ISSUE 10 ||| 2012-2013 ||| DWDRUMS.COM

Neil Peart of Rush,

on location in

Los Angeles, California



Thin IS in.

Our newest Collector’s Series

Gray Coat Aluminum,

Polished Titanium,

Black Nickel over Brass,

and Stainless Steel snare

drums feature a thin 1mm

rolled shell for pure tone,

attack, volume and sensitivity.

See them all at www.dwdrums.com/snares


©2012 Drum Workshop, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

S S Contents

Editor’s Notes:

The American Dream

DW really is an American success story.

‘American Dream’ is not a term we use lightly

and we are thankful that our passion and

dedication to the art of drum-building has

brought us to this place. I’m not just speaking

about DW Founder, Don Lombardi, or resident

Drum Designer, John Good. I’m talking about

the team of dedicated employees and craftsmen

that make the instruments by hand, including

the machine shop workers that mill parts on a

daily basis and the CAD engineers that translate

the ideas into workable models. Our story also

includes the professional drummers that have

believed in our mission statement from day one.

Some of them are household names, and others

are accomplished musicians that back up the

household names on some of the most notable

stages and in some of the most legendary studios

the world has known.

And we can’t forget you. You’re the ones

that keep the American Dream alive. We’re a

company making products to better the art of

drumming, but you’re the ones using the tools we

make to create music. Music is the reason we’re

here doing what we do. Drum Workshop wasn’t

founded as a means to do anything other than

educate drummers and make a contribution to the

drumming community. This 10th issue of Edge

magazine is dedicated to the American Dream

and the drummers that dare to dream with us. You

don’t play drums because you have to; you play

because it’s a burning desire inside you. For you,

drums aren’t just an instrument or daily activity,

they’re a lifestyle. You call yourself a drummer

because you’re proud to be part of something that

brings art and creativity into the world.

As you enjoy the articles and features within

these pages, know that we do this all for you, the

drummers. We’re a privately-held, family-owned

business that cares deeply about the instrument,

the art form, and where it’s all headed. We want

to see future generations share the same dream

we do, and we want to hear from you. Join us on

Facebook and Twitter and share your thoughts.

We’re listening. It’s the only way we can take

things to the next level and live up to our slogan,

The Drummer’s Choice.

Scott Donnell

Editor, Edge Magazine


©2012 Drum Workshop, Inc. All Rights Reserved.



Featuring Conan’s James Wormworth, Jimmy Kimmel’s

Jonathan Dresel and SNL’s Shawn Pelton


Rock drummer extraordinaire, Atom Willard, speaks to Bruno

Mars’ Eric Hernandez and Matchbox 20’s Stacy Jones


Gearing up for the road with one of rock’s most

legendary timekeepers


His rise to the top with Country megastar, Jason Aldean


Godfather of the genre, Gerald Heyward, shares his thoughts

on Gospel chops and woodshedding


Explore the world of composing with Hans Zimmer’s

right-hand drummer


Balancing Hip Hop and Rock gigs keeps this Brooklyn-based

rising star on track


7 TIME MACHINE: Chad Wackerman

10 ROAD RULES: 40th Anniversary Latin America Tour

28 DRUM CLINIC: Albe Bonacci goes linear

30 20 QUESTIONS: JP Bouvet

36 IN THE STUDIO: JR Robinson


44 SPOTLIGHT: Daniel Glass’ Century Project

61 TRENDS: Deep Snare Drums












Thin is in: DW Collector’s Series 1mm Metal Shell Snare

Drums. Drummers are always looking for their next goto

snare, the drum that’s favored for recording or live gigs

and has earned its place among the top choices within

their arsenal. Some drummers prefer brass for its bite,

attack and metallic overtones, others like the warmer

tone of aluminum or the sheer volume and sensitivity of

steel. Still others swear by the boutique, throaty sound

of titanium. Whichever drum you prefer, we have a new

class of snares that are destined to become your most

beloved. We’re very proud of the addition of four thinshelled

metal drums to our family of Collector’s Series

snares. The newly-added models include: Black Nickel

over Brass, Gray Coat Aluminum, Stainless Steel, and

Titanium. Each possesses its own unique sonic quality

and is outfitted with DW’s latest Custom Shop features,

including: True Pitch Tuning, True Tone snare wires,

3mm flanged steel True Hoops, MAG throw-off system

with 3P (3 position) butt plate, and DW Heads by Remo

USA. To see sizes, drum hardware color options, and

more, visit: www.dwdrums.com/snares.


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

Collector’s Series 1mm Brass, Aluminum, Stainless Steel and Titanium Snare Drums


Pewter Sparkle Black Diamond

DW Airlift Hardware: Revolutionize Your

Set-Up Let’s face it, it’s not easy being a

drummer and a roadie all at once. Drummers

just want hardware that makes their life

easier. Introducing, the revolutionary new

9000AL Airlift hardware. It’s our tourready,

industry-standard 9300 snare and

9900 tom stands, outfitted with a special,

technologically-advanced feature. Each

stand is mounted with a specially-selected

pneumatic gas shock that literally floats the

top portion of the stand, drums included, on

a cushion of air. The result is a stand that is

effortless to adjust, even when holding your

heaviest snare drum or toms. The technology

was developed and time-tested by Randall

May, International for marching drum

applications and is now available for

the first time on drum set hardware.

Heavy-duty 9300AL and 9900AL

stands are available at an

authorized DW dealer near

you and include other pro

features such as: heavy-gauge steel

tubing, tube isolators, cast tube joints with

integrated memory locks, and much more.

To watch Thomas Lang demonstrate the

magic of Airlift, visit: www.dwdrums.com.

White Marine Titanium Sparkle

9900AL Tom Stand

9300AL Snare Stand

Your Affordable Dream Kit has Arrived: Welcome to

Performance Series FinishPly DW has always been

synonymous with quality and innovation, but neither comes

cheap. What if California-made drums were suddenly within

reach? Drummers, rejoice! Your time has come. Performance

Series all-maple drums with exclusive HVX shell technology

are now available in four popular FinishPly offerings to suit

just about every style of music. Choose from traditional White

Marine or Black Diamond finishes, or stage-stealing Titanium

Sparkle or Pewter Sparkle. All are high-quality, durable wraps

that feature DW’s proprietary overlapped seam with notched

bearing edge to ensure that all head brands seat correctly.

After all, it’s the sound of these HVX shells that really has

professional drummers talking.

Other high-end features include: True Pitch Tuning, STM

(Suspension Tom Mounts), F.A.S.T. (Fundamentally Accurate-

Sized Toms), MAG throw-off, proportional counter hoops, DW

Heads by Remo USA, and more. Available in a variety of tom

pack configurations, each can be combined with a choice of

20”, 22” or 24” matching kick drums. For hard rock and metal

players, it’s an easy way to customize your next double bass

rig. The build quality and sound that musicians, engineers,

and producers have come to love and appreciate from DW is

now easier than ever to acquire. For more information, and

to see a complete list of sizes and finish options, check out:





Photo Credit: AnnA Webber

by Dave Elitch

Since I live only 45 minutes from the Drum Workshop factory, I usually find myself paying a visit to DW at least once a week. It’s

also a well-known fact that I’m a bit of a gear nerd and I have a growing collection of drum equipment, which is an open invitation

for my fellow drummers to joke about my apartment looking like an episode of Hoarders! So, when DW asked me to check out these

two new Concept Series kits, I simply couldn’t say no.


I had the sound stage at Drum Channel at my disposal for this

little experiment and I’ve had the good fortune of doing quite a

bit of work in there, so I’m pretty familiar with the way the room

sounds. So, acoustics weren’t going to be a wild card. Plus, they

wanted me to sample a birch kit and a maple kit, so a familiar

setting was an advantage.

DW hadn’t told me anything about either of these kits prior to

pointing to a pallet of boxes and saying, “Have fun!” I had no

idea what I was getting myself into. I was wondering, “What are

the lugs going to look like? What sizes? FinishPly or lacquer?”

I ripped into the boxes like a kid with a new toy. I could see

that some of the drums were completely assembled and others

needed some light assembly before I could completely set up

the kit. Drum Channel always has some DW hardware lying



Concept Series

EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013



around, so I paired up these kits with a selection of DW 9000

Series hardware and pedals.

The first thing I noticed was that DW really stepped-up the features

and build quality on these new kits. I saw a bunch of things from

my Custom Shop DW kits. Stuff like: die cast claw hooks, MAG

throw-off on the snare, and these new lugs looked oddly familiar.

The DW folks told me that they were designed for Performance

Series snare drums and that they moved them over to PDP for the

new series. I also noticed a DW Drums logo on the new badges;

that says a lot. To me, it means that DW has really put some pro

features into these more affordable kits. I have a thriving teaching

studio and I know my students will be happy to know they can

get their hands on a DW-style kit early on and can still graduate

to a DW kit when the time is right. It’s a win-win for everyone!

PDP CM5 Pearl Black with

DW 3000 Series Hardware and Pedal

“The sizes that came with these 5-piece kits were

identical: 8x10”, 9x12”, 14x16” toms, 18x22”

kick and a 5.5x14” snare. I love DW’s F.A.S.T.

(Fundamentally Accurate Sized Toms) and I also love

the fact that you get a 16” floor tom. I’ve never

been a huge fan of 14” floors and you’re forced to

get them with many of the kits in this price range. “


The next thing that struck me was the quality

of the finishes. These kits look unbelievable

for the price! Both have full-on lacquer paint

jobs that caught my eye immediately. The

birch kit has a nice little Candy Black Fade

going on, while the maple kit is rocking a

killer Black Metallic look. The birch kit is

outfitted with chrome hardware and it has

a very classic, almost exotic appearance.

The maple, on the other hand, has black

powder coated hardware which gives it a very

monochromatic look. This kit would work

perfectly for a hard rock or metal band. The

powder coating is top notch (I’ve noticed it

can get a bit ‘iffy’ on some of these mid-level

kits). The PDP website, www.pacificdrums.

com, shows that there are a total of eight

finishes offered, six for Concept Maple and

two for Concept Birch. That’s a massive

variety at this price and it means there’s a little

something for everyone. Personally, I like the

really crazy stuff, but that’s why I go custom.

For one of these review kits, I’d probably

throw on a custom logo head and pair it up

with one of my favorite metal snares. Plus,

there are enough configurations available to

build a really cool set-up. You can add a floor

tom on the left or even an extra bass drum if

you’re into that. I usually play two racks and

two floors, but you can always change things

up depending on the gig.





So, they look great. But how do they

sound? I set both kits up right next to

each other so I could “Pepsi challenge”

them more easily. Drummers always tend

to be very opinionated about maple vs.

birch. To me, it’s not an ‘either/or.’ They

both have their place and I like different

sounds for different reasons. Again, it’s

what’s right for the music or the gig. Let’s

face it, good drums are good drums, it’s

all about how they’re played, tuned, head

combinations, etc. That’s another thing,

I’m playing these kits with stock Remo

heads made overseas. I know that if I put

some high-quality heads on these drums

it would make a noticeable difference. I

play Remo and I’m sure that the Suede

Emperors that I have on my Jazz Series kit

would work some magic on these guys.

Bottom line, I’m sure these drums are

versatile enough to mold into a bunch of

different musical situations.


I hate to sound cliché, but all of the common tonal descriptions rang true with this kit.

The toms like to be tuned just a bit higher; they have a quick sound, fast decay and

are a bit punchier and brighter than their maple counterparts. The snare loved to be

cranked and had a really great ring to it that I wouldn’t want to muffle. I liked the fact

that the snare had a thicker 10-ply shell, which gave it quite a bit of crack! I asked

someone to play the kick for me and it projected nicely. Tons of punch!


The maple kit was also true to form. As expected, it had a much lower and fatter sound

than the birch. The resonance and decay were longer and the overall tone was on the

warmer side. The major difference with this kit was that the snare drum liked to be low.

Like, “baseball bat in a wedding cake” low. Throw some gaff on and head straight into

the studio with that guy! The kick was nice and punchy, but sounded almost identical

to the birch kit (not a bad thing at all).


It all comes down to personal taste, but in my world, this is a real drum kit. I also know that if DW makes something, you know it’s

going to sound great and be around for a while. That’s a given. I really love these drums because of the outstanding job they’ve done

with the look and the small details. We all know that drummers listen with their eyes. If the kit looks cool, it somehow sounds a little

better and is more fun to play. Plus, let’s be honest, most mid-level kits aren’t up to spec and I’d never even think of taking them on

a gig. Not these! These kits can hang with many pro-level kits out there. I’d love to see what this Black Sparkle kit looks like under

the lights…oh no, here we go again!


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

PDP CB4 Cherry to Black Fade with

DW 3000 Series Hardware and Pedal


PDP CM7 Silver Sparkle to Black Fade with

DW 3000 Series Hardware and Pedal


As much as the affable Mr. Wackerman

wouldn’t want to be typecast or be put

in a box, we can safely categorize him as

a drummer’s drummer. His genre-defying

career has seen him touring with established

pop icons such as James Taylor and Barbra

Streisand, as well as exploring new ground

with legendary masters like Frank Zappa,

Allan Holdsworth, Steve Vai, and his good

pal Terry Bozzio, along with so many others.

To say he’s performed at a high level for so

many years is a gross understatement. His

reserved demeanor and effortless playing

have kept him working and garnered the

respect of his peers but, for the reasons

previously mentioned, some would say

he’s underrated. Classifications and labels

aside, he’s as noteworthy and prolific as

he’s always been, while continuing to blaze

new trails and make his memorable mark

as a drummer, recording artist, composer,

and producer. We caught up with Chad

to talk about his latest endeavors and his

longstanding history with the company.

Scott Donnell: Talk a little bit about your

experience in the early days of DW.

Chad Wackerman: I met John Good in 1982.

He had auditioned to be the drum and bass

tech for the ’82 Zappa tour. John took the

drums that I was playing at the time and put

new bearing edges on them, packed the lugs

with foam, took off some internal lacquer

and made them sound much better. It was

obvious to me that I should have him build

me a new kit after the tour.

My first DW kit was a burgundy lacquer

set. The snare was a 6.5 x 14” brass timbaletype

shell and had a strainer that was a part

of a luggage lock! I still have that snare. The

other drum sizes were: 16x22” kick, 9x10”,

10x12”, 12x14” rack toms, with 17x16” and

Chad WackermanOVER





17x18” floor toms on legs.

In 1982, DW was a two-man company.

Don and John had one employee, Fonso,

to help assemble bass drum pedals, which

they would then sell to Gretsch to pay their

rent. I loved the kit John built for me, but

we went through some modifications to it,

changing the inside lacquer and then the

head combinations. They had shells and the

lugs, but I had to buy rims and spurs from

other companies, because they were not

tooled-up to make those parts yet. John’s

head combination used coated Ambassadors

on top and the Evans Hydraulic heads

for the bottom. This was the kit I used on

Allan Holdsworth’s, Road Games and Metal

Fatigue records and was my touring kit for

many years. The drums had a more focused

and contained tone than other drums that I

was using. I found them to be a dream in the


I actually met Don Lombardi at a drum

clinic that I did in Santa Monica, CA when I

was thirteen years old. I knew about Camco

drums and I heard that Don had bought the

tooling when Camco went out of business.

Soon after, I bought my first DW kit in 1982

and became an endorser. Don was very keen

to have me try out the various experiments

they had been working on. I used some of

these on local gigs and on the road. They

included the boom/straight cymbal stand, the

various versions of the 5002 double pedal

and the cable hi-hat. We even experimented

with rack systems back then.

SD: How has your career grown with the


CW: When I started with DW, the endorsers

were John Hernandez, Nick Ceroli, Burleigh

Drummond, Colin Bailey and myself, to

and counting

by Scott Donnell

name a few. When I did clinics we had to

have a store order a kit, John would build

it and they would work hard to send it out

in time. Everything was done one step at a

time. I spent a fair amount of time educating

people about the drums and how they made

my life so much easier in the studio. They

are custom, handmade kits; to this day, DW

kits have so much thought, research and

passion behind them. I found that Don and

John had the same passion about drums that

I had about music, and playing DW allowed

me to feel even more comfortable because I

was so happy with the tone that I was getting.

My career has definitely grown as DW has

grown. I worked very hard, but also got some

good breaks. Playing with Zappa when I was

twenty-one was amazing, and it allowed me

to gain credibility and respect among other

musicians. Playing with Allan Holdsworth

also allowed me to play as myself and still

get noticed. At the same time, I was able to

get into session work, start my solo career,

record my CDs and DVDs, play at drum

festivals, perform masterclasses and clinics,

and DW has always been supportive.

Some years later, we trialed a

masterclass tour where a student could sign

up for three masterclasses, one with Larry

London on recording, one with Jim Chapin

on hand technique, and one with me on

drumset reading and stylistic versatility. The

classes were scheduled one month apart, a

kind of travelling school. You can see that

Don had education in mind even back

then. Now, that concept has expanded into


One thing that really grew DW’s

business was when they put out the first DW

American Dream video. They made it as a

free promo piece for stores to play in their





shops. It featured: Jim Keltner, Jonathan

Moffett, Tommy Lee, and me, all playing

and talking about the drums and how much

we loved them. Plus, it had an interview

with John Good about his passion for

making the instruments.

When Terry Bozzio asked me to tour

with him, DW was again helping us make

that happen. We have two DVDs on the

DWDVD label, and continue to work

together live and with drumchannel. DW

has been with me for the past thirty years

and they continue to support my efforts.

I was 100% involved in the beta

testing of the drums and hardware in the

early days. Don would come up with

a new version of the 5000 pedal, or a

cymbal stand and I would use the stuff

on gigs, then report back to him. A lot of

changes developed this way. I asked Don

at one point to make a cymbal stacker, a

threaded part that replaces a wing nut on

a cymbal stand and allows you to put two

or more cymbals on a single stand. The

cymbal stacker is now offered by several


SD: What’s it like being an artist at DW?

CW: The thing you hear over and over from

all the DW artists is that when you are with

DW you are in the DW family. There is

such a positive attitude and passion that

comes from Don and John, and that is very


SD: As someone who has played every

version of DW 5000 and 9000 pedals over

the years, describe the evolution you’ve

witnessed with them and your take on

pedal and hardware innovation, in general.

CW: I had the very first DW double pedal. It

was presented to me by Duane Livingston,

who was a previous Zappa drum tech. It

was made from all DW pedal parts, but

had a fixed, welded, twisted bar from one

pedal to the other, instead of a linkage. It

did have two universal joints and cotter

pins to hold the bar onto the pedals. It was

held together by U clamps and looked very

much like something out of a school auto

shop. I bought it right away from Duane. I

showed it to John Good and he took it and

cleaned it up the best he could. I used it

throughout the Zappa European tour, but I

didn’t overuse it, musically. People thought


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

I had the fastest foot on the planet, because

no one had a double pedal that worked

well enough to use. I grew up playing two

bass drums, but Frank didn’t want a second

bass drum on stage with another open mic.

He still asked for some fast bass drum work,

but only on one bass drum, so the double

pedal was the answer.

After I got back from that tour, I

met with Don and John and Don really

started fine-tuning and refining the pedal.

Eventually, he came up with the idea of

adding a plate to the bottom to make it

more stable, and also having numbered

markings for the setting of the rocker and

spring, so there would be a standard. They

made the pedal even smoother, used better

universal joints, replaced the cotter pins

with drum key screws, the hinges got better

and better and the overall product became

the workhorse that we all rely on today.

I’ve worked with every version of the

5002 double pedal and got into the 9000

series much later. I normally use 9000

pedals these days, but have no trouble at

all switching to the new 5000 series. I

just played a clinic last night in Toronto

and they had the new 5002. All I did was

loosen the springs on the pedal and I was

ready to go. The new toe clamp is the best,


SD: What was your reaction the first time

you played DW drums?

CW: The tone was more focused, the tuning

range was bigger, and they were completely

comfortable. I was absolutely inspired by

the sound and have never looked back.

SD: Where do you see DW headed in the

next 5-10 years?

