TOM TOM MAGAZINE
SAMANTHA MALONEY HOLE & MÖTLEY CRÜE KATE SCHELLENBACH LUSCIOUS JACKSON & BEASTIE BOYS JANET WEISS NTERVIEWED BY FRED ARMISEN
QUASI & SLEATER-KINNEY SCARLETT OF SAN CISCO TINA SUGANDH TABLA GIRL
I S S U E 1 5 | U S D $6 | DISPLAY FALL 2013
A MAGAZINE ABOUT FEMALE DRUMMERS: D R U M M E R S W H O SI N G
WELCOME TO TOM TOM ISSUE 15: DRUMMERS WHO SING ISSUE. HAVE A SEAT, RELA X AND ENJOY THE RIDE.
FOUNDER/PUBLISHER/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mindy Abovitz (firstname.lastname@example.org) DESIGN DIRECTOR Lauren Stec JR. DESIGNERS Maggie Rivers, Helga Juarez
Jacquelin attends RISD (Rhode Island We met Maggie in Miami where she is School of Design) and not for no reason. attending High School and running her She has an incredible eye and attenschool’s newspaper. At her side job, she tion to detail. She interned with us this is junior designing and writing for us. Summer in Brooklyn and we will sorely Glad we met her when we did because miss her. In the meantime, check this young lady has a really bright (SHOUT OUTS) out our first Vine video that she art future. We can say we knew her TOM TOM when... directed. @tomtommag
CODERS Kimi Spencer, Capisco Marketing BRAIN BOARD Lisa Schonberg, Kiran Gandhi, Cati Bestard, Rebecca DeRosa, Candace Hansen NORTHWEST CORRESPONDENT Lisa Schonberg NORTHWEST CREW Katherine Paul, Leif J. Lee, Fiona Campbell, Kristin Sidorak LA CORRESPONDENT Liv Marsico MIAMI CORRESPONDENT Emile Milgrim BOSTON CORRESPONDENT Kiran Gandhi NYC DISTRO Segrid Barr COPY EDITOR Anika Sabin
Yep. This is the funny guy you laugh with/at on SNL and more recently on his own show, Portlandia. Lucky for us, Fred is a fan (and a drummer) and has been contributing to Tom Tom for some time now. Read (and watch on Tom Tom TV) his interview with Janet Weiss (Wild Flag) in this issue.
STEFANO GALLI (PHOTOGRAPHER)
Stefano is one of the most talented photographers we have ever met (and we meet a lot). The guy goes on a shoot and comes back with gold EVERY time. How does he do that?? Based out of Venice Beach, CA he gets assigned our lovely LA drummers. Look out for his pics of Samantha Maloney in this issue.
TOM TOM SHOUT OUTS Tom Tom Magazine would not be half as successful as it is without the talents of its incredible contributors, friends and family. Humor us while we take a minute to thank these outstanding people. RENE ORMAE-JARMER Rene Ormae-Jarmer is a phenomenal drummer and an equally incredible drum educator. We are fortunate to have her contribute as a tech writer in this issue and previous issues.
GABBY VICTORIA Gabby is an incredible drummer with natural rhythm and one of our newest interns. We are lucky to have her on board. Keep your eye on this whipper snapper.
HELGA JUÁREZ Helga is in amazingly talented graphic designer based out of Barcelona, Spain. We met her through Cati Bestard (drummer of Doble Pletina) and have worked with her on 2 issues now.
ZOË CALLIOPE GITTEL ABOVITZ
Zoe is the coolest kid on planet Earth. We have watched her grow up and are pretty much obsessed with her. She is related to the Editor (Zoe is her niece) and therefor will be a Tom Tom staffer for lyfe.
WRITERS Maggie Rivers, Chloe Saavedra, Melody Allegra Berger, Fred Armisen, Jen Ruano, Matthew D’abate, Arielle Angel, Rachel Miller, Karen Campos Castillo, Sylvia Massy, Carly Marcoux, Jen Hoeft, Anthony Lozano, Elisabeth Wilson, Madeleine Campbell, Colin Langenus TECHNIQUE WRITERS Morgan Doctor, Arturo Garcia, Rene Ormae-Jarmer PHOTOGRAPHERS Andy Blum, Holly Andres, Bex Wade, Stefano Galli, Anthony Buhay, Karen Campos Castillo, Andy Barry ILLUSTRATORS Carly Marcoux, Sara Lautman, Angel Favorite REVIEWS EDITOR Rebecca DeRosa (email@example.com) REVIEW TEAM Dominika Ksel, Kiran Gandhi, Angel Favorite, Jamie Varriale Velez, Stephanie Reisnour, Caralyn Attia Taylor, Matthew D’Abate, Rob Rubsam TOM TOM TV Karl Lind, Holly Andres, Flux Labs, Anthony Lozano, Anthony Buhay, Teale Failla, Lauren Cioffi INTERNS Gabby Victoria, Andrea Davis THANK YOU All of you, Shani, Chooch, Ima, Rony, Jee, Candace Hansen, Capisco, Subhersive, Greem, Chloe, Kate, Jordyn, Sarah Strauss, Willie Mae Rock Camp, Leah Bowden, UCSD, Gina Marie, Harvey Jacobs, Santo, Angel Favorite, George Ferrandi, Liv Marsico, Kiran Gandhi, Emily Mello, The Drummers Journal, Books & Books CONTACT US Address: 302 Bedford Ave PMB #85 Brooklyn, NY 11249 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook, Twitter, Instagram: @tomtommag CORRECTIONS FROM ISSUE 14 None that we know of! Booyah! ON THE COVER FRONT: Samantha Maloney by Stefano Galli BACK: Janet Weiss and Fred Armisen by Holly Andres TO SUBSCRIBE WWW.TOMTOMMAG.COM
INSIDE ISSUE 15
Jeez. Running this magazine, while a challenge, is the single most rewarding experience I have had in my life. From the incredible late night conversations with drummers and feminists to the more public lectures and talks led by Tom Tom, the work we are doing seems to be paying off. Our goals are big though. And will require a lot more work. While talking to a fellow drum magazine editor, I asked him what he thinks about us and the work we are doing here at Tom Tom Magazine. I asked him to be candid and not to candy coat his response in any way. He was quite simple in his reply, which turned out to be a pretty interesting and eye-opening perspective. He said, “What you are doing, should be impossible.” Yes. He is correct and incorrect at the same time. “Should” is a modal verb, used to indicate likelihood, ability, permission and obligation. You can take action with the word should, or you can choose not to. It is a lending word to momentum. It is a word that also can catapult you into action. It is a judging word as well. You should eat more veggies and should clean up your act. What does it mean when something should be impossible. To us it means a challenge we are up for. This issue is about singing while drumming, which is another seemingly monstrous challenge. Honestly, singing while drumming is one of my favorite things to do. It is like a double-whammy release of emotions. I can’t say that it has always sounded the best, but it always feels like an awesome surge of happiness and release and creates a total body experience like nothing else I can compare it to. For the most part, I have sang background vocals for my bands, but in this issue we talk to the women out there playing major roles as both the drummers and singers in their projects. Inside you will find interviews with Janet Weiss (Wild Flag, Quasi), Tina Sugandh (Tabla Girl with her own TV show), Sam Maloney (Mötley Crüe, Hole and searching for the next great family band), Kate Schellenbach (Luscious Jackson is back again!), Morgan Doctor (The Cliks), Scarlett Stevens (San Cisco which is one of my favorite newer bands) and more. Hope you enjoy them as much as we do.
MINDY AB OVITZ UNDERWATE R SH OT BY STEPH A N IE L AV IG N E V IL L EN EU V E
Welcome to Issue 15 of Tom Tom Magazine
NASHVILLE CITY GUIDE 14
JANET WEISS 20
TINA SUGANDH 23
SAN CISCO 26
MORGAN DOCTOR 28
LALITA BALAKRISHAN 30
SAMANTHA MALONEY 32
KATE SCHELLENBACH 34
LA LUZ 40
Mindy Seegal Abovitz Founder/Editor-in-Chief
THE FUNNIES 62
MIAMI, FLORIDA, USA
DE S I G N AN D W O RDS BY MAGGIE RI VE RS
LA CROSSE, WISCONSIN, USA 63-year-old Mary Hvizda took the country by storm under the title “Drumming Grandma.” Hvizda is actually not a grandma, rather, she is a drummer who has played with more than a dozen bands since she was 15-years old. Workers at the Coalition Drum Shop says she stops by and plays often, and decided to capture Hvizda on video and post it on Youtube. Hvizda has garnered over 4.5 million views and has only heard of Youtube recently. Drumming Grandma shirts will be soon available to purchase from Coalition Drum Shop, with all proceeds going to a charity of Hvizda’s choice.
On December 14, 2013, Tom Tom Magazine and a small army of female drummers will descend upon Miami’s newest cultural center, The Perez Art Museum Miami. Just one week after Art Basel, with Ai Wei Wei’s art in the main exhibition room, Tom Tom will present a commissioned drum piece to the people of Miami. Special guest drummers and a great second Saturday at the museum to be expected.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA, USA It started with a YouTube audition tape to America’s Got Talent, and before Israeli Meytal Cohen knew it, she had risen to internet stardom. Today, Cohen has almost 70 million views on YouTube. Hoping to make her own original album, Cohen created a Kickstarter project to raise $60,000. Instead, within one month, the Kickstarter raised $140,000 with the help of her fans. Rewards for those who pledged money included digital downloads of her song “Breathe,” a custom drum track, and even her first American drum set. “I’m humbled and honored by the amazing outpour of love and support, so thankful for each and everyone of you,” wrote Cohen on her Facebook page at the end of the campaign. As of now, the album is currently in the works and pre-orders start at $10 for a digital download.
LIMA, LIMA PROVIDENCE, PERU Much like the rest of the world, males dominate the music scene in Lima. That is when drummer Laura Robles decided to change that. Robles created Parió Paula, an all-female percussion group. Robles started the group by teaching many of her friends to play on buckets at her house. Now, the Paulas are a group of 22 women, with 45 in training. A short documentary, titled Por Fin Parió Paula, follows these women as they aim to change the Peruvian music scene by coming together, learning from each other, and empowering one another.
LONDON, ENGLAND, UK The Ace Hotel (our favorite hotel, in part because they are all around awesome, host amazing events, have a great vibe and gorgeous decor — and in part because they have been carrying Tom Tom Magazine in their rooms for the last few years) is now opening their newest hotel in London’s historic Shoreditch neighborhood. Grab a cocktail, a room and a copy of your favorite magazine there soon.
In an effort to be more conscious of the events happening around the world involving women and drummers, Tom Tom presents Current Events. Current Events pinpoints news in a variety of countries, large and small, in both hemispheres of the globe. This issue, Tom Tom travels to the United States, Peru, Brazil, England, and China to keep you connected with the women drummers of our world.
TIANJIN, TIANJIN MUNICIPALITY, CHINA She is only seven years old, but Deqi is already gaining worldwide attention as a drummer. 190 miles away from her family’s home in Qinhaungdao, Deqi attends a famous music school in Tianjin where she practices over ten hours a day on weekends. Having participated in competitions all over China and in places like Italy, Deqi has been recognized by filmakers and even has her own documentary, produced by filmmaker Vincent Du. The documentary, which focuses on her as she works to manage school, family, traveling, and drumming at her young age, is available for streaming on aljazeera.com.
BRAZIL Born from the Brazilian female drumming scene comes Hi Hat Girls, a free publication created for and by the female drummers of Brazil. The magazine is staffed by 11 drummers in the hopes of encouraging more girls to learn and improve on the drums. Hi Hat Girls so far has two issues out with the third issue in the works. The third issue marks the one year anniversary of the publication. All issues of Hi Hat Girls can be found on their website, hihatgirls.com, completely for free, as well as free collections of songs that go along with each issue. From their site: A Hi Hat Girls Magazine é a primeira publicação do Brasil sobre mulheres bateristas. Nosso principal objetivo é a divulgação do trabalho das bateristas brasileiras. Sejam Bem-vindos! Boa leitura!
Letters to the Editor Hey Mindy!
I just wanted to take a second and tell you that I think what you are doing for female drummers is awesome. It’s always nice to see ladies behind the kit and with the kind of community you’re building and light you’re shedding on it, you’re bound to be a real inspiration to a lot of women out there. Not only to the ones that already play the drums but more importantly to those women who might be interested in getting into it. Guys can be jerks — especially in the music industry — and having a community that supports female drummers goes a long way towards dissolving all the ego and arrogance that gets tossed around when it comes to female musicians in general.
Thanks for promoting women drummers. It bugs me when I go to local gigs there’s only a small minority of women playing instruments. So, thanks for doing something to remind us that we’re not the only women that love to play instruments.
More power to you & all the great females tearing it up out there! All my best, Richard Komatz
— Jemma Owen
Dude! Thank you for Tom Tom Magazine! The [Tom Tom] show tonight in Atlanta was awesome. I grabbed a few copies of the magazine and promised to get one for a coworker’s daughter. She is 8 years old and wants to play drums! I can’t wait to give it to her. I want to apologize because initially I had mixed feelings about the show. It took me some real thinking to come around to realizing just how special and awesome this magazine is. Playing drums has changed my life in a way that doesn’t end when I’m not behind a kit. I didn’t start until 5 years ago and only wish I had known sooner in life how awesome it would be! I don’t know what it is like in NYC but as far as I can tell, I can still count the amount of female drummers here in Atlanta, GA on my hands. At least in the punk and rock scenes down here. It would be awesome to see that change and a magazine like this is absolutely brilliant! — Kylee Kimbrough (drummer and lead vox Dasher)
D R U MM ER S A M A NT H A M A L O N EY P H O T O G R A P H BY S T EFA NO G A L L I FOR TOM TOM MAGAZINE
IN THIS ISSUE
THE BEAT AND THE PULSE
BIRD ON A WIRE
Bird on the Wire is a dreamy indie folk band based out of Amsterdam that we love. Nina de Jong holds down the band’s beats and we adore her for that. She is 25 and cites the Velvet Underground, Talking Heads, Patrick Watson and Warpaint, as inspiration. She plays a yellow and black vintage ‘76 ASBA (a small french drum company) which she outfitted with Remo fiberskyn heads. Her snare is a handmade fifties Royal snare drum (a small drum company from Amsterdam). For cymbals she uses a vintage Zildjian Avedis ping ride, Agean hihats, a Turkish rockcrash, and some sweet cymbals she made herself out of old cymbals she found.
BLKKATHY BLKKATHY wants to make your booty bounce and ruin your makeup. Or so they say on the Facebook page. In the meantime, since I have yet to see them live, they have made me shake a lil in my seat and definitely drew me in with their gorgeously shot videos and dreamy ethereal beats. They say their bands interests are CA$H and we are down to give them ours as soon as their new album drops. Whenever that may be. Sext marriage proposals to 805.448.0969
COLORNOISE Colornoise is an experimental noise rock duo from Costa Rica. Formed in 2009 by Sonya Carmona (Lead vocals/guitar) and Alison Alvarado (Drums/ vocals), the duo released their first eight-track LP ‘Fake Apocalypse’ (2011) and the single ‘Time’ (2012). In January 2013 they performed a live session for the London-based movement Sofar Sounds (Songs From a Room) and later in June they released the single ‘Button’ after being officially invited to play at North by North East (NXNE) Festival 2013 in Toronto during that same month. Having returned from NXNE, in August 13th they launched the official music video for ‘Button’ a month prior to the release of their second album ‘Polychronic’. They list their influences as Jeff the brotherhood, Sonic Youth, Uncle Acid and the deadbeats, Marnie Stern, Talking Heads, PJ Harvey. The band was recently invited to the Indie Week Festival 2013 in October in Toronto, Canada; and they’re also preparing several shows around other cities of Ontario and Quebec as part of a promotional tour for their upcoming album.
WAX IDOLS Slumberland Records describes them like this, “While early 80s Siouxsie And The Banshees and 4AD are decent reference points, the songwriting is all Wax Idols and they bring a very modern sensibility, along with sterling production help from Monte Vallier (Weekend, The Soft Moon). It’s pop in the largest sense - strongly melodic, confident and impossible to ignore.” Impossible to ignore and addictive when you don’t, this post-punk outfit from Oakland is becoming our new favorite.
SLEDGE GRITS BAND Sledge Grits Band has been slated as the next Jackson 5. The band, based out of Los Angeles, that is made up of 4 sisters, is taking the world on at a young age. They are starring in “The Next Great Family Band” on Cozi TV. We are rooting for them! They like to say their sound is like Heart fronted by Mariah Carey. Yes!
BANDS TO LOOK OUT FOR WE LIKE THESE BANDS Duster \\ Quezon City, Phillipines \\ facebook.com/pages/Duster Ghost Ease \\ Portland, OR \\ theghostease.com Wax Idols \\ Oakland, CA \\ facebook.com/waxidols P I CT U R E D A R E TH E BE A C H ES
Wondergurl \\ Canada \\ twitter.com/IamWonderGurl L.A. Witch \\ LA, CA \\ facebook.com/lawitches Clara Luiza \\ Vienna, Austria \\ claraluzia.com Chaos Chaos \\ Brooklyn, NY \\ chaoschaosmusic.com The Aprons \\ Tel Aviv, Isreal \\ theaprons.bandcamp.com Beverly \\ Brooklyn, NY \\ facebook.com/wearebeverly Petal War \\ Brooklyn, NY \\ facebook.com/pages/PetalWar Praise the Dead \\ LA, CA \\ praisethedead.bandcamp.com Adi Mashash \\ Tel Aviv, Isreal \\ youtube.com/user/Adidiadidas The Beaches \\ Toronto, Ontario \\ thebeachesband.com
PERCUSSIVE RESONANCE BORN IN BROOKLINE,
Massachusetts, and currently based in New York City, Eli Keszler began playing drums at eight, and composing at twelve. I saw his work first very recently under the bridge in Brooklyn’s DUMBO (the Brooklyn side of the Manhattan bridge). He was performing a piece commissioned by NPR that involved 16 wires ranging from 100 to 800 feet long, all of which were mounted off the Manhattan Bridge and accompanied by 5 drummers on snares (these drummers often perform in a group called So Percussion). In addition, the patterns formed by the overlapping piano wires, created an elegant visual component that related directly to Keszler’s music. Keszler’s current drum installations often employ piano wires of varying lengths; these are struck, scraped, and vibrated by small mechanize beaters, giving rise to harmonically complex tones that are percussive yet resonant. These installations are heard on their own and with accompanying ensemble scores, or drawing based projects and solo performances with Keszler’s aggressive jarringly rhythmic and propulsive drumming. His visual work was recently compiled in a collection ‘NEUM’, a body of drawings, diagrams and screen prints often featuring dense, fine detailed drawing which use a variety of sources, from the surfaces of objects to large scale spaces, and intuitive design similar in intensity, sharing the mass quality of his sound work. His work is currently up at The South London Gallery in London.
WOR DS BY MINDY A B OVIT Z PHOT O C OU RT ESY OF A RT IST
BY MAGGIE RIVERS
“Why are there so few women active in the electronic music scene?” This was the question that inspired female:pressure, a online network of electronic female artists started in 1998 by Susanne Kirchmayr, or as she is more commonly known, DJ Electric Indigo. Now, 15 years later, the network is comprised of almost 1,300 members in an effort to recognize the artists, because as Kirchmayr said, “it’s not our number, it’s about how and if we are recognized!” While the network is based out of Berlin, female:pressure includes women from all over the globe in 58 countries and is constantly growing. Site visitors can search for artists based on location, music style, or profession. “female:pressure intends to strengthen networking, communication and representation — a standard instrument to obtain information about artists, contact them, and find out about other, maybe less known women working in the fields of electronic music all around the globe.
“IT’S NOT OUR NUMBERS, IT’S ABOUT HOW AND IF WE ARE RECOGNIZED!” Every artist listed in this database is able to keep her personal entry up-to-date,” said Kirchmayr. This September, female:pressure will be hosting its own music festival, called Perspectives Festival at About Blank in Berlin. The set list includes 11 DJs and 15 musicians. The festival will also feature workshops and talks during its two-day span. Admission for both days, Sept. 12 and 13, is 15 Euro, or about 20 USD. The festival is about provoking thought and creating a platform on which those involved can share their perspective, hence the name.
For those would like to be a part of the network, email email@example.com.
