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TOM TOM MAGAZINE

CARLA AZAR & JACK WHITE HANNAH FORD PLAYS FOR PRINCE AMY FARINA OF THE EVENS

ESG’S VALERIE SCROGGINS MICA OF MICACHU & THE SHAPES

EMMANUELLE CAPLETTE PEI-CHING OF

JU PERCUSSION GROUP

I S S U E 12 | W IN TER 2 0 1 2 | U S D $ 6

A MAGAZINE ABOUT FEMALE DRUMMERS THE ORCHESTRAL ISSUE


WELCOME TO TOM TOM ISSUE TWELVE, THE ORCHESTRAL ISSUE. HAVE A SEAT, REL A X, AND ENJOY THE RIDE.

CONTRIBUTORS FOUNDER / EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mindy Abovitz (info@tomtommag.com) MANAGING EDITOR Colleen Siviter GUEST EDITOR Jane Boxall Allen REVIEWS EDITOR Rebecca DeRosa (reviews@ tomtommag.com)

CATI BESTARD (INTERN)

KATE HENDERSON (WRITER/EVENTS)

Cati came to visit us for a couple of months Kate is a drummer, noise-maker, acupuncfrom Barcelona. Aside from being a stellar turist, event planner and creator of LOXM drummer we found out that Cati is great (Ladies of Experimental Music). We throw at everything else as well. She has a terrific shows with her and she gives us great adbusiness sense and is awesome at content vice for keeping healthy on the kit. We can’t creation. She’s back in Spain and we imagine a more perfect human. (SOME) want to move our office there now.

TOM TOM

STAFF

TECH EDITOR Steph Barker COPY EDITORS Elisabeth Wilson, Allan Wilson, Rebecca DeRosa, Lisa Schonberg DESIGN Lauren Stec Jessica Moon (Assistant) WEB MASTER Harlo Holmes DISTRIBUTION Segrid Barr NORTHWEST CORRESPONDENTS Lisa Schonberg, Katherine Paul, Leif J. Lee, Janie Faison, Fiona Campbell LA CORRESPONDENTS Kiran Gandhi, Liv Marsico, Anthony Lozano PHOTOGRAPHERS Aaron Fraser, Bex Wade, Brad Heck, Kuo Cheng Chang, Camillo Fuentealba, Ben Flowers, Jo McCaughy, John Carlow, Megan Holmes

MATTHEW D’ABATE (WRITER)

Matthew has been writing reviews for us for the last few issues and just bumped up to a feature story with his interview with Hannah Ford. We think his writing is great and he is also ready good at lifting boxes of magazines. Thanks Matthew!

LYDIA HINES (INTERN)

Lydia started interning with us a few months ago and we already don’t know what to do without her. She is lovely, through and through.

ILLUSTRATORS Jee Young Sim, George Ferrandi, Steph Becker, Jen May, Christopher Darling, Jamees Smith WRITERS Adele Fournet, Zaneta Sykes, Jen Ruano, Rebecca DeRosa, Anika Sabin, Cati Bestard, Lisa Schonberg, Colleen Siviter, Jane Boxall Allen, Katy Tackett, Sofia Pasternack, Jason Arsaga, Jack White, Matthew D’abate, Jade Fair, Bradley Dean, Jesse Sposato, John Carlow, Mary Emily O’hara TECHNIQUE WRITERS Fred Armisen, Morgan Doctor, Steph Barker, Dawn Richardson, Fernanda Terra, Kristen Gleeson-Prata, Jyn Yates, Zaneta Sykes, Kate Henderson

TOM TOM SHOUT OUTS Tom Tom Magazine would not be half as successful as it is without the talents of its incredible contributors. Humor us while we take a minute to thank these outstanding people. THE ABOVITZ FAMILY That’s the Editor-inChief’s family on her Bat-Mitzvah. She could not have done this with or without them. Ahava. magicleap.com

JEE YOUNG SIM Jee has been illustrating for Tom Tom since day one. She is a phenomenal visual artist and our main homay. jeeyoungsim.tumblr.com

GEORGE FERRANDI George illustrated several pieces for this issue and previous ones and is the owner of Santo (the dog we are obsessed with). brooklynwayfarers.org

ANGEL FAVORITE Angel is a VJ and visual artist who has performed at many a Tom Tom show. Angel also comes out to support like no other. Love you d bag! angelfavorite.com

CANDACE HANSEN Candace is a genius and has been writing for us. She recently buried some cymbals underground. More on that soon. sheisawesome.com

LISA LIPTON Lisa is a force. On the drums. Which is our favorite kind. Read more about her projects in this issue of the mag. frankiefrankie.com

REVIEW TEAM Anika Sabin, Jayne Hensen, Stephanie Barker, Robert Rubsam, Jamie Varriale Velez, Matthew D’Abate, Jo Schornikow, Meghan Baker, Attia Taylor, Lola Johnson, Amy Oden, Alyssa Holland TOM TOM TV Elizabeth Venable, Jodi Darby, Anthony Lozano, Anthony Buhay INTERNS NYC: Lydia Hines, Cati Bestard LA: Nick Fermin Portland: Misti R. Miller, Katherine Paul THANK YOU All of you, Stephanie LaVigne (my fireball), Candace Hansen, Xavier, Kiran Gandhi (my spirit animal), District Drum Company, CONTACT Address: 302 Bedford Ave PMB #85 Brooklyn, NY 11249 Email: info@tomtommag.com CORRECTIONS FROM ISSUE 11 We left out Allan Wilson as copy editor ON THE COVER FRONT: Pei-Ching Wu by Kuo Cheng Chang BACK: Carla Azar & Jack White by Jo McCaughy TO SUBSCRIBE WWW.TOMTOMMAG.COM


INSIDE

Welcome to Issue 12 of Tom Tom Magazine

ISSUE 12

The best part of running Tom Tom Magazine is all the incredible people I get to meet. Many of them are my heroes and I have the opportunity to glorify them in this magazine. The exchange is inspiring and forever fuels the energy I need to make it to the office every day and put this magazine together. Last Sunday, December 9, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at MoMa PS1 in Queens NY. The panel was entitled The Power and Politics of Music and Media and I asked Yuka C. Honda to be a panelist. Her words, her work (Cibo Matto, Chimera Music) and her person have been inspiring me to create since the 90s. As each of us grappled with hard, mind numbing workings of social media and the notions of monetizing songs in Spotify times, Yuka consistently cut through with what felt like the essence of why we each do what we do. For the simple exchange; for the beauty of the creation; for the moment. My intention with the panel (and with this magazine) is to slowly make changes in the world. Sometimes I feel frustrated because I can’t see the changes in affect. In those moments, I will remember Yuka’s words and the impact one person can make on another. That we each make in the way we choose to live our lives. In this issue, like all the recent issues, I have picked a theme. I try to make choices which challenge myself and the staff in an attempt to dig deeper into the female drummer world. I hope to facilitate finding and connecting more of us with each issue. This issue is themed Orchestral. I hope you enjoy it and welcome your feedback. In love and drums,

BLAST BEATS 10

MARIMBA TIPS 14

JU PERCUSSION GROUP 22

MICACHU & THE SHAPES 24

JACK WHITE & CARLA AZAR 28

HANNAH FORD 32

ESG’S VALERIE SCROGGINS

Mindy Seegal Abovitz Editor-in-Chief

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EMMANUELLE CAPLETTE 36

THE EVENS 38

TECH 44

ELAYNE JONES PA R I O PAU L A

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POSTS TO THE EDITOR In Your Own Words

GREAT MAG! – MAR ROJO (Madrid, Spain) SENDING SOME LOVE BACK TO TOM TOM - LIKE VIOLET BAND

THANK YOU FOR ORGANIZING THE PANEL AND BEING KIND TO ME. VERY HONORED TO HAVE BEEN PART OF SUCH A WONDERFUL PANEL (TOM TOM MAGAZINE PS1 MOMA PANEL) - Y U K A H O N D A ( N YC )

HAPPIEST OF BIRHTDAYS TOM TOM MAGAZINE. HAVE AN AMAZING INSPIRING NEW YEAR ROUND THE SUN! – WOMEN FRAME DRUMMING PAGE WE LOVE TOM TOM – BATALA NYC


SEE MORE EVENT PICS ONLINE / WE LIKE TO PARTY

TOM TOM EVENTS In the last three months we threw a killer release party/CMJ Festival at Free Candy (Brooklyn, NY) with Batala NYC and ZZZ’s. On the academic side, we spoke at Sarah Lawrence, University of William & Mary, RISD and held a panel at MoMa PS1. We DJ’ed at Ace Hotel NYC, was a judge at Guitar Center’s Drum Off and bucket drummed the subway system.

I S SU E 1 1 R E L E A S E PA RT Y @ FR E E C A N D Y

MOMA PS1 ARTBOOK TOM TOM MAGAZ INE PAN EL

P H O T OS BY ANT H O NY B UH AY

P H OT O S BY B RAD H ECK

PH OT OS BY TAYA K ENNY

NYC S U BWAY D R UMMERS U N ION S QU A RE GUITAR CENTER DRUM O F F

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PARIÓ PAULA

BY A D E LE FOU RN E T PH OTOS COU RTE SY OF ARTI ST

I FIRST STARTED PLAYING with Parió Paula in

early 2010 when I moved to Peru to do an anthropological study of women musicians in the male-dominated music scene of Lima, the country’s capital city. Laura Robles, a prominent cajón player, drummer, and bass player in Lima, formed Parió Paula in 2009 when she grew tired of being the only woman in her wide array of bands, ensembles, and musical projects. “One day I said never again,” she recalls. “I’d rather do anything but this, and that’s when I decided to create an all women’s ensemble.” Laura told a handful of friends about her idea to create an all women’s percussion group, and they started out rehearsing on buckets in Laura’s house. At first she was the only one to compose grooves, pulling from a rich array of influences, including AfroPeruvian festejo, merengue, salsa, samba reggae, and even pop and funk. By late 2009 they found an independent rehearsal space, which has since become a hub of vibrant cultural activity and is nicknamed la casita Paula. Laura financed their first set of real instruments out-of-pocket. She bought bombos (kick drums), tarolas (snares), and napoleones (toms). This threedrum arrangement is what they play to this day, though they have since acquired new instruments and added some auxiliary percussion. In early 2011, Laura moved to Germany to pursue her independent music career as a cajón player and composer. Rather than disbanding, the Paulas took on the challenge of becoming a leaderless percussion ensemble and developed a method of collective composition and direction. “Usually one of us comes in with a basic rhythmic pattern to develop with the group, and then we play on top of that and come up with new ideas,” she says. Through this collective method they are currently working out a new composition based on a groove from Senegal, a Landó (from Afro-Peruvian folk music) and a Saya-Morenada (an Andean folk music rhythm).

Parió Paula’s sense of social responsibility and political awareness comes across in the kinds of performances and projects they pursue in the larger community. Their last performance was part of the Cantagallo Fest, a fundraising event for a community of Shipibo people, originally from the central Amazon, who live in extreme poverty in the outskirts of Lima. They are also collaborating with the French Alliance of Lima in Palabra de Mujer: a project to promote the artistic expression of women in Lima. They give classes in schools in Lima, and are looking to travel to more destinations in Peru for performances and workshops. Right now, Parió Paula is 22 women strong, though there are about 45 more women in training. For the Paulas, it is absolutely essential that the group be a space for women only. “It’s not a very common space to find in our culture, where 95% of artists are men, and the women that do navigate this artistic scene confront dynamics and leanings that are predominantly masculine,” Laura explains. “So Parió Paula is an experiment, where we come together to create, learn, have fun, and rediscover the nature of collective feminine creativity.” After playing with Parió Paula for six months, I had the tremendous opportunity to produce a short documentary about the group with directors Patricia Alvarez Astacio and Christopher Newman. The short film, entitled Por Fin Parió Paula, was released in early 2012 and has been making the rounds of various programs and festivals in the U.S. It depicts the moment in which the band was still under the leadership of Laura Robles. And who is Paula, after all? Before leaving for Germany, Laura told me the legend of Paula: “They told me a story that Paula was a young woman who had a terrible time delivering her child. Absolutely terrible! It lasted days and days and days. Until one day she finally gave birth, and her farther said “Parió Paula!” (Paula had her baby!) So that phrase came about. When something is taking you forever, it demands a ton of energy and time, and then finally you finish it, you use this phrase: ¡Por fin Parió Paula! (Paula finally had her baby!)” 5


THE BEAT AND THE PULSE

THE DIVA JAZZ ORCHESTRA W OR D S BY CO LLEEN S IV IT ER P H O T OS BY S H AUN M ADER (AB OVE ) & B IL L W EST MO RELAND ( RIGHT)

Headed by drummer Sherrie Maricle (pictured on the right), DIVA is an ensemble of 15 talented musicians “that just happen to be women.” Their big band sound will make you want to tap your feet and bust out the Lindy like it’s the Swing revival of the late ’90s. They’ve been voted one of the best big bands in the world multiple times and have performed with an impressive list of musicians.

divajazz.com

LADIES BEHIND THE BEAT TV BY L ISA SC H ONBER G

Ladies Behind the Beat TV is an internet-based show that highlights female musicians through interviews and close-up snippets of performances. They also showcase community organizations which work with young musicians, and feature musical tips for all ages and skill levels. The show is produced by Denise Serrette, Mike Serrette, and Janice-Marie Johnson. Drummer Shauney Baby and musician Jaymes Hines have also been involved. We dug into their website and found some fantastic features, such as an instructional video on the playing the cajon with percussionist/vocalist/songwriter Estaire Godinez and an interview with percussionist Marina Bambino.

ladiesbehindthebeat.tv

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MADELEINE ALBRIGHT W OR DS BY C OL L EEN SIVIT ER

Former Secretary of State, Professor of International Relations at Georgetown University…and jazz drummer? Yes, we’re talking about Madeleine Albright. And so is everyone else after her impressive performance at the Thelonius Monk International Jazz Drums Competition and Gala Concert in September. After receiving the Maria Fisher Founder’s Award, Albright took a seat behind the kit and accompanied trumpeter Chris Botti in an aria from the Puccini opera “Turandot.” With a smile on her face throughout the majority of the performance, Albright’s longtime love of jazz is abundantly apparent. Now if we could just score an interview with this hard hitter...

ddmcmusic.com

ROMY W OR D S BY LIS A S CH O NB ERG P H O T O BY T RACEY LEE H AYE S

Australian musician and artist Romy Hoffman began her music career in the mid ’90s as a 15-year-old guitarist for Ben Lee’s band Noise Addict. Her project MACROMANTICS was signed to legendary label Kill Rock Stars. Romy now makes danceable pop gems under her own name, ROMY, as well as paranoid punk music as A Gender. In ten years, Romy hopes she’s settled, happy, in love, and working on three different records at once, with a garden full of ripe, lush produce and a claw foot bath tub to boot. Curious about what is going on in Romy’s head? Check out her drawings, writing, and music on her awesome blog.

romythelonely.blogspot.com

CRIME W OR DS BY L ISA SC H ONBER G PH OT O BY C L AU DIA K ENT

Crime is a new project out of Berlin featuring Mika Risiko (of Sissters) and Sarah Adorable (of hip hop/ DJ duo Scream Club). This new band is queer, punk, and DIY at heart, and their sound spans many genres but tends towards an ’80s goth pop vibe. Tom Tom TV recently released the new video for their song “This Party Blows.” The band’s sound plays with a diversity of textures: big kicks, big synths, and demanding vocals tinged with desire create a sound made for the dance floor. The duo works together on the lyrics and music. Their live performance features Sarah on keys, Mika on drums, and video projections throughout the set. Their chemistry comes off in a commanding stage presence that you should check out when they come through your town—they plan to tour the US, Europe, and beyond in 2013.

facebook.com/totallycrime drumcat.co.kr

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BEATS THAT BLAST / FRANKIEFRANKIE.COM / STAY TUNED FOR BLAST BEATS: PHASE THREE...

