together.” Along with the many musical highlights of her career, Dobkin says the “greatest take-away” has been the lasting friendships she’s made with some of the people she’s worked with. “There is no other feeling like having the music sweep you up into the moment and to ride that wave of feeling. Traveling to amazing places and playing with many great talented people are all perks of a career in music, but the bottom line is, we really play music for that chance of all at once, feeling grounded to the earth and flying, and we get to experience this with other players! I count myself as extremely lucky. People say you make your own luck, so I’m going to keep working on my craft so I can serve the music best,” Dobkin said. “So much of becoming a good musician is the intense study and physical mechanics of playing,” Dobkin said. “Over time, my setup has evolved into an unorthodox mixture of drum set with various hand drums and small percussion. As I’ve gotten more confident on my instruments and found my own unique voice, I’m able to turn off my mind and let the music flow through me. It has taken a long time to get there, but well worth it,” Dobkin said. Dobkin is also a songwriter, producer, and a visual artist. Of the latter, she says, “Painting and playing music are one and the same for me. Just as I would use my palette and brushes, drums and percussion become the medium. The blank canvas has infinite possibilities, and I will fill in the lights, shadows, and colors.” 43


THE NEO BOYS: PAT BAUM A

INT ERVIEW BY L ISA SC H ONBER G , BET H W OOT EN & J ODI DA R BY MIDDL E PH OT O BY MA G G IE H IR SC H T H E R EST C OU RT ESY OF T H E BA ND

s one of the first all-female punk bands in Portland in the late ’70s and early ’80s, the Neo Boys set the stage for many female musicians to come. Pat Baum was the pulse behind the kit. Her simple yet effective patterns glued their sound together, and the crack of her rim shots on the snare solidly lay down the backbeat. Baum was integral to the scene, not only as a talented drummer, but as a photographer, DJ, filmmaker, and sound artist. She eventually ended up in Baja, Mexico, where she’s been applying her multitude of skills in positive ways for that community. Sooner or Later, a comprehensive double LP of Neo Boys recordings, was released last year by Mississippi Records & K Records. Tom Tom sat down with Pat and drilled her about how she’s pulled off all of her incredibly inspiring accomplishments thus far.

44


HOW DID YOU GET STARTED ON THE DRUMS? I

started jamming with my brother when I was six or seven. I had these two bongos and a practice pad, and kitchen pot lids. I really didn’t know that you needed cymbals. It wasn’t until I was 18 or 19 that I started playing a proper kit. I was going to Lewis and Clark College at the time and there was a drum set at our house that I would play when nobody was home. The opportunity to be in a band came along when Formica and the Bitches broke up, and members Jennifer (Lobianco) and Kim and Kt (Kincaid) kept going and asked me to join the band, which became Neo Boys. YOU BOUGHT YOUR FIRST KIT AT FRED AND TOODY COLE’S STORE WHIZEAGLE’S. I was like 19

when I bought my kit. Captain Whizeagle’s was just such a great resource for all the punks. I got an old Rogers drum set with a 20-inch bass, and found an old deep Slingerland, Broadcaster, my signature sound. I actually had to get a special stand that would go down really low, because I liked to be playing down to it. And I had it tilted forward, so that I could really whack on it and get a rim shot. The Broadcaster almost had this slight rattle; it was baggier, and you heard a bit more of the snares. I never had a front head on my kick during Neo Boys. One time somebody stole my pillow —they thought they could just sleep with my pillow—and it caused me a lot of problems because I really needed that particular pillow for the sound. It was a really big and thick foam pillow and it covered up just the very bottom of the drum. I’ve always hated the big kind of rock star kits with the two toms. And now, if I had to sit down at a drum set like that, it would be hell, and I wouldn’t be able to play. WHAT WERE YOUR LIVES LIKE DURING NEO BOYS?

We would get together every single day to practice, and we might have taken a weekend night off or something. We subsidized everything, including our two records. We worked at record stores and sandwich shops. Whatever sacrifices it took, it was our job. We were very serious about the band. We never thought to have a manager or anything, we always wanted to be completely in control, and we always made our decisions collectively. WAS IT EASY TO DO THAT? Not always, but ev-

eryone was always acting for the good of

the band, and nobody had a big ego about it. It was really a great thing. And that stuck with me through every negotiation I’ve made in my subsequent life, creative or whatever. We kept all the money from our gigs in a fund for the band. We had this collective spirit about things that’s held on ‘til today. I have 25% of songwriting rights, which is unheard of. But that’s the way we worked. Everyone made their contribution, and without that contribution the band wouldn’t have been able to continue. YOU WERE A DJ AT LEWIS AND CLARK COLLEGE WHILE NEO BOYS WAS HAPPENING. WHAT WERE YOU PLAYING ON THE AIR? I was playing what-

ever bands were around at the time. It was really hard to play anything but records. Cassettes weren’t considered to be of enough quality to broadcast; you would probably get in trouble for playing a homebrewed cassette over the air. I got kicked off the air eventually because the program director didn’t like punk. WAS THAT THE GENERAL REACTION TO PUNK MUSIC IN PORTLAND AT THE TIME? Yes, there was

no way that we would get into a regular club. People would laugh at us or say ‘that’s just noise.’ That’s why we had to throw our own shows. Throwing our own shows was great—there’s nothing like having control over everything, from who plays, where you play, how much is charged, how it’s publicized. DID YOU HAVE GO-TO BEATS FOR THE NEO BOYS?

Early on in the band I would play on the hi-hat and then go to the ride in the chorus, but that is what I later tried to get away from. You can play the rock beat in your sleep. These other beats that I began playing had more counterpoint; those took a lot of concentration to hold, so I would often close my eyes and get into my own spacedout zone. As the music progressed, I felt I had to bring more creativity into it so that the songs wouldn’t all sound the same. I’m not a flashy drummer, and wouldn’t add all these fills, but I looked for ways to make the music more dynamic and punchier, so that each song had more of a distinction. We played for a long time without a guitar player, so Kt was playing more of a melodic part on the bass. It had the root notes but wasn’t a typical bass part, so the drums really had to lock down and keep everything solid.