YOU SAY TOMATO WE SAY TOMATO
RECIPES FROM THE ROAD I LLU STRATI ON AND R EC IPE BY CA R LY MA R C OU X
SWEET AND SPICY ICEBOX GAZPACHO
• 1 cup of diced watermelon • 1 cup of diced tomatoes (I used one vine, one roma) • 1 cup of diced mango • 4 large strawberries (diced) • 1 cup of diced cucumber • 1/2 cup of diced vidalia onion • 1/2 jalepeno pepper (de-seed and dice) • 1 fresh basil leaf • Leaves of fresh mint • Sprigs of dill • Zest and juice of 1 lemon • V-8 tomato with black pepper juice • Sea salt to taste • 1 avocado
This recipe can easily be split into even smaller batches: it’s honestly about as easy as picking out a chilled V-8 flavor that you love at the nearest rest station, and then adding in seasonal sweet and savory fruit and veg to your heart’s content from either a roadside stand or a small town grocery.
3. Chop up your fresh basil, dill, and mint
7. Add V-8 to the veg and fruit (think of this
into tiny pieces to season your chopped veg and fruit
as your soup stock) mixture
1. Rinse and drain the strawberries with the
5. Scoop out the seeds and inner pepper; dice
tomatoes and cucumber
half of the pepper and add it to your mix while carefully storing the remaining pepper
a half cups into a bowl (one serving) and dice part of the avocado to add on top 10. Sprinkle a small amount of sea salt, mix and serve
6. Zest your lemon, chop it in half, and
8. Chill concoction for two hours on ice or in 4. Carefully handle your jalepeno pepper, us-
ing gloves or a plastic bag to hold the pepper and slice it down the middle, also cutting off the stem
the fridge, or one hour if you are hungry and can’t wait 9. When soup is chilled, pour one to one and
2. Peel, slice and dice all of your remain-
ing veg and fruit along with your tomatoes, cucumber and strawberries and add to one large bowl
squeeze the juice into your bowl - mix everything together
y Clin ats
c i t y dr umming guid e
Welcome to Nashville, Music City, USA. Not country music USA, but rockin’, swingin’, electric, bluesy, pop, touring-the-worldfrom-the-middle-of- the-USA kinda music. Nashville is hot and was mentioned last Spring in the New York Times as one of the “best cities in the country.” This town is booming with live music, recording, tours, and an independent radio station that truly supports original and local music, Lightning 100. So, although we love our country music, Nashville is home to lots of talented big names in every genre: Black Keys, Jack White, Bela Fleck, Sheryl Crow, Kings of Leon, Peter Frampton, Steve Cropper, Vince Gill, the list goes on. Music City is Muse City, filled with song-writers, publishers, musicians and listeners. It is happenin’ here and, of course, we found plenty of female-drummer-percussionist-producers-goddesses to share their story with us. I have been a drummer in this town for 23 years, and am so honored to report on the progressive, open-minded, big-hearted, groovy chicks with sticks. Check out the bios, restaurants, venues, bands, and quirks of the gals of Nashville.
Graphic Design ⤻ Helga Juárez Intro & Text & Compiled by ⤻ Jen Hoeft
BEST SPOTS IN NASHVILLE AS SELECTED BY THE DRUMMERS LIZ FICALORA, 57, known as “the Smokin’ Drummer,” can be found at every drum festival and percussion show, sharing her book, How to Write Drum Charts! Her past bands include The View, Sterling, LeeAnn and the Surfbroads, The Paint Sisters, Stella Parton, Charlie Louvin, The Heather Davis Band, Suzan Fiering Band, and the Broadband. She currently plays with The Scott Nelson Band, The Jill Sissel Band, Robert Rivers and Floodwater, Stoopid Kool, and The Twang Cats. Playing six-piece Sonorlite drums, Zildjian and Sabian Cymbals, DW double pedal, Djembe, bongo’s, hand percussion, she shops at Fork’s Drum Closet, and her favorite venue is 3rd and Lindsley. She loves to rehearse at SIR, and records in her own home studio or Heartlight Studio. Waffle House is her go-to restaurant after a gig. ABBY HAIRSTON, is a 28-year-old rocker and is hittin’ the Nashville scene hard by playing with The One Through Tens, and now plays with Bang OK Bang, Moseley, and Mercy Bell. She shops at Fork’s Drum Closet, and plays a “mash up of two worn out Gretsch kits.” Her favorite club to play is the fooBAR in East Nashville, and records “anywhere with Andy Roy, or Stephen Keech”. Practicing happens in a bands’ moldy basement or a storage unit, like a true rockstar. Abby and her bands love to drink and eat and drink some more, at Five Points Pizza after a show. RACHEL HORTMAN is a young rocker on the Nashville scene. She is 22 and has played with Maybe Baby, and currently plays with JP5, Psychic Hotline, and sometimes tours with Peach Kelly Pop. She buys her drum gear on Craig’s List, playing a 3-piece kit, with hat, ride, and sometimes a crash and tamborine. Her favorite places to play are the Owl Farm and The Stone Fox. She likes recording with Jem Cohen, as well as Drew Akers and Space Akers. When hunger strikes, her favorite place to grab a bite is El Jalicience for some killer Mexican food. 25-year-old drummer CHASE NOELLE is currently playing with Thelma and Sleaze and the Stiff Licks. She plays the Shine Definition Birch Series, Meinl Mb20 Crash 19”, Zildjian Sweet Ride 23,” and “frankenstein everything else.” She will shop at Fork’s forever because “all of their employees are real classy. Lady-friendly. Zero condescension.” She loves to play at The Stone Fox for the sound, and the
Springwater Supper Club for the pink champagne and valet service.
She practices with her band in her rental house. (Everyone in Nashville either is in a band, or has a neighbor in a band, so noise isn’t a problem.) She likes to record at Battle Tapes, with Jeremy Fergbrain. When asked about her fav restaurant Noelle replied, “We survive solely on old coffee and soda water, but for the best authentic tacos in Nashville — no contest — go to Taqueria Express,” a food truck, on the corner of Nolensville Pike & Peachtree Street. TIFFANY MINTON, 28, has worked with Six gun Lullaby, Illnana and Heavy Cream and currently plays with Cry Baby, Adia Victoria & the Shady Rest, Foxcore, Blues Mother, and Head Over Heals (a tribute to the GoGo’s). She buys her gear from Fork’s and plays a Mapex M-Series kit and a Pearl Master Studio kit with Zildjian cymbals. She loves playing at The Stone Fox because “they have the best food, vibe and Alicia, their sound engineer, is the best in town.” She works at a music store in East Nashville, Fanny’s House of Music and they let her rehearse there after hours. She records at home, and at Battle Tapes Recording Studio. After a show you can find Tiffany and the band at The Gold Rush, a restaurant serving sandwiches, burges, and BBQ. KAYLEIGH MOYER, is 20 years old and a Commercial Percussion Junior Performance Major at Belmont University. She plays with the Khromatiks, Zach Ummer Band, Wes Harllee Band, The Pedal Stills, and several singer/songwriters. Mercy Lounge and The Basement are her favorite places to play because of their great vibes. Her rehearsal space is the band room she has at her house. “It’s cheaper than renting a space and I don’t have to lug my drums anywhere. I have a few amps, a PA, and all my drum mics ready to go.” Her favorite studios are Ocean Way and Benchmark Sound and for her favorite eating spot she cannot decide between the biscuits at the Loveless Cafe or sitting out on the deck at San Antonio Taco Company. NANCY GARDNER is one of the first female drummers in Nashville. At 52, she plays with Wall of Jules and Jenny Madison, but has played, recorded and toured with Porter Wagoner and the Right Combination, Wild Rose (a first all-female country band), and Tricycle. She plays a 4-piece Gretsch with Custom Zildjians and Vater nylon tip sticks. She loves playing at 3rd and Lindsley and works full-time in her home studio, Studio Del Rio. Her favorite restaurant is the Tin Angel.
LINDSEY RAE THOMPSON is a hilarious publicist/rockstar. She is 24 and is figuring out Nashville’s music scene as well as the music business scene. SPHERE was the first band she has ever played with, and has also worked with Swingsations and Les Femmes. sheDObutsheDON’T is the name of her new in-the-works band. She plays a hand-me-down teal Tama Rockstar with Evans heads and custom Zildjian cymbals. She loves to go to “Fork’s Drum Closet aka any drummer’s Candy Land - Kingdom of Beat Adventures” for gear. Jamming in her basement, The ClamShack (lots of stories here), she likes to record anywhere and everywhere. Her favorite restaurant is “anywhere you can get some clean sushi, nigiri and sashimi. Suzy Wong’s House of Yum is the closest we get here.” ANITA HILL toured for 15 years with The Wild West Band, The Roys, and Dennis Payne before settling in Nashville and taking over Lower Broadway. She plays mostly house kits at her gigs, but she owns and loves her Pearl Masters Custom kit. She plays all over downtown Nashville, but her favorite venues are Honky Tonk Central and The Stage. She is a health nut, so she does not eat out much, but Panera Bread will do in between gigs. ARIANNA FANNING is 22 years old and moved to town right after graduating from Indiana University with a Jazz Studies drum set degree. She is currently trying to get out, play and meet as many people as she can. So far, she likes Douglas Corner “because it’s an intimate venue that has weekly jam sessions and great shows.” She works in the drum department at Sam Ash, her favorite place for gear, and has not yet recorded in either of these places, but looks forward to working in Blackbird and Oceanway studios. She has found her favorite restaurant, Chago’s Cantina which serves up authentic Mexican cuisine. Word on the street is that NAOMI LANGWORTHY “tears it up!” She is 33 and has played in lots of bands including Tuuli, White Chocolate, The Reflex, and Grace Stumberg Band. She is currently rehearsing with Nature’s Candy (all-female R&B/Funk show band). Her drum set-up includes a 4-piece Gretsch Catalina kit and Zildjian A cymbals. When she needs, she shops at Guitar Center and practices in her rental house- sound familiar? She recently acquired ProTools, so she can do all her recording from home. She loves The Wild Cow in East Nashville but if it is late at night, she cannot resist the sweet potato fries at Café Coco.
VERA HERTEN moved to Nashville a couple of years ago from Germany. She is 36 and has toured all over Germany with lots of bands including Sister Act. Herten is currently working hard in Nashville with Goldy Locks, Captain Midnight, Ante M Band, Jenn Franklin, and Endagered Species. She plays a Pearl Master Custom kit and Zildjian Cymbals, along with an Iron Cobra Double Bass. She likes to record at Rockin Randes Production. You can find her and her band at Waffle House after a show. KAREN DEE is a Nashville regular. At 46, she works with the Broadband with Shelly Bush and was the theatre drummer for years at the Nashville Night Life, where the country legends from the Grand Ol’ Opry came to play. She also worked with the Don Kelly Band and her own band, Karen Dee and the Detours. She plays an “ol’ Ludwig stainless steel early 80s kit” with Zildjian and Sabian cymbals. She plays on Lower Broadway, loves to play The Stage and loves to grab a bite at Bone Fish Grill.
KELLY BAMBERGER has been playing all over Nashville for over 20 years. She is a full-time musician and “old enough to be in the bar.” Some of her past work includes freelancing along with Rob GIles, Earl Thomas Connelly, Kool and the Gang, and Stella Parton. She is currently freelancing often, recording, and working 5-7 nights a week on Lower Broadway and playing with a band called Whose Hammered? She usually plays a house kit, but records with her 5-piece Noble and Cooley. She shops at Fork’s and fosters a love for Lower Broadway, which you cannot miss on a trip to Nashville. She likes Jim Lightman’s Studio for recording and Maffioso’s Pizza for eating. DARLA PERLOZZI moved to Nashville in 1997 and quickly found her spot in the music industry. Drumming for 35 years, Darla is highly educated in music composition, arrangement and orchestration. She had the privilege to work as the drummer for country music duo “The Lynn’s”, the daughters of Loretta Lynn. She has also worked with Cowboy Crush and toured the world as a Curb Records Artist. She endorses Mapex Drums, Pro-Mark Drumsticks, Sabian Cymbals, Attack Drumheads, Rock Bags and Janus Drum Pedals. She currently owns and runs Misstyx Studio in Murfreesboro, TN with her husband Timmy Patterson.
JEN HOEFT has been playing drums in Nashville for more than 20 years. She played in several original bands including David Spear and the Darts, BadaBing BadaBoom, and then toured and recorded with the BNA recording artist The Warren Brothers. She plays on two of Victor Wooten’s records, and currently plays with Teri Reid, and Pat Patrick Band. Hoeft was the first female drummer to play on Austin City Limits. Her favorite place to play is the Ryman Auditorium, or “anywhere that the people are listening and dancing!” Jen plays a Yamaha Manu Katche kit most of the time, “but will bring out the BIG GUNS when appropriate,” and is a Zildjian endorser. Athens Greek Restaurant is a favorite, and she always shops at Fork’s Drum Closet.
3rd and Lindsley | 818 3rd Ave S Nashville | 3rdandlindsley.com fooBAR | 2511 Gallatin Ave, Nashville | foobarnashville.com The Owl Farm | 811 Dickerson Unit I, Nashville | owlfarmnashville.com Ryman Auditorium | 116 5th Ave N, Nashville | ryman.com The Stage on Broadway | 412 Broadway, Nashville | thestageonbroadway.com The Stone Fox | 712 51st Avenue N. Nashville | thestonefoxnashville.com
Ca’n Lluis Heartlight Studio | heartlightstudio.com Battle Tape Recording | battletapes.com Ocean Way Studios | 1200 17th Avenue, South Nashville | oceanwaystudios.com Benchmark Sound | 1033 16th Ave | myspace.com/benchmarksound Blackbird Studio | 2806 Azalea Pl, Nashville | blackbirdstudio.com Rockin’ Rande’s Production | rockinrandesproduction.wg.vu Misstyx Studio | myspace.com/misstyxstudio Space Acres Studio & Studio Del Rio
Forks Drum Closet | 2701 12th Ave S, Nashville | forksdrumcloset.com Craigslist | craigslistnashville.com Fanny’s House of Music | 1101 Holly St, Nashville | fannyshouseofmusic.com Guitar Center | 721 Thompson Ln, Nashville | guitarcenter.com/nashvilleuncle Sam Ash Music |1647 Gallatin Pike North, Madison | samashmusic.com
Mafiaoza’s Pizzeria | 2400 12th Avenue South Nashville | mafiaozas.com Waffle House | wafflehouse.com Five Points Pizza | 1012 Woodland Street, Nashville | fivepointspizza.com Loveless Cafe | 8400 Tennessee Hwy 100, Nashville | lovelesscafe.com San Antonio Taco Co. | 208 Commerce Street, Nashville | thesatco.com The Tin Angel | 3201 West End Avenue, Nashville | tinangel.net Panera Bread | panerabread.com Chago’s Cantine | 2015 Belmont Blvd, Nashville | chagoscantina.com The Wild Cow | 1896 Eastland Ave, Nashville | thewildcow.com Cafe Coco | 210 Louise Ave, Nashville | cafecoco.com Suzy Wong’s | 1515 Church Street, Nashville | suzywongsnashville.com The Gold Rush | 2205 Elliston Place, Nashville | goldrushnashville.com Taqueria Express | 6317 Charlotte Pike, Nashville
TIPS: DRUMMING AND SINGING Morgan Doctor (The Cliks)
I find it helpful to figure out where my drum line and vocals intersect-what syllables the beats land on, picture it in my head. You can also think of singing as another limb, that sometimes can help. If the vocal line is challenging then simplify the drum part.
Samantha Maloney (Motley Crue, Hole)
I have sung while drumming, although I could never figure out what was the most comfortable as far as mic placement, since my arms are usually flailing all over the place when I play. Also, I always had an issue with the mic picking up the snare and cymbals since I bash the hell out of everything. I have tried the headset mic, which looks and feels ridiculous, so that lasted about a day. My two fave singing drummers are Phil Collins, and Deen Castronovo. Check Deen out with Journey. He sings lead on some songs live in concert and sounds just like Steve Perry. He is amazing.
Kate Schellenbach (Luscious Jackson, Beastie Boys)
At certain points during Luscious Jackson’s career I sang backup vocals, but it was always so stressful-- figuring out where the best place for the mic was where it wouldn’t get in the way or fall on me, hearing my vocals over the mix, etc. As our sound got more complex, and we got individual in-ear monitor mixes, I felt more secure singing, but it’s still something I don’t love to do. You’re already doing four things at once playing the drums, then adding one more thing to do seems like the straw that could break the drummer’s back. Plus, I can never remember lyrics, so unless I’m singing, “ooooo’s” or something simple, I’m useless.
TIPS ON SINGING AND DRUMMING FROM TOM TOM READERS: Jeanne Poremba
use a big, puffy foam cover for the mic, so that you don’t cut up your mouth on it while singing and drumming.
Tape oft-forgotten lyrics to the snare. Nobody gives the drummer crap when they look down at their gear.
Justine Maria Valdez
Sit Straight up, breath with your diaphragm, and warm-up your vocal chords..
Practice singing a very simple song that you know well, while drumming. Also, singing backup vocals first gets your feet wet.
Janet Weiss (Quasi, Sleater-Kinney, Wild Flag)
Here’s my advice on singing and drumming. Get your drum parts nailed before adding vocals. Although singing is one of the great pleasures in life, and certainly adds a lot to a band, make sure your drums kick ass before you start singing. If you practice enough, you can put vocals over most complicated rhythms.
Tina Sugandh (Tabla Girl)
Since I’ve been doing it [tabla drumming] since I was eight I’m really good at it being second nature. I kind of even forget I’m playing, which is a great feeling to be able to ignore that you’re playing so you can concentrate on singing. But if there’s a difficult fill or something, typically I don’t do those when I’m singing. It’s mainly just holding a pattern. There’s also a lot of intricate curves that I do with my singing, I love to take pop songs and put Indian curves in there. In Indian music we deal with quarter-tones, like 4 notes in between each whole note. When I sing I love to bend my notes and put those little quarter tones in there. So, those elaborate vocals fills are tough to do if you’re also doing a tabla fill. I try to do one or the other.
Scarlett Stevens (San Cisco)
I reluctantly started singing in San Cisco when we wrote the track ‘Awkward’. This was my first shot at singing lead vocals, up until then I had only sung backup vocals live and participated in some group singing on our recordings. We wanted to create something novel and catchy and the interplay of mine and Jordi’s vocals was our way of experimenting with the pop sound but also a way of telling a story. I’m definitely not a strong singer (my bandmates have compared my voice to that of an ‘angel being strangled’) but I now see how it has helped to define what we do as a band and I really enjoy the challenge of trying to master these two very different instruments at once. My advice is to practise, practise, practise! Familiarize yourself with the drum beat and singing part individually and then see how those two parts interlock, then commit the whole thing to memory.
Julie D Bartlett
Sing your rudiments out loud while playing them.
Right-angle mic cable-less to get in the way.
Use a boom mic stand sandwiched in with the hi-hats. Make the stand tall and basically bend it in at a 90 degree angle to your mouth.
Use a headset so that one can move freely. If you’ve never sung and played, try a bit of scatting over simple grooves. Just have fun with it and progress from there.
Warm up your vocals and stay hydrated. As for mic placement, place the stand on the outside of the hats and boom it over at about a 90 degree angle. 19
E M E L T N AND GE
TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HI, I’M FRED ARMISEN AND I’M HERE WITH JANET WEISS WHO IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE DRUMMERS EVER. SHE’S PLAYED WITH SLEATER-KINNEY, QUASI, WILD FLAG, BRIGHT EYES, THE JICKS AND LIKE A MILLION OTHER BANDS. MAYBE A LITTLE LESS THAN A MILLION. AND YOU ALSO HAVE THAT ALBUM THAT JUST CAME OUT, DRUMGASM, WITH A DRUM TRIO.
Janet Weiss: I think you’re the first person to hear that. I LISTENED TO IT THIS MORNING. IT’S GREAT! JANET, WE’RE HERE IN YOUR SPACE. DO YOU HAVE A KIT THAT YOU USE ON THE ROAD AND ANOTHER ONE SET UP HERE, OR DO YOU HAVE ONE KIT THAT YOU KEEP ON SETTING UP AND TAKING APART?
I use the same kit. I keep setting it up and taking it apart. I’m not very good about holding on to drum kits. And I’ve sold some incredible pieces that I should not have sold.