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BLAST BEATS: PHASE TWO W OR DS BY L ISA L IPT ON PH OT OS BY A A R ON F R A SER

FIVE DRUMMERS, FIVE KITS, LIGHTS, AND MOTORCYCLES. BLAST

BEATS: Phase Two is a multi-media installation and performance project combining Lisa Lipton’s current practices as visual artist and musician. Incorporating historical research, community collaboration/dialogue, visual and musical composition, this site-specific performance explores the influence of rhythm in our daily lives. When Lipton began to play the drums in January 2011, she practiced for four hours a day, supplementing her intense ritual with research on the history and cultural implications of the drum. Her current work draws from the personal histories, visual records, rhythms and roles associated with many different cultures throughout Canada. For the hour-long narrative and musical composition within Phase Two, Lipton recruited five Halifaxbased drummers. The drummers act as the sonic anchor, providing the underlying heartbeat of the piece. Of the performance at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia in the city of Halifax, Lipton has this to say: “All the visuals, the research and the ultimate vision for Phase Two unfolded that night. I created a narrative and performance which embodied ritual, ceremony, rock ‘n’ roll culture, associative visuals, heavy beats, and thunder.”

Lisa Lipton (also known as frankie) is a performance artist and musician from Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. She is obsessed with drumming and Blast Beats. 9


JANEBOX ALL.COM

24 HOURS WITH A SOLO MARIMBIST JANE BOXALL ALLEN PHOTO BY MAT THEW THORSEN

10:30 AM

BEGIN!

I AM SETTING OFF FOR A 6-MILE RUN. THIS WEEKEND IS A ONE-TWO PUNCH OF CONCERTS WITH THE VERMONT CONTEMPORARY MUSIC ENSEMBLE. UNTIL RECENTLY, I’D TRIED TO KEEP MY PROFESSIONAL CONCERTS AND MY AMATEUR RUNNING EFFORTS SEPARATE. NOW I THINK ABOUT CONGA TONES AS I RUN, ATTEMPTING TO MAKE MY FOOTFALLS MORE OF AN OPEN TONE THAN A CLOSED OR SLAP SOUND. I AM ALSO THINKING ABOUT MY UPCOMING SOLO MARIMBA ALBUM, MARIMBA FROM 0 TO 8 MALLETS, WHICH IS CURRENTLY IN THE EDITING PROCESS. I’VE RECORDED A PIECE WITH NO MALLETS, A PIECE WITH ONE MALLET, AND SO ON THROUGH THE NUMBERS TO AN 8-MALLET FINALE.

1:15 PM I LOAD IN MY 175-LB MARIMBA UNCOMPLAININGLY, AND IN RECORD TIME (I AM BEING KIND TO MYSELF BY LEAVING THE 5-OCTAVE, 500LB INSTRUMENT AT HOME TODAY). I RUN UP THE ROAD TO BURLINGTON’S ADVANCE MUSIC, WHERE THEY LET ME CHOOSE ANY DJEMBE IN THE SHOP FOR A MODEST RENTAL FEE. I GRAB A BIG, ROPE-TUNED DRUM WITH A FAT BASS TONE AND PINGY SLAP, AND SHOULDER IT BACK TO THE FLYNN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS.

12:45 PM I AM HOME, SHOWERED, AND LOADED UP WITH A 4-OCTAVE MARIMBA AND A HASTILY-REPAIRED DJEMBE IN THE BACK OF MY JEEP. AT LAST NIGHT’S CONCERT, I PLAYED THE DJEMBE IN THE RECENT CHAMBER COMPOSITION GIÈ BY DENNIS BÁTHORYKITSZ—AN UNUSUAL EXPLORATION OF SUBTLE TONES AND RHYTHMIC PALINDROMES—AND IN AN OPEN IMPROVISATION WITH MASTER UGANDAN DRUMMER DAMASCUS KAFUMBE. DAMASCUS SAID I AM A PERCUSSIONIST WHO TREADS LIGHTLY BUT CARRIES A BIG STICK. I LIKE THAT METAPHOR.


4:00 PM IT’S CONCERT TIME, AND THE AUDIENCE IS IN RANKED SEATING AROUND THREE SIDES OF THE STAGE FLOOR. I ENJOY THE SOUND OF THE DJEMBE IN THE THEATRE SPACE, AND BALANCE ON MY TRIED-AND-TESTED HEELED BOOTS DURING THE GRENFELL PIECE. AS A MARIMBIST, FINDING FOOTWEAR THAT DOESN’T MAKE NOISE AS YOU MOVE UP AND DOWN THE INSTRUMENT CAN BE A CHALLENGE.

2:00 PM WE START REHEARSING WITH THE ENSEMBLE. THE BIG DJEMBE HAS A FULL TONE AMONG OUR GROUP OF FLUTE, CLASSICAL GUITAR, BASSOON, AND BASS CLARINET. I HAVE TO KEEP THE DRUM OFF THE FLOOR SO THAT IT SPEAKS WITH A FULL RESONANCE. THIS IS MORE WORKOUT FOR THE OLD LEG MUSCLES, I SUPPOSE. I AM ALSO PLAYING MARIA GRENFELL’S DI PRIMAVERA FOR GUITAR AND MARIMBA. I USE RUBBER MALLETS ON THE 4-OCTAVE INSTRUMENT TO TRY AND MATCH THE SOUND OF PICKED CLASSICAL GUITAR. I QUICKLY GET CHANGED INTO CONCERT CLOTHES, STILL FEELING REALLY ENERGETIC AND OPTIMISTIC IN THE AFTERGLOW OF MY RUN.

THE END

7:00 PM I AM BACK IN THE JEEP WITH THE INSTRUMENTS LOADED. GETTING OUT OF THE VENUE (AND UP THE STAIRS) TOOK A WHILE; MY ENERGY LEVEL CRASHED SOMEWHAT AS I TOOK THE MARIMBA APART. I PACKED IT IN A BIG FLIGHT CASE: VINYL CYLINDERS FOR THE ROSEWOOD NOTES AND A SELECTION OF TRIANGULAR AND RECTANGULAR VINYL CASES FOR THE METAL RESONATORS. THIS MARIMBA, A DEAGAN DIANA, WAS DESIGNED BACK IN THE 1930S AS AN ULTRA PORTABLE INSTRUMENT FOR THE GIGGING MARIMBIST. I ADOPTED THIS PARTICULAR DIANA LAST YEAR, AND IN HER EIGHTH DECADE SHE STILL SOUNDS PRETTY AMAZING. MY DRUMMER HUSBAND IS HOME WHEN I ARRIVE, AND AS ALWAYS I APPRECIATE HIS HELP GETTING THE INSTRUMENTS INTO THE HOUSE AND UP THE NARROW STAIRCASE. SOMEDAY I WILL BE ABLE TO HAVE A MARIAH CAREY-STYLE RIDER STATING “I DON’T DO STAIRS” WITH MY MARIMBA.


A SIMPLIFIED GUIDE TO ORCHESTRAL PERCUSSION BY ST EPH BEC K ER

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WOMEN IN MARIMBA ORCHESTRAS HISTORY BY JANE B OXALL ALLE N

A NOT H ER NOTA BL E EA R LY A PPEA R A NC E OF T H E MA R IMBA AT CA R NEG IE H A L L WA S T H E W OR L D PR EMIE R E OF PAU L C R EST ON’S C ONC ERT INO F OR MA R IMBA A N D OR C H EST R A , OP. 21, G IVEN IN CA R NEG IE C H A MBER MU SIC H A L L — NOW W EIL L R EC ITA L H A L L — ON A PR IL 29, 1940. T H E PIEC E WA S PER F OR MED BY MA R IMBIS T R U T H ST U BER A ND T H E A L L - F EMA L E OR C H EST R ET TE C L A SSIQU E C ONDU C T ED BY F R EDER IQU E PET R IDES.

I love vintage percussion instruments. In my crammed 21st century practice room, marimbas from the 1920s and ’30s sit alongside my 2007 custom-built five-octave. Framed photos of marimbists and marimba orchestras from throughout the past century hang on the wall behind the marimbas. In a 1930 photograph of a massed marimba orchestra from Enid, Oklahoma, an equal number of women and men peer from behind their instruments. Only a few years after women gained the right to vote in the U.S., marimba orchestras came to be increasingly dominated by female percussionists. Why was this particular style of orchestra so ahead of the times? The North American massed marimba orchestras of the 1930s were assembled by Clair Omar Musser. He was a marimba virtuoso, composing many famous etudes for the instrument that are still played today. Musser also designed and built marimbas, calling on his experiences as an aircraft engineer and an inventor. In addition, he arranged music from the light-orchestra repertoire and wrote new pieces for his ensembles. In 1933, 100 marimbists played under Musser’s baton at the Century of Progress in Chicago. Of those players, 50 were male, 50 female—perhaps a deliberate marketing ploy of the time.

Musser had already founded, directed, and promoted all-female groups such as the 25-piece All-Girl Marimba Orchestra. He formed this group for Paramount Pictures’ opening performance at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre in February 1929. Between 1942 and 1952, Musser taught and coached groups of Marimba Co-Eds at Chicago’s Northwestern University. One such group, composed of the marimbists Dorothy Carroll, Christine Austell, Betty Lou Overmyer, and Norma Jean Lutz, embarked on a 20,000-mile world tour sponsored by the U.S. government. They performed for GIs and government officials all over the world. Emphasis was placed upon their physical appearance in promotions. Ads described them as “Four Winsome Co-Eds” and included no mention of their musical instruments or skills. Another all-female group of Musser’s students competed in Look Magazine’s 1946 contest to find the country’s best non-professional ensembles and instrumentalists. They won several awards, including the First Place National Ensemble Award. What an incredible history we have!

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TIPS FOR MARIMBA PLAYERS BY JAN E B OXALL ALLEN CU T OU T ILLUST RAT IO N BY J E N MAY

TAKE CARE Don’t try to play through physical pain, and cover blisters before the skin breaks during practice. I use generic fabric band-aids over blisters, and apply heavy hand cream multiple times each day to keep my hands in one piece.

GET A GRIP Most marimba players use one of three major grips for four-mallet marimba playing—Stevens/Musser, Burton, or Traditional. I use Burton grip, which along with Traditional is a “cross-grip.” The shafts of the two mallets cross in your palm. I suggest you spend some time playing with each of these major grips. Be patient and figure out which one works best for you. It is not necessary to use the same grip as your teacher or the other marimbists you know.

S AN D DIV ER SITiteY numbers of BA LA NC E FO CUmill ions, potentially infin

There are thousands, g invented new things to hit are bein percussion instruments, and percusgs thin all of ter mas a true all the time. Nobody can be glocken alm acas to tabla to timpani to sive (from marimba to mar a as eer car r you you want to make to aluphone). However, if per of as are nt ere diff skilled in the performer, you need to be of interas are own My . play to on cussion you might be called have had to avant-rock drum kit, but I est are solo marimba and developical mus to further my own diversify my skills in order orchestral and r mbe cha in marimba ment, and to get paid. I play in terms of es bas my er cov and , own situations as well as on my from V-drums and able to play anything drum kit styles. I’m ready concerto a ed play the need arise. I to Baroque timpani, should me, and a for t firs a was year—that on a park bench earlier this should make er play a imb mar d nce erie fantastic gig. I think any exp l, xyloplay vibraphone, glockenspie sure they’re ready to also Synth. Xylo or at sion such as MalletK phone or the synth percus


P L AY W E L L W IT H

OT H E R S

Your ears ar e as import ant as your it comes to hands whe playing mar n im ba and perc Finding a pe ussion. rcussion en semble, pian a rogue trom ist, or even bonist to pl ay music w wonders fo ith can do r your mus icianship. Lo portunities ok for opto play with other music these oppo ians, and if rtunities do n’t already out there an exist then ge d make them t !

GET FLEXIBLE The greater your ability to transfer between different makes and models of marimba—and between 5-octave, 4.6, 4.5, 4.3 and 4-octave instruments—the easier your life will be. Different marimba manufacturers use different construction plans, meaning that the individual notes or bars on, say, an Adams concert marimba are much narrower than those on a Malletech instrument. My preferred instrument is a 5-octave Coe Percussion marimba, but being flexible enough to perform on other makes and models of instrument has opened up a lot of options for national and international touring on institutional and rental instruments. The same goes for drum kit—being flexible in terms of kit configuration and size can save you time, money, loading effort, and energy that you can put into your performance.

WARM UP The marimba is a large, asymmetrical instrument that requires a very physical playing style—it’s easy to injure yourself if you don’t warm up properly. Make sure your hands and arms are physically warm before you start. Growing up in snowy Scotland, I would soak my hands in a basin of warm water before picking up my mallets. Stretch before you play, and spend the first 15-20 minutes of every practice session playing with slow, big strokes on the marimba so you are fully warmed up before attempting any fast work.

P L AY W E L L W IT H OT

HERS

To me, small-e nsemble new music is one ing situations of the most ex for playing m citarimba. I live finding other in a rural stat musicians to e, so pl ay with in ensem a fair amount bles requires of driving and having a flexi ule. Even if yo ble work sche ur focus is so dlo marimba, I with other m think that play usicians—idea in g lly at or abov experience— e your own le is incredibly he vel of lp fu l and enriching everyone in th . Although no e music indu t stry will treat might like, I th you as nicely ink it’s import as you ant to be resp supportive to ectful, helpfu wards your fe l, and llow musicians .


WHEN YOU’RE IN A PICKLE / PICKLEFREAK.COM

RECIPES FROM THE ROAD GET YOUR PICKLE FIX BY THE PI C K L E F R EA K : KAT Y TA C K ET T I LLU STRAT ION BY J EE YOU NG SIM

PICKLES INGREDIENTS:

• white vinegar • distilled water • fresh dill • garlic • mustard seeds • sea salt • other spices (hot chili peppers, dried crushed red pepper) • 1.5 lbs of cucumbers (or carrots, peppers, green beans, or any veggie you’re ready to pickle)

AS A PICKLE FREAK, I always have to make sure I can get my pickle fix on the road. This is easy in the South, but let’s say you’re not that keen on eating a pickled pig’s foot in the back of the van. Here’s a quick recipe to ensure your preferred pickle is always riding shotgun.

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1. Place a pinch of all the spices in the

3. Place it in your fridge and count the days

bottom of a quart-size mason jar. Add the garlic, dill, and mustard seeds, and pack it full of clean veggies sliced however you like to eat them.

until you hit the road again and can grab your pickles to go. Or, just do what I do, and wait as long as you can possibly stand, which for me is about a week.

2. In an enamel or stainless steel pot, bring a

4. Now you’ve got your favorite snack to

cup each of vinegar and distilled water and about two tablespoons of sea salt to a quick boil, just long enough to ensure the salt has dissolved. Distilled water helps to keep things nice and crunchy. Carefully pour or ladle the hot brine into your jar until it covers all the veggies, top it with a lid, and let it cool. If you’re using a non-glass container, you can just let the brine cool before you add it to the produce.

accompany you on the road. Just make sure your pickle jar is safely hidden away on that stretch of road with miles to go before the next pee break!


FABULOUS FEMALE PERCUSSIONISTS YOU SHOULD KNOW

O

BY ZA NETA SYK ES I LLU STRATI O NS BY C H R IST OPH ER DA R L ING

rchestral percussion is a dynamic and varied sport. Unlike the violinist or pianist, who studies one instrument, the percussionist is expected to play marimba, snare drum, xylophone, vibraphone, timpani, hand percussion, and even drum kit, all at the same level of proficiency. In the world of percussion, many players are capable of dazzling audiences with their musical gymnastics, but few have elevated the art form more than Keiko Abe, Patricia Dash, Ruth Underwood, Lynn Vartan, and Nancy Zeltsman. These fabulous women have redefined what it means to be percussionists and continue to inspire and educate the world through their music. Read on to find out more about them and other incredible women blazing new trails.