CW: I’m sure DW will have more surprises for

us in the future. As far as drum innovations go,

they have led the way for years. Think of their

contributions: the double pedal, cable hi-hat,

the modular hardware, the 3-position snare

strainer, the various shell advancements, the

Jazz series, VLT, Classics series…these are

all amazing accomplishments and have

influenced the entire drum industry. DW

will continue to push the boundaries of what

drummers thought was possible. I could not

have chosen a company with more integrity

and I’m always proud to share that with






by Brook Dalton

ew drummers have had a career with

the longevity and impact that Chad

Wackerman has had, and Drum Workshop

has been fortunate enough to support him

throughout the past three decades. Most fans

are aware that he played with Frank Zappa in

the early Eighties, but not everyone knows

that his relationship with DW began around

the same time because John Good (DW’s

Executive Vice President/Drum Designer)

was Chad’s drum tech during that era. The

time that they spent together led to both a

long-lasting friendship and Chad’s inclusion

into the DW family. I recently spoke with

Mr. Good about those early years and the

indelible impression/influence that Chad has

had on Drum Workshop ever since.

Brook Dalton: How long have you known

Chad and how did you two meet?

John Good: Actually, we met when I was

called in to do tech work for him in the early


BD: Wow, I always thought you knew him

previously and that was how you got the job.

JG: No, I got that gig because I’d been working

with Earth, Wind & Fire and Mark Pinske,

Zappa’s recording engineer, knew about DW

and some of the work I’d done in the studio

and he got me involved. Of course, I knew

of Chad because he’d been generating some

buzz in the LA music scene.

BD: Talk about Chad’s thirty years as a DW

artist and what that means to you personally.

JG: Throughout these thirty years, he has

always been the recipient of some new

things, as far as stuff that I would try out, and

he is always very constructive with criticism;

he gives accolades where they are due, and

if there is a problem he lets me know and I

learn from it. He’s been there, as a friend and

an artist. He’s a person that we all respect

tremendously and it’s just great to have him

as a major part of our growth.






EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

DW Invades

Latin America

Travel Day - Crew

16 JUNE 2012 – TRAVEL DAY (crew)

Our three-man crew (me, Steve Vega

[DW Artist Services] and our local

rep, Pablo) arrived in Mexico City late

tonight. It’s raining, but all it took

was some fabulous Mexican food and

cervezas to brighten the night!

Travel Day - Artists

17 JUNE 2012 – TRAVEL DAY (artists)

Still raining today. Actually, some

thunderstorms moved in this afternoon

which made Marco and Chester’s flight

in very bumpy, but they eventually

made it safely and in time for their

press conference. Alvaro arrived later

in the evening, and now I can go to

sleep knowing they’re all here together,

safe and sound.

Mexico City, Mexico

18 JUNE 2012 – SHOW DAY

Long day, but so worth it! Crew

started at 7:00 a.m. for load-in with

soundchecks starting at 10:00 a.m.

Doors opened at 1:00 p.m., then over

3000 people entered the venue ready

to be rocked!! Show started at 2:00

p.m. and the audience went crazy!

They were chanting along with Alvaro,

clapping clave with Chester,

by Juels Thomas

T o commemorate our 40th year as The Drummer’s Choice, we decided

to embark on an ambitious clinic tour that took the DW crew to four

marquee Latin American cities. Internationally-known artists, Marco

Minnemann and Chester Thompson were joined by Mexico’s own, Alvaro

Lopez to put on a show that few will soon forget. The audiences were

colossal and passionate, and our own, Juels Thomas was there every step of

the way. This is her personal road diary of this historic drumming adventure.

and finishing Marco’s complex phrases

with “Woo!” right on cue. This local

crew was fantastic! They were super

professional and beyond welcoming.

The venue was a huge hall at the

Musician’s Union, which also has a

music school and shop on campus.

The show ended around 5:00 p.m.,

followed by nearly TWO HOURS

of autograph signings, and they still

couldn’t get to everybody! It was so

sad, but we had to go. Even when

the van came to the side entrance to

pick us up, people found out and were

still trying to get autographs, while

screaming, “I love you!”, shaking the

van, and drawing hearts and drums on

the windows. It was incredible to see

the guys getting all the adoration they

deserve! I really wish we could have

met everyone in Mexico City today,

but we have to get on another plane


Travel Day

19 JUNE 2012 – (MEX to BOG)

A four-and-a-half hour flight from

Mexico City to Bogota, Colombia.

Today doesn’t seem too bad, but don’t

forget to add the 2+ hours at Mexico

City Airport, previous to the flight and

another 3+ at Bogota airport getting

through Customs and Immigration.

Bonkers!! At least the rain has stopped.

Bogota, Colombia



Day started with a really great press

conference with the three stars at 10:00 a.m.

Then, the crew headed over to the venue

at noon to start setup. Today’s venue was a

super cool theatre called the Down Town

Majestic. Once again, the local crew was

incredible!! Can’t say enough about how

helpful and enthusiastic everyone was here.

The show started at 7:00 p.m. and over 1800

people filled the entire floor and balcony to

capacity. We ended at 10:00 p.m. and once

again the autograph session lasted almost as

long at the show. The guys managed to meet

and take photos with everyone. This crowd

was so warm. I love the people in Bogota!

Travel Day

21 JUNE 2012 – TRAVEL DAY (BOG to UIO)

Today’s flight from Bogota to Quito, Ecuador

was only an hour-and-a-half. Even with the

additional airport hours at both ends, we got

to the hotel at a reasonable time. Our host

invited us all to his home for dinner with his

family. And when I say “family” I mean the

WHOLE family: brothers, sisters, cousins,

children, EVERYONE! It was such an honor

to get to spend this special time with our

generous hosts. They seriously treated us

like royalty. Did I mention that they grilled

the most amazing things? There was sausage

and chicken and Ecuadorian steak and lots

of MEAT! It was all so delicious! Even this

vegetarian had to try a bite of the steak. After

dinner, they were gracious enough to give us

a little tour through town so we could witness

the beautiful architecture, monuments and

churches. It was an incredible night of

relaxing and just enjoying the experience


Quito, Equador

22 JUNE 2012 – SHOW DAY

Back to work! Load-in at 9:00 a.m.

Soundcheck starts at noon and the show

starts early, at 4:00 p.m. If I haven’t made

it clear enough already, our hosts and local

crew in Quito are unbeatable. It is an

absolute pleasure to work with them all. The

venue today was a very modern theatre on

a hill overlooking beautiful Quito. The guys

played flawlessly and had the crowd roaring

again. Sadly, this was the last show with

Alvaro, so it was bittersweet to hear his final

note tonight.

Travel Day


via LIM)

Unfortunately, the Mexican government

couldn’t grant the proper Brazilian visa to

Alvaro on time, so he isn’t able to join us on

the last stop in Sao Paulo. Fortunately for

him though, his flight home is not as long

as ours today. The rest of us had a nearly

thirteen-hour day of travel from Quito to Sao

Paulo with a connection through Lima, Peru.

The view of the Andes mountain range from

the plane sure was spectacular!

Day Off!

24 JUNE 2012 – DAY OFF!

Except for another really great press

conference this morning at 11:00 a.m., today

we get to enjoy a day off. YAY! The guys

definitely deserve it. So, it’s time to just

explore Sao Paulo with our fantastic hosts, do

a little shopping and rest up for the big finale


Show Day


Everyone told us we were going to have

a blast in Sao Paulo, and they were right.

The people here are so fantastic! Once

again, the local crew blew us away with

kindness. Load-in started at 11:00 a.m., with

soundchecks starting at 2:00 p.m. The venue,

Teatro Mix FM, was really nice and the sound

there was excellent. Since Alvaro couldn’t

be with us for this performance, local DW

artist, Robson Caffé, started the show at 6:00

p.m. The audience loved their hometown

hero, and Marco and Chester welcomed him

with open arms, as well. Everyone sounded

incredible tonight. Show ended at 9:00 p.m.

Now it’s time for the final autograph session

and tear-down. Then, it’s time to celebrate!!

Travel Day

26 JUNE 2012 – (GRU to HOME!)

I’m so very sad that we’ll all be going our

separate ways today. This tour was way too

quick and we all want to keep going, but

it will certainly be nice to get home. After

about a twenty-hour travel day for most of us,

we’re back to Los Angeles. Well, guess I’d

better settle in. Thank you everyone! We had

an awesome time meeting you on this trek.

Hope to see more of you out there very soon.

Who knows where the next DW International

clinic tour will take us? Don’t forget to check

www.dwdrums.com/edu/calendar.asp for the

latest dates and educational happenings.






Late Night television is as much of an institution as it is

entertainment. While there are many elements that shape our

fondness for particular shows (writing, time slot, guests, etc.), the

factors that really set their tone, ambiance and pace are the host

(and sidekick, if applicable) and the band. Yes, I am positing that

the members of the band are as important as the host in terms

of setting the energy and mood of the program. And since the

drummer is the heart of the band, they have a huge responsibility

that helps dictate the timing and tempo of the show itself. I

was lucky enough to sit down with three of the most watched/

respected drummers from the world of late night television to talk

about their gigs, schedules, and expectations while gaining some

insight as to what their daily routine is like. After visiting with

Shawn Pelton (Saturday Night Live), James Wormworth (Conan),

and Jonathan Dresel (Jimmy Kimmel Live!) I quickly realized

that their level of expertise and adaptability, combined with an

ever-present light-heartedness, is what sets them apart from the

average drummer. These guys are the pro’s pros and after getting

a taste of what their jobs demand, I can honestly say that I will

watch their shows with a newfound respect and admiration from

here on out.

Have you ever been called in to work on your day off and

been happy about it? Me neither. That is, until I was asked to

interview Shawn Pelton on a mid-summer Saturday afternoon.

Mr. Pelton (affectionately nicknamed, Cat Daddy) gave a clinic

for an event at the DW factory where he demonstrated his

groove-oriented styles, playing along with tracks that he had

recorded with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Kelly Clarkson, and Bruce

Springsteen. After giving the most relatable and comical Q&A





EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

Late Night

by Brook Dalton

and autograph sessions I’ve ever seen at a clinic, we sat down to

discuss his playing in the SNL Band.

I asked Shawn to describe his rehearsal routine for the show.

Even though I knew that he is a twenty year veteran with SNL,

implying a second-nature familiarity with what his job requires,

I was somewhat shocked at his response. He explained that the

band rehearses one day a week, that day being the Saturday of the

broadcast (occasionally, he is needed on a Friday if he sits in with

the musical guest, but that rarely occurs). According to Pelton,

“SNL is so interesting because it’s evolved over the years. We

(the band) show up Saturday morning and we have the stage from

11:00 am until 1:00 pm, then the actors do a long dress rehearsal

until 8:00. Then, we do a run-through of the show. At 11:00, we

do a warm-up set for the crowd and start the show at 11:30.” It is

mind-blowing to me that one of the most viewed and historically

respected television shows continually comes together and is,

literally, finalized in the eleventh hour. Furthermore, Shawn

explained that the 8:00 run-through contains an extra thirty

minutes of material that may or may not make it into that night’s

show, depending on the reaction at rehearsal. One advantage

of a schedule like this lies in the fact that Saturday Night Live

broadcasts about twenty-two episodes per year, filming from

September through May, whereas shows like Conan and Jimmy

Kimmel Live! shoot that many episodes in about six weeks.

Pelton spoke about some of the pressures of playing for

a live broadcast. Even though he has been doing this gig for

more than two decades, the nature of a live show (especially a

comedy show that is reputable for moments of zany impromptu)

still causes him to be “hyper-focused on what’s happening”

JAMeS WorMWorth


Photo Credit: MeghAn SinClAir/ teAM CoCo



Photo CourteSy of: JiMMy KiMMel live


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

ShAWn Pelton

JonAthAn dreSel

around him. While Shawn is a heavy

hitter and executes a pocket-oriented

precision, he compares his “mental

toughness” on the show to the “survival

skills” he incorporates while tracking in

the studio. He explained that some of

the problems that come about aren’t with

the band itself, but with a host or actor

that needs to keep time on certain skits

that have a musical piece accompanying

them. “There have been music moments

when we were playing behind somebody

in a monologue or skit and they’ll skip

a beat or skip a line because they’re not

musicians, they’re actors or actresses

trying to do their thing…and that can be

really stressful. Maybe they don’t ever do

the same thing the same way twice but

we have to commit to the performance

and structure of the song.” It’s a testament

to the professionalism and quick-thinking

of Pelton, and the rest of the eleven-piece

SNL Band, that issues like this don’t

translate very often in the broadcast.

After all, as Shawn pointed out, “Live TV

is filmed without a safety net.”

Days after meeting with Pelton,

Scott Donnell (Director of Marketing

for Drum Workshop) and I drove to the

Warner Brothers studio in Burbank to

visit with James ‘Worm’ Wormworth

on the set of the Conan show. After

passing through several security stations,

I was immediately hit with the sensory

overload of the studio’s back lot. It was

a scene straight out of Pee-wee’s Big

Adventure, just as I hoped it would be. A

surreal landscape with palpable energy.

Employees racing around on bikes,

large, weird props everywhere (wooden

bulls, canoes, a ten-foot bust of Conan

O’Brien’s head), and stage builders

hammering away. Mr. Wormworth took

us past the set to an instrument-filled

sound room backstage where he, and the

rest of the Jimmy Vivino and the Basic

Cable Band, goes over songs before the

actual rehearsals for the show.

I asked Worm about his preparation

for the show, and it struck me that while

the yearly quantity of episodes for Conan

is much larger than SNL’s, the format of the

rehearsals is nearly the same. The show

airs Monday through Thursday, with the

band arriving daily at noon and preparing

until their 1:00 run-through with the

whole crew. As the ever-smiling drummer

explained his routine, it became clear just

how creative, eclectic, and adaptable he

needs to be for this gig. For instance, the

show that was airing that night required

song selections ranging from Baliwood,

Blues, and Rockabilly. Worm told us

that his ability to play/learn a spectrum

of music came from his time as a gigging

musician in New York, as a member of

the Musician’s Union. He explained, “If

you’re going to be a New York drummer,

you have to be able to answer the call”

and with an excited air, acknowledged,

“I’m still learning all the time!” Even

though the music being played for the

show is often on the air for a short while,

James specifically stated, “The two most

important things for us are: 1) Heading

out to commercial together, getting it right

every single time and 2) When we come

back from commercial, we need to end all

together. And we take pride in doing that.”

Aside from the daily pressure and

expectation that Wormworth deals with, it

is abundantly clear that he loves his job

and he realizes how important it is to have

the right attitude for a gig like this. “It’s so

much fun, man. My job is to, basically,

come to work and laugh for a few hours.”

He likens it to being able to play with

his friends in the sandbox. The barefoot

basher states, “The whole day is filled with

laughter, but when it’s time to make the

hit, that’s what we do. That’s what we’re

here to do.” I asked him if the band’s

relationship with Conan is strengthened

because the host is also a musician and

understands their role better than someone

who has little, or no, musical training.

“Absolutely! Conan loves to play music

and he’s a drummer, too. Sometimes

during commercial breaks, he’ll come

over and boot me off of the drums and start

whacking around on them.” How cool is

that? This level of familiarity and mutual

love of music definitely adds to the feel

of the show and provides an on-set bond

that is one-of-a-kind. Worm refers to the

disposition of the band as “professionally

loose” and it’s demonstrated with their

spot-on playing and the sincere smiles on

their faces on any given night.

Whereas the studio for the Conan

show is on a walled lot, the Jimmy Kimmel

Live! show tapes at the El Capitan Theatre

in the heart of Hollywood Blvd. As

Jonathan Dresel led us to the rehearsal, we

had to pass through throngs of folks on the

street, some dressed as movie characters,

some doing street performances, all of

them energetic. Once inside, Mr. Dresel

showed us the theatre’s world-famous

green room, the backstage area, the band’s

hang out room (complete with dozens

of funny quotes/inside jokes written on

scraps of paper that they have amassed

over the years hanging on the walls), and

the stage, featuring a framed pair of Gary

Coleman’s pants above the venue’s seats


Like the Conan show, they film

Monday through Thursday with rehearsals

starting around noon, at which time the

band (Cleto and the Cletones) learns

a selection of songs and goes over the

bumper music for the show, sometimes

picking tunes that are specifically related

to certain guests. We watched Jonathan

and the band run through four songs,

including a Foo Fighters cover, for that

night’s episode. Incidentally, I asked all

three of the gentlemen for this article if

there were ever any drummers that played

as guests on their shows that really stood

out to them, and they all responded with,

“Dave Grohl.” Jonathan explained that

the band gets to choose the bumper music

and that he charts out the music for the

show during the previous night. He has

even written some original songs for the

show, demonstrating that “everybody gets

a taste of the process.” At 1:00, Jimmy

Kimmel, along the writers and producers,

took the stage to go over videos and

potential jokes for the monologue. Again,

like SNL and Conan, it is astounding to me

that these shows are having the material

written and finalized a mere hours before

being performed, but that is what allows

them to remain fresh and topical.

I have to say that getting to watch

Jonathan at work in rehearsal gave me

a deep appreciation for the level of

professionalism that he and his band mates

display. They learned a handful of songs,

never playing one more than twice, while

making adjustments on the fly (“When we

play it tonight, make the verse four bars

shorter…”). Cleto asked for Dresel to

start with a ‘shaka-doom, shaka-doom,’

Jonathan knew exactly what he meant

and off they went. There is a conditioned

familiarity present with this band, as

Dresel says, “There is a lot of energy. This

is our tenth season together and because

we’re here so much we get to develop

relationships with each other.” When I

asked him about the immense audience

that he plays for nightly, he acknowledged

that he factors in the viewership while

playing, “We’re playing for the audience,

that’s why we’re here.” Like Pelton and

Wormworth, when watching Dresel play,

it is obvious just how much he enjoys

what he’s doing. As he told us, “Music is

about having fun.” Trust me, it shows.

These three musicians understand

the hard work and sacrifice that it takes to

get, and keep, the jobs they have earned

(between the three of them, they average

fifteen years with their shows). All of them

have transplanted from long distances in

order to play music, they had extensively

trained and studied before landing the

gigs that led to their television roles, and

they adhere to an open-mindedness that is

essential in dealing with both people and

music. They are lucky in the sense that

their shows are entertaining and varied

from one episode to the next, as to keep

things continually fresh and innovative

for them. As Jonathan Dresel says, “There

is a danger in being complacent.” As

viewers and fans, we are lucky, too. Pay

attention to these drummers the next time

you watch one of their programs. Chances

are, they will be playing with a heartfelt,

abundant energy while smiling from earto-ear.

These guys are enthusiastic about

their instruments, they appreciate their

jobs, and they love being able to perform

for the audience. Night after night.





Photo Credit: liSA JohnSon


eriC hernAndez

EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

AtoM WillArd

StACy JoneS


Gigs by Atom Willard

Change. A lot of people avoid it at all

costs, while others seek it out on a

daily basis. At the end of the day, it simply

can’t be avoided. Unquestionably, this

rule holds true for working drummers.

There’s a constant ebb and flow of gigs,

bands, producers, songs, side projects…

and then, there’s the most amazing gig that

fulfills every aspect, the creative AND the

realistic (meaning you can pay your bills

and, ultimately, live the dream while doing

it). Today, I’m talking with two guys that

have embraced change throughout their

careers and, for right now, it’s paying off

big time.

Stacy Jones has been in plenty of bands,

and not just as the drummer. He’s done

it all, from singing, songwriting and

producing, to being the Musical Director

for pop princess, Mylie Cyrus. Versatility

is Stacy’s middle name, and most recently,

he finds himself behind the kit for a massive

tour to support Matchbox 20’s latest effort.

So, what does it take to land the big gigs

and keep them? I asked Stacy to let us in

on his magic formula.

Then, there’s Eric Henandez, the softspoken,

Brooklyn-born, Hawaiian-raised

risk-taker. This former law enforcement

officer left the comfort of home to make it

in L.A. He embraced the unknown and hit

the big time with his employer and brother,

Bruno Mars. In retrospect, he made the

right move, but did he ever have doubts?

Maybe talent, people skills, faith and luck

are enough to get the big gig.

T hese days, drumming gigs are more competitive than ever.

Big money record deals are few-and-far-between, tours are

downsizing and emerging artists are easily lost in the shuffle.

So, how does a drummer get one of the big gigs, the kind that

has them playing on SNL one week and on major European road

dates the next? We asked our favorite staff writer, and ‘big gig’

drummer in his own right, Atom Willard, to sit down with Bruno

Mars’ Eric Hernandez and Matchbox 20’s Stacy Jones to get

the skinny on drumming for a superstar act. True, the music

business is changing, but there are still plenty of big gigs.


ATOM: Stacy, tell me about the gig with

Matchbox 20. The band has been around

a long time!

STACY: 20 years. Well not quite 20 years,

but a long time.

AW: That’ll be a big party when they do hit

20, right?