FULL NAME: PATRICIA ANN BAUM AGE: 56 HOMETOWN: PORTLAND, OR CURRENT CITY: BAJA CALIFORNIA SUR, MEXICO PAST BANDS: NEO BOYS, DESTROY ALL BLONDS, THE GRIP, REDHEADS, THE TWIST, UNKNOWN SOLDIERS, GREG SAGE SOLO WORK. SETUP/GEAR: 60’S ROGER’S (20/16/13), SLINGERLAND BROADCASTER SNARE, SABIAN REGULAR AND THIN 16” CRASHES, 20” ZILDJAN RIDE, AND 14” ZILDJAN HI-HATS, POWERTIP BB WOOD MARCHING BAND STICKS DAYJOB: ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATOR, TRANSLATOR, FILMMAKER, WRITER, PURVERYOR OF WEIRD IDEAS AND INVENTIONS

KIM’S LYRICS WERE VERY FEMINIST AND POLITICAL. WAS THERE AN ACTIVE IDENTITY OR PHILOSOPHY TO THE NEO BOYS? We never really

talked about it. Each of us had our own contribution to the band that really made our identity. Back then there were very few interviews, so it’s not like we really had to talk about it. It was this organic thing that we knew was there but weren’t able to articulate at the time. We’re much more able to talk about it now. Kim was expressing herself through the lyrics, and they weren’t about boys, they were about what was happening in our scene, and what Kim was going through. WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN UP TO IN BAJA? I’ve been a hired gun on different projects, like the Todos Santos Film Festival youth and video program; I have worked on a couple films for our film school. I go into schools and do projects, usually on some kind of environmental topic with interdisciplinary components. Right now I’m doing an education program for a spay and neuter clinic. I do stuff to my liking. I am working on some screenplays. And I want to start teaching my son the drums. YOU JUST GOT BACK FROM A NATIONAL TURTLE CONFERENCE AND HAVE AUTHORED JOURNAL ARTICLES ABOUT SEA TURTLE CONSERVATION. HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THAT?

I’ve always been on more of the education side, because I’m not a biologist. Because there’s so many sea turtles here where I live, I got involved to get the community more interested in protecting them, and they are now, and it’s great!

45


AMY GARAPIC BY A R IEL L E A NG EL | PH OT O BY EMY MA RT IN

AMY GARAPIC IS HAVING A GREAT YEAR.

Music by her trio, Tigue, was just featured on WNYC’s New Sounds. Her ensemble Contemporaneous played alongside David Byrne, Mirah, and Greg Saunier (of Deerhoof) in a two-night performance of Jherek Bischoff’s Composed at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. “The encore was [Byrne’s] ‘And She Was,’” Garapic giddily recalls. “I was playing tambourine and cowbell, but like, come on, when does that ever happen?” And the love continues to pour in for John Luther Adams’s Inuksuit, a piece of music written for nine to 99 percussionists, in which Garapic has performed both live and on the recording, and which NPR, The New York Times and TimeOut have all included in their end-of-the-year “Best Of” lists. When we spoke, she was in Princeton with Tigue at the family home of composer Robert Honstein, rehearsing a new piece of music written especially for the trio that would be recorded a few days later. 46


Herein lies the challenge of writing about a percussionist as talented and tenacious as Amy Garapic—it’s hard to know where to start. First you should probably know that for Garapic, a former soccer player, pole-vaulter and gymnast, drumming began as another competitive sport. In high school, she quit the soccer team to join marching band, but she might not have done so if she thought band was going to be any less hard core. “It wasn’t just football games; we did the competitions, too,” she says. “I also did these indoor drumline competitions, where you’re running around the floor with your drum on, and it’s intense and it’s hard, and then you have to be able to focus on your hands playing really intricate rudimental kinds of things. I liked the idea of that. It was something more than just playing an instrument.”

“I’M A STRONG-WILLED, STRONG-MINDED TALENTED PROFESSIONAL WOMAN IN THE PERCUSSION WORLD. THERE ARE FEWER OF US. THERE JUST ARE.BUT I DON’T EVER FEEL DISRESPECTED BECAUSE I’M A WOMAN. Drumming is physical and performative by nature, but it does seem that the projects Garapic chooses all have that “something more,” an added dimension to what we think about when we think about live music. A devotee of John Cage, Garapic’s work often feels close to performance art, without losing an inch of accessibility, virtuosity, and sheer musical enjoyment. Take the Contemporaneous performance of Sean Friar’s Clunker Concerto: The stage seems practically split in half, with the strings and wind instruments and whatnot on one side, and the percussionists on the other. The seated orchestra looks as you would expect, but the percussionists on the other side of the stage are engaged in what appears to be some kind of maniacal game, traveling back and forth from a heap of junk car parts, pulling out fenders and hubcaps and other pieces, on which to bow and hit and make beautiful noise. Or take the live-streamed 18-hour relay performance of Erik Satie’s Vexations Garapic orchestrated for over 100 vibraphon-

ists from around the world. Or the aforementioned Inuksuit, John Luther Adams’s 80-minute masterpiece, in which both performers and audience members travel through an outdoor space in an intensifying storm of percussive sound. “The piece is both about the collective of almost 100 percussionists and what that sound is—it’s a pretty intense, all-encompassing sound environment, sound is coming from every angle, you can hear things that you can’t see—but then it’s also about zoning in on an individual performer, and how they’re interpreting their part.” Garapic likens it to an “art gallery of percussionists,” in which the audience is in control of their experience within the space, and can stay with or wander away from each percussionist according to their whim. Adams, who is one of Garapic’s favorite composers, has written the piece in a way that allows the musicians a lot of autonomy. “Really, the music is impossible—it gets really complex, all these polyrhythms layered on top of each other—and you have to make choices about which drum you’re going to leave out, because you can’t play six drums at the same time.” The piece has been performed in a myriad of different outdoor environments, including once during a downpour in Chicago’s Millenium Park. “Eventually, it was just like, we have to do it. There were audience members holding umbrellas over performers. There were drums that were soaked with water and gongs and cymbals that were soaked with water that you’re hitting and water is just splashing off of them. And at the end, it’s these soft birdcalls and the sound of the rain. It was epic.” To Garapic, what’s essential in a piece like Inuksuit is the community-building experience, an experience that she says is at the heart of all the music she most wants to make and participate in. She loves the process of learning the piece together while living communally at a weekend retreat. She loves that the audience is also a part of this community, whether they’ve been formally “invited” or not. She loves the idea of audiences “stumbling” onto the work, participating in it, roaming around inside of it. Every one of her projects aspires to the creation of community—from Rhythm on Rikers, a nine-week workshop with prison inmates on Riker’s Island, to Village in Volume, in which the “audience” is instructed on how to help create the music over the course of a walk through Greenwich Village. In these projects and others, the core community of conspirators has been the fellow members of Tigue, Carson Moody

