Read Exclusive Interviews written for Drumhead, Modern Drummer and Off Beat: Troy Luccketta – Steve Goold – Daniel Glass – Garrett Goodwin – Steve Smith – Dan Needham – Kelly Keagy – Scott Pellegrom – Brandon Scott – Mike “Woody” Emerson – Ben Barter – Rich Redmond – Sean Fuller – Jason Hartless – Robert Sweet – Keio Stroud – Tommy Taylor – Frankie Banali – Bobby Z – Danny Seraphine – Dino Sex– David Abbruzzese – Marisa Testa – David Thibodeau – Robert Perkins – Sarra Cardile – Bill Stevenson – David Cola – Ran Levari – David Raouf – Eric Selby – More to Come
One of the most common issues plaguing drummers is how to properly control the tone of their bass drum. Muffling the bass drum is the best way for managing the sustain and there have been plenty of ways to do this. Usually a pillow or towel is stuck inside the bass drum to absorb the soundwaves. This is a quick and easy fix but what happens when you must move the bass drum from home to the studio or the stage? There is no way to keep the elements inside the drum in the exact same setting where they were placed. This causes an inconsistency between the tone that you had precisely adjusted for and the tone that you end up with.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to guarantee that you would be able to preserve that sound no matter where you went? The folks at SledgePad Innovations have come up with such a solution. SledgePad has developed a unique dampening system created from two-inch wedge acoustic foam. This foam is like the foam panels commonly installed on the walls of studios for sound absorption. These foam wedges support any bass drum depth and stay in place. They also look clean.
The folks at SledgePad were kind enough to send a dampener for us to demo. I used an 18” Ludwig bass drum. The first thing that you notice after taking the pad out of the bag is how clean the profile is. It just looks good. This matters if you are using a clear head on the front of your bass drum. Second is the value of construction. The foam is strong and doesn’t bend or come apart. You can tell you are getting a quality made product. After installing the SledgePad inside of the bass drum I was able to use the small adhesive strips to secure the pad to the drumhead and ensure its position.
When I played the drum with no padding it rang out and had no focus whatsoever. This would be fine for a jazz setting but for rock the drum required a “punchier” feel. After installing the SledgePad the drum had a noticeable kick to it. It came on strong and then went away before too many overtones interrupted the sound. Even on a smaller bass drum like this 18” you got a distinctive Boom! According to their website: “…the added pressure on the batter head allowed me to bring up the tension without sacrificing low end potency…” My review, the SledgePad does exactly what it claims to.
The SledgePad also has several well-known artists endorsing the product. This includes: Mark Schulman, Johnny Rabb, and drum prodigy Cole Marcus. The artist gallery on their website has page after page of endorsements. Don’t just take our word for it, visit https://www.sledgepad.com/ for more information.
Those of you who frequent this blog are probably aware that I split my writing interests between drumming and the American Civil War. This has resulted in me publishing multiple books, articles, and posts on both subjects. My online book The Long Roll (available for free download above) distinctly combines the two. Recently I was given a unique and very special gift. I received a pair of drumsticks made from wood legally harvested from “witness” trees that were standing on the field during the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg. These are made from White Oak taken from the Longstreet Tree and were played at the 74th PA Monument. They are number 003 of 100. These cherished instruments were presented to me by Jim Smith, an accomplished Civil War-era drummer and period-collector. Jim runs a website called “The Yankee Drummer” where he provides professional conservation, restoration, and repair services.
In 1913, 74th PA drummer Peter Guibert marched from Pittsburgh to Gettysburg for the battle’s 50th Anniversary Reunion. In 2013, Jim Smith, then 70 years old, followed in Peter’s footsteps using Peter’s 74th PA drum. Throughout his adventure, Jim beat period cadences upon Peter’s relic drum using sticks that had been turned from trees that witnessed the historic battle in July of 1863. Jim now makes similar sticks available on his site. He also makes drums from his extensive collection available for purchase. Its amazing the condition that these drums are in and many are still playable. Jim still uses several for his own reenactment events.
After close to seven decades of assembling an incredible collection of rope-drums Jim has pledged to find new homes for these relics where they can be appreciated. His treasures cover the 1300’s through the mid 1900’s with a concentration on Civil War instruments. 2021 promises to be a big year for The Yankee Drummer as they still must inventory another 110+/ drums, plus swords, fifes, as well as original images of tintypes and CDVs of drummers.
After viewing a presentation Jim gave at the U.S.A.R.D. Convention it is evident he has a tremendous knowledge on the history of the drum and a tremendous skill playing it. Here is a video of Jim performing in the field:
As reenactment numbers continue to fall Civil War drumming may become a lost art. One can only hope that the tradition is passed down from generation to generation so that we can keep the spirit alive. Jim Smith is doing just that. Through his hobby and his business, he is preserving the history of the boys who courageously marched off to war with nothing more to protect them than a pair of sticks. Now you can own apiece of that courage simply by getting online and visiting The Yankee Drummer.