ORCHESTRAL

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Keiko Abe: The Trailblazer Keiko Abe is largely credited with popularizing the marimba in Asia and developing solo repertoire for the instrument. Forged from her own improvisations, Abe’s pieces utilize the marimba’s extensive range and depth of tone. Her groundbreaking repertoire has elevated the marimba to classical stardom and established it as an instrument of virtuosity and deep emotional power. Among her achievements, Abe was the first woman to be inducted into the Percussive Arts Society’s hall of fame in 1993. Some of her most notable compositions include Michi, Wind in the Bamboo Grove, and Variations on Japanese Children’s Songs. “When I compose, the best music comes when I feel alone… not physical solitude, but mental. If I go out into nature and listen, the ground and the trees give me energy.”

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Patricia Dash: The Role Model Prior to Patricia Dash, professional female orchestral percussionists were a rare breed. In 1986, conductor Sir George Solti appointed 24-year old Dash to the percussion section of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. With her hard work and virtuosity-level playing, she has secured one of the most coveted jobs in America, and has held it for over 26 years. Born and raised in Rochester NY, Dash began her percussion studies at the age of nine. Her teachers would come to include John Beck, Ruth Cahn, Allen Otte, Richard Jensen and Doug Howard. In addition to performing, Dash recently established a scholarship program in Chicago IL, designed to educate gifted fifth-graders in percussion and performance. “My music education taught me to always keep trying. Learning is very gradual and full of challenges. Playing well is hard work, but well worth the effort.”

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3

Ruth Underwood: The Innovator Best known for her phenomenal chops and killer precision, Ruth Underwood performed with composer and guitarist Frank Zappa and his band Mothers of Invention from 1967 to 1977. Her presence in Zappa’s band marked the first successful fusion of classical percussion with rock and funk. So how did Ruth land the gig with Zappa? One night, Ruth and her brother Charles saw Zappa while waiting outside a Miles Davis concert. Charles told Zappa that his sister was a brilliant marimba player, and Zappa asked her to come audition. The rest is history. “It was the greatest experience of my life, and the most terrifying,” Underwood would later recall. “It was educational and enriching, and also backbreaking, grueling, sometimes lonely, terrifying—it was fucking unbelievable.”

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Lynn Vartan: The Visionary Dynamic and charismatic, Dr. Lynn Vartan is a percussionist’s percussionist. Whether it’s marimba, multi-percussion, drumline or singing, her astounding ability to perform is a testament to her true genius. Through her work with Grammy Award-winning group Southwest Chamber Music, she has premiered solo and chamber pieces by Donald Crockett, William Kraft, Jeff Holmes and Erica Muhl. As an educator, Vartan’s grassroots mentoring and efficacious approach has sparked many a career in percussion. She currently serves as Director of Percussion at Southern Utah University and will be releasing her solo percussion album in the near future. “My single greatest hope for percussion is to bridge the gap, to cross genres from classical to rock, etc. To see the marimba in a rock music video.”

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Nancy Zeltsman: The Specialist Nancy Zeltsman is probably the reason marimba is the standard tone on the iPhone. Her fluid artistry and emotive lyricism can be heard everywhere from concert halls to television commercials. With over 125 premiered works for marimba, there is no doubt that her contributions reverberate throughout the percussion world. As a faculty member for Berklee College of Music and Boston Conservatory, she developed the first program in which students can major specifically in Marimba Performance. She has worked to pull the marimba out of the percussion section and into the limelight as a soloist’s instrument, on par with violin and piano. “The performance practice of the marimba has risen to a sufficient level of sophistication that, if students want to study it, they deserve to be encouraged…It’s no less ethical to foster marimba specialists than it is to train excessive numbers of orchestral percussionists…”

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ORCHESTRAL

andrea price is Not Afraid to Use a Glock BY JA NE B OXA L L A L L EN PHOTO BY G OL DY PR ODU C T IONS


A

ndrea Price’s passion for classical percussion is undeniable. Price performs on orchestral percussion, teaches and tutors full time, and composes her own music. She also plays in Black Dyke Band, which may sound like the best punk band name of all time, but is actually one of the oldest brass bands in the world. The UK-based percussion maven took a break from her hectic schedule to talk glockenspiels and Rachmaninov with Tom Tom. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: YOU PLAY WITH BLACK DYKE BAND, ONE OF THE UK’S PREMIER BRASS BANDS. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE ROLE OF PERCUSSION WITHIN A BRASS BAND? ANDREA PRICE: The brass band tradition stems from 19th century

industrial Britain. Bands were formed mostly by mill workers and miners and the repertoire focused on arrangements of the popular orchestral and operatic music of the time. This gave the working class an opportunity to play and listen to music that they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. There are still brass bands throughout the UK and globally who entertain and educate their local communities. They compete against each other and there is a friendly rivalry between regions. As the genre has developed, elite bands have risen and their standard of musicianship is on a par with a professional orchestra. HOW IS PLAYING WITH A BRASS BAND DIFFERENT FROM PLAYING WITH A SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA?

Brass band percussionists must be extremely confident sight readers and accomplished specialists in tuned percussion, snare, timpani, and auxiliary percussion. There is often a more challenging repertoire [for brass band percussionists than there would be for an orchestral percussionist]. However, a brass band is not an employer, but rather a hobby. Brass band musicians earn their salaries by day, rehearse in the evenings and perform on weekends. YOU SERVED AS ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL PERCUSSIONIST WITH THE KZNPO IN SOUTH AFRICA. TELL US ABOUT THAT.

Living in Durban for a few months was a life-changing experience, not just through being part of the orchestra, but experiencing a very different culture. [There are] beautiful beaches, Mediterranean-style restaurants and a slower pace of life, yet all around you [is] the evidence of struggle—politics, race, class,

poverty—all issues still very much at the forefront of South African life. The orchestra did some exciting projects in the local townships, but day-to-day life was mostly rehearsals, evening concerts, and on to the bar on the harbor. ANY ADVICE FOR PERCUSSIONISTS TAKING ORCHESTRAL AUDITIONS?

Be professional (punctual, smart, organized) and don’t forget that they are assessing you as a person as well as a musician. You will need to fit into the team, so be confident, be yourself and above all be honest. DO YOU FAVOR ANY PARTICULAR KIND OF PERCUSSION SOUNDS?

Apart from certain bass drum parts (Rite of Spring, Verdi requiem) I tend to lean towards all the metallic instruments. I love the color that cymbals and triangles add to orchestral music, and the glockenspiel is so much fun to play. You’re always a soloist on these instruments, so even during the quietest dynamic you will cut through the orchestra. WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE EXCERPTS?

Although I’m all for incredible virtuosic displays and technical wizardry, my favorite excerpts are always those where I’m contributing to the overall color of the orchestra. I particularly love late Romantic and early-20th century music: Mahler, Sibelius, and Britten. Rachmaninov tops my list though—cymbals at the end of Paganini Variations, glockenspiel in the Symphonic Dances, and triangle in The Bells. HOW DO YOU WARM UP BEFORE A PERFORMANCE?

I am obsessed with both relaxation and economy, so my warm up is all about getting in tune with my body. [I make] sure I have no tension from head to toe, and that my fingers, hands, and wrists are free and flexible. I play scales, rudiments, and rolls to achieve this. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A 16-YEAR-OLD PERCUSSIONIST TODAY, IF SHE WANTED TO BE A PROFESSIONAL ORCHESTRAL MUSICIAN?

Learn to sight read. My golden rules are: read ahead, don’t look down, and find the patterns. Make sure you have a solid, ambidextrous technique that is free from tension, and be passionate about orchestral music as a whole, not just the percussion parts.

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ju percussion group BY JA NE B OXA L L A L L EN PHOTOS BY KU O C H ENG C H A NG


J

u Percussion Group (JPG) is Taiwan’s first professional percussion ensemble. More than a quarter-century after the group’s inception, these percussion pioneers are still sharing their fusion of Eastern and Western styles with audiences around the globe. The thirteen members of the group play Western instruments alongside traditional Asian percussion and Chinese gong-drums. We caught up with JPG’s principal percussionist, Pei-Ching Wu, and came away from the interview impressed by the deep relationship she’s fostered with the instruments she plays. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: AS A PERCUSSIONIST, HOW IS PLAYING WITH JU PERCUSSION GROUP DIFFERENT FROM PLAYING WITH AN ORCHESTRA? WHAT ELEMENTS OF PLAYING IN A PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE ARE SIMILAR TO PLAYING IN AN ORCHESTRA? PEI-CHING WU: I think it’s a very interesting question. As a per-

cussionist playing in an orchestra, we often need to “take long rests” before it’s our turn [to play]. In the orchestra, there are the strings, the woodwind, the brass, and the percussion. These instruments have their own way to produce sound, to breathe. For instance, when violinists play violin, the sound lasts longer in the air. When we play or strike percussion instruments, the sound appears at once and disappears immediately. So in order to cooperate with other instruments in orchestra, I need to modify the way I perform [in order] to make perfect harmony. I think that the tuba and the bassoon are instruments with a bigger sound, like timpani or tam-tam. I mentioned violin before, its sound lasts longer in the air. To create the same effect, I can strike a xylophone with single or double-stroke roll techniques. With a percussion ensemble or with an orchestra, I need to learn to play the suitable role and understand my character in the group and in the repertoire. WHAT IS THE BALANCE BETWEEN COMMISSIONING NEW PIECES FOR PERCUSSION, AND PERFORMING ESTABLISHED PERCUSSION COMPOSITIONS? HOW IMPORTANT IS IT FOR PERCUSSIONISTS TO PLAY NEW, ORIGINAL WORKS?

In JPG, we played music from famous composers like John Cage, Lou Harrison, or Iannis Xenakis in the beginning. But we need to introduce new pieces to our audiences, the pieces to bring out our own characters. We have to have our own pieces to find our own voice, to express our own culture and value. So far we have more than 120 commissioned pieces from Taiwan composers and international composers. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A YOUNG MUSICIAN WHO WANTS TO BE A PROFESSIONAL PERCUSSIONIST?

No matter which piece of music you practice, I think it’s important to be experimental. Always try different ways to play the same note, to find out a creative or better method to express your music. Sometimes when I practice, I will invite friends from different backgrounds to give me advice. For example, my uncle is a boxer. He suggested to me how to move more smoothly and put the right weight on my feet when playing marimba.

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ORCHESTRAL

A Prodigy Hidden Behind Her Beat-up Guitar: Micachu Brings Us Loud, Unabashed Pop BY SOF IA PA ST ER NA C K PHOTOS BY CA MIL L O F U ENT EA L BA

It would be an understatement to say that Mica Levi is understated. On stage, the stolid leader of her band Micachu & The Shapes hardly gives off any clues as to her own thoughts or feelings. Her music, always rough around the edges, delicately swallows you whole into its unpolished and technically-unsound wave of sound. But her unique approach to making music originates from a surprisingly traditional music background. She studied violin, viola, and composition at the Purcell School in England, where her success earned her a scholarship to study composition at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. It was there that she met her current band members, Marc Pell and Raisa Khan. She’s written an orchestral piece for the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and is currently an artist-in-residence at London’s Southbank Centre. Add to that the fact that she’s the youngest musician they’ve ever hosted, and it’s hard not to get a little star struck. Good thing she doesn’t seem to realize we’re all staring. TOM TOM: IN YOUR MUSIC YOU USE NEW KINDS OF PLAYING METHODS LIKE HITTING A GUITAR’S STRINGS WITH A HAMMER-LIKE OBJECT, ALL KINDS OF UNIQUE INSTRUMENTS, UNUSUAL METERS, AND MORE. TELL US ABOUT THE INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR SOUND. MICACHU: I find the electric guitar

quite frustrating and I strive to make it not sound like a guitar. I play a guitar and not a synth because it’s enjoyable to play and write on. I think you just have to treat it however you like even if that’s technically wrong. I feel more of a personal relationship with it that way. Also I like thinking of a sound, say a timpani, and then trying to make that sound on the guitar. It won’t come out the same as a timpani, but might have the characteristics of one. YOU ALSO USE INSTRUMENTS WITH DIFFERENT TUNINGS. IT SOUNDS VERY NON-WESTERN AT TIMES. I use pitch shift a lot in my electronic mu-

sic. It kind of sounds like chorus but instead you can create this unified sound with just one starting sound. It’s quite a sexual thing I think. It sounds sexy to me—it’s slightly out of place, warped. DESPITE ALL OF THESE NON-TRADITIONAL ELEMENTS, YOU STILL CALL YOUR MUSIC “POP.” WHAT MAKES IT POP? Yes, sometimes it’s dressed

oddly, but I still think a simple song connects to me and makes me able to digest the chaos. That’s pop. 24

YOUR MUSIC IS VERY PERCUSSIVE. HOW IMPORTANT IS THE RHYTHM TO YOU? Very. I reckon Marc [my bandmate] is crazy with how he

uses his kit. His setup is subtly tailored to his taste without it becoming some alien drum kit. He always aims for some ambitious fill that sounds either programmed or like it’s done on the guitar or something. We often talk about the drums having a part in the melody and harmony while Raisa K. and I supply more rhythm. It’s an attempt to be homogenous. DO YOU WRITE THE PERCUSSION PARTS OR DOES MARC? OR DO YOU WORK TOGETHER? It really depends. Sometimes I might just have a re-

ally clear idea about the beat and sometimes we just go with the flow. As I said before, it’s best when all of the parts come from all of us. Marc is also in ADHD (a hardcore metal band) and is like an octopus in how much he can play at once. He’s skillful to the max.

HOW MUCH OF YOUR SOUND IS DEPENDENT ON THE LIVE EXPERIENCE OF THE LISTENER AND HOW MUCH IS JUST AS EASILY CAPTURED ON A RECORDING? That’s hard to say, I’m not sure. I think it’s easier to com-

municate when you’re playing live.

HOW DOES YOUR BACKGROUND IN MUSIC AFFECT THE WAY YOU COMPOSE AND PERFORM? I’m not sure. It all feeds in no doubt, but I try not

to think too hard about why or where.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE MUSIC INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW? ANY CHANGES YOU WANT TO SEE? I don’t think it’s in such trouble. The

industry might be, but music never will be. Someone like Adele comes out and makes something meaningful that reaches the globe, and because she is on an independent label it financially facilitates more music, presumably coming from an unmanufactured, truthful place. I think just because more music is available doesn’t mean the music business is over. It’s just that the companies and groups of musicians who used to benefit from it might not be the main makers or receivers anymore. ANY ADVICE YOU’D LIKE TO GIVE TOM TOM’S READERS? This is advice for

anyone: work hard and relax.


NAME: MICA LEVI AKA MICACHU AGE: 25 HOMETOWN: GUILDFORD, ENGLAND LIVES IN: LONDON, ENGLAND PAST BANDS: NONE CURRENT BANDS: MICACHU & THE SHAPES FAVORITE FOOD: SEAWEED


ORCHESTRAL

The avant percussionist R

BY CAT I BESTA R D

obyn Schulkowsky’s extensive career could fill many books. Born in South Dakota, Schulkowsky has devoted her life to percussion, though it would be simplistic to define her just as a percussionist. Her work places her as one of the most relevant music figures in contemporary and experimental music. Performer and composer, her pieces and sound investigations combine elements and knowledge from culture as varied as the Mayans and Buddhists, sometimes using innovative and atypical instrumentation. No surprise, then, that she has performed in celebrated music festivals all over the world.

