TOM TOM MAGAZINE
the pilgrimage of palmolive Slits, Raincoats & Religion Backstage with M.I.A.
Samantha Maloney interviews
bo-pah the mini beast The Ethereal Beats of
Au Revoir Simone
i s s u e 16 | u sD $ 6 DIS P LAY W I N TE R 2 0 1 3 /1 4
a magazine about female drummers the religion & spirituality issue
welcome to tom tom issue 16: religion and spirituality. have a seat, rela x and enjoy the trip.
FOUNDER/publisher/EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mindy Abovitz (email@example.com) managing editor Melody Allegra Berger DESIGN director Lauren Stec
Camilo has been shooting for us for a We met Katwo at Willie Mae Rock Camp couple of years now and we are watching for Girls where she was sharing her love him go from being a great photographer of music and skills of rock. Little did we to a phenomenal one. This photo of him know she was also running an animaand Palmolive was shot by our managing tion/film studio back at home in the Phileditor Melody when they spent the lipines. She has since animated (shout outs) day with her. www.camilofuentour Fred/Janet video and is creattom tom ing a drum 101 series for us. ealba.com.
DESIGNers Rieko Yamanaka, Marisa Kurk coders Capisco Marketing NORTHWEST CORRESPONDENT Lisa Schonberg NORTHWEST crew Katherine Paul, Leif J. Lee, Fiona Campbell, Kristin Sidorak LA CORRESPONDENT Liv Marsico, Candace Hensen Miami CORRESPONDENT Emile Milgrim boston CORRESPONDENT Kiran Gandhi Barcelona Correspondent Cati Bestard nyc distro Segrid Barr European distro Max Markowsky COPY EDITOR Anika Sabin REVIEWs editor Rebecca DeRosa (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Marisa Kurk signed on as one of our graphic designers a few months ago and has hit the ground running, designing most of our event fliers. This Santa Cruz based design student (she attends the Academy of Art) is also a drummer. That is not a requirement for us here at Tom Tom but always a plus!
Ikue is one of our favorite people in general and so that fact that she shoots for us too just makes us really happy. For this issue she shot Bodega Bay’s drummer and for our site she shot our Brooklyn showcase at Death by Audio. Check our her music when you get the chance as well. www.ikuefromjp.tumblr.com
technique wRITERS Morgan Doctor, Rene OrmaeJarmer, Chloe Saavedra, Kristen Gleeson-Prata PHOTOGRAPHERS Camilo Fuentealba, Bek Andersen, Ikue Yoshida, Chloe Aftel, Michal Murawski, Stefano Galli ILLUSTRATORs Carly Marcoux, Sara Lautman, Rebecca Redman, James Otis Smith
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. chloe saavedra Chloe is a phenomenal drummer who we roped into writing tech and gear related articles for the mag. We met her when we put her on the cover of our Kids Issue and are continuously wowed by her skills.
itamar (eb) goldenholz EB is the cutest guy we know. He’s an architect by trade, a pilot by passion and a terrific uncle. This is a picture of him reading the magazine while in the pilot’s seat in his plane. He laughs in the face of danger.
max markowsky Max is our friend from Belrlin who speaks four languages and plays a mean guitar. He is now heading our European distribution. Yes Max, YES!
Maia is another phenomenal drummer that we attracted because we run this dope magazine. She works with us now writing beats when we perform in museums. Which we hope to do a lot of.
WRITERS Samantha Maloney, Sofia Pasternak, Natalie Peart, Brian Chase, Daniela Muhling, Kate Hendersen, Rebecca Redman, Maggie Rivers, Chloe Saavedra, Arielle Angel, Rachel Miller, Carly Marcoux, Art Tavana, Clara B. Parnell
REVIEW TEAM Courtney Gillette, Emily Nemens, Jamie Varriale Velez, Rebecca Sulock, Anna Blumenthal, Stephanie Reisnour, Metta Pry, Attia Taylor, Matthew D’Abate, Rob Rubsam, Candace Hensen, Davis ThompsonMoss TOM TOM TV Katwo Puertollano and Flux Design Labs, Anthony Lozano, Anthony Buhay, Teale Failla interns Andrea Davis THANK YOU All of you, Guilford University, Foote’s Drum Shop, La Bulbasaur, Anika, Gals Rock, Tres Drums, Angel Favorite, Shleeka Leeki, Monkeena, Scoot, Kittan, Jess “Best Roomate” Pavone, Tzip Tzop, Soxx, K Bo, Christy Gast CONTACT us Address: 302 Bedford Ave PMB #85 Brooklyn, NY 11249 Email: email@example.com Facebook, Twitter, Instagram:@tomtommag ON THE COVER FRONT: Paloma McLardy by Julian Yewdall BACK: Kiran Gandhi by Michal Murawski TO SUBSCRIBE WWW.TOMTOMMAG.COM
Letter from the Editor
Welcome to Issue 16 of Tom Tom Magazine: Religion and Spirituality
Anyone of us who plays the drums is pretty passionate about it. Not many of us are in it for the money or the fame. In fact, the very nature of the drummer, sitting and being tucked behind her band, lends itself to potential anonymity on stage. We drummers drum because we love it. We make playing drums a part of our daily routine and life rituals because we need it. It is this idea of passion and ritual that we are exploring in this issue of Tom Tom, themed Religion and Spirituality.
beat & the pulse 8
There were already a decent amount of drum magazines on the shelves when we started Tom Tom Magazine in 2009. To be precise there were at least five in this country, two in England and at least twenty more around the world. They ranged from focusing on vintage drums to metal drummers to modern drummers. The one thing they had in common was that they all, for the most part, left women and girl drummers out of their magazines. And they still, for the most part, do. We didn’t start Tom Tom with the intent of needing to be around forever. In fact, the goal was (and still is) to encourage the existing drum/music industry and its supporting media to reflect the number of women and girls who drum and to effectively aid in the increase of female drummers by accurately portraying role models and engaging females who don’t yet play. When we see someone making waves and positive changes (like Modern Drummer recently did when they featured several articles about women drummers without having to call that issue the Women’s Issue) we feel hopeful. When we pick up an issue of a drum mag with no women in it, that sinking feeling comes in. Has none of the work we have done over the last four years meant anything? How much longer will this take?
Bo-Pah the Mini Beast 20
All-Girl Tribute Bands 22
Shamanic Drumming 29
Pilgrimage of Palmolive Au Revoir Simone 36
sweet crude paloma mclardy by camilo fuentealba
Our cover drummer, Paloma McLardy, aka Palmolive, sat on the throne for The Slits and The Raincoats and was an integral part of the creation of punk rock. We’re thrilled to have her in this issue not only because of her amazing musical past, but also because of the fascinating spiritual journey she took after leaving the music scene behind. We focused on Religion and Spirituality in this issue to tip our hats to the power that drums and women drummers hold.
Mindy Seegal Abovitz Publisher/Creator/Editor-in-Chief
backstage with m.i.a.
We plug away at this magazine and our mission with spirit and persistence, passion and practice. For our Religion/Spirituality issue we not only searched for overtly religious drummers, but also thought about spirituality in a more general sense. How do you get in the zone? What does it feel like to transcend your surroundings and create? How profoundly does drumming affect our lives and what is it about drums that lends itself to trance and other worldliness?
Enjoy and drum on,
Transcendent Shayna 42
CURRENT EVENTS Design and words by Maggie Rivers
NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA Stemming out of Brooklyn, Beat by Girlz is a campaign that aims to educate girls in audio and music tech through collaboration with the Lower East Side Girls Club. Created by Erin Barra, a producer, writer, artist, and educator, the campaign is seeking funding on Indiegogo. Money generated will go towards the Lower East Side Girls Club Curriculum Development, marketing, and creating an educational web series. The web series will feature episodes such as “Make Beats” “Remix the Track,” “DJ Essentials,” and “Demo Recording.” Beats by Girlz plans to go into Beta in February for girls in New York before going live for anyone around the world by Summer.
LOS ANGELES, california, Usa On August 20, Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) held a luncheon for women composers and musicians in the Hollywood film and TV industry. The luncheon helped foster discussion and introspection on the importance of each woman’s role in helping break the gender gap obvious in the music industry. Host of the event, BMI Vice President of Film/TV Relations Doreen Ringer-Ross, called the luncheon “a celebration of progress” of females in the business. The attendees were able to discuss the problems and obstacles they have faced in the industry, and how they have overcome them and/ or hoped to fix them. BMI hopes to make the luncheon an ongoing event.
NEW YORK CITY, NY, USA Working together with local artists, musicians, and historians, Susie Ibarra has created Digital Sanctuaries, a mobile app which takes users on a walk around Lower Manhattan while incorporating the area’s music, art, and history. The idea behind the project is to allow users to see the sites featured on the walk as a sanctuary or breathing space, despite the commotion of the city. Digital Sanctuaries features the music of Electric Kulingtang, the art of Makoto Fujimura, and the design of Shankari Mulari. Ibarra plans to extend Digital Sanctuaries to other cities across the globe.
berlin, germany Upon the conclusion of female:pressure’s Perspectives Festival and discussion at some of the festival’s panels in September, which solely featured female DJs and live acts, female:pressure decided they are going to create a Booker’s Guide to Electronic Music Acts. All electronic femme, trans, or intersex who do live, DJ, VJ, or sound engineer acts are welcome to register for the guide which will be sent to promoters and bookers, among other relevant industry personnel. The objective of this guide is to see more female acts at festivals, clubs and other shows. To register for the guide, visit www.perspectives-berlin.com/blog/ for instructions.
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain Tom Tom Magazine was in attendance and a part of a lecture at the release of Fanzine Bulbasaur’s second release party in Barcelona, Spain. The day consisted of a Tom Tom Magazine talk led by our editor Mindy Abovitz and was followed by a panel discussion including Lucía Muñoz Molina (Filósofa Frívola), Gemma Moliner (I love herstory) and Gelen Jeleton. Fanzine Bulbasaur is put together by these incredible feminists: Blanca Miró, Mirena Ossorno and Andrea Alvarado Vives.
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, Spain, and Germany to keep you connected with the women drummers of our world.
Letters to the Editor I have got to tell you how happy I was when I found out about Tom Tom Magazine. I found you purely on accident as a reference in some literature I was reading. As a male (feminist) drummer in a male’s world, I hope that these gender-coding of instruments soon would stop. But it seems it will take some work. And what I can understand from your website you’re a growing movement—which makes me happy. Keep up the good work! —Daniel Jonasson Sweden
Back in 2010, I met one of your contributors at a show I was playing in Long Island with my band Whiskey Trench. It was the first I had heard of Tom Tom Magazine but pretty much became an instant fan. Since then I’ve been playing for a band called Young Galaxy. The band has released four albums, and I’ve been a part of the touring, writing, and recording for the last two albums. The last album (Ultramine) was nominated for the Canadian music Polaris Prize. I couldn’t stop myself from getting in touch with you guys after watching the video of the MoMA exhibit that Mindy Abovitz curated and performed in. I have to say that I felt quite a rush watching these incredible women, all with different styles and strengths and ideas, portraying exactly what so many female drummers in the world have been striving to portray. Needless to say, I thought to myself that I would love to be a part of something like that. Being a part of the world of female drummers invokes even more excitement and pride and it’s something I’ll never take for granted. Maybe we’re a small group that contributes to the large population of drummers around the world, but there’s no question that we make an equally as important contribution. Thank you for the hard work you do to help keep our community going. —Andrea Silver
I have been drumming since I was ten years old and honestly I’ve always felt like I was trying to keep my head up in a total mans world. I’ve been in and out of many bands. I’ve been ousted out of bands because wives and girlfriends did not want their man in a band with a woman. I’ve ended situations because I wasn’t looked at as an equal. I vividly remember going to a jazz camp as a very young girl. I was struggling with a song and the band teacher yelled in front of the whole band, “Get it right! Do you want everyone to just think of you as a dumb blonde?” I was totally crushed. Obviously I’ve had many more wonderful experiences being a drummer but Tom Tom just makes me so happy. Just knowing you are showing a whole new generation of drummers that they have support, someone has their back, that means the world to me! The magazine is absolutely beautiful. Thank you again so much! —Jen Krause Los Angeles, CA
I’d like to thank you for deciding to create such a monumental magazine for female drummers who, like myself, may have been wandering through the music community for years without feeling as though I was really a part of it. When I get on a drum set it’s as if it and the room are my own little matrix, and I’m happy, or thrilled beyond containment to unravel it. It’s where I find the harmony between my chaos and order for a short hour or two. My question to Tom Tom and its readers is this: After all these let-downs and pick-me-ups with drumming, bands, soul mates, friends, and life all-together, after my relationship to all this that brings me love has been so foggy, what is it that brings us back to what we truly enjoy? As women drummers and artists it seems we have rights to take back from ourselves and our communities, and I’ve been gifted in not only watching it happen but to be such a part of it, building support as a female artist. What if this misogynistic constraint or male ‘domination’ of the music industry is just that, an agreement, that we’re unlearning. That for women, our emotional understanding, our expression and our dreams, even our bodies are well deserved by the men who frankly aren’t showing equal support. In band mates, friendships, relationships, are we learning again how to take back our driving edge of a soul, after giving a little too much? Or giving too little? Or are we choosing to stay in that belief; that the wonder of life and music is lost after love is. Whether I’m a happy passenger, on the train of equanimity, or shoveling coal in it, I’d rather be doing that than just hitching a ride from time to time while calling myself an explorer. Thanks for getting the ball rolling and inspiring me to do the same!! —Abbie Marks Boulder, CO
photo by T. Dav i d Lane / S tan d B ac k I mages
in this issue
THE BEAT AND THE PULSE
L.A. Witch By Art Tavana
L.A. Witch are an all-female outfit influenced by the horror-inspired lyrics and dark blues rock of Black Sabbath. Sade Sanchez, their singer-guitarist, writes head-bobbing grooves in a mid-tempo grind, fueled by her ’60s garage rock influences and affection for spooky vocals.Their bassist, Irita Pai, combines the pure rock bass of Sabbath’s Geezer Butler, with a less hyper-driven version of Savages-style bass in the mold of Ayse Hassan. Their drummer Ellie English commands her rugged Pork Pie drum kit with a steady sledgehammer approach she’s learned to develop since the age of 13. Their self-titled debut, released earlier this year, includes three tracks loaded with ghostly lo-fi vocals and Black Angels-sounding psychedelia. It sounds like music you’d hear at a deserted ‘60s truck stop, or on the fuzzysounding jukebox in True Blood’s Merlotte’s Bar. Pick it up.
MRS FUN Kim Zick (in-the-pocket drummer) and Connie Grauer (bass-driven keys player) make up the Nu Jazz duo aptly named MRS. FUN. Not only is this band super fun, they are also a super funky blend of off-center jazz and their own brand of neo-cabaret. Kim and Connie moved to Nashville to back up country singer Tracy Peel of Bill Boner fame and scandal. A year later they quit the band and formed MRS. FUN. To date, MRS. FUN has made Milwaukee their base where they continue to develop their music as well as collaborate with others. Highly recommend you see this band, voted Best Contemporary Jazz Group by the Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) three consecutive years, live when you can and in the meantime soak up their tunes and vids online.
Praise the Dead Praise the Dead, a duo based in Los Angeles, states they are, “inspired by their separate experiences, dangling on our past and remembering our blessings from the ancient ones who have led the way.” Dope. Praise the Dead blend classic rock and roll with more contemporary hard rock and metal to create their special blend of raw emotion. Spacey T (Fishbone) brings it with guitar & bass while Lisa Marie Maestas leads with vocals and drums. The Heavy EP is out now. Produced by Carl Restivo (Tom Morello, Wyclef, Perry Farrell) and mastered by dUg Pinnick (King’s X).