Visit Jim’s website at: https://yankeedrummersale.com/
View The Yankee Drummer catalog at: https://yankeedrummersale.com/catalog
Purchase “Witness Tree” Drumsticks at: https://yankeedrummersale.com/gettysburg-witness-tree-drum-sticks-
Contact Jim at: email@example.com
2020 has certainly been a year of challenges. However, there have been some highlights. Drumeo held a phenomenal drum festival that featured some of the best drummers of yesterday and today. I will close out this year by sharing some of my favorite performances. Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year. I look forward to sharing lots of interesting posts with you in 2021. I already have some great ones lined up.
When I was in the seventh grade I began a long friendship with a bassist named Mike Mizia. We both shared a common interest in music and he introduced me to a lot of bands I wouldn’t have otherwise listened to. Not classic or heavy metal bands, I knew about them. But other groups that have stuck with me to this day. Bands like The Cult, REM and INXS. He even turned me onto pop groups like Wilson Phillips a few years later. Mike’s tastes weren’t limited to genres. He loved good music. We spent hours listening to all kinds of music and watching MTV at his house. We also traded cassettes we recorded off our records so we wouldn’t have to buy them ourselves.
In seventh grade we both hatched a plan to ask our parents for “real” musical instruments for Christmas and our plan worked. Mike got a shiny black Ibanez bass and Peavy amp and I got a beautiful set of white Pearl drums. We immediately got together and formed a little duet we called “RATH”. Mike even drew up a cool looking logo that we put on my bass drum. The first song we learned was “Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple. We were so proud of ourselves. We eventually got a couple guys to join us and even played an assembly at our Middle School. When we got to High School we tried out and made a band made up of upper classmen called White Lightning. We got good and even played a few parties and competed in a Battle of the Bands. Those were some of our best times in high school.
Mike stuck with music after graduation and went on to play for several successful groups (High Voltage and The Ike McCoy Band) and even recorded some great music. A year ago, he sent me the last CD he recorded, and it sounded great. Mike was still playing at his best. I was always proud to know that we had started out together. Sometimes when I play my drums I flashback to those days and as a goof I start playing “Smoke on the Water.”
Mike passed away suddenly this past week. The comments that are being posted on Facebook are a testament to the friends that Mike leaves behind both musicians and non-musicians alike. We each remember Mike in our own way but we will all miss him together.
Here’s some video of Mike performing with The Ike McCoy Band. You can get a real feel for his bass playing technique:
If you’re looking for a great present for that history buff in your family check out these books by your blog host:
The Civil War in Spotsylvania County: Confederate Campfires at the Crossroads by Michael Aubrecht (Available in Paperback – Hardcover – Kindle)
From 1861 to 1865, hundreds of thousands of troops from both sides of the Civil War marched through, battled and camped in the woods and fields of Spotsylvania County, earning it the nickname ‘Crossroads of the Civil War.’ When not engaged with the enemy or drilling, a different kind of battle occupied soldier’s boredom, hunger, disease, homesickness, harsh winters and spirits both broken and swigged. Focusing specifically on the local Confederate encampments, renowned author and historian Michael Aubrecht draws from published memoirs, diaries, letters and testimonials from those who were there to give a fascinating new look into the day-to-day experiences of camp life in the Confederate army. So huddle around the fire and discover the days when the only meal was a scrap of hardtack, temptation was mighty and a new game they called ‘baseball’ passed the time when not playing poker or waging a snowball war on fellow compatriots.
Historic Churches of Fredericksburg: Houses of the Holy by Michael Aubrecht (Available in Paperback)
Historic Churches of Fredericksburg: Houses of the Holy recalls stories of rebellion, racism and reconstruction as experienced by Secessionists, Unionists and the African American population in Fredericksburg’s landmark churches during the Civil War and Reconstruction eras. Using a wide variety of materials compiled from the local National Park archives, author Michael Aubrecht presents multiple perspectives from local believers and nonbelievers who witnessed the country’s Great Divide. Learn about the importance of faith in old Fredericksburg through the recollections of local clergy such as Reverend Tucker Lacy; excerpts from slave narratives as recorded by Joseph F. Walker; impressions of military commanders such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson; and stories of the conflict over African American churches.
These titles are currently ON SALE and available directly from The History Press at: Books by Michael Aubrecht
You may have heard by now that Frankie Banali passed away after battling Stage Four Pancreatic Cancer. (I was fortunate enough to interview Frankie a while back and it was one of my most enjoyable talks. You can read the entire interview here: Frankie Banali)
About a year before he passed, Frankie asked Donn Bennett of Donn’s Drum Vault to coordinate the sale of his extensive drum collection. It was imperative to him that they found homes with drummers and fans who would appreciate them as much as he did. Frankie left behind 35 drum sets, 115 snares and 100 cymbals to be made available for purchase by his fans. The collection is extensive and features Ludwig, Rogers, Slingerland and Leedy drums and Sabian cymbals that are all signed by Frankie. All of the drums come with a Certificate of Authenticity signed by Frankie’s wife Regina Banali, as well as a pair of Frankie Banali signature drumsticks.