As part of a trilogy, last year film director and artist Manon de Boer released Think About Wood, Think About Metal, a poetic portrait in which she documents her beginnings in the US Midwest, and her journey to find her place in avant-garde music. The documentary is a perfect way to delve deeper into the artist’s work and philosophy. It is currently being shown at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

She’s worked with John Cage on innumerable occasions, and she still performs many of his compositions, such as “Child of Tree” (1975) and “Branches” (1976), the latter incorporating a cactus, to which contact microphones have been attached. Visionary and composer Karlheinz Stockhausen, post-minimalist composer Kevin Volans, “the divine drummer” Kofi Ghanaba, and the choreographer Sasha Waltz have also collaborated with her on many different multimedia projects. In 1998 Schulkowsky founded Rhythm Lab—“space activity rhythm-based music created by people”—and started to organize drumming workshops in many countries with the purpose of exploring “music as experience and not [a] product.” PH OT O BY C H R IS C H R IST ODO U L O U

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Symphony of Deconstruction: An interview with Dorothy Valencia BY JA SON A R SA G A PHOTOS BY BEN F L OW ER S

Dorothy Valencia describes herself as a symphonic percussionist, but I met her a few months ago while setting up an experimental percussion show. She might seem to be straddling unrelated sound worlds, but after witnessing her play symphony and playing wild music with her myself, I’ve learned that she brings the same intensity to everything she plays. She plays blast-beats and delicate triangle notes for the same purpose—in service of music.

WOULD YOU TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR MUSICAL BACKGROUND?

I studied with Alan Abel and Angela Zator Nelson. Mr. Abel joined the Philadelphia orchestra in ’59 and saw it through the golden age of Eugene Ormandy, who was the conductor after Leopold Stokowski. If you’ve seen Fantasia, you’ve heard Stokowski. The Philly Orchestra came into being in the Academy of Music building on Broad Street. If you go in that space and clap, it’s dry as a bone. The orchestra had to work overtime to have richness TOM TOM MAGAZINE: WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO THE SYMPHONY? and projection. They learned to really dig in. They had this reDOROTHY VALENCIA: I’ve always had a love for symphonic music— ally intense approach on the strings. The percussion developed not just music from the classical period but art music in general. a very forward passionate style as a result. They’re not afraid to That sound texture is like a spa treatment. I play out. It’s kind of a loud style. There’s swear, it’s like a drug. I need to be in that FULL NAME: DOROTHY VALENCIA a lot of fullness and dramatic shapes in sound. I don’t care if I’m doing two triangle AGE: 32 the Philly style. That’s how it came to notes. I can put my personal stamp on that. HOMETOWN: PRAIRIE GROVE, AR/PHILADELPHIA, PA be my style—because of this tradition of I’m a part of something so much bigger than LIVES IN: FAYETTEVILLE, AR the Philadelphia orchestra playing in a PAST PROJECTS: BRING IT ON!, YOUTH ORCHESTRA myself. dry space. You had to give a little more OF THE AMERICAS to have that sound. I’VE LISTENED TO YOU PLAY BOTH NOISE MUSIC AND SYMPHONIC MUSIC. HOW DO YOU VIEW THOSE TWO WAYS OF PLAYING?

CURRENT PROJECTS: PRINCIPAL PERCUSSIONIST FOR ARTOSPHERE FESTIVAL ORCHESTRA & SYMPHONY OF NORTH WEST ARKANSAS (SONA) GEAR: AUXILLIARY PERCUSSION, CRASH CYMBALS, PERCUSSION TABLE FAVORITE FOOD: ANYTHING MY LITTLE SISTER AND I COOK TOGETHER

There’s a very fine line between rocking out and what I do in the symphony. It doesn’t feel different. Especially when I play crash cymbals. How can I put the meaning of life into a sound? I know how cheesy that sounds, but that’s what I try to do. I need it to be the most it can be. It all comes from the same fire burning in my stomach. It’s all about being able to deliver an experience to the fullness of the moment, whatever that moment is. WHAT PROJECTS ARE YOU INVOLVED IN RIGHT NOW?

I’m the principal percussionist for both the Artosphere Festival Orchestra and the Symphony of North West Arkansas (SONA). I’m also an auditioning symphonic percussionist. It’s sort of a lifestyle. We work on repertoire and fly all over to play orchestral auditions. I play Broadway calls, in community bands, and with my friends. I’m also a marimba soloist and I freelance.

YOU HAVE A PRETTY SMALL STATURE; DOES THAT AFFECT YOUR APPROACH TO PLAYING?

I’m 5’ 1” and 115 pounds, trying to throw metal around. Consider the Philadelphia Orchestra: they’re huge with a rich, deep, thick sound. I wanted to be able to deliver a sound that would match that. It takes a lot of muscle. These cymbals are 12 pounds each and sometimes you have to hold onto them for 15 or 20 minutes at a time. It takes muscle to play fortissimo rolls for two minutes. That was intimidating for me. I had to do a lot of soulsearching to find out what I had. What I found is grace. There are constraints, but I had to make adjustments from a technical standpoint. Someone with an arm twice as big as mine can use wrist technique to play snare or timpani at loud volumes. I have to give more—use my whole arm to get the same sound. In percussion, it doesn’t matter what you play, whether it’s tambourine, kit, timpani, or whatever. It sounds how I move. Everybody has a different sound. 27


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JACK WHITE & CARLA AZAR TALK BY JA C K W H IT E INT R O BY MINDY A B OVIT Z PH OT OS BY J O MC CAU G H Y

C

arla Azar has the makings of a rock star and the personality of someone you want as your best friend and bandmate. Azar has been mastering the kit for nearly a decade with her sound-heavy experimental L.A. rock band, Autolux. While recording with Autolux off and on all year, Carla has also managed keep herself busy with another endeavour - Jack White. After playing on his latest album Blunderbuss, last summer, Jack invited her to join him on a series of tour dates with a twist. White has been touring with two completely different bands all year. One is all female, the other all male. The decision on which band will

play that night is decided the day of the show by Jack, with the audience never knowing which performance they will get to see that night. After both bands played on Saturday Night Live earlier this year, the internet was on fire with both praise and critique of the project. When I found out Jack was playing Radio City Music Hall, I jumped at the chance to see one of my favorite drummers live. It was one of the best shows I have seen in ages. Carla and Jack’s chemistry was palpable even from thirty rows back, in the completely packed venue. Seeing how fabulously they got on onstage, I had to know how they got on offstage. In the next couple of pages, Jack and Carla talk exclusively for Tom Tom.

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JACK WHITE: HOW DO YOU FEEL WHEN YOU WALK INTO A CLUB AND YOU SEE A DRUM SET COMPOSED OF 12 OR 15 DRUMS? WHAT ARE YOUR FIRST THOUGHTS? CARLA AZAR: I don’t think I’ve ever seen a drum set

with that many drums on stage at a club. I think my first thought might be, you better be Keith Moon, and it better be 1975. And The Who better be playing with you. Keith had at least that many at one point. But he’s Keith Moon and he could pull it off. I’ve never played that many drums in one drum set. I’m more excited about advanced minimalism with bursts of chaos. I personally don’t need that many drums to do that. But, I would probably stay to see the drummer with the 12-15 drums just out of curiosity.

I KNOW WHEN I PLAY MUSIC, I PLAY TO THE DRUMMER. WHO DO YOU PLAY TO OR WHAT DO YOU PLAY TO WHEN YOU PERFORM? It obviously depends

on what instruments are being played at any given moment, but if there’s someone singing, I always play off of the singer. The singer basically dictates where I play fills and what kind of fills I play. It’s an unconscious thing at that point. Whatever the strongest melodic or rhythmic thing that’s going on, that’s what I play to, although I’m always listening to everyone—everyone but myself. I never hear myself until I’m already finished. With you, Mr. White, your voice is so unbelievably rhythmic, it’s almost as if I’m playing to another percussion instrument. The same goes for your guitar playing. You basically have bass, drums, guitar, and melodies happening all by yourself at the same time. CAN DRUMMERS LEARN ANYTHING FROM BEATS COMPOSED ON COMPUTERS OR DRUM MACHINES? I think a drummer can learn from anything

that’s good, anything that feels good—whether it’s played by a human, programmed by a human, or programmed by a program. I know that I definitely have. Besides all of the classic rock, blues, rhythm and blues, etc. that I listen to, I listen to a lot of hiphop and electronic music. When I was younger, I actually learned who James Brown’s drummer was through Public Enemy. They sampled him a lot and used programming along with the loops of him. I fell in love with every aspect of it. There is a real art form in programming rhythms/beats for songs. I definitely seem to gravitate towards synthetic drum sounds when it comes to programming. Aphex Twin is a good example. Richard D. James probably doesn’t play drums, but he composes all of those weird rhythms and sounds himself. I don’t necessarily try to copy those rhythmic parts, but it’s definitely an influence on the way I feel, which affects the way I play and how I play fills. I don’t know how many times I’ve been listening to some crazy programmed beat and there will be one moment or bar that I completely rip off because it’s so original and great, something a drummer would never have come up with. This has hugely influenced beats in Autolux. But what I don’t really enjoy are separate samples of real drums that are used to program a beat, trying to sound like a real drummer playing. That really gets my goat.

HOW DO YOU REGARD SILENCE? For me, silence is one of the most

powerful things in music—in both studio recordings and live. I really can’t explain this one. WHERE IS THE LINE WHEN A DRUMMER IS “OVER-PLAYING” A SONG? DOES THIS DIFFER FOR LIVE PERFORMANCE VERSUS STUDIO RECORDINGS? The

drummer has crossed that line usually (in my observation) when they aren’t listening to anyone but themselves, which results in musical nonsense: when they’re actually taking away from the song or music instead of adding to it. A lot of times musicians like this can’t handle silence, they have to be playing at all times. This drives me crazy. The music or song that’s being played dictates how much I play and what I play. It’s always the case. I’m pretty sure you can’t teach this to someone. People that over-play at all the wrong times (or right times) usually don’t know they’re doing it. That’s just the way they approach and feel music. I view studio recording and live performance as two completely different forms of expression. But I don’t ever believe in over-playing to a song in either setting. How much to play really just depends on the song or the feeling in the room at any given moment. I love drummers that do everything—simple and hypnotic at times and completely unpredictable, insane, and out of control at other times. And everything in between. When you never really know when those times are going to happen, even when you’ve seen the same drummer and band several times. And I like music or a band that provides a landscape for all of this to go on. WHAT RUDIMENT DO YOU DRUM ON YOUR STEERING WHEEL WHILE DRIVING?

I can honestly say, I’ve never “drummed” on my steering wheel. But you did teach me a rudiment this year and I didn’t believe it existed because of the name. I thought you made it up: the ratamacue. I KNOW THAT YOU LOVE MITCH MITCHELL, AS I DO. HOW DO YOU THINK HE’D BE CONSIDERED IF HE FIRST STARTED PERFORMING THIS YEAR?

I do love Mitch Mitchell. I think he’d be considered a great drummer, if he was as great as he was with Jimi Hendrix. But I think he’d also have to be in a great band again too. I only feel that I’m at my best, or even noticeable, when I’m playing with great musicians—musicians who are better than me. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT USING BOTH OF YOUR FEET FOR A BASS DRUM SINCE WE USE BOTH OF OUR HANDS FOR A SNARE DRUM?

I’m pretty sure you’re asking me if I’ll accept your offer of you giving me your Ludwig double bass drum set. Yes, I’d love it, thanks. Dave Lombardo from Slayer is probably the best one on planet Earth using both feet for bass drums. He has such great feel while playing incredibly fast beats. I suppose I feel pretty good about using both feet. I’ve only dabbled in it a few times myself in recording. One of the bass drums was actually a large plastic bin. AND LASTLY, DO YOU STILL WANT TO BE FRIENDS? I really do.

R EA D MOR E W IT H CA R L A ONL INE AT W W W.T OMT OMMA G. C O M .


“I ONLY FEEL THAT I’M AT MY BEST, OR EVEN NOTICEABLE, WHEN I’M PLAYING WITH GREAT MUSICIANS—MUSICIANS THAT ARE BETTER THAN ME.”


DRUMMERS HANNAHFORDDRUMS.COM

PEACE, LOVE & PRINCE: HANNAH FORD BRINGS CHICAGO HEART TO THE MAINSTREAM BY MAT T H EW D’A BAT E PHOTO BY J U ST INE WA L POL E

Hannah Ford is a sensational drummer whose career has been forged out of talent, hard work and passion. Originally from Kentucky, the Chicago transplant was the first woman to win the acclaimed Louis Bellson Heritage Days Drum Competition. She recently played with Prince during his performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, and is now the newest member of Prince’s New Power Generation touring band. In her spare time, she performs at schools to motivate kids to believe in themselves through her Peace, Love and Drums project. I had the chance to talk with the animated Ford about her drumming career, her work for the community, and what it was like to play with Prince for the first time. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: SO MANY OTHER CITIES GET HYPE THESE DAYS FOR ROCK ‘N’ ROLL: PORTLAND, BROOKLYN, AUSTIN ETC. ENLIGHTEN US ABOUT THE MUSIC SCENE IN YOUR CHOSEN CITY OF CHICAGO. HANNAH FORD: One thing I’ve noticed that really sets Chicago

apart from other cities is its diversity. The city is full of clubs that offer different styles of music. On one corner you could be at a club rocking out to a heavy metal band, and on the next block [you could be] listening to laid-back jazz. The blues in this city is phenomenal! I definitely credit the city of Chicago with my love for blues music. HOW DOES PLAYING WITH ONE OF THE GREATEST MUSICIANS OF OUR TIME RESONATE WITH YOU?

Prince! Never in a million years would I have thought that I’d be playing for Prince! What a blessing it has been! The most amazing part about this experience thus far is the fact that it’s only the beginning. Working with Prince is exciting. He definitely keeps you on your toes and there’s never a dull moment. The energy that is created by that band is extremely addictive. My husband, Joshua, plays keys for him as well so it’s been awesome experiencing this with him. We played on October 23rd 32

for his Jimmy Kimmel appearance. After that we did the afterparty jam at the Sayers Club and for those eight or nine hours there was this uncontrollable adrenaline rush! It’s honestly an experience that I have tried to explain, but haven’t found the right words to describe how awesome it is to be blessed with an opportunity like this. TELL ME MORE ABOUT YOUR PEACE, LOVE AND DRUMS PROJECT.

The Peace, Love and Drums show is so much fun. It’s one of my favorite parts of my job. I get to go to schools and spend time with the kids, performing for them and tying in motivational speaking. I love inspiring people. My job allows me to reach out to children and spend time with them on a personal level to encourage them and make it known that no matter how many people tell them they can’t [do something], they can and will achieve their dreams if they stay true to themselves and follow their hearts. Whether it’s through a smile, an email, a Facebook post, or Q&A time during the PL&D show, I want them to see that anything is possible. It just takes hard work, dedication and passion. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OUR READERS ABOUT DIVING INTO THE PERCUSSION WORLD?

Stay true to you, regardless of what other people tell you. You may encounter people who try to discourage you and make you question whether or not you can succeed. Stay strong and believe in yourself. There may be times when you’re the only one who believes. But that’s all you need and it won’t be that way for long. My husband and I always said with all of the no’s that we encounter as musicians, it only takes one yes to make your dreams come true. Be a fighter, stand on your feet, and push until you reach the finish line no matter what obstacles get in your way! Don’t be defeated. Defeat!