Elaine Hoffman Watts Born in 1932, Elaine Hoffman Watts is a third-generation klezmer musician, and a key player in Philadelphia-style Jewish klezmer sound. Elaine was the first woman percussionist to be accepted at Curtis Institute, where she graduated in 1954. Watts has performed and taught for more than forty years, working in symphonies, theaters, and schools. Ms. Watts began performing klezmer actively again about six years ago, with the group KlezMs, an all-female ensemble, which she was in with her daughter Susan Watts on trumpet. “You know, many years ago it went from father to son, father to son,” Watts told a journalist recently. “But in my family, in my case, it went from father to daughter, then mother to daughter.” Now performing with an ensemble called the Fabulous Shpielkehs, Watts has been recognized with a Pew Fellowship in the Arts and a National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowship.
BANDS TO LOOK OUT FOR Bells Atlas \\ San Fransisco, CA \\ bellsatlas.com Mental 99 \\ San Fransisco, CA \\ theghostease.com P ictu re d is kristinna kaw ks
TIGUE \\ Brooklyn, NY \\ tiguemusic.com Low Leaf \\ LA, CA \\ creatordiy.com Priests \\ Washington, DC \\ 666priests666.tumblr.com SISU \\ LA, CA \\ sisuband.com Petty Morals \\ Boston, MA \\ pettymorals.bandcamp.com Laila \\ Tel Aviv, Israel \\ N/A Apple Betty \\ Boston, MA \\ applebetty.net
d r u m tow e r
/ j e e y o u n g s i m .t u m b l r . c o m
PEAK: DRUM TOWER
By min dy abovit z PH OT Ographs BY C h u l gi H ong
In October, artist/musician Jee Young Sim gathered 19 high school students to re-envision a tower in the foothills of Anyang’s hiking area, as a gigantic drum. With a commission from the Anyang Public Arts Project (APAP) in Korea, Sim installed contact mics on the surface of the tower walls and floors. She then had the students drum the surfaces. What resulted was an epic aural wash blending tradition and history with innovation and contemporary music. Tom Tom Magazine: What was the goal of the piece? The goal of the piece was to produce pulsing beats out of an industrial structure by collecting and amplifying the sound of mountain’s energy and spirit which the tower is situated on. How did you come up with the idea for this project? Did you see the Tower first or have the idea first? In my recent projects, I have collaborated with drummers to create sound performances by using the interior elements as drum surfaces. For this project, “Peak,” I was very fortunate to work with Anyang Public Arts Project (APAP) with their program titled, “Public Story,” which focuses on revisiting the architectural structures that were designed and built for the APAP’s first curation back in 2005 and involving Anyang city’s residents to participate with invited artists to produce public art pieces. I immediately envisioned the tower, designed by MVRDV, as a gigantic drum. Was it difficult working with that structure? The structure was a lot bigger in real life than I saw in the photograph, so the students had to move and run a lot more than I expected. The structure is made of metal and wood providing different sounds which was amazing and difficult at the same time. During the piece, the students ran down the tower from the top and continuously dragged the drumsticks on the metal railing to create xylophone like sound, which was echoed through the trees and surrounding hills. When the students were on the ground level to play the tower, they had to play the metal poles softly because of its harsh sounds. We ended up making our own mallets with fabric and duck tape to make the sound rounder. What was the process like? Drumming is a main part of Korean traditional dance, and since the students major in Korean traditional dance, I decided to adopt what they have learned in school. A part of the piece had a version of Sam Go Mu, which is a drumming dance by playing three standing drums. For this piece we choreographed Sam Go Mu to be performed on the floor of tower peak. Instead of playing standing drums, the students played the floor surface as drum. The dance movements were choreographed and fine-tuned by their teacher Aekyung Park.
b a c k sta g e w i th m . i . a. //
kiran g and h i ta lk s ab o u t dru mmin g fo r rapâ€™s po litica l g o dd ess / / by Mindy A bovit z Photos by Michal Murawski
have known Kiran for several years now. We met on Facebook when she was living in DC and going to Georgetown University. She reached out to me because of Tom Tom and was immediately warm, outgoing and confident about her drumming. I invited her to open for Kim Thompson for our Issue 4 release party and have watched Kiran meet and conquer every challenge since then. Most recently she began her first semester at Harvard’s MBA program and is touring with M.I.A. as her drummer. Below is Kiran’s story about collaborating with M.I.A. Tom Tom Magazine: How did you get the opportunity to be M.I.A.’s drummer? Kiran Gandhi: I was working as a digital
analyst for Interscope Records (M.I.A.’s label) and one day, half-jokingly, mentioned to her product manager (who is an idol of mine) that MIA needed a drummer and that I wanted to do it!! She took me seriously, and said okay, send me a video. This was a huge opportunity for me and I didn’t want to mess it up by sending one of the janky iPhone videos that already existed on my youtube channel. That weekend, I gathered a couple friends and together we created this wild M.I.A. drumming world in which some of my friends dressed up and served as the stands for my drums and I played live over a DJ mix of some of her tracks. We cut the video in 24 hours and quickly sent it over to her product manager when M.I.A. arrived in L.A. Maya responded to me directly that night (early Feb 2013) and wrote something along the lines of — this video is dope, we aren’t thinking tour now, but we’ll hit you up when we do. In July, they did.
What did you do to prepare for the audition? There was no
audition since I got the gig automatically, but I knew that M.I.A. is known for kicking people off the stage if they mess up, or for sending people home from the tour when their vibe isn’t right for the whole group. She has this line in “Lights” I always think about: “for me to tell you things, you need to be the right kind.” Knowing this, I worked my ass off to prepare for the week-long rehearsal in Montreal we had in early July. I was in my studio in L.A. for hours a day — at this point I was off from my job in the summer because I was about to start at Harvard Business School in the fall. I played all the key tracks that I thought they might want to do in the live show, and memorized how they went. For some songs, I made the decision to play the song exactly as it was in the track, for other songs I decided adding a new percussion part would add more value to the overall live experience. But I was guessing, and by the time I got to the actual rehearsal much of what she wanted was different from what I had prepared for.
What do you think separated you out from the other drummers? My method for seeking out the gig was different. In
my experience from working as a drummer and in the formal music industry, I learned that there are so many areas to coordinate when it comes to major acts that any aspects that can be simplified can be hugely helpful to an artist. So that was my mentality. I wanted to get myself in front of Maya, make it clear that I was capable of playing exactly
her music, show how I think my style of drumming and my personal values fit with hers, and make it clear that I was available and ready to jump on a plane and go wherever if they needed me. I wanted it to be a no brainer for them. I wanted to be the no-hassle choice so that on their end, they could say, “Drummer? Check.” What is different about your drumming for M.I.A. that you don’t do in your everyday drumming? I love the elements
of call and response I get to do with the electronic track. When we play the opening to “Sunshowers,” I worked really hard to nail this call-and-response we do between me on live Indian drums and the track playing a series of chaotic gunshot sounds. Another thing that is different is the drumset that Maya and I worked together to create for the show. It is half traditional drumset (mini Istanbul hats, bass drum, floor tom and piccolo snare) and half Indian/ Latin percussion. I mounted these two drums (a dhol and a dholak) I brought back from India in 2012 on snare stands and play them standing up for some songs, while other songs I play the drum set sitting down. Maya hates cymbals and cowbells so you won’t find any of those on my set!
How will you grow as a drummer from this experience? I
learned discipline. I learned discipline from having to play solidly to the track and a click, and to learn the hectic changes of M.I.A.’s music perfectly. I never used to play in such a disciplined way — I’d kind of just change when I felt like it, or move through songs as I felt sounded good. She always says to me, “Get into the rhythm of the song. Don’t drum just for the sake of drumming. Don’t be too head-y.” While I didn’t quite understand what the first part of that meant, I do now. To her it means, understand how the lyrics interact with the drums in the track. Understand how the emotions ebb and flow throughout the song. The drums need to find a home within each of these sonic moments. To do that, I had to listen to the songs in different ways. I’d listen to them on speakers, on a computer, on iPhone headphones, on Beats headphones, on super loud speakers like what we have on stage.This allowed me to hear different nuances every time, which in turn connected me to the song in the most honest way I could, to best understand how to apply my live drums to the track. Every time she would critique my drumming during that first rehearsal, I would go back to the hotel room and play the track in many ways on my bed, over and over again, until I had a library of options to go back to her with till she found something she liked that I was doing. I felt grateful that she would email me between various shows and tell me what she needed, or that she would push me to play some of the most challenging drum breaks in her music. Since she pushed me to a higher level, I felt motivated to do whatever it took to meet her at that level.
What is the biggest challenge you face drumming for her?
The biggest challenge lies at an ideological level. Because I am also a full-time student at Harvard Business School she is often skeptical of my thoughts and my education. She doesn’t want me to be influenced by a school that (by
‘I wanted to get myself in front of Maya, make it clear that I was capable of playing exactly her music, show how I think my style of drumming and my personal values fit with hers, and make it clear that I was available and ready to jump on a plane and go wherever if they needed me.’ perception) is teaching young minds to go back into the world with the goal of making as much money as possible. For me personally, my goal is to not be defensive about the positives I enjoy from living in two vastly different worlds, and instead listen to the criticisms that both worlds might have about the other. I feel blessed. I feel that I am on a constant quest for truth, so that in my life, the way I contribute to the world will be in the most intelligent, truthful way. That when I contribute to the music industry in an innovative way, it will be compassionate and thoughtful and effective because I have lived the different experiences one can have in the industry. I have done my best to most honestly leverage that knowledge into action. The biggest challenge is gaining Maya’s trust at that ideological level, and making it clear how grateful I am to her for her lyrics, her bravery, her intelligence and her power. She builds this mini-world on stage, every time we perform, in which we are born free, born strong, born passionate and in control. Being part of this world and her vision has empowered me to want to keep this progressivism alive in my own life, and has inspired me to think even more critically about how I can advance my own values of feminism, freedom and positive musicianship in my own world. What is the least expected part of being her drummer? One thing I didn’t know was how intricately M.I.A. programs each of the drum sounds in her music. She makes the sounds in the wildest ways. She’ll drop marbles on a table, record it and then accelerate the sound. She’ll record Indian drums and play them backwards. So when I’d hear something a certain way and play my interpretation of it on my drums, she would hate it for obvious reasons! It diluted what would have taken her hours in the studio to build. So we had to work closely to make sure that anything I played added to the live show, instead of taking away or distracting from each meticulously created beat that she made. What advice would you give another drummer looking to land a job with a bigger artist? Don’t ask. Show. Work hard to make
it clear that you are right for the gig. That you care. That you want to contribute something. Not that it would be “an honor for you to play with X” but that you have something dope that can advance what X is trying to do.That you understand what X is about and that you fit ideologically with what they’re doing. That you’ve thought through why you’d want to play with them and no one else. That you aren’t auditioning for like a 100 random artists and you’re just waiting for one to come through. That this is actually special. That this is meant to be and that if you were given the opportunity, you’d do everything in your power to protect it. To honor it. To remember that you’re the one lucky to be there. That no one owes you anything. And that every night, you’d do your absolute best to bring their show to the next level.
recipes from the Road recipe an d illu stration by Carly Marcou x
Leah Chickpea Pumpkin Wraps
• 1 yellow squash • 1 green (zucchini) squash • 1 sliced or diced green pepper • 1/4 cup sliced or diced red onion • 2–3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic • 1/4 cup dried cranberries • 1/4 cup organic pumpkin puree • 1/4 cup garbanzo beans/chickpeas • 1/4 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional) plus • cinnamon (to taste) • nutmeg (to taste) • 8" flour tortilla shells • baby spinach • olive oil
I was raised semi-religiously as a kid but our family stopped going to church regularly when I was in my early grade school years. In my later years, I have come to believe that you can take the humane and beautiful parts of any religion or spiritual life and apply them to being a respectful person, a good friend or even a trustworthy and understanding band mate. I came across photos featuring the incredible drummer Leah Shapiro. They are these great Lomography shots of her and the rest of her band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The shots are beautiful and truly translate the idea of being in a band of good people and how a band really does become one. I decided to celebrate Leah in the title of this issue’s Recipes from the Road to honor her being an incredible bandmate. See if you can make these Leah-inspired Pumpkin Tortilla Wraps on the go; either at the start of the tour, or make them with friends at stops where you have a stove available while on the road.
1. Prepare ahead: slice the two shades
of squash (yellow and green) into thin circles width-wise. Cut the green pepper into long slices, and dice the red onion or slice long (the same as the green pepper). Slice two to three cloves of garlic into thin pieces. Set ingredients aside. 2. Mash up your chickpeas in a small bowl until they are mushy using either a fork, masher, or blender and add the pumpkin puree, cinnamon and nutmeg (to taste). Add your nut pieces to the mix and blend the ingredients together as a paste (it should be a thick paste, similar to hummus). 3. On the stove top, set your heat to me-
dium and add 2–3 tablespoons of olive oil (or spray a liberal amount) onto a nonstick frying pan. When the oil has heated for a few moments, add your zucchini, letting it cook for 1–2 minutes on its own before adding the green pepper, the garlic, and then the onion. When the zucchini has gone a little translucent, add all the
cooked veg to a bowl with a cover. While the mix of veg is still warm, add your dried cranberries and mix the items to warm the berries, and cover. 4. To heat the flour tortillas, follow the instructions on the bag—or take three to four tortillas at a time and heat-steam them in a microwave wrapped in a damp paper towel for 30–45 seconds, or heat them on a non-stick frying pan set to medium heat (no coating is necessary) for 10–15 seconds each. 5. Create your wraps! Spread the pump-
kin/chickpea paste onto a wrap: top with baby spinach, finish with the veg, and you are ready to go! If you are into cheese, a sweet and nutty cheese like Camembert would be a good pairing, but is not essential.
Drummer’s Health photo an d wor ds By C l ara B. Parne l l
Drummer’s Massage Oil
• 1 ounce dried Solomon Seal root (Polygonatum multiflorum) • 1 ounce dried Rue leaves (Ruta graveolens) • 1 ounce Poplar Buds (Populus trichocarpa or Populus Balsamifera) • 230 ml of castor oil • 230 ml of organic virgin olive oil
The repetitive stress
and the wear and tear that drummers cause to their forearms can be painful and care must be taken to prevent carpal tunnel syndrome and other injuries. This massage oil can help: it is made of plant materials which act on the ligaments and tendons in the forearms and relieve nerve pain of strained tissues and inflammation from overuse. 1. Place all the herbs in a jar, cover with both oils, and mix thoroughly. Once the ingredients are well mixed, make sure that the oil is covering all herb material in the jar; and add some extra olive oil if you need to. 2. Cover the jar with a tight lid and keep
it out of the sun for 3 to 6 weeks. Stir or shake the jar every day for at least the first couple of weeks. Alternatively, you can place the jar — with its lid off — inside your gas oven. Make sure the oven is not on. Most ovens will keep at around 100°F with the pilot light on. This warmth will infuse your oil much faster and it will be
ready within two weeks. Smell your oil consistently to be sure it isn’t going rancid or molding. Keeping the herbs submerged below the oil will keep your oil from molding. 3. When your oil smells potent and wonderful, its ready to be strained. Grab a bowl, a strainer and some cheese cloth. Cover the strainer with the cheese cloth, place it over the bowl, and dump the oil from your jar through it. Let it sit for an hour or two and then squeeze the herbs in the cheesecloth to get the last bits of infused oil out. Store your oil in a labeled jar and make sure it is out of the sun and heat.
Clara B. Parnell is a practicing licensed massage therapist & herbalist living in Portland, OR specializing in deep tissue treatment, CranialSacral Therapy, and organ energetics. This article was inspired by the realization that drummers and bodyworkers strain the same areas of their bodies and that the remedies she uses for herself and her clients would be beneficial for musicians as well.
4. Massaging this oil into your hands, wrists, forearms and around your elbows will warm the layers of connective tissue called fascia that wrap around your muscles and nerves like saran wrap. This will decrease the tension in these tissues, allow for greater range of motion and optimal function, and reduce pain.