SJ: Yeah, I would imagine, but it’s already

kind of a party. Even just at rehearsals,

these are great guys to work with.

AW: So, Eric, how did your gig come about?

Did you guys audition, know somebody, or

were you referred?

ERIC: Well, sort of. Bruno Mars is my


AW: What? Really? Literally?

EH: Yep. I come from a strong musical

family and background. We’re all pretty

into music and that includes my little

brother, Bruno Mars. So, he is my brother

and my boss at the same time.

AW: Oh, that’s awesome, and kind of

terrible all at once.

EH: [Laughter].

SJ: Yeah, I did audition (for Matchbox 20),

but I’ve known these guys for a long time. I

knew them before they were called MB20,

when they were called, Tabitha’s Secret,

and my band, Letters to Cleo, played a show

with them. It was one of the first shows we

had played out of town and where people

were actually there to see us.

AW: That’s always a good feeling.

SJ: Yeah, so T.S. was opening the show,

and it was some kind of street fest or beer

fest, and at the end of the show I trashed

the drum kit. Partly, because that’s what

you did in the 90’s, but mainly because we

wanted the audience to know that we were

finished. We didn’t have any more songs to

play. It was a rental kit, and even though it

looked destroyed it wasn’t really that bad,

but after the show as I was hanging out with

the (future MB20) guys, these cops showed

up and tried to arrest me for wrecking the

drum kit! I was able to talk my way out of

it. Now it’s something that whenever I’ve

run into them over the years with my other

bands, we always have a laugh about it. In

fact, American Hi-Fi opened for MB20 in

2004 and it’s always been good with us.

The original drummer, Paul, is still in the


AW: Wait, what??

SJ: Yeah, he plays guitar now. They had an

unofficial “5th member” guitar player who

left in 2006 and Paul just decided to play

guitar. Now, I’m playing drums. I’m super

stoked on it. I love the guys, I love the

music, and stylistically, it’s perfect for me.

I get to hammer out some tunes and play

some more subtle groovy-type of stuff too.

AW: That’s kind of my next question. Did

either of you guys have to make any big

adjustments to your playing styles for these


EH: Well, the biggest change for me isn’t

stylistic, it’s just being aware that more




people are watching, and people are

listening. It’s a good change. You know,

more than ever I’m aware that when we’re

doing The Grammys or SNL, there are a lot

of people watching! It’s also that I’m always

being reminded that I’m actually doing this.

I’m here playing drums in Switzerland, or

wherever, and this is really happening! This

is my job! I’m living my dream.

AW: Yeah, that TV soundstage might not

be so big, but that camera right there, that


EH: Right. So I just have to not psych myself

out when we’re doing those things.

SJ: For me, the biggest change is that I’m

playing pretty much exactly what is on

the records, because the main thing that I

wanted to do was to represent Paul (original

drummer). He’s such a great drummer, and

he comes up with really great, creative

parts. Basically, I learned everything note

for note, fills, parts, everything. I watched

YouTube to see what he was doing live, and

even checked out the (temporary) drummer

and what he was doing and kind of just did

all my homework.

AW: It’s got to be a little intimidating,

because the guy is in the band, and

watching you the whole time!

SJ: Yeah, totally! Especially, since I loved

his parts so much, and respect him as a

great musician and a really talented guy.

Sitting up there and having everyone staring

at me, including the guy who invented the

parts, is a little bit daunting, but it’s a nice

challenge. Our styles are so similar. We’re

both hard hitters, and tend to play for the


AW: Do you get to “go off” a little bit, or is

it pretty straight ahead?

EH: Well, most of Bruno’s success is

based on four chords; he likes to keep it

simple. So, he likes it to stay like that, and

sometimes I’ll try to interpret the music

my own way, whether it’s a fill here, or me

trying to chop up some drums there. He’ll

put a stop to it and say, “Hey man, just play

the song.” Sometimes he just has to remind

me and, you know, he’s right.

SJ: Sometimes, I’ll do some things that


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

weren’t there before and I’ll get the nod or

wink from Paul or the bass player. I’ll be

squeezing in this Tony Williams lick that I

learned from Greg Bissonette and no one

seems to notice. So, that’s cool, but in fact,

yesterday we were playing this shuffle, and

I did this long straight 8th snare fill over the

shuffle and I got the, “Um, I don’t think so”

look. [Laughter].

AW: Do either one of you guys play to

tracks or clicks?

EH: Nope, no tracks, no clicks. In fact,

we’re up to a nine piece band with a

complete horn section. We used to play

shows with just Bruno on guitar, then bass

and keys, but we’ve been adding guys, lead

guitar, then the horns, and we’ve been a

complete live act the whole time. We’ve

tried some tracks here or there, but it’s

never really worked out. Bruno likes the

freedom; he is a showman, and he might

just go off on a tangent, so he doesn’t want

to stick to a format.

AW: So how does that work? Does he mix

it up a lot? Does he call out audibles?

EH: Yeah, he calls ‘em all the time, especially

in a live concert situation, but not on TV.

It’s not one of those things where you can

just go on auto pilot, because he will call

them (changes), and you’re waiting.

SJ: Yeah, with MB20 there are no tracks

either. This is their first full album in, like,

ten years and there are some new sounds

and samples, but we are triggering all of

those live. We have an auxiliary player,

Matt Beck, who can play anything and

everything, and he’ll trigger all the loop

stuff manually, either a one bar phrase or

single sounds.

AW: So it has more of a human feel, right?

SJ: Yeah, it has a much more natural feel to

it. Plus, I’m on a click for 85% of the show.

It’s something they wanted to try, and I’ve

spent the last few years with Mylie and that

whole show is on a click, so I almost get

weirder when I don’t have it now.

AW: I’m the exact same way.

SJ: The thing is this, if you play to the click

like it’s another instrument or another

person that you’re playing with, it can

be a really comfortable feeling. If you’re

glued to it, and you can’t deviate from it, it

can feel really bad, but I like to play loose

around it. With some songs I can feel the

bass player pushing and I can play on top,

and when that chorus comes I know that I’ll

synch it back for the verse. I know exactly

how far to go.

AW: Yeah, I feel like it gives me a freedom,

like I can push through a bridge or

whatever and not get outside of the song’s

comfort zone.

SJ: I agree. Sometimes, your perceptions are

©2012 Drum Workshop, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

off or you just got off a 14 hour flight and

you’re sleep deprived and the adrenaline

kicks in. It really helps in those situations.

It’s not like a ball-and-chain to me at all. If

you can do that, and be loose with it and

feel natural doing it, the click can be a

really great tool.

AW: Amen, brother!

SJ: [Laughter].

AW: Eric, how long have you been in this

incarnation of the band?

EH: Since 2008, but we’ve been doing this,

really, since we were kids. Back in Hawaii,

growing up, we had our family show, a 60’s

review-type band. That’s where we got our

start on stage. Then, we both kind of went

our own way. When we turned 18, we did

our own thing for a few years and I ended

up leaving a really good gig in Hawaii to

come to L.A.

AW: So, you’re pretty familiar with each

other musically.

EH: Yeah, we’ve been playing together in

so many different projects, even Top 40

acts at pubs. I really know him and what

he’s going to do. I feel when he wants

to transition to the B-Section. I already

know, either by a riff he does or what his

voice is doing. So, I feel that kid, and it’s

our history that makes it easy.

AW: Have there been any “getting to

know you” moments with the band? Also,

any weird musical things, song starts or


EH: Yeah, man. Even though we’re all

pretty mellow, easy going dudes, there’s

still a “feel-out” process when someone

new comes into the band. You know, like

is this person cool, is he level-headed and

gonna gel with the band and the music?

Are they here for the right reasons? End of




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the day, we’re bros, we’ve got love for each

other. Oh, and it’s also super important

that they’re clean! Good hygiene is a

plus, because we’re gonna live together in

close quarters on a bus or flying on a plane

and I’m not a fan of dirty, stinky people.


SJ: Absolutely. If you listen to MB20 and

really check them out, there are some

very intricate arrangements and really

interesting ways of starting songs. Like,

there’s a “bar of 5 situation” that’s hard

to notice. Another thing I’ve never done

before is have a trigger set up with a

cowbell sound that only the guys can hear.

I keep time for them, so whenever I have a

pause, I gotta remember to keep it going.

And yeah, the count-ins, learning what

everyone is most comfortable with, there’s

a little bit of a learning curve with that too.

AW: Is there anything that you maybe

haven’t done before or something you

don’t really like to do, but it’s part of the


SJ: I really have to say that with this gig and

with my last gig, there really hasn’t been

anything like that. There are definitely

things that, you know, I wouldn’t have

played that way, but that’s what makes Paul

so unique, and makes Matchbox who they

are. It’s good for me to play those parts

and learn to play them naturally, to make

them feel like I have been playing them for

20 years.

AW: That’s pretty insightful, to be able to

see it as a challenge.

SJ: Totally! It’s not that I don’t like it, or

whatever, just that it’s different.

EH: The only thing that makes me

uncomfortable on this gig is when I’m

asked to play in a suit. You might have

seen us on several TV shows in fitted suits.

Don’t get me wrong, I love to clean up and

look dapper in a nice suit, but I can’t stand

playing drums in one! I’ve had sticks get

stuck in my sleeve and then pop out of my

hands. I’ve had the kick beater get caught

in my pant cuff...uhhhhh, frustrating! Plus,

I’m kind of stocky, so a fitted suit just

restrains me. Then, I start to over-think

how uncomfortable I am, stressing myself

out. I get the whole “look” thing, and


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

when I watch it back it looks great. I watch

drummers smash on the kit fully suited-up

too. I envy that, I just can’t do it.

AW: Have there been any changes to your


EH: Typically, I have been doing a 10” or

12” tom up top and two floors, which are

14” and 16”. Right now, I’m trying both

the 10” and 12” up top, but offset, a little to

the left. Then, 14x14” and 16x16” floors,

but I have been experimenting with flipflopping

the floors, so the 16” is closest.

AW: Cool. What size kick are you running?

EH: I have a 16X20” and an 18X22”. I’ve

been playing the 18x22” more lately.

They’re all the Jazz Series. I’m really happy

with these drums.

SJ: The biggest change for me is that I have

just done a deal with DW.

AW: Yeah!

SJ: I’ve really never had a “real deal” before

and I’m totally thrilled. To just look at the

drums, how they’re made, and the shells

are so nice, and they’re made in the states.

AW: Such a big thing.

SJ: Yeah! It’s a really big thing that they are

made here and are so incredible.

AW: Which series are you playing?

SJ: I’ve been on a 24” kick for a long time

and decided that an 18x22”is a perfect fit

for this gig. I’m also playing a 12” rack and

16” and 18” floors.

AW: Which series?

SJ: The Collectors Series with the VLX

shells for the kick and two floors, it really

sounds great!

AW: Changing gears. What would you like

to pass on to up-and-coming drummers

trying to get into a situation similar to


EH: Well, if you think that this is what

you’re supposed to be doing and it’s your

universe, then you keep doing it, no matter

how many times you get shut down. If it’s

supposed to happen, if it’s the path you’re

supposed to lead, then it’s going to happen.

Also, one thing I’ve learned from playing,

not only in a family environment, but with

other players as well, is to play the music.

Sometimes I tend to over think or over play.

I’ll be trying to do some cool lick I saw on

YouTube and I’ll try to put it in the show,

but it doesn’t always fit the format. Then,

I’m not supporting the song or the artist

properly. Know what the vibe of the song

is and play the song correctly, because it’s

not for you, it’s for the audience. If you’re

in a high-profile gig, you need play the

song the way people have grown to love

it. We musicians try to flip things around

because we get bored, and we’ve played it

so many damn times, but coming out of the

gate you need to know how to hold back

and play it like the record. The audience is

the reason we’re there, so give them what

they want. Support the song.

SJ: I’ve only auditioned for a couple things,

and one of them was Smashing Pumkins

when Matt Walker was just out of the band.

I walk in and there’s a drumset set up and

it’s very obvious whose kit it is (Kenny

Aronoff), with the rack toms reversed and

a super low seat. They tell me I can’t move

anything. I play through a few songs and I

come out and Kenny is there, and he gives

me this big bear hug and says I was great

and everything, but I knew, I just knew it

wasn’t my gig. I think I even knew it when

I was on the plane to go there. So, you

have to trust your instincts.

AW: That’s hard to do because you think

you really need that gig.

SJ: Yeah! But it just felt wrong. You have

to know what’s right for you and don’t be

discouraged. With this gig, I knew right

from the start that this was something I

really, really wanted to do. I’m not saying

don’t go on auditions, you always should

because, if nothing else, you will learn

from it. But if you don’t get it, it’s okay.

It just wasn’t meant to be. So, yeah, trust

your instincts and be prepared! Know the

music better than you know anything! Get

up there and play with confidence. The

drummer needs to drive the bus. That’s

what the band needs and what the people



Aaron Sterling John Mayer



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Chad Wackerman James Taylor

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©2012 Drum Workshop, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Photo Credit: CrAig renWiCK



EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013


for the

eil peart writes about

N his preparations for

Rush’s Clockwork Angels tour,

launching in September, 2012.

During the mixing of our Clockwork

Angels album in January, 2012, Alex and

Geddy and I started making plans for the

upcoming tour. The first show would not

be until September, but after thirty-eight

years as a touring band our musical and

visual presentations have grown ever

more elaborate. The staging, lighting, and

effects are enhanced by rear-screen films

that lend much drama and comedy, and

these ambitious productions take time to


Similarly, our live show is always

highly demanding physically, as we, and

our audiences, naturally tend to prefer

our most energetic and hard-hitting songs

for the concert stage. As the one who has

to do that hard hitting, my physical state

also requires some preparation. The ideal

timing for me is when tour rehearsals

follow a winter season of cross-country

skiing and snowshoeing, or a summer of

swimming and rowing. Those are natural

and enjoyable ways to build one’s stamina.

However, the seasons did not so

converge this time. I knew I would be

facing the most physically demanding

Rush tour ever, and I would be turning

sixty as the tour got underway. So in

February, while we were still mixing, I

began visiting my local Y three times a

week, and continued that fairly religiously

for the next four months.

A twenty-minute bicycle ride across

town, with my workout gear stuffed

into a backpack, is a decent warm-up.

Changing at the lockers, I trade the helmet

for a bandana, to keep the sweat out of

my eyes (the same purpose as the hats I

wear while drumming). My first ritual is a

thirty-minute session on the cross-training



machine, where I ease into something like

the rhythm of cross-country skiing (though

without the pretty setting). Keeping a

fast, steady pace against a fairly high

resistance, I raise my heart-rate to near

my recommended maximum, and keep it


A row of those machines, along with

treadmills and other types of ellipticals,

overlooks the pool, and I often seem to be

there when a geriatric water aerobics class

is underway. It is not exciting to watch. I

just keep pumping, and think my thoughts.

Some people like listening to music while

they exercise, but that has never worked

for me. It’s the same with motorcycling

and skiing — some like music along for

the ride, but I feel that those activities, like

music appreciation, are “exclusive” states

of mind, wanting no distractions. The only

activity I combine with music is driving,

because long trips by car are clearly made

for listening to music. For me, exercise

is an act of will, and not conducive to

listening, reading, or creative thinking.

So the time passes slowly. On the crosstrainer,

I watch the red LEDs displaying

time, distance, heart rate, calories burned,

and level of resistance, and rarely go as

long as a minute without checking the

clock’s achingly slow progress. I count

down each fraction of a minute, and each

fraction of the thirty minutes. “That’s one

fifth . . . that’s one third . . .”

One time I got into trying to see how

many sevens I could post on the screens

(I think I got up to six). Suffice to say, it’s

painfully tedious. It takes a huge effort

of will to get me there, and to push me

through my routine. But it works.

One morning I was grumbling about

going to the Y and my wife, Carrie, said,

“But you love the Y!”

I could only stare at her in disbelief.

How can a guy be so misunderstood?

I make myself go there, and feel good

by Neil Peart

for having done it — physically and

“morally” — but I do not love it. Quite the

contrary. I told Carrie, “If there were a pill

I could take that made me feel the way I

do after exercising, I would take that pill


After thirty minutes I am well pumped

and sweated, and I go to the mats for

a program of yoga and calisthenics.

Back in 2000, when I first moved to Los

Angeles, I combined my Y workouts with

yoga classes several times a week, and I

believe the effect was enduring, keeping

me balanced and flexible and preventing


Since then I have incorporated the

most useful poses and transitions into my

own workouts. Standing on the mat, I do

a series of neck and shoulder rolls, then

work through the standing poses of the Sun

Salutations, holding each pose for a count

of twenty Mississippis. I especially like

one of the Warrior poses, standing on one

foot (gaze fixed on a distant point) with the

other leg held back by its matching hand

and stretching everything in that direction.

Triangle is nice too. Lunges not so much

— but, they feel...worthwhile. Then

Downward Dog into Plank, and Upward

Dog, each for that count of twenty Old

Man Rivers, three times around — a flow

of motion and pose called a vinyasa.

(Lately I avoid pushups, as I do heavy

weights, because they expose weaknesses

— like a long-ago fall while skiing that

remains vulnerable to over-exertion of my

left shoulder). Then a few sitting stretches,

all adding up to about twenty minutes.

Next, bent-knee situps on the board,

inclined upward. I think twenty-five or so

is good (because I’ve had enough by then).

My brother, Danny, is a personal

trainer by profession, and over the years

I have often consulted him about my

workouts. With the weight machines,

Danny counseled me to alternate muscle




groups, so I’ll do leg presses, bicep

curls and tricep presses, leg curls, chest

presses, leg lifts, and high-lat pulldowns.

I do twenty reps of each, and for me, the

appropriate weights have gravitated to

50, 70, and 90 pounds, depending on the

muscle group. In the free-weight room,

I do twenty chest flys with 15-pound

dumbbells on an inclined bench.

Then comes a cooling reward of sorts

— a long swim. If it were summer at the

lake, and swimming and rowing my only

workouts, I would row around the lake

— about three miles — then swim up the

shore to the next dock and back for a mile.

But in the gym, after all that other sweaty

exertion, a quarter-mile swim — fourteen

laps of front crawl, two of breast stroke —

is ample, and relatively pleasant.

It is unlucky that my bicycle ride home

is all uphill — albeit gentle. I had the same

situation when I lived in Toronto, and

wished it were reversed. But at least the

grocery store is on the way home, because

another important aspect of fitness is diet,

of course. Being the meal-planner, grocery

shopper, and cook in our house (Chef

Bubba is a working homemaker), our

meals always offer a healthy assortment

of nutrients. Lots of fish and chicken,

steamed vegetables in multiple colors, and

a comforting carbohydrate. I also believe

in a daily multivitamin as a supplement

(and single malt whisky, when the day’s

work is done).

From February until June I maintained

that regimen, then on June 25th I started

my drum rehearsals at the Drum Channel

studio with my tech, Lorne “Gump”

Wheaton. Geddy once joked that I was the

only musician he knew who “rehearsed to

rehearse,” but I like to be prepared — and

as we’ll see, I need the workout. Gump

and I would have three-and-a-half weeks

to work on the songs, smooth out any

technological problems, and dream up

some new solo ideas. This is my favorite

part of the touring process because I begin

the day at home with my family, then have

a challenging and satisfying hard day’s

work, and end up at home cooking the

family dinner and sleeping in my own

bed. And it includes one of the world’s

best commutes, fifty miles up the Pacific


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

Coast Highway and back every day. You

really cannot beat that.

During those months between, Alex,

Geddy, and I exchanged many emails on

the subject of the setlist — what new songs

we would play, and which old ones we

wanted to either keep or resurrect. Gump

made me playlists of the proposed sets,

pulling together the recorded versions of

the songs for me to play along with. For the

first few days we had the band’s longtime

programmer, Jim Burgess, on hand to set

up the sampling arrays for the new and old

songs, and to provide me with some new

soundscapes for my solo.

Our friendly neighborhood Roland

man, Drew, dropped off a set of the

new V-Drums, the TD-30, for me to try.

They were set up beside my main kit,

and I gradually worked my way through

the presets, looking for useful sounds or

setups, and admiring the new level of

dynamic sensitivity Roland has achieved

with them.

The main kit would be the same one

I used for the Time Machine tour — the

custom DW drums and Sabian cymbals —

because, like that tour, the visual design

was already built upon the Clockwork

Angels steampunk theme. The album had

been recorded with those drums (except

the first two songs, recorded earlier on the

Snakes and Arrows kit). Gump had spent a

few days tearing it down and “restoring” it,

and it looked and sounded as amazing as


After such a long period of

conditioning, I came in physically strong,

but the only real training for drumming

is drumming. See, it’s all that hitting.