GOLD GOLD & GOLD / MYSPACE.COM/ESGBAND

VALERIE SCROGGINS ESG’S DRUMMER WANTS YOU TO HAVE FUN BY JAD E FAIR P H O T O BY B EX WADE


DRUMMERS ESG, formed by three sisters from the South Bronx in the late ’70s, occupies a compellingly improbable space between R&B, funk and no-wave. Contemporary hip-hop and post-punk are both equally indebted to Renee, Deborah, and Valerie Scroggins (along with friend Tito Libran) for their innovative and influential sound— which references the art-punk scene of ’70s New York and predates the rhythms of boogie and hip hop. Valerie’s solid, funky drumming helps tie the band to these genres that are often placed in opposition to one another. Her personality, like her drumming style, could be summed up as dynamic and voraciously enthusiastic, with an emphasis on the simple pleasure of making music.

music! I think we were trying to make sure we had something to do that wasn’t in those streets. We stick to a tightness and thickness which is all about the drums and the bass line.

TOM TOM MAGAZINE: VALERIE, I HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT I AM THRILLED TO MEET YOU. AS A WOMAN OF COLOR WITH A DEEP LOVE FOR MUSIC MADE BY OTHER WOMEN, I WAS OVER THE MOON WHEN I HEARD ABOUT ESG AS A TEENAGER AND I’VE LOVED YOUR MUSIC EVER SINCE. VALERIE SCROGGINS:

And in the industry, you’re trying to come up in a place that’s male-dominated and sometimes it’s hard to be taken seriously, even if you’re just as good as anybody else. Playing the drums has always been a male-dominated field, which is why I’m glad Tom Tom exists.

Well I’m delighted to meet you too! And it’s such an honor to be able to interview with Tom Tom. Seriously, you guys are doing some really cool things! THANKS! FIRST THINGS FIRST, LET’S TALK ABOUT GENRE. HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE ESG? ESG is a bit of

everything really. At the end of the day, music is music. It comes from the heart and the mind; it doesn’t matter to me as much. If I had to use one word I’d say we’re pretty funky! [laughs] HOW DID YOU AND YOUR SISTERS GET STARTED MAKING MUSIC? The way

WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING IN NEW YORK DURING THAT HUGE EXPLOSION OF PUNK AND THE BEGINNINGS OF HIP-HOP? It was so great during that

time period. All the punk music was going on and it was so different than what we knew in the South Bronx. It was good for us, I think. WHAT WERE SOME OBSTACLES YOU FACED COMING UP IN THE INDUSTRY AS A WOMAN OF COLOR? A lot of financial struggles growing up.

“I THINK DRUMS ARE DRUMS. IT DOESN’T MATTER WHO’S BEHIND THEM.”

things started happening was music in the household. Growing up in the Bronx, what we heard was James Brown, Patti Labelle, Aretha Franklin, that sort of thing. My drumming is really influenced by those breakdown parts in James Brown songs. I’d take that part and stretch it out for a whole song. The sound comes from being in the street and being around other kids in the parks and stuff like that. I started beatin’ on pots and pans and on my thighs and legs at school. It was just something in me. WHO ARE THE WOMEN IN MUSIC YOU RESPECT NOWADAYS? Oh there are

so many! But I can think of a few off the top of my head. Cora Coleman, Kimberly Thompson, Sheila E, but I guess that dates me [laughs], and Cindy Blackman. SHEILA E IS SO IMPORTANT! SHE’S ONLY DATED IF YOU DON’T KNOW HOW GOOD SHE IS. I WANT TO TALK TO YOU A BIT MORE ABOUT YOUR OWN MUSICAL STYLING. THERE’S SO MUCH JOY AND ENERGY IN YOUR DRUMMING. IT’S LIKE YOU’RE DRUMMING WITH A SMILE ON YOUR FACE THE WHOLE TIME! WHERE DOES THAT COME FROM? Well, there was so much crime happening

in the streets [in the Bronx in the late ’70s], and my mom didn’t want us out there and I wanted a drum set. We started doing our own thing. The energy was youthful and excited. We started writing songs in 1976. We just [snaps] started making our own

YOU TALKED ABOUT FINANCES BEING A CHALLENGE. YOU ALL RELEASED A HILARIOUSLY-TITLED ALBUM SAMPLE CREDITS DON’T PAY OUR BILLS. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT YOUR OWN MUSICAL INFLUENCE AND BEING COMPENSATED FOR THAT?

Well the thing about that Sample Credits album is that we were seeing all these people love our music and not know it was even us! But it’s still pretty cool. One time in Paris after a show this male drummer walked up to me and told me, “I’m playing the drums because of you.” I couldn’t believe it! He was so serious. I was stunned. It’s times like that that make it alright, I guess. WHO DID YOU TURN TO FOR SUPPORT WHEN THINGS GOT HARD? My mother

Helen Scroggins. Always. She was the one who told us to play and got us started up and everything. She’s not with us anymore, she passed in 2001. I’M SORRY TO HEAR THAT. SHE MUST HAVE BEEN A REALLY COOL LADY TO LET YOU ALL GET WEIRD AND EXPERIMENTAL TOGETHER. She really, really

was.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG WOMEN DRUMMERS COMING UP NOW, ESPECIALLY YOUNG WOMEN OF COLOR? I say practice, practice,

practice, and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t play. Start on the high hat and everything else will fall into place. And as far as young women of color, I think drums are drums. It doesn’t matter who’s behind them. Hey, do you play? NOT REALLY, BUT I GUESS I SHOULD? Yeah girl! If music makes you

this happy, you should be making it I think, and that goes for everybody!


EMMANUELLE CAPLETTE PLAYING IN THE POCKET BY J ENIF ER R UA NO PH OT OS C OU RT ESY OF A RT IST


EMMANUELLECAPLETTE.COM

WE OFTEN ASK OUR FEATURED DRUMMERS to name other influential

female percussionists; French-Canadian Emmanuelle Caplette makes the list again and again. Caplette began her percussion career as a snare drummer in her local drum and bugle corps before she had even finished elementary school. Since studying pop and jazz drumming at Drummondville College and the University of Montreal, she’s gone on to tour with pop singers, win a multitude of awards, rock music festivals, and even create music for television. With an impressive body of work and a talent that shines through everything she does, Caplette has made a career of sharing her passion for the beat. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: WHAT SPARKED YOUR FASCINATION WITH THE DRUMS AT SUCH AN EARLY AGE AND AT WHAT POINT DID YOU REALIZE DRUMS WOULD BECOME YOUR CAREER? EMMANUELLE CAPLETTE: An old friend

invited me into a drum corps rehearsal when I was nine years old. The first time I hit a snare I knew right away that I wanted to play music for a living. I went on to play snare drum for eight years for several Quebec bands. But what really pushed me even more was when I won my first snare individual contest in 1994.

YOU MET PRODUCER GUY TOURVILLE WHEN YOU WERE HIRED TO PLAY MUSIC FOR A KID’S PROGRAM CALLED THE BROCO SHOW WITH ANNIE BROCCOLI. HOW WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORKING WITH HIM ON YOUR FIRST TWO SINGLES? Guy is one of the greatest producers in Montreal. He

always encouraged me to improve myself. He was the first one to tell me, “You have a constant snare sound. You play the right thing at the right place.” He often asks me to record new singles with pop artists. YOU HAVE AMAZING SKILLS! WHAT IS YOUR SECRET TO MAKING IT LOOK SO EASY? Practice as much as you can! Practicing your rudiments

is such a benefit for drumming in general. Having good hand technique is also good to prevent injury like tendinitis. I practice good technique to help build endurance, fluidity, stamina, precision, and interpretation.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF DRUMMING? I enjoy so many

styles! However my comfort zone is pop, rock, funk, R&B and jazz. My favorite thing to play is the back beat. Play in the pocket! WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR CURRENT PROJECTS? Recently I have been

keeping busy with drum clinics. I am currently on tour in Atlantic Canada (New Brunswick). I am also working on my online drum lessons through videos and writing exercises. It takes a lot of time to do it, but I work this around my gigs. WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST CAREER-RELATED MOMENT SO FAR? My

first experience at the Jutra Awards (Live on CBC French in 2007). Normand Brathwaite (a popular MC in the Montreal area) called me to ask onto a contract. I thought it was a joke, I couldn’t believe it! There was a lot of pressure since it was a live performance. Furthermore, I had two performances to do at the front of the stage. I said to myself: It’s all or nothing! THAT’S GREAT! HOW OFTEN TO YOU GET TO PRACTICE WITH SUCH A BUSY SCHEDULE? I practice two to three hours max, per rehearsal, when

I actually have the time. If I have time I will do that three times a week, and for me it’s enough! If I practice more than that, I won’t be as efficient. It’s really important for me to see my friends, family, and do sports. It helps me to be more creative in my practice time. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER TO OTHERS ASPIRING TO BECOME CAREER MUSICIANS? What I can say to young drummers is to always

persevere, believe in their dreams. There are times where nothing seems to go right or happen, these are the moments where you need to stay the most positive. Never give up. Having a great attitude is key. Specifically for drumming, it is important to practice with a metronome as often as you can, play with other musicians, expand your craft by listening to other music and styles, and take lessons from different teachers. But most importantly, be yourself!

37


GETTING EVEN / THEEVENS.COM

TALKIN’ LUDWIG, PUNK ROCK, & FAMILY GONE MAD WITH

AMY FARINA OF THE EVENS BY BR ADLEY DEAN / PH O T O BY E RI K D I XON

Since 2001, Amy Farina and Ian MacKaye have been making catchy minimalist indie-rock in their band The Evens. The two have been fixtures of the Washington, D.C. music scene for years, as members of such bands as the Teen Idles, Minor Threat, Skewbald, Embrace, Egg Hunt, The Warmers and Fugazi. An impressive roster, certainly, but the Evens stand on their own, and have done so for over a decade. Their third full-length, The Odds, was just released, and I was fortunate enough to speak with the talented drummer/singer, Amy Farina.

“ANYTHING I COME ACROSS THAT I CAN’T DO, I WILL DO AND DO AND DO AGAIN UNTIL I CAN”

TOM TOM MAGAZINE: AT WHAT AGE DID YOU BEGIN DRUMMING? WAS THERE ANY PARTICULAR EVENT THAT SPARKED YOUR INTEREST? AMY FARINA: My

YOU HAVE THIS TERRIFICALLY UNIQUE, SYNCOPATED STYLE OF PLAYING. ARE THERE ANY EXERCISES THAT YOU FIND HELPFUL? Thanks for saying “ter-

brother, the hero of my youth—musical and otherwise—acquired a drum set when I was around 12 or 13. It was a mid ’60s Ludwig, blue marine pearl kit that we still have. When I first saw it in the garage, I became deeply curious, and when I first sat behind it I was transformed. That, punk, and a family gone mad, put it all together for me.

MOST DRUMMERS ARE TAUGHT TO “LOCK IN” WITH THE BASS PLAYER IN A BAND CONTEXT. HOW DOES THE LACK OF A BASS GUITAR INFORM YOUR DRUMMING APPROACH? DO YOU WRITE THE BEATS FOR THE EVENS’ SONGS FROM A TOTALLY DIFFERENT ANGLE THAN YOU DID, SAY, FOR THE WARMERS?

True, there is no bass guitar in the band, but there are no shortage of bass grooves to lock in with. Ian plays a baritone guitar in The Evens, and he was a bass player in the Teen Idles before he ever played guitar in a band. So, low-end rhythmic lines come naturally and abundantly from him, and finding something to lock in with has never been an issue. Probably the most significant factor influencing my drum approach in this band is that I sing while simultaneously playing—which I had never done in a band prior to this one. That substantially shapes how/what/ when I play. 38

rifically.” I find any and all exercises helpful and interesting. Anything I come across that I can’t do, I will do and do and do again until I can. And then do more of it, until it is ultimately effortless. I imagine that’s pretty common among people who really want to learn their instrument. Breathing is also something I continually try to work on. I think it became more of a necessity once I started to sing while I play—now, in addition to all four appendages, from the belly up has to be in some sort of congruity with everything else, too. In the frenzy of it all, it’s easy to let breathing be the first thing to go, but making sure the air is circulating to all reaches seems to be an effective way of keeping it together. CAN WE LOOK FORWARD TO AN EVENS TOUR TO SUPPORT YOUR NEW ALBUM? We’ve got some Northeast U.S. dates on the calendar right

now, and are planning on more soon. Not entirely sure where we’re going to end up, but we hope to make it everywhere.

SEE T H E F U L L INT ERVIEW ON T OMT OMMA G .C OM


THE ROCK STAR TREE A CONVERSATION WITH MASHA MAYER OF LUNIC

YOU COME FROM A MUSICAL FAMILY AND YOU STARTED OUT AS A CLASSICALLY TRAINED PIANO PLAYER. HOW DID YOU BECOME A DRUMMER?

It’s really weird that I ended up being a drummer because my family was really conservative. I mean, I [still] don’t think they’re happy with me being a drummer! When I was about 20 years old, I went to a show with my friends and I really liked the drummer. So I figured I’d ask him to give me a lesson. Once I tried it I was like, Oh god, that’s great! AND THEN YOU JUST STARTED TO PURSUE IT ON YOUR OWN?

BY J E SSE SPOSATO PHOTO BY ASHLE Y SH EPA R D

Aspiring musicians pretty much grow on trees in cities like New York, but musicians who are willing to put in the work and time— no matter the obstacles that lay ahead—are rare. Having grown up in Russia with a classically trained, musical family, Masha Mayer came to NYC to reinvent herself as a rock drummer. When things didn’t pan out the way she had hoped, Mayer took a job as a live-in nanny in New Jersey. While there, she rode her bike to the closest music store in order to take drum lessons. She biked an eighteen-mile round trip three times a week until she started to become the kick-ass drummer she is today. I spoke to Mayer on the three-year anniversary of her moving to NYC, just days before her current electro rock band Lunic dropped their latest album, Future Sex Drama. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HOW DID LUNIC BEGIN? MASHA MAYER: I met [Kaitee] at a party in Manhattan. There were

a bunch of musicians hanging out and jamming together and I ended up jamming with [her]. We really hit it off, and we’ve been playing together ever since.

We didn’t really get along at all, but he gave me a few drum lessons and that’s how it started. In America there are a lot of girl drummers, [but] in Russia it’s still really rare. He used to tell me, “You better quit, there’s no way girls can play well,” you know, typical stuff. So that really set me off. So at first it became about wanting to prove myself. WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE FOR YOU WHEN YOU FIRST GOT TO NEW YORK?

It was tough, but I was really excited to be here. I didn’t know anybody, literally anybody. The first day I went and bought a Russian newspaper in Brighton Beach because I didn’t speak any English yet, and I just started looking for jobs and apartments. I noticed these ads for housekeepers and nannies in New Jersey, and all I needed to do was call this Russian agency. So I called, and the same day they found a family. I worked there for five months, and [I saved] all the money I made and moved back to NYC. First I rented a drum studio, and then I rented a room. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AND FOR LUNIC?

I really want to be a good musician, and a high quality performer, so I’m working on that a lot. And for Lunic, we really want to tour, so that’s what we’re going to do!