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â€œI might be small but I am a mini beast! And I will keep working to get beastly-er.â€?
Age: 11 Hometown: Littlerock, CA Favorite Foods: I love Macaroni and cheese, good meatloaf, and cheeseburgers!
bo-pah the mini beast By Samantha Maloney | PH OT OS BY expose imagery
he first time I saw a video of bo-Pah on the kit I was floored. Who was this mini bad ass? How old was she? She makes this thing we do called drumming look effortless. Eventually, I got to meet this Cindy Blackman doppelgänger in person and fell in love, not only with her charisma, spunk, and talent, but with the true sweetheart of a kid she is. Watch out people, there’s a new girl in town and she’s a drumming freakazoid who gives new meaning to the term drum throne. bo-Pah and her sisters form Sledge Grits Band and they have been taking the world by storm. As the winner of the first season of Cozi TV’s Next Great Family Band the girls have received quite a bit of national attention, and many hail them as the next Jackson Five. Samantha Maloney for Tom Tom Magazine: Hi, bo-Pah! Samantha Maloney here, fellow drummer and bo-Pah fan club member! I wanted to ask you some questions for Tom Tom magazine, from one female drummer to another! What age did you start playing the drums? bo-Pah Sledge: Daddy and Mommy said that ever since I was really tiny I always banged on things and I was really squirmy! So they gave me a gumbo pot to bang on at first when I was 3. I got my first full size kit on my 5th birthday but wasn’t quite tall enough until I was 5 ½. All the drum thrones were too tall for me so Daddy custom made me a drum throne with an air lift that grows with me. It’s my very own princess drum throne. How does it make you feel when you play the drums? I love that I can go crazy and
feel free! It makes me feel excited!! How did you wind up becoming the drummer for The Sledge Grits Band? I used to keep
time for my sisters when they were in guitar practice. I would be their metronome for them while they changed chords. So when they wanted to start a band I was just sorta already there. The band is comprised of all your sisters. Do you fight ever? If so, what about?
Sometimes we do covers in the band. We sometimes disagree with what songs to do. Also, our older sister Keiko doesn’t like to let us borrow stuff because we are really good at not returning things and losing them.
What is your favorite part of playing with your sisters? Being with them all the time! We have so much fun! We all love music sooooo much and we all want to be the biggest band in the world! Who practices the most on their own in the band? Probably Mimi! She is always sing-
ing!!! In the car, in the bathroom, everywhere!! I play a lot too! But, a lot of times it’s on a drum pad or just sticks on a pillow in the car. Name 5 bands or solo artists that would be a dream for you to play drums for? I would love to play for Mötley Crüe (like you!!), Maroon 5, Yellow Card, Fall Out Boy or Katy Perry.
She is the one in charge, I just play drums. Where do you find all your cool clothes and how do you decide what looks best for what performance? Our bass player Ella is
mostly in charge of styling us. Daddy and I find cool pieces (boots, capes, hats, masks, wings, big rings, sunglasses) at all different kinds of stores (like Thrift stores or Hot Topic). And then Ella and Mama put it together for me for shows. If I feel like a cat before I go on stage I will grab my cat ears, that’s just how I do! You get it right? You’re a drummer! Where do you see The Sledge Grits Band in 5 years? We are going to be the biggest band in the world. This is true!!! Is there anything you want to tell Tom Tom readers that they would otherwise not know about you? I want to tell them
that I love the drums and that I might be small but I am a mini beast! And I will keep working to get beastly-er. Keep an eye on me! I’m gonna make girl drummers proud!! I promise. Best of luck in your future bo-Pah! Tom Tom loves you and so do I!
Who are some of your favorite drummers?
Samantha Maloney! My drum brother Thomas Pridgen, my drum cuzan Eric Moore (of Suicidal Tendencieshe’s also my drum mentor), John Bonham, and Cindy Blackman. Name 5 bands or artists that you think The Sledge Grits could open up for and win over their fans? I think that Pink is a good match. Avril Lavigne, Kelly Clarkson, Maroon 5 and Bon Jovi are also all in the Pop/ Rock style that we are. Tell me about the bear you carry with you pretty much everywhere. Dixie is our band mascot! She always sits on my drums during shows and helps me keep the beat!
Photo courtesy of Stacy Atwell
DEVOTEES of Shred All-Girl Tribute Bands By Sofia Pasternack
et’s talk about covers. When they’re done right, they’re awesome. Sometimes a cover can even be better than the original. I’m thinking of Jeff Buckley’s “Hallelujah,” Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You,” or Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.” Then there are great covers of already famous songs — when a musician puts their unique spin on someone else’s hit. Now I’m thinking of Lauryn Hill’s cover of “Can’t Take
My Eyes Off Of You,” Iron & Wine’s “Such Great Heights,” and Robert Glasper’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” And then there are cover bands, who only play songs written by other people, and tribute bands, who only play songs written by one particular band. These bands usually play with the intention of sounding very similar to the original. The Fab Faux, for example, are four dudes with mop tops playing songs by The Beatles with impeccable accuracy. You might close your eyes and
think you’re hearing the actual Beatles! Such is the case with many great cover bands. I’m really not a huge fan of covers that sound like the original, it seems redundant to me. But I think I might have found a loophole. What if the cover sounded a lot like the original, but didn’t look like the original? Let’s talk about all-girl tribute bands. Metallica. AC/DC. Led Zeppelin. Van Halen. All bands that rocked hard, played loud, swung their hair, and wore a lot of leather. These guys were showmen and they oozed masculinity. But have you heard of Misstalica, AC/DShe, Lez Zeppelin, or Vag Halen? These tribute bands are exactly what they cleverly sound like: all women, all covers of classic hard rock bands. The women I’ve talked to in these bands all have a similar message: they want to play the music that inspired them and shaped them as musicians, and they want to prove that it’s not just for guys. There’s something inherently masculine about hard rock and metal. It was written by men, and mostly for male fans. Leesa Harrington-Squyres, drummer of Lez Zeppelin, talked to me about this phenomenon: “Heavy Metal and Hard Rock have always been a boys club. All the leather, over-stuffed crotches, the hair, loud grinding guitars, big drums, and flamboyant singers. Girls have always been seen as the submissive “bitches”, the groupies, the reason why the boys first picked up that guitar! Where as most of the girls, like me, just wanted to play and be respected in the same way. I think we female musicians play not only because we love the music, but we play because we can.” In the case of all-female tribute bands, it’s what these ladies add to the hard rock and metal songs that we know and love that makes them so compelling. They bring their own styles, their own solos, their own emotions and their own leather-clad, hair-swinging performances. They play loud (so loud, that Lez Zeppelin even sells earplugs in their online store). And they have so much fun!
Just like any other musicians, these women feel deeply connected to the music they are playing. It’s spiritual for both the musicians on stage and the fans in the audience to pay tribute to a deeply-loved band by re-enacting them in concert. For most performers, the experience is quite cathartic and beautiful. Kaleen Reading, the drummer for both Misstalica and Queen Diamond (King Diamond covers), explained to me that she finds it meditative to shred. “Spiritually, I’ve always found drumming to be very meditative, and a great form of karmic yoga. It’s great to tune out all the drama of the world, and focus all your energy just on shredding in that moment.” And Leesa Harrington-Squyres went even further, explaining the importance of the band-audience interaction. It’s downright ritualistic. “Performing the music that we’ve loved all of our lives and playing like the idols, or ‘gods’ if you will, has a spiritual effect on the performer as well as the audience. So, in turn, it would be as if the performance of this music is ‘ritualistic’ in many ways. People dancing, swaying to the rhythms, call-and-response, drums and melodies interacting with each other, just like humans have been doing for millions of years.” Most of the women in these tribute bands also write original material, and are in other bands that focus on writing, recording and performing their own songs. Kaleen told me that the members of Misstalica all agreed that their original music should come first, and their cover band should come second. But based on their two UK tours and their US shows as far away as Alaska, they certainly don’t treat it like a garage band. These ladies have taken their passion for Metallica and their success in performing it, all over the world. And both Lez Zeppelin and Misstalica have been named one of Gibson.com’s “5 all-girl tributes acts you can’t miss.” See you at a show!
it’s what these ladies add to the hard rock and metal songs that we know and love that makes them so compelling.
d r u m m e d i tat i o n s : how do you get in the zone?
“Sometimes I get into a trance when I’m playing on stage and my mind can completely wander off somewhere else and sometimes I even start half drifting off asleep. When I snap out of it I realize that I’m still playing a solid beat with energy. Strange feeling.” -Daisy Durham of
“Spiritually, I’ve always found drumming to be very meditative, and a great form of karmic yoga. It’s great to tune out all the drama of the world, and focus all your energy just on shredding in that moment.” -Kaleen Reading,
drummer for Misstalica & Queen Diamond
Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
“When I have the drum in my hand, I feel at one with it, like it’s a part of my body. The drum represents for me the first sound we ever hear, which is our mother’s blood pulsing through our arteries while we are fetuses in the womb.” -Miranda Rondeau,
frame drummer and devotional singer
“I am a Buddhist and I chant for peace and calm and ask for it to be inserted into my heart. I stay out of any competition, any politics, anything that is going to mess with the chi of me. I need to be clean, empty, so I can be filled with that moment of creation and something new can reach its momentum, its height and continue to be there forever.” -Bobbye Hall,
legendary studio musician
Monica Carter is
MZ Drummer by N atalie Peart | Photo courtesy of artist
“I’m always playing drums — mentally if not physically. It’s weird. If a conversation gets boring than I play songs in my head and people still think I’m listening.” laughs 31-year-old Monica Carter aka Mz Drummer. The Kickport, Agner Drumsticks and SuperNatural Cymbal Artist got her start drumming at a young age, fueled by her father, Leroy Culpepper Sr, who serves as Monica’s most memorable influence. “He was from Alabama. He sang in a gospel quartet there. Then he moved to Cleveland and brought his musical roots with him. He would always take me to his rehearsals and concerts, and I wanted to get involved. I would feel like I hit the lottery when their drummer couldn’t make it sometimes. At the age of 10 the seed was planted!” It was at church where Monica received her first set of drums and from then on she knew what she was meant to do. Tom Tom: Who are some of your drumming influences? James ‘Showtime’Agnew, Cora Coleman-Duhnam and Eric Moore. I like to hear a lot of drummers but those three have taken out the most time to mentor, guide and teach me how to be more of a visionary in addition to being a musician. Eric is like a big brother. Over the years he has taught me how to use my mouthpiece to advance myself in my drumming career, network with other musicians, and approach companies. James ‘Showtime’ is from my hometown. I have studied with him and he has mentored me and allowed me to shadow him on numerous occasions. He also taught me how to brand myself. I went to Texas to visit Cora and I will never forget — she was under the weather but still jammed with me and gave me good advice for hours and ever since then I have admired her as a person and not just a musician. What kind of drum-set do you use? I endorse Ddrum Drums. They accepted me with open arms when they saw videos of me already using their product. Companies find comfort in knowing that even if you weren’t endorsed, that you would still use their product and are not just looking for free gear. Is drumming your full-time gig? If so, how do you make it work financially? I’m employed at 3 churches, I have 3 bands, I’m a drum instructor at Carthon Music Conservatory, and I get a lot of freelance calls to work with other bands and artists. 26
I also play a lot of special events. So, yes! You can be a full-time musician if you have good money management and dodge a couple of shoe sales every so often. Haha.
used to attempt his songs often.
What was your favorite performance to date and why? My favorite performance was on April 10, 2012. I performed for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction ceremony with my all-girl band in front of Kirk Franklin while he sat in the audience. It was a milestone for me because gospel is a part of my roots and I grew up in a small church where we
What advice would you give to young female drummers starting out or even female drummers who have been drumming for awhile and have or want to make a career for themselves? If you are a young woman and want to try drumming then dare to be different! Learning an instrument can help you express yourself in more ways than you can imagine. And who knows? It could blossom from a hobby to a fun career. I had a good job for eight years, but there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t sit in my office and imagine myself on a stage performing. I knew if I didn’t take that risk I would regret it for the rest of my life. Invest in some gear, a reliable vehicle and network like your life depends on it. You won’t fail!
religion & spirituality
Rhythm Healer BY Daniela Mu hling | Photo courtesy of artist
Miranda Rondeau is a frame drummer and devotional singer who is inspired by the transformative power of the divine feminine. She has been performing since 1994 in Southern California as a soloist and in ensembles. Rondeau also leads workshops, and teaches privately. From mental health centers to yoga studios, from universities to elementary schools, Miranda is passionate about reaching out to and inspiring people who are drawn to the healing power of playing the frame drum. Tell me about your earliest drum circle experiences. I first heard about drum circle drumming when I went to a Grateful Dead concert. In the parking lot they had a drum circle that I was really drawn to. And then not too long after I got a hold of the book, Drumming at the Edge of Magic by Mickey Hart, and it touched on two things about drumming: there’s a technical side and a spiritual side. That somehow gave me permission to play because I didn’t have the technique, but I felt like I had a feel for the spiritual side. When did you make the transition from playing intuitively to working with teachers? I saw Mickey Hart’s book, Planet Drum. There was a picture in it of a wom-
an playing the frame drum. Her name was Layne Redmond and it said she was going to give a performance presentation on the history of women and frame drumming. I went to it and saw her slide show, I saw her play, and it was a total homecoming. She became my friend and teacher for many years. Layne Redmond just passed away, and she left us a legacy that transformed many people’s lives. She wrote the book When the Drummers Were Women, and that gave a lot of women permission to take up the drum. And not necessarily have to be professional, but to use it for their personal growth. I want to honor her and give thanks, and would like to dedicate this interview to her. I really wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing if it wasn’t for her. Is your spiritual practice cross-cultural or do you adhere to one particular philosophy or tradition? It is variations of what is at the core of most religions. At the core there’s going to be love, and also I’m connected to indigenous cultures and the idea that everything has a consciousness. They will say, “everything is my relative, and they’re all teachers.”
some ritual before using it in practice? No. What I do, though, is when I have the drum in my hand, I feel at one with it, like it’s a part of my body. The drum represents for me the first sound we ever hear, which is our mother’s blood pulsing through our arteries while we are fetuses in the womb. And that time period is the time when we lived on oneness. So the drum is like a tool for remembrance of that time. When you sing, is there a particular scale that you use for the melody? Each drum that I play has its own tones, and really that’s what inspires me: to sing whatever the tones are of the drum. It’s pretty intuitive. I don’t sing in English — I use vowel sounds and what feels good. It’s freeform, flowing, in the moment. Do you have your instruments custom made for you? No, they’re all Remo drums. When I go out to pick a drum, I have to find one that is in my pitch. The only requirement is that it’s in tune with itself and is in my pitch.
Do you consider the drum itself to be sacred? Do you have to consecrate it through 27
2. 1. 3. A SHORT GUIDE TO
RELIGIOUS DRUMS WORDS & I LLU ST R AT ION BY R ebecca R e dman
4. 6. 5. 1. BATÁ: From Yoruba, Nigeria. Considered a drum of Gods, Royalty, Ancestors, & Politicians.
3. DHOLAK: Used in Hindu prayer and meditation: bhajan and Kirtan. Also used in pre-wedding festivities in India.
2. AGOGÓ: Yoruba, Nigeria. High-pitched bells used in ceremonial music.
4. RATCHET/GROGGER: Used in the Jewish holiday Purim to drown out sound of “Haman’s” name.
5. DAMARU: Tibetan Buddhism and Hinduism. Drum made of leather and wood or human skulls. Power drum used to generate spiritual energy. 6. CLAVES: Cuban origin. Used for creating repeated patterns.
religion & spirituality
Shamanic Drumming BY Kate Hen d erson | i l lu stration by James Otis Smith
Shamanic ritual is the earliest known attempt at spiritual connection and the ‘proto-religion’ from which all spiritual and religious traditions later sprung. While the psychedelic religious rituals of peyote eating performed by the Huichol of northern Mexico and the Amazonian tribes participating in Ayahuasca imbibement are the most well-known examples, ritual trance has been induced with drumming since the Paleolithic era.