and Matt Evans. The trio studied together at Ohio State, then at Eastman, and have been playing together for the last seven years. “I’m really lucky to play with two of my best friends in the whole wide world. We read each other’s minds and we play together in a different way than anybody I’ve ever met. That little culture that we have is so important,” Garapic says. Though they all love so-called “regular” bands, their three-percussionist lineup is a function of their desire to make music together. “We’re trying to embrace that as much as we can, and we think that it can work with three percussionists, just as it can with bass, drums and guitar,” says Garapic. The result is a deep, numbers-driven exploration of rhythm that you can “rock out to.” The trio also performs commissioned work, most recently with composer Robert Honstein. “We have a lot of found instruments: really cool school bells, and tuned pieces of wood and tuned pipes. So Rob came to my basement, we brought all of our stuff, and he took samples of different sounds. We explore new sounds all the time and look for everyday things that we can use. We’re also poor, and can’t buy fancy instruments all the time. So it just made sense for him to write specifically for these really interesting sounds that we have,” explains Garapic. This also means that if anyone else but Tigue plays his dedicated piece, it will sound completely different. “Maybe their metal bowl isn’t in A or something like that.” It bears pointing out that a woman interested in community in the percussion world is often immersed in large communities of men, and over the course of our interview, Garapic goes back and forth on whether or not this “matters.” She says that it was hugely important to her that her first teacher in undergrad was a woman—that things might have been different had it been a man—before completely retracting the statement (“It’s not that big a deal, actually.”). She says her vibe on stage with Tigue and the parts she tends to play are “different” because she’s a woman, but struggles to articulate exactly how before eventually discarding the premise (“We’re all just different, I guess.”). Which is a good sign, if you ask me—a sign that Garapic is exactly where she’s supposed to be, in her natural habitat. The bottom line comes in the form of a statement: “I’m a strong-willed, strong-minded talented professional woman in the percussion world. There are fewer of us. There just are. But I don’t ever feel disrespected because I’m a woman.”

47


Deenah Vollmer

OF THE PIZZA UNDERGROUND

IN T ERV I EW ED BY B ANDM AT E MACAU LAY CU LKI N | I I N TRO AN D TRA NSC R IPT ION BY MEL ODY BER G ER | PH OT O BY L IPPE [L IPPEMF G .OR G ]

here have been plenty of Velvet Underground cover bands over the years, but not many have captured the absurdist elements of the group as effectively, or deliciously as NYC’s latest offering: The Pizza Underground. PU does all VU covers, but changes the lyrics to celebrate their favoritest food in the world. And, as homage to the great Mo Tucker, any Velvet Underground cover band worth their salt (or dough, cheese and sauce) ought have a female drummer. When she’s not beating on pizza boxes and singing lyrics like ‘well, I’m beginning to eat the slice,’ Deenah Vollmer is an accomplished writer, and frequent contributor to the New Yorker, Interview Magazine, NPR and many other impressive publications. (And we love her interview with Tom Tom’s creator Mindy Abovitz that ran in Jewcy back in 2011!) Bandmate Macaulay Culkin asked Deenah a few questions for Tom Tom. MACAULAY CULKIN: SO, WHAT ARE THE ORIGINS OF THE PIZZA BOX DRUM?

Deenah Vollmer: Well, it’s funny, when we played in Jersey a girl said her Grandma had played it first, so I’m going to say she’s the first person to ever play the pizza box. But in my own history, I used to play music with a lady named Angela Carlucci. We had a band called Meatball: The Carlucci Sisters. It was an Italian food parody bandwhich, when you put it that way, sounds a lot like The Pizza Underground. But it was very different. It did include a pizza box drum kit, but the guitar was strung with spaghetti and our songs had nothing to do with the Velvet Underground. GOTCHA. NEATO. SO THE FOOD PARODY BAND IDEA IS DEEP-SEATED. THIS ISN’T THE FIRST TIME YOU’VE DONE IT.

It’s interesting that the clichés in music and songwriting tend to be about love and 48

heartache when food is much more basic to survival, arguably. WOULD YOU CONSIDER THE PIZZA UNDERGROUND TO BE A MUSICAL ACT OR MORE OF A MOVEMENT?

Definitely a movement. I mean, we incorporate all kinds of elements into what is effectively a Pizza Underground universe. NICE. DO YOU HAVE ANY OTHER THINGS GOING ON MUSICALLY, OR IS THE PIZZA UNDERGROUND YOUR ONLY SLICE?

Well, I am in a band with Toby Goodshank. AH, YES. I KNOW HIM VERY WELL.  TALENTED MAN.

Our band is called L.A. Boobs. It’s funny, Toby’s pet peeve is when songs include or are about food. So, L.A. Boobs songs—not really about food, nor are they about L.A. or boobs. LIKE IT. LOVE IT. NEED IT. SO, TELL ME ABOUT THE FIRST ANNUAL NEVERMOUND AWARDS THAT ARE

COMING UP IN JUNE. WHAT ARE THEY AND WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO ABOUT THIS YEAR’S AWARDS?

Well, Nevermound is a band made up of Toby Goodshank and Fran Agnone where they sing Nirvana songs in the past tense— “Nevermound” being an imaginary past tense version of “Nevermind.” So “Smells Like Teen Spirit” becomes “Smelled Like Teen Spirit.”—“Rape Me” becomes “Raped Me.” “CAME AS THEY WERE?”