! S S I E W T N, JANE
WHY’S THAT? WHY DO YOU THINK YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE SOLD THEM? Because now they’re
N M IS E D AR R ERGE Y FRE B B Y W D V IE LO S N ME IN T E R NDRE IO A T Y IP L L SCR BY HO TRAN S H P OGRA PHOT
SO IF ANYONE OUT THERE HAS A 65 CLUB DATE, PLEASE SEND IT TO JANET WEISS IN PORTLAND, OREGON. Ha, it doesn’t need to be silver
sparkle, I’ll take any color.
worth tons of money. And you can’t buy them again. Luckily the most valuable kit I had, I sold to Sam (Coomes, ex-husband and Quasi bandmate), so he’s got that in the basement. We used that on the whole Quasi record. It’s similar to this current kit, it’s a late-60s Ludwig orange psychedelic swirl.
EARLY JANET WEISS, IS THERE SOMETHING THAT YOU NO LONGER DO ANY MORE? IS THERE ANYTHING LIKE, WOW, I USED TO LIKE ‘BLANK’ KIND OF SOUND AND I CAN’T BELIEVE I LIKED IT? OR HAS IT BEEN THE SAME THROUGHOUT? Is this
FOR KITS THAT YOU’VE SOLD THAT YOU WISH YOU HAD AGAIN. IS IT A SONIC THING? IS IT SOMETHING WHERE YOU’RE LIKE, I REALLY NEED TO HAVE THIS KIND OF KIT? It’s sonic. Definite-
maxed out the possibilities with like a simple setup. When I first joined SleaterKinney the drummer before me had a hubcap. I was like, I’m not playing a hubcap. I just can’t play a hubcap. But I had an Ice Bell.
ly. I used a Silver Sparkle 65 Club Date for over ten years, and I made all these records with it including Dig Me Out, Featuring ‘Birds’, like, people’s favorite records. But after so long I just wanted something new. So I sold that to a friend and he actually won’t sell it back to me. WELL, YOU CAN BORROW IT, I GUESS. I did bor-
row it. I borrowed it for a Jicks record.
where I fess up to my love of china crashes? UHHUH. It’s pretty similar. I don’t think I’ve
RIGHT, I REMEMBER THOSE. I was happy to
move out of the Ice Bell phase.
HOW HAS THE SETUP OF YOUR KIT CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? Well, this is sort of like
my old setup. And really all I’ve done is add another crash cymbal.
L SPECIA E FEATUR
can hear yourself that way, but it doesn’t feel very human. It’s as if you’re in a fishbowl. HOW’S YOUR TEMPO? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR SENSE OF TEMPO? It’s pretty
good. I’ve heard worse. HOW ABOUT THE TILT OF THE DRUM, THE HEIGHT OF THE FLOOR TOM, ANYTHING LIKE THAT? I’ve
gotten lower down.
YOU SIT PRETTY LOW. I realized at some
point that it helped my kick pedal foot. I wanted to work on my agility with my kick drum foot. Because it’s one of my weaknesses… there are many. I realized if I was sitting lower it was easier. YOU SAY YOU HAVE MANY WEAKNESSES, WHAT ARE SOME OTHERS THAT YOU MIGHT WISH WERE DIFFERENT? BECAUSE EVERYONE’S WEAKNESS COULD BE A STRENGTH… I can’t play a good
press roll. I wasn’t trained traditionally. Over the last two years I’ve worked at turning my hands over so I can use my wrists more. It’s helped a lot, I feel like I can get around quicker.
IS IT A DIFFICULT THING AS YOU’RE GOING ALONG TO MAKE A CONSCIOUS DECISION TO DO SOMETHING LIKE TURN YOUR WRISTS OVER? That’s
why you have to practice.
SO YOU PRACTICE. I practice regularly. HOW MANY TIMES A WEEK DO YOU PRACTICE?
Quasi, if we have something coming up, we’ll play three times a week. And then I should practice at least two times by myself. I play along with songs a lot. WITH HEADPHONES? Uhhuh, on headphones.
I THINK IT’S GREAT. DO YOU HOLD THE TEMPO OR DO YOU FOLLOW IT? It depends who it is.
Usually I hold it but in a band like The Jicks, Joanna and Steve are setting the tempo. I can see Joanna’s foot stomping the ground, so I have to look at her foot and follow her foot. She has great tempo. Tempo to me is important but it’s not the most important thing. I’ve tried to play to click tracks for certain songs and I can feel how I speed up. Usually I speed up, I’m not really a slower downer. But some songs require it. You want it to ramp up. UH HUH, YOU WANT TO HAVE SOME HUMAN FEELING TO IT. Yeah. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN THE MONITOR? I stopped
getting drums in my monitor, primarily, unless they’re really good monitors. I need to hear the amps mostly and my vocal. This is the singing drummer issue, right? UH HUH. That is a problem, hearing over
the drums, over the cymbals, hearing my voice. That’s why I don’t love my singing that much, because really I’m just trying to hit the notes. So, it’s not that expressive. I LOVE YOUR SINGING. I’m pushing too hard
and I’m too close to the mic, but it’s mostly so I can hear it. I’ve played with those in ear monitors before. When I toured with Bright Eyes we used those. And you
YEAH, IT’S WEIRD, BECAUSE YOU CAN REALLY NOT HEAR THE LIVE DRUMS AT ALL. You have to
get them in there. You have to get everything mixed so perfectly. It’s relying too much on the monitor engineer. Although you can have a great monitor engineer, if something goes wrong, if something cuts out you’re just stranded. You have to pull them out and then you don’t have regular monitors. THAT’S SCARY. My monitor mix in the past
has been the source of a lot of bad sound checks. You know, you’re playing some crummy club and the monitor engineer is drunk or tired and he’s like ‘That’s as good as I can get it.’ And then once you have your own monitor engineer you go back to those same clubs and that’s when you realize — that is not as good as it can be. Your own monitor engineer, who likes you and who wants to do a good job, can make it really nice. That’s a luxury. That’s like having someone clean your house. BUT WORTH IT. Worth it if you have the
money. If you don’t have the money then you’ve got to tough it out. RIGHT, BUT WE ALL HAVE A LOT OF MONEY. Ha!
SO, JANET, HERE’S YOUR KIT. IT’S THE WAY YOU LIKE IT SET UP. IF YOU’VE EVER SAT DOWN AT SOMEONE ELSE’S KIT WHAT’S THE FIRST THING THAT YOU CHANGE? WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU’RE LIKE, WHY IS THIS LIKE THIS? That’s a
good question. It depends. There is a fundamental difference between people who
learned drums playing rock music and people who learned playing jazz. The people who learned playing jazz have their cymbals on angles. And all the drums are usually on angles. And everything is really close in, because they play with their wrists. I need some whacking space. Also another thing I noticed is my snare is at a much different place than anybody else’s. I don’t want to hit my leg when I’m playing so I move it forward.
NEVER UNDERSTOOD PUTTING TAPE ON THE CYMBALS. DOES THAT WORK? Just to make them
quieter. Cymbals are way too loud most of the time. I do love them, it’s just they’re loud. But no one ever complains when you have tape on your cymbals. ‘I wish those cymbals were louder.’ No one has ever said that sentence.
WOULD YOU SAY THIS IS THE KIT THAT YOU THINK YOU’LL BE USING FOR A WHILE? Hard to say. I
It’s in a weird spot. Because I love John Bonham so much I’m like, the cymbals have to be flat. The snare has to be flat! The floor tom has to be flat!
NOT THE RACK TOM? The rack tom… I just
physically can’t play it flat. But I don’t think he had it flat. I just imitated him pretty much. AND HE WAS PRETTY LOW? Pretty low, I mean
he’s so big. He’s like a caveman hunched over. When I was with The Jinks I tried to learn how to be more flexible as to playing other people’s kits. Or playing the house kit. Putting mine in storage, letting them provide the kit. They sort of taught me how to be a little more easygoing. In Sleater-Kinney I was just a nightmare. It had to be my kit, the monitors had to be a certain way. I was a little bit spoiled I think. DO YOU THINK THAT WILL CHANGE AS YOU GO INTO THE FUTURE? THAT YOU’LL BE MORE EASYGOING OR MORE PARTICULAR? I think easygo-
ing. Again, I just took the drums out of the monitor completely. So, now if I get them, it’s, you know, oh, that sounds pretty good. But I don’t want to rely on that. Because I still tour with Quasi and play small places with no help. WHEN YOU COME UP WITH YOUR BEATS, THE PATTERNS THAT YOU COME UP WITH, ESPECIALLY FOR SLEATER-KINNEY SONGS, THEY DON’T SOUND, TO ME, LIKE THEY COME FROM JOHN BONHAM. THE COMPOSITION IS SO GREAT AND SO ORIGINAL, I DON’T KNOW WHERE IT COMES FROM. WHERE DO YOU START IN YOUR HEAD? BECAUSE IT DOESN’T SOUND LIKE BACKBEAT TO ME IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU REALLY ARE TUNED IN TO WHAT EVERYONE ELSE IS PLAYING. WHERE DOES IT COME FROM?
I think that’s the key to making up drum parts in that band. They’re not playing things that you’re used to hearing. It’s like a strange puzzle, the way the vocals are fitting together, the two vocals and the two guitars. So I’ve had to be like, where do the drums go in there? Where do the drums fit into those pieces? To me it’s all
“NO ONE EVER COMPLAINS WHEN YOU HAVE TAPE ON YOUR CYMBALS. ‘I WISH THOSE CYMBALS WERE LOUDER.’ NO ONE HAS EVER SAID THAT SENTENCE.” about listening, and then I just hear something and I try to play along. I like to make tapes and listen to them, that’s very helpful. Then I can say, oh, that doesn’t sound right, that’s too busy, it needs to be streamlined or less straight ahead. It’s just making it and editing it, listening, rethinking and reshaping it. It’s very rare that the first thing I try stays. Usually I have to work on stuff a little bit. For Sleater-Kinney I would listen to a lot of Devo. You know, the most melodic, incredible drums. Drum patterns, how to get away from the backbeat. YEAH, ALAN MYERS. So good. And you know, I’d listen to bands like the Talking Heads. Bands that didn’t rely on things being totally fluid. There are like holes in it. That would inform what I was doing. In Quasi and other bands I like to get into the backbeat, I want to feel it. But Sleater- Kinney is different. YOU SAY YOU’RE BAD AT PRESS ROLLS BUT I JUST SAW YOU DO A VERY GOOD ONE. It’s just that I
can’t do the whole ‘ladies and gentleman!! Brrrrrrrrrr.’
WHAT IF THERE WERE AN EMERGENCY? WHAT IF IT WERE LIFE OR DEATH? I BET YOU COULD. No!
That’s not fair! That’s why I play rock, so I don’t have to do press rolls. I get mad when I see a good press roll. I’m just like, damn you! THERE’S A DRUM SCHOOL IN MINNESOTA THAT’S ALL PRESS ROLLS. AND THEN YOU GRADUATE. I
will be using this kit for the next touring cycle. That’s about as far ahead as I can think. I can see it not being right for everything. It’s a little slow. If I need something zippier I will probably need to have something else. I LIKE THAT YOU HAVE LIGHT HARDWARE. The
lighter the better! I don’t really understand why hardware is how it is. I THINK IT’S A SCAM. IT’S A LIE. Why is it so
heavy? Why can’t it be made of graphite?
I’VE NEVER SEEN ANYONE DESTROY HARDWARE. WHERE IT’S LIKE, “OH, IT BROKE.” EVER! THE HARDEST BANDS EVER. Ha! Because it’s made
like a 1950s Cadillac bumper. It’s like the heaviest. It’s cruel. YEAH, IT MAKES IT HEAVY TO CARRY. People
want drummers to look dumb carrying their gear. YOU PACK A LOT OF FORCE INTO VERY LITTLE MOTION. I have a lot of aggression to get out. BUT WHERE IS THAT ENERGY COMING FROM? BECAUSE, IT’S NOT LIKE YOU TOOK A BIG SWING TO LAY INTO ANYTHING, BUT THE VOLUME! I GUESS IT’S JUST DRUMMING TRICKERY. There are times
when I’m going back and forth between my toms, or like moving around a lot, or really laying into my foreground, where I can feel my muscles just getting bigger and bigger. Which I don’t like. I don’t like how big they are. But a lot of it, it’s supposed to all come from your wrist but it doesn’t, a lot of it comes from my arms. I HAD A DRUM TEACHER TELL ME ONCE THAT IT DOESN’T EVEN COME FROM YOUR WRIST, IT COMES FROM YOUR FINGERS. Yeah, that’s how it’s sup-
posed to be. Sometimes I don’t like drummers that play like that. It starts to sound really generic if you’re doing it exactly the way everyone else was taught to do it. WHAT IF I WAS REFERRING TO MYSELF? YOU WILL HAVE JUST CRITICIZED ME. I’ve heard you play.
You don’t play generic. YESSS!
Watch the full interview on Tom Tom TV
AND IT’S KIND OF OVER A LOT. Yeah, it’s over.
TIN A S U GA N D H : TAB L A G I R L BY ME LODY BE RG E R PHOTOS BY JAME S SHU B INSK I
*YOU CAN BE THE BEST DRUMMER IN THE UNIVERSE, BUT BECAUSE YOU’RE A GIRL AND YOU HAVE THIS GLAMOROUS SIDE THERE WILL BE PEOPLE WHO JUST DON’T TAKE YOU SERIOUSLY. AND THAT’S OK! THAT’S THEIR CHOICE. THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE WHO WILL HEAR YOU PLAY AND SAY, WOW, SHE KNOWS HER STUFF!”
abla superstar Tina Sugandh’s mother used to lovingly compare her to a tornado. Girl is full of energy and all over the place. She sings, she writes, she drums, she dances, she acts. Bringing a fun Bollywood campiness to pop music, Tina loves making Indian culture more accessible to a wider audience. She’s had many cool opportunities in her career, including hosting her own Saturday morning TV show about Indian music and a collaboration with Ringo frikkin’ Starr. (There’s a Youtube video of her showing the Beatle a thing or two on the tabla. In typical Ringo fashion, he’s a mischievous class clown.) Most recently she starred with her new husband Tarz on the Bravo reality TV show Newlyweds: The First Year which documents the journeys of 4 newly married couples. Spoiler alert: glasses may get thrown. Tina and I had a delightful chat about life, drums, the universe and everything. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: YOU JUST HAD A BABY BOY LIKE 2 SECONDS AGO, CONGRATULATIONS! TINA SUGANDH:
Thank you! One of the plot points on the Bravo TV show was my pregnancy. I had a couple of miscarriages, it was hard to conceive, so the big surprise ending was that I was able to have a baby. So I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone I was pregnant, like I’m talking my aunts and uncles. I COULD ONLY WATCH THREE OF THE EPISODES, BUT I NOTICED THEY DIDN’T FOCUS ON YOU BEING A MUSICIAN ALL THAT MUCH. It’s funny, when you’re following a couple for 365 days you can only have so
many plot points. But there’s definitely an episode where I play. I was on the cover of BiBi Magazine, which is the biggest Bollywood bridal magazine in the states. We had a release party and I played the tabla while I was singing and they actually put that in the show. I was really happy about that because tabla is not a common instrument, so it was great to expose it to Bravo viewers. I doubt many of them even knew that a drum as beautiful as the tabla existed.
I IMAGINE THAT BEING ON THE SHOW PROBABLY GAINED YOU FANS WHO MIGHT NOT HAVE OTHERWISE BEEN EXPOSED TO YOUR MUSIC. DID YOU FIND THAT TO BE THE CASE? Yeah! We live
tweeted with every episode, and with the first episode we were able to write everybody back. By like the third episode there were just hundreds of tweets coming in. As far as music goes, a lot of people loved my music video “So Good” which is my sort of racy song I did with Fat Joe. And Tarz, my husband, arrests me and throws me in a cop car in the video. I’m sure he enjoyed that. A lot of other people were really interested in the video with Ringo Starr where he actually attempted to play the tabla, which is so cool. He’s just amazing. So, I got a lot of questions about that meeting. YEAH, HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? I was on the
cover of Drum Magazine and Max Weinberg from E street band and Conan O’brien saw it and showed it to Ringo, and also Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics told him about me. So I just got a call from Ringo one day asking if I’d like to come over to his house and sing and play tabla on his album. And I was like, um, I don’t know let me check my schedule, Ringo Starr… HA! AMAZING. It was really cool. He’s the
most humble, gracious, warm and really funny celebrity ever. The other thing about that which was incredibly bittersweet was that it happened right after my mom passed away from breast cancer. And my mom raised us on the Beatles. My cousins who all believe in the whole spiritual thing were like ‘You know, your mom set that up. Because she doesn’t know any other drummers.’ YOUR MOM MUST HAVE BEEN A BIG MUSICAL INFLUENCE FOR YOU. I KNOW YOU GREW UP PLAYING IN A FAMILY BAND. We started perform-
ing when I was 5 years old, it was the four of us. We would all have our jobs through the week, my mom was a marketing ex-
“I GOT A CALL FROM RINGO ONE DAY ASKING IF I’D LIKE TO COME OVER TO HIS HOUSE AND SING AND PLAY TABLA ON HIS ALBUM. AND I WAS LIKE, UM, I DON’T KNOW, LET ME CHECK MY SCHEDULE, RINGO STARR” ecutive and my dad was a professor. My sister Seema and I would get our straight A’s like good Indian girls. And then on the weekends we would all perform at some big Bollywood bash. It really bonded us. That’s what we did every weekend. It wasn’t like a money thing or an adoration thing. It was about moving people. It really taught me the right things about music. HOW DID YOU START PLAYING TABLA? We were
at a show one time when I was around eight and my dad had this fever. The next song on our set list required him to sing and play the dholak, an Indian drum that’s simpler than the tabla. It was a really loud and vigorous song so he had to give it his all. And I was just like, “Daddy, I want to play the drum, you’re not feeling well. You just go in the audience and sing with everybody.” So, I started playing and my dad just stopped and stared at me like “whoa, have you been waking up at 4 in the morning and privately practicing?” From that day on my parents encouraged me to play tabla. Because tabla is incredibly intricate, there’s a lot of individual finger strength that you need. So I started taking lessons, and at first I just did it because my mom would get a sparkle in her eye every time I played. And then I fell in
love with it. The feeling of freedom with your fingers, the fact that you can control the pace of a song. It’s all you. It took me three years to get the sound right. Whereas the drum set was much easier for me to get a good sound right away. My neighbor had a kit when I was a little kid, and he had been trying to get this one beat down for like 6 months or something. He tried to show it to me, and I was like ‘oh, ok!’ and I did it like it was nothing, and I did it twice as fast as he was doing it. And I’d never touched a drumstick before. He was like, I don’t want to play anymore, and he sold me his drum set that day. I felt horrible, I wasn’t doing it like a show off, I was just being a kid ‘hey, let me try!’ TABLA SEEMS LIKE IT’S ONE OF THE MOST COMPLICATED INSTRUMENTS AND IT TAKES A LIFELONG DEVOTION TO REALLY GET IT. DO YOU FEEL LIKE YOU’RE STILL ON YOUR JOURNEY TO MASTERING IT OR DO YOU FEEL CONFIDENT CALLING YOURSELF AN EXPERT NOW? I never feel
like I’m an expert in anything, there’s always room for improvement. But I can definitely hold my own and I know what I’m doing. There’s a long way to go, but there’s a long way to go in every field. I also don’t spend 10 hours a day practicing the tabla. I sing, I dance, I host, I act, I play the drums, I play guitar, I write my own music. There’s a lot of stuff I like to do and very little time. AND WOMEN ARE NOT TRADITIONALLY ENCOURAGED TO PLAY THE TABLA, RIGHT? Times have
changed a bit now, but especially when I was younger, women were not supposed to play it. It’s a man’s instrument, and that made me want to play it even more. Zakir Hussain, one of the most famous tabla players in the world, was talking about me at a press conference in India because I was on the cover of a very big Indian magazine (the now-defunct Rave Magazine) that is all about drums. And he was very angry about this, saying does a senior artist have to get “a plastic sur-
gery job” to be on the cover?’ His point being that I’m a girl and it was a very glamorous fashion-sort-of-shot. And not many people are used to seeing tabla like that. I loved it, I was like, great, controversy is great, bring it.
universe, but because you’re a girl and you have this glamorous side there will be people who just don’t take you seriously. And that’s okay! That’s their choice. There are other people who will hear you play and say, ‘wow, she knows her stuff!’ I think when I was younger, that was when I really felt that pressure to show people, give me a chance, I’m good! Even though I’m not an older man, the stereotypical tabla player.