Irresistible force strikes immovable object

and that . . . a few thousand times.

In professional athletics this approach

is called sport-specific training. Cyclists

have to cycle and runners have to run.

However, it remains true that all of the

advance fitness work I did gave me the

foundation to build on.

But during that first week of hard

drumming, each night I went home aching

all over, and woke up feeling even worse.

But, as I always say, it’s okay if I hurt

everywhere, and not in one specific place.

Not my back, or shoulder, or knee, but

“from my nose to my toes.”

Still, it’s pain.

But it’s necessary. The thing is, I like

to hit the drums hard — for the primitive

physical satisfaction of it, but mostly for

the sound. For example, my backbeat on

the snare is almost always full-force across

the head and the rim, and I like to hit the

toms hard for both definition and a slight

detuning effect under hard impact that

gives a “throatier” tone.

By the second week, the fatiguing

nature of that trauma began to subside a

little (though it never stops, really, for the

remainder of the tour). I enjoyed relearning

some songs from the mid-’80s we hadn’t

played for many years, like “Grand

Designs,” “Territories,” “Middletown

Dreams,” and “Manhattan Project” and I

could tell they were going to sound better

than the records (because we play better

now than we did back then). But it soon

became clear to me that the proposed sets

were way too long. Typically, we like to

play a one-hour first set, take a twentyminute

intermission (before which Geddy

always makes an announcement along

the lines of, “We have to take a break —

’cause we’re about a hundred”), then play

another hour and thirty or forty minutes.

Gump and I could tell the two setlists

I was playing to would add up to much

more than that, and we would need to

drop at least four songs. However, there

were no obvious candidates, and when I

mentioned this reality to Alex and Geddy,

the three of us couldn’t agree on dropping

any. So I suggested something different

for us: putting together two shows, Show

A and Show B, that would alternate four

different songs each night. In the past we

had always preferred a fixed format for

the setlist, and when confronted with only

one or two songs in excess, we would

either knuckle down and play them, or

drop them for time constraints. This time,

somehow the idea seemed more attractive

to us when it was bigger (as it should).

It did mean having to learn that many

more songs, and work them out musically,

technically, and production-wise, but it

seemed worthwhile — even just because

it was different.

I faced a similar dilemma with my

solo. In the recent past I had always

performed a long solo, around nine

minutes, somewhere in the middle of the

second set. But...during the mixing of

Clockwork Angels, our co-producer, Nick

Raskulinecz, an irrepressible “enabler,”

insisted that I had to do my solo out of

the drum break in “Headlong Flight.” It

happened that that song would appear

around the middle of the second set, but

— ¡Jesu Christo! — “Headlong Flight”

is a fast-paced seven-minute song, in

the middle of a fast-paced hour-long

performance of the Clockwork Angels

songs, with another thirty or forty minutes

still to go. Plus, coming out of that drum

break I will still need to drive through a

long guitar solo, another verse, bridge,

and a double chorus, all at a fast tempo.

To say the least, it was daunting.

But...once again I applied some

“polyrhythmic thinking.”

What if I did two shorter solos, one in

each set?

Ooh, yes — that had possibilities.

I described the idea in an email to my

estimable teacher, Peter Erskine, as well

as reporting on an important observation

I began to have in the latter days of these


This time my former marathon-length solo

will be divided into two -- in the first set, an

old-school, all-acoustic venture with classic

rudiments and solo stylings, then in the

second set, a more textural, electronic, and

melodic outing.

And...both of them will start out

completely improvised (I say “start out”

because inevitably you fall into themes and

patterns you like, but that’s okay--and within

the “spirit” of exploration).

So that’s huge.

Also, I had the realization in the past

week or so, as the playing started to come

together, that these days, “I am playing the

way I always wanted to play.”

Meaning that for all these 47 years I

have been working toward this combination

of technique, power, and feel -- “chops and

groove.” That’s a nice feeling.

Shame it took so long! But...

Of course it’s not really a “shame”

— that’s just how long it took. As another

estimable teacher, Freddie Gruber, used to

say before his passing in 2011, “It is what

it is.” I always insisted to both Freddie and

Peter that I was a slow learner, but a good

student, because I would practice and

keep trying — even if it took forty-seven


During these rehearsals, I found that

when I played along with the old songs

we hadn’t performed for a long time, like

when I went into the upbeat ride patterns

of “Grand Designs,” it felt the way I wanted

that part to feel back in 1985, but had

only “approximated” it. Or when I played

the half-time sections of a new song like

“The Anarchist,” I could physically see

myself leaning back and away, playing at

full force yet comfortably sinking into the

groove of it — just “naturally.”

When I’m rehearsing on my own that

way, I know I’m starting to get somewhere

when I have to start changing my sweaty

clothes two or three times a day. In those

three-and-a-half weeks, I also dropped

at least ten pounds. (Obvious business

opportunity: “Do you want to lose weight

and tone your entire body — from your

nose to your toes? Sign up now for the

fabulous new, Bubba Drum Workout!”

It would be a counterpoint to another

weight loss program that claims to stop

insanity, only this one would be called,

with reference to the upcoming tour, “Start

the insanity!”)

Putting together a show like this one

will be is a grand adventure, no question.

I will never be jaded about that. But

like some Victorian explorer planning

an expedition to Africa or Antarctica,

the undertaking requires a great deal

of advance thinking and preparation, a

lot of people in our support crew (some

navigating without maps), and a goodly

amount of adaptability. No doubt there

will be suffering, too.

Right off the bat I will be away from

home for more than two months straight,

with band and production rehearsals

in Toronto, and the first leg of the tour.

The family will visit from time to time,

but still — that is a long exile from one’s

everyday life. Nearly forty years of such

a nomadic existence has adapted me

to being separated from my loved ones,

and taught me not to dwell on the sad

fact of it, but those at home do not share

that “partitioning.” Carrie now becomes

a single parent for the next five months.

Three-year-old Olivia has had most of a

year with Daddy being around, and now

she finds his absence unsettling — and

upsetting. As I have remarked before, I can

endure missing Olivia, but I can’t stand

her missing me.

For myself, there will be nights I won’t

want to “face the music” — won’t feel able

to go out there and drive myself that hard.

When I’ll be sore and tired, maybe ill, and

always homesick.

But those are not complaints — just

part of the price we pay for the privilege of

doing what we always wanted to do.

A joke my father loved when I was a

boy has always stayed with me — the one

about the man banging his head against a

brick wall, and when he is asked why, he

replies, “Because it feels so good when I


Touring can be like that. Or like

old Sisyphus, who was sentenced to an

eternity of pushing a boulder to the top

of a hill, only to have it roll down to the

bottom again.

But there are those nights when

everything goes just right — when the three

of us lock into a musical symbiosis that

transcends our earthbound humanity and

sweeps the audience into a momentary

spell. That is the timeless magic of live


And there are the days off, when my

motorcycle will carry me down remote

back roads through natural splendor,

shades of history, encounters with friendly

strangers, and every sort of weather. These

other kinds of grand adventure keep me

stimulated and inspired through the

passing shows, and the passing years.

But the biggest reward of all is being

able to make a simple statement that has

taken me forty-seven years to earn:

“The way I play now is the way I have

always wanted to play.”





Photo Credit: ryAn Poyer

Juels Thomas: What was your first Tech gig?

Lorne Wheaton: Technically, it goes back

to when I would help with bands in high

school. One of those bands happened to

be Rush, with the original drummer, John

Rutsey. I would volunteer to help them at

school dances or coffee houses. It was part

of the high school deal on the weekends

to try and keep kids off the street. So I

used to volunteer because I really liked

musIc. But my first real gig, like actually

getting a paycheck, was probably with a

band called, Goddo. It was a three-piece

band, just about to break out and start

playing clubs. I was part of that three-



Neil Peart for the


EDGE 10.0 10 ||| ||| 2012-2013 FALL & WINTER 2012


by Juels Thomas


If you’re really paying attention at a Rush show, you might actually catch a glimpse of the covert technician on stage,

just to Neil’s left, behind a rack of electronics and blinking lights. Lorne Wheaton has been Neil Peart’s invaluable gear

guy, respected confidant, and trusted friend for far too many years to count. I sat down with Mr. Wheaton while he was

at the DW factory to discuss just what it takes to prepare for a touring machine of this magnitude.

man crew, basically getting $100 a week.

I would say my first real tour of any real

size was with the band, Max Webster. We

were supporting Rush because they had

the same management company, and

by this point Neil had joined the band

(Rush). That’s when I started really gettIng

serious about it.

JT: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve


LW: To be a team-player, really. You

know, you don’t survive long if you go

out there and you’re just seeing in tunnelvision.

The whole idea is to get the gig up

Neil’s DW Collector’s Series “Time Machine”

drums feature Maple SSC (Specialized Shell

Configuration) shells and are finished in an

ultra-custom Graphics Lacquer “Steam Punk”

theme. His hardware, including stands and

throne are copper-plated. For a complete

list of sizes and specific pedal and hardware

models, visit: www.dwdrums.com

To see Neil and DW Drum Designer, John

Good, talk about the benefits of SSC, scan the

QR code with your smart device.

and running and happening on time. And

if you have to kick in with the lighting

company or whatever, you pitch in. I

remember doing that in the old days when

I was with Journey and we would show

up at some venues very late, for whatever

reason. I can’t remember why, but it was

basically everybody in there putting the

lighting rig together so we could get

everything up on time. You’re there to

make the show happen. Whether you’re

the drum tech, Production Manager,

lighting guy, or audio boy, everybody has

to be there to get the job done.

DW: So, it sounds like it was mostly on-

the-job training for you. Did you ever

take any music business or production

classes to prepare you for this life?

LW: Nope, it was all on-the-job training.

I was lucky enough to work with and

around people who are some of the

best in the world. Still to this day! And I

basically became the drum tech that I am

just by learning, going along, being open

for suggestions and paying attention.

JT: What’s the most important thing for a

drum tech to master?

LW: You know, first and foremost, you

treat the drum kit like it’s your own. I was

lucky enough to work with Steve Smith in

’83. He actually taught me how to tune

drums correctly. Before that, I was just

tweaking them and not really having any

idea what I was doing. Aside from, you

know, just thinking I knew what I was

doing. He actually took time to teach me

stuff. Often, you’ll run across drummers

and drum techs who can’t tune properly.

So, I think that’s the most important thing:

have a good ear and learn how to tune a

drum correctly.

JT: Do you play drums or any other


LW: I wouldn’t consider myself a drummer.

I can play the drums, but compared to

some of the guys I’ve worked with over

the years, I don’t come close. So you sit

back and you enjoy the talent that you’re

working with. I don’t really have a whole

lot of interest in being a drummer. Yeah,

guitar techs usually are guItar players.

Keyboard techs are usually keyboard

players. You don’t necessarily have to

be a drummer to be a drum tech, but

obviously it helps. Sometimes you’ll get

on tours where the audio boys would like

to have somebody playing the instruments

in a band-fashion, especIally if the actual

artists don’t like to do soundchecks. I can

play enough to be that guy, but Rush are

there for the soundcheck and they do it

every day.

JT: Do you make yourself an actual

checklist of what you need to bring and

do before the tour?

LW: Yes. Obviously, you have to stock

up on things like sticks. And my man,

Garrison (at DW), is so helpful with us

that even if I gap on something and have

to call up for a last-second request, he’s

so all over it! I feel privileged to be able

to deal with people like that. At the same

time, I try to make sure my memory

still works. I’ll look at how many dates,

because that’s how you base what you

need for backup stuff. Even though Neil’s

not hard on the drum set. As hard as he

plays, he doesn’t break a lot of stuff. So

that’s saying a lot for the manufacturers,

as well. Since he worked with Freddy

Gruber with drum lessons, it’s amazing

how much differently he approaches

the drumset and his playing ability. The

heads last a hell of a lot longer with him

hitting them as hard as they possibly

can be hit versus somebody else, or

even versus himself before he had these

Freddy Gruber instructions. It really does

save drumheads and I don’t change them

half as much as I used to.

JT: Are there any tools in your rig that

you can’t live without?

LW: Probably my screw gun. I use it

for tension rods. That cuts the job to a

quarter of the time. Also, a ratchet driver

because there are a few moving pieces

on the kit that I have to make sure are

nice and tight.

JT: It’s obvious that Neil trusts your

expertise implicitly. How much input do

you have when designing a new kit?

LW: I’m probably his worst critic [laughs].

I’ve been with him long enough to be

able to throw in my two cents, but we

don’t change a lot of things. He likes to

keep everything pretty much the same,

even when we’re building new drum

sets. We have to build boards that all the

hardware screws into and I just template

one board to the other. We throw all the

hardware into exactly the same place. He

doesn’t like to complicate it too much.

JT: What’s the most challenging part of

this upcoming tour for you?

LW: Challenging? It’s always a challenge

because you’re dealing with technology,

and you’re dealing with things that can

blow up. Just spinning the drum riser,

something bad can happen because we


all of the cabling

underneath it. So, you know, you just

deal with everything as it comes to

you. We’ve never been stumped by any

challenges. We’ve always been able

to get through somehow. It’s a little bit

more difficult replacing snare drums or

whatever on this drum set because you

can’t really get in there like you can on

a four-piece kit. Neil, and only Neil, fits

in there. So he basically has to jump off

and I get up there, obviously, at the end

of a song. We’ve pretty much mastered it.

Neil is so good with something like that.

If something breaks, he keeps his head;

he doesn’t freak out and he knows it’s

going to be taken care of.

JT: Lastly, how did you get your


LW: Well, it was back in the late ‘70s,

I guess it would be, when I was with

Max Webster and we were doing a lot

of touring (with Rush). Geddy was the

one who came up with it. There was a

goaltender for the Montreal Canadiens

named, Lorne “Gump” Worsley. And

since my name is Lorne, Geddy just

started calling me, “Hey, Gump!” It has

nothing to do with Forrest Gump (the

movie). And it’s probably gonna stick

forever too, but I don’t mind it. There are

worse nicknames to have than Gump.

Actually, when you consider all the

saves Lorne makes on the job, being

named after a goaltender is pretty fitting.

And that’s obviously why Neil relies

on “Gump” to hold down the defense

every night.

EDGE 10.0 10 ||| ||| DWDRUMS.COM




If there are 2 drum books that I think every drummer should own they are Stick Control by George

by Lawrence Albe Bonacci Stone and Progressive Steps to Syncopation by Ted Reed. I’ve worn out 2 or 3 copies

George of each. They and are two Ted’s of the Excellent most creditably Adventure

famous drum books of all time.

If there are 2 drum books that I think every drummer should own they are Stick Control by George

by Albe Bonacci


I In this installment Stone and we Progressive will be looking Steps at the to first Syncopation few pages by of Ted each Reed. f there in combination are I’ve two worn drum out with books 2 or each that 3 copies I other. think

of every drummer should own, they are Stick

If This each.

there is perhaps They are

are 2 drum well-charted two of the most

books that territory creditably

I think every for drum famous

drummer teachers drum

should and books students of all

own Control they around time.

by are George Stick the

Lawrence Control world but

Stone by George I think I


Lawrence may have Stone a fresh and take Progressive on things. Steps to Syncopation by Ted Progressive Reed. I’ve Steps worn to Syncopation out 2 or 3 copies by Ted

In this installment we will be looking at the first few pages of each in combination with each other.

of each. They are two of the most creditably famous drum books Reed. of I’ve all time. worn out two or three copies of

This Let’s is start perhaps with the well-charted first 13 hand territory patterns for drum in Stick teachers Control and combined students

each. with around

They non-repeating the world

are two of the most figures but I think

creditably in I


In Syncopation have a fresh

this installment for the take

we bass on

will be drum things.

looking from at page the 33 first and/or few pages 34. Here of each is famous line in 1 combination drum and books 2 from of with all Stick time. each Control other.

This (singles) is perhaps with line well-charted 1 from page territory 33 of Progressive for drum teachers Steps to and Syncopation. students around Let’s the put world the hi-hat but I on think the I


may quarter start

have -note with

a fresh pulse. the first 13 hand patterns in Stick Control combined with non-repeating figures in

take on things.

In this installment, Syncopation we will for the be looking bass drum at the first from few page pages 33 of and/or each in combination 34. Here is with line one 1 and another. 2 from This Stick is, perhaps, Control wellcharted


Let’s territory start for with

with drum line

the teachers 1 from

first and page

13 hand students 33 of

patterns around Progressive the in Stick world, Steps

Control but I think to Syncopation.

combined I may have with a fresh Let’s

non-repeating take put on things. the hi-hat on the

figures in

quarter -note pulse.

Syncopation for the bass drum from page 33 and/or 34. Here is line 1 and 2 from Stick Control

Let’s start (singles) with the with first 13 line hand 1 from patterns page in Stick 33 of Control Progressive combined Steps with non-repeating to Syncopation. figures Let’s in put the hi-hat on the

Syncopation quarter for the -note bass pulse. drum from page 33 and/or 34. Here is line 1 and 2 from Stick Control

(singles) with line 1 from page 33 of Progressive Steps to Syncopation. Let’s put the hi-hat on the quarter-note pulse.

Then we move to the double strokes in both starting positions but this time we’ll use line 10 from

Syncopation. For a more diverse and challenging foot pattern simply move on to pages such as

37 and so on but it is important to feel the body sync up, so I recommend repeating patterns to

Then start. we move to the double strokes in both starting positions but this time we’ll use line 10 from

Syncopation. For a more diverse and challenging foot pattern simply move on to pages such as

Then, we move to the double strokes in both starting positions, but this time we’ll use line 10 from Syncopation. For a more

37 and so on but it is important to feel the body sync up, so I recommend repeating patterns to

diverse Then and challenging we move foot to pattern, the double simply strokes move on in to both pages starting such as positions 37, and so on, but but this it is time important we’ll use to feel line the 10 body from sync up,

so I recommend


Syncopation. repeating For patterns a more to start. diverse and challenging foot pattern simply move on to pages such as

37 and so on but it is important to feel the body sync up, so I recommend repeating patterns to



EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013





George and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

by Albe Bonacci

George and Ted’s Excellent Adventure

by Albe Bonacci

Then we are into Paradiddle stickings. Numbers 5 through 8 are Paradiddles in different positions.

Now, we are into paradiddle stickings. Numbers 5 through 8 are paradiddles in different positions.

Then Here is we line are number into Paradiddle 6 from Stick stickings. Control Numbers with number 5 through 3 from 8 Syncopation are Paradiddles while in still different stepping posi-

Here is


line number 6 from Stick Control with number 3 from Syncopation while still stepping quarter-note hi-hats:

quarter note hi-hats.

Then we are into Paradiddle stickings. Numbers 5 through 8 are Paradiddles in different posi-

Here is line number 6 from Stick Control with number 3 from Syncopation while still stepping


quarter note hi-hats.

Here is line number 6 from Stick Control with number 3 from Syncopation while still stepping

quarter note hi-hats.

So, you probably get the idea. Continue through the first 13 hand patterns while adding in, and mixing up, foot patterns from page

33. Now, some random orchestration ideas on the kit, such as:

Points to consider:

1) For beginning students, start by playing the first five Stick Control exercises with just quarter-note

kicks and then left foot hi-hat on quarters, then kick and hat alternating in both directions like this:

2) Watch out for flamming limbs. Start slow until things start to sync.

3) Make sure to be thorough. Play each Stick Control exercise with each Syncopation exercise.

4) Orchestrations. Dare to think for yourself.

5) You may notice that the two pages referenced aren’t reprinted here. There are two reasons for this: A) space and, more

importantly, B) so that you, the readers, either get out and dust off your copies or you make a purchase at your local music store.

These are must-own books.

6) For more advanced players, or for a different twist, swing the exercises (some work better than others). For Example:

You are not only playing a challenging warm up, you are forming the

building blocks of grooves. In this case, a Jazzy-type shuffle groove.

I hope these will be fun and challenging exercises that are the

foundation to open-minded and musical drumming, while, once again,

reminding us how monumental these two texts are.




Photo Credit: tAnyA ghoSh


1. If you’re not drumming, what are

you doing?