Exactly, you’re getting it! UH HUH, I’M CATCHING UP NOW.

So the Nevermound Awards is something The Pizza Underground is hosting to award demonstrated commitment to ridiculous ideas. We mean ridiculous in a really affectionate way. Like Nevermound, like us, like Dina Kelberman’s outrageous visual Google Tumblr. ‘I’M GOOGLE.’ YES, I’M AWARE OF THAT ONE. IT’S A FANTASTIC TUMBLR.

Or to things like Jeffrey Lewis’ “Sonnet Youth,” which is a sonnet for every Sonic Youth song. I’m really excited about giving Weird Al the Lifetime Achievement Award. I’m also really looking forward to the Pizza Underground Saturday morning cartoon where we travel around the country eating pizza and solving crime. I’M LOOKING FORWARD TO THAT TOO.


Innovating the Art of Drum-Making Timbre MatchedÂŽ Shells


THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS


FEMKE BY C R AIG B LUNDELL | P H O TO BY N I KKI N OOTE B OOM

with me is incredible. Getting the chance to play and meet your heroes is priceless. Weird things happen when you don’t expect it, like when I was invited to play some congas with the great Luis Conte during one of his clinics in The Netherlands. And, the first time I travelled to L.A. to visit the NAMM show, I got invited to the studio where the amazing guitar player Julian Coryell was recording an album with Mark Schulman. He asked me to play percussion on one of his tracks and I ended up doing eight tracks! THE DOWNSIDE: Still having to play if I’m

sick—the show must go on! Not a lot of sleep, working long days, jetlag, worry if you are getting paid on time or sometimes if you going to get paid at all! The joys of being a freelancer. DO PEOPLE VIEW YOU DIFFERENTLY AS A WOMAN IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS? In the beginning of

my career I always had the feeling that I had to prove myself and work twice as hard. Now after 18 years as a professional musician, and winning the award of best percussionist in Benelux, you would think people would take you seriously. However some people still think differently, oh well. DESCRIBE YOUR PRACTICE ROUTINE. I’m not the

I

first met Femke when I was playing at Frankfurt music Messe a few years ago, but I had already heard of her from various magazines around the globe. What I got in the first five minutes of meeting her was that she was an extremely driven woman who is hungry to learn. We’ve since gone on to become close friends and, as an international clinician for Roland myself, I’m delighted she’s representing them in Holland and Belgium. One thing I love about this woman is that whatever obstacles lie in her way, nothing is ever too big for this monster percussionist. WHAT MADE YOU START PLAYING PERCUSSION? I

was always into noisy things! I was always singing and dancing and wanted to get a kit when I was four. In my teenage years, I was asked to join the school band. I wanted to do more than just backing vocals, so decided to buy myself a set of timbales—

that was the start of my fascination. Later, when I went to my first percussion festival, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. WHAT INSPIRES YOU? My brother who is dis-

abled is a big inspiration. He knows how to enjoy life despite his handicap, he’s one of the most creative people I know. I’m also inspired by seeing smiles on kids’ faces when I teach them how to play percussion. And I love art and photography, and watching and talking to other passionate musicians or just listening to different genres of music. WHAT ARE THE UPS AND DOWNS OF THE JOB? Be-

ing able to pay my bills with something I love to do is one of the greatest feelings in the world. I get to travel, meet and work with amazing people. The feeling I get by making people happy when they study

most disciplined student, but if I need to study new material or instruments, like I’m doing right now with the Octopad and Handsonic from Roland, I give it my all. I wake up early in the morning, and go for a walk to clear my mind. Then I take my sticks and my practice pad to warm up for an hour or so. I continue doing some exercises on my congas and pandeiro and then go on with the new stuff I have to learn. I also like to study with other percussionists like the great Gerardo Rosales. WHAT DO YOU DO TO RELAX? I hang out with

family and friends, eating and laughing. [sic] Go to the movies, concerts, read or exercise, sadly I don’t have the time for everything. I love taking pictures, I take my camera everywhere I go. IS THERE ANY ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO ANY BUDDING FEMALE PERCUSSIONIST OUT THERE?

Follow your dreams, be different, practice, work hard, watch other musicians play, get inspired, don’t let anybody say you can not do it! 51


DRUMMERS

ONE DRUMMER ONE QUESTION BY M EL O DY B ERGER IL LU S T R AT IO N BY AK B AR ALI

BEVERLEY JUNE ISHMAEL

MUSCLE MEMORY MAKES me look less mechanical on stage because I don’t have to think as much about what I’m playing. After playing back to back shows with my band I become less and less mechanical. Whereas when we play a new song for the first time I can be very robotic. Muscle memory makes you a better musician and performer because playing becomes second nature to you. It’s more fun and relaxed, you’re thinking a lot less in your head. I feel like no matter how much you might practice, when you’re on stage it’s a different story because you might be nervous or find the crowd intimidating. So yeah, muscle memory helps me with my stage presence because I can let go. British based drummer Beverley June Ishmael is part of the all-girl group The Tuts who open for pop star Kate Nash. A self-taught drummer, Bev started the Tuts with her best friend Nadia while the two were still in high school.


Q: HOW DO YOU RELY ON MUSCLE MEMORY WITHOUT LETTING YOUR MUSIC BECOME TOO MECHANICAL?