DID HE CRITICIZE YOUR PLAYING, DID HE KNOW WHAT YOU COULD DO? OR DID HE JUST LOOK AT THE PICTURE ALONE? I doubt if he
even researched it. I have no idea, but if I were to guess I would say he just looked at the picture. Because I’m not amazing or anything, but I can freakin’ play. And that used to be my challenge, especially when I was younger. When I was a little girl I’d get behind the tabla and tune it on stage, and the audience would be like ‘aw, how cute, the little girl is going to tune it for her daddy!’ Then I’d start to play and they’d be like ‘ooh!’ So I’m pretty sure he just saw the picture and was disdainful of a fashion shoot with a tabla. It’s probably not, in his eyes, a good thing to do because you should be respectful and take it seriously. And I do… but I don’t think a little glamor hurts. IT SEEMS TO BE ONE OF YOUR MISSIONS TO BRING INDIAN FOLK MUSIC AND TRADITIONS TO A WIDER MAINSTREAM AUDIENCE. YOUR MUSIC COMBINES ALL THESE AMERICAN POP FORMS WITH INDIAN DRUMS, ETC. Oh, absolutely. People defi-
nitely know what the tabla sounds like, it’s out there in popular music. Just one example is Missy Elliot’s “Get Your Freak On”. The tabla is the whole song. People know the sound but they don’t know what the term is. I love when things like that happen where you’re exposed to Indian culture. GOING BACK FOR A SECOND TO THE IDEA OF TAKING THE TABLA SERIOUSLY… I FIND IT REALLY INTERESTING THAT YOU EMBRACE THE BOLLYWOOD CAMPINESS ANGLE OF THE PRETTY DANCING GIRL THING, BUT YOU ALSO HAVE TO BE REALLY COMPETENT AT A VERY DIFFICULT INSTRUMENT THAT TAKES HOURS OF DEDICATION AND PRACTICE. THERE SEEMS TO BE A LOT OF DISCREPANCIES… YOU WERE A BIOLOGY MAJOR IN COLLEGE AND THAT’S SOMETHING ELSE THAT TAKES A VERY STUDIOUS NATURE. IT WAS JUST INTERESTING FOR ME TO WATCH THE BRAVO SERIES AND BE LIKE, OH, WOW, EVERYTHING IS FLUFFY AND THERE’S A LOT OF GLITTER. I WAS JUST WONDERING HOW YOU RECONCILE THOSE EXTREMES.
That’s a very good question. I don’t mean
THIS ISSUE’S THEME IS ‘SINGING DRUMMERS’, WHICH OBVIOUSLY YOU’RE PERFECT FOR. MY LIMITED UNDERSTANDING OF TABLA IS THAT YOU LEARN THE INSTRUMENT BY SINGING CERTAIN PATTERNS THAT CORRELATE TO ALL THE DIFFERENT SOUNDS YOU CAN MAKE ON EACH DRUM HEAD. IS THAT TRUE?
No, not exactly. There are words for each stroke on the drum. So, when you say a sentence, a sentence being a string of the different sounds, almost like Do Re Mi Fa, sometimes when you say the pattern in rhythm, it sounds sort of like you’re singing it. But you definitely don’t need to know how to sing or anything like that, and it isn’t necessarily melodious. to sound arrogant but there is a lot to take seriously about me. But you’re right, on the reality show where you’re cursing and throwing glitter in the air… it’s sort of like the airhead meets biology major, it makes no sense. But, I am all those people. I am the girl with the Jersey potty mouth and I am the biology major. I love organic chemistry, and I am the glitter-aholic. And also the serious musician, and also I loved doing the sexy “So Good” video. There’s a part of me that’s racy, and another part of me that’s conservative — I make no sense! I feel like a lot of us are like that, where we stand for contradicting ideas. It’s just the first time where I put it all out there. And you get it, that there’s something behind the fluff that you see, but some people don’t get it. And that’s okay with me. I’m at a place in my life where I realize that people who talk smack do it because they’re insecure or unhappy in their own lives. And I just feel sorry for them. When someone says I look ugly or I’m untalented I just want to give them a hug and say ‘I’m really sorry you’re unhappy!’ DO YOU FEEL PRESSURE THOUGH? I KNOW A WHOLE LOT OF FEMALE MUSICIANS FEEL PRESSURE TO DOWNPLAY HOW HARD IT IS, WHAT WE DO. You can be the best drummer in the
TABLA IS INCREDIBLY DIFFICULT AND YOU STARTED AS A KID. I HAVE A LOT OF ADULTS WHO COME TO ME AND ASK IF IT’S EVEN WORTH TRYING TO LEARN AN INSTRUMENT LATER IN LIFE. AND I ALWAYS ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO IT. Adults have
so many other responsibilities. That’s the only reason I’d say it’d probably be a little more difficult at first. But I think it’s never too late. It’ s more about how much you want it. If you’re sixty years old and you really want to learn the tabla what would stop you? Nothing. So, I don’t think it’s an age thing I think it’s a passion thing.
NAME: TINA SUGANDH HOMETOWN: EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ LIVES IN: CA/NY/SC PAST BANDS:THE SUGANDH FAMILY CURRENT BANDS: I’M FLYING SOLO NOW! FAV VENUE: HP PAVILLION IN SAN JOSE FAV BAND: METALLICA FAV FOOD: CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE
S C A RL E T T F EV ER Scarlett Stevens of Australia’s Hottest Band San Cisco BY CHLOE SAAVE D RA OF CH A OS C H A OS PHOTOS BY LI SA BU SI NOVSK I
ight now Scarlett Stevens is in my hometown of New York City, insisting I get Caracas Arepas with her in Williamsburg before she sets foot on a long journey — two full headlining tours in America and Europe. After my band Chaos Chaos toured throughout Australia with her band San Cisco, I get to finally interview my great friend/ drummer idol. Scar (which she prefers not to be nicknamed) took a moment to talk to me about defying stereotypes and onstage wardrobe malfunctions. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HOW DO YOU GUYS WRITE YOUR SONGS? LOCATION? INSTRUMENTS? SOCIAL OR ISOLATED? Scarlett Stevens:
We’ve written and rehearsed at a few different locations. Our backyards and in the recording studio to name a few. At the moment we write in a small, soundproof room that the boys built within a warehouse in South Fremantle. But a lot of the ideas for songs come out of Josh and Jordi’s bedroom recordings. I guess we are more isolated now in this location. Our style of rehearsing is pretty social, we find it hard to stay concentrated in rehearsals. We tend to distract each other. WHO WRITES THE LYRICS? Jordi and Josh
mainly write the lyrics.
WHO WAS THE FIRST BAND YOU PLAYED WITH?
I played with a band called the Flairz. We were a rock outfit and began playing shows in 2003. We played at SXSW when we were 13, the same year that you and Asy were there! Our tastes in music changed over the seven years we were together and in 2009 we went our separate ways and that’s when I started jamming with Jordi. YOU HAVE GREAT STYLE, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE STAGE OUTFIT? Thanks! So do
you. I have a hard time with stage outfits. I have slopey shoulders so I’m prone to wardrobe malfunctions. My go-to outfit is probably a pair of lace shorts or tailored pants and a patterned shirt. I also love jumpsuits. I’d love to be up the front so I could showcase some killer shoes. ANY WARDROBE MALFUNCTIONS ONSTAGE?
All the time. I am forever pulling up bra straps and haven’t mastered the 26
coordination or dexterity to correct wardrobe malfunctions mid-song. WHAT FEMALE MUSICIANS DO YOU LOOK UP TO?
P J Harvey, Kim Gordon, Debbie Harry, Patti Smith, Cindy Blackman, Le Tigre, Jenny Lewis. So many! But then there’s been people who I’ve met through gigging who I’m also totally inspired by, like you and Asy, Isabella Manfredi from the Preatures and Abbe May. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE SAN CISCO SONG TO PLAY LIVE? I like playing “Fred Astaire”. It
goes from being swung to straight then back to swung. The changes to the time signature keep me on my toes. WHICH MUSIC VIDEO WAS THE MOST FUN TO SHOOT? The clip for “Fred Astaire” was
YOU AND I WERE BOTH KID DRUMMERS AND GIRL DRUMMERS. WE GREW OUT OF ONE BUT CANNOT GROW OUT OF THE OTHER. WHAT’S YOUR VIEW ON THESE LABELS? I think that both
labels are riddled with stereotypes. I’ve had people ‘compliment’ me at shows by saying ‘It’s great to see a female drummer who can actually play’. I find that really insulting because that would never be said to a guy, even though there may be a lot of average male drummers out there. I think the hardest part about being a kid musician is that people see it as being a gimmick which is frustrating because I remember being more professional and serious as a kid. HAVE YOU EVER DOUBTED YOUR CAREER CHOICE? Yeh. I feel very lucky to have
gotten this far with drumming. I sometimes feel like a bit of a phoney but I’ve realised you just have to enjoy what you do, celebrate your accomplishments and if you wake up and decide it’s no longer for you, then that’s fine.
really fun. We were more involved in the planning and aesthetic of this clip which is always more rewarding. I finally got to wear my awesome all-in-one white satin 70s jumpsuit which got its well-deserved debut.
WHO IS THE FIRST DRUMMER YOU FELL IN LOVE WITH? Probably you. Not in a creepy way!
HOW DO YOU THINK BECOMING AN “ADULT” HAS CHANGED YOUR THINKING OF MUSIC AND OF BEING A MUSICIAN? It’s definitely forced
WHEN AND HOW DID YOU GET INTO PLAYING DRUMS? When I was 10 I was at a BBQ
me to scout out music independent of my parents. I grew up with parents who had good taste and I was pretty much fed the classics my whole life. So now I get to show my parents new bands that i’m excited about which is cool. I don’t think my views on being a musician have changed since being a kid. I’ve always wanted it to be fun and for it not to be a chore. HOW LONG WAS IT YOU WENT TO UNIVERSITY? BEING THAT ALL OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE IN THE MUSIC BUSINESS, WAS GOING TO UNIVERSITY A REBELLION OF SORTS? I was
at uni for 2 years. It definitely wasn’t a rebellion of sorts, my parents are pretty open minded so they were cool with whatever I wanted to do. For me it was about having that plan b.
WHAT WERE YOU STUDYING? WOULD YOU LIKE TO GO BACK? Arts management. I’d love to!
My friends just had their final class before starting secondments and I felt a little sad. I’ll go back when it suits what San Cisco is doing because that’s my priority at the moment.
I love your style, it’s unique in so many ways. I remember taking “Find a Way” by Smoosh to drum lessons when I was about 14 and trying to learn your beats.
with my parents. At the time John Butler, an artist my dad manages, was touring with Jack Johnson on his first Australian tour. There was a kit at the house, I was mucking around on it when Adam Topol from Jack’s band came over and showed me how to play a basic rock beat. He invited me on stage for their show at the Forum Theatre in Melbourne which led to me playing one song onstage at Bonneroo the following year. My parents let me get drum lessons after that. BEING IN A STEREOTYPICALLY MALE-DOMINATED INDUSTRY AND GIVEN THAT YOU’RE THE ONLY GIRL IN THE BAND HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR ROLE IN SAN CISCO? It’s definitely
changed over the years. I think when we first started playing together I just wanted to be ‘one of the boys’. But now I’m finding my feet and my voice, and I try and portray my personality in all things we do. In a live review I got dubbed ‘the mother bear’ which was kind of frustrating. That’s not my role at all! I think given that it is such a male-dominated industry, if I could show other young women that they can go against the grain and be whatever they want to be — then that would be ace.
NAME: SCARLETT STEVENS AGE: 20 HOMETOWN & RESIDES: FREMANTLE CURRENT BANDS: SAN CISCO PAST BANDS: THE FLAIRZ DRUM SET: DW CYMBALS: MEINL HARDWARE & PEDAL: DW FAV VENUE: NORFOLK FREMANTLE FAV FOOD: RAVIOLI
“MY VIEWS ON BEING A MUSICIAN HAVEN’T CHANGED SINCE I WAS A KID. I’VE ALWAYS WANTED IT TO BE FUN AND FOR IT NOT TO BE A CHORE.”
QUICKFIRE Q&A WITH SCARLETT SHUFFLE OR PARADIDDLE? Paradiddle.
What a great way to warm up for a show.
SHEET MUSIC OR PLAYING BY EAR? Ear! STICKS OR BRUSHES? Sticks. DIGITAL OR VINYL? Vinyl all the way. FAVORITE ERA FOR MUSIC? ‘90s. Britpop. SHOES OR NO SHOES? No shoes. LAST 5 SONGS YOU LISTENED TO?
Sacrilege - Yeah Yeah Yeahs Trying to be Cool - Phoenix Do I Wanna Know - Arctic Monkeys Is this how you feel? - The Preatures Let’s Dance - David Bowie ALL-TIME FAVORITE ALBUM? Lou Reed
Transformer. David Bowie co-produced it. I love New York and that album is a pretty cool glimpse of the city and its people at such an exciting time.
M ORGA N D OC TOR The Clik BY SYLVI A MASSY PHOTOS BY CON NI E TSANG
FULL NAME: MORGAN DOCTOR HOMETOWN: LOS ANGELES, CA LIVES IN: TORONTO, CANADA PAST BANDS: THE CLIKS CURRENT BANDS: ANDY KIM, BELLE AYRE DRUM SET: YAMAHA CLUB CUSTOM CYMBALS: ZILDJIAN A AND K CUSTOMS HI-HAT: 14” NEW BEAT ZILDJIANS SNARE: 14” YAMAHA CLUB CUSTOM HARDWARE: YAMAHA PEDAL: TAMA IRON COBRA STICKS: VIC FIRTH 85A FAV FOOD: FISH TACOS FAV VENUE: RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL
DRUMMERS “WHEN I STARTED MY DRUM KIT WAS IN MY ROOM AND THEN NEXT THING YOU KNOW IT WAS IN THE GARAGE, THAN THEY BUILT A ROOM ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GARAGE”
Tempesta (The Cult) when we were touring with them and just watch him play every night. WHAT WOULD YOUR DREAM GIG WOULD BE? A gig where I could bring
my wiener dog, Cymbal, on the road with me.
IF YOU COULD HAVE ANY VINTAGE KIT — IS THERE ONE IN PARTICULAR THAT YOU HAVE YOUR EYE ON? My first kit was a gold sparkle ’60s Gretsch
kit, I wouldn’t mind having that again.
YLVIA MASSY FOR TOM TOM MAGAZINE: MORGAN, IT WASN’T ANY ACCIDENT THAT YOU BECAME A DRUMMER. HOW DID IT ALL START? IS IT FATE?
Morgan Doctor: I started when I was ten and all I remember is being in the toy store, seeing a drum kit, and asking my parents if I could have one. They said, ‘You can, but you have to take lessons.’ So I started really young and I had no idea what I was doing. It’s been the only thing in my life that I’ve just had such passion for that I continued consistently with. When I was a kid, I had a bit of a temper problem, I use to have these temper tantrums. So maybe it helped with that (laughter). SO POUNDING ON DRUMS AT YOUR PARENTS HOUSE PROBABLY REALLY HELPED THINGS. (laughs) Yeah. When I started my drum kit was THEY PUT YOU AS FAR AWAY AS POSSIBLE.(LAUGHS) Exactly. (laughing) YOU AND I MET WHILE WORKING ON THE CLIKS ALBUM IN CALIFORNIA. CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH THAT? Well it
was something I was really was looking forward to because I had never been in a situation where I had so much time to do preproduction. To be able to play the drums for 8 hours a day and focus on creating music for 6 weeks in nature was something I always wanted to do. We also did some really cool things on that album that I had never done in the studio before as a drummer. Needless to say it pushed me.
ARE THERE ANY OTHER REAL SPECIAL MOMENTS IN YOUR CAREER AS FAR As TOURING OR SESSIONS OR INTERACTIONS WITH OTHER MUSICIANS?
When The Cliks were touring with Cyndi Lauper at the end of each show we would get on stage and do “True Colors” and just looking out over ten thousand people and everyone is singing… I would say to myself, ‘Yes this is happening.’ Times like those are really, really special. There have been times where I played in a small club too and there is such a loving feeling from the audience and the performers. Those moments where everything is just sitting in the right place and you don’t want it to end. I HAVE ONE LAST QUESTION, I’M SURE THAT EVERYONE WANTS TO KNOW… THE NAME MORGAN DOCTOR, IS THAT YOUR GIVEN NAME? IT’S A FANTASTIC NAME. It is my given name and I could tell you some pretty crazy
stories about it. My dad is actually a psychologist… So he is, Dr. Doctor. (They laugh) I’ve always had interesting interactions around my name, especially when I go into hospitals… It can get tricky. Morgan just finished a released a third album, Major Over Minor, put out by Aporia Records in Canada. This one is an instrumental album full of ambient, down-tempo music.
WELL WHEN YOU STARTED IN THAT ROOM AT YOUR PARENTS’ HOUSE, WERE YOU PRACTICING TO EXISTING MUSIC OR WERE YOU WRITING AS WELL? I
know that The Cliks album had a lot of your personal writing involved in the pre-production and in the actual arrangement of the songs. When I was a kid I use to pick up the guitar a lot and jam around as well. We had a beach house up in Ventura and there was absolutely nothing to do. No TV, nothing, so I would teach myself Beatles songs. I got familiar with other parts of music aside from the drums. I think I was naturally attuned to arrangements. Through the years of playing with so many different people, I’ve developed that particularly well. But, I didn’t do a lot of writing until right before The Cliks. AS FAR AS YOUR TECHNIQUE GOES, IS THERE SOMETHING THAT YOU DO THAT IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER DRUMMERS? From the onset of play-
ing drums I always felt that if I could understand and play Jazz music, it would help my playing a lot in every other genre. I’ve always been drawn towards loud music and played in bands that have a lot of energy. I studied Jazz for quite a few years with a teacher named Jim Blackly in Toronto. It infused into the rock music I was playing. So I guess in turn, my style, no matter what I am playing, becomes jazzy in a weird way. So to me, that would be the difference… I’m a swinging rock drummer (laughs)... SO WHAT OTHER DRUMMERS HAVE INSPIRED YOU? When we were on
the road with The B52’s and The Cult I was just so amazed by Sterling Campbell. Also, I would just stand side stage of John 29
S DRUMMER NG who S I
alita Balakrishnan destroyed two of her parents’ mahogany tables, drumming on them with pencils until there were dents in the wood. Her mother, an Indian classical singer, finally put her foot down. “If you’re going to break my tables,” she said, “why don’t you break a drum instead.” She started studying tabla at the Pandit Jasraj School of Music Foundation in Atlanta, and has been there for six years, under the direction of Prithwiraj Bhattacharjee, one of the top tabla players in the world, himself a direct disciple of tabla greats Ustad Alla Rakha and Ustad Zakir Hussain. “You have to give up your ego, so your teacher can fill that space with knowledge,” she said. Young, but ambitious, 23-year-old Balakrishnan is eager to take her place in this elite lineage of tabla players, one that is still almost entirely male. “I know of only three women that are making a living off tabla in the world,” she said. Balakrishnan started her own label, lalTAAL Records, two years ago to put out the hip-hop music she was recording at the time. “I’ve got an entrepreneurial bug,” she admits. These days, while she sometimes considers fusing tabla with other contemporary styles, she prefers to stay focused on “unadulterated” Indian music, citing pop music that poorly features the tabla, like Selena Gomez’s
L A LI TA B AL AK R I S H N A N Tables to Tablas BY A R IEL L E A NG EL PH OT O BY A NDY BA R RY
“Come and Get It.” — “That’s the kind of thing where you have this ‘exotic’ Indian sound in the background. Good for you. But what has that done for tabla? Nothing.” Jazz and Indian music have more natural overlap, says Balakrishnan. Like Jazz, tabla is more “spiritual”— not just notes on a page, but an improvisational medium that relies on the player to bring something of her own. Currently, Balakrishnan plays around Atlanta with jazz drummer Jared Lanham, exploring the “Indian-jazz trade off.” At her parent’s insistence, Balakrishnan is in school for Psychology and Exercise Science at Georgia State (she graduates in December), but she says unequivocally that music is her future. “Anybody can get a degree,” she said. Balakrishnan sees the hand of fate in her picking up tabla around the same time as her illustrious teacher moved to Atlanta, and in the rapid development of her talents. “I feel like it’s my responsibility to do this,” she said. NAME: LALITA JOSHI BALAKRISHNAN AGE: 23 HOMETOWN: MINNEAPOLIS, MN LIVES IN: ATLANTA, GA PAST BANDS: TRANSFUSION, NAANVIOLENCE TABLA: HARIDAS VHATKAR TABLA FAV FOOD: SUSHI FAV VENUE: CENTER STAGE, ATL
“IF YOU’RE GOING TO BREAK MY TABLES,” SHE SAID, “WHY DON’T YOU BREAK A DRUM INSTEAD.”