For fun, I love games. I’m pretty much a

ping pong wizard. Bowling is awesome. I

love traveling more than anything, seeing

the world, meeting new people. I love

doing things alone. So, when I get a

chance to travel to a new country alone

and I don’t know anyone or speak the

language, that’s where I find some of the

happiest, most content moments of my

life. Also, my family is amazing. Going

home to Minnesota is always wonderful.

There’s a cupboard full of food (unlike

my apartment) and I didn’t have to buy it.

One of my favorite things to do is sit on the

rooftops of some of my friends’ apartments

in Boston and New York City, and relax

while the sun sets. I’ve been writing and

producing a lot of music lately, as well,

mostly for R&B artists on Island Def Jam.

When I’m not drumming, as far as serious

stuff goes, I spend a lot of time keeping the

business side of “JP Bouvet” rolling. I’m

a control freak, which is good because I

have complete control, but it also means

I need to do everything myself. That

includes designing, filming, photo editing,

publicizing, booking, managing, etc.

Editing videos takes a long time. I usually

have four or five that are finished and

waiting for the right time to go up (online).

I just finished designing jpbouvetmusic.

com and passed it off to Corkboard


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

Software and Design’s programmer, Mike

Linden. I know that sounds official but

Corkboard is actually partly my company.

Mike has been my friend since 6th grade,

when we played in our first band together.

He and I started making websites for

musicians in our down time about five

years ago and it’s really bloomed into a

nice little business. Every single musician

in the world needs a website. Who knew?

Mike also recently released an album

that I was privileged enough to play on.

Search “Mike Linden, Bubble & Squeak”

on iTunes and you’ll find some crazyawesome

fusion shredding.

2. If you are drumming, what are you


Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of recording.

I play with a lot of groups and they all

seemed to want to record at the same time,

so the past month has been jam-packed

with studio sessions for Helicopria, Dave

Mackay Group, Mike Linden, Melanie

Lynx, and others. Keep your eyes peeled,

because they’ll all be released before the

end of the year. I’ve just moved to New

York City, so it’s been hard to find time to

practice. When I’m practicing, I’m usually

working on some pretty ‘out there’ stuff.

I’ve been trying to get really comfortable

with quintuplets and make them sound

natural in a musical setting. I’m always

working on independence and lately

I’ve been exploring a lot of electronic

drumming. My buddy, Drew Ofthe Drew,

is a genius bass player. He and I have been

doing a lot of live dubstep and remixes.

3. If you could build the ultimate

drummer from three famous players, who

would they be? And why?

I’d go with Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave King

(The Bad Plus) and Jojo Mayer. Vinnie for

his tastefulness, Dave for his emotional

connection, and Jojo for his technique and


4. LA or New York?

Well, I just moved to New York two days

ago so, New York, but I don’t want to grow

old in New York. After New York, I’m

going to move an hour outside of LA into a

nice house with a yard and breed little JP,

Jr.’s. Honestly, Minnesota is the best place

in the world, so maybe I’ll go back there

and hang out with all the nice people.

5. How did you come up with that hairdo?

A girl I had a crush on told me I would look

good with a mohawk. Her name is Sulene.

She’s an awesome musician and she’s also

the guitarist in Helicopria, which is my

rock band. We have a new EP coming

out this fall, so be on the lookout. We

also have other free downloadable music

at: www.helicopria.bandcamp.com. I’ve

grown to really like the mohawk. I can’t

picture any other hair shape on my head.

I like it because it weeds out people who

judge a book by its cover. I don’t play

Punk music. My main style is Fusion Jazz,

so it throws people off when they hear

me play. I made a pact with myself that I

wouldn’t shave it off until I made a million

dollars. I really just want to dye it green

when that happens.

6. What’s the best electronic add-on for

an acoustic kit?

A microwave…just kidding. The Roland

SPD-SX, hands down. The other day,

I officially filled up the 100th kit with

imported sounds. I use it all the time.

With Helicopria, I have a kit for each of

our songs. The click is set appropriately

for each song and the necessary samples

are there, as well. I set a kit chain of the

songs in the set for that show, so when the

song ends, I just push the “next” button.

The click changes, the samples change

and the external pads I have connected to

it change. Life is good. I use a trigger on a

side snare for claps or various extreme 2’s

and 4’s, and another trigger occasionally

on the kick drum for when we do dubstep

or electronic stuff. I’ll put a big, nastytoned,

distorted synth/kick in there with

the natural kick and the entire world cries

when I play it. I don’t know whether they

are tears of joy or pain, but I think it’s a

little bit of both.

7. How do you train for a drum


The motto is, “Practice makes you better

and preparation makes your worst better.”

I’m a huge advocate of preparation. If I’m

really nervous for something, I usually

don’t play at the best of my ability on

stage. It’s easier to find comfort on stage if

you are overly prepared. I spent hundreds

of hours preparing for the Guitar Center

Drum Off. I probably ran the structure I had

come up with 200 times. It was constantly

morphing and I was always trying new

things. It’s important to remember that it’s

a drum solo competition, not a ‘who-canchop-the-fastest-and-loudest’


The focus should be on the piece of music

you are creating, not the licks you are

doing. There needs to be some sort of

contour or motion throughout, that’s what

gives it life. I tend to think in sections, not

unlike any normal song. I came up with

several points or themes I wanted to hit,

then focused on finding ways to develop

that theme and finally, transitioning to the

next one. I wanted to push my ability and

perform ideas that were unique and out

of the box. I’m usually working on those

very things, so it was easy for me to think

of what to play. The 7/8 clave, the 5/16

intro groove and the independence stuff

were all things I was already practicing

before the Drum Off. The competition

just gave me a stage on which I could

play it publicly. PREPARE, BE SMART, BE


8. Greatest rock band of all time? And


Red Hot Chili Peppers. I grew up listening

to them, and I will always go back to them

for the rest of my life.

9. Greatest Jazz drummer of all time?

And why?

Brian Blade. Listen to “Crooked Creek” off

of the Brian Blade Fellowship album and

you will understand. That’s my favorite

recorded drum performance of all time.

10. Bonham, Keith Moon, or Ringo?

I don’t really listen to any of them. I know

they are legends, but I never listened to

any of those bands.

11. Vinnie, Weckl, or Gadd?


12. Do you have a “go-to” fill?

Not a whole fill, but a lot of times I find

myself starting fills with an inverted

double between the hands and feet. I try

to avoid it as much as possible, because I

hate falling into a routine.

13. Do you play any other instruments?

I can slap some mean bass. My mom

plays bass. I just try to be like her.

14. Besides yourself, which up-andcoming

drummers should we watch out


It is mandatory that everyone researches

these guys: Matt Garstka, Ian Barnett

(his band is Bear Language), and Zach


15. What’s your favorite drumming


I feel like this is an appropriate place to plug

my own website, www.jpbouvetmusic.

com, where you will find awesome

interviews with people like Thomas

Lang and Cobus, lessons on my personal

theories, behind the scenes footage in

the studio and on tour, play-alongs from

bands, my blog, my email list sign-up and

other awesome stuff, but I won’t.

I grew up on Drummerworld.com; it has

all of the best drummers in the world,

their bios, videos, hours and hours of


16. Who do you jam with?

I’ve had some seriously trail-blazing jams

with Helicopria’s bass player, Drew Ofthe

Drew. Electronic drums, dubstep, loops,

samples from movies and every song you

can imagine. If we are doing something,

it is going to be done to the most extreme

state possible. I really like jamming with

people one-on-one, it’s a constant state

of creation and there’s no “comping”

or “soloing.” It’s a constantly morphing

improvisation and it could never be

recreated because it’s an exploration of

these two people’s brains in that exact

moment. It depends how you are feeling

that day. I find it brings me much closer

with whoever it is I’m playing with, as

well. I like playing with key player, Dave

Mackay (www.dave-mackay.com), and

I like playing with progressive-thinking

guitar players a lot, too.

17. Do you tweak your pedals a certain


I usually just turn the ‘awesome dial’ to one

million. I like them not too tight, not too

loose. DW’s 9000 pedals are awesome, so

I don’t really do anything to them.

18. Does your set-up constantly change

or is it pretty consistent?

It constantly changes. I play with several

different groups that all require different

sounds and set-ups. Sometimes I play 2

(rack) toms, sometimes 4, sometimes 3

cymbals, sometimes 84, sometimes single

kick, sometimes double kick and an extra

left foot pedal for clave and an extra right

foot pedal with Roland’s KD-7 trigger. I

like to use different cymbals from gig to

gig, too. A different palette of sounds

inspires different playing ideas.

19. Metal or wood snares?

I usually use a wood main snare and

a metal side snare. And while we’re on

the topic of snares, THE DW BALLAD

SNARE…oh my gosh! It’s a 16” diameter

that’s 10” deep. It’s being delivered to my

new place in NY in three weeks. I have

never been more excited about a drum.

Only DW would make a drum of such

unparalleled awesomeness. Expect the

fattest beats ever, in three weeks.

20. What is your advice for other


My advice for others? I could monologue

for an hour so, instead, I’m going to go

into a fit of random, fragmented ideas.

As soon as possible, learn to not give a

damn about what other people think. It’s

hard, but the less you are concerned about

other people’s ideas, the quicker you will

realize your own infinite potential. Work

really hard. Really hard, work really hard.

No one has ever become truly great at

anything without working really hard to

achieve it. It’s about music, not chops.

Visualize. Believe in yourself. Be fearless

in every sense of the word. Never forget

why you started playing drums. It was

probably because you loved it and had fun

doing it. Challenge yourself. No matter

how many people rip you up on YouTube,

it will literally never, ever, ever affect your

career in any way. Take it from a guy with

hundreds of negative comments on my

GC video. It stung for a little while, but

now I get called for more gigs than ever

before. Therefore, it is irrelevant in your

life. Think outside the box. Work really

hard. Endorsements don’t get you gigs,

gigs get you endorsements. When you

are being considered for endorsements,

remember, gear is cool, but the support

and the character of the people behind the

business, that’s the important part. Life is

about people and your relationships with

them, so treasure it in every circumstance.

You should also know, DW is the best drum

manufacturer in the world. DW is lead by

a kind, caring, innovative, brilliant family

of down-to-earth people who have worked

hard to create what I honestly think are the

best drums in the entire world and they

have a support system unlike any other. I

feel incredibly fortunate to be able to work

with this company and I love them dearly.

Shout out to DW, Meinl, Remo, and Vic

Firth for their belief and support from the





Photo Credit: SAyre berMAn

EDGE: Do you know much about the

music scene out here in LA?

Rich Redmond: Absolutely! I have been

keeping tabs on it for years while I made

my way in the Nashville scene and I have

plenty of LA musician friends that I keep

in touch with regularly. I know the state of

the music industry has affected everyone

around the world, so everyone is adapting

in all the music cities like New York and

London, for example. There’s simply more

competition for fewer gigs and sessions,

but that doesn’t faze me at all. You just

have to roll up your sleeves, play happier,

smile often and run your business like a

business. There’s room for everyone if

you‘re coming from an honest and sincere

place that is fueled with passion. I’ve

spent a long time climbing the Nashville

ladder. Why stop there? I’m thinking

globally now. Los Angeles has been calling

my name for years and it’s time to start

answering back. Excited!

EDGE: How would you sum-up the

current Nashville studio scene?


Q & A

EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

Rich Redmond



Rich Redmond is equal parts talent and tenacity. He has more than paid his dues in the Nashville scene

and now finds himself backing one of the biggest names in Country music. An east coast transplant, Rich has

followed his dream to Music City U.S.A. and has made it his mission to impart his industry knowledge and knack

for success to others. We caught up with RR while on tour and he gave us the latest on his busy career.


RR: The Nashville recording scene is

healthy, there are a lot of drummers living

and working in Nashville. Like LA, we

have a massive pool of great drummers

that split their time between recording

studios and tours. I enjoy doing both.

My live work feeds my session calls and

vice versa. It just works for me. I don’t

like putting all of my eggs in one basket.

I’ve been in Nashville for fifteen years,

and the only reason I am able to have my

spot at the dinner table is because I have

relentlessly pursued my dream and never

given up. I keep showing up and I’m here

to stay. Whether I’m playing drums in the

studio or on tour, programming, shaking a

tambourine or writing, I love our industry

and my craft!

EDGE: How did you hook up with

Jason Aldean?

RR: I met a fresh-faced Jason Aldean in

1999. I was introduced to the bassist

and band leader, Tully Kennedy, by my

guitarist pal, Kurt Allison. After playing

one song together, we became a fully-

committed rhythm section. We’ve been

playing together since 2000 and non-stop

with Aldean since 2005. We’ve played

on free demos, showcases and tons of

van and trailer gigs that have helped to

launch Aldean’s career. Since then, we’ve

recorded a total of ten #1 hits with him and

toured nonstop, including 2011-2012’s

sell out “My Kinda Party” tour. It’s been

all about persistence and determination.

In 2007, Kurt, Tully and I added a fourth

partner, David Fanning, and started a

successful music production company

called, NV (New Voice Entertainment).

EDGE: What are some of the other

musical projects you’re working on

right now?

RR: My production company is producing

the sophomore release from country pop

duo, Thompson Square. Their song, “Are

You Gonna Kiss Me or Not?” was the #1

most played song on country radio in

2011. So we’re working on reinventing

the wheel, but holding true to their brand

as well. We also have releases to complete

with the band, Parmalee. Their current

single on the radio is called “Musta Had

a Good Time”. We’re also working with

American Idol darling, Kristy Lee Cook

and Canadian country rocker, Lyndsay

Ell. We recorded Aldean’s fifth record last

November and it is being released this

October, so we’ll be gearing up for tons of

TV promos in Los Angeles, yes! Nashville

is in the center of the country, so we use

the Nashville touring model, which means

leaving on a Wednesday night and coming

back on a Sunday. That leaves us with

Monday through Wednesday to crank out

radio-ready projects and write songs for

Magic Mustang Publishing. In the cracks

of this crazy schedule, I’ll squeeze in

session calls for other producers or artists,

do my drum-related events while on tour

with Aldean and finish working on two

books I have in the works. Finally, I have

a drum tracking room in my home called,

Crash Studios. Now, I’m delivering drum

tracks via the internet using my Pro Tools

rig. This technological revolution allows

me to do it all!

EDGE: How do you keep your energy up

with such a hectic touring schedule?

RR: I’m lucky that I’m naturally a highenergy

guy. I know how to pace myself

and I get sleep when I can. I love music

and my career path, so it never feels

like work because this is my purpose

in life. I split my time between touring,

recording, teaching lessons, songwriting,

music production and music/motivational

speaking, so it’s go, go, go! I drink lots of

water, eat a pescetarian diet (which means

the only meat I eat is fish) and focus on

power foods like greens, berries, almonds

and avocados. I get regular exercise,

alternating between running, walking,

cross training, light weights and lots of


EDGE: Do you still practice?

RR: I keep everything fresh by working all

of the time and by actively playing music

with other musicians. Between touring,

recording and producing, there isn’t much

time to be alone in a room. I did that when

I was younger (ha)! I like to keep the tunes

I’m playing fresh every night by changing

things here and there. I am so grateful we

have that kind of freedom with Aldean. I

also work on keeping things fresh for my

“CRASH Course for Success” drum events.

If there are specific grooves or pieces I have

to work on for a particular session or guest

appearance, I will focus on those things. I

also make it a point of warming up at least

one hour before every show. That’s at least

three hours of hands-on rudimental stuff

per week, maybe more. Lots of singles,

doubles, paradiddles, flam combinations,

roll permutations and stuff I learned during

my eight years in marching bands.

EDGE: Other than Aldean, what would be

your dream gig right now?

RR: It’s funny you ask. I just had a

drummer pal who I really respect, call and

offer me an audition with one of the most

kick ass of all the classic rock bands, one

of my real favorites. I used to jam along

and even transcribe their grooves, note

for note, when I was coming up. It was a

real eye opener for me and very flattering,

but the timing just wasn’t right. I’ve been

part of building the “Aldean empire” one

brick at a time, so it’s time to enjoy the

fruits of our labor. It’s such an up and

down business, so it’s nice that the gig is

having such success and we can breathe a

sigh of relief for just a moment. There are

so many artists I love and respect in this

business. I truly believe that if you always

play from the heart and are a good person,

then opportunities will literally land in your

lap at the right time.

EDGE: Do you have a hands-on approach

to your gear?

RR: I’ve been a bit spoiled on the road with

my good pal, Ed Turner. He’s a genius cat,

and has been in the biz for over thirty years.

If he gets into a bind, I’ll show up before

sound check and help change heads or do

some cleaning, but for the most part, he

takes total care of me. Because I have that

part covered, I can teach private lessons

and master classes during the day before

sound check and even do some of my

CRASH events at high schools, colleges,

music stores and drum shops. It’s very

helpful to have a great drum tech for that

reason alone! In Nashville, my pal Jim

Handley and the crew of Session Services

Unlimited take great care of me. They set

me up ‘soup to nuts’ for all my recording

sessions and showcase gigs in Nashville.

In LA, I just had a nice meeting with

Dave Drewry at Drum Paradise, very cool

cat. I’m excited about that. I am super

hands-on in maintaining my personal

relationships with all of my sponsoring

companies though. I’m very persistent

about letting them know what I am up to

and that their gear is being seen and heard.

If I am running low on heads, sticks, stick

wrap, cymbal felts or parts, I’m the one

who makes the call. I prefer it that way.

EDGE: What’s your favorite snare drum

these days?

RR: On the road, my front-of-house

engineer, Chris Stephens, and I settled on

a 5x14” all-maple Collector’s Series with

Ruby Glass FinishPly and black nickel

hardware. It has the perfect combination

of snap, crackle, and warmth; it’s just

perfect. Everyone in the band loves it too.

I have the same sized drum in the Black

Ice finish, and also a 5.5x14” aluminum

for back-ups. For the studio, I’ve been

using the black nickel over brass 6.5x14”

that I used for this photo shoot out on

the beach in Malibu. Also, the 5.5x14”

Super Solid (3/8” thickness) in the Ruby

Glass finish and black nickel hardware

is a workhorse; it has an incredibly wide

tuning range and is really warm. When

you mic up these drums, they sound like

classic records you’ve heard for the last

forty years. Playback in the studio goes

“Ahhhhh.” When the engineer, artist

and session musicians all make glowing

remarks about the sound of the backbeat,

you know you have something special!

EDGE: How do you decide on the sounds

you need for a particular gig?

RR: Whether I am playing live or in the

studio, I’m a team player, and always have

tons of sonic options on hand. All of my

DW snare drums sound like they came

from God’s snare drum collection, so you

really can’t go wrong. Many times, the

first drum I pull up is the one we use on

the whole session. I just did a great record

with a killer Rock chick named, Masha.

She’s a special talent. We recorded it

at Blackbird in Nashville with Nathan

Chapman (Taylor Swift) producing, Ray




Kennedy (Steve Earle, John Mellencamp)

engineering and Michael Rhodes on bass.

It was a total gas. Ray Kennedy and I

went in a day early and experimented

with ten different DW snares. We found

the perfect tuning spots for all the drums:

steel, copper, brass, bronze, Edge, Super

Solid, etc., and decided which drums were

better wide open or muffled slightly. By

the time the band came in the next day,

we had all the drums nicknamed and

perfectly tuned for the room. When we

were presented with the songs, we were

able to pull from our collection of sonic

“characters” and then tweaked the pitches

for each track. To me, it’s all about having

that symbiotic relationship between the

band, the producer, the artist and my ear.

I always remember that the folks behind

the glass are hearing “reality.” I trust them


EDGE: If you could take a lesson from

anyone, who would it be?

RR: If Krupa or Bonham were alive, heck

yeah!! What innovators and showmen

they were!! I have always dug Carmine

and Vinny Appice, both are characters and

big influences. I met Vinny recently at The

Playboy Mansion! He was playing in one

of the bands for the Rock N Roll Fantasy

Camp. He was so approachable and even

Photo Credit: SAyre berMAn


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

asked me to come see his new band play.

EDGE: What will you be doing in ten years?

RR: I plan on checking out of this world

with sticks in my hands! I always strive

for constant improvement in all areas of

my life, so hopefully I will keep doing

what I am doing at a higher level. I enjoy

the multi-tasking approach to the music

business, so I’m sure I’ll be touring,

recording, producing, writing, teaching

and speaking, probably all at the same

time. Hopefully, there will have been

some more international tours, a few

books published and a strong and healthy

marriage with my kick-butt sexy wife. She

has a very promising career with multiple

pathways, so it may be nice to travel and

enjoy some of her success with her. It’s

also a goal to take my CRASH events to the

corporate sector and motivate and inspire

some people that really need it.