VALERIA SEPULVEDA

WHEN YOU START learning how to play drums, or any instrument, you learn the mechanical movements and develop muscle memory first. It’s just like when you’re learning how to speak. You learn how to move your tongue and muscles in order to say things, and once you know, you stop thinking about the movements you do anymore. Same thing when you’re starting to learn how to play an instrument. Your muscles learn how to do certain movements that, once you learn them, you don’t think about them anymore, and you start saying things with your instrument and expressing yourself. That’s why it’s important to practice every day in order to improve. Your body needs to get used to using those muscles and movements so that you can start saying things more naturally. The technical abilities you develop are tools that help you say what you want to express. It gives more ‘vocabulary’ to your musical language, and therefore, you find different ways to express yourself, and to let that creative inspiration flow. Valeria Sepulveda graduated from college in 2011 with a degree in Music and an emphasis in Drum Performance, from the University of Valparaiso in Chile. In 2008 her all-girl band Moskita Muerta won a televised contest for bands and toured across Chile opening for major Chilean artists. She won the Hit Like a Girl contest in 2013 and is endorsed by TRX cymbals and Vater drumsticks.


technique AROUND THE WORLD IN 12/8 DAYS BY G ENEVA H A R R ISON

FROM TRADITIONAL MOROCCAN DRUMMING to the Desert Blues of Mali and Niger, the rich musical backdrop of Northern and Saharan Africa is made up of intoxicating rhythms, as well as a distinctive, jagged saunter of guitars and percussive trinkets. Applying some of those rhythmic elements to the drum-kit can be a fun and challenging exercise. Below are a series of patterns to start out with. To achieve that kind of latent North African swing (let’s call it “swagger”—that’s really what’s up), you want to place the feel of the groove somewhere between a triplet and a set of 16ths... kinda.

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Geneva Harrison

Primary exercise

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‰ x x ‰ x x ‰ x x ‰ x x .. œ œ œ œ œ. œ J ‰ J

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First try practicing the exercise above straight and clean. As always, start slow and use a metronome. Watch out for beat 3 and give the rest its full value. Once you feel you can play the exercise comfortably and fluidly, play it as if it were in 4/4, Ex. 2 like this: Geneva Harrison

x x ‰ œx x . .œ ã Feel œ‰ x Jx ‰œx 16th J œ 4 . . ã 4 œ. œ œ

‰ x x ‰ x x ‰ œ. ‘ œ x ‰ x‰ x ‰ x x œ ‘ œ ‰J

x ‰ x xœ ‰ x x ‰ x xf ‰ x . . ã .œ œ J œ œ ‰ J

Ex. 3

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..

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Next, alternate a few bars of each exercise between each other, whittling down to one bar of each. Then try going for the “swing” feel, crushing the notes on the hi-hat or ride, and slightly placing it on the back end of each beat (make sure your kick drum is feeling it too). It is a tricky thing to do authentically! Consistency is the hardest part. If it helps, try continuing to alternate all three different feels between one another, and isolate one or two limbs at a time as needed. Increase the tempo in gradual notches once you can play the groove with complete ease.

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‰ ‰ ... ‰ xx xx ‰œœ œœ œœ JJ JJ

xx xx ‰‰ œœ ‰ ‰

xx xx ‰‰ xx xx œ œœ œ ..

Geneva Geneva Harrison Harrison

‘ ‘

...

xx xx ‰‰ œxx xx ‰‰ xx xx ‰‰ œxx xx ‰‰ œ .. œœ œœ Jœ œœ œ œ ‰‰ JJ J

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xx ‰‰ xx xœxœ ‰‰ xx xx ‰‰ xx xfxf . ‰‰ xx . œ œœ œJœ JJ œœ œ ‰ ‰ J

‘ ‘

...

Primary Primary exercise To explore some other shapes of the groove, try Ex. 2 and 3, which displace the rhythm of the right hand or cymbal. With exercise Ex. 2, try placing an accent on the second 8th note of each beat for a really cool feel. Ex. 3 brings to mind a funky drum groove very much in the vein of the notorious “Purdie Shuffle”—fill in the pattern with some ghost notes for some added flavor.

Ex. Ex. 22

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Ex. Ex. 33

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Geneva Harrison is a percussionist and drummer living, working and playing in the San Francisco Bay Area, having recieved her Bachelors in Music from the University of Miami (FL). She is the drummer of Oakland bands Bells Atlas and The Dirty Snacks Ensemble. You can find her hitting shit all over town and the States, in studios and on the stage. She doesn’t have an endorsement yet but if you wanna give her one, she’d love to hear from you at nevadrums@gmail.com. Also, if you just want to say hey, that’s awesome too.

STASH: BEAT TRANSCRIPTION BY MOR G A N DOC T OR

© ©

play this  43 

BACK IN THE DAY I played in a math rock band called Chinchilla. We recently got back together to do some playing and prep for a reunion tour in April. It gave me a chance to revisit some beats that I came up with a long time ago. What I did on the song ‘Stash’ is one of my favorite beats because it is a good example of how to take a pretty simple beat and vary the cymbal pattern to make it more interesting. In this beat I removed the cymbal hits on the down beats. I encourage you to try taking some beats you know and removing some cymbal hits and see what happens. Guaranteed it will add new flavor and feel to what you already do.

  

Stash

  

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  

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Morgan Doctor is a freelance drummer based out of Toronto. She currently is the drummer for Andy Kim, and was the drummer for the rock band, The Cliks, for over four years. Touring with The Cliks, she got a chance to play alongside Tegan and Sara, Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper, and The B-52’s. Morgan is endorsed by Yamaha Drums, Zildjian, and Vic Firth. morgandoctor.com

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ENDURANCE EXERCISE BY VA NESSA DOMONIQU E

THESE TWO EXERCISES are designed to build up your endurance and your hand-to-hand technique.

1

play this

The first exercise consists of 16th notes (1E+Ah, 2E+Ah etc.) We have a bar of 4 strokes on each hand, a bar of 3 strokes on each hand leading into a bar of Double Strokes leading into a bar of Singles and repeat.

= 90 L

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*AS ALWAYS, PRACTICE TO A METRONOME ENSURING ALL STROKES ARE EVENLY SPACED AND EQUALLY DYNAMIC CHALLENGE: COUNT ALOUD ( 1,2,3,4...) L

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This second exercise is a little more challenging. It consists of 16th and 32nd notes: (1E+Ah and E+Ah, 2E+Ah and E+Ah etc.) We have 1 count of LH strokes, 1 count of UNISON strokes, 1 count of LH strokes and 1 count of 32nd R note L Single L R Strokes. R L L InRtheRsecond L L bar R we R have L L 1 count R L R 1 Lcount R Lof LH R Flams, L R L R L of R R of LLHRstrokes, 1 count LH Lstrokes and 1 count of 32nd note Single Strokes.