S A M MAL ON E Y IN T ERVIEW ED BY ANT HON Y LOZAN O P H OT O GRAPH ED BY STE FAN O G ALLI
One of the more recognizable faces of drumming, Samantha Maloney has played with the likes of Hole, Mötley Crüe, Peaches, and Eagles of Death Metal. As we meet in her office, I come to find that recently, Maloney has devoted her focus to managing artists. One walk around her office provides ample evidence that this is the workplace of one of the most accomplished rock drummers out there. Hanging around are gold and platinum records from each project, signed records and memorabilia that friends made, as well as a gorgeous gold drum set highlighting just where her heart is at. On this hot day in the San Fernando Valley, we sit and chat about where her love affair for the drums began and run through her over 15-year career of wellknown gigs so far. I get the impression that Maloney is itching to play drums again. She is just waiting for that next dream gig.
“WHEN I GOT THE GIG FOR HOLE, I HONESTLY WAS MORE EXCITED AT THE FACT THAT MY DRUM TECH WAS TOMMY ALDRIDGE WHO WAS WHITESNAKE’S DRUM TECH RATHER THAN THE FACT I WAS IN HOLE. ’CAUSE I GOT TO TALK TO HIM AND ASK HIM, “WHAT WAS IT LIKE BEING ON THE ROAD WITH WHITESNAKE?”
TOM TOM MAGAZINE: FIRST OFF, CAN YOU DESCRIBE WHERE YOU GREW UP AND THE VIBES OF THE ENVIRONMENT YOU GREW UP IN?
Samantha Maloney: I grew up in Queens, New York and it was a tough city to grow up in. I’m the oldest of three children and my dad was a cop. I grew up playing basketball and I was very athletic. I went to Performing Arts High School in New York City, which is also known as Fame High School. So I studied drums (percussion) there and was also a very good basketball player.
Before I knew it, I was on a plane again the next week to go film the video with them. I didn’t even have a chance to go home and tell Shift that I had done the video. It was already announced on MTV that I was their new drummer. So, it was a crazy. I started touring. I had my first real tour bus and I had my first drum tech. When I got the gig for Hole, I honestly was more excited at the fact that my drum tech was Tommy Aldridge who was Whitesnake’s drum tech rather than the fact I was in Hole. ’Cause I got to talk to him and ask him, “What was it like being on the road with Whitesnake?”
SO THAT INSPIRED YOU TO PLAY DRUMS? What
inspired me to play drums first was my parents got MTV. We got cable television and my life changed. I saw Headbanger’s Ball with Tommy Lee rolling around in a drum cage and I thought, ‘That is the job for me!’ That looks like the most fun job in the world! Then I discovered this album called Appetite for Destruction and seeing Guns N’ Roses, Whitesnake, Mötley Crüe; bands like those. That made me want to play drums. THAT’S AWESOME! BEFORE YOUR FIRST BAND SHIFT, WHAT WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WITH BANDS? I had bands in high school, but
the first real band was Shift. I was in 11th grade when we started that. Before that, I remember being fourteen years old and walking into a music store — Sam Ash in Queens — where some kid was playing guitar and he saw me go into the drum section. He asked if I played drums. So we started a band and we played friends’ houses and clubs in Brooklyn and Queens. It was just a lot of rock music that I played. In school I studied jazz and classical. I had to play timpani, xylophone, marimbas; all of the instruments you need to know how to play as a percussionist, but my true love was playing rock ‘n’ roll. GOING BACK TO THE MTV THING, THE FIRST TIME I SAW YOU WAS IN THE HOLE VIDEO FOR THE SONG “CELEBRITY SKIN.” FOR MANY PEOPLE THIS WAS THEIR FIRST EXPOSURE TO YOU AS A DRUMMER. HOW DID THAT AFFECT YOUR LIFE? Hole was a life changing gig for me.
Thanks to Courtney Love, Eric Erlandson, and Melissa Auf der Maur, they gave me my first big break into the rock n’ roll world. Although I had been touring with Shift for six years, I got the call to play with Hole and honestly I knew nothing about that band except that Courtney Love was the singer. So, when I got the call to audition, I thought why not? I’ll just go and try out, but I had to fly to L.A. from New York. I remember the ticket cost me $620, which was a lot of money at the time; still is. So I said I’m going to give this a shot. I went out to L.A., tried out, and I got the call the next day. They asked me if I was interested in playing with them. I said, ‘Hell yeah!’
SO, HOW DID YOU GO FROM HOLE TO MÖTLEY CRÜE,? In May of 2000, Courtney had
decided she wanted to do a movie and Melissa wanted to move on. We didn’t know what we wanted to do, so me, Eric, and Courtney started auditioning new bass players. I was still living in New York and was commuting to L.A. One morning, I was home and my phone rang and my friend said, “Nikki Sixx is trying to reach you! He wants you to play in Mötley Crüe!” Tommy (Lee) had taken a sabbatical. My friend told me that their current drummer Randy (Castillo) was sick so they needed a replacement for maybe a week or so, to fill some dates coming up. So, I said, “Well give Nikki my number.” When Nikki called me, I said, “Are you kidding me?!” And he said, “No, I’m serious, I want you to get on a plane.” I said “You get me a ticket, I will be on a plane in an hour,” and basically that’s what happened. I packed up my bags, went to the airport, with the ticket waiting there for me. The next thing I know, I’m in L.A., driving to rehearse with Mötley Crüe. It was the most surreal thing that has happened to me — since when I was 14 years old, I was watching Tommy Lee roll around in a drum cage. Ten years later at 24, I was playing the gig that I dreamed of playing. LIVING THE DREAM. I was living the dream.
SO, AFTER YOUR STINT WITH THE CRÜE, ALONG CAME A WOMAN THEY CALL PEACHES. HOW DID THIS COME ABOUT? I met this woman who
was Peaches’ manager and told her that I was obsessed with Peaches and I needed to meet her. She said, “Well, Peaches is looking for a female drummer. I think you guys should meet.” We did meet the night she played a New Year’s Eve party in New York. Peaches and I hit it off right away. She asked me if I wanted to come to Berlin and write with her for her new album, which was called “Impeach my Bush.” So, of course, when Peaches calls, you gotta go.
IT HAD BEEN A WHILE SINCE I HAD SEEN YOU ON TELEVISION, THEN I SAW YOU PERFORMING WITH EAGLES OF DEATH METAL. HOW DID THIS ALL HAPPEN? I was home from Berlin, back
in L.A. [Samantha had moved from New York to L.A. around her time with Mötley Crüe] and I got a phone call from Josh Homme, a friend of mine, who is the singer for Queens of the Stone Age. (I knew Josh because Queens of the Stone Age had just started in 1998 and Melissa Auf der Maur, bassist of Hole, was obsessed with that band. Auf der Maur really championed for them to be our opening act for our tour in the States, which they were.) So Josh was saying that he had this band called Eagles of Death Metal and he was a drummer, but he couldn’t play with them anymore because he had to go back out with Queens. They needed a replacement and he wanted to know if I wanted to do it. I said, “Well, what’s it sound like?” He said, “You gotta come over. I gotta play you some music.” So I went to his house and heard this album and I thought that this is the most fun rock n’ roll party music I’ve ever heard. That whole album “Peace, Love, and Death Metal,” you just turn it up from beginning to end — any party you’re at— that is the CD you have to listen to. Everybody’s happy when they hear Eagles of Death Metal. So, that’s how I got the Eagles of Death Metal gig. I played with them for over a year, touring all over the world. NOW, YOU ARE ONE OF THE MOST RESPECTED FEMALE DRUMMERS OUT THERE. BUT, YOU DON’T HEAR A LOT OF PRAISE USUALLY FOR FEMALE DRUMMERS IN THE MAINSTREAM. WHAT IS YOUR STANCE ON THIS AND WHY DO YOU THINK THIS IS? Times are changing. There are
more girls that are playing. I just think it’s ridiculous. Either you’re talented or you’re not. Either you’ve got it or you don’t. Either you’re a great drummer or you’re a good drummer. Whether you’re a guy or a girl…. you’re good or you’re not. What gender you are? Who cares? Samantha currently manages a worldwide music management company for the past three years with her business partners. She is also a judge/music mentor on the NBC/COZI TV network show called “Next Great Family Band” where they search for the next great band who has family members in them! Her top two choices this season were Vessio and The Sledge Grits Band. Both have awesome female drummers in them.
LU S C IOU S K AT E INT E RVI E WE D BY ANTHONY LOZAN O PH OTOG RAPHE D BY D OU G SE Y MOU R
NAME: KATE SCHELLENBACH AGE: 47 HOMETOWN: WEST VILLAGE, NYC LIVES IN: LOS ANGELES, CA: PAST BANDS: YOUNG ABORIGINES, BEASTIE BOYS, YOUNG AND THE USELESS, HAGATHA, LUNACHICKS, LUSCIOUS JACKSON CURRENT BAND: LUSCIOUS JACKSON, PUSHBUTTONS! DRUM SET: 4 PIECE LUDWIG CLASSIC MAPLE CYMBAL: ZILDJIAN (MOSTLY K’S AND A’S) HI-HAT: ZILDJIAN K’S SNARE: LUDWIG BLACK BEAUTY HARDWARE: LUDWIG PEDAL: LUDWIG OR DW FAV FOOD: PIZZA FAV VENUE: GORGE AMPHITHEATRE
“JILL CALLED ME AND SAID, ‘DO YOU WANT TO BE IN AN ESG COVER BAND?’ - THAT’S HOW SHE PITCHED LUSCIOUS JACKSON TO ME; IT WAS AN ESG COVER BAND.” Best known for her band, Luscious Jackson, Kate Schellenbach was also the drummer for the Beastie Boys when they were a hardcore punk outfit. Luscious Jackson, for those unfamiliar, combined elements of hip-hop, jazz, and rock to create a sound all their own, but they disbanded at the end of the 1990s. The music industry has changed dramatically since the band broke up. Instead of traditional channels, there are now many different outlets to get one’s music made and delivered to the people — Schellenbach understands this current state of the business and she likes it. I met up with her in the kitchen of her home in Los Angeles to catch up and share details about a new Luscious Jackson album and talk about her journey on the drums up until now.
being really creative and starting our own bands. It was towards the end of punk rock, just before hardcore was starting up and also around the same time that hip-hop was filtering into the downtown clubs coming from the Bronx. So that’s kind of what informed a lot of us in that time period. I lived on this kind of crazy street, 14th Street, with a lot of discount stores, where it’s just like this stuff just spilling out into the street. Puerto Ricans, Haitians, Israelis and just all kinds of cultures where everyone is playing their boomboxes and you know there’s the punk rockers and the hippies and whatever. You would walk down the street and you’d hear seven different things. It’s kind of awesome, if you’re listening.
TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HI KATE. CAN YOU INTRODUCE YOURSELF TO THE WORLD OF TOM TOM MAGAZINE? Kate Schellenbach: I’m Kate
remember there was a time after junior high and before high school during that summer. A bunch of girls were like, ‘we’re going to see this band at CBGBs and the singer is really cute and we should all go!’ We all went and there was this band, Student Teachers, and the drummer was a girl. Seeing this band made me think, ‘Oh, I could do that!’ It’s just one of those things where it had to be in front of your face to be like, ‘Oh AH-HA!’
Schellenbach, I’m the drummer for Luscious Jackson. I’m from New York City and I’ve been playing drums since I was about 13. And I’m 105 so that’s a loooong time. (laughs)
I’M CURIOUS ABOUT WHAT IT WAS LIKE GROWING UP IN NEW YORK. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE ENVIRONMENT YOU GREW UP IN? Luscious Jackson
and also Beastie Boys came out of a time in New York where it was very unique. In the 1970s and ’80s the drinking age was still 18. We looked old enough to get into clubs, so we started going out to clubs and seeing bands really early — like at 13. I went to CBGBs and that was just the vibe of the city. The kids were free and easy wandering the streets. In a lot of ways it was like a tribe of kids all going to see bands, doing fanzines, and just
WHEN WAS THE MOMENT YOU WERE INSPIRED TO PLAY DRUMS? I
HOW DID YOU END UP DRUMMING FOR THE BEASTIE BOYS? I remember
meeting this guy John Berry, who was the original guitarist for The Beastie Boys, at shows. He introduced me to Mike Diamond and then eventually Adam Yauch. They had a band called The Young Aborigines and they were more post-punk, think a Public Image, Siouxsie and the Banshees-ish tribal kind of thing. They invited me to play percussion with them. We would play and
we would rehearse as The Young Aborigines; it was our serious band. Then when we were done, we would switch instruments and that’s how the Beastie Boys kind of came to be. It was kind of a joke. It was just like, let’s be a punk rock band now! And since it started off as a joke, we never really took it seriously. We practiced enough so we had enough songs to play a show. After that show, people liked us so much that they wanted us to keep playing and we’re like, ‘Well, we’re not really a band you know?’ SO, HOW DID THE HIP-HOP COME TO BE THE FOCUS OF THAT BAND? We
KAT E W IT H T H E BEA ST IE B OYS. PH O T OS C OU RT E S Y OF T H E ART IS T
did [a song] “Cookie Puss” which was sort of this weird protorap hip-hop thing that really took off on college radio and underground radio. That started the whole hip-hop focus of the group. SO, AS “COOKIE PUSS” TOOK OFF, THE GROUP BECAME MORE OF A HIP-HOP THING, HOW DID THAT AFFECT YOUR ROLE WITH THEM?” We would play
all our hardcore songs and then we’d stop and put down our instruments. We had to figure out some way to recreate this, so this is where we hooked up with Rick Rubin. Someone was like well this guy is a DJ, so he can DJ while you guys rap and it was never anything I was comfortable with and I tried it. We all had matching shirts and it did not come naturally to me. WHEN WAS THE TIME YOU HOOKED UP WITH LUSCIOUS JACKSON? I
reconnected with Jill and Gabby [of Luscious Jackson] in the late ’80s or early ’90s. I think Jill called me and said, ‘Do you want to be in an ESG cover band?’ — that’s how she pitched Luscious Jackson to me; it was an ESG cover band. I was like, ‘Yeah! Definitely! That sounds awesome!’ (laughs) They had done this demo tape and given it to friends, one of whom was Mike D. of the Beasties. At the time, Mike and them wanted to start a label. They decided this is what they wanted to release. IT SOUNDS LIKE THE STARS ALIGNED FOR YOU LADIES. HOW WAS THE TOURING DURING THIS TIME? ANY HIGHLIGHTS? Right from the get-go
we had kind of cool tours. We were really lucky. Like we opened for the Breeders and we were all obsessed with them because they were another great band with strong women and strong personalities. We did Lollapalooza with them and Beastie Boys. I think we were the only band who did Lollapalooza and Lilith Fair, which is kind of cool. HOW WAS LILITH FAIR? It was actually amazing, like we got to meet
some of our biggest idols, like Chrissie Hynde was there; Bonnie Raitt, of course. Sarah McLachlan. Sheryl Crow. You know as female musicians we’ve always gravitated to other female musicians. I think it’s always nice to be around other women who are working in the business to get their point of view and see how they do it. You know someone like Bonnie Raitt who has been touring since the ‘70s — how she’s maintained her sense of self and her health and her success and all that kind of stuff. WELL THINGS SEEMED TO BE GOING SO WELL. WHAT BROUGHT ABOUT THE BREAKUP OF LUSCIOUS JACKSON? After Lilith Fair ended, there was
sort of a backlash against women, especially on the radio. The macho Limp Bizkit and Korn stuff knocked most female voices off the radio and that’s kind of why our band ended up splitting up at the end of ’99/2000. It was like, ‘What are we doing?’ We couldn’t get a break. We had just released an album we think is great, but all these radio stations were telling us, ‘We’re already playing a female on the radio so we’re not going to play you guys.’
YOU LADIES HAVE BECOME A BAND AGAIN. WHAT CHAIN OF EVENTS ALLOWED THAT TO HAPPEN? Jill and Gabby just had such a nice
rapport that they decided to start working together again (around 2004/2005) and just having fun. Jill called me and said, ‘Hey, I met this guy. He has this company called PledgeMusic. It’s kind of like Kickstarter and you have complete control of everything. You’re not on a label. We get the money and we use it to record. Is that something you’re interested in?’ I was like, sure, why not?! Let’s just do it and see what happens! SO, DOES THAT MEAN YOU’LL BE TOURING AGAIN? WHAT CAN YOU SAY ABOUT THE NEW LUSCIOUS JACKSON ALBUM? We’ll see. We’ll see you
at Lilith Fair 2018! (laughs) That being said; I’m super excited about the album. The drums are all crazy and fun; they were done super easily. It was like me in a room with four mics and just doing 3 takes for each song. It’s very similar to how it was before. Also, Adam Horowitz from the Beastie Boys gave us a track to work with. Our old DJ, Alex Young gave us a track. So it’s a lot of input from cool people and it’s going to be cool. We just wanted to release something that people are going to be happy to hear and not just be like, ‘life is so hard’ you know, doom and gloom. This is a party album. So we’re psyched. The new Luscious Jackson album is called “Magic Hour” and will be available Nov. 7th (and available Nov. 1 for people who pledged for the album via PledgeMusic.) Watch the full video interview with Kate on Tom Tom TV.
JENNI RO BE RT S : A .GIRL .O N . DR UM S . P H O TOS AN D WORD S BY KARE N CAMPOS CA ST IL L O O R I G I N ALLY PU BLI SHE D ON HE ART- BE ATS .CA
Jenni and me go way back but she doesn’t really know that. It was the days of MySpace and bands on MySpace (I’m older than you). I was creeping around and came across a band that I was starting to spot on posters around Edmonton. The band was Illfit Outfit. First, I was relieved to hear something melodic and completely different from the punk and screamo and ska (shudder) of my youth. Then I noticed their singer had Kurt Cobain hair. But then I saw her: the girl on drums. A. Girl. On. Drums. In Edmonton. A person of colour. In Edmonton. I feel like you must have a sense of what it’s like to grow up brown in Alberta by now. It leads to projects like this. It was also a huge deal considering that liking bands and drums was something that brown girls didn’t do. It was something that made me a bit of an outcast within my own family. I eventually went on to meet Jenni in person and likely tried to play it all cool. We’re, like, real friends now though (I know where she lives.) I’m still in awe of her talent and style (denim, baby) and sweetness. Lately, gurl has been playing every instrument and looking damn good doing it with the likes of Renny Wilson, Calvin Love, Ghibli, and Caity Fisher. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? Jenni Roberts: Beyond my
staples (denim shirts, plaid, band tees, black jeans, black sneaks), I have thrifted joke shirts and sweaters. Half of my clothes started as gags then I just kept wearing them. I’m a very serious person. DOES BEING A PERSON OF COLOR INFLUENCE WHAT YOU WEAR? Absolutely! In the
melanin months when I lose my winter fade I feel like I can wear any pattern, any color, all the things. Brown just goes. In terms of representing heritage, no, it doesn’t influence my clothing. My parents are both a generous mix of ethnicities with few of their specific traditions retained. Beyond my Welsh names, my German/Dutch grandma’s soups, and my mom’s “cook-up” meals and Ackee wall hangings, there’s nothing in my extended heritage that I identify with intimately enough to adopt. Not yet. I’m into digging through the music traditions of my ethnicities, especially on my mom’s side, but there are few clear 36
answers with slave heritage. She’s from Jamaica, mostly East Indian, part Jew (likely Sephardic), part African (probably West African) and recently found out one of her grandmothers was of Syrian descent. I feel like wearing traditional items in ignorance would somehow be appropriative of myself. It’s weird. Actually, I did want to wear a signifier of my roots culture. My mom recently visited back home for the first time in 30 years. She brought back a t-shirt that said, “Seven days without Reggae makes one weak.” She gave it to someone else. Welp. HOW DID YOU START PLAYING MUSIC? I’VE ALWAYS BEEN IN AWE OF YOUR COMMITMENT. I PUT AWAY MY FLANNEL AND GUITAR SOMEWHERE AROUND 17 YEARS OLD. I started playing the
organ at four years. I took lessons and exams for 10 years then had to choose between organ or volleyball. Organ recitals suffer from a dearth of spandex, sweat and jumping. Formal music lessons ended but I picked up guitar, bass and drums through school bands and church. By university I couldn’t handle the dual practice schedules, injuries and sport politics, so I dropped volleyball to focus on music studies. Now I hack out whatever role is needed when I join a project. As for commitment, it has never been difficult to choose music. All of my immediate family is intrinsically musical but didn’t have the encouragement or privileges that they’ve created for me to pursue music. I was the first person in my family to finish high school then go to post-secondary. I think of everything my parents endured — including the humility of asking for help so I could go to school outside of my neighborhood and eventually study music. Sometimes, when I’m out gallivanting in face paint or making everything a joke while my mom works two jobs, I feel like I should be making serious art or money for that matter. She has never asked me when I’m going to do something typical. Every milestone has been shared with pride and every difficulty comforted with, ‘soon come’. Nothing feels as much like actively living for me as playing music.