EDGE: What will you be doing in ten


RR: I have three days in Nashville to take

meetings, co-write some songs with some

great writers and then re-pack and hit the

road again with Aldean, so maybe I’ll get

some sleep and hit the ground running

tomorrow with Al Roker and a few cups of






IN THEStudioWITH JR Robinson

by Scott Donnell


There’s no arguing that JR Robinson

is studio drumming royalty. His

discography reads like a who’s who of pop

icons and he’s been touted as the most

recorded drummer of all time. Indeed,

his grooves are fat and his pocket deep,

but how exactly does he get those sounds?

Studio secrets are hard to come by, so we

did our best to pick JR’s very knowledgeable

brain to find out how this session master

amassed such a glorious track record.

SCOTT DONNELL: How would you

describe your signature sound?

JR ROBINSON: My sound has always been

a “fat” sound, and my bass drum approach

is the foundation of it. I tune a bit lower than

most drummers and have an old packing

blanket that sits just on the floor in front of

the bass drum. I also use an old sandbag

from my Rufus days that sits in the center

of the drum. My snare drum sounds have

varied throughout the decades, depending

on the style of music I’m playing at the time.

SD: Does that sound have to do with a

particular studio environment, the gear

you play, or how you play it?

JR: My sound has to do with the way I play

and pull the sound out of the drums and

cymbals. Of course, a smaller studio will

limit the amount of ambience. However,

my sound does not change per venue.

SD: Do you have a preferred microphone


JR: If I have an unlimited budget, I have a

preferred microphone set-up. Shure B52,

AT25 or Sennheiser 421 on the inside of

the bass drum and a Neumann 47 Fet on

the toms. I love Sennheiser 421’s! I don’t

like bright mics on the toms as they tend

to conflict with the overhead sound. The

overhead sound is the sound of the drum

set. For the overheads, I prefer AKG

C12’s; they’re my favorite mics. I also

love Neumann U 67’s or the newer U

87’s. The snare is the ‘loud drum’ and it’s

captured perfectly with the Shure SM57.

I also blend an AKG 452 on the snare so

the engineer can pick up brush sounds and

more dynamics in general. For the hi-hat, I

love the Neumann KM 84 and for the room

mics, that’s usually up to the engineer’s

experience and how he hears the way the

drums are speaking in the room.

SD: What’s your formula for miking a bass


JR: This starts with a good bass drum sound.

I have a 6” hole in the southeast section

so the engineer can get any microphone

inside the kick. I find that if you put the mic

too close to the batter head, you’ll lose the

bottom and only get attack. However, Mick

Guzauski is the only engineer that has done

this with me throughout the decades, using

a Sony C500. Check out the new Daft Punk

CD. Most engineers place the mic in the

center-to-the-front of the kick. Then you

place the second mic in front of the kick

head to bring out the low-end woof. A

good engineer will find the correct balance

between the two.

SD: Tell us your thoughts about the new

May Monorail.

JR: I love the Monorail system. Randy May




has finally nailed the system that I have

been using for years! You can move the

bass drum mics anywhere to achieve any

sound possible. You can stack two different

mics on one rail; one for the batter and

one for the resonant head. For example,

I have a Shure B52 and a Shure SM91 in

my 26” DW kick. Both can be moved

effortlessly. Outside the kick is a two-input

XLR that any engineer can access. It is the

best miking system ever!

SD: Who are some of your favorite

producers/engineers and why?

JR: I have been very blessed to work with

the greatest producers and engineers

around. Quincy Jones is by far the best

producer I have ever worked with. His

sense of casting, direction and vision is

seldom equaled. I’ve also always loved

working with Russ Titleman [Clapton,

Rufus/Chaka and George Benson].

David Foster is a real genius. Working

with George Martin was an amazing


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

experience. As far as engineers go, there

have been many, such as: Roy Halee,

Mick Guzauski, Chris Lord Alge, Tom Lord

Alge, Tommy Vicari, Humberto Gatica

and Steve Sykes, but my favorite has to

be Bruce Swedien. He allowed me to be

myself, while at the same time, educating

me about microphone technique. He also

caused me a bit of grief during the Michael

Jackson/Quincy/Rufus days. He would

remove toms from the kit and say, “Quincy

doesn’t want any tom fills on this record.”

He’d also do things like have a lead barrier

covered with a packing blanket placed

between my snare drum and hi-hat. This

was to prevent leakage of the hi-hat into

the snare mic but it would almost prevent

me from playing my own style and would

force me to adjust. I’d have to lift my

right stick a bit higher so I wouldn’t hit

the barrier. Another time, Bruce had me

playing the kick drum at pp and the snare

at f. This is not very easy. He jacked the

kick level way up to achieve a different

kick sound. Try it sometime, yikes!

SD: Tell us a bit about the heyday of the

LA recording scene.

JR: OMG! I was extremely fortunate to be

at the right place at the right time. I joined

Rufus in May of 1978, at the height of that

band. Little did I know that Rufus and

Chaka Khan would go on to win another

Grammy for “Ain’t Nobody”. I struggled as

a session player for about eleven months

when I had just joined Rufus. I wasn’t

thinking about a session career at that time

because of the excitement of being in a

hip, new band. Coming out of Berklee I

was a studio guy, and it ultimately led me

to join Rufus. A great bass player/singer

named, Joe Chemey was the first to call

me after I joined them. After that, Rufus

had recorded “Numbers” on ABC Dunhill,

the first solo record without Chaka Khan.

It was great. I helped get Freddie Hubbard

on our record. Roy Halee [Simon &

Garfunkel] taught me about microphone

technique. Once the record was released,

I started getting some notice. The attention

came from Quincy Jones. I was asked

if I did sessions outside of the band. Of

course, I said, “Yes.” Quincy became the

producer for Rufus and Chaka Khan’s,

Masterjam. At that same time I was also

recording on Michael Jackson’s, Off The

Wall. After Off The Wall, I started getting

calls. They kept coming, then I started

juggling sessions and drum kits. There

were multiple times when I was using

three different drum sets per day. Oh

yeah, the good times! Everyone, please

keep in mind that the record industry was

on fire. Writers were writing, producers

were producing, and players were playing.

Record companies were paying for

records, and most importantly, radio jocks

were playing our records. It was perfect!

I would be going to A&M to record

something and all of the sudden I would

see Jeff Porcaro. We would shoot the s---,

as always, and he would go his way and I




• 18X24” BASS DRUM (VLX)

• 8X12” & 9X13” RACK TOMS (VLT)

• 13X16” & 14X18” FLOOR TOMS (X/VLX)












would go mine. Those were normal days

back then. I’m very blessed to be one of

the cats that were part of the glory days.

SD: Who are some of the names you’d

consider to be session influences?

JR: I’ve always loved Steve Gadd, Al

Jackson, early Buddy Rich, John Bonham

and Philly Joe Jones. By the way, I could

extend this list forever. When I was at

Berklee [1973-1975], I made it my duty

to learn everything about recording. I

actually became the studio drummer at

Berklee in 1974. I was taught about click

tracks and how to overdub on existing

big band tracks for the ‘music minus one’

system. I specifically targeted several

drummers to learn from, just to raise the

bar. I listened to Harvey Mason, Billy

Cobham, Tony Williams, John Bonham, Ed

Soph, Danny Seraphine, and Peter Erskine,

to name a few. At Berklee, I was also

listening to the Jazz greats, especially Jo

Jones and Philly Joe Jones. I had the great

fortune of studying with Ed Soph when I

was younger and Alan Dawson at Berklee.

SD: What does the future of the studio

recording business look like?

JR: Wow! Sometimes it looks bleak

and sometimes it looks great. I see

unbelievable studios going down and then

I see studios shooting up. Some say it’s

our responsibility to try and bring back

the glory days. This is where I turn into

JR the politician. Where are the radio

stations? Oh—digital, hmmmmm, preprogrammed.

Who the f--- is doing that?

How do you get your song played? How

do you get paid for this as a player? What

if you’re the new hip guy? I remember

going to the radio station and hanging

with the DJ so he would work on our

record. It was magic, it was cool. Where

is the cool these days? Why can’t the new

artists bring back the cool? I’m a major

supporter of vinyl. Vinyl rules! Listen to

Joe Walsh, he gets it.





Kevin Majorino knows a thing or two

about engineering world-class drummers.

Years of experience at Drum Channel

saw him working with the likes of: Terry

Bozzio, Chad Smith, Taylor Hawkins,

Aaron Spears, Sheila E., Simon Phillips,

Thomas Lang, Peter Erskine, and the

list goes on for days. We asked Kevin

about his experience recording John ‘JR’

Robinson for his DVD, The Time Machine,

and we think you’ll agree that his answers

are enlightening.

Scott Donnell: Was JR open to microphone

and placement suggestions?

Kevin Majorino: Yes! That was one of the

great things about working with JR. He’s

very experienced in the recording world

and knows exactly what he wants to hear.

We were able to communicate very easily

and that made mic choices and placement

very simple.

SD: Did you have different drum miking

set-ups for JR’s drum demonstrations vs.

the band performances?

KM: Yes, I had a different mic set up for



Time Machine


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

by Scott Donnell

the Jazz kit demonstrations. The “big

kit” set-up remained the same for the

demonstrations and the live performances.

The Jazz kit only differed in the snare

and the overhead mic choices. I used a

Telefunken M-80 on the Jazz kit snare and

a Rode NT-4 stereo mic for the overhead.

On the big kit, we used a Shure SM-57 for

the snare and a vintage AKG C-426B for

the overhead.

SD: How much ambient or room sound

was used in the mix?

KM: There was actually a fair amount of

the room sound used in the mix. I was

careful about where the instruments were

placed in the room and I spent a good

amount of time working on isolating the

close mics that were on the guitar cabs

and bass cab. On one of the tracks, we

had Greg Mathieson playing the B3, so I

isolated his Leslie cabinet outside of the

live room. Overall, for a live recording

scenario it’s good to have some of the main

instruments in the room with the drums;

they tend to resonate with the drums and

glue the performance together sonically.

SD: JR hits hard. Did that influence your

mic placements?

KM: Yes, he does! But he also hits very

accurately and intentionally. I took into

consideration the fact that he is a hardhitter,

but it didn’t scare me away from

placing the mics exactly where I wanted

them. Being an engineer and working

with hard-hitting drummers, you have to

pay more attention your mic and preamp

selection. Know what your mics and

preamps can handle and what they sound

like, and then make your choice based

on that. And, of course, what the drums

sound like in the room. I actually prefer

a harder hitting drummer (controlled, of

course) because it really makes the drums

speak and communicate with accuracy.

That’s one of the things I love about JR,

you never question what he’s played on a

track, and it’s always a statement.

SD: Did JR have any influence on mic

preamps or compression?

KM: JR’s sound within the room influenced

what I wanted to use on the recording. He

also has some specific things he listens

for, which is a definite consideration,

as well. JR is very into the engineering

side of recording, so it makes it very

easy to communicate what he likes. We

discussed what he enjoys using on major

recording dates and then we made our

choices based on what the studio had to

offer, to get the best results. One thing we

both agreed on is that we were not using

EQ or compression on any of the tracking.

All of the initial recording was done from

mic, into preamp, into Protools. In the

mix we used some EQ and compression,

of course, but tracking was pure. That way,

you always shoot for a finished sound right

off the bat.

SD: What’s your take on internal bass

drum miking and the May Monorail


KM: Love it! I actually had the opportunity

to test it out with Randy May and John

Good when Randy first came up with

the idea. I remember playing with the

multiple movements and positioning that

it was capable of and I was amazed by the

stability and isolation the unit provided.

The biggest thing for me was that this unit

was hard-mounted to the bass drum, but

was isolated well enough to barely transfer

any resonance from the shell of the drum

to the mic. The flexibility, in terms of

positioning the microphone, is also very

impressive. Well done, Randy!

SD: Did you double mic any of the drums?

KM: Yes, I did. I used two mics on the kick

drum of the big kit. I used a Shure Beta

52 on the inside of the kick drum and a

Telefunken AK-47 on the front. The Shure

Beta 52 is a studio staple when it comes

to kick drum mics. The Telefunken AK-

47 is a re-make of the vintage Telefunken

U-47 from the 50’s/60’s. The Beta 52 was

used for the main kick sound. It captured

all of the punch and attack of the drum.

The AK-47 on the front of the drum was

used to capture the subsonic overtones of

the drum. If you spend some time finding

the sweet spot for these mics and have a

drummer like JR behind the kit, you can’t


JR revolutionized

his bass drum.

John JR Robinson upgraded his kick

with the very latest internal shock mount

microphone technology available

today. Now, he can infinitely adjust his

microphone position from resonant to batter

head and find the ultimate “sweet spot” for

recording and live situations. It’s all thanks

to the patented Monorail Microphone

System by Randall May International. And

the Monorail is compatible with today’s

most respected bass drum microphone

brands. Have one factory-installed at the

DW Custom Shop or install the aftermarket

version yourself. Revolutionize your bass

drum today.

See Randall May, inventor of the Monorail, and JR Robinson explain this versatile,

all-new Monorail shock mount system at www.youtube.com/dwdrums

Microphones picture and shown on Bi Mic-Monorail.

©2012 Drum Workshop, Inc. All Rights Reserved.






































EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013










After years of presenting this material

in a live workshop or clinic format,

master drummer, author and educator,

Daniel Glass, decided to embark on a

journey to document what he had learned

about the history of the drum set and its

parallel journey with the progression of

American music. His decision to span

the tale over a 100-year period takes

us from the kit’s inception at the end of

the Civil War, all the way to the British

Invasion. As he meticulously details

the development of the drum set, and

its many incarnations, we witness the



America has given birth to some of the world’s most coveted musical art forms, Jazz and Blues being two of the most

obvious. What might not be as obvious to some is that the drum set is also a true American original. Granted,

various instruments within the kit originated from other countries, but the idea of combining these elements into a

single, one-man-band-type of instrument is undoubtedly an American innovation. Thus, the art form we now call

drumming was a direct result of years of musical and mechanical evolution. In fact, the origin of the earliest drum

set began over 100 years ago and, at the time, its appearance seemed to defy human physical capability.

EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013


Century Project

by Rich Mangicaro


rise and fall of several musical genres,

each one accurately and authentically

depicted by Daniel and his all-star cast

of musicians. Musical styles shifted with

historical milestones and drumming styles

inevitably followed suit. It’s a rich story

that’s enthusiastically told, intelligently

researched and finally realized. As Daniel

himself states, “Learning more about the

classic styles demonstrated in The Century

Project will make you a stronger and more

competent drummer, regardless of what

style of music you play.” This historical

sense of the instrument comes from not

only being aware of the classic styles,

but also acknowledging the history of our

instrument’s unique development and

how early drummers experimented with it

to voice their own creativity. As necessity

truly is the mother of invention, we can

truly be inspired by the creative process of

the drummers before us.

Rich M: Daniel, how did the idea of The

Century Project first come about?

Daniel Glass: It was essentially born out of

a clinic I’d been doing, which eventually

became more and more involved. As

I got deeper into the material, the clinic

was turning into two to three hours, so I

decided it was time to document it. In

presenting the material in a clinic format,

I learned a lot about how an audience

would accept it. You know, many people,

when doing their historical homework,

don’t even go back to Ringo, let alone 100

years, so I knew I had something here. I

presented the material in a relaxed, fun

way. I also involved the audience with

a lot of questions, and I’d reward them

with various giveaway items from my

sponsoring companies. I’d just make it

fun. I wanted to take these aspects and

transfer them into the DVD. What I didn’t

want was for this to be like a formal

PBS documentary. I wanted to keep the

interactive aspect of my clinics and feature

some audience member commentary.

RM: You funded a part of this through

Kickstarter.com and I thought your promo

video on that site was brilliant. Talk about

how you came to utilize Kickstarter.com

to fund the project.

DG: Thank you. I had previously appeared

on the show “DC Live” on Drumchannel.

com and during that time, Don Lombardi

(Drum Workshop and Drum Channel

Founder) and I began talking about the

idea. He was very interested in it, but my

rather grandiose idea for the final outcome

would cost a bit more than could come

solely from Drum Channel, so I began

looking into sites that offer what’s called,

crowdfunding. I came across Kickstarter

and liked their approach to the concept.

They seemed to be the best known for

this, even though they’re an all-or-nothing

venture. Meaning, if you don’t achieve

your goal, you’re basically back to squareone

(each project sets a financial goal to

reach within a specific time period. If

the goal isn’t’ met, monies are refunded

to contributors). Because they’re the best

known, they have a large audience, which

is what you want when obtaining public


RM: Talk about the various rewards or

incentives you offered to encourage

potential funders to contribute to your idea.

DG: What’s cool about Kickstarter, and

what I believe makes one successful with

it, is that you have a chance to open up

yourself personally to those viewing your

idea. You basically offer different levels

of rewards for various levels of monetary

funding–the more you donate, the more

you receive from the creator. Obviously,

the higher you go, the better the reward. I

did a huge amount of research on creating

an effective promo clip for it and also

researched other successful pages that had

achieved their goals. I also looked at what

kinds of rewards they offered.

RM: Your rewards included a vintage

Leedy snare, backstage passes, Royal

Crown Revue CDs and even a Day with

Daniel in LA; really great stuff. Even

though you’ve already achieved your

goal, I encourage all of our readers to

check out your page on Kickstarter, it’s

really cool and inspiring. How did you

put the promo clip together for that page?

DG: I had the idea for the content and

basically knew what I wanted, and I had

a friend who worked at the Columbia Film

School edit it for me. It was a lot of work to

not only create the clip, but also manage

all of the donation levels. Once you

complete your goal, before you collect,

Kickstarter takes their cut and you also

have to fulfill all of your rewards. So one

thing I’ve learned is that you must keep

that all in mind when setting your financial

goal. There was one guy who donated

$1,750. I’d never met him before. He

worked as a private contractor for the US

Government, stationed in Kuwait and had

an office job there. He’s a drummer and is

a fan of Gavin Harrison. He was watching

Gavin on YouTube and Gavin mentioned

that he was doing a project with a friend,

funding it on Kickstarter. So, this guy in

Kuwait then goes on Kickstarter and starts

searching around for anything related to

drums. By the way, I was very careful to

make sure I optimized my search engine

word choices. He searched ‘drums’ and

my project came up. He checked out the

video clip, loved the project and before

you know it, donated the money!

RM: If you fulfill your goal and people

continue to donate, the amount over the

goal is then yours as well, right?

DG: It is, but you still have to pay

Kickstarter their percentage, and also fulfill

your rewards.

RM: You had presented this idea to Don

Lombardi some time ago. Talk about that.

DG: Right. I had done DC Live back in

2009 and Don was the host. We just hit it

off from there. Don is all about education

and his vision for Drum Channel is very

focused on furthering drum education, first

and foremost. So we began talking about

how to transfer the material in my clinics

to a DVD, while maintaining my relaxed

presentation style. One way we achieved

that was to cut to a green screen to feature

the audience’s answers to the questions

I presented. We did the lecture portion

in one day, and the band performance

sections in two days. I feel that what we

have now really captures the essence of

the live clinic, along with a much more

detailed history lesson.

RM: Absolutely. Speaking of history,

you have a very interesting background.

You’re originally from Honolulu, Hawaii.

What was that like as a young, developing


DG: Man, when I was growing up and

beginning to play drums in High School

bands and Rock bands, I never could’ve

imagined playing drums for a living, let

alone focusing on the whole music history

thing. I was always just playing for fun and

even when I went to college, I majored in

Psychology. There were 3 teachers though,

that had a huge affect on my change of

direction. One was Bob Gullotti, a great

Jazz player and teacher from Boston.

When I finished college, I started studying

with Bob and from that experience I

realized that this is what I needed to be

doing. I spent a couple of years after that

touring and then went back to Hawaii

and spent time in the woodshed. I finally

ended up at the Dick Grove School of

Music in LA. By the time I got there, I had

some professional experience and really

knew what I wanted to focus on. Later

on, in the 90s, my path was influenced

by Freddie Gruber, with whom I studied

for about six years. Later, I studied with

one of Freddie’s long-term students, Bruce

Becker. He teaches Freddie’s material very





RM: How did you come to focus and excel

in Big Band and Jazz drumming?

DG: At Dick Grove we, of course, studied

all different styles of playing, so after I got

out of that school it kind of just happened.