Continuous fast drumming, using a handheld frame drum, at the rate of 180-250 bpms is traditionally the most common method of eliciting a trance state which allows the participant to experience “non-ordinary reality.” This predates every other form of religious ritual and has a common methodology across cultures and continents, based on the findings of archaeologists and anthropologists around the world. Similarities in ritual forms, ritual implements like drums and rattles, costumes of the shaman and descriptions of the non-ordinary reality during trance states are remarkably consistent in indigenous peoples from Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Australia, and the Americas. Many of these traditions still survive and are currently practiced. The most interesting and least well-known aspect of shamanism is the traditional role of women, both as shamans and drummers. British scholar Geoffrey Ashe wrote that shamans were originally women, and that the oldest form of the word ‘shaman’ is gendered female. Across Asia, female shamans have been observed since the dawn of modern anthropology, and even male shamans in some native cultures around the world have worn women’s clothes and striven for an androgynous persona in ritual to better connect with the spirit world. Some of the oldest known ritual burials were of female shamans or priestesses, in areas as far apart as Germany and Israel, dated from 8,000-12,000 years ago. How women came to embody this role so early in human history is unknown, though their ability to produce life is most likely the answer. Ritual drums were often painted red to depict menstrual blood, had symbols of the vulva, and rituals centered around fertility and fecundity.
The intention in a shamanistic ritual ceremony is for a person to access a normally invisible reality by eliciting a trance state and experiencing a ‘journey’ of the mind for the purpose of healing or divination. Shamanistic spirituality is essentially Animism, a belief system that views all things as having a ‘spirit’ — people, animals, plants, rocks etc. One can make contact with these spirits during the trance ‘journey,’ and ask for their help and guidance. The tradition of drumming female priestesses leading rituals for the purpose of fertility and healing continued in the west through the dawn of civilization, through the Sumerians, Minoans, Greeks and Romans. It declined with the rise of Judeo-Christian structures when women were gradually driven from all roles of religious authority in that part of the world. Similarly around the world, as patriarchal structures gained power, shamanism declined — especially as performed by women. The drum may have been the first aspect of female driven religious ritual to be removed. Considering the power of a drum to both, drive armies and induce spiritual ecstasy, it’s no wonder why it would be a threat to patriarchal authority. In the larger view of human history, it’s been a relatively short time that women have not been central to both drumming and spiritual ritual. Layne Redmond, author of When the Drummers Were Women, goes deep into the history of female drumming in a ritual context, and points out the first known historical record of a drummer, of either sex, is of Lipaushiu, a Sumerian priestess c. 3,000 BC. Put that in your peace pipe and smoke it.
t the forefront of the shift from hippie love to punk rock rage, Palmolive was an integral member of the newly burgeoning scene. After briefly playing drums with Sid Vicious in the short-lived band Flowers of Romance, Palmolive created an all-girl band called the Slits. Known for their wild personalities and on stage fights, the Slits were poster girls for the anti-commercialism ideals of punk rock. They often supported the Clash, and shared equipment and rehearsal space with them as well. After two years with the group, Palmolive went on to play in another all-girl band, the Raincoats, for an action-packed six months. Then, after doing a great deal of soul-searching, Paloma left the music scene altogether and went on a spiritual journey where she ultimately found peace and conviction in the Christian faith. These days Paloma is a mother, grandmother and elementary school Spanish teacher living in Cape Cod. Tom Tom Photographer Camilo Fuentealba and I had the pleasure of taking a lovely day trip from NYC to visit her. She is a beautiful, down-to-earth treasure who is obviously much loved by everyone in her community, many of whom are unaware of her punk rock past. Tom Tom: Most people have a spirit of rebellion in their early twenties but they don’t necessarily run off to London and help create the punk rock scene. I can see a need to rebel after growing up in fascist Spain under Franco’s regime. Palmolive: My family was quite different though. We were more open, we could talk about things and disagree. Nice big family, it was good. I kind of got the impression that you ran away. There was definitely a rebellion, confrontation. My Dad didn’t want me to go and I kind of threatened him that I would just run away if he didn’t let me. Because he had to sign the passport. So I kind of pressured him. At that time I was seventeen and I was already getting in trouble. I felt like there was no freedom, which actually was true. To me, to live under a government that tells you what you should read, there’s just something wrong with that. You should not have to live under those conditions. But it wasn’t like I sat and pondered it, it was just fun to go somewhere else! I didn’t want to end up doing what my parents did: get married, have a family. I just felt like I didn’t know life, and I wanted to experience life myself. When I first went to England I was like, oh, I’m free! Living in a commune.
The Pilgrimage o f Pa l m o l i v e By Me l o dy Berger | photos by camil o f u entea l ba b l ac k an d white photos cou rtesy of the artist
Paloma Romero (now McLardy) grew up in a huge family of nine kids in Spain under Franco’s fascist regime. At the age of 17 she moved to London where she lived in a squat with her long-term boyfriend Joe Strummer (of the Clash). When Clash bassist Paul Simonon couldn’t pronounce ‘Paloma’ he jokingly asked if she meant ‘Palmolive.’ In a move that reflects her impulsive nature at the time, Paloma made that her stage name.
A squat! Was it gross? Was there no running water? No, there was running water. Oh, that’s a nice squat. Oh, yeah, it was nice! We had running water, we had lights. It was fun, it was just our age group and we could do whatever we wanted. We had no parents, I mean, come on! I remember watching the guys hooking up the lights from the main on the street. And we had a toilet where you had to connect it each time… we didn’t have water going in directly. To me it was beautiful. I came from a middle class Spanish family but I felt very much at home there. Materialism is not something I wanted.
religion & spirituality It sounds like you were bouncing around a little. You went to England, then back to Spain for a bit and then off to Scotland? Well, I was basically in London for six years. I just went on a trip to Scotland. And while you were gone Joe Strummer created the Clash? I had actually left him. I was kind of tired of the whole thing. I said I think it’s great that you’re doing the group, but I’m not sure what I’m doing with my life, I don’t feel fulfilled. Our relationship was the only thing I was doing that tied me somewhere, so I thought it must be the problem. And, you know, usually I lasted two years with a guy, and the two years were up! He didn’t want to split. It was kind of timely when I came back. They were starting to play at the Roundhouse, which was a big place. And it was a really new style, a departure from the rhythm and blues he was doing as Woody and the 101ers. Right. So, he gets mesmerized by the punk scene. He wanted to get famous and it wasn’t going quick enough. He really had that ambition. To him, in his mind, that was being alive. Pursuing that dream was being alive. He just bought the whole shebang. How relationships were. And it was not cool to be a couple. So it wasn’t cool to appear to be too nice to each other. It sounds like a pretty tumultuous relationship. But it wasn’t up until that point! We were just two kids having fun and not caring about anything. It was nice and uncomplicated. He was funny, I liked that. And all the while punk was just exploding. All our friends said no to punk because we were hippies, and punk felt like selling out. I was the only one who said no, I’m into it. I was kind of tired of the whole hippie thing. And I thought, playing an instrument? Oh, that would be fun! And you thought drums were like dancing. Right, thinking of a band I thought, what would I like? I like drums because I love dancing and I thought the drums were the closest. So, when I came back, Joe said, yeah, we should break up because I’m into this new scene. And I said well, I don’t have a problem with that. And if you want to break up we’ll break up. I was kind of shocked, but I was like, no, that’s okay. When I reacted like that he changed. No, no, I want to be together. Then you were in the Flowers of Romance with Sid Vicious for like two seconds? Two or Three weeks. Because Sid Vicious wanted to sleep with you and you weren’t into that so he decided you weren’t right for the band? I mean, it’s not like I was a prude. If I liked him I would have, but I didn’t like him! He was hanging around and it wasn’t like he said, “do you want to sleep with me?” He was obviously trying to woo me. And I was like, I want him to leave. I was really upset. You know, I loved Joe! So, now I’m in this group with this guy I don’t know and he’s so cool in the scene but the way he gets attention
is to be a jerk to everyone around him. I was ready to break from my hippie background but not quite to that extreme.
That’s very superficial. And very immature in many ways. Malcolm McClaren (manager of the Sex Pistols) said what was cool…
And then you decided to start a girl group so you wouldn’t have to deal with all that? It’s not like I hated men at all, but I just thought it would be easier. You had a good go of it, you played with the Slits for two years. At the beginning I was almost like a manager. Calling people, and writing quite a few of the songs. We had this girl Kate, she was in the group. Joe and Mick Jones (of the Clash) said she doesn’t look cool, you should have Vivian, Mick’s girlfriend. I went along with that and that’s one thing I regret. I mean, Vivian was great, but that was a mean thing to do to Kate.
You were turning down a lot of offers, right? Because you didn’t want to get commercialized? Yeah, we’re different! We’re ourselves! And Malcolm McClaren, when he wanted to manage the Slits, said something like ‘I hate music and I hate girls. I thrive off of hate.’ Yeah, he did that. I swear he said that.
You’ve said before that you found the punk rock scene to be a little superficial? With punk rock, the initial thing was we don’t like the society we’re living in. We reject consumerism. We reject having to be nice like what the hippies were doing. We reject the parents of the hippies, we reject the hippies! We reject everyone! We reject working from 8-5…. Now I’m working from 8-8, but anyway. You see what I’m saying, we rejected how the society was run. We don’t think you’re doing a good job so we’re going to rebel against it and we don’t have any solution but we don’t really care whether we have a solution or not!
Wow, I can’t wait to work with you! You hate me! You know the funny thing was the other three girls were like (dreamy voice) ‘Malcolm!’ Ha! And I was like, um, nooo. Do you think he was just trying to provoke you? Yeah, I’m sure! He was a huge figure in the punk scene. He really stirred everything up. He had an idea, he had a vision, and he was successful with it. And so yeah, you might like that, but to me it’s like what is the point? What do people want in life? Just to be close to someone who is famous, someone who makes things happen? If you scratch the surface… to me, I do not want to work with someone who hates me. I just don’t like it!
But it got to a point where, with relationships, it was very empty in many ways. At least I felt empty. To me friendship is very important, relationships are the most important thing. In my mind, can you be very spiritual and be all by yourself and never talk to anyone? Like the religious hermits back in the day living alone in cabins in the woods and wearing shirts made of hair, etc? You know what, I may be a little judgmental, but I think they’re nuts! I think we were meant for each other. Relationships are something that I value. Like friendships and being able to be yourself. And I think to begin with, with punk rock, we were going to be ourselves. But really like two months down the road everybody was checking out everybody else and seeing what was cool and what was not cool.
could enjoy him, even though we might disagree. I’m trying to say I do not have hate for him. But I just think many of the things we were supposed to do with punk rock didn’t happen. Like, we weren’t going to be commercialized. We were totally commercialized! We didn’t want to jump through hoops. The Slits, we had 8 managers because we wouldn’t jump through hoops. And we didn’t get a record deal when everyone else was.
How weird, Paloma, I don’t understand! In that context, to go against that was more punk-ish than to accept him. The true punk says you know what? I don’t see that and I’m not going that way. So, we were punk rockers but within half a minute we were saying ‘yes, sir, yes, sir.’ And that can happen in any walk of life. It’s human nature to have a hierarchy and to have a boss say whether things are right or not. And that’s something that goes against freedom. You didn’t like him very much. Can you tell? If I sat with him now and talked to him, he’s dead, but anyway. I’m sure I
Then you were against the album cover for the Cut, the first Slits album, because they wanted to pose topless covered in mud. You were so wild, what
“We need to be the society we want to be. If I think people should have water, I should do something about it. If I think I care and want to love my neighbor, well, today’s neighbors are all over the world.”
gion is one thing, Protestant, Catholic or whatever. And Jesus is something different. Which is my view today. I really feel like something is lost.
Then you joined the Raincoats for six months and recorded on their first album. When I was with the Raincoats I had this idea. I thought it would be so cool to have really raw drums and raw guitar with beautiful, uplifting violin on top. So I made an ad, and this girl Vicky took it. She took the whole ad so no one else would call. I was really excited about this idea. That would have kept me in the scene. But she totally listened to the producers who said, you should be screechy. And I was like, forget it, I’m tired of this. I couldn’t believe in the music and I wasn’t that into the scene.
and returned to Christianity, but not the Catholicism of your youth? I didn’t believe in the Catholic Church. I didn’t like the ritual, I found it boring. I accepted a lot about the Catholic Church, like they taught me about Jesus and he has been very central in my whole life. But to me it was a distant Jesus. I liked when we would read from the bible, like “love your enemies.” I was always like, how do you do that? But I hated the rituals.
After you left the music scene you went on a spiritual journey to India . You kind of pulled a Beatles… and like them you felt that the guru you went to see was a little fake. So you came back to Europe
You felt it was a little stodgy? I just didn’t feel connected to it. I didn’t like the hierarchy. It just seemed like Jesus was something they talked about, and the church was something else. I really feel like reli-
But with most institutionalized religions you have the problem of things getting political? The connection between politics and the church has always been bad for the church. I think they should be totally separated. Like I don’t think you should run on a Christian ticket. I do believe life is sacred. But, as Christians, we should be there for the woman who has had an abortion, and we should be there for the mom who has decided to keep the baby. The church’s job is not to judge and moralize everyone around. I hate that. I think we have become like Pharisees in many ways.
about that made you draw the line? I was not modest. I would wear no bra and plastic mini skirts with fishnets. But to me, if I do that because I want to do it — I go to the street and it’s in your face, that was cool with me then. But to do it on the front of the album, that’s like selling your music with your body. I didn’t think that was us. I really felt like that was a good commercial idea to sell records. I wouldn’t do it today for different reasons. For one thing I’m a grandmother. Abuelita, no! Is that my grandmother??
Something is lost in organized religion? I was talking to a friend and she said ‘well, you just don’t like organized religion.’ And I feel like, well it depends how you organize it! You can create a bandwagon and say organized religion is terrible, but then you have people not sharing something they find valuable. And not coming together, which is what a church should be really.
Why is she covered in mud?? So, The Slits kicked you out because of Malcolm and the picture… and you were growing a little disenchanted with the scene? I remember going for a meal with someone who was not part of the punk scene. I kept friends from the hippies. And she asked me, well what are you doing to the people? How do they come out of your gigs? What are you giving to them? Whether you like it or not you have influence. You’re a role model essentially. I started going with ear plugs because it was so loud and it was kind of cool. It was like being high on drugs because you were detached. I just really started looking at things. I saw the people coming out of my shows and they were so wasted. I remember thinking, I’m doing this to them. I’m saying this is cool and they’re going after it. And they wanted me to sign my name. One person wanted me to sign my name with glass on his arm. Ow! Ew! That’s a really long name to do in glass! Yeah, it’s not like Suzie or something. So, it just started losing the glamour and initial fun.