39


OPEN WIDE / MAGICMOUTH.NET

MAGIC MOUTH

BY M ARY EMILY O ’H ARA / P HOTO BY ME G AN HOLME S

FULL NAME: ANA MARGARITA BRISEÑO AGE: 26 HOMETOWN: FIVE POINTS RANCH, CA LIVES IN: PORTLAND, OR PAST BANDS: SEXHAIR, GOLDEN HOURS, FAERIE TALK CURRENT BANDS: REYNOSA, MAGIC MOUTH GEAR: BIRCH YAMAHA STAGE CUSTOM KIT WITH VINTAGE SLINGERLAND SNARE, VINTAGE ZILDJIAN HI HATS & RIDE, GÜIRO & COWBELL. FAVORITE FOOD: MOULES-FRITES (FRENCH FRIES AND MUSSELS). TEQUILA. ANYTHING MY MOM COOKS! SHE’S AMAZING. FAVORITE BAND: MOTHER POPCORN I’M SITTING IN ANA BRISEÑO’S LIVING ROOM in North Portland, through

which a steady stream of housemates and friends constantly pass. A cluttered assortment of art projects lay everywhere I look. On a makeshift worktable, Briseño checks her email next to a pile of leather scraps and tools. As dogs circle the floor beneath us, I’m instructed to plug in my computer behind a messy, elaborate altar set up in a shoebox on the floor. This cozy chaos is just an everyday element of the work/life environment of this young artist, whose calendar is packed with shows, tours, and recording dates. Having just returned from an intensive North American tour with Gossip, Briseño’s band Magic Mouth are getting ready to hit the road again with JD Samson’s MEN for a series of Northwest dates. Between tours with Magic Mouth, Briseño somehow finds time to drum in Reynosa, an allgirl Mexican cumbia punk trio that hopes to soon tour South America. Briseño says she was born into music. “We always had music blasting when I was a kid—cumbia and rancheras. My parents don’t speak English, so primarily what we listened to was in Spanish.” The 26-year-old Mexican-American drummer grew up on a farm near Fresno, California. It was there that she discovered

punk, the genre that would unite her unique variety of tastes. “I started going to Fresno at 13, to San Francisco at 16. I saw the Yeah Yeah Yeahs open for Deerhoof when I was 17,” says Briseño, emphasizing that the show changed her life. “I’d been going to punk shows that were dominated by dudes. [Karen O] would spit beer at the audience. I was watching a lady be badass and reckless on stage.” Briseño credits supportive parents for allowing her to skip her quinceañera. “I wanted a drum set instead of a party,” says Briseño, who began playing the drums in her bedroom on the farm. Soon after, she started playing with anyone who’d play with her. At first the music was “mostly punk... whatever the guitarists wanted. I would try to play mostly with girls, so sometimes it sounded a lot like riot grrrl stuff.” Fast forward to 2012, and Briseño is still drumming away. Having completed a degree at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, Briseño is now free to pour all of her energy into rocking out. Her previous bands Fairy Talk, Chrome Wings, and Golden Hours all have releases available through local Northwest labels, like Eggy Records. But for the past two years, Magic Mouth has been “the gay house party band.” Briseño and her three bandmates fill a void in a scene that she finds lacking a queer presence. Regardless of identities, it’s the band’s sound and soul-punk energy that is responsible for their increasing popularity. For Briseño, the tour with Gossip strengthened her resolve to stay connected to a supportive music community whil pursuing her music dreams. “When I played more in straight bands to straight audiences, I’d hear dudes saying ‘you’re good for a girl’ and stuff,” she says. “But now I’ve distanced myself from any scene where that is [considered] acceptable.” Reynosa has a 7” out on M’Lady Records. Magic Mouth is preparing to release a single on Fast Weapons, the label run by Gossip guitarist Nathan Howdeshell.


SITTING ON EM / NEEDLESXPINS.TUMBLR.COM

SITTING ON NEEDLES & PINS PHOTOS AN D W OR DS BY J OH N CA R L OW

I’m hanging out with Macey Budgell, one third of Vancouver BC trio Needles & Pins, at her restaurant Budgie’s Burritos. Tucked away in the Mount Pleasant district of Vancouver, Budgie’s was one of the first vegetarian burrito places in town. Her personality is much like the band she plays in: infectious, fun, and hard to ignore. I’ve seen Needles & Pins twice live and I found an instant appeal in their sound. Macey finds it hard to nail down their sound in words: “Garagey, poppy, …catchy?” She particularly has trouble describing the sound of her band to her mom. I suggest “kind of like Buddy Holly, but on speed.” I ask her where it all began, wondering if I’ll hear a “pots and pans as a child” story. As a nine-year-old in Saskatoon, “Budgie” was first exposed to the drums by her dad’s best friend. “Uncle Hans” gave Macey a few informal lessons drawing on his experience and wisdom as a professional drummer. Macey ventured to Vancouver as a 17-year-old in 1993, but wouldn’t touch the drums again until she was 27, when a drum kit showed up at her house. “I remember thinking to myself, what am I going to do with my life? I’m either going to work at trying to be a rock star or I’m going to open my own business.” Macey always knew she wanted to be her own boss. Years later, faithful regulars and a staff of which she speaks fondly are no doubt glad she chose this path. “Everything just sort of fell into place once I really thought about it.” About three years ago, current band-mates Tony X and Adam

Ess approached Macey about playing in Needles & Pins. “They’re the nicest guys in the whole world,” she says, quite convincingly. “We are very lucky, our personalities match and it’s never weird with us.” The band’s full length release bears Macey’s image on the cover. Her inner lip is exposed, with the tattoo “12:34” on the inside. “I see 12:34 as a sign that you should always be moving forward. When bad things happen, I see 11:11. But 12:34 seemed a good name and underlying positive theme for the band’s release.” On stage Macey sports an “eyes down” style which she claims keeps her focused and not looking off stage for friends. Unlike some bands, she doesn’t believe she as the drummer is the pivot in a live performance. She confesses that the boys are the creative and technical side of the band. “I wanted this to be fun and easy, because you need an escape from reality.” When we drift into talking about music in the ’80s, I ask for her thoughts on electric drums. “Best invention in the entire universe, and it changed my life because now I practice all the time. It’s just easier to play electric, though I would never perform or even jam with them.” As I leave, the sky breaks just as Needles & Pins by the Ramones enters into my head. R EA D T H E F U L L INT ERVIEW ONL INE W W W.T OMT OMMA G .C OM


BEVERLEYJOHNSTON.COM

ONE DRUMMER ONE QUESTION BY M IN DY AB OV IT Z P ORT R AI T S BY GEO RGE F ERRAN D I

BEV JOHNSTON

Canadian Music Centre Ambassador

WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CREATE? Art in general drives me to create. When I’m looking at visual art in a gallery, I find it as inspirational as listening to my favorite orchestral work, my favorite marimba solo, or even going to my favorite restaurant, knowing that the chef can work magic with different ingredients to create a wonderful meal. The art of creating is an ineffable combination of passion, style, structure, energy and emotion. I know that I have chosen music because it’s what I have the passion to do and I am constantly learning, even at my age, knowing that creation is a continuum.

Canadian Beverley Johnston is internationally recognized for her virtuosic and dynamic performances on a wide range of percussion instruments. She combines classical transcriptions with contemporary music and a touch of theatre. She has released five solo CDs and can also be heard as soloist and chamber musician on numerous other recordings. Johnston currently teaches at the University of Toronto and lives in rural Ontario with her husband, composer Christos Hatzis. Johnston is sponsored by Marimba One and Paiste.

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APRILCENTRONE.COM

APRIL CENTRONE of New York Arabic Orchestra

HOW DO YOU LISTEN WHEN YOU PLAY? Intently and lovingly! Drumming is all about listening to everyone and playing with each person’s melody and ornaments. I love Arabic music, so I listen as an audience member, experiencing the same ecstasy as they do. I am originally a drum set player. The riqq, which came before the invention of the drum set, gives me all the same tools in my two hands and ten fingers. It allows me to play upon the luscious and mysterious subtleties of Arabic music, while giving me the power to command an entire 40 piece orchestra, leading rhythm and tempo.

April Centrone is one of the leading classical Arabic percussionists in America. She has performed with renowned Arab artists such as Marcel Khalife, Bassam Saba and Najib Shaheen. She began playing drum set and western percussion at the age of 9. Since then she has performed in garage rock bands, jazz bands, pit bands, classical orchestras, and marching bands. Centrone holds a MA in psychology from John Jay College and began the first music therapy program at a prominent NY children’s psychiatric center.

43


I L LU S T R AT I ONS BY K EL LY A B EL N

T EC H N I Q UE

AUXILIARY PERCUSSION WITH A KIT GROOVE BY MOR G A N DOC T OR

I am often playing in situations where I have a hybrid percussion kit, or an auxiliary percussion setup that I can access while I still hold a groove down on the kit. Here is an example of a groove that combines both auxiliary percussion and the drum kit. Use your right hand on the hi-hat and snare (figure A) and your left hand on a conga or djembe (figure B). Ideally, the percussion is situated just left of the hi-hat for an easier reach. Good luck, and have fun!

KEY

PLAY THIS

TONE BASS SLAP

AUX PERCUSION WITH BEAT AUX PERCUSSION WITH BEAT

FIGURE A figureA

CONGA LINE played with left hand CONGA LINE

(PLAY WITH LEFT HAND)

FIGURE B figureB

1

E

A

2E

A

3E

Morgan Doctor is a jazz/rock drummer who has toured the world and recorded with artists such as Andy Kim, The Cliks, Bob Wiseman and The Tea Party. Morgan has also shared the stage with Cyndi Lauper, B-52’s, Indigo Girls, the Gossip, Debbie Harry, Feist, and many more. 44

A

4E +

1

E

A

2E +

A

3+

4

+


FERNANDATERRA.COM FERNANDATERRA.COM

COORDINATION AND INDEPENDENCE IN SAMBA BY FER NA NDA T ER R A

PLAY THIS

The samba is a musical genre that came to Brazil with the slaves from Africa during the colonial era. Its popularity spread throughout the entire country, helping it to become the de facto national rhythm. It is still played across Brazil regularly, especially during Carnaval. There are several types of samba. This exercise is an introduction to the rhythmic pattern, the flow/ feel in which samba is played. It is important to first develop the foot pattern, which you may have already learned from the samba exercises in previous Tom Tom issues. After you get down the foot pattern, develop the hand pattern on top. The last two examples are a traditional samba variation that I created as a groove for my thrash metal band, Nervosas.

45


IMPORTANT DRUM TIPS BY J YN YAT ES

There are many interesting physical experiences a drummer will go through during the course of their career. Drummers play the oldest, most brutal instrument, leaving our bodies and equipment vulnerable to accidents. The best piece of advice I can give drummers is to be prepared, and never forget Mark Twain’s quote— “Apparently, there is nothing that cannot happen today.” Here are some tips:

Pack a First Aid Kit

Over the years, I’ve lost more blood than Dracula’s victims by slicing my fingers on rims and cymbals. A kit with bandaids, antiseptic lotion, and some gauze goes a long way.

Pack extra drumheads

Twice in my life, I have had the pleasure of kicking a hole through my kick drumhead on the very first song of the show. I didn’t have a back up drumhead the first time, so my drum tech turned my floor tom into a kick. Using a floor tom definitely changes the sound of song, but being unprepared, I had no other choice.

Always double-check the drum tech’s work

Before every show, I always double-check the drum hardware to make sure it is tightened properly. One time, I was so exhausted I forgot to check the legs on the floor tom. Two songs into the set, the floor tom fell and rested upon my kick drum leg. I still finished out the song, but it was quite the workout. Cymbals have fallen at inappropriate times, and the most annoying mishap of all is losing your kick drum pedal due to loose hardware. If you kick a bass drum with your foot, it does not sound the same.

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Always pay attention to drum stick height

If you haven’t hit yourself in the face yet with a drumstick, it is bound to happen. I’ll never forget when I smacked myself in the forehead while wearing sunglasses. The stick not only split the sunglasses in half and sent them flying across the room, but it also left a huge mark. Special note to the ladies: watch your girls around hi-hats. In the next issue of Tom Tom, we will talk more in depth about rare, but extreme, situations. Yes, it can get worse! Some of these tips can hopefully help save you from problems and enable you to focus on the main job at hand— sounding and playing great.


DOUBLE STROKE ROLL & THE DOWN UP SQUEEZE BY Z A NETA SYK ES

Exercise #2: The Down Up Squeeze Sounds like a Cindy Crawford workout, doesn’t it? Well it is—for your fingers. Keep your arm and wrist firm. Don’t bend the wrist, and keep it stable to isolate the fingers. Next, throw the stick down so that it’s pointed up at a 45-degree angle. Once in this position, use your fingers to squeeze the stick to create the second stroke of the double. Then try with the other hand. Play singles, doubles, and paradiddles. Once you are comfortable with the basic motion, try setting the metronome at 50 bpm, gradually increasing the tempo. Listen carefully to your playing; the goal is to redefine your doubles so that the second stroke has more energy than the first.

The double stroke roll is one of my favorite rudiments. It’s versatile and in many cases it separates the amateurs from the pros. This is a routine that I start students on; it is designed to build finger muscle and control, continuity through the arms, and power to the second stroke of each double. You may find your double stroke rolls are weak because the second stroke doesn’t have the same energy as the first. Instead of using wrist strokes, where the power comes from the wrists, I use arms to continue playing the underlying rhythm while my fingers ‘snap’ the second stroke on the way up. Exercise #1: Stick Snaps Hold one stick by each ear, so that the sticks are parallel to the ground. Then, using only your fingers to control the stick, open and close your fingers so that the stick “snaps” against the inside of your palms. If you’re doing this correctly, you should hear a “snap.” Once you’ve got the hang of it, do single strokes, doubles, and then paradiddles using this “snap” technique. As always, practice slowly and stretch afterward.

Zaneta Sykes is percussionist, educator, and composer. She has performed with a broad range of artists from Alicia Keys to Michael Tilson Thomas. Currently, she teaches through Play Music in Brooklyn. In her spare time, she enjoys field recording, hiking, and ambient electronica. For more information about Zaneta and Play Music, visit www.zanetasykes.com and www.playmusicnyc.org.

The Down Up Squeeze

PLAY THIS

by Zaneta Sykes

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HARD AND SOFT WORDS OF WISDOM: PACKING YOUR KIT BY F R ED A R MISEN I LLU STRATIONS BY G EOR G E F ER R A NDI

Comedian, Portlandia star, and musician Fred Armisen knows a thing or three about lugging a drum kit around on tour. He also seems to know quite a bit about mountain gorillas. Here he shares some tips that will save you from going ape sh*t.

HARD SHELL

This is a bit of equipment advice. It’s about not buying things you don’t need, and also about making the huge drag of carrying drum equipment a little easier. I’ve spent some years playing in a band and touring the country in a van. The physics of cargo/passenger vans and drum equipment are pretty much the same as always, so here are some suggestions about packing and protecting your drums. It’s actually advice, but I don’t like using the word advice. These are words of wisdom based on all the time I spent carrying heavy things in and out of vans and clubs. Hard shell cases vs. soft drum bags Don’t waste your money on hard cases. I made the mistake of buying individual cases for each drum, as if they were going to be thrown around by mountain gorillas. I think that drums can withstand anything. I’ve never seen one bent out of shape because of a lack of protection. Hard shell cases tend to make it all that much heavier. They seem light in a drum shop, but it all adds up. Soft cases are sufficient (protection from moisture) and also pack away easier when they’re not being used. The same goes for cymbal

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SOFT SHELL

bags. Plastic cymbal cases have a tendency to crack over time. I will say though, I prefer a hard case for the snare drum. Just because. Hardware I used to buy those double-bracket cymbal stands. You know the ones I’m talking about? With the extra thick double legs? Why did I get those? As if they were going to be stomped on by mountain gorillas. I don’t know what other reference to use other than mountain gorillas, by the way. I tried a few others, but they didn’t paint the picture I wanted it to. I almost said “sea monsters”, but that brings to mind the sea, and I can’t imagine drums are ever transported under water. …Anyway, I don’t know why hardware like that is even made. Unnecessary and too heavy for carrying. Try to get the most light, simple stands. That’s all you need. They’re metal and they’re not going anywhere. Oh, except for your drum seat. That one should be extra sturdy. Hardware cases Recently, I found some good hardware cases that are smaller than usual, and bought two of them. I’d rather carry more things that are light, as opposed to one big heavy case. The big ones seem easy in a store, especially with wheels. The smaller ones fit more easily into spaces in vehicles, which I would say is pretty important. On the other side of hardware case technology, avoid using suitcases and duffel bags. Suitcases fall apart quickly under the strain of all that metal, and the handles aren’t designed for it. Duffel bags turn your hardware into a camouflaged knee-weapon. I’ve seen some innovative hardware cases in music stores that seem like they’d be worth the investment.


tomtom-winter-2012-issue.pdf

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11/18/12

BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR TIMPANI BY KRI STE N G LE E SON - PRATA

Timpani, also known as kettledrums, are large, traditionally copper drums. They require many of the same techniques as kit and rudimental drumming, but also demand a keen ear for pitch. There are a number of important things to remember when first approaching these beautiful drums.