IS IT EVER DISCOURAGING TO NOT SEE MANY PEOPLE OF COLOUR, LET ALONE WOMEN OF COLOUR, IN THESE MUSIC SCENES?
Unfortunately the under representation of POC is a reality in the music scenes I’m part of it but hasn’t been acutely discouraging for me. Rewind — there have been a few- too-many obtuse moments when at least a half dozen WOC musicians with natural hair (that I know of) are assumed to be one person. It’s like it’s not worth confirming our unique identities before greeting us with an assumption, as though there is a singular busy brown musical unicorn in Alberta. It feels like a whiplash of racialization stepping off stage to, ‘Oh hey! You were great at [event played by person that broadly looks like you in another city]!’ That is happening less lately. I’d like to believe it’s because people are educating themselves. Anyway, I never walk into a venue feeling surprised or disappointed that it’s full of white dudes. I came up coping with and accepting isolation: lots of hours at home alone while my mom worked hella hours, living in a remote neighborhood away from friends, often being one of just a handful of POC students in my school, wrapped in a queer cocoon somewhere slightly outside of the gender-binary, etc. When I meet other artists in the intersections of colouredness, queerness, and radness I don’t feel relief, just love. Y’all know who you are. I see you, girl!
“I NEVER WALK INTO A VENUE FEELING SURPRISED OR DISAPPOINTED THAT IT’S FULL OF WHITE DUDES.”
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE WHAT YOU BRING TO WEAR ON TOUR OR WEAR ON STAGE? Stage outfits
depend on the band. Right now Renny Wilson is full-on CanTux, Calvin Love is muted and black, Ghibli is about hair and nails, Caity Fisher don’t give a darn. Tour outfitting consists of whatever materials will hold the longest without laundering. I take my stage wear plus cut off booty shorts and leggings (my “night pants”) year round because it gets hot sitting in the van for endless hours. Also, nobody is going to see me looking haggard at Walgreen’s twice so I just let it all out. I don’t bring much for clothes. I leave space for thrifting on the road. The rest of my army surplus duffle is loaded with every contingency item we might need. I tend to take on the role of van mother.
FULL NAME: JENNI ROBERTS AGE: 30 HOMETOWN & LIVES IN: EDMONTON, CANADA PAST BANDS: ILLFIT OUTFIT, DB BUXTON REVUE CURRENT BANDS: TEE-TAHS, CALVIN LOVE, RENNY WILSON DRUM SET: PEARL RHYTHM TRAVELLER CYMBALS: VINTAGE ZILDJIANS, ’80S SABIANS HI-HATS: ZILDJIANS K CUSTOM HYBRID PEDAL: GIBRALTAR INTRUDER STRAP DRIVE FAV FOOD: PINEAPPLE FAV VENUE: WUNDERBAR (EDMONTON)
SINCE YOU ARE ONE OF MY HEROES, I WANT TO KNOW SOME OF YOURS. CAN BE MUSIC-RELATED OR WHATEVER. There are definitely artists
that I admire but I’ve never been a fangirl. We didn’t get internet at home until I was in high school. Whatever network media broadcasted seemed like the world and I wasn’t part of it. There wasn’t anyone that reflected me in mainstream entertainment industry. I did have a couple heroes though. When Team Canada made the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta for women’s indoor volleyball I was glued to the screen for every game. They had a power hitter, Janis Kelly, who had this nearly unreturnable spike serve uncommon in women’s volleyball at the time. She was super muscular and dark skinned with short natural hair. The TV commentators made some of the same ignorant devaluing statements about the Williams sisters’ superior strength. Meanwhile European player’s were getting “six-packed” in the face with heavy hits. I ate it up. One player can’t carry a team in volleyball. Canada didn’t make it to the final rounds. She played pro-ball in Europe but after the Olympics I never saw more about Janis Kelly. I wish I could YouTube some of those serves now! They blew my mind. My main hero has been my older brother by 11 years, Jerome. He played percussion in the best high school concert band in the city and was a drum major in army cadets. He put sticks in my hands when I was little and showed me the basic “mommy daddy” strokes for rolls. Through university and “WHEN I MEET OTHER ARTISTS going on playing drums for 17 years now, I still IN THE INTERSECTIONS OF can’t play as evenly as COLORED-NESS, QUEERNESS Jerome. His hands are incredible.
AND RADNESS I DON’T FEEL RELIEF, JUST LOVE.”
DRUMMERS GE N E VA H A RR I S O N : B EL L S AT L A S I N T ERVIEW ED BY J EN R UA NO PHO T OG R A PH ED BY A NDY BLU M
Geneva Harrison has always had rhythm coursing through her veins. Raised on jazz, classical, and rock ‘n’ roll Geneva soon found her love in the heart of Latin/ Brazilian beats and emerged as a talented and soulful coalescence of music. Tom Tom was fortunate to catch up with this powerful musician and find out what makes her sizzle.
“FAILURES HAPPEN [AND] MISTAKES HAPPEN. THE GREAT THING ABOUT THEM IS THAT YOU LEARN FROM THEM. THEY PAVE THE WAY FOR YOU TO GET THAT MUCH CLOSER TO YOUR GOAL.” TOM TOM MAGAZINE: LET’S BEGIN WITH HOW IT ALL STARTED FOR YOU. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TAKE ON THE DRUMS? Geneva Harrison: It’s
great to be part of this, thank you! I was about 12 yrs old when I started playing drums and percussion. At first, I wanted to play on a kit. I was inspired by mid90s rock and a need to get my expression out in the most physical way at that age. I grew up dancing and I had stopped at that point. I can never explain how much that affected my musicianship for years to come. Shortly after I started playing drums, I got obsessed with all kinds of percussion and mallets. I was on the orchestral track for a long time, and picked up Latin/Brazilian percussion. Those were heavy loves for me and still are! I ended up going to University of Miami’s Frost School of Music to study percussion which opened up different avenues for me to contribute to like salsa, orchestra, world music, jazz ensemble, playing vibes and percussion in a rock or singer/songwriter setting. It wasn’t until just a few years ago, way after graduating, that I picked up drum kit again. I think what inspired me at that point was playing with my friend, Rachel Goodrich who I’d been playing percussion and singing backup for. At first I was practicing a lot of roots
rock drumming, but a never-ending variety of styles soon came to follow, including second-line grooves, soul music, and post rock. YOUR CURRENT PROJECT, BELLS ATLAS CAME TOGETHER IN AN INTERESTING WAY. TELL US HOW YOU BECAME INVOLVED AND WHAT IS THE CONCEPT BEHIND THE SOUND? Ah, Bells
Atlas! This was such a blessing to fall into. I moved to the Bay Area at the end of 2010. I’d met Sandra (our singer) at Guerilla Cafe in Berkeley. She was telling me about this band she’d just started and they were having their first show the next week — at the time they were just guitar, bass, vocals, and some auxiliary percussion. So I went with a couple of friends. The second I entered the room, I fell in love with everything I was hearing, the quirky and inventive percussion, extremely soulful vocals, clever and tasteful music — I was incredibly inspired by what was happening. I approached Sandra after the show and she asked me to jam with them. So I did and the chemistry was simply awesome. That was it. The band was settled. Our sound incorporates a bunch
FULL NAME: GENEVA HARRISON AGE: 27 HOMETOWN: ATLANTA, GA LIVES IN: OAKLAND, CA PAST BAND: RACHEL GOODRICH, DRMS, THE JEAN MARIE CURRENT BAND BELLS ATLAS DAY JOB: MUSICIAN, TEACHER, COFFEE/WAFFLE-SLINGER FAVORITE MOVIE: THE BIG LEBOWSKI
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
of live looping — predominantly from vocals and guitar. Now we all play percussion and sing, and there’s a keyboard in the mix too. After a few preliminary rehearsals, I started adding vibraphone to the lineup of instruments. BELLS ATLAS JUST DEBUTED THEIR NEW ALBUM IN JUNE. TELL US ABOUT THE RECORDING PROCESS AND WHAT YOUR EXPERIENCE WAS LIKE WORKING ON THE ALBUM. It was definitely
the most involved I’ve ever been in one particular album and a learning experience for all of us in time management with the band and creative decisions to make or even just about learning which instruments in our band have the tendency to take up the same aural space. Since we don’t like limiting ourselves sonically, there’s this endless canvas to paint on. I think each time we went in the studio we got better as a family about knowing how to paint that picture authentically. More often than not, we’d record as a live band (Derek on guitar, Doug on bass, and myself on drums), while Sandra was singing a scratch kind of vocal. I think that really got us to get tight in the rhythm section, which was a turning point in our growth as a band. Then began the mad overdubbing sessions! SWITCHING GEARS FOR A MOMENT, AS A CREATIVE PERSON, HOW DO YOU STAY MOTIVATED? WHAT DRIVES YOU? Experiencing others’ art
or creation — going to shows, seeing art, listening to a lot of music, dancing! Science is also inspiring to me — new dis-
covery. Connecting with people in a genuine way is incredibly stimulating as well. Something that keeps me motivated is to just keep the ball rolling — to be determined. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER FEMALE MUSICIANS? Confidence! It’s an in-
credibly important thing to remember, especially for us girls. Also, Failure is necessary for success. Failures happen . . . mistakes happen. And the great thing about them is that you learn from them. They pave the way for you to get that much closer to your goal.
LA LUZ IN T ERV I EW ED ELIS AB ET H W I LSON P H O T O CO URT ES Y O F T H E BAN D
NAME: MARIAN LI PINO AGE: 27 HOMETOWN & LIVES IN: SEATTLE, WA PAST BANDS: THE CURIOUS MYSTERY CURRENT BANDS: LA LUZ DAY JOB: BOX OFFICE AT THE SHOW BOX KIT: EARLY ‘60S MAHOGANY LUDWIG CYMBALS: DREAM CYMBALS STICKS: PRO MARK 7A
I discovered Seattle Surf/Doo-wop band, La Luz, in a Portland dive bar this past Spring. Sandwiched inconspicuously between two punk bands, La Luz seriously took the crowd by surprise with their mix of cool surf rock and ‘60s girl group-style sweetness. Twentyseven-year-old drummer Marian Li Pino arguably steals the show with the precise, expert drumming style of someone twice her age. Currently on her second tour with La Luz, Li Pino took time out before playing the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan to chat with me about Red Hot Chili Peppers, cymbals, and her favorite card game. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HOW DID YOU FIRST START PLAYING THE DRUMS? Marian Li Pino: Pretty much as far back as I can remember, I wanted to play the drums. I remember begging to play the drums. My dad wanted all of us to play music, and my brothers played trumpet and sax and I wanted to play the drums. But they made me play the piano for six years before they let me play the 40
drums. I hate the piano, but I did it anyway. I really appreciate it now though, because when I did start playing drums I had a fundamental idea of what to do with music. ARE YOU MUCH OF A GEAR NERD? Not necessarily. Except for finding the right sounds. And it helps a lot when you play other people’s kits ‘cause you hear things you didn’t realize you wanted or you liked. There’s this kid in Seattle and I was playing his kit and it was tuned perfect and the cymbals were perfect and that’s what made me want to find cymbals that sound like that, like the ones I have now. I just bought these new cymbals called Dream Cymbals. They have this really washy, thin, older sound to them. I just love them. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE? Things that really inspire me, especially for [La Luz] are oldies and seeing what the drummers back then did. HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN INTO SURF AND DOOWOP? Not as much surf until I got into this band, but definitely oldies doo wop, like ‘60s girl groups. HOW INVOLVED IN THE SONGWRITING PROCESS ARE YOU? [Singer/lead guitarist] Shana comes up with the concept of the melody and essentially what she wants in the song, and then she comes to us and we get to write our parts for it. It’s kind of a constant
struggle because I want to over-complicate things all the time and make it interesting to me, and Shana’s like, ‘Can you just make it a surf beat?’ I end up keeping it a surf beat but adding little variations on the ride or high hat to make it a little more interesting. WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP? We’ve finished recording a full-length that should be out in the fall and we’ll tour again. ON YOUR BAND’S TOUR BLOG ON TUMBLR, YOU MENTION PLAYING A ROUND OF EGYPTIAN RAT SCREW. COULD YOU EXPLAIN WHAT THAT IS? First of all, it’s a card game, you play with multiple people. It’s kind of like Slap Jack. You’re in a circle and you’re just slapping at pairs or whatever. I have claimed that I’ve never lost a game of Egyptian Rat Screw in my life. I love that game. We have so much down time [on tour] that Egyptian Rat Screw has become a staple.
T HE S H E’ S BY M A DEL EINE CA MPBEL L PHOTO BY L AU R EN FA R MER
FULL NAME: SINCLAIR RILEY AGE: 18 HOMETOWN & LIVES IN: SAN FRANCISCO, CA BAND: THE SHE’S
Sinclair Riley, drummer for the San Francisco-based all-girl garage surf pop quartet, The She’s, has been drumming on stage since the group began in their middle school years. Fast forward to 2013 and they have since shared the stage with some of their own favorite bands including Girls, The Morning Benders and Magic Kids, released what many claim to be the first album ever to be completely made by women, and been selected as one of the new faces of Converse Shoes San Francisco — all before graduating high school. Sinclair sat down with Tom Tom to talk about her journey as a drummer. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: HOW DID THE SHE’S FORM? Sinclair Riley: A friend of our bassist Sami’s dad was hosting an event and they wanted a band to play. We were in 7th grade. He suggested that we become a band and learn some cover songs. I don’t think the event actually happened but it was a start for us. We also went to a rock camp at the San Francisco Jewish Community Center where we started recording a few things. We wrote our first songs there. We played at our school’s community concerts and then once we got to high school started playing at local clubs and dive bars around San Francisco and eventually moved up to places like the Independent and Bottom of the Hill. We’ve played the Filmore a few times now. I started playing drums when the band formed. I’m mostly self-taught. I took a few lessons in wrist technique but wasn’t patient enough. We’re all sort of learning together. WHAT DID YOU GROW UP LISTENING TO? I grew up mostly listening to classical music. That’s what my parents played for me. I really liked the Beach Boys, too. Towards the end of middle school I realized how much stuff is actually out there and how great a lot of it sounds.
things and figuring out what works best with our sound.
“I DO USE A CLICK TRACK BECAUSE WE HAVE A LOT OF PAUSES THAT I WANT TO STAY IN TIME.” WHAT IS THE BAND’S SONGWRITING PROCESS? It’s collaborative. Usually one person will bring in a riff or some chords they think sounds good and we’ll all add to it. Figuring out lyrics is a long process. We’re tending to make more complicated songs lately. You can’t always tell by listening but they have a lot of parts that change constantly. When we get going, we have a lot of ideas and we figure we might as well just put them in there. HOW DO YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF DRUMMING? I’ve heard that I’m a pretty good metronome and I like to keep that in mind. I always want to make sure that I don’t take over the song but just keep it nice and tight. It’s a very clean and classic style. DO YOU RECORD TO A CLICK TRACK OR DO YOU FIND IT GETS IN THE WAY? I do use a click track because we have a lot of pauses that I want to stay in time. It was annoying at first but you get used to it. I think it helped that I was used to it before we started recording so it wasn’t totally foreign to me. TELL US ABOUT YOUR KIT. I have a full Tama kit with more of a jazz setup. I got it at Sam Adato’s, which is more of a used drum store in San Francisco. It’s my first kit. I just got a New Beat hi-hat that I really like. I’m starting to become more aware of what I like and don’t like. I’ve been trying different
YOUR 2011 DEBUT ALBUM, AND THEN IT STARTS TO FEEL LIKE SUMMER, IS SAID TO BE THE FIRST ALBUM IN HISTORY TO BE COMPLETELY DONE BY WOMEN. TELL US ABOUT RECORDING AT SAN FRANCISCO’S WOMEN’S AUDIO MISSION. It was recorded and mixed by Terri Winston and Laura Dean and several of the WAM interns who assisted. Emily Lazar at The Lodge in New York mastered it. Everyone at WAM was so incredible. We went in after school every Tuesday to practice and work things out. They taught us a lot about recording, which was great. We learned how to set up microphones and to use a four-track and eventually we got on the mixing board. They showed us so much about what is possible and what are supposed to do. Eventually, we started going in one weekend per month to record a few songs as a time. We’d spend the rest of the month going back and listening to it and adding parts we liked. We spread out the recording over a longer period of time so it wasn’t rushed. It was so much fun. TELL US ABOUT YOUR ROLE IN THE OPENING OF SAN FRANCISCO’S NEW CONVERSE SHOES STORE. We are part of their advertising campaign for their new San Francisco store. We did a print ad, a Rubber Tracks session, which was a recording at Different Fur studios, as well as an accompanying music video, and we recently had a show set up by them at Slim’s with DIIV, Metz, Tamaryn, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR GIRLS WHO WANT TO DRUM BUT DON’T KNOW WHERE TO START? Do it! I’d say one of the most important things is to be unafraid. At first, it was hard because we didn’t have a reputation and didn’t really know anyone. When we played shows at some of the more well-known venues, the sound guy would usually say, “Wait...this is the band?” Once we got over that initial bump and formed relationships, things became easier for us. We do our best to get along with everyone.
NAME: AMEENAH KAPLAN AGE: AS OLD AS I LOOK HOMETOWN: ATLANTA, GA LIVES IN: LOS ANGELES, CA PAST BAND THE ZODIAC SHOW CURRENT BAND KULA, SIN CITY DAY JOB: ACTRESS FAVORITE PASTIME: GOING TO THE THEATER
A M E EN A H K A P L AN I N TE RVIEW ED BY J EN R UA NO PHOTO G R A PH BY ER IC F ORT IER
For drummer and actress Ameenah Kaplan, life has always imitated art. A performer all her life, Ameenah has made appearances on numerous television shows like Dancing with the Stars, Oprah, Conan O’Brien, and The Office. She is the west coast drum coach for Blue Man Group. We think she’s fabulous and so we stopped her during her busy schedule for a little chat...
TOM TOM MAGAZINE: TELL US HOW OLD YOU WERE WHEN YOU GOT INTERESTED IN THE DRUMS. ARE YOU SELF-TAUGHT OR DID YOU HAVE FORMAL LESSONS? Ameenah Kaplan:
I first started making beats on the desk at school around age 9, but didn’t play my first groove on a drum set until I was 12. It was “Bullet the Blue Sky,” by U2. I had to teach myself; I even made a pair of drumsticks and practiced along to the radio. I was pretty bad until my late teens when I started to get pointers from other drummers. Then it was like starting all over again. I never really had formal training, but I’ve learned something from every drummer I’ve ever seen or met. In particular, the drummers from Stomp were very influential; they really helped
me understand what a groove was and how to play parts. After all these years, I finally started studying privately with Charles Ruggiero. YOU HAVE ACCOMPLISHED AMAZING THINGS IN THE 22 YEARS YOU HAVE BEEN DRUMMING. BUT LET’S START WITH YOUR LA WEEKLY AND NAACP AWARD WINNING PRODUCTION OF EVERYMAN FOR HIMSELF — A MIX OF MARTIAL ARTS, DANCE AND DRUMMING. TELL US MORE! HOW WERE YOU ABLE TO SUCCESSFULLY EXECUTE SUCH A COOL COMBINATION? My goal was to create a high-
octane show with acrobatics that also had a strong narrative. The Everyman Project was me exploring this concept. I worked with an awesome actor capable of doing a lot of physical work, surrounded
him with dancers who were exploring character work, and underscored the entire thing with two live drummers. It was a coming of age story and a coming of age experience for me. I’m planning more work like this in the future. YOU ALSO HAVE AN ECLECTIC ACTING AND DRUMMING BACKGROUND. TELL US ABOUT HOW THOSE TWO THINGS CAME TOGETHER FOR YOU.