You love Jesus, you give your heart to Jesus and He changes you. And that love 33
kate with the Beastie B oys shot by tktkttk
should make something happen. It should be a visible thing. That you can get along with people, that you should be humble. That you should say the truth even if it hurts you or is not convenient. God is Love, Jesus preaches love and peace. How do you feel about groups that claim to be Christian but operate on hate, like the Westboro Baptist Church for instance? That’s not even Christianity. That’s ludicrous. How is picketing funerals really helping the kingdom of God? That’s helping us love our enemies? I mean, they’re talking about someone else. The spirit of Jesus is love and it’s potent. I do believe we have a loving creator. He created everything, but he gave us free will. Through that freedom I think his goal is to get close to his creation and have a loving relationship with humanity. He’s not going to force obedience in anybody. But because of that free will there is evil in the world. Some Christians say, something horrible happens, a mother loses a child, well God wanted that. In a horrible way. Or a kid gets molested. It all happens for a reason, the will of God. Baloney! It’s so nuts! What about sexual trafficking, what about starving kids? What about kids working in a factory so we can afford cheap goods? Jesus always cared for the poor, he always went to the destitute. When politicians are claiming to be Christian but they want to cut welfare or food stamps… you’re calling yourself Christian so people will vote for you. Part of that comes from the idea that that should be a personal initiative. You might have someone well-meaning in politics who doesn’t like welfare but might be doing tons of stuff on the side. That’s questionable, whether they really do it or not. But I think we just need to do it regardless of the government. We need to feed the poor. We don’t need to wait for the government to do it. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City it seemed like many of the government institutions failed in some ways. The Red Cross was not on it. It was left to grassroots efforts to pick up the slack. I’m glad that groups like Occupy Sandy stepped up, but at the same time it’s like, why isn’t the government helping? There’s a place for government. But I don’t think that at the grassroots level, where we live, is where it’s at. And I vote, I’m glad we’re in a society where we can vote and have freedom like other countries don’t. I’m grateful to be an American. And I appreciate that even more having been raised under Franco’s regime. But I think there’s corruption in both the Democrat and Republican parties. I cannot put my trust in that.
“To me, to live under a government that tells you what you should read, there’s just something wrong with that. You should not have to live under those conditions.”
There aren’t enough choices. No! But even if you had someone else, power corrupts many times. I’m good at pointing fingers, I think punk rock was very good at pointing fingers, and we were right in many ways. But, basically we need to point fingers and then do something. We need to be the society we want to be. If I think people should have water, I should do something about it. If I think I care and want to love my neighbor, well, today’s neighbors are all over the world.
The Ethereal Beats of au revoir simone By Melody Berger Photos by Bek And ersen, ASSI STE D BY Shen W i l l iams - C ohen | Sty l ing by Au brey C l osson Hair by J u lianne Laney | MAKE U P by J essica Plu mmer , A SSIST ED BY Shau n G ibson
eather D’Angelo, Annie Hart and Erika Forster have been producing dreamy fantasy synthpop since the mid-aughts in their magical band Au Revoir Simone. All three play vintage ’80s keyboards, sing, compose beats, and occasionally take on other instrumental duties along the way. They’ve collaborated with the French band Air and The Smith’s Johnny Marr, toured with We Are Scientists, become a favorite of David Lynch and brought music and good cheer to the four corners of the globe. Their new album, Move in Spectrums, is the first recording venture for the trio in four years and it is well worth the wait. The ladies return to the project with the maturity and focus that only time and perspective can give. Spectrums has bold, forward momentum and a pumped up danceable quality that is a departure from their earlier wistful tones. They’re no longer blowing digital pixie dust in the air, but shooting laser beams from the hip. Full Disclosure: Heather and I were part of the same group of nerdy, awkward girls in middle school and high school so I’m liable to be a fan of anything she’s doing. But luckily for me, ARS is fantastic.
when we all started weighing in on the beats. Once you’re in the studio you get to the point where you’re really evaluating songs. You know, this is what we’ve done in previous spaces, but is it what we want to record? That’s when Annie and Erika would start saying things like: we need a different kick drum, we need a better snare. Maybe we should have a drop out here. Annie Hart: I remember that happening with ‘Violent Yet Flammable World,’ a song on our second album. H: Yeah! Which is a beat I copied from Bjork. A: ‘Flammable’ was revolutionary because
it was the first time that, in addition to programming the sections of the songs, we could also program the sounds for each section of the songs. And it was rudimentary because we were young and we didn’t really know what we were doing. But I think it’s escalated now. We do a lot of stuff on our iphones now too.
H: And some live drumming. A: One of my favorite songs drum-wise
Let’s talk about your beats. Originally Heather was the drum machine programmer, but now you’re all playing a part in that? Heather D’Angelo: It was always kind of col-
laborative I’d say. But I was the operator. When Erika first told me about this club she had — a band of girls going over to her apartment and drinking tea after work and playing vintage keyboards — I thought, okay, I’ll bring over my keyboard. I had a Casio. But when I got there I realized that they needed someone to just press the buttons on the drum machine. So, it started out as more of a necessity: these girls need beats! I can do this, I have hands! And then it got crazy with tons of vintage drum machines on stage. I looked kind of like a telephone operator. But when it came down to recording, that’s
from this album is ‘The Lead is Galloping.’ We tried like twenty million beats and then we went with this reggae beat from a Yamaha that we actually used on our first record. Then I would drum on top of it. Once it was all recorded we brought it to this guy Michael Beharie from the band Tezeo.
Erika Forster: He helped us take it from a toy landscape to more of a hip hop landscape. You know how some people are like, you should only have one or two huge sounds in a beat? He was like, just have them all be huge. What’s it like composing with the iphone app? E: When I started writing my own
beats the iphone app completely changed my life, because it’s visual. I was never a trained drummer, so if I had a beat in my
head, I couldn’t play it on the kit, and I couldn’t sing it because everything is happening simultaneously. The app allowed me to sketch things out and translate what I was hearing. It was a lot of trial and error for me. A: When I compose on the train I use the
app without headphones. I was incredibly inspired by teaching kids music. I showed them the iDrum app and they wouldn’t even listen, they’d just be like ‘this is a pretty picture!” And I thought, “well, that’s gonna sound like shit!” And then I’d listen to it and be like, whoa!
In the music video for your song ‘Crazy’ you re-created the Scorsese film After Hours and acted out all the parts yourselves. I just watched After Hours for the first time, and it’s actually creepy awesome how some of the shots in your video are right on. Although, for me, it was like ‘ooh, that’s just like the Crazy video!’ A: Ha! Hopefully ev-
eryone will have that experience.
E: They were meticulous. It was so fun to show up to the locations and see how they were completely changed to look like scenes from the movie. The diner scene was filmed at this Polish restaurant in Greenpoint that I’m very familiar with, but we walked in and they had done it up. It looked completely different. A couple of people walked by and said ‘oh my god, they’re redoing After Hours!’ They could tell just from the set and from what we were wearing. It was cool to see a girl band reenacting a movie that some might argue is misogynist. A: That’s interesting because Heather has
been bringing that up. It does have the stereotype, which is funny because we’re referencing it in the song, of women being crazy. However, other than the waitress character who is totally, inexplicably nutso… other than her, the other women, like Marcy and the Sculptress, they have agency. They have some semblance of power. So I’m not entirely sure if it’s misogynistic.
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Because I think Paul the male character is also portrayed as weird. E and H: Yeah! E: You never think, oh, poor Paul. A: Towards the end of the movie when he’s complaining about his night I want to say, you’re just tired — can you please have a snack and go home and take a nap? So, yes, there is that crazy girl stereotype but you also think he’s unreasonably upset too. E: I think the movie just creates this over-
arching bizarro world.
When I first heard the song I assumed it was a cover. Not just because you would expect a band of dudes to be singing a song with the chorus “oooh, you girls, you drive me crazy!” But also because it’s one of those great catchy songs where you feel like you’ve already heard it before. Oh, I know this song, I love this song! E: That is such
an amazing compliment!
H: Thank you! So, who are the girls driving you crazy? H:
When I went back to Columbia full time it was basically because my advisor was
like, enough of this bullshit. You can’t keep going to school for a semester and then leaving for tour for two years and then coming back for another semester. You need to graduate, you need to do a thesis, you need to stay here and finish what you started. When I went back we were kind of on hiatus. We had just finished Still Night and I was so completely pleased with that album. I was just like, we’ve done it! We’ve achieved what I wanted to do! I really liked that album so much. I just felt at peace with everything, and I wasn’t sure if we had another album in us. What could we do, we had three frikkin’ keyboard albums. How many more keyboard albums could we make? We have these self-imposed limitations. So I went back to school and gave it 110% and really got my head completely in the science world and tried not to think about music. And then there was this moment of ‘I just can’t quit you! I miss those girls and I miss making music with them and I do have another album in me and I’m not finished!’ I think the ‘girls you drive me crazy’ part was very much about that.
‘Now we’re at the stage where we don’t just think about how people perceive us, but we think about, well, how do we want to be perceived. ’ image not just being sex appeal. I wanted to be a musician, not just a young girl in a skimpy outfit — that’s been done. It was very reactionary. Now we’re at the stage where we don’t just think about how people perceive us, but we think about, well, how do we want to be perceived. It’s giving us a more positive spin on where we’re going. You’re more in control of the direction. E: It
was weird. Before, we were part of this stereotypical way of being. We stood out by just being how everyone was in our neighborhood. I didn’t realize we were making so many choices at the time. But now, looking back, we were definitely making choices.
You mentioned at the photoshoot that it wasn’t a conscious choice to all have the same length hair, the same color hair, you weren’t trying to look like each other. And I was like, really?? E: No, really! We are not
the type of people who would ever decide how we look based on what someone else is doing. We all just happen to look good was incredibly focused on our photos and with bangs.
I’d really like to talk about the evolution of your music and your brand, so to speak. A: I think in the early days of the band I
H: We all just have really weird foreheads. A: Even when I had a shaved head I had
You had a shaved head? A: For years. Be-
tween the ages of 17 to 21. But I always had bangs. Wow. E: People yell ‘bannnngs!’ at our
A: It’s funny, we do really spend a lot of
time talking about our bangs and how our bangs are different.
H: What is your bang experience? Annie, what’s it like touring with a little one at home? A: Truth be told, if I didn’t
have such a supportive family and husband I don’t think I could do it. I really feel for single moms… people who are working all day long and then coming home to kids at night. I am a single mom for like a month at a time and I’m bat shit crazy. So, tour has actually been a lot easier for me because it’s a lot easier than raising a child. But there are times that I just miss him so so so much.
H: Whenever she says something like that it makes me not want to have children… A: This is going to sound bad, but it’s kind
of like being broken down to the lowest of the low. Not sleeping for weeks, with puke all over you, and you’re like, augh, I’m starving! It can only go up from there. And then you’re met with a love you can’t even describe…
You sound like someone being broken down in a torture situation. ‘Today they finally gave me a loaf of bread!’ H: And then you
fall in love with your captor.
A: Stockholm Syndrome!! I have Stock-
holm Syndrome! He finally stopped crying, my life is amazing!
Let’s talk about Girl Crisis. A: Awesome. There are quite a few videos of you online with a whole bunch of ladies singing, but it doesn’t seem to be a real band? E: It doesn’t
happen anymore, but it was a moving collective that Caroline (Palochek of Chairlift) and Elizabeth (Harper, Class Actress) put together. They’d ask who can make it on this date? And if one person couldn’t but everyone else could we’d meet anyway.
H: I missed a lot of them because of school. Every time they’d get together I’d be like, nooo, another one gone! Girl crisis, indeed! E: Every video just came from one full day of arriving, learning whatever song we wanted to cover, working out the arrangement, filming it three times on a super 8 and then going home. It was never anything more than that. When you’re a freelance musician it’s hard to say, I’m going to take a whole day to hang out with people! You want to feel like you’re working. Why/How have you not done a glam rock, David Bowie, silver spangly spacesuits scifi adventure music video yet, and can you please do that for ‘More Than?’ Because I see the whole thing in my head. Vividly. A:
Done. E: I’m so happy you get that visual, that’s
totally what we were going for.
H: You see our music the way we do. You mentioned the stereotypical look of your old neighborhood before. How else did living in Williamsburg influence your artistic growth? E: People love to hate on hip-
sters and the whole Williamsburg scene. But for me it was a godsend. I went my whole life just being a total outsider. I had friends, I was social, I wasn’t alone but I never found my clique, people who had the same interests as me. A friend of mine moved to Williamsburg in ’99 and when I came to visit him I was like, this is where I want to be. Where people are creating things and being weirdos publicly. That’s what I want in my life. I feel like the spirit where all of that came from was beautiful and it changed my life.
Which is nice to hear because it’s so easy to disparage hipsters because no one identifies as one! Who exactly are the hipsters? A:
I feel like in the beginning it was a pejorative term for ‘hipper than thou.’ I’m a hipster because I’m doing cooler things than you. And then it morphed into describing the stereotype of anyone who lived in Williamsburg. E: As if Williamsburg was super judgmen-
tal. And really it was like, we’re just a bunch of shy freaks who just want to do weird things all the time. We’re not judging you.
A: I don’t know. I definitely felt judged. H: It was me, I was judging you.
Sweet Crude: 5 Drummers and a Whole Lot of Louisiana French
By Melody Berger | Photos by Cait lyn R i denou r
You may have heard Alexis Marceaux’s powerful, versatile singing when she was a contestant on The Voice, or caught a glimpse of her playing on HBO’s Treme. The New Orleans based powerhouse has been touring with her bandmate and boyfriend Sam Craft for several years now as the duo Alexis and the Samurai. Based on the positive reception to their raucous take on a classic Cajun tune, the couple decided to add five of their favorite humans to the mix and create the band Sweet Crude. They incorporate Louisiana French into indie rock songs and have a whole lot of drumming, with two full kits and three more percussion stations. I recently went to see their super fun show at Joe’s Pub in NYC and had a chance to chat backstage with Alexis and her bandmate Marion Tortorich. Tom Tom Magazine: This is the Religion/Spirituality issue. One of Sweet Crude’s songs was just on American Horror Story’s coven season and you’re from New Orleans so I feel like I should be asking you about witches and voodoo and such. But I think your devotional practice is keeping Louisiana French alive! You had to learn the language? Alexis Marceaux: We are learning — I.N.G.
If you go to my house right now, it’s ridiculous. Everything has a label on it. It’s a totally different dialect than standard French.
Marion Tortorich: It came out of Creole, Cajun, Africans in Loui-
siana and all the people from England living together and melting their ways of life.
And it differs from bayou to bayou, right? A: Yeah! And it’s very
important to us to preserve it because that’s our heritage, our culture. I grew up with it in my house, with my grandparents speaking it. I could speak it until the age of three, but then they banned it in schools. They only wanted to teach standard French, and Louisiana French was looked down upon. So, now my parents don’t know it and I don’t know it. My Grandpa’s mom and him would talk in the kitchen and it was almost like a secret language.
M: It became a way for the older generation to speak in front of
kids without having them know what they were saying.
A: Which is kind of funny, but also a little sad. Instead of preserving the language by playing Cajun music you’re putting Cajun French into indie rock? M: In the early days in the
bayous and the swamps, the music they would make wasn’t like modern day Zydeco or Cajun music. It was folk music, people singing back and forth on their front porches. Cajun and Zydeco are awesome and we love those styles of music, but Louisiana French can be in any type of music. Which no one is doing. A: We don’t have an accordion and a washboard, we have our drums and our voices. You do a Balfa Brothers song though, right? They’re Cajun legends. A: That’s the one they used on American Horror Story. We
made our own version and put like a bounce beat to it. It’s very different. Now it’s a put your hands in the air and dance kind of song. M: It’s like hip hop. A: To be topical, and I hate that I’m even saying this — people
who don’t know about bounce know about twerking. New Orleans bounce is that. Miley Cyrus saw it somewhere.
M: I think that song is a good example of something we agreed
upon when we started this band. There’s a lot of us. We could get really complicated with our songs, and we do sometimes. But some of our songs can be really simple, with a bunch of people doing the same thing. It’s like taiko drumming. I used to be part of this Buddhist group and when we would perform people would like cry. It was this weird automatic emotional response to all these people playing the same thing on these huge resonant drums. There’s something really powerful about doing simple parts, and layering them over each other. It doesn’t have to be an ego thing, like, oh, my part is more complicated than yours! It’s for the greater good.