Position Most timpanists set up their

drums from low to high, but some do the opposite, perhaps to mimic the toms on a drumset. Check out both, and see what works for you. You can sit or stand, but either way, make sure that you can easily reach each drum with a simple twist of the torso and get to each of the pedals with your feet. With a comfortable bend of the elbow, the heads of your timpani mallets should strike the drums about four inches from the rim.

Tuning Many find this to be the most

difficult part of playing timpani. If you’re lucky enough to be playing on timpani with tuning gauges, you won’t have to rely on your ear as much. The first step to tuning is to make sure you’re playing the notes on the drums with the correct ranges. Most drums have a range of a perfect fifth to an octave, so be sure you get to know what notes sound good on each drum. Going one by one, push the heel of the pedal all the way down, and lower your ear to the head. Lightly flick or tap the head to hear the pitch of the drum. While listening to the pitch, press the top of the pedal with your toes to tighten the head and bring the pitch up to the desired note. If you need to change the pitch of any of the drums in the middle of the piece, find a rest in the music. If you need to tune a drum to a lower note, always bring the pitch lower than the desired note and then raise it back up. It helps to be able to sing intervals so that you can tune the first drum using a reference note (or a pitchfork or tuning pipe), and tune the rest off of that note.

Grip German and French are the two

most common grips for timpani playing. In German grip (sometimes referred to as match grip), the back of the hand faces up, and the thumb is placed on the side of the stick. In French grip, the wrist is rotated outward so that the thumb faces up. You can also use a mix of these two in what is called American grip. Striking and Rolling. Different tones can be produced depending on where you strike the head. The tone is roundest and fullest about four inches fromC the rim. It can be made thinner by M moving out towards the edge, and a Y staccato sound can be produced by CM playing towards the middle of the head. To produce a clear sounding roll, useMY single strokes as opposed to doublesCYor bounces. CMY

Muting Drums and drumheads of this K

size produce a long sustain. Muting is necessary to prevent overlap or dissonance between two notes. Since you have two hands and will most likely play only one note at a time, you can use the other hand to mute the previous note. Do this by quietly pressing or sweeping the pads of your fingers on or across the drumhead. This must be done silently so that it doesn’t sound like an accidental strike. Like with playing any other kind of drum, be sure to make timpani playing your own. Experiment by using different mallets or sticks, placing different felts, cymbals or percussion instruments on the head to produce new sounds, and striking the rims and sides of the drums. As with all classical percussion, there’s the “correct” or “orchestral” way to play timpani, and then there’s your way. Have fun! 49


D.I.Y DRUM WORKOUT V 4.0 BY S T EP H B ARKE R ILLUST RATI ON BY KAREN C OD D

THIS WORKOUT REQUIRES: • A CYMBAL STAND • A SNARE • A GOOD ATTITUDE

This is roughly a 20-25 minute workout. These 10 moves can all be done in your practice space, using your drum equipment as your weights. The key is to do 3 strength moves, 2 cardio moves, and 1 ab move, in that order. Repeat that cycle 3 times, and you’ve got an intense 20-minute body buster. Winter is here! Let’s keep in shape. Keep an eye out for Version 5.0 in the next issue.

2. DEADLIFT WITH ANTERIOR SHOULDER RAISE

ST RE NG TH : Pick the cymbal stand you are most comfortable with and use it for all the strength moves. The crash is typically lighter than the ride stand, so keep that in mind when selecting your stand. Your crash stand will typically weigh 8-10 lbs, and your ride stand will weigh 10-12 lbs. Your stands should be completely closed and as streamlined as possible.

Grab a cymbal stand in both hands, palms facing down, arms down. Stand with your legs hip width apart. Keep your chest up, back flat, and knees slightly bent. Slowly lower down, bending at the hip until your cymbal stand reaches your knee. Slowly rise back up, chest up, and raise the cymbal stand up, keeping your arms straight out in front of you. Do not lock your elbows. Raise it up to eye level, and then bring it back to the starting position to repeat. As I mentioned, if you feel any back pain during a deadlift, do not do this move. Form is extremely important. Repeat 20x.

Stand with your feet a little wider than hip width apart. Hold your snare drum in both hands behind your head. Your elbows should held close to your ears and arms, bent at 90 degrees. Inhale and lower into a squat. Do not lean over your toes. Sit back on your heels, chest up, with a neutral spine. Exhale, and stand back up. Extend your elbows to lift the drum straight over your head. Repeat 20x.

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1. JUMPING JACKS

This is a high school gym class classic. Stand with your arms at your side, and when you begin jumping, bring your legs out to the side, and your arms up over your head. Touch them if you can. You should be making a big “X” when you jump. Repeat for 30 seconds.. 2. MOUNTAIN CLIMBERS

They’re back! Get into plank position, and bring one leg in at a time. You want to bring your knee into your chest, and speed is the key. Basically, you are running in plank position. Keep your back flat and do not lift your butt up in the air. No cheaters! Repeat for 30 seconds.

ABS: 1. LEG LIFT

3. SIDE LUNGE WITH ROTATION 1. SQUAT WITH TRICEP EXTENSION

CARDIO:

Hold your snare drum in both hands at your chest, close in. Start with your legs together, and then step out with your right leg. Bend your knee to create a 90-degree angle, with your chest up and a neutral spine. Make sure your knee does not go over your toes. From here, rotate your torso to the right, and then back to center. Rise up from your right leg, and return to center. Repeat with your left side. Repeat 15x on each leg.

Lie on the ground, flat on your back. Keep your arms at your side, and put your hands under your butt. Keep your head on the ground, look up at the ceiling and make sure to relax your neck. Lift your legs in the air so that they create a 90-degree angle with your body. Lower them back down, but do not touch the ground! If you want, put your snare drum under your feet so that you can tap it and raise your legs back up again for the next repetition. Repeat 25x.


GEAR REVIEWS

THE L ATEST ON THE GREATEST / GEARHEADS

TOP PICK

PEARL DEMON DRIVE PEDAL pearldrum.com/demondrivelive

GRADO PRESTIGE SERIES MODEL SR325IS gradolabs.com

The Good: These Grados have an awesome steampunk vibe—very Buck Rogers, late 1920s sci-fi feel. They have a nice heft to them and they look like they were made by real engineers. The cables are nice and sturdy, as is the overall feel. These are James Bond headphones. The sound is pretty awesome as well, although not quite as good as the wooden Grados, which border on being beautiful acoustic instruments crafted by wizard-like artisans. The Bad: If you’re not into that retro thing, that analog tape thing, the I love my obscure vinyl Ghost World thing, then you may not like these very much. The Ugly: Don’t expect sound cancellation, cool LED lights, lots of accessories, or pictures of pink skulls. These are classic, old school, and happily divorced from modernisms. The Bottom Line: Grado is an awesome company that makes sweet headphones that are full of vibe and soul. If you don’t get this model you owe it to yourself to get one of Grado’s other models—they rock. — Rony Abovitz (The Big Bro)

Pearl has introduced their Demon Chain pedal, which features all the functions of the Demon Drive, but with the power and feel of a chain drive. The Demon pedals use Ninja Skateboard bearings, which are micro polished low friction bearings for increased speed and dependability. Another great feature of the Demon Pedals is that they can be set to either a long or short pedal board with their patented duoboard. The demon chain has a super smooth feel and a lot of kick as well as being very adjustable and customizable. The beater angle and pedal board height can be adjusted independently of one another giving you total control of finesse vs. power settings. However with a $600 price tag this pedal definitely doesn’t top the value charts. — Jayne Hensen

SONOR PERFECT BALANCE JOJO MAYER SIGNATURE PEDAL sonor.com

Brand new this year from Sonor is the Perfect Balance pedal . It was developed by Jojo Mayer, who set out to develop a modern day pedal that had the look and feel of a vintage model. They created a pedal that has perfect balance; the initial stroke and beater return happen at the same rate of speed. The pedal features a strap drive and a large linear cam for a super light feel. The pedal also folds up completely flat with the push of a button. Other features include a long footboard, automatic base drum attachment, and completely independently adjustable footboard height and beater throw distance. This pedal is incredibly responsive and articulate, and has the lightest feel out of any pedal I have ever played. What this pedal makes up for in speed and accuracy it loses in power. The strap drive feels very light and makes it hard to really dig into the pedal without feeling like you are going to snap it. If you play jazz, funk, R&B, or pop music. This is the pedal for you. — Jayne Hensen

TAMA SPEED COBRA PEDAL tama.com

FEIYUE SHOES

feiyue-shoes.com Feiyue shoes didn’t even know they were meant for percussion—they have a slick, sleek design and lightweight, grippy soles that are perfect for drumming. I have both Feiyu Lo (tops) and oxfords, and even though I normally play drums barefoot, I found Feiyue had sensitivity and extra grip on the pedals I can’t feel with regular shoes. Despite their lightweight feel they’ve also got great internal support and were super comfortable as street wear. And A+ for Feiyue! — Kate Henderson

The Speed Cobra is Tama’s newest line of pedals. Built with speed and power in mind, the speed cobra has a lighter tension spring and the longest foot board out of almost any pedal on the market today. It has a super light linear cam, and independently adjustable footboard height and beater throw distance. The Tama speed cobra features Tama’s revolutionary “cobra coil,” which is a spring underneath the pedal board that helps return the pedal to playing position, making it faster with less lag. The extralong footboard allows for more power and is perfect for performing heel toe and slide techniques. The entire pedal is incredibly adjustable and allows the user to customize the setup with ease. I have used my speed cobra for all of my gigs ranging from loud and fast punk, to light jazz and pit work. This pedal is incredibly fast, light, and powerful, and when playing heel down it is incredibly sensitive, and packs a monster punch when playing heel up. Plus at only $200 for the single it is a great value. The only down side is that the hard shell case it comes with weighs about twice as much as the pedal, making it a bit of a pain to lug around to gigs, but so worth it!! — Jayne Hensen

DRUMS XD

drumsxd.com Drums XD make a valiant attempt to replicate elements of drumming and audio engineering for the musical hobbyist. Although, the impetus behind the application is a fun and practical idea for the creative musician on the go, this app misses the mark for a few reasons. The interface of the application lacks cohesion and, at times, is completely counter-intuitive. This app can be entertaining but only after repeatedly reading the awkwardly designed direction pages to master the clumsy interface. Drums XD does however have points of value. It’s the only drum app that allows you to record your drums over a track in your iPod library and publish it. Once developing an understanding of the interface, users can create a variety of beats and rhythms. Drum XD also enables you to create multiple drum sets. And, unlike other audio engineering apps currently on the market, Drums XD you can create and record beats with an extensive virtual drum kit. — Kierstie Barr 51


TOP PICK

MUSIC

CRUSHED OUT Want to Give

Cool Clear Water | November 2012

ANNE PACEO QUINTET YôKAÏ

Laborie Jazz Records | October 2012

Anne Paceo is a French percussionist and composer. YôKAÏ is her first quintet record, composed specifically for its musicians (Leonardo Montana: keys, Stephane Kerecki: bass, Antonin Tri Hoang: sax/bass clarinet, Pierre Perchaud: guitar, Anne Paceo: drums/ composition/vox). The album oozes with jazz roots and world influences, a sum of Paceo’s travels and experiences. Paceo is a thoughtful, engaging composer and arranger—especially when writing for guitar and saxophone. She blends tones, ranges, and the line between written music and improvisation. The record evenhandedly features solos from each talented musician (guitarist Pierre Perchaud shines!). But for me, it is Anne’s interaction with each member that brings the record to life. Listen to this: if you want beautiful, thoughtful background music for studying or dinner parties. — Jo Schornikow

When Hoier croons “Silky Jean/ in her room/ sixteen/ Black Sabbath blasting/ 1971,” you are there with our teenage rock heroine in her parents’ house, hoping she’ll hear that 1968 Chevy pull around the corner. Want To Give is a record holding hands with Roy Orbison skipping down the slide guitar highway together. The music is tambourine heaven, beating like angels wings, somewhere out in the Nashville night. Listen to this: “If you wanna honky tonk till around 2 or 3,” as Hank Williams Sr. would say. — Matthew D’Abate

The Odds

Dischord Records | November 2012

If “acoustic post hardcore” was a thing, or if Fugazi got back together to tape an Unplugged (ha!), it might sound like The Evens. Partners Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina sing sparsely arranged, yet provocative songs about workers, socio-economic breakdown, unrest, healthcare, the prison industrial complex, and how they’re all connected, and do it with an understated, but undeniable, righteous rage. MacKaye supplies his trademark angular, eventempo, arpeggiating guitar riffs, strummed and picked aggressively; Farina more than matches him with her off-beat, full-range, and often unpredictable percussion. What they lack in volume they make up in force and intent, with songs that won’t shy away from asking difficult questions, and with a sound that continues to expand the possibilities of so-called folk punk. Listen to this: while spending quality time with a life partner (platonic or romantic) who helps you feel like you can be the change you want to see in the world. — Jamie Varriale Vélez

RAH RAH

SAD HORSE

STREET EATERS

Hidden Pony | October 2012

Water Wing Records | June 2012

Cut the Cord That…Records | September 2012

The newest album by the Canadian indie-rock outfit Rah Rah begs you to prepare your best footwork for their boisterous and emotionally charged beats in songs like “First Kiss.” Rah Rah is stepping out with a new video for “Art and a Wife,” the album’s opening track, a song that rallies the entire feel of the album. You will fall for their melodies in a drippy haze with songs like “I’m a Killer,” completely reeling you in with catchy pop and killer beats. What we get is a big and energetic album that can be as uplifting as anything from a band like The Polyphonic Spree or as fun as The Blow.

Lucky enough to catch the Sad Horse duo midtour this fall, I got an ample dose of much-needed jitter-driven lo-fi punk bathed in NoPo (Portland!) affectation. Elizabeth Venable wails on the kit and into the mic, while Geoff Soule’s catchy and pitchy-as-tree-sap vocals accompany guitar that isn’t so much strummed, but rattled to the bone. On Purple on Purple Makes Purple, Sad Horse totes their trademark disjointed jangle but skittishly delves into melody, including the self-conscious “Harmony”, where Venable’s soft ethereal voice is cut by discordant guitar and yelps of “this ain’t harmony!”

Listen to this: for a trip back to your finer years. — Attia Taylor

Listen to this: Driving around the leaf-bitten fall, banging your palms against the steering wheel, air-drum style. — Anika Sabin

Street Eaters’ Megan March and John No are a drum/bass duo from Berkley and Oakland, CA. Members of Fleshies, Younger Lovers, and Triclops, the two pound the sound that a supergroup of Mecca Normal, Guided by Voices, and Tsunami could produce. March astounds as she shifts complex octaves steadily driving danceable dark beats. No provides a swift and surly, surfy bassline on “Certain Fate” as the two share vocal duties. The quick duet in “Culture War” allows for a colliding protest. All in the course of fifteen minutes and six songs, Street Eaters create a decisive set that seems to play for a much longer duration.