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* ALTERNATE YOUR LEADING HAND EVERY TIME YOU COMPLETE THE EXERCISE

Vanessa Domonique, born and raised in London is quickly gaining respect in the industry as one of London’s top drummers. Playing professionally for the last seven years, Vanessa is no stranger to the live music scene and her playing is often referred to as “Meat & Potatoes”—Solid. Strongly rooted in Funk, Vanessa’s infectious groove and energy has enabled her to work around the world with such artists / theatre productions as Nicola Roberts, K-Koke, Laura White, ZERO, An Anatomie In Four Quarters, Cabaret and many more at some of the world’s biggest venues and festivals.

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THE HEALTH OF A DRUMMER No. 2 of 4 installments BY R ENÉ OR MA E- JA R MER

AS PART OF the continuing discussion on drummer health, I’m going to focus on a couple more common injuries and how to reduce, regarding drum set players and any drummers who use sticks. Hand drummers have an entirely different set of health issues and that is a different article and set of information. The long list of drumming injuries can be daunting: tendonitis, epicondylitis (elbow tendon stress), neuritis, carpel tunnel, sprains vs. pulled muscles, lower back and neck pain, blisters and bursitis (types of inflammation). Some of these injuries happen with repetitive motion and some happen with a sudden injury like going to choke your cymbal, finding it’s cracked and cutting yourself or playing with sticks that are about to break and having splinters go into your eye or hitting someone else! Never throw sticks into the audience no matter how tempting! I’ll tackle the most common injuries, but suggest you do reading on the rest. If you are a serious drummer, you’ll want to keep rockin’ the free world until your 99 years old, yes?

TENDONTIS Inflammation or irritation of a tendon, a thick cord that attaches bone to muscle. This happens with repetitive motion or can occur with a sudden injury. Over drumming or coming in “cold” without working up stamina as a drummer when the tendons are not used to the motion cause tendinitis. This is common with the weekend-warrior drummers and without proper stretching and warm-ups.

LOWER BACK AND NECK PAIN For drummers, this most common of injuries often occurs due to hunched or bad posture, or with straining of the neck. Sit at a height which allows you to keep the lower back in it’s natural curvature with your head balanced over your shoulders. Metal drummers beware: sitting low and having to arch and reach to crash those cymbals equals pain. As always, with any nagging or severe complaints, seeing a doctor right away can treat any immediate pain and head off any further chronic injury. Don’t procrastinate, it might affect your ability to drums for years into the future!

BLISTERS AND BURSITIS These are the common types of drummer-injury. Blisters

happen from over-gripping, incorrect grip, and from using the wrong sticks. Sticks should be chosen for the right job and for your hand size and shape. I’m a Vic Firth Educator and even before I was offered this status, I used Vic Firth Sticks because they are simply some of the best quality engineered weighted sticks made. Lengths, diameters, tips, thickness are different for the job at hand (jazz, rock, marching, latin, brushes and brush-hybrids etc). Never use a MS2 Corpsmaster marching stick on your drum set for getting a heavier sound (they will also ruin your heads). These sticks take some getting used to and are for rudimental working out and marching field drums with specialized heads. Since we play at angles on the set, using a decent weight that allows you to grip a certain way for the music at hand will be crucial in avoiding injury. Playing into the drum and not allowing rebound will increase likelihood of injury. Good technique and grip will allow the correct stick to be held in such a way to allow the right amount of movement within your hand and you won’t be forced to over-grip or make accommodations that have your hands adjusting to compensate with the result being incorrect grip and strain. Other day-to-day sudden injuries can cause bursitis, an inflammatory and painful injury. I myself had a painful incident as a younger musician by picking up a heavy ream of our newly printed oversized posters for a CD Release. I immediately felt the strain, had a show to play that evening and “powered through”, did lots of massage which actually made it worse, and lots of Advil. The result was, later in life I ended up developing a serious allergy to any Ibuprofen due to probable overuse of Advil to treat that one-time injury. It took weeks to heal. Who would have thought? True story. As with any injury, if you are not able to treat it at home and pain persists, see your doctor and get the help you need to heal. When I was a teenager, I played drums in my first progressive rock-band. We had our big show at a beer-garden behind a supermarket and it was well-attended. We rocked the afore-mentioned free world. I was nervous, gripped the sticks hard, had no mics on the drums to keep up volumewise with the other guys who had loud guitars. At the end, my hands had 12 blisters and they hurt so good. That was inexperience and stupidity on my part. I played pretty well, got through the show, but paid for it in the end. Blisters sometimes need to be drained, and hopefully they won’t crack and get nasty (infected). Those were my first drumming callouses and I was proud despite the pain, but had to nurse my hands for a couple weeks. You do not have to do that. With all the information out there now via internet and this fabulous magazine, you can avoid the lion’s share of injuries. Tons of information and community is vital to keeping our drummer health vital. Take this stuff seriously, it will affect you for the rest of your drumming days and could make the difference between getting through the show and enjoying drumming, or abandoning your drumming because of injuries that could be avoided. True that.

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MUSIC >1

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1 > WARPAINT // Warpaint Rough Trade | January 2014

Already, there must be a fight. The Native Americans knew about war paint, placed upon the face in sweat before battle. It was meant to intimidate. With tracks like “Keep It Healthy” and “To Love Is To Die” so beautifully composed, Warpaint’s self-titled release is war music, but only for your heart. There’s plenty to hear: Cocteau Twins cries, Joni Mitchell hooks. The record is good— the kind of thing that will always feel right, even if it is a battle. Listen to this: when you just broke up with someone. It will make you feel better than the one who left. — MAT TH EW D ’ABATE

2 > HABIBI // Habibi

Burger Records | January 2014 Habibi’s newest self-titled album is the epitome of cool retro rock. The simple guitar riffs and solid beats support the female vocals and create a mix of steady surfer funk with ’60s Frenchpop lyrics. Echo effects, deep talk-like cadences, and choir callbacks give Habibi a signature vibe that hasn’t been this rad since the mid-20th century. Set your alarm to their songs “Let Me In” or “Sweetest Talk”—the upbeat tempo and hotsytotsy style will put you in a good mood right quick and set you up for a day filled with inspiration. Listen to this: while cruising around the West coast with the top down, bee-bopping with your sunglasses on, feelin’ cool. — STEPH A NI E R EI S NO UR

3 > DUM DUM GIRLS // Too True Sub Pop | January 2014

The Dum Dum Girls are a vampy alt-rock girl power group that mixes a dark new wave sound from the ’80s with a sharp guitar presence; the result is one of the best new albums I’ve heard in a while. They have a Raincoats kind of attitude and a sound all their own. Too True makes me want to dance, sing, and paint my nails black all at the same time. This is truly a hypnotic album that beckons you to follow it down its electric purple rabbit hole. My advice is to follow.