Actually, joining Royal Crown Revue was

a huge turning point for me. I was into

Jazz and BeBop but can’t say that I was

into the roots of all that stuff. When I first

played with RCR, I came into it playing

the music from a Tony Williams kind of

approach and they told me that I wasn’t

stylistically correct. When I went back

and listened to their music again, I began

to realize that what they were doing was

one part Jazz, one part Blues and another

part Rock ‘n’ Roll. A lot of what they drew

from in their music was a blend of 1930s

Swing, 1940s Jump Blues, early Rhythm

‘n’ Blues and Rockabilly; all of which are

played in a very specific way. To learn


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

more about these various styles, I began

looking for educational material to study

from and found that there really wasn’t

much out there in the way of instructional

sources. That’s what prompted me to

begin writing about this stuff. I began

writing a series of articles for Modern

Drummer entitled, “Swingin’ in a Modern

Age” which got me interested in writing

more. Then, I decided to begin teaching

about it. As I wrote in the forward to

my book, The Commandments of Early

Rhythm and Blues Drumming (co-written

with Zoro), I kind of relate to Columbus,

who set out to find the West Indies but

found America. I came to LA like so many

others, thinking I’m going in one direction,

but then I ended up joining this band and

suddenly found myself getting into all the

historical aspects of music. The more I got

into it, the more I realized how much other

people needed to know about this.

RM: It really proves that we all must be

open to what comes to us. Many times,

what we’re seeking is presented to us if

we simply keep our eyes and ears open!

DG: Yes! As I researched this stuff, I began

interviewing many of the drummers

who were still alive, who were the main

influence for these various styles. They

became my friends and really inspired

me to create The Century Project and to

focus on the 100-year time period that

shows the development of these styles of

playing. In reality, every time you sit down

to play the drums, you’re doing something

that was created and/or inspired by these

guys. The timeline wraps up 1965, but if

you continue on, you can find styles of

drumming that have arisen since then that

are influenced by that same time period.

RM: This could potentially be a viable

resource for college level learning.

Have you thought about taking it in that


DG: Well, certainly. I’ve been living

in New York for the past few years

and recently, have been talking to The

Drummer’s Collective about a possible

10-week course. I’m definitely open to

opportunities like that. With this DVD,

I’m hoping that people will get a better

understanding of what I’m all about, and

my approach to the historical material.

RM: Before we conclude, I want to

mention the companion DVD to The

Century Project. It’s called TRAPS: The

Incredible Story of Vintage Drums (1865-


DG: Of course, thank you. With TRAPS,

we focus on the evolution of the drum

set. We initially thought this material was

going to be included as a special feature

within The Century Project, but when

we got into it, we had collected so much

great stuff that we decided to offer it as a

companion. TRAPS features vintage drum

expert, John Aldridge, and we really get

into detail about the eleven vintage drum

sets featured in Century Project. There’s

extensive history and great footage of the

all the kits, so I encourage everyone to

check that out.







Scott Donnell: How did major, charttopping

artists decide they needed your

style of playing?

Gerald Heyward: As soon as they heard

it, they knew. It became a prerequisite;

they needed a church drummer to be legit.

They needed drummers that had studied at

church, stylistically. They’d say, “Can you

send somebody like you?”

SD: Talk about the style or genre of

church drumming.

GH: It’s actually not focused on styles, but

it touches so many genres, from Rock and

Jazz, to Funk. If you come out of church,

you’re prepared! You’ll end up playing all

of those styles in church and that’s what

church-style is. Lots of up-tempo, different

fills, backbeat, on top of the beat, we don’t

know we’re studying it at the time, but we


SD: Do you feel like you have an automatic

brotherhood with all drummers that play

in church?

GH: It’s less of a church thing and more

of a drummer thing, in general. It’s more

about a drummer’s DNA. We all have that

commonality. I can tell you’re a drummer

just by talking to you, not by talking drums,


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

Gerald Heyward’s Gospel







Gerald Heyward might arguably be the godfather of Gospel-style Pop drumming. He’s worked with such R&B and Hip Hop

luminaries as: Beyonce, Destiny’s Child, P Diddy, Blackstreet, Janet Jackson, Missy Elliott, Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown and

countless others. His transition from solely playing in church to also being an in-demand mainstream player has become

the norm for these genres, but it wasn’t always this way. Once the likes of Usher, Jay-Z and other top-selling artists heard

what Gospel-trained drummers could bring to their live shows, they demanded a new level of musicianship and flair that

only Gerald and his predecessors could provide. This is the gospel of Hip Hop and R&B according to Gerald Heyward.


Hip Hop

but other things you say; it’s a kinship.

The only musicians that practice together

are drummers. We’re all connected as

drummers. We like to show each other

things. You don’t see a bunch of keyboard

players getting together to trade licks!

SD: Do you feel responsible for passing

the torch to the younger drummers

coming up?

GH: I’m an older guy now and I learned

from guys older than me, guys like Jeff

Davis, Joe Smith and Bobby Walker. The

crew that’s coming up in church now will

be in the working world soon, but they’ll

always come back to church. The guys that

learned from me, like Teddy (Campbell),

Nisan(Stewart) and Aaron (Spears) are

already passing their knowledge down to

the next crew.

SD: Which drummers inspire you?

GH: My first concert was Billy Joel with

Liberty DeVitto. Liberty taught me about

showmanship. When I saw him, it changed

my life. That’s when I started working on

my move of hopping up and down on the

throne. Then there was hearing Gadd on

Steely Dan’s, Aja for the first time, and

Vinnie changed my way of thinking about


the drums, too.

by Scott Donnell

SD: Who are some of the young church

players that have caught your attention


GH: There’s a guy from Brooklyn we call,

Junior. Then, there’s Josh and Little Mike

from Texas, also Brandon and Big Sed from

Trenton (New Jersey) and Jamal Moore

(Aaron Spears’ brother). I’m inspired by

all of their playing. I love ‘shedding’ with

these guys, it keeps me fresh.

SD: Tell us a little bit about ‘wood-

shedding.’ It started with gospel players,


GH: Woodshedding is just practicing;

it always has been, but now they call it

‘shedding.’ It’s so you can see your place,

in terms of chops. A bunch of us come to

learn, but there are always guys that come

to ‘kill’ and, basically, show off. They call

it “chopping heads off.” Some guys are

there to prove themselves. One night,

we were all there, Chris Dave, me, Teddy

Campbell, Aaron Spears, Mike Clemons,

Doobie, Jeremiah Parish, Dana Hawkins

and Little John Roberts. The young guys

said it was the best day of their lives.





IN THEStudioWITH Satnam Ramgotra

by Scott Donnell

Satnam Ramgotra may not be a name you’ve heard

before, but he’s quickly being elevated to the upper

echelon of studio drummers. This may be due, in

part, to his association with omnipresent, high-powered film

composer, Hans Zimmer, but he has the uniqueness, style,

and drumming prowess to back up his reputation. We spoke

with Satnam about his move from strictly being a drummer,

to also composing and engineering his own recordings. As

you’ll read, he’s a drummer that’s keeping pace with today’s

rapidly evolving music scene.

SCOTT DONNELL: Talk a little bit about your drumming

past, career highlights, notable gigs, etc.

SATNAM RAMGOTRA: I’ve done some gigs where I’ve

definitely had to pinch myself! One gig I was honored to do

for a little more than eight years was with Nikka Costa, whom

I consider a true artist’s artist. We traveled to many parts of

the world and got to be on tours with the likes of Beck, Erykah

Badu, Prince, and Lenny Kravitz. I also toured with Jada

Pinkett Smith’s metal band called Wicked Wisdom and we

opened for Britney Spears, as well. A notable gig during that

time was one of Prince’s birthday parties at Paisley Park. We

got a personal tour of the studio and the garage that housed

all of his cars from his old videos. Pretty cool if you grew

up a major fan of his like I did in the ‘middle of nowhere’

Canada! He’s even jumped on stage and jammed with us!

Beck had me sit in on the tabla on one of my all-time favorite

songs. That song actually doesn’t even have percussion on

it! That was a definite highlight. Getting to record drums

with Bootsy in his home studio in Ohio was also pretty rad!

Early on in my career, I got to be a guest artist on gigs for

Sting, with Manu Katché on drums, and Seal, with Brian

Blade on drums. These artists, and their drummers at the

time, were major, huge influences on me. A long time ago, I

did a gig that I’ll never forget, subbing for Abe Jr. in Germany

with Mike & Teddy Landau’s group, The Raging Honkies.

Every night I was pinching myself!! I sucked, but man it

was fun! Nowadays, getting to be a part of Hans Zimmer’s

world means we have the opportunity to collaborate with

all kinds of musicians. Sometimes, we play together when

we are coming up with ideas. One of the coolest times was

with Dave Stewart and Pharrell Williams. It’s much different

writing tunes on the spot as opposed to recording a tune

that has already been started as a demo. Other times we’ve

collaborated over dubs, but getting a chance to play with

guys like Johnny Marr and Mel Wesson on a live, one-timeonly

performance like we did for the Inception premiere is

the coolest. I have to say, the first real studio ‘pinch myself’

moment was when I got to record alongside my drum hero,

Vinnie Colaiuta and percussion/drum hero, Alex Acuña on

a Lee Ritenour album! Vinnie and I were recently part of a

massive drum set ensemble, but I can’t tell you anymore than

that right now.

SD: How has the tabla influenced your drum set playing?





SR: Music breaks down language barriers.

That’s something that perhaps may be

taken for granted by the masses. Music

transcends everything, and at the heart

of it is rhythm. I always wanted to play

the drums. My dad was insistent upon

me learning the tabla too. So, when I

started snare drum and drum set back in

5th grade in Canada, he taught me tabla

simultaneously. Now, when I’m asked

this very question, it’s hard to pinpoint.

Western drummers say, “I totally hear your

tabla influence in your drumming!” And

the Indian Tabl-Ji’s (tabla players) all say,

“I can really hear your drumming in your

tabla playing!” For me, they’re one and

the same, but I get how one can hear more

drumming influence in the tabla playing.

I do way more non-Indian gigs as a tabla

player than I do Indian Classical gigs.

Indian music by nature is much looser in

terms of feel and swing. Playing in a band

that doesn’t swing, but wants that ‘Indian’

feel means you’ve got to know how to

turn off that Indian swing and match the

western ‘clave’ if you will. The first time

I understood what Tabl-Ji’s meant by tabla

influence in my drumming was back in

Greece in 1997. I did a clinic at the Poly-

Rhythmos School of Music in Athens. I did

a little solo thing on the kit, what I call,

“Look at me, look at me, look what I can

do!” Then, I did a little solo thing on the

tabla. The whole room, including myself,

said, “Oh, I see!” Then the questions

started to flow.

SD: Would you say you have “chops”?

SR: I went to PIT, and for about eight years

after that, I’d say, “Yes.” By the way, during

those eight years, I was broke, playing

in an awesome power-trio band that

unfortunately couldn’t break loose from

the clubs. Anyway, now I’d say that chops

don’t grab my interest as much as coming

up with a new way to interpret 123-

123-12 accents on 1. Going back to the

previous question, that particular rhythm

is the universal rhythm. It’s present in

every single culture on our mother Earth!

SD: Are you well-versed in many musical

styles? Talk about your educational


SR: “Well-versed” is a really subjective


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

term. I get to play many different styles

of music on both the drums and tabla.

I’ve spent a year in Greece playing drums

and tabla on traditional and hybrid Greek

music and I also play with an assortment

of Persian artists. I’ve been drumming on

a legit Funk gig for years and I’ve played

on Punk, Pop, Alternative, and Rock

gigs in the past. That doesn’t necessarily

make me well-versed in my book. Music

explorations really started in my home.

My mom sings and plays the harmonium,

and my late father played the tabla; both

were avid music fans. I’m the youngest

of five children and all of us are extremely

passionate about the music we listen to.

Being the youngest, I was turned on to

everything from 60’s and 70’s Rock, Disco,

80’s New Wave, to hair bands, Punk,

Hardcore, and Skate Rock! Combine

that with Indian Classical, Light Classical,

Indian film and Pop songs, Western

Classical, Big Band Jazz, plus what I was

learning in school, and that’s a pretty wide

variety. Big Band is, incidentally, what

really taught me how to play the drums.

My elementary school band teacher

would send me home with Fusion and Jazz

records to check out Billy Cobham, Steve

Gadd, Elvin Jones, etc. I was very lucky to

have a basement in Canada that allowed

me to practice for a gazillion hours a day.

What I’m trying to communicate is that all

of the music around me constantly taught

me how to play. Practicing was just the

vehicle to make it happen. Can you dig it?

SD: How did you make the transition

from session drumming to composing?

SR: I didn’t know that I completely

transitioned out of it. [Laughs]. It was

more of a natural transition than a

conscious transition. To stop playing or

performing, those are thoughts that do not

exist. In fact, I actually play more now.

Since I play on everything I’m writing,

and don’t just program it, I actually play

the instruments analog-style. It gives

me perspective. After years of always

performing as a side man and always

playing someone else’s parts, I’ve started

looking at what gigs I really love doing,

and which ones have become chores. I

know that sounds a bit ungrateful, it’s not.

It’s just the opposite. When you’re on a gig

and you’re not happy, no one is benefiting.

If it was just about a paycheck, we’d take

jobs that don’t require a lot of passion, and

we wouldn’t mind being bossed around. I

discovered the idea of recording on movie

dates as a soloist, but collaborating on

people’s songs and working with producers

is the most gratifying for me. On movie

dates you might get handed a chart, but

it’s a blank palette in terms of the level of

creativity you want to bring to it. Most of

the time, composers and producers send

me their music and a click track and just

say, “Can you make it better?” I realized

that, in a way, this is sort of like composing.

Then, more gigs started coming to me as

a composer, where they would ask, “Can

you just do a drum/percussion bed?” I

quickly found out that’s actually harder

for me. So, the first time I was presented

with this scenario, I played a solo on my

dulcimer, found a pattern I liked, and

wrote a tune from that. It’s important to

note that I don’t play the dulcimer, nor

have I ever been trained on it, but it has a

series of strings that aren’t rocket science

to tune. It’s played with two thin mallets,

otherwise known as hammers, which are

very similar to playing with drumsticks.

Then, I went back and layered in all of the

drums and percussion. When I played it

for them they loved it, and put in the film

as is. Voila, I had my first additional music

credit, although I don’t think I actually got

a credit in the movie. About a month later,

another composer asked me if I’d like to

co-compose on a demo for the theme to

Outsourced. At the time, it was a new

NBC sitcom. Lo and behold, we got it!

But I’m not composing full scores just yet,

I’m mostly composing for music libraries,

and it’s really fun.

SD: What’s it like engineering your own

drumming performances?

SR: [Laughs] Some days it’s great, and some

days it’s not so great. Sometimes you’re so

‘in the pocket’ and other times, you want

to be at the beach. I’m just kidding, a

little. At first it was weird, but it’s been

a great learning experience. I’m sort of

old school, so I always want to attempt to

deliver a solid take from beginning to end.

Sometimes I just don’t have the time, so

I’ll punch in, especially if it’s a crazy time

signature that the composer has written in

to match what’s happening on the screen.

Like, where you are grooving along in 4/4

at 160 bpm and all of a sudden a bar of 9/8

shows up at the very end of the cue. Thank

god for the ability to punch in if you miss it

the first time around!

SD: Who do you look up to? Do you have

a mentor for drumming/composing as


SR: Physically, anyone over 6’ 2”. [Laughs].

My biggest drum heroes/influences are:

Vinnie Colaiuta, Billy Cobham, Tony

Williams, Jack DeJohnette, Steve Jordan,

Omar Hakim, Bill Stewart, Abe Jr., Steve

Gadd, Peter Erskine, Alex Acuña, John

Bonham, Mitch Mitchell, Michael Bland,

Buddy Miles, Philly Joe Jones, Stewart

Copeland, Neil Peart, Matt Frenette, and

Paul Brochu. Plus, so many I’m forgetting,

but I can’t forget my instructors: John

Fisher, Toss Panos, Efrain Toro, Chuck

Flores, Casey Scheuerell, Pandit Swapan

Chaudhuri, Amritpal Singh Jabbal, and,

of course, my dad. As for composing, I

definitely have a few composers that give

me their honest, and sometimes not-sohonest,

critiques. The person who has truly

Integrated Felts

No detail is too small on our most popular pro

cymbal stands. Drummers really appreciate a good

quality cymbal felt, especially when it’s part of our

innovative adjustable cymbal seat. Together, they allow

drummers to create just the right cymbal tension for

optimal playability and tonality. The only way to make

it better was to streamline it, and we did. The entire

assembly has gone from three removable parts to just

one. We designed an integrated, barbed cymbal protector

to capture the bottom felt, then we went one step further

and combined the top felt, washer and wing nut into a

revolutionary one-piece design. There’s an art to refining

even the smallest details. It’s what has made us the

Drummer’s Choice for over 40 years.

become my unsung mentor is Lorne Balfe,

who also happens to be a Classicallytrained


SD: What do you listen to in your car?

SR: After reading this, nobody is going to

believe me when I say, Massive Attack,

Radiohead, old U2 and Joni Mitchell.

Mainly, I like to keep things mellow while

driving. LA can be testing on the nerves.

SD: Do you see yourself touring again?

SR: Yes, absolutely! If Massive Attack came

calling…peace, everybody! Seriously, yeah.

If the right gig came knocking on my door,

I would, without a doubt, tour again.

SD: How did you arrive at DW?

SR: Actually, I’m beginning to think that

it was inevitable. My dear friend, Curt

Bisquera, had never stopped planting the

bug in my ear. And even Alex Acuña had

said, “Man, you’ve really got to check it

out, it’s happening!” The curiosity and

desire was confirmed when I was at Peter

Erskine’s place for a session and he was

playing his DW kit. I couldn’t get over how

amazing they sounded! We got to talking

about them, and he told me how they had

totally revamped their philosophy on drum

making. Still, I was too shy to reach out

myself. Last month, I was on a studio gig

with Curt and he suggested I check DW

out. He organized a tour of the facility,

and I was sold after that! I didn’t want

to leave the building, and couldn’t see

myself not playing DW Drums. Honestly,

I’m honored to be a part of the DW

family. They’re good people, making and

promoting great music and drums.

SD: Tell us about the kit you designed.

SR: Y’all don’t know about this right here!

It’s a Jazz Series kit with Electric Blue

transparent lacquer over Angel Pearl exotic

wood. My custom sizes are 7x10”and

7x12” toms, 16x16” and 16x18” floors,

and 17x23” and 14x24” bass drums.

There’s also a matching 5.5x14” snare

and a 6.5x14” oak stave snare. Generally,

I play one tom up and one or two floors

down. The thing about the small-to-larger

tom sizes has everything to do with the

tabla, and its high-end/low-end ratio. I

really like that contrast and want it to

reflect in my kit, as well.

SD: What’s the fastest land animal?

SR: Cheetah!! Although, Shane Gaalaas

has some pretty fast feet!!!



Learn about DW’s latest innovative details www.youtube.com/dwdrums

©2012 Drum Workshop, Inc. All Rights Reserved.




9000 Series

Ever since the launch of the Floating

Rotor/Adjustable Cam 9000 pedals,

drummers have been loyal to their smooth

action and sheer playabilty. When the

DW Research and Development team

decided to update the 9000 single and

9002 double pedals for 2013, it was

a challenge to improve on an already

unanimously accepted design. So, how

do you make a great thing better?

For starters, it was decided to add the

revolutionary new Tri-Pivot Toe Clamp.

This new clamping mechanism provides

a much stronger connection to the

bass drum hoop, eliminating unwanted

vibrations and slippage while, at the same

time, preserving the integrity of the hoop.

Next, we removed the Velcro® from the

bottom of the base plate and replaced it

with a specially-designed non-skid rubber

pad, offering another level of increased

stability for drummers. Not only does it

work well on carpeted floors, but it can

also be used on harder surfaces, such as

wood. Finally, the re-tooled adjustable

cam is now easier than ever to alternate

from Accelerator-style to Turbo, or

anywhere in-between.

The new 9000 pedals feature the same

unmistakable feel and reliability that

drummers have come to expect from

DW, with some key improvements. To

see some of your favorite drummers

talk about the newest features available

on these, and other models, visit: www.


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013



get a



Scott Crago Eagles



EZ Adjust Infinite Cam Tri-Pivot Toe Clamp Non-Skid Rubber Grip

9002 Double Pedal

The reimagined, reengineered 9000 Series bass drum pedal. Only from DW, The Drummer’s Choice.