I’ve always been into drumming, acting, and dance. People say that you have to pick one, but I never could. In New York, I discovered that there were forms of theater out there that catered more to my skill set than did Broadway, for example, so I went after that instead. Stomp, Blue Man Group, Fuerza Bruta, Cirque du
Soleil, these are the types of shows where my skill set thrives. I’m happiest when I’m working in the arts, so I use everything I can to stay employed that way. Being an actor/singer is great, but I’m not that. I’m an actor/drummer, and I’ve had to carve out a niche for myself. GIVEN THE WIDE ARRAY OF SHOWS YOU HAVE PERFORMED, IS THERE ANY PARTICULAR ONE THAT STICKS OUT IN YOUR MIND AS MOST MEMORABLE? Yeah. For five years, I
played a character in a children’s show at the Hollywood Bowl who didn’t talk but communicated via drumming and dance. It was an unbelievable learning experience for me as a performer and musician. I got to work with musicians and dancers from all over the world. Plus, the kids had a wonderful way of relating to my character. It was like we spoke a secret language, the universal one. HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF PLAYING AND WHAT FUELS THE ENERGY BEHIND IT? I’d say I’m a funky rock drummer with
hip-hop and gospel influences.
YOUR CURRENT BANDS ARE THE ROCK QUARTET KULA AND HIP HOP DUO SIN CITY. TELL US HOW YOU GOT INVOLVED IN BOTH OF THESE PROJECTS AND WHAT WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING.
Sin City is a band full of actors! We’re all serious musicians too so we just clicked. I think we met free-styling at a party. Malcolm was rapping and asked if there was a drummer in the house. I got up and jammed with him. I think the singer and bass player of Kula knew a friend of mine and told her they were in need of a drummer. That’s my angle. I’m an actor by day so I can loan myself out to bands by night for a deal. That way I get to play with serious musicians while keeping my day job. I’ve gotten to play with amazing people this way, including Rihanna and Macy Gray. Kula is a relatively new project and we just went into the studio for the first time. The Kula EP will be ready for everyone to hear by the end of the summer. I’m super excited about that!! Hey, if Jared Leto can do it, so can I. YOU ARE ALSO THE WEST COAST DRUM COACH FOR BLUE MAN GROUP. WHAT DO YOU DO IN THIS ROLE? Blue Man Group has an extensive
workshop process that decides who ultimately becomes a Blue Man. I get the guys ready for this process. My goal is to teach them to be drummers and not just do a trick. So, wherever they’re at with their playing, that’s where I pick up. Some guys are kit drummers and need a little help learning to play standing up or with other drummers. Some guys used to play a long time ago and are rusty. Some guys are total beginners that I
teach from scratch. I start with Ted Reed’s Syncopation, of course. THAT IS AWESOME. WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU AREN’T DRUMMING, ACTING OR DRUM COACHING?
I try to stay active. I used to do a lot of rock climbing but I stay active with martial arts mostly. But I consider that to be a dance form, so really, that doesn’t
count. Otherwise, I guess I’m a big nerd. I listen to science podcasts like they’re going out of style. I love smart people. HA! US TOO. DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR FUTURE LADY DRUMMERS? Play. Play. Play.
And when you’re done playing, play some more.
S TAR L I G H T G I R L : K A R Y S R H EA BY MAT T H EW D’A BAT E PH OT O C OU RT ESY OF T H E BA ND
NAME: KARYS RHEA AGE: 26 HOMETOWN: BAY AREA, CA LIVES IN: BROOKLYN, NY PAST BANDS: PLAYGROUNDS CURRENT BANDS: STARLIGHT GIRLS, PEP FAV FOOD: MONTREAL STYLE BAGELS DRUM SET: VINTAGE ‘60S SLINGERLAND KIT PURPLE SPARKLE CYMBALS: VINTAGE 22” MEDIUM AVEDIS ZILDJIAN RIDE CYMBAL, 16” SABIAN XS 20 ROCK CRASH HI-HATS: VINTAGE 14” AAX SABIAN STAGE HARDWARE: DW OR GIBRALTAR SNARE: 70S LUDWIG SNARE CLEAR VISTALITE
The Bay Area is known for its gray skies and a Pacific Ocean that spans forever. Anyone who has spent time in the area knows how those reflective cloud-filled days are just born for making music. Karys Rhea, originally from the region, wouldn’t disagree. Rhea, 26, is both the percussionist for The Starlight Girls, a lush group of moody wonder and the front-person of her band PEP. Having grown up dancing in different companies, the transition to the drums was an easy one. She had tinkered around with the drums here
and there, her brother had a snare practice pad, but had never really taken it seriously until 3 years ago, when she was asked to join Starlight Girls. When her friend and bandmate Shaw asked her to join as the drummer she remembers him saying to her, “You better get good fast.” So she holed herself up in my basement for 6 months and practiced non-stop. When we asked her how she maintains that regime today she said, “I still practice for a few hours almost every day. It’s the best.” Her advice to a 13-year-old girl who wants to get into the drums? “Aim for the Ivy Leagues. Use birth control. Keep a journal. Practice, practice, practice! Oh and also, listen to PEP. I wrote those songs just for you.”
“I REMEMBER HIM SAYING TO ME, “YOU BETTER GET GOOD FAST.” SO I HOLED MYSELF UP IN MY BASEMENT FOR 6 MONTHS AND PRACTICED NON-STOP.”
SLAC KI N G OFF WIT H TO TAL S L ACK ER Z O E B R ECH ER I N T E R V I E W E D B Y CO L I N L A N G E N U S P H OTO G R A P H E D B Y E M I LY C H E N G A N D J A S O N A B R I S H A M I
I first saw Zoe Brecher and her band Total Slacker play when one of my bands Alien Whale opened for them at 285 Kent in Brooklyn. They leveled the joint. I’d heard of the band and I love their name. And they were having so much damn fun! They really seem to be great friends, which is always captivating to watch. Zoe keeps great time and has a nice feel that ties the noise and the chaotic energy together. It feels good to listen to Total Slacker. I caught up with Zoe after the show and got to know her a little better. TOM TOM MAGAZINE: WHERE ARE YOU FROM? Zoe Brecher: I was born and raised in NYC and currently live in the East Village. WHEN DID YOU START PLAYING DRUMS? I started playing when I was 10. HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT? I was always a tomboy and loved music and I knew I wanted to play an instrument. I knew a lot of people who played guitar, but didn’t know many people, and definitely not any girls, who played drums. My school offered lessons, so I figured I would try it out and it just felt right to me. I was very shy growing up, and playing the drums was my way of having a presence and showing people what I was about. I took lessons throughout middle school, high school and college. DO YOU DRUM OR WANNA DRUM IN ANY OTHER GENRES THAN ROCK? (ROCK RULES! I’M NOT TO TRYING TO IMPLY THAT YOU SHOULD) Playing rock this heavy is something that’s actually very new to me! I’ve been in jazz bands since I was 13 and I’ve started bands in a bunch of different genres, from funk to indie-pop. I also occasionally am the hired-drummer for my high school’s musicals. I love playing all styles of music and hope never to be tied down to just one. 44
TOTAL SLACKER RULES! THE LOVE REALLY COMES ACROSS. HOW DID Y’ALL MEET? ANY PLANS TO CONQUER THE WORLD? Haha. Thank you! Last October, I ran into a friend at the supermarket and I told her I was looking for people to play music with in the city. By chance, she was friends with Tucker (our lead guitarist) from Total Slacker’s performance at Skidmore the year before, and he had asked if she knew any drummers. So Tucker got in touch with me and I met up with the band and we hit it off instantly. Less than a week later, I was invited to a diner and, over a plate of French fries, I was asked to join the band!
“I WAS VERY SHY GROWING UP. PLAYING THE DRUMS WAS MY WAY OF HAVING A PRESENCE AND SHOWING PEOPLE WHAT I WAS ABOUT.”
NAME: ZOË BRECHER AGE: 23 HOMETOWN & LIVES IN: NEW YORK CITY PAST BANDS: THE ARTIFACTS, BABES CURRENT BANDS: TOTAL SLACKER DRUMS: EARLY 1970S SLINGERLAND KIT SNARE: 5X14 LUDWIG BRASS SNARE CYMBAL: ZILDJIAN 22” 1950S A RIDE HI HATS: 13” A CUSTOM MASTERSOUND STICKS: PRO-MARK MARCO MINNEMANN HARDWARE: DAMNAR, GIBRALTAR FAV FOOD: MASHED POTATOES FAV VENUE: UNION POOL
DO YOU PRACTICE MUCH? In college, the practice rooms were a short walk from my dorm, so I would practice almost every day. But one of the greatest downsides to living in the city is that I can’t play drums in my apartment, so I haven’t been practicing as much as I would like. The most useful practices I have involve a mixed routine of rudiments as well as playing along to songs in various styles, and within that I practice improvisation. WHAT’S COMING UP FOR YOU? WHAT’S COMING UP FOR TOTAL SLACKER? We recently got signed to a label called Blackbell that’s releasing our second album later this year and we also plan to start touring then. The journey has definitely just begun!
NAME: BECCA LINDSAY AGE: 35 HOMETOWN & LIVES IN: LOUISVILLE, KY PAST BANDS: RED NAILS, MINNOW CURRENT BAND: JULIE OF THE WOLVES DRUM SET: TAMA ROCK STAR DARK BLUE CYMBALS: ZILDJIAN FAV FOOD: VEGETARIAN FOOD
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE YOU HAVE HAD TO FACE WHILE DRUMMING?
O NE DR UMMER ONE QUESTION : B E CCA L IN D S A Y I L LU S T R AT I O N B Y B A N D M AT E C A R R I E N E U M AY E R
I would have to say that Systemic Lupus is my biggest challenge as a drummer. The disease can be quite aggressive at times, unpredictable and it has significantly affected my stamina, physical strength, and my ability to push myself in comparison to what I used to be able to do pre-Lupus. Sitting here right now at this moment, I’d say the way I work on overcoming it is by letting go of control, not judging myself if I simply can’t physically do what I once did, and to be ok with what my best is on any given day.
K OURTNI YOU N G P L A YS DR U M S Kourtni Young started playing drums in church when she was 11. “I was always so bored in church but I found myself looking forward to the music part of the service, specifically the drumming.” She became a part of her choir at church where she met the director was also happened to be a great female drummer. Better than any male drummer she had seen! That woman became Kourtni’s mentor, big sister, friend, mother figure, and drummer role model. When she first started playing she played strictly church and gospel music and nothing else. During her college years she explored other genres of music. She is currently graduating from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor in Interdisciplinary Studies and plans to continue her education with a Masters in Nursing Science. That, and tour the country drumming in a band!
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CHIME GIVES jewelry made from drum cymbals
T WINNER! VIC CONTESKELSEY COOK “FROM SPEED CUP STACKER TO DRUMMER!”
Kelsey wins several Speed Cup Stacking competitions, beginning in third grade. The hand-eye coordination and speed she develops stacking cups proves invaluable when she picks up her first pair of Vic sticks some years later.
Read Kelsey’s game-changing story!
©2013 VIC FIRTH COMPANY
HERE’S TO ALL THE
“UNLIKELY INSPIRATION” Legendary pianist Chick Corea sits down at Steve Gadd’s drums, just hours before a gig. Chick’s “un-drum-like” and free approach to the drums “shined a light on what I had been trying to figure out for a while.” Steve’s playing is forever changed. See Steve tell the whole story. VICFIRTH50.com
technique THE POCKET PART 2 BY MOR G A N DOC T OR
A few issues ago, I wrote a tech piece on playing in the pocket. In the piece, I talked about playing at painfully slow tempos to help become comfortable with large spaces between beats. Why bother you ask? Being able to sense long spaces between beats (at tempos we probably would rarely ever play), helps our sense of timing for when we play tempos that are faster and the space between beats is smaller. By doing so, we develop an awareness of the space between each stroke and how to manipulate that space to play in different pockets. (i.e. if we want to play behind the beat or on top of the beat.)
1 2 3
We are now going to take working with the click at slow tempos a step further. This exercise helps take us off the dependency of the click as our down beat so we have more independence with our sense of timing. I think practicing with a click is highly valuable, but it is also important not to become reliant on it for timing. The example below shows 4 different placements of the click for your practice. Here are the guidelines.
Start at 35bpm (work up to 65).
Play a simple beat in 4/4 with the click on the “e” or “a” of your count. When comfortable introduce fills. When ready try soloing. Play a simple beat in ¾ with the click on the 2 or 3 count. When comfortable introduce fills. When ready try soloing.
Morgan Doctor is a freelance drummer based out of Toronto. She currently is the drummer for Andy Kim, and was the drummer for the rock band, The Cliks, for over four years. Touring with The Cliks, she got a chance to play alongside Tegan and Sara, Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper, and The B-52’s. Morgan is endorsed by Yamaha Drums, Zildjian, and Vic Firth. www.morgandoctor.com
play this Drumset
TECHNIQUE PLAY A FILL WITH YOUR KICK DRUM BY A RT U R O G A R C IA
The kick drum is the heartbeat of your groove. You can use the power of the kick drum to your advantage when you want to play a subtler fill. You can skip or add a beat, offering contrast, regardless of the style of music you play. Instead of doing the obvious go-to fill around the toms--tah-tah-tah-tah, dum-dum-dum-dum- splaaassshhhh, why not try to keep the fill within the groove, varying the pattern of the kick drum? Try these exercises below.
Arturo Garcia was born and raised in Venezuela. After re-locating to Miami he graduated from University of Miami Frost School of Music and has been musically active ever since. You can see him perform around town and nationally with The Tunnel, Palabra Viva, Gold Dust Lounge, among others. For more info go to thetunnelmusic.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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KILLING APATHY IN DRUMMING & LIFE BY RE NÉ OR MA E- JA R MER
APATHY : ap-a-thy (noun) 1. Lack of enthusiasm or energy 2. Emotional emptiness. Indifference, lethargy, laziness, boredom, ennui, droopiness, unconcern, dispiritedness, or lack of interest. Apathy. It happens. As a musician, others look up to us to inspire and impress. So what happens when we drummers are hit with apathy (or that “not-so-fresh” feeling) regarding our drumming and musicianship in general? Don’t just change your deodorant. Make plans to squash that apathy dead as soon as possible! How do you keep it fresh, especially if you’ve been playing, studying, touring, or even teaching the drums for a while? I’ve been performing, recording, touring, teaching, songwriting, booking, managing, teaching for many moons (over 25+ years) on drums and piano/keys and there are times that I have to admit hitting a wall. I have had that feeling of general malaise regarding music at times. There are some things that we as drummers/percussionists may experience that can create a strong aversion to doing the thing we love. I am not talking about forgetting to wear earplugs and developing tinnitus. Let us go over some of those habits or experiences that may contribute to reaching a point of apathy in our drumming and maybe in our life and toss out those old habits.
PROBLEM #1 PLAYING THE SAME MUSIC, GROOVE, OR FILL OVER AND OVER WITHOUT ANY ASPIRATION TO CHANGE OR IMPROVE. SOLUTION : If you find this happening to you, it’s obvious you’re going to need to change things up a bit. Try to record yourself. There is nothing like the truth and a serious reality check. Are you repeating your fills and patterns with your time/groove/pocket playing? Start listening to music that is more challenging. If you are only playing 1/8th note rock beats, then start throwing in some 1/16th notes on snare and bass and get your funkier grooves on! Learn how to ghost your notes to give your playing a “shuck and jive of subdivision”. It doesn’t take much to spice things up a bit. Take a drum lesson from a new instructor, and if you haven’t taken any lessons, that may very well be a huge contributing factor of ennui: lack of education. There is a whole world
of grooves, fills, beats, styles to explore and if you haven’t had a lesson, break out of the habit of surrounding yourself with self-taught drum teachers and get some real drum education on! With a really good credentialed instructor (and I don’t mean a teacher who is just rocking out like you, but at least a weensy-bit better than you). Get one that is several steps better: one that blows your mind. Your entire drumming world will open up and even a few lessons will keep you fresh for a long time to come as well as add a spring to your step.
PROBLEM #2 PLAYING THE SAME KIND OF GIGS THAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE ANY PAYOFF (WHETHER FINANCIALLY OR CREATIVELY) . SOLUTION : How many of us are playing in our first band with our first music best buddies? On rare occasions that may actually work out and bands can grow together and stay fresh (usually with a catalyst of having other revolving members join the band). But if you are unhappy playing AC/DC covers at the bar down the road, then stop and find a new situation. If the club is screwing you, stop playing there. I could go in a whole separate rant and tirade about why bands need to stop playing for free, but that is a different and much longer topic. I will say this in regard to apathy though: If you are playing for free all the time, without any value on your playing, creativity, effort and time, it will start to grate on you and erode your love of playing live. It also erodes the local music climate. Another idea is to do a tribute, change up styles (throw in a raunchy blues tune, or hip-hop groove). Diversify getting your music out there by releasing tunes online, licensing your music, learning about the music business, play in more than one band, etc.
PROBLEM #3 NOT CHALLENGING OURSELVES TO PLAY AT A HIGHER LEVEL. SOLUTION : Let’s face it, self-examination can be painful. Take lessons with a really great teacher and learn all styles of drumming and break out of your rut. I often notice that some students come to me because they have hit that apathetic wall of boredom, but are still eager to learn new grooves or read music or perhaps learn a completely different style of drumming. Real-
TECHNIQUE ity Check: How many of you self-prescribed rock-n-roll drummers out there can play a simple jazz swing beat? If you are NOT raising your hand right now, then get on it. All the truly great rock drummers have a diverse knowledge of other styles of drumming. Also, it’s not a bad idea to actually learn how to read music, rhythms, and yes, notation & theory. Are you a drummer or are you a percussionist? Another really simple way to kick that apathy and yourself in the “boot-tay” is to play with musicians that are better than you. You will have to rise to the occasion and quickly too! I signed up for a drum line camp 4 years ago with some of the best instructors in the country. They all saw I was a teacher and said I generously invited me to attend for free, but I resisted that and said “No way, sign me up and kick my butt... and they did. I was basically at “attention” for 3 days. However, Mike Stevens, Tom Float, Vern Johnson Jr. really challenged me and it forced me to think in longer patterns and clean up my act. I am eternally grateful for that experience. One sure-fire way to kick apathy is to attend PASIC (Percussion Arts Society Int’l Conference). Go the pas.org to check out this yearly conference featuring the best drummers and drum groups in the world. It’s like a religious experience for drummers. You cannot be uninspired after attending this conference.
PROBLEM #4 NOT HAVING A BALANCE OF MUSICAL AND NONMUSICAL THINGS IN OUR LIVES. SOLUTION : OK, so this one is more esoteric and smacks of some psychology, but I have seen life’s situations completely kill the love for some musicians. I know some musicians who have quit completely on one end of the spectrum and then others who have stuck with it relentlessly and ignored the apathy gnawing at them and have been somehow surprised where they ended up, stuck in a cycle of bad vibes. What it means to truly be a musician is dedication, skill, talent, a little luck thrown in there, and let’s not forget the education part. To not have any other non-musical aspirations is to lead an unbalanced life in my humble opinion. I know colleagues who have continued to “live the dream” without dental or medical insurance, relentlessly tour with little support, continue to live in a one-bedroom hovel studio apartment still eating top ramen and ketchup sandwiches in their 30’s, 40’s and beyond and many are bitter. Not only do they fall into the trap of believing they must be the starving artist, which I will go on record as saying how unnecessary that whole lifestyle is if taken literally, but they are resentful, feel that life and music industry owes them something, they are unable to freshen things up and therefore are stuck in a perpetual cycle of apathy
unable to change. They actually end up hating music or blaming it for their situation. Some folks just stop drumming altogether, never to return. Sometimes they ended up with an un-supportive partner or just gave up on themselves. Keep it fresh folks, make TWO lists: one of drumming & music goals and one of other life goals. I have a diverse musical life: drum line, teaching, sitting in on jazz jams with some of Portland’s finest, performing in musicals (that actually pay me to read music and I get to both rock out and swing it baby in front of large audiences too!), drum clinics in schools and other events, recording/songwriting with my band, piano, weddings/ events, etc. I also am a mother, enjoy gardening, traveling a bit, taking time to slow down with friends, writing these articles etc. Even so, I still have to change things up and re-access all the time so I don’t hit that wall of ennui.