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Listen to this while: drawing Sharpie mustaches on all those bullies from high school in your yearbook. So satisfying. —STEPHAN IE R E I SNOUR

4 > BEAUTY IN THE BREAKDOWN // Self-titled April 2014

Chastity Ashley, a drummer for Duran Duran, recently created this album as side project and smashes into the pop scene with a candy sweet electro pop sound that takes elements from artists like Katy Perry, Aqua, and Ellie Goulding to make a Top-40-worthy album. If you miss the squeaky clean synth-bop from the late ’90s and wanna relive prom without resorting to “Barbie Girl,” this album is a great way to take you back while keeping your head held high in front of your friends. She’s new, but makes you wish she’d hit the scene with Gwen Stefani back in the day when your hair was pink and “girl power” was your personal mantra (and P.S. it still should be). Listen to this: while putting on your frosted lipstick and shopping for chunky Sketchers online. —STEPHANI E R E I SNOUR

5 > TEEN // The Way and Color Carpark Records | April 2014

And who said electro-pop was dead? Tired of the staid dreamy tunes that put you to sleep on your feet? TEEN, the strange retro-dance, “psychedelic R&B” (as their Facebook page dutifully explains) collection is one part mystical experience, one part science experiment. The Way And Color from Carpark Records is a primitive, urban, emotionally healing ride. I never thought I could say this about a modern dance record. Listen to key tracks like “Tied Up and Tied Down” or “Breathe Low And Deep” to see what I mean. There hasn’t been this kind of digital inventiveness since Beck’s Mellow Gold record—it almost feels safe to take acid again. What could go wrong when this album is playing really loud? Listen to this: when you’ve got the winter blues. They will be gone after 30 seconds. Trust me. —M AT T HE W D ’ABAT E

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6 > LITTLE HURRICANE // Gold Fever Death Valley Records | March 2014

Black Keys melodies, Chris Cornell crooning, and a steady beat provided by percussionist Celeste “C.C.” Spina, Little Hurricane’s newest opus wails against the world with its heart on its sleeve. These tracks are stories; tales about moving West looking for some gold and a little bit of peace. The ballads yearn, from the confessional “Con Man,” to the almost metal “Superblues,” and freely admit the need to get by in this life by any means necessary. The sparing splash of the cymbals and the distorted guitar work, like some worn embroidery, walk hard down the road of existence. Gold Fever is more than a record—it’s a scar with a long story behind it. Listen to this: when life’s got you by the strings, and you need a fuzz box guitar and a harmonica to cut those old ropes off your wrists. —M AT T HE W D ’ABAT E

7 > M.I.A. // Matangi

N.E.E.T. Recordings | November 2013 M.I.A.’s new album, Matangi is on the fritz. This album starts off with her signature slow shoulder dropping beat, easy nod along lyrics, and psychedelic effects mixed with world sounds. She then explodes through by the second song with an electrified hyper rhythm and carries the listener away on a trip of sizzling sounds that will splash you in the ears with high-wattage sound-cloudcolors I’ve never heard before. Matangi is heavily layered with busy beats and vocal effects giving it a club-like feel. M.I.A. has created a neo-neon urban synth genre all her own, and it’s fantastic. Listen to this: while sucking on a highlighter and rolling on your stimulant of choice. —ST E PHANI E R E I SNOUR


REVIEWS

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9 > AUSTRA // Olympia

8 > THE COATHANGERS // Suck My Shirt

Domino Records | June 2013

Suicide Squeeze Records | March 2014 The Atlanta-based all-lady punk group’s fourth release, Suck My Shirt, contains all of the brash attitude and tongue-in-cheek sarcasm you’ve come to expect. No wonder fellow Georgian troublemakers the Black Lips are taking the women on tour. Tracks like “Follow Me” and “Shut Up” are direct descendants from the British band The Adverts only with American smarminess. But don’t judge them. “Springfield Cannonball” will leap through the headphones and kick you in your shit-eating grin. Parallel melodies are strong through the whole low-fi production—Suck My Shirt was made in the spirit of 1983, in some small basement, with someone pounding on the walls in protest. Thank God The Coathangers didn’t listen. Listen to this: loud when you no longer care about living above the annoying landlady downstairs and want an eviction notice. — MAT TH EW D’ A BATE

On Olympia, conventionally intricate pop songwriting meets a carefully applied techno production aesthetic; the result is a set of cyborgish dance jams that are organic and sensual but also mechanical and ethereal. Synthesized beats and keyboards are balanced against choral chanting, acoustic percussion and solid bass on tracks that feature standard verses, choruses, bridges, and confessional lyrics as well as extended, club-ready instrumentals. Various tones, textures, timbres, colors and singer Katie Stelmanis’ stunning, stuttering vibrato are blended together into driving, mid-tempo electronica ragers that have some welcome witchy, high priestess-type vibes. Both accessible and fascinating, this record will leave you feeling torn between wanting to dance and wanting to make dance music of your own—not that that’s a bad thing. Listen to this: after you wrap up your May Day/Beltane rituals. —JAM IE VAR R I ALE VÉ LE Z