The Poet’s Dead

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Just because you’ve got a fella on a guitar tearing into honky-tonk with heavy gain riffs and a lady drummer punching in beats made for two-stepping with your sweetheart on a sawdust floor, don’t mean they’re working for Jack White. Beyond superficial comparisons, Crushed Out, a big fuzz jangling duo comprised of Frank Hoier and Moselle Spiller, is all heart. Like two big heavy boots stomping on the floor boards, Want To Give is the Grand Ole Opry gone electric.

THE EVENS

Purple on Purple Makes Purple LP

Self-titled

Listen to this: Late at night when force is needed to drive through to morning, through a piracy of shelves and carbon papers, lacquering the pages with perfect pitch and with each pulse, making the zine of your dreams. — Bonnie MacAllister


REVIEWS

TEEN

MORTALS

GRENADINA

Carpark Records | August 2012

Self-released | October 2012

Self-released | August 2012

A symphony of patterned lo-fi synth and drained tones dominates TEEN’s debut album. Rinsed-down ’80s vibes are awash with the vocals of Teeny Lieberson. Lieberson began the framework for In Limbo after playing keyboard for indie-psych band Here We Go Magic in 2008. TEEN, a four piece, has played alongside electro-pop queen Santigold, toured with Hospitality, and received rave reviews. Their new album turns synth noise into a striking aural performance. From the dance alone sounds of “Better”’ down to the dark swirl of “Roses and Wine,” In Limbo beautifully makes you feel young and alive.

Metal is generally considered a genre of popular music, but with two tracks clocking in at over seven minutes long each, this EP’s modal, technically demanding, chestcrushing assault is more Wagner than Slayer. These epic, complex, cryptic, and incredibly dark pieces sound like some kind of metalopera rendering of how it might feel to rage through all five of Kubler-Ross’s stages of grief at the same time. Strangled, screamed, growled vocals and gut-checking changes in tempo and convey emotional overload and desperation. A cerebral and visceral rendering of loss, it feels relentlessly brutal and intuitively true, in a way that’s a good in any genre.

Listen to this: lying on your stomach in your childhood bedroom. — Attia Taylor

Listen to this: while frantically researching resurrection spells. — Jamie Varriale Vélez

Seemingly, Grenadina started calling themselves “girlcore” as a joke, but the songs on the Pretend For Me EP aren’t nearly as lighthearted as the faux-genre name would suggest. The Lawrence, KS, quartet of singer Katie Ford, bassist Mia Morrow, guitarist Steph Castor and drummer Stef Petrozz embody everything from the eerie gravity of the Subhumans (the haunting intro to “Glamour Angst” sounds like a chilling homage to “Wake Up Screaming”) to 1980s guitar heroes. Steph Castor’s quick fingerpicking on “Don’t Flatter Yourself” recalls legendary shredders like Slash and the crunch of “Eight Up” is the sort of gritty punk-meets-metal sound that could make even the most mild-mannered listener pump a fist in belief. Yet, for all the guitar heroics, Pretend For Me is a very rhythmic record. Grenadina may refer to themselves as “girlcore” but they certainly don’t fancy themselves the kind of girls who would sit back and play “nice” music. Perhaps that’s why during “Nice Girls (Finish Last),” Katie Ford roars in her soaring alto, “I guess that makes, me a bitch, huh?” I beg to differ, Katie— this style of music doesn’t make you a bitch, it makes you a force.

In Limbo

Death Ritual EP

Pretend For Me EP

Listen to this: Next time you need an excuse to air drum on your car steering wheel or the empty subway seat in front of you. —Valerie Paschall

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MUSIC

YOUTUBE

L IST C OMPIL ED BY ST EPH BA R K ER

YIPO PERCUSSION ENSEMBLE The Youth Israel Philharmonic Orchestra Percussion Ensemble is performing in what looks like a car dealership, BUT, that is beside the point. These ladies are rockin’ out on marimbas, xylophones, and vibraphones in this video. I have always loved mallet percussion because it combines the technique of snare drum playing with a melodic instrument. This group looks like they are having fun, and that is the best part about this video.

THE GOLDEN BEARS

Search: YIPO Percussion Ensemble

Write It Like You Find It Jealous Butcher Records March 2012

The Golden Bears of Portland, OR is Julianna Bright (The Quails) and her husband Seth Lorinczi (Corin Tucker Band, Circus Lupus). With heavy late ’60s/early ’70s influences, Julianna carries her soft voice in similar style to Allan Clarke of The Hollies, to create a folk sound accompanied by classic rock drums and keyboard. The songs often give off a Glen Campbell country vibe, with an alternative twist. Listen to this: on a prairie train ride to a familiar and loving place you hope is in reach. — Alyssa Holland

INDOOR MARCHING COMPETITION Indoor marching competitions are SO INTENSE. I wish my High School had them. This video ties the topic of last issue, Drum Corps, with this issue, Orchestral. There is a girl who is playing timpani in the pit. When you watch her, you can see her demonstrate many of the techniques that are described in this issue’s timpani piece written by Kristen. Muting, tuning, and much more! Search: Indoor percussion girl timpani

JACQUES DELECLUSE – ETUDE #9 BY MARCELINA SUCHOCKA I sometimes cannot even watch classical snare drum performances because they stress me out! The amount of discipline it requires, and very specific technique is outstanding. Needless to say, Marcelina is holding it down, and she makes it look so easy. The dynamic levels are one thing to look out for in particular. If this was an audition piece, I hope you did well, Marcelina! Search: Jacques Delecluse Marcelina

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REVIEWS

BOOKS ROCKING THE PINK Laura Roppé Seal Press | 2012

Laura Roppé played by other people’s rules most of her life. She married her high school sweetheart, went to law school, had a successful career, and had two adorable daughters, but in her midthirties she decided it was time to follow her true passion — music. Shortly after she wrote and recorded her first album, she found a lump on her breast and had it checked by doctors. She wasn’t concerned — as she says, “bad things never happen to her” — but then she got the phone call no one ever wants to receive. It was breast cancer. This memoir jumps back and forth between Roppé’s life story and her struggle with, and victory over, cancer. In straightforward and honest prose, rife with humor even in dark moments, she shares the rollercoaster ride of beating cancer and following her dreams. She reminds us to live life fully and to appreciate our health, family, friends, and passions. — Rebecca DeRosa

SHE SHREDS MAGAZINE Fabi Reyna

We here at Tom Tom have eagerly awaited the first issue of She Shreds, the magazine about female guitarists and bassists published in Portland, OR, by the fabulous Fabi Reyna. The cover of Issue #1 features guitar hero Corin Tucker in a coat with a faux fur collar and big brass rings on her knuckles. Badass. Inside you’ll find interviews with Scout Niblett and The Hysterics, as well as reviews and information about gear and technique. My favorite piece features three high-profile women in business, sports, and entertainment who you wouldn’t expect to play guitar (you have to read it to find out who they are!) The magazine, as of yet, is quite slim in size, but we hope to see this baby grow. It is currently sold in independent stores in Portland and online at: sheshredsmag. com. — Rebecca DeRosa

DVD SWEET DREAMS

Liro Films Directed by Lisa Fruchtman and Rob Fruchtman Spring 2013

Drumming is a gateway to social and economic healing in the new documentary Sweet Dreams. This film reminds us (if we had forgotten) that music can function as much more than an outlet for creative expression. The main subject of the film is Ingoma Nshya, the first all-female drumming troupe in Rwanda. These women are a testament to the human ability to forgive and rebuild, and their portraits remind the viewer that although the genocide in 1994 is long over, the scars that it caused still remain. The documentary highlights the musicians and their organization as collective business owners of Rwanda’s first ice cream shop — no small feat for anyone. Perhaps the most striking theme in the film, however, is the road to reconciliation that the troupe provides. Through music, the women of Ingoma Nshya are able to begin to move on from the horror of genocide, building new memories with one another. An ice cream shop and a drumming troupe are nothing if not a testament to their strength. — Amy Oden

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DRUMMER’S HEALTH

Acupuncture: A few natural options for when your joints are all rocked out BY KATE HENDER SON & CA RYN H AVL IK I LLU ST R AT ION BY JA MES SMIT H

TIPS • • • • • • •

WARM UP ANTI-INFLAMMATORY FOODS HEALTH CONCERNS “SPZM” MSM HYLAURONIC ACID CURCUMIN (TURMERIC) PROPER BODY MECHANICS

Caryn Havlik has been playing drums for about 19 years, for both love and money, and in the NYC area for about 16 of those years. She is one third of the blackened doom metal band, Mortals, and has played in several other bands including Clinical Trials, Slaywhore, the All Things, and Red Hook Ramblers. In addition, she’s an experienced drum teacher. Kate Henderson is a licensed acupuncturist in New York City, and has been drumming for the past ten years. Kate was a student of Caryn’s, and regularly gives Caryn acupuncture for tendonitis related pain. She practices community acupuncture at Remede Naturopathics in NYC and at Worksong Chinese Medicine in Brooklyn. Tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome and general chronic pain are things no one warns you about when you start drumming. If you neglect proper technique these problems can creep up over the years and cause major obstacles for practicing and performing. Increasingly, acupuncture is becoming popular for musculoskeletal issues like tendonitis because of its effectiveness in controlling symptoms in athletes. Its lack of side effects and simultaneous overall health benefits make it a preferred option over surgery, steroids and NSAIDS. Mainstream advice for joint pain is R.I.C.E.: rest, ice the area, compress with a bandage, and elevate. NSAIDS (Advil, Aleve, etc) are also the usual go-to for most of us. But NSAIDS can cause ulcers and do serious damage to the liver and kidneys over time. Going to the doctor for chronic issues like these often ends in 56

physical therapy and steroid shots to deal with the inflammation in the connective tissue from overuse. Physical therapy can be a huge help for proper strengthening and developing mindful movement. Steroids can also help, but can’t be done over the long term, as steroids weaken the tendon and risk future tendon rupture. And they don’t correct the issues that led to the pain in the first place. The known interface of acupuncture from western medical research is through the nervous system. If you look at a brain via MRI while a patient is having acupuncture, the limbic system of the brain is very active. These observations suggest that the effect of acupuncture on the brain is integrated at multiple levels, down to the brainstem and cerebellum, and may be the mechanism by which acupuncture exerts its complex multisystem effects. What does this mean to. a drummer with tendonitis? The ability for the acupuncture needles to mediate the nervous system means that pain control without the use of meds is possible. And joint inflammation can be controlled, without meds, or with reduced dosage. Acupuncture involves describing mapped pathways around the body according to a 2000-year-old Asian medicine. In Chinese medicine, the entire body is traversed with channels that connect with the vital organs. Those channels follow major nerve and circulatory pathways. Along those channels are palpable points


that can influence metabolic activity when stimulated with pressure or needles by an experienced practitioner. The needles are about the size of a cat’s whisker, and the sensations are generally subtle. Needles used for injections or withdrawal are hollow, and cause a lot more microscopic tissue trauma.

sure what caused her tendonitis to come to the surface when it did, and if we consider a person holistically, there are always multiple factors at work. However, certain biochemical events can precipitate others, leading to more obvious signs of stress and imbalance that impact a person’s life.

Havlik is a typical patient with tendonitis. When she started seeing me I asked her where her pain was, what aggravated it, and how it started. Then I asked questions about her overall health picture, such as sleep patterns, appetite, digestion, menstrual cycle, temperature and mood. This is a holistic therapy, and I take into account any stress or imbalance in the body that could be exacerbating her inflammation and pain.

Among other points used to correct overall systemic imbalances, I usually work directly in the pain area, feel for the most tender points, and gently needled there directly. This accomplishes two things: better blood circulation to the area which brings pain relief and joint mobility. Afterwards, most people feel quite relaxed and a little spacey (a common reaction, related to a big endorphin release). When we began, Havlik’s pain levels when playing were sometimes as high as 8 (ten being the worst pain). After 7 weeks of treatment, she reported that her pain levels were closer to 3-4 when playing. There are days and weeks where her pain levels jump higher again, but it seems to be largely situational — when she’s been playing a lot and not getting enough rest.

Her specific pain area was concentrated in her elbows, especially the right side. She often felt pain, tightness and an “itchy” sensation on the top of her forearm, and nagging pain around the inner elbow at the internal biceps tendon attachment. Through her pattern of symptoms, my suspicion was that years of playing drums and other sports had already resulted in low level inflammation and joint damage. For many years this level of physical activity wasn’t a problem, but when new factors such as the severe stress and trauma of losing a loved one (known to affect the immune system and cause inflammatory conditions in the body) came into play, the tendonitis may have finally expressed itself with severe pain. It’s impossible to know for

Acupuncture is increasingly covered by insurance, but if you don’t have coverage, your best affordable option is community acupuncture. These are affordable group settings (no private rooms) organized by POCA (People’s Organization for Community Acupuncture). Go to www.pocacoop.com to find community acupuncture nearest to you, session are about $25.

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BL AST FROM THE PAST

THROWBACK

ELAYNE JONES BY A NIKA SA BIN

Timpanist and lifelong activist Elayne Jones is a fountain of experience and wisdom. Throughout her 80-some-odd years, she has broken barriers and fought discrimination in her field all while raising a family and dedicating her life to sharing her art. Having picked up the drums in 1942, Jones has witnessed the ebb and flow of gender discrimination throughout the better part of the 20th century. She grew up in Harlem, New York, and was one of six students awarded a full-scholarship to Juilliard through Duke Ellington. The great jazz legend even wrote a piece for her and two other boys who had won the scholarship, which they performed at Carnegie Hall in ’47. She went on to become the first African American to join the New York City Opera and Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, and she even played in the pit of many a Broadway show. After more than ten years playing in New York, she moved across the country to become the principal timpanist in both the San Francisco Symphony and San Francisco Opera. But in 1975, Jones was denied tenure and fired from the San Francisco Symphony, while other members (white men) of younger stature secured theirs. Instead of bowing out, she chose to pursue the matter in court. This controversial decision made headlines in many newspapers including The New York Times and The Afro-American, which proclaimed: “[Jones] has taken her fight into federal court, charging racism and sexism in the ranks of one of the nation’s

finest symphony orchestras.” The articles also highlighted the praise she had received over the years including famous conductor, Leopold Stokowski’s endorsement. “She is one of the greatest in the whole world for her instrument, for her technique and particularly for her imagination,” he was quoted as saying.

very important role.”

The position of timpanist is not only the principle lead in the percussion section, but also the highest paid, second only to the conductor. After years of scrutiny from male colleagues, Jones sadly concluded, “it’s the nature of our society’s built-in racism, which makes these white males feel probably insecure to have me as a black person in a

Despite decades of pushing against a white-dominated profession as a percussionist and activist, Jones is ever strong and undeniably light-hearted. Of academia, she said, chuckling in a 2011 Ghanese TV interview, “their contemplation was, why teach them [women] anything, cause they’re not going to use it...but I fooled them, I took to this instrument like a duck takes to water.” Jones goes to Barbados from her California home every year, where she shares her life’s work with everyone from the Barbados Community College to the Royal Barbados Police Force Band of drummers. To most she meets, she is simply magnetizing—a woman, you know has a story to tell, or quite a few, as it were. 63


TOM TOM MAGAZINE

CARLA AZAR & JACK WHITE

A MAGAZINE ABOUT FEMALE DRUMMERS THE ORCHESTRAL ISSUE

Tom Tom Magazine Issue 12: The Orchestral Issue  

This issue focuses on those female drummers in the orchestral world. Pei-Ching of Ju Percussion, Jane Boxall Allen, Ruth Underwood, Keiko Ab...

Tom Tom Magazine Issue 12: The Orchestral Issue  

This issue focuses on those female drummers in the orchestral world. Pei-Ching of Ju Percussion, Jane Boxall Allen, Ruth Underwood, Keiko Ab...