PROBLEM #5 BLAMING MUSIC OR OUR MUSICIANSHIP WHEN IT’S REALLY SOMETHING ELSE THAT’S MAKING US UNFOCUSED IN THE FIRST PLACE. SOLUTION : I have a habit. If I say I’m going to do something with or for someone including myself, I go whole-hog. At least I do that until I realize I have taken on too much. Then I just get grumpy and implode a bit until I balance things again. Learn to say no. Try to keep it fresh for yourself while you focus. Get a new method book or something! Address your weaknesses (i.e. left hand, rudiments, reading, jazz, start singing backups behind the kit, take a marimba lesson, etc). Sometimes we need to allow ourselves to take a little break from that death-midget metal band so we can go swing out with the jazz cats down the street, or take the time to get those lessons, or even just take a weekend off and visit mom or dad. Sometimes we have to take a look at why we can’t play that John Bonham 32nd note bass drum riff, which is so Bonham by the way. Maybe we’re tired, or hungry, or we’re sitting too low at the drum set in the first place. A little distance can help us focus on what we need sometimes. Sometimes, it’s not us drummers at all. It may be the grumpy guitarist who has such a toxic personality that no one will hire the band. All these things can lead to drumming malaise and apathy. Don’t get into a grind you aren’t excited about! Keep it fresh, enlist help from professionals (don’t bother with the leagues of self-taught rock drummers who have no more diversity in their repertoire than you do!). Learn new stuff, enroll yourself in a camp to kick yourself out of complacency. It works! I still take advanced lessons to keep it fresh. Then I bring that to my playing and my students. A fresh outlook will help keep that apathy from bringing you and your drumming down. Now get busy on those lists! Peace.
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
1 > AYE NAKO // Unleash Yourself Self-released | May 2013
Brooklyn quartet Aye Nako craft a driving, exuberantly distorted, tuneful, introspective iteration of queercore (their Facebook page aptly and humorously describes it both as “homopop” and “non-college rock”) that would sound at home on a Polyvinyl Records compilation circa 2001. Their debut’s catchy, deeply textured songs are deceptively accessible and easy to get lost in, and its cryptic, image-laden lyrics often feel both inscrutable and familiar. Secret identities, crushes, death, and gay dreams are described without melodrama. The desire, anxiety, restlessness, and possibility that come with questioning what you think you know about gender, genre, and what you’re supposed to want are effortlessly and crushingly conveyed. Unleash Yourself is like a temperate, late-summer day that makes you feel strangely sad: warm, bright, inviting, and inexplicably heartbreaking in its contradiction. Listen to this: while traveling by yourself to a place you’ve never been to before but have dreamed about visiting for a long time. — Jamie Varriale Vélez
2 > RAW GERONIMO // Dream Fever Neurotic Yell Records | July 2013
The album Dream Fever, released in July off Neurotic Yell Records is the brain-child of Raw Geronimo, a post-pop group hailing out of Los Angeles, whose tracks are rife with Juliana Hatfield hooks and dance-y back beats that keep the hands clapping. The songs range from the whimsical to the immediate, notable stand outs being “Pep Rally” which summons with chanting minimalism as Laena Geronimo’s lovely range hollers down from the mountains. The sextet is known for their live séancelike performances, and Dream Fever is a document to that ritual. Listen to this: while calling to your ancestors for drinking assistance on Friday night. — Matthew D’Abate 54
3 > YOKO ONO PLASTIC ONO BAND // Take Me to the Land of Hell Chimera Music | September 2013
In their time, the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band were groundbreaking, and since returning in 2009, they’ve remained interesting. Their newest, Take Me To the Land of Hell, veers from genre to genre, mixing stoner metal grooves with old-timey saloon piano and Ono’s always-pinched vocals. Featuring guests like tUnE-yArDs, Questlove, and Nels Cline, the instrumentation is diverse and surprising, reflecting an interest in eclecticism and an aversion to stagnation on the part of Ono. Though perhaps less revelatory than the work from their celebrated 1969-1975 original run, Land of Hell is nonetheless worth checking out. Listen to this: if you need a soundtrack for a space-age barroom brawl. — Rob Rubsam
4 > BESTIAL MOUTHS // Self-titled Clan Destine Records | June 2013
It’s been a while since we’ve seen anything resembling decent goth-rock that hasn’t either been a bad version of the style or a mockery of it. But Bestial Mouths’ self-titled album fits the bill, and Lynette Cerezo’s churning vocals, both echoing and haunting, is the dark polish shine on the record. With its incorporeal tracks such as “Vadic Vision” and “Ceased” that harken to Peter Murphy embryonic “Hollow Hills” — now we know industrial music has made a comeback. The new album sounds like a cross between Cocteau Twins and Skinny Puppy. Rozz Williams is somewhere grinning on a skeletal throne, tapping his booted foot to these brutal electronic beats. Listen to this: while stabbing needles into voodoo dolls while wearing that black leather outfit you’ve been saving for Halloween. — Matthew D’Abate
5 > UPSET // She’s Gone
Don Giovanni Records | October 2013 Coercion — that is the first word that comes to my mind when I listen to the new release from Upset, off New Jersey’s own Don Giovanni Records. I’m coerced by two major feelings, that the ’90s are back (we all knew that) and this four piece featuring famed drummer Patty Schemel from Hole on drums and Ali Koehler from Best Coast are a match made in fuzz-pop dulcet heaven. There are no gimmicks here in these straightforward angsty songs about pills and bliss, both tethered by a driving bass and vocal harmonies that bring melodic peace to the conflicts all of us ’90s fall-outs are used to. Listen to this: if you have survived a break up, lost a job, and had to move to Ridgewood, Queens. — Matthew D’Abate
6 > YO LA TENGO // Fade
Matador Records | January 2013 Fade, Yo La Tengo’s newest album is a mellow yellow mix of acoustic pick me ups and put me downs. Pillow talk lyrics are whisper-sung alongside steady beats and clean chords, that all together, make for a satisfyingly relaxed and well-produced album where one song bleeds into the next. And while Fade is a pretty even keeled album, intermittent horns, synths, and strings add some weight to balance out the album’s lighter songs, while allowing for the solid core palate of guitar and drum to stay balanced. All in all, it’s awesome and guaranteed to not fade away anytime soon. Listen to this: On a blanket: in the park, on the beach, on a picnic, on campus, on your roof, in your friend’s backyard, by the pool, away from the pool, doesn’t matter actually, just as long as there is a blanket. — Stephanie Reisnour
7 > BILLIE DAVIS // 12 Volt
9 > LA LUZ // It’s Alive
The bohemian beatnik drum stylings of Billie Davis reverb from cymbal to kick drum with the intuitive jazzy drifts of a true drumming savant. Her album, 12 Volt, is a showcase of stop and go flow that keeps the listener in some kind of a suspended reality that feels like a faucet of cold tap water jazz that’s on the fritz. If your ears are still burnin’ from that summer city sun and are in need of a splash of some snare drum love that’s sure to sooth your ears, mind, and soul, do yourself the favor and self-medicate with this avant-garde jazz album overflowing with Billie’s jive drumming spirit.
Seattle’s charming four-piece, La Luz, ring in this fall with their gorgeous surf-stained album It’s Alive. La Luz got their start in the summer of 2012 and have since been making heavy waves with their harmony driven pop tracks. My first instinct upon hearing this album and seeing their gorgeous music video for their track, “Call Me in the Day” C was to recommend this album to each and every one of my friends. Not only did the M video have breathtaking shots of Washington State but you get to see first-hand the bond Y between this solid band. Their sounds are reminiscent of musicians like April March for CM their sweet harmonies and classic ’60s surfMY pop. It’s an album so pretty that I have a hard time calling it “garage” at all. Their debut LP, CY without a doubt, proves that La Luz has hit the nail on the head. It also springs from theirCMY heavily reviewed singles such as the opening K Pitchfork reviewed track “Sure as Spring.” I would go so much as to say this album is spooky good but it’s best to hear for yourself.
Released | 2013
Listen to this while: smoking your hand rolled cigarettes in some dusky, dimly lit lounge in the Village. Don’t forget your gin and tonic, black beret, red lipstick and finger snap applause. — Stephanie Reisnour
8 > MIRROR TRAVEL // Mexico
Modern Outsider Records | October 2013 Mirror Travel, formerly Follow That Bird, is a righteous band that will take you away to the 90s when flannel and boots were allyear gear. These rockers give you grungealternative with inspired riffs best listened to on the loudest speakers you can find. The energy Tiffanie Lanmon, the drummer, sweats into the hard beats had me head nodding throughout the entire album. Mexico features reverby female vocals layered on electric guitar straight from the alternative scene from your middle and high school years.
Hardly Art | October 2013
Listen to this: and consider it for the DJ set at your next beach bonfire. — Attia Taylor
Listen to this: while sitting on the sidewalk past curfew with your friends, listening to a cassette player and suckin’ on ring pops. — Stephanie Reisnour
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
WOMEN MAKE NOISE: GIRL BANDS FROM MOTOWN TO THE MODERN
Dir. Randall Miller
Unclaimed Freight Productions | October 2013
Ed. Julia Downes
Supernova Books | October 2012
This collection of essays focuses on the collaborative community of women and girls who play and create music. The writers have broadened their scope to include women and girls who played in family bands in the early part of the 20th century, the “girl groups” of the 50s and 60s, and women in hip hop who may not be in a “girl band” per se, but definitely make their mark on the musical landscape. Women Make Noise fills in the cracks in music history, bringing to light many artists who are nearly forgotten in popular culture. Downes claims that this is book is not the end of her research and urges readers to “question your assumptions and to find out more about the legacy of allgirl bands.” — Rebecca DeRosa
unfortunate closing in 2006.
As soon as everyone heard there was going to be a movie about NYC’s punk breeding ground, CBGB, older punks started shaking their heads saying that the filmmakers weren’t going to get it right. As someone who wasn’t in New York in the mid-70s, I can’t say whether or not they got it “right” but I have seen lots of documentaries about the scene and I’ve read the required text Please Kill Me by Legs MacNeil and Gillian MacCain. When I first moved to NYC, I was even able to go to CBGB a few times before its
Fans will be really excited (or really trepidatious) to see depictions of legendary musical and cultural icons, but they come across as caricatures flitting on and off the screen like it’s a punk Halloween party. When some of the bands take the stage, it might remind you of when the “band” at Chuck E. Cheese “performs.” And I’d like to know why they made Lou Reed look like Bobby Hill? However, it was a special treat to see Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley in Harry Potter) sporting a dog collar and scowling over his guitar as Cheetah Chrome from the Dead Boys.If this was only the great Alan Rickman (playing the fiscally and fecally irresponsible CBGB owner Hilly Kristal) slumping and walking his dog around the East Village set to a 70s punk soundtrack, it would have been an awesome film. It sometimes reminded me of American Splendor (which I love) because in each the protagonists are depressed middle-aged slackers who somehow become major players in underground scenes. It’s nice to see some attention being directed at Kristal, the man you could say is the great uncle of punk in NYC. Altogether, the film seems a bit hollow and unconvincing, on the level of an after school special. Maybe it’s because it was shot in Savannah, Georgia and you just know there is a palm tree lurking off screen. And yet, even if this isn’t the best movie, anyone with a bit of nostalgia or curiosity about the early New York punk scene will want to see it. — Rebecca DeRosa
3< U O Y E K I L I ’ N I L R A D Y E H
Julia Downes (drummer for UK bands Vile Vile Creatures and The Physicists) describes how being in an all-female band makes her feel part of a “girl gang” that makes up its own rules and agendas. Having recently completed a PhD at the University of Leeds where she concentrated on British queer feminist music cultural resistance, she is remarkably in a position to comment on the state of women musicians today and also to flip back the pages in history to find what is written, and more importantly, not written, about women musicians in the past.
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
ENDLESS GEAR ENDLESS OPPORTUNITY
DESIREE DAVIS DRUMMER FOR RED LEATHER MINISTRY AND GUITAR CENTER EMPLOYEE
GUITAR CENTER: WHERE WOMEN ROCK
THANKS TO OUR SUPPORTERS
I T ’ S
A L L
A B O U T
T H E
M U S I C .
VAL SEPULVEDA (THE VIBRANT SOUND) DE’ARCUS CURRY (INDEPENDENT) JANE BOXALL (SOLO ARTIST) BRITTANY MACCARELLO (THE DEDICATION)
Kit: 2-year-old Tama Silverstar 5-piece. Cymbals: Zildjian
BAND : CRYPTOBEBELEM Kit: 1967 Rogers Holiday “Starlighter” kit. Champagne Sparkle wrap Sizes: 14x20 bass drum, 9x13 rack tom, 16x16 floor tom Snare: ‘66 Rogers Powertone 5x14 snare Cymbals: Bosphorus Hammer series 20 and 22 inch rides (I use the 20 as a crash/ride) and 14 inch Paiste Formula 602 hi-hats Hardware: Yamaha hardware, Yamaha FP720 pedal, DW 900 series throne.
KITOGRAPHY Kitography is a feature of our magazine where female drummers from around the world are encouraged to take a photo of their drum set or set-up (congas, tabla, drum kit, drum machine, cajon) and send it to: email@example.com with a brief bio and a link to their music. Then we post in online and some of them make it into print. Enjoy and submit!
BAND: MY NAME IS JOE
ALEXANDRA “A.J.” HERALD
Kit: Ludwig Classic Maple Champagne Sparkle Sizes: 20, 14, 12 Snare: Tama 13” steel snare Cymbals: Meinl 22” Turk ride & Istanbul 21” Turk ride
Kit: PDP LX Snare: 13” Tama Cymbals: Meinl Hardware: PDP/DW
B A N D :TRACKLESS
JENN KRAUSE Kit: Ludwig Accent Custom Kit Amber Faded Sparkle Wrap Cymbals: Meinl Cymbals and vintage Zildjians This is my Ludwig Accent Custom Kit (amber faded sparkle). Meinl Cymbals and vintage Zildjians I found in an attic. Just happy to have a kit! The crackling whip of the snare, the ting of the cymbal bells, digging in on the toms, riding the rims, the beating heart of the kick, the reason I love playing drums!
I bought this kit with college loan money. I purchased this kit at the one and only individually owned drum shop in town, Mike’s Drums. Plus, Mike gave me free drums lessons in public school via joining the school’s band; I figured the least I could do was give him some good business. Snare is a breathtaking, heartbeat skipping 13” Tama that I bought from a good friend who could practically build his own private island with all of his “spare” instruments. DW Kick drum pedal, Aquarian bass heads, Remo clear coated rag tom and floor tom heads and weather king, coated Remo snare head.
MELANIE JO DILORENZO Kit: Mapex Orion Classic Series 6 piece 20” bass drum. 10”, 12”, 14”, and 16” toms. 13” Snare: Yamaha Steve Jordan signature Pedal: Dw 9000 double bass pedal Rack: Gibraltar Cymbals: Zildjian Cymbals plus a Paiste Blue Bell Ride.
P D PA D S . W P E N G I N E . CO M
Kieffa Acoustic Drum Practice Pad
The rebound on this pad is just incredible. A player can feel an instant response, while making all kinds of tones from the center to the rim - from crisp to dark, albeit muted ones - but on a PAD. There is a defined edge to simulate all manner of rim activity; imagine practicing rim shots without chewing up your sticks! From flamadiddles or accent drills to double ratamacues, there is a vast dynamic range as well. It’s the closest thing to playing an actual drum that I’ve ever encountered, and is the first pad I’ve ever had that makes me want to practice more. In short: varying dynamic range, but quiet enough for tight living/practice quarters. Feels satisfyingly real and allows for rim shots. Bounce-tastic. Rating: 9.7 — Caryn Havlik
C R I T T E R A N D G U I TA R I . CO M
THE L ATEST ON THE GREATEST / GEARHEADS
Video Scope is a new performance toy by Critter and Guitari designed to make a synesthetic experience out of any instrument with a 1/4” out. In one cute 3x3 package this video oscilloscope synthesizer creates a separate channel for your TV or projector with a simple RCA out, controlling a bright palate of visual sound waves with an option of 4 modes and a color/speed/intensity/ rate control oscillator as well. With a set up time of less than 5 minutes, this piece of low-key gear is great for an easy interactive experience leaving a little room for play reminiscent of a 90s video game. Recommended for: single instruments or a boosted mic. Leaves me wanting: an audio out option so you can play distorted music through your TV speakers :) and an option for using the switcher modes with a live TV/Video mix for image manipulation would be sweet. — Angel Favorite
The Istanbul Ride cymbal has a personality. It is hand hammered first and then is smoothed over every 1-2 inches resulting in a pattern of gorgeous concentric circles that produce a more deadened sound throughout. The cymbal’s note is distinct, the bell sounds like it is about half an octave higher than the base of the cymbal and the two sing beautifully together when played simultaneously. For this reason I can use it when I play percussion too because it contributes 3 new tones to the set without drowning out anything else. The cymbal’s recognizable warmth and clarity is achieved by Istanbul’s signature concentric circles. — Kiran Gandhi
A M A ZO N . CO M
I S TA N B U LC Y M B A L S . CO M
Istanbul Agop 22” Sultan Ride
The Taal Tarang is an incredible portable drum machine evoking warm tones from 4 drum options including the Tabla, Pakhawaj, Dholak and Duff. The built in speaker, internal editor and memory along with pitch and tempo knobs allow spontaneous composition and a rich variety of timbre. Though the digital drum does contain an output for an external speaker it is unfortunately an 1/8 inch jack. Overall this rare beauty is a portable gem inspiring your internal guru and dance where ever you go. — Dominika Ksel
THE FU N N IE S
COMI C S BY D RU MMER A ND F U NNY PER SON SA R A L AU T MA N
BL AST FROM THE PAST
The psssshhh-tza of a coke bottle opening; the voooosh in Starland’s “Afternoon Delight”: Suzanne Ciani is responsible for some of the most iconic sounds we’ve ever heard. A student of music and composition at Wellesley and later at University of California, Berkeley, Ciani was beguiled by the mysterious potential and complexity of electronic music since seeing a professor coax sounds from a computer in the early 1960s.
Don Buchla was one of the first (along with Robert Moog) to build sound synthesizers, and Ciani began work building Buchla Series 100 modular synthesizers in Buchla’s San Francisco lab immediately following her graduation. She was fired on her first day. “But I wouldn’t leave,” she says. “He found a cold solder and blamed it on the new girl, but it wasn’t me, and he couldn’t fire me. I just came back the next day.” In 1974 Ciani formed her own company and began building sound commercially, which paid for her more artistic endeavors, including live Buchla performances. “Performing on the Buchla has nothing to do with a keyboard or with notes,” Ciani explains. “It’s a living compositional form. The Buchla has no memory; you switch from one sound to another
BY R A C H EL MIL L ER PH OT O C OU RT ESY OF T H E A RT IST F IR ST A PPEA R ED IN NY T IMES
manually. It’s spatial and full of movement. It’s architectural.” Ciani’s seminal performances and a guide to performing on the Buchla, the first and only of its kind, will be published soon through Finders Keepers Records. Her major complaint about music these days? “It’s too loud. We just don’t hear the same things; sound is different now.”
S UBSC RIBE TO TOM TOM
T H ROW B ACK : S U Z A N N E C IA N I
TOM TOM MAGAZINE
A MAGAZINE ABOUT FEMALE DRUMMERS DRUMMERS WHO SING
JANET WEISS QUASI & SLEATER-KINNEY INTERVIEWED BY FRED ARMISEN
Singing while drumming is an impressive feat not many can pull off. This issue of Tom Tom Magazine highlights some of the legends who make i...
Published on Dec 26, 2013
Singing while drumming is an impressive feat not many can pull off. This issue of Tom Tom Magazine highlights some of the legends who make i...