BOOKS HOW TO WRITE A FAST AND EASY DRUM CHART Liz Ficalora

Alfred Music Publishing | November 2012 As a drummer and producer for 35 years, Liz Ficalora has developed a particularly handy way to create a blueprint for any song you’d want to play. It’s close to impossible to flip through sheet music while playing a full drum set so Ficalora shows you how to neatly condense the music onto one page. Composers and songwriters will also find this method useful because they can easily tell the drummer what they have in mind for each song. This book includes lots of sample charts of popular songs to get you started. There are also blank pages toward the back that you could photocopy in order to chart on your own. Follow the advice in this book and you’ll be on your way from being a hot mess to playing like a boss. —REBECCA D EROSA

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THE FUNNIES BY SA R A L AU T MA N


THE LATEST ON THE GREATEST / GEARHEADS

gear review VINNIE COLAIUTA VIC FIRTH SIGNATURE STICKS

Vinnie Colaiuta has finally joined the Vic Firth team with his new signature sticks. Transforming the classic 5B hickory model, these sticks are comfortable and easy to use for any style of playing. Colaiuta's stick features a pronounced tear drop tip, creating more presence when hitting a drum head or cymbal. With a 0.595" diameter, the sticks maintains its thickness up towards the neck which compliments the 16" length for balancing out its weight while playing. These sticks are highly recommended in distinguishing which types of signature sticks are for you, whether it's the feel, weight or length, the Vinnie Colaiuta signatures are very diverse for any musician. - Andrea Davis

MATT GREINER VIC FIRTH SIGNATURE STICKS

Matt Greiner of August Burns Red has made a developed version of the classic 3A drum stick. Playing around with these I noticed a couple interesting points. While the 3A measures in at 16 3/16", an extra 4/16" was added, allowing drummers to reach easier while playing, making this stick 16 7/16" in length. Greiner complimented the length of the stick by making the diameter thicker from .580 to .585 from the traditional 3A sticks. An elongated taper balances the stick out to look and feel proportional . The stick also features a pointed wood tip allowing more presence when playing cymbal patterns. The sticks are also dry tumbled for a natural wood feel instead of a lacquer coating. - Andrea Davis

CUSTOM 3.5X12 PICCOLO SNARE CALDERWOOD DRUMS

This custom Calderwood drum is a 3.5X12 piccolo snare with a mint green kimono fabric brocade. The shell is an 8 ply maple. The hardware includes beautiful brass hoops coupled with brass tubed lugs and a Gibralter strainer. The contrast of brass to steel really make this snare eye catching. The batter side is finished with an Evans HD Dry 360, and an Evans Snare Side 300 (level 360), giving this piccolo a punchy center and loud crack perfect for playing rim shots. The snare side is adorned with a 20 strand Puresound Blaster snares, which give this small drum extra character tuned high and low. Calderwood Drums is located in Boston, MA. They make all kinds of custom work from snares to full kits. - Andrea Davis

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P

aula Spiro has been playing drums for 50 years and teaching for over 30. She was one of the few female musicians trying to make their way in New York City in the late ’60s and early ’70s, despite being told time and again that there was no place for women in music. Spiro got her start in the middle school color guard in Hornell, NY, but quickly realized that playing drums was way cooler than twirling a rifle. So she appealed to some of the more sympathetic young men in the drumline, learned some beats, and soon transitioned BY HEAT H ER to tenor drums, pounding out cadences, and winning drum competitions across upstate New York. Paula proved to her parents that she was serious about playing drums by practicing on a pad for a year until they finally relented and bought her a kit. She quickly packed that up and hoofed it five hours south to New York City to try to make it as a drummer. After being mistaken for someone’s girlfriend or flat out being denied the opportunity to audition for bands, she finally got her start as a fresh-faced teenager in an “all-girl novelty act” cover band called Tapestry. Despite the creative limitations, the experience proved invaluable. Paula learned hundreds of the most popular tunes of the day, played 3-6 sets a night, honed her craft, and soon went from wide-eyed rookie to seasoned pro by the time she was 20. Often she’d even play sets with some of the original artists whose songs she was covering when they came to town for gigs, including luminaries like the Shantelles, the Platters, the Toys, and pianist Dotty Stallworth. Though she was earning good wages at union rates and was effectively making over 25 times her rent, she was creatively frustrated. Demoralized by the constant reminder that women had no future in music and would never make it out of the nightclub cover band scene, she left New York and gave up music for a couple of years. But she soon returned, (“If you’re a

drummer, it doesn’t leave you alone!”) and discovered a thriving New York punk scene, which she found to be a much more welcoming, less sexist community. Not only was it acceptable for women to play music, it was actually cool. She played with a bunch more bands, including a punk outfit called Rude Girls, Deborah Hastings of Bo Diddley, Janna Allen (songwriter for Hall & Oates), and Cheetah Chrome of the Dead Boys. Though she never in a million years imagined herself becoming a teacher, the throngs of young women who rushed the stage begging her to give lesWA G NER sons wore down her resolve and she took on one student, then three, then five—until she realized there were girls and women of all ages who dreamed of playing drums, but were denied that opportunity either because male teachers didn’t take them seriously, or it just hadn’t occurred to them that women could play drums until they’d seen it with their own eyes. Overwhelmed by the waves of women who wanted to study with a female teacher, she was inspired to create “Female Drummers Workshop” in 1982. She realized there was a need for quality drum instruction for girls and women who otherwise would never have taken up drumming. Over the years, she has helped hundreds of drummers learn their craft, including some pretty well-known names like Kate Schellenbach (Luscious Jackson and the Beastie Boys), Claire Danes (yes, the actor), Paula Hampton, LaFrae Sci, Cici Harrison (Heliotropes), Monica “Mo” Samalot (Paleface), Eric Leiderman (Pearl), Julissa Vale, and Nan Turner (Schwervon), among many others. Today she is still teaching and playing. Although she thinks it was an essential phase to have an all-female student body for over 20 years, her studio is now called Drummers Underground and she has students of all genders. She’s had too many bands to list, but she currently plays funk with a band called Silvio.

THROWBACK: PAULA SPIRO

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Tom Tom Magazine Issue 17: Body  

In this issue we delve into the body and its relationship to drumming. We interviewed Valerie Naranjo of SNL, Valeria Sepulveda winner of Hi...

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