Miro Justad of
Tangerine Interv iew by Chl oe Saaved ra of Chaos Chaos P H O T o courtesy of artist
Miro Justad, drummer of Seattle band Tangerine is riding on the high of their well-received EP Radical Blossom (which is currently in heavy rotation on my favorite radio station, KEXP). Miro and I go way back to our glorious pre-teen years. I’ve always been a big fan of Miro, and now of her new band Tangerine. I’d just like to confess how much I LOVE THE EP Radical Blossom. It has such a beautiful, sweet, nostalgic feel it literally gave me goosebumps. Tom Tom: What is the ideal setting to listen to ‘Radical Blossom’? Driving down the west coast on Highway 1 at dusk... the
How is it playing in a band with your sister? Do you always get along? Playing music with my sister makes the process a lot
easier when it comes to writing songs because we have been raised on the same musical influences our entire lives. We have the same brain and it can freak people out sometimes. It’s like we share an unspoken language. As far as getting along, we can get testy since we’re so comfortable with each other. I’m always telling her to hurry up and to remember picks... she’s usually telling me to calm down. What made you start playing drums? Originally I played the
piano, but my uncle had an old wooden Ludwig drum kit in his basement and when I was seven I would go down there during family dinners (oops) and bang on the heads as hard as I could. Years later after trying out guitar for two years, my uncle gave me that old kit and the rest was history.
In three words how would you describe your drumming style?
Groove over everything.
What’s your favorite drum beat/pattern? Bossa Nova. Probably
my all-time favorite CD is The Composer of Desafinado Plays by Antonio Carlos Jobim. The drummer grooves with the quick light Bossa Nova throughout the entire album along with Samba and other Latin beats. That drumbeat makes me nostalgic for my childhood driving around with my dad.
Is there anything else you’d like to share about yourself or Tangerine or politics or food or life? I think that everyone
needs to be a part of a drum circle at least once in their life... to truly feel uninhibited and find their fire voice with their percussion instrument. Even a simple ding of a bell can sway the entire flow. An all-women’s drum circle would be sweet... one day I will have a zone where that can happen all the time.
Who’s your favorite girl drummer? Sheila E. She was the first
female drummer that I watched on youtube standing up on a raised epic drum podium for a huge crowd going off on a solo forever. Before that all my drum teachers made me watch men like Neil Peart.
Who/what inspires you to play drums? When I was in elementary school one of our classes was to play the djembe in a drum circle. I fell in love with African percussion from that day on, and found that I had a knack for remembering rhythm instinctively. This led eventually to the full drum kit, but my passion for hand drums has never waned.
“I think that everyone needs to be a part of a drum circle at least once in their life... to truly feel uninhibited and find their fire voice with their percussion instrument.”
BODEGA BAY By Arielle Ange l | Photo by ikue yoshida
always wanted to play rock drums. But growing up in Tokyo, where space is at a premium, Aiko’s parents didn’t warm to the prospect. They did know someone who taught Taiko, however, a traditional form of Japanese drumming played on a single large drum, and Aiko was soon a member of a local children’s Taiko group.“That was my way in. But it was always like, ‘I wish I was playing a drum kit.’” Aiko has finally gotten her wish. She’s the drummer for Bodega Bay, a smart, energetic lo-fi band based out of Brooklyn. But the influence of Taiko remains potent. “Up until two shows ago, I had a kick drum with me, but I was only using it for one song.” When she realized this, she got rid of the kick drum altogether, and began playing with only a rack tom, floor tom, a snare and a ride.“I miss the performative aspect of Taiko. I feel like there’s more liberty if I’m standing. That’s what I enjoy about watching drumming, too, is how performative drummers are live.” Aiko moved to New York from Tokyo five years ago to study anthropology at NYU, which is where she met Ben Hozie, the band’s lead singersongwriter. She wasn’t playing much at that time: “I did some poetry in college, where I thought about rhythm a lot.” Aiko and Ben began playing together, with Jason King on guitar. When they needed a bassist, Aiko suggested her best friend from Tokyo, Anna Takayama, despite the fact that Anna had never played the bass.“I thought, ‘she’s a tap dancer and plays the violin. She can play bass.’” Though the band is already well on their way, recording music and playing shows, Anna, and to a lesser extent, Aiko, are both figuring out new instruments as they go. “I hope that comes out in the songs,” Aiko says. And it does. While it isn’t clear that two band members are playing entirely new instruments, there is a playfulness in the music and in the recordings that captures the excitement and creative energy of a young venture. The de-emphasis on virtuosity has shifted focus elsewhere. “Everybody asks what kind of music we play and we just started saying, ‘art-rock.’ By that we mean there’s a concept behind it. It’s more than just, ‘we play music.’ Being in Brooklyn, you see so many bands who can play really well but who don’t have any character. Character, to me, is more important. I want to see them and be like, ‘I can get behind who these characters are.’ Whether that’s the real person or not, just seeing them on stage, that’s the most fun.”
”I miss the performative aspect of Taiko. I feel like there’s more liberty if I’m standing. That’s what I enjoy about watching drumming, too, is how performative drummers are live.” Both of Bodega Bay’s newly released singles “Tarkovski” and “Cultural Consumer” contain “Cut Your Hair”-esque critiques of commodification in rock culture. But even beyond the songs themselves, Bodega Bay has something to say. They make zines to distribute at every one of their shows, filled with original writing, photos, doodles, Gchats, QR codes, you name it. The goal, Aiko says, is just to “keep creating, keep that ball rolling. It’s another way to be heard. All four of us are very opinionated people.” At one of their shows, Aiko performed with “corporation contamination” scrawled all over her arms — a reaction to recent news about water contamination in Japan. “Knowing that we had a show coming up and that people were going to see us, I wanted to use that opportunity to talk about some things. That’s what’s great about being in a band, it’s this direct interaction with real people.” That platform, Aiko says forcefully, is not to be wasted. “You’re doing a show and you’re asking people to listen. Why would you want them to listen to your woes? I hate the idea of navel-gazing. The whole idea of feeling sorry for yourself as a twenty-something year old is really disgusting to me. So many songs have no spine. That’s one thing that we’re really pushing for; if we’re doing something, we’re going to commit to it.” 41
DRUMMERS “I used to play the clarinet but I switched to drums because I wanted to rock out and it was the best choice of my life.”
Transcendent Shayna: Pioneering Percussionist
by Brian C hase Photos by C hloe A ftel
With a background in contemporary classical music and a love for pop styles, Shayna Dunkelman transcends boundaries and infuses music with an awesome spark. In speaking about her many projects, Shayna says,“They cover so much range, just like my percussion! I use a very large palette of sounds. Over the years it’s been narrowing down to this specific kind of aesthetic, but even within that I feel there is a lot of range. There are a lot of different projects that I’ve played with while still staying true to my palette.” These projects include indie artists Xiu Xiu and Glasser, experimental improvised music revolving around the community of John Zorn’s club the Stone, and her painterly electro-pop-exotica band Pep Talk. Now living in New York, she moved from the Bay Area where she spent many years playing professionally, as well as earning degrees in music and math at Mills College. “I grew up in Japan and it was my first time leaving when I was 18. I specifically went to Mills because I wanted to study with William Winant, and when I realized he was teaching there I was like *snap* this is the school for me. Willie was a great teacher technically and he always focused on what I wanted to do. We played a number of pieces by Steve Reich, John Cage, James Tenney, but he also took this advisor role which was really great. It’s not like my vision was clear at that young age but I sort of had an idea of what I wanted to study and what kind of direction I wanted to take with my career. He pushed me to think of what I wanted to be as a percussionist because he’d just say, ‘well what do you want to do?’ It forced me to really think about it rather than just do assignment after assignment.” Shayna also describes Winant as a ‘field teacher.’ “He’d be like, ‘I can’t do this gig, go do it.’” After Mills, Shayna stayed in Oakland playing on the scene there, which precipitated the eventual move to New York: “I got called from John Zorn one day to be on his album, Femina — a collection of music dedicated to female artists of all sorts of media. That was how I started playing with a lot of New 42
York musicians.” I first met Shayna in this context, playing at one of the Stone’s monthly improv nights. And, in June of 2012, she had the honor of holding a curatorship at the Stone. Reflecting on the move to New York she adds, “being in the ‘network’ kind of made me more aware of who I am and what the scene is about. It helped me collaborate with people I wouldn’t have otherwise. Then I started playing with Xiu Xiu, which has been for almost two years now. Glasser is a more recent thing.” Shayna has been touring regularly with both groups. This does require extra effort when it comes to traveling with important gear: “My xylo-synth travels in a rifle case. I get the whisper, ‘is that a gun?’ No, it’s not a gun, it’s a keyboard.” For her own music, Shayna has Pep Talk, her project with Preshish Moments and Angelica Negron. As she describes it, “Pep Talk is influenced by mid-century Exotica which in turn is influenced by Polynesian or Latin music. I wouldn’t say I’m writing Exotica but that’s kinda the palette, going back to the wide spectrum of sound. I draw inspiration from that, and from different types of electronica and Japanese pop from the ’60s and ’70s.” A remarkable aspect of this music is the interaction between Shayna’s percussion and the electronic processing it undergoes by Preshish and his computer. When it comes to performance, what is key for Shayna is listening: “I listen a lot, I try to listen as much as possible. This is something I learned from free improv which is that you have to do a lot of active listening and not just play your part. Every show, every musician you’re playing with, every setting, every venue and sound is so different. I always have to change a little bit to adjust to whatever the music needs at that moment.” Shayna also emphasizes the importance of courage in the music world. She urges, “you just have to take risks. Go bigger than what you think you’re capable of. Dream big. And play, play, play. If you want to take the drums don’t be afraid. I used to play the clarinet but I switched to drums because I wanted to rock out and it was the best choice of my life.”
Full Name: Shayna Esther Dunkelman Age: 29 Hometown: Tokyo, Japan Lives In: Brooklyn, NY Past Bands: Slow Children, Mute Socialite, William Winant Percussion Group Current Bands: Peptalk, Xiu Xiu, BalĂşn, Glasser Kit Setup: Multi-percussion set ups acoustic / electronic
My Favorite Drum
The 22" Sultan Ride by Istanbul Agop is a new favorite addition to my set! For a while I didn’t play with a ride at all because the rides I had drowned out the rest of my set too much. It took away from the other unique instruments from India and Cuba that I had mounted. The Sultan ride however is hand-hammered and machine-smoothed simultaneously so by design it detones the sound and eliminates some of the overtones that I didn’t want. This ride might not be for everyone but ever since I found it, it has become an integral part of my set!
My favorite drum is definitely my 1tone drum. It’s like a hang drum, it makes a beautiful ancient Asian drum sound even though its a new instrument from Switzerland. I’ve used it on a cover my band Chaos Chaos did of “Closer” by Tegan and Sara. It automatically transforms songs into a more contemplative sophisticated sound. I love putting it in my bike basket and riding somewhere pretty to play it like Pier 6 or Central Park. It likes being played in a beautiful setting.
Larry & the Babes Vintage Zildjian splash I’ve been playing the drums since age six and I’ve never had a super fancy kit. I used to stick my bubble gum on my kick drum when I was really young and just moved the gum around with my stick in the middle of songs. The one piece that has always been my baby, that I won’t even let friends borrow, is my vintage 13" Zildjian splash. I have had it as long as I can remember playing the drums. My dad bought the cymbal from a family friend, and amazing artist, Will Kitchen. I have never had, nor ever played, another cymbal that has this much personality and warmth. It’s been my everything, and will forever be my favorite part of my kit. supercuterocks.com
C ompiled by C hloe Saavedra
Miro Justad Tangerine Vintage Slingerland snare My favorite drum piece is my vintage Slingerland 6 ply snare that my uncle got at a garage sale, along with a whole kit for $30. I salvaged a few key parts, the snare being the best. This snare has a serial number on it which means that it was part of a batch which were manufactured between 1962 and 1986 in Niles, Illinois. It produces a deep echo sound which I love because I am a fan of ’80s snare. My parents surprised me at Christmas one year with a vintage Slingerland suitcase made to fit it. I painted Tangerine on it and at shows I balance it on the bass amp so that everyone can see our name. tangerineband.com
I asked each of these amazing drummers to take a pic of their favorite drum in their set-up, to tell me a little about the piece, and why they like it so much.
Cici Harrison Heliotropes 1980 Ludwig kick drum
I play in a grungy band in which I thrash around a lot. I’ve always been a drummer with a heavy foot, so a boomy bass drum is important (I have a 22x20" 1980 Ludwig.) While learning earlier this year that we were going to tour North America with the UK band Esben and the Witch, I decided it was time to get a unique bass drum head. A friend of mine, Rick Orlosky, drew up a bunch of sketches and I decided on the two horses staring each other down.
My favorite piece is Roland SPD-SX. I remember I was blown away when I first saw it on stage when James Blake performed with his band a few years ago. I finally got the machine earlier this year and have been experimenting ever since. I love it because I can sample crazy sounds from anywhere I want, play them for recordings/shows, and blend it with a real kit. I have been recording an album with my band Wild Arrows with SPD-SX and it really makes our songs unique and cool.
Lia Simone Braswell Le Butcherettes, Clear Plastic, Gothic Tropic District Drum Company Maple VSS snare
World Inferno Friendship Society Quad Toms aka Marching Tenors
I love my quad toms and am always looking for opportunities to play them in a rock setting. The quads are like roto toms on nerdier steroids. You need to hit them close to the rim for resonance in the same way you would a timpani. There are movements you generally don’t encounter on the drum kit like sweeps, scrapes and crossovers, as well as great visuals like uzis and figure eights. My form on quads is still pretty junior varsity but I have a blast and find that when I step away from the kit to play with them for a while I always come back with a fresh perspective. worldinferno.com
The day I received my custom-made, District Drum Company Maple VSS snare was the most exciting day of the year. I always strive for sharpness and a bold tone in my snares so that my ghost notes and quick fills are more noticeable. Now that it’s been settled into the arrangement for almost a year now, I’ve never been so content. I play it every day and look forward to bringing it on upcoming tours. clearplastic.bandcamp.com
one drummer one question by M elody B erger Il lu strations BY Rebecca Red man
My Christian faith
heavily influences my music because my musical roots are in the church. That’s where it all started for me. I didn’t even own a drum kit until after high school, but I had been performing every week since I was ten years old. Seeing that I couldn’t go home and practice (without a drum set), I was reminded every time I sat down to perform that this is truly a divine gift. Playing gospel music is very uplifting because I allow the lyrics to penetrate my heart. There is no way anyone’s day can remain gloomy once a song is played that reminds us of how good God is and how blessed we are. Jasmine Barber was born and raised in Compton, California. She grew up in the church, where there was music everywhere. Playing nationally and internationally before she became an adult, she attended Musicians Institute in Hollywood directly after high school. Jasmine is an accomplished drummer today and enjoys playing for the Lord. She’s also a studio musician, having recently completed work for R&B legend Michel’le.
q: How does your faith influence your music and vice versa?