See what the pros are saying about the NEXT GENERATION 9000 www.youtube.com/drumworkshopinc

©2012 Drum Workshop, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Carl Allen Independent



Shawn Pelton SNL

9000 Single Pedal



On this day, we were here to discuss DW’s

proprietary HVX shell. It’s only found on

DW’s Performance Series drums, a series

that is price point sensitive, only in that

they are less costly than custom drums.

Make no mistake, these are Oxnard,

California-made, high-end drums with pro

specs all the way! John makes it clear,

“We wanted to give Performance Series a

sonic personality all its own, not just make

a production version of our custom kits. It

was really important to develop something

that was modern, versatile and, most


THE PATH TOPerformance


HVX Shell


importantly, lived up to DW’s reputation

for professional sounding, drummerfriendly


As we sat in John’s office, we were

surrounded by wood veneers of every

conceivable variety and shells literally

littered the floor to the point where it was

hard to find a place to step. It’s obvious

that John spends plenty of time doing his

homework. We were also treated to a walkthrough

of DW’s state-of-the-art Custom

Shop, the shell shop, to be specific. There,


by Rich Mangicaro


When speaking to John Good, DW’s master drum designer, one is treated to such a wealth of knowledge that you feel

like a kid again. No matter what level of player you are or type of music you play, you can rest assured that you’ll

walk away with a staggering amount of drum-related information while being inspired, re-charged and excited about the

instrument. John has innovated drum making in such a way that he’s paved entirely new manufacturing techniques within

the industry. I’m not the first to refer to him as a wood guru, as he travels the world searching for unique and beautiful

varieties of exotic woods, many of which have never been used before in a drum-building application. He’s fueled by

passion, loves sharing his discoveries, and our community is the better for it. As he says, “It’s all about education. The

more you know about your instrument and your drum shells, the easier it is to understand how to tune them.”

EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

we met with DW shell expert, Shon Smith.

He’s John’s right-hand man when it comes

to developing new shell technologies and

grain orientations. It was these two that

developed VLT, or Vertical Low Timbre,

and this ground-breaking discovery lead to

X-Shells (diagonal grain orientation), VLX

(a combination of VLT and X-Shells), and

eventually, HVX. The smell of raw wood

permeates the shell shop and, man, is it

hot in there! Actually, it’s hot AND humid

in there; they have to pump water in the

shop to make sure the moisture content

is just right for shell making. It’s an art

form that John and Shon have dialed-in

over these many years. In speaking with

both craftsmen, HVX’s story unfolds with

colorful clarity.

John Good: This program can only be

fully understood if you understand veneer.

Veneer’s attributes are as follows: no matter

what kind of wood, when it’s cut into a

veneer, if it has a long grain (horizontal),

it’s going to have a high timbre (pitch).

If it’s short grain (vertical), it’ll have a

lower timbre. When you combine them

in various configurations, varied sound

qualities are achieved.

Rich M: Does this also affect the strength

of the shell?

JG: Absolutely, that’s why we have to

cross-laminate, or the shells would fold

up like a hat box. Look at this piece of

long-grain veneer (he holds out a piece

of maple veneer across my fingertip). It’s

only 1/36th of an inch thick and it hardly

bends on your hand, you can see the

strength here. Now watch as we place

the same thickness with a vertical grain, it

bends over your hand easily. Also, every

piece of wood has a musical note value

(as I held the horizontal wood veneer,

John bent it and as it tightened, the pitch

raised, as opposed to the vertical grain that

was already much lower due to the short

grain orientation. Now, I have one more

piece, a 45° diagonal cut veneer (when

placed on my hand, it bent diagonally).

So, no matter what type of wood is used,

the important factors are the direction and

orientation of the grain when assembling a

shell. Understanding this much will help

paint a clearer picture of the path to HVX.

RM: So, the importance of grain direction

and how the veneers are layered gives

you not only the shell’s sound potential,

but also gives you control over the shell’s

strength. Fascinating! Touch briefly on

your early experience with timbre. Also,

your familiarity with maple and how it

led you to experimenting with the other

woods you employ today.

JG: Well, Curly Maple is mainly long grain,

but has a predominant figure of vertical

grain, as well, so when we used it as

the outside veneer, the pitch of the drum

was almost always lower. This bothered

me, so Shon and I thought, “What if we

turned maple vertical?” When we did

that, it became the starting point for the

VLT shell. This really began to make sense

when we started combining wood types

as exotic veneers, turning veneer vertical

and then book-matching (mirror-imaging)

the sheets. It was then that the rest of the

grain orientation world opened up. We

also found out that by turning the wood

vertical around the shell, the shell’s pitch

remained very, very low and that offered

up a wider range of woods as shell-making

materials. These days, probably more than

50% of our exotic woods are vertical grain.

RM: What about the diagonal wood grain?

How did you utilize that?

JG: We decided to try layering the diagonal

veneer in an ‘X’ pattern, with the outside

sheet in one direction, then the next one in

the opposite direction. We found out that

the pitch went down even lower! So, as we

were progressing with our experimentation

with grain direction, we were getting

lower, deeper sounding drums. Then, we

thought, “How can we make an ‘X’ shell

even lower?” We thought to place two

vertical plies in the middle of the ‘X’s and

it proved our hypothesis by bringing the

pitch down even more. That experiment

became a shell we now call VLX. That’s

used for floor toms, and for bass drums

we add one or two more vertical plies in

there and that becomes VLX Plus. With

four vertical plies in a bass drum, you have

to be careful because you can kill small

animals with the low, subsonic frequency

generated by that drum!

RM: I’m sure there are a lot of drummers

reading this right now with a big smile.

Who doesn’t want a bass drum with that

kind of low-end punch?!

JG: Yes! This brings us to Performance

Series HVX shells. We knew that our

production kits wouldn’t be Timbre

Matched, so we decided to have the grain

technology do the work for us. When we

decided to try putting that diagonal ply as

the last outer and inner ply of a standard

shell with alternating horizontal and

vertical plies, we wound up stabilizing the

vibration of the drum. We also found a

consistency with tone and timbre between

shells within the same size diameter. This

process led us to create something we’d

never made before: a medium-to-lowpitched

drum with tremendous consistency

and uncompromised shell integrity.

Shon Smith: With the ‘X’ ply added, we

didn’t need to add the reinforcement

hoops either. The diagonal ply gave it the

strength needed by pushing back on itself.

RM: So, this ultimately saves man-hours

by avoiding the shell selection process,

thus making it a very efficient production


JG: Indeed. Shon and I had never really

done production-style drums until HVX.

It really is the perfect recipe for our

Performance Series kits and artists are

going crazy for the sound of these drums.

It makes sense because they have a nice

tuning range. You can tune these drums

low because of the ‘X’ factor within the

plies, and we’ve found that because

there are no reinforcement hoops, there’s

yet another little advantage to the lower

frequency range because reinforcement

hoops raise the pitch ever so slightly.

They’re also really versatile. We’ve had

very positive feedback from Rock guys,

Gospel drummers, Country drummers,

every style of music! In fact, when you

buy a Performance Series kit, you get a

demo of John “JR” Robinson playing the

drums in various styles, so you really get

to hear them properly, as played by one of

the world’s most recorded drummers.

RM: It was always assumed that a drum’s

sonic range had more to do with the

thickness or mass of the shell and you have

both proven that that’s not necessarily the

case. Do you feel like you’re toying with


SS: That’s what we thought too! But after

years of work with grain orientation, we’re,

in essence, defying Mother Nature. This

is just the tip of the iceberg. There’s a lot

more we can do, and we’re having a blast

doing it!






BROOK DALTON: You’re from Michigan,

but you currently live in Brooklyn. Was

living in New York always a goal for you?

Did you choose New York or did you end

up there for any other reasons?

DARU JONES: New York was definitely a

goal for me. It’s a working town for what

I do. There are a lot of different jobs that

don’t specialize in a particular field, you

can do Hip Hop, you can do Rock, or

whatever you want. After high-school,

I started making my New York rounds

because I’m also a producer. In ’96 I was

a teenager and I went to New York and

performed at this A&R conference with

my sister and we got exposed to labels like

Sony and EMI. After that, I relocated to

Pittsburgh and played the scene there until

2008 when I worked out some growing

EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013






by Brook Dalton

If you’ve seen Jack White perform with The Buzzards as his backing band on his recent tour, you are lucky enough to have also

witnessed one of the most energetic and demonstrative drummers in the realm of modern rock. That may sound a bit hyperbolic

but trust me, Daru Jones brings an intensity and heartfelt style to the show that is something to write home about. Mr. Jones is such

a stand-out performer that he has earned a spot at the front of the stage alongside the band leader. His kit in itself seems to be

as non-traditional as the tour he’s currently immersed in (there are two alternating backing bands, one is all-male and the other is

all-female), with the toms and cymbals noticeably tilted away from his body. Although his mastery of this unique set-up somehow

makes perfect sense while watching him wail away, there are certainly questions that arise from the experience. Luckily, I spoke

to Daru while he was preparing for a show in Atlanta and was able to inquire about the tour, his passion for producing, and his

inimitable style behind the kit.


pains which resulted in me making the

transition to New York.

BD: You mentioned that you’re a

producer. You actually run your own

company, right?

DJ: Yes, I run my own production company

called, Rusic Records.

BD: What sort of projects do you have

going on with Rusic now? Or are you

even currently active with it since you’ve

been on the road so much?

DJ: Yeah, it’s cool that I’m in this scenario,

with consistent work, because it allows

me to work on my own projects with

Rusic. The sound is more of my style. I

call it, Soul-Hop, which is a combination

of Soul music and Hip Hop. It has a Hip

Hop production with singers on top of

it. One of the projects is with my sister,

Rena. She’s a Soul singer and the project

is called, Honey. On the flip-side, another

project that is not associated with Rusic

Records is the band I play with from

Austria called, The Ruff Pack. That’s a

project that’s coming out really soon and

I’m very excited about it.

BD: Do you prefer playing live and

touring over producing or session work?

Does one appeal to you more than the


DJ: Well, those are two different beasts.

Right now, I’m fitting in the production

material in-between the breaks that we

have on the road. We’ve been touring

since March and we do have some breaks

etween the runs. It’s equal; it’s a balance

I have. Really, I do a lot of drumming and

I enjoy doing it because it keeps my chops

up, but after a certain period I get the

longing and get inspired to produce and

make some new music.

BD: Right, you’ve got to mix it up.

DJ: Exactly.

BD: Since you’re so influenced by Hip

Hop, Gospel, and Soul music, do you feel

that you bring a lot of those elements to

the Jack White gig, or is it strictly a Rock

performance for you?

DJ: No, I believe he hired me because he

liked what I brought to the table and my

style is a combination of all the things that

I listen to, from Soul and R&B to Jazz, it’s

all of that in one. I think he was looking

for me to bring that type of element in this

situation and that’s why I got the job.

BD: So, you didn’t have to adjust much to

play in this band.

DJ: No, it was cool.

BD: How did you get the job? Did you


DJ: There’s a Hip Hop artist that I work with

from Detroit named, Black Milk. And,

you know, Jack is from Detroit, as well.

I played on Black Milk’s last album and

Jack had heard the track called, Deadly

Medley, which has a real Rock-type of

vibe to it. I think that made Jack kind of

excited. He produces these 7” singles

with his company, Third Man Records, and

he wanted to collaborate with Black Milk.

Since I was touring with him, he didn’t just

go down and do the project with Jack on

his own, he brought the whole band. That

allowed me to meet Jack and to record

with him. We also did a performance at

Third Man (they host live shows, as well)

and I’ll never forget it. We played a song

called, Losing Out that has a drum solo

in it. After I played that solo, Jack ran up

to the stage and yelled, “Yeah!” like he

was blown away. A few months later, he

contacted me to see if I wanted to come

down and do a session for a collaboration

he was doing with RZA from Wu-Tang

Clan. I was excited and flew down there

but, unfortunately, RZA had to cancel at

the last minute. However, it turned out to

be a blessing because that actually started

Jack working on the solo project. He felt

bad and didn’t want to send us home, so

he said he had a couple of tunes we could

mess around with and record. One of the

songs ended up being Trash Tongue Talker

from the Blunderbuss album. So, that’s

how we ended up working out the first

tunes for this record.

BD: Can you talk a bit about the two

different bands that are on the road for

this tour? There’s either an all-male or

an all-female band (The Buzzards and

The Peacocks) that will play the show.

How do you guys decide which band is


DJ: Y’know, we don’t have control over

that. In fact, we don’t find out who’s

playing until the morning of the show.

They want to have a surprise for the

audience, and that’s the vision that he has,

and that’s what we signed up for. All of

the gear is covered up and, y’know, one of

the things that can give away which band

will be playing is the drums. Literally, right

before we hit the stage is when everything

is unveiled to the crowd.

BD: Wow, so you need to be on your

toes. Is the set list the same from night

to night?

DJ: Well, there is no set list. [Laughter].

Sometimes we’ll get some curve balls and

we’ll have new stuff added right before

the show, so you never know, and we

have to be watchful. But, I’m playing with

really good cats; everybody was hired for

a specific reason. Everybody holds their

weight and I’m thankful to be a part of this


BD: Well, it’s probably a learning

experience, too. I’m sure you’ll look back

at this someday and you’ll have stories.

There aren’t many people that can say

they’ve played a tour that’s set up like this.

DJ: Yeah, it’s cool. I’m just glad that he’s

allowing the drummer to have a ‘shine

point,’ even with the set-up. Usually, the

drummer is way in the back, but with this

stage plot, the drums are right up front and

he really allows me to express myself. I

mean, I play the songs like the records

but I’m allowed total freedom if I want to

switch it up. In this scenario, if we want to

express ourselves, it’s embraced. I just try

not to take advantage of it and add some

flavor when I can.

BD: I’m curious about your set-up. Aside

from you being at the front of the stage,

allowing for some of the spotlight, your

kit itself seems downright wacky. I mean,

the angle of your toms and cymbals really

stands out, but that appears to allow you

to play full-throttle on them. Was this a

natural progression from a standard traps

set-up or have you played the kit that way

from the beginning?

DJ: No, I’m always experimenting, I’m

always growing. Y’know, as drummers

we always evolve. Within the past seven

or eight years, I’ve been doing a lot of

Hip Hop stuff, and in that community it’s

important to have an identity. Something

that’s going to separate you from the next

person. I’ve always been that type of

creative person, switching things up, so I

made that sort of transition around 2005.

I started experimenting, moving things

around with the toms, and it just worked

well with my style. I can be kind of a neat

freak at times and I had my snare tilted, so

I thought, “What would happen if I tilted

my floor tom?” It ended up looking cool

and, of course, I adjusted to playing it and

I just kept adding to that. It works well

for me.

BD: It works well for the audience, too.

It’s great, man. You make it look like

you’re driving the kit; you play it like you

own it. It’s unique, for sure.

DJ: Thanks! The way I sit is very high, so I

like to dominate the drums. I like to come

down on them from the throne, and I try

to perform from my heart and soul, so it

just works for the way that I play. I’ll do

some showmanship stuff but it’s more or

less like a ‘feeling’ thing, y’know? Like,

if I stand up and play it’s because that’s

what I’m feeling at that moment. There’s

an energy that I want to give out to the

audience. That’s important to me.





Jack White

and theBuzzards


by Scott Donnell

To see Jack White in concert is to

appreciate the combination of

spontaneity and calculated, stylistic

influence that has made him a Rock icon.

There’s a reason he’s mentioned in the

same breath as the likes of Jimmy Page and

Keith Richards. He had been touring for

his Blunderbuss record for many months

already and for those of you that aren’t

in the know, he’s been doing so with two

distinct bands, The Buzzards and The

Peacocks; the former being an all-male

band and the latter consisting of all-female

musicians. Part of the thrill is wondering

which outfit will be accompanying Jack

as he delivers his brand of Blues-based,

alt riff Rock. The crew waits until the very

last second before unveiling the drum kit

before each show, as that would give away


EDGE 10 ||| 2012-2013

the surprise.

Tonight, it’s The Buzzards, and being able

to watch Daru Jones perform is worth

the price of admission. While seeing

Daru deliver ample doses of greasy, ultrapocketed

grooves, one can’t help but

wonder if Jack picked a drummer that

plays very similar to himself. Yes, that’s

right; the multi-talented Mr. White is also

a proficient drummer in his own right. He

plays for his band, The Dead Weather and

seems to possess the same backbeat feel/

quotient as Daru.

As the drums are exposed, it’s obvious that

the audience knows about this little game.

Maybe some of them wanted to see the

girls that night, but they have no choice,

Jack calls the shots. The band ripped into

the song, “Sixteen Saltines” and proceeded

to play favorites from The White Stripes,

The Raconteurs and the aforementioned,

The Dead Weather. One of many things

that this band understands is dynamics.

They went from a whisper to a scream and

took even jaded Rock aficionados on a

musical ride that left everyone clambering

for more. Daru handled his duties in

tasteful fashion, incorporating the kinds

of tasty fills and grace notes you’d expect

from a Steve Jordan or Stan Lynch in his

heyday. That’s when Rock is at its best,

when the band can dig their teeth into the

kind of material that’s perfectly suited for

live performance. Daru accentuated the

big riffs and vintage tones in all of the right

places, constantly aware of the subtleties

of the songs and completely connected to

the other musicians on the stage.


Deep Snare Drums

I’ve been collecting drums since I was

around sixteen, or since I could afford to,

I guess. My first deep snare drum was an

8x14” from the 80’s. I discovered it in

the trunk of another student’s car in Auto

Shop. I talked him into selling it to me and

literally ran back to my car once it was in

my hands. I think I had my cheapo $300

import kit at the time with a matching

5x14” steel snare drum, so when I got back

and played this monster 8x14” for the first

time, I couldn’t believe how much depth

and power it brought to my drum sound!

Looking back now, after having the

experience of an additional twelve years

and literally hundreds of snares that have

come in and out of my life, it’s interesting

to reflect on what I like in a snare drum. At

the time, Ska and Nu-Metal were hot, so

everyone was playing piccolos and, let’s

face it, the drum industry is like any other,

trends are here today and gone tomorrow.

There’s something about a deep, big snare

sound that just seems to be timeless, even

irreplaceable. Sure, the most popular

snare shell depth throughout history has to


by Dave Elitch

be 5” or 5.5” deep, but every drummer I

know has at least one, if not several, 6.5”

deep snare(s). It doesn’t matter what the

shell is made of, wood, brass, steel or

whatever; it’s a sound that drummers don’t

want to be without. Back in the day, I used

to show up to a Jazz festival or gig with

my 8” deep drum and people would look

at me like I had three arms! Nowadays,

deeper snares are popular again and NO

ONE plays piccolos!

If I had to pick one, my favorite snare

size would be 6.5x14”. It has the perfect

blend of tonal depth and cut, and I can

still get the articulate subtleties without

straining myself or making the drum do

something it doesn’t want to do. In recent

years, “hipster” bands from Brooklyn and

Silverlake have brought back that gushy,

wet “thwack” that was big in the 70’s and

that’s what a lot of players want these days.

John Good calls it, “Hitting a birthday cake

with a baseball bat.” I’ve got a lot of 6.5-

8” deep snares, and even a 12x15” (that

one does the job beautifully). Deep snares

aren’t just for retro, fat sounds though. Try

taking the Performance Series 8x14” steel

snare and cranking that bad boy up! You’ll

get a ton of crack from the brightness that

steel brings, but you’ll have a lot more

bottom end to go with it. Maybe even try

some die-cast hoops or fatter snare wires.

Alternating head combinations also does

the trick. For the fat vibe, try a coated

P3 with an inlay ring, or an Emperor X

with a reverse dot. Even a Fiberskyn head

will add a thick sound to a deeper shell,

whether metal or wood. On the other end

of the spectrum, try a single-ply, coated

Vintage Ambassador for that studio sound.

Sometimes metal shells have a crazy ring.

Don’t always muffle it; occasionally it’s

nice to have some extra character in the

song. It’s all part of creating your own

sound. You should search for your original

formula when it comes to experimenting

with larger snare drums, and if you’ve

never tried something on the deeper side,

give it a shot. You might be surprised with

just how versatile a deep snare drum can

be. Get weird with it!





EDGE 10.0 ||| FALL & WINTER 2012










©2012 Drum Workshop, Inc. All Rights Reserved.






ISSUE 10 ||| 2012-2013 ||| DWDRUMS.COM

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