I have played drums for twenty years, but recent focus developed passion into art. After leaving a radiology position for a job leading worship, I became drumming obsessed, spending 4-8 hours practicing daily. Rudiments, grooves, and linear patterns translated the language I would use to explain my heart. Playing worship songs became honest prayers met with reckless peace. Months into “woodshedding” I received an invitation from Christian pop artist Holly Starr to partner with her in sharing Jesus nationally as her drummer. Writing from 30,000 feet up, I tour, praying daughters and sons know they’re loved, and hope they search out God’s glories in whatever talent their heart runs to!
technique Linear Drumming by Kristen G l eeson - Prata
The dictionary defines linear as “arranged in a straight line.” Fittingly, linear drumming refers to a line of single notes being played one at a time. Unlike most other styles of drumming, no two limbs play together. David Garibaldi, Steve Gadd, and others made linear drumming popular in the funk and fusion music of the 1970s. Played correctly, it adds a smooth, funky, and unique facet to the overall feel. In a way, linear drumming is easier than typical “multi-limb” drumming because we only have to worry about one limb at a time. However, if you learned to play using more than one limb at a time, you’ll have to train your brain out of that habit. Another way linear drumming will challenge you is by putting more importance on each individual stroke. Since you will only be playing one stroke/limb at a time, each of those strokes will be very clearly audible. You can’t hide a less than perfectly punchy kick drum stroke under your hi-hat or ride while playing linearly. Care must be taken to bring each individual kick, rim click, ghost note, rim shot, tom and cymbal hit into the spotlight with confidence and intensity. This can be done using diligent practice. I was introduced to linear drumming by one of my
former teachers, Fred Selvaggio. We used the book Advanced Funk Studies by Rick Latham, which I strongly recommend. The book starts with one-bar exercises that include linear figures of differing difficulty levels and ends with awesome full-page pieces that are full of tasty licks. I thought Fred was just super picky when he made me play every single exercise 10, 20, or however many times it took to play every stroke and accent absolutely perfectly and have full command of the exercise. However, I learned that this sort of diligent and mindful practice is imperative in order for linear grooves to be executed as intended. Four grooves are transcribed below. Start by reading each one slowly and carefully. Set your metronome to a slow tempo and get the sequence of strokes into your hands and feet. Don’t skip over any accents or sticking. Get in the habit of putting importance on those details. Play the groove repeatedly until you have complete command over it and can play it consistently perfectly with accents and all. Slowly increase the metronome speed, and repeat the process at every tempo. Once you have memorized it and can play it at the desired tempo, close your eyes and listen to how it sounds as you play it. Make it sound better, and then make it feel better.
The first groove is a basic disco beat. It only uses kick, snare, and hi-hat. It is simple and repetitive, but a great starting point.
HiHat Snare Kick
Second is Steve Gadd’s verse groove in Chick Corea’s “Lenore” from the album The Leprechaun. This one should be played with an open-handed approach, keeping the left hand on the hihat and using the right hand to play the snare and low tom.
HiHat Snare Low Tom Kick
HiHat Snare Low Tom Kick
1. Disco Beat
x œ x x œ x . . . . ã œ œ > x x >œ x œ œ x > x >œ x ã .. œ œ œ œ œ .. 2. Lenore (Chick Corea)
.. > x >œ x x >œ x œ œ œ >œ
3. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover (Paul Simon)
Œ. œ œ œ œ
HiHat Snare Kick
ã .. œ
1. Disco Beat
x x x x . œ œ x x x x .. . ã .. >œ x x > œx x x x > > œ œ ãã . œ œ œœ œ œ .. œ œ œœ.
1. HiHat 2. Disco LenoreBeat (Chick Corea) Snare HiHat HiHat Kick is Steve Gadd’s iconic groove in Paul Simon’s “50 Ways To Leave Your Lover” from the album Still Crazy. Take Third Snare Snare Kick of the accents and sticking and make sure to keep those double strokes even and open. Beat three of the first Lownotice Tom Kick measure involves both the kick and low tom being played at the same time which technically goes against the definition 2. Lenore (Chick Corea) of linear drumming, but it adds much appreciated space and grounding to the groove. 2. Lenore (Chick Corea) HiHat 3. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover (Paul Simon) Snare HiHat LowHiHat Tom Snare Kick LowSnare Tom Low Kick Tom Kick
xx x x x x .. >>œ x x >>œ x œ œ x >>> x x> x >>œx >x x .. >x>xx>x > > œ œ œœ Ó.. œ Œ . œ œ œœœ œœ .. œœ œ œ œ œ œ œœ œœ.. !œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ œ .. > > 3. 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover (Paul Simon) 3. Ways LeaveofYour x >œ xSimon) œ œ œ œ > x >œ x x >œ x > xLover >œ x (Paul > >œ œ œ œ . HiHat 4. 50 Page OneTo (Tower Power) œ œ œ œ . . x x x x x x x x > > > > > > > > >œ >>œ œx œxœ .. Snare Ó Œ HiHat . œ x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x > > > > > > > > > ã œ œ œ œ œ œ HiHat œ œisœDavid œœ .. Garibaldi’s œ œ lengthy œ groove œ œ œ œ œ œ LowSnare Tom . ! Ó Œ œ œ œ Oakland œ œ œ. œ œ Last but certainly not least in Tower of Power’s “Page One” from the ã Ó Œ Snare Kick >œ !Iœplayœtheœ pickup œ and first threeœ measures 4LowZone. . œ œ fourœmeasure Tom œ œ phrase. œ>>œ œalbum Kick Itã starts on beat 4 and is a repeated with a cross> hand approach (right on hi-hat and left hand on snare) and switch to natural sticking in the fourth measure. 4. Page Onehand (Tower of Power) 4. Page One (Tower of Power) x x x >œ >œ . > x œ > x > x >œ x x œ > x > x œ x >>x x x >>x > x x >œ x x œ HiHat Œ >œ x x >œ .. xx >œ> xx œ >œ> xx >œ> xx >œ> xx xx œ >œ> xx œ >>œ xx >œ xx xx xx >x xx x >>œ xx xx œx >œx >x x œ Snare ã Ó HiHat Kick Ó Œ Snare œ ã Kick ã. œœ œ œœ œœ œ œ œœ œœ œœ œ œ œ œ . .. ã ãã
x>x >x>x>x x >x > x >x x x >x x >x x x x > ã x >œ x œœ >œ x >œ x >œœ x x œœ >œ x œ >œ x >œœ x x x >œ x x >œœ x x x x >œœ .. ã œ œ œ œ œœ œ
For more linear drumming, check out more music by the above artists and drummers and also Dave Weckl and Vinnie Colaiuta. Try making up your own grooves too. Make sure each stroke gets its moment in the spotlight!
Visualization by Morgan Doctor
Ok so you have a gig next week with a band you just started to play with. You kind of know the tunes but pretty much don’t remember them, at least all the details don’t come to mind about when the breaks are, how many bars the choruses with that crazy beat are and all. The huge bummer is that you can’t make it into your rehearsal space to practice before the show and the one and only rehearsal you had with the band was last week. Yikes!!! Do you wing it, pray it all comes back to you once you start playing and hope that your notes make sense, I mean what is your other options? Okay so I went to go see a physio the other day that specializes in working with musician and dancers. She gave me some helpful tips about warming up before playing, icing and all that stuff that helps heal injuries. The one thing that she mentioned though that really stuck with me was “mental rehearsals” to give my body a break. She reminded me that not all rehearsing has to happen on my instrument. We all know that half of playing is our ability to be focused and have our heads in the game when we perform (especially if we don’t know the tunes well). Visualization practice can be an incredibly potent tool for your drumming. It has been know for years to increase athletes performance abilities and drumming is not much different than being an athlete. Try just doing five minutes a day of visualizing, as part of your practice time.
Here are some ways you can use visualization to help with your performance: Find/create
a quiet place where you can stay focused for a while. Picture yourself at the show, on stage, feeling relaxed and confident. Listen to recorded versions of the songs while imagining playing them on stage. Try reading over your charts or notes and imagine playing the tune bar for bar with ease and fluidity. Imagine the best possible outcome. By practicing this way we retrain our brains to not associate anxiety and stress with playing, but rather, relaxation, ease and confidence.
Morgan Doctor is a freelance drummer based out of Toronto. She currently is the drummer for Andy Kim, and was the drummer for the rock band, The Cliks, for over four years. Touring with The Cliks, she got a chance to play alongside Tegan and Sara, Debbie Harry, Cyndi Lauper, and The B-52’s. Morgan is endorsed by Yamaha Drums, Zildjian, and Vic Firth. morgandoctor.com
How To Teach the Drums A Book by drummer /teacher Claire Brock By Arie lle Angel
“Have you ever played the drums before?” “No.” “Any other instrument? Anything musical?” “No.” If Claire Brock is disappointed by the revelation that we are going to spend the next forty-five minutes of our Skype drum lesson on the most basic rudiments, she doesn’t show it. On the contrary, she seems positively psyched. I sit cross-legged on my bed, borrowed sticks and practice pad in front of me, and point the computer camera to frame my shoulders and the pad, so she can get a better view of what I’m doing. She asks me about bands I like. I mention The Velvet Underground. “A bit of Moe Tucker, yeah? Her drums are quite simple actually,” she says encouragingly, as though she fully expects I’ll be playing along by the end of our session. Brock is a professional, but she readily admits that to make it nowadays, you’ve got to do a little of everything. And she would know: her website reads like a savvy how-to guide for getting by in the drum world. Yes, the London-based drummer has played with Robyn (!), but she’s also an online session drummer for hire, exporting drum tracks from her home studio to singer-songwriters and rock bands worldwide. She has worked as a Percussion Examiner at The London College of Music, where she also trained other examiners. She has written standardized Drum Kit curriculum. And, she’s been teaching lessons for the last 14 years. So it’s no surprise that she’s finally written a book with “How To” in the title: “How to Teach Drums: Your Complete Guide to Becoming a Successful Drum Teacher.” The book, which encompasses the nitty gritty of planning and executing the lessons themselves, as well as advice on how to build and manage your teaching business, also features a section on the growing field of Skype lessons. So despite the fact that we live across the ocean from one another, and that I’m not a drummer, we’re giving it a try. She teaches me how to hold the stick, and then how to feel for the proper bounce of the stick on the pad. I try it a few times.
“Are you sure you’ve not done this before?” she says, and I laugh, because though I haven’t done much of anything yet, her question has effectively set me at ease. She leads me through single strokes, double strokes and paradiddles. Skype lessons are generally no good for beginners, she cautions: she needs to be able to physically reposition the hands. But besides that, and one short, but annoying service interruption, we’re both surprised at well how well it’s working out. She corrects me verbally when I’ve gotten too tense in the wrists, or when the hits get lackluster, or
How to Teach Drums Claire Brock
Self-published | August 2013
when the tempo of my paradiddles slow down at the end. She’s quick to laugh. With the patience and wholesome enthusiasm of a camp counselor, she seems particularly well-suited to this line of work. It begs the question, can every drummer learn to teach? Brock insists that the key is communication. “You’ve got to be able to infuse people, make it exciting for them. But if you’re willing to put the time in and work on your communication, there’s no reason you couldn’t be a good teacher.” Finding the language of teaching — a script for describing all the things that seasoned drummers have long-stopped thinking about when they play — is an important first step. The challenge lies mostly in troubleshooting, Brock explains. People are
different — different ages, different skill levels, different kinds of learners — and a good teacher has got to work out a myriad of ways to approach the same problem. “Any drummer can say, ‘here’s a beat, have a go at this.’ But then when the student can’t do it, the key is breaking it apart, working out methods of explaining to help that person who it hasn’t worked for the first time to eventually get it.” Brock has taught students of all ages. The youngest she’ll start people is 7 (it’s a size and attention-span issue), but she insists there’s no upper age limit, even for beginners. “The difference with adults, I find, is they’re more self-aware. When you ask a 10-year-old to try something, they don’t think, ‘Oh, maybe that’s difficult.’ They think, ‘My teacher’s told me to do it. I’ll have a go.’ With adults, if they make a mistake, they’re much more, ‘Oh no! I’ve done it wrong!’” I recognize myself in her description, practically giving up on a creative exercise towards the middle of our lesson. She didn’t let me off the hook, but rather kept the tone light as she nudged me to complete the task. “As an adult, if you can be more relaxed about making mistakes, you can pick things up rather quickly,” Brock says. Whether or not it’s a question of demeanor — whether or not you’ve got the pep and patience of Claire Brock — the book is loaded with tips for acting the part: staying positive, not speaking too fast (something Brock admits to having struggled with herself). There’s a whole section on body language, to convey engagement and interest to your student. And even if you’re a new teacher, Brock’s business advice is not to undervalue yourself. A below-average price relative to other teachers in your area will suggest to potential students that you’re not as good as other teachers, Brock explains. She recommends looking into pricing suggested by your local musician’s union to get a sense of the accepted range, and offering class packages to provide you with some job security. For more advice, well, you’ll have to buy the book.
THE HEALTH OF A DRUMMER No. 1 of 4 installments by R en é Ormae- Jarmer
“Congratulations! You have picked the most physical instrument of all… You should be proud.” That is what I tell anyone who has chosen the noble art of drumming. Drumming by its very nature is movement. Take a look at any band and ask yourself who exactly is exerting the most effort? It can be argued that most facets of drumming have a built in athletic component. Just ask any marching percussionist as they finish marching a 3-mile parade, continuously playing without any breaks between cadences and songs, harnessed up with anywhere from 25–40 lbs. of drum on them (in a hot polyester-weave uniform). Some of the info here may seem like a “no-brainer” to y’all. But injuries still happen because drummers end up hauling the most gear and do the lion’s share of work performing at any gig. To talk about the health of a drummer is to really take into account general health and a good dose of common sense.
Hauling The Gear 101 Percussionists should prepare themselves for the reality of showing up at least 30 minutes early and being the last ones out the door of any gig. I call it “All the glory, and all the shame” of hauling one’s own gear. Let’s face it, roadies are a luxury and in most cases, shear fantasy. Get used to loading your drums, preferably in decent hard and soft cases. I use a hard trap case with rollers for most hardware (excluding the throne and BD pedal because it adds too much weight). When I was a young drummer, I bought a soft duffle drum hardware bag because it was cheaper than a hard case. It was the worst hand-damaging purchase ever! The bag was almost impossible to carry and it put undo stress on one-hand at a time. The zipper broke almost right away and stuff would invariably fall out. Eventually the bag got shredded with the pointy awkward hardware inside. Loading into a venue is a challenge sometimes. You often have to double-park with flashers on and either lock doors or have a lookout depending on the part of town you’re in. Climbing stairs and navigating crowds of people who for some reason are not aware that someone is standing behind them with a giant-coffin-sized drum case chock full of hardware, a cymbal bag slung over one shoulder and various other drum luggage draped everywhere. Isn’t it amazing how you can stand there laden with gear and no one moves aside or even opens a door or offers to help? By this time, you start to lose feeling in your hands or arms as you excuse yourself
through the throngs, and this is only your first trip depending on many pieces your kit is. I used to be the “tough” drummer who never accepted help. No more! Graciously accept it from kind strangers, musicians, and anyone who looks trustworthy. Simply put, it saves your hands and time. Too much repetitive strain will lead to bursitis and lots of Advil or Extra-Strength Tylenol.
Go lean and mean Save extra work and possible injury — drum on a smaller kit! Unless you and your band have decided that you simply must have a 10-piece metal kit with a “rack” for toms and a dozen cymbals, it is not wise to be the drummer that everyone has to wait for. I play a 4-piece and can set up in less than 10 minutes. Most stages are not that large, unless you’re playing a major event (and even those have a backline — a drum set already there for all artists to use). Playing a smaller kit well can be an asset to you and the folks who hire you. It might also just save your back, your patience, and keep things flowing at the show.
Mental Stress How many times do we get stressed at a gig due to being rushed? If you are there early, all set up and ready to roll, then your whole musician self can get around to the music at hand instead of having everyone impatiently waiting for the drummer to get it together. The show does not start without us! We are the conductors, backbone, and most crucial part of the rhythm section. If anyone cares to disagree, just ask yourself “what happens when the drummer stops?”. Screeching halt that’s what! The show starts and stops with us.
I’ve spent the most time talking about hauling because that is usually where injuries take place. Many drummers, including myself, have experienced some kind of injury and I wished someone had told me these “obvious” things. Hernias, pulled muscles, scrapes, bruises, all go along with flinging around the gear in a hurry. Chill out, be prepared and handle your gear wisely. Peace.
THE PHILOSOPHY OF TIKADIMI TAKADIMI BY CHLOE SA AVEDR A OF C H A OS C H A OS
The Seattle Drum School mastermind, Steve Smith created what we joke about as a philosophy, called tikadimi takadimi. Steve taught this to Jason Mcgerr of Death Cab for Cutie, Jason taught it to me and now I’m teaching it to you. All you have to say is “tikadimi takadimi” (over and over again). Now, don’t get freaked out, but when you sing this, you are calling to the drum Gods. Yup, no joke, so sing it with the utmost respect. Now that you can say tikadimi takadimi, choose one syllable to accent. Let’s choose mi. Start out simple by playing
a standard beat that you have mastered. Now, sing tikadimi takadimi along with your beat and add a rack tom hit on the mi syllable. Sweet! You got it. Once you’ve mastered that, you can choose any of your own beats to sing tikadimi takadimi to and choose a different syllable to accent, like ka which will give your beat a funky sound, or di which is a more standard accent. If you are really nuts, you can try these accents on polyrhythms and it will sound insane and totally and completely awesome.
Rock Beat with MI Accent
Polyrhythm beat with MI Accent
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3 > The Blow // The Blow
For their sophomore album, Le Tigre-alum JD Samson counts influences as diverse as Nigerian disco funk and psychoanalysis. The result delivers hot lyrics and politics on a bed of dark, pop-y beats. Most tracks feature a more complex sound than their debut album, and it’s just as daring in its marriage of danceable music with a fierce message. Tracks like “All The Way Thru” and “Club Thang” will have you pining for a sweaty dance floor full of queers to bop out with. Explicitly political lyrics are never overwrought and always relevant, like in “Semenya,” written from the perspective of the female South African Olympian who was subjected to “gender testing.” “Fucked Up” offers fun synth patterns while doubling as a sexy new break-up anthem. There’s welcome diversity in Samson’s distorted voice on some tracks, while the melancholy pulse of “I Don’t Care” and “I’m Leaving” balance out the dance-ready songs.
I’ve unwittingly been listening to The Blow for half a dozen years. A fella brought over an unlabeled mixed CD, Jams for Scrabble, and visual artist/performer Khaela Maricich’s “Parentheses” was the best track on it, hands down. Nothing came of the guy, but I kept the CD and pretty much memorized Maricich’s breathy voice and her smart (and sometimes smartass) lyrics. Imagine the wallop when I heard her again. But for The Blow, her first album since 2007, she’s traded up from hand-clapping to the beats of her girlfriend and coconspirator, the sound and light artist Melissa Dyne. “Like Girls,” an airy anthem to giving dudes the cold shoulder, does a few decades worth of work with its “powder pink passports.” With my mitts on this, I don’t miss Scrabble at all.
Listen to this: when you wanna bring social justice to the party. — Cou rtn ey Gille t te
2 > Be Forest // Earthbeat
We Were Never Boring | February 2014 Remember when the ’90s still kind of sounded like the ’80s? Now remember last night when the two-thousand teens still hinted at both? Be Forest’s jangly guitars and floaty keys meld into swirling New Wave-ish dreampop on Earthbeat, the Pesaro, Italy-based band’s follow up to 2011’s full-length Cold. Earthbeat’s opener, “Totem,” sets out a calm vibe that pervades the album, all warbling guitars and lofty soundscapes. Drummer Erica Terenzi and bassist Costanza Delle Rose provide solid ground for the ethereal vocals and bouncy hooks that tremble over top. And listen for the Arcade Fire-esque flute and cowbell flourishes. In some ways, Be Forest is a quintessential opening band: ambient, reminiscent, and not likely to overshadow. Earthbeat is a great album to put on when you want to hang out in a certain mood — as a pleasant background that won’t overwhelm your pursuits, be they cooking a roast or writing a travel adventure novel. Listen to this: after having a cup of black coffee and before realizing how much you want to know who killed Laura Palmer. — Rebecc a Sulo c k
1 > JD Samson & MEN // Labor Men Make Music | October 2013
Kanine Records | October 2013
Listen to this: when you want a ladies-first dance party. Up to you if it’ll be a socks-inthe-kitchen affair or a packed dance floor; works either way. —E m ily Nem e ns
4 > Tacocat // NVM
Hardly Art | February 2014 If you wore out the grooves of your copy of The Juliana Hatfield Three’s Become What You Are (cause you were so cool you bought it on vinyl) obsessively playing “Spin The Bottle,” fear not— Tacocat’s second full length, NVM, will relieve you of your sadness. The Seattle quartet boldly carries the ’90s indie torch, trading grungy flannels for sequins and neon and playing two-minute pop songs full of harmonies and teen angst, which Tacocat reminds us sadly lasts way past our teenage years. Songs about getting stood up, snow days, and partying are paired with more unusual topics, like a psychedelic Quinceanera (Consuela’s not going to school today/She’s only half Mexican anyway) and a guy who never came back from Burning Man in the appropriately titled “You Never Came Back From Burning Man.” If you mourn the breakup of the Rondelles and turn to Dressy Bessy to get you through tough times, Tacocat is just your bag. Listen to this: in between watching old episodes of Beverly Hills 90210—or American Horror Story, if you need some post-scary stuff levity. — A nna B lum e nt hal
5 > Girlcrush // The Way Things Used to Be
Self-released | October 2013 Smart, sassy and sometimes deadpan trio Girlcrush make straight-up, unapologetically queer pop punk without its all-too usual white dude whine. Their songs take the genre’s energy, speed, candor, and cheek and use it to reveal both the comedy and dolor of dating, getting older, and figuring out what to do when you’re not going to or playing DIY shows. Short bursts of frenetic distortion and relentless percussion, the tracks on this record feel anthemic in their relatability, and completely gripping in their immediacy. Every second feels both entirely sincere and totally sarcastic, which will make you want to jump on a bike or skateboard, proclaim your emotions for all to hear, and chase after what you want. This is growing up, of course, and Girlcrush captures it so well that it seems like it might turn out okay. Listen to this: to stay pumped while doing errands, chores, or work before a date or friend hang you’ve been looking forward to for awhile. —Jam ie Var r i ale V é le z
6 > Luscious Jackson // Magic Hour City Song | November 2013
Zeitgeists exist, and it doesn’t take Madame Blavatsky to predict that it’s 1992 all over again. And if the return of Luscious Jackson, early darlings of Grand Royal Records (The Beastie Boys asked LJ to be the first to sign with the burgeoning label) and queens of the catchy groove, Magic Hour is less of a throwback and more of a continuation of that sarcastically lyrical time in our lives before Starbucks. Still killing it with infectious beats such as the lead single “So Rock On” and the opening track “You and Me,” the ladies of LJ have laid down yet another album of music that is achingly impossible not to dance to. Listen to this: while searching your closet for that favorite flannel button up. —M at t he w D ’Abat e
7 > Rakkatak // Open Self-released | April 2014
Toronto artist Anita Kattakar is a studied tabla player with an expanse of multigenre, and multicultural, influences. She joins Chilean bassist and sound artist Oriana Barbato, guitarist Carlos
Rachel Austin Down To Earth
Lilli Carré Shifting Shadows
Nikki McClure Exploring The World
Lopes, and saxophonist Lisa Patterson to curate a distinct and moody sound with their new EP. This self-described “tabla-soaked, beat-induced” soundscape covers a lot of territory in just five tracks. The hypnotizing tabla lays a foundation upon which Rakkatak builds everything from echoing harmonies to swirling melodies and thrumping bass notes. In their single “Rain,” Kattakar’s tabla rhythms are magnetic in their simplicity, creating a melancholy track with powerful momentum. “Delight” weaves in synth and other drums for a complex, infectious sound, while “Hysterical” layers their beats with bilingual spoken word and rising horn patterns. Listen to this: when you’re sick of all your playlists and want something totally new and different. — Courtney Gille t te
8 > Allison Miller’s Boom Tic Boom // No Morphine No Lilies
Foxhaven/Royal Potato Family Records | April 2013
No Morphine No Lilies is a turbulent and provocative album where the songs, like drops of water, when run one after another, create a constant stream of jive-alive-jazz that crashes into your ears and psyche, collecting into splash happy puddles of whirling trumpets, raindrop piano interludes and a drum section that dips from deep to shallow. Allison Miller is all over the place in
all the best ways, creating scenery with every song. Some, like “Spotswood Drive,” feel like the cool and murky waters in a slow moving river washing over your skin, and others, like “Pork Belly,” put us on the train for a rainy afternoon commute home in the heart of NYC. Wherever she might take you, just bring a towel and some boots, because you’re going to get wet, and it’s going to be awesome.
Jessica Hirsche Today Is The Day
Stella Marrs No Pie!
Gemma Correll Let The Dogs Out
Heidi Hopfer Tender Moments
Ray Fenwick Shouting Is Okay
Fluffy Co Exploring Nature
Slow Loris Done By Hand
Arcana Soaps Smell Your Attitude
Ashkahn Emotionally Accurate
Stumptown Press Framed, Recycled
Yellow Owl Workshop Timelessness
Sock It To Me For Your Feet
Listen to this: while traveling on a budget. You can go anywhere you’ll let this album take you without leaving your couch, bed, shower, wherever. —St ephanie Rei snour
9 > The Amputees // Scream
Money Fire Records | November 2013 These New York-based riff purveyors serve up a catchy dose of pop-punk on Scream, though with more range than most bands. While solidly dwelling in Alkaline Trio-style anthems, The Amputees still mix things up. “King Jubs” is a hardcore workout with thrashing drums courtesy of Kaleen Marie Reading, and Nova Luz’s vocal gives “Holden” a swagger normally unheard in this style. The lyrics also stretch and sprawl, touching on eating disorders in “88.” It’s an old style done right. Listen to this: while raging down the highway with your best friends. —Robert Rub sam
Film The Punk Singer
Directed by Sini Anderson
Opening Band Films Production | In theaters November 2013 All the girls to the front, please! Are we all here? Good. There are music documentaries, and there are great music documentaries. What defines the great ones, in my opinion, is the ability to transcend the standard wish-you-had-been-there sensibility. They pose cultural questions, and then refuse to answer them. This is exactly what Punk Singer goes for, and succeeds. Directed by first-timer Sini Anderson, this provocative film about Bikini Kill’s charismatic frontwoman, Kathleen Hanna, chronicles 20 years of punk fury, the unwittingly avant-garde nature of Hanna’s songwriting and stage presence, and the mysterious illness that eventually halted her career. Peppered with sweet interviews with Hanna and Beastie Boy husband Adam Horovitz, as well as Kim Gordon, Joan Jett, Carrie Brownstein, and a string of music’s familiar riot grrrls, Punk Singer makes me yearn for history to repeat itself. —Me t ta Pry
buyolympia.com Incredibly Cool Gifts Since 1999 55
the l atest on the greatest / gearheads
Critter & Guitari Rhythm Scope critterandguitari.com
Kick drum is small and punchy, the toms are open and warm, and the snare is full sized, warm and full of attack. The 4 piece kit boasts 7 ply poplar shells, 45 degree bearing edges, heavy duty hardware, and bags that double as mutes all for $399.99. — Candace Hensen
Ludwig Breakbeats Kit by Questlove ludwig-drums.com
Ludwig and Questlove teamed up to create something for drummers who need a compact and affordable kit without sacrificing quality. This small but mighty configuration exceeded my expectations. The sizes are small enough to throw in a bag and run out the door, the tone is excellent, the hardware is sturdy, and it has a great throwback look.
I work with music, imagery and performance. I recently got my hands on a Critter & Guitari Rhythm Scope video synthesizer. It creates incredible imagery that I use as projected backdrops for my performances. It generates visual patterns in sync with my music and percussive sounds. For the sound source, I usually just plug a drum machine or mixer output directly into the audio input jack. For me it’s a perfect balance of control and self-generated imagery. And being a child of Atari and the beginning of computers, I love the retro look of the color blocks it makes. Two thumbs up from Brooklyn. — Davis Thompson-Moss
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REVIVAL DRUM SHOP PORTLAND OREGON USA
GENUINE BRANDS FOR DRUMMERS ISTANBUL AGOP. C&C CUSTOM. VINTAGE ZILDJIAN. PAISTE. BOPWORKS. KEPLINGER. CRAVIOTTO. UFIP. PETE ENGLEHART. CYMBAL & GONG. KIRSCH. DREAM. CACSAC LEATHER BAGS. AMERICAN MADE VINTAGE DRUMS
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ENDLESS GEAR ENDLESS OPPORTUNITY
DESIREE DAVIS DRUMMER FOR RED LEATHER MINISTRY AND GUITAR CENTER EMPLOYEE
GUITAR CENTER: WHERE WOMEN ROCK
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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)
A Resonant Drum:
The Life, Music, and Teachings of Layne Redmond By Chrissy R ossettie Sakes
I first discovered Layne’s work in the
late ’90s when I happened upon a copy of When the Drummers Were Women in a small bookstore in Chicago. I’d been playing drums for a couple of years, but was just beginning to encounter the kind of sexist condescension that all too often accompanies “drumming while female.” Layne’s book offered a welcome worldview shift, and put a lot into perspective. When the Drummers Were Women examines the history, mythology, and rituals surrounding the world’s oldest drum, the frame drum. But its real accomplishment lies in its unprecedented and insightful portrayal of the drastically changed role of women in religion and society throughout history. Not only because little has ever been written about the significant role of priestesses and female musicians in ancient times, but because in many ways, she was the first to even call into question the historical accuracy of such titles as “Woman with Cake,” for instance, in regard to ancient portrayals of women with frame drums in museums throughout the modern world. The importance of this book cannot be overstated. Beginning as a series of questions which Layne had had while looking through images of ancient frame drummers (and realizing they were almost all women), the book sought answers: “The archaeological evidence shows plainly that at one time the drummers were women. Who were these women? Why had they been associated with drums for so many thousands of years? Why don’t we know anything about them now? Why don’t women play drums today?” Layne spent more than a decade scouring museums, ruins, and archaeological documents in search of the answers to those questions, and her extensive research resulted in a truly groundbreaking account of the role of women throughout ancient history — a history which has all but been expunged from modern consciousness. When the Drummers Were Women gets to the very core of the enormous cultural shift from the femalecentered spirituality of ancient times to the male dominated modern world in a way that many of us had never previously contemplated. Women, who for millennia had held the exalted roles of powerful spiritual leaders and sacred creators of life, were relegated to oppressed and ‘inferior’ subordinates, especially within religious circles. Layne addresses the feelings of great loss that so many modern women experience, having been stripped of such an innate part of their psyches, as well as the hope for reclaiming that sacred feminine birthright through drumming.
I was fortunate enough to attend one of Layne’s final drumming workshops this past June at the Omega institute. We spent the weekend chanting, drumming, and exploring the fascinating history and mythology of the divine feminine archetype. Layne had been sick, and when I told her I hoped she’d feel better soon, I remember her saying something like “Our bodies are so tenuous“ and I began to suspect that the illness she’d been struggling with throughout the workshop was more serious than she’d let on. She entered hospice two weeks later. Layne spent her final days doing what she did best which was being wildly prolific and incredibly creative. Aside from being an remarkable writer and historian, Layne had also been a world-renowned musician, master frame drummer, filmmaker and teacher. She’d held workshops, classes, and performances around the globe, and spent her final days finishing up several different projects within the vast catalog of her work. When Layne Redmond passed away on Oct. 28th, 2013 at the age of 61, the world lost a true inspiration. But the strength and beauty of her spirit, her music, and her teachings are sure to reverberate for years to come.
CHIME GIVES jewelry made from drum cymbals
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the funnies percussion enneagrams by sara l au tman
Enneagrams are a personality assessment system and analytic tool used by behavioral therapists and people who like to fill out forms about themselves. Enneagrams are designed to help patients become aware of problematic patterns in relationships and start to manage those behaviors.
comics by sara lautman
The term comes from the Greek root, ennea, meaning “nine”, and gram, meaning “gram”. Here we’ll take a look at a discipline-specific enneagram set. Percussion enneagrams use a list of descriptive personality types drawn from common typologies who like to hit or bang on things. Perc- from the Greek, means “drum things”, and is qualified by the suffix -ussion, “that you hit”.
TOM TOM MAGAZINE
Backstage with M.I.A.
a magazine about female drummers the religion & spirituality issue