According to Donn’s website: “His drums were deeply important to him. He often said that ‘All I need are my family, music and drums.’ His drums were so much more than tools of his trade. They were a pathway to his soul. His vast collection of drums reflect the multi-faceted drummer and person he was. Many of his sets reflect his deep admiration and respect for John Bonham while others recognize his love of great jazz drummers like Elvin Jones. The stunning visual presence of all his drums clearly reflect Frankie’s keen artistic eye.”
You can access the collection here: Frankie Banali Collection.
Recently I was introduced to drummer and producer Eric Selby. Eric has performed live and recorded with many talented artists, including: Daryl Johnson (The Neville Brothers, Emmylou Harris, U2, Bob Dylan), Lenny Castro (Adele, The Rolling Stones, Steely Dan, Maroon 5, Stevie Wonder) and James East (Elton John, Lionel Richie, Eric Clapton). He has also been featured in Modern Drummer and Drummerart.com. Eric has also been named Blue411‘s “Drum Thumper ‘Jimi’ Award” winner, been nominated for multiple WAMMIE awards, inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and #1 on Blues411‘s charts multiple times.
That’s quite an impressive resume for sure. In 2020, Eric moved out in front of the drum kit releasing his first solo record of original music, entitled “Do, Baby.” as well as two singles, “Anxious Zen” and “Another Page.” These releases are a culmination of the various styles and genres he has had the opportunity to embrace through his musical travels. Eric has recruited many of his musical associates along the way to give these releases a new vibe and emotion with every song.
MA: Tell us what attracted you to the drums and what attracted you to singing?
ES: I am the youngest of five sons, and my older brothers all played instruments. When I came of age to join them, they needed a drummer. So at nine years old, I took up the drums but kept learning other instruments from my brothers (i.e. keys, guitar, etc.). I’ve been in bands ever since then and professionally since I was 18. I played in progressive/fusion/alternative bands for many years and then started performing in the genres of blues, funk and New Orleans groove. I had the opportunity to play with many iconic musicians and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. Through all of the rhythm section years, I continued to play guitar and write music, really, to entertain myself. Thankfully, I keep honing my craft and continue to do so today.
Since I have been a drummer “by trade,” I really was never particularly interested in being the “front man,” so singing is still a bit foreign to me. The songs that I have recorded were written by me, so I knew, from a performance/emotion/production point-of-view, how I heard it conveyed in my head. So it seemed naturally appropriate for me to sing them too. As a drummer in a band, I had often been a back-up singer so singing wasn’t new, just the “lead” part is something I’m learning to embrace now.
MA: What are the unique challenges between being a drummer and being a producer?
ES: One challenge that comes to mind is for the producer in me to ensure that the drummer in me plays to serve the song. As a drummer, it’s certainly easy for me to over-play because I can, but the reality is to properly deliver a song, whether live or on a recording, the musician must truly serve and support the song. One of the producer’s main roles is to ensure the song is being served properly by the musicians for the artist’s project.
The two roles are intrinsically similar and completely different at the same time. The rhythm section of a song is a vital part of the production, so it is weaved in, but I think I wear a completely different hat when I am producing the song in my head to be laid down “on tape.” I have been working hand-in-hand with an amazing producer based in Arlington, VA, named Marco Delmar, who has an innate way of understanding my layman’s terms for vibes, sounds, and effects. By working his magic on the board, he can manifest what I’m hearing in my own melon. In addition to Marco, Don Côqayohômuwôk Chapman (Firefall’s Larry Burnett & Rick Roberts, America) has been instrumental in providing such support on these songs with foundational and thematic parts and background vocals. Those two guys really make my job easy because I have confidence in both of their incredible talents.
MA: How did you come about recording your own solo record?
ES: I had been writing songs for years, on my couch at home to entertain myself or, as a single Dad, to simply irritate my four daughters. After I had about a dozen or so tunes that I thought were decent, I thought it would be cool to record them for fun and posterity, again, just for myself and family or friends. I had no idea these songs would receive the response that they have! My new songs have gotten amazing airplay literally around the world, plus phenomenal reviews, and the distinct honor of being on Roots Music Report’s Albums and Singles Charts for over 6 months now!
With the success of the Do, Baby EP and encouragement from fans to deliver more tunes, I jumped back into the studio and continued writing and tracking. I am now working on my sophomore effort and have released two singles from that project, “Anxious Zen” and “Another Page”, and I have a third single entitled “Orbit” due for release in January 2021.
MA: Which do you find more rewarding, drumming or singing?
ES: Hands down, drumming. I have been drumming for 40+ years, so my language and versatility with that instrument are far more fluent. My comfort, confidence, and musicality in drumming is considerably stronger than my singing. Lead singing is a new instrument for me and one that I look forward to developing further, as I do with all of the instruments I try to pick up.
Admittedly, I have never been a natural with any instrument. I have worked at playing the drums, guitar, piano, and singing. The old adage about reaping what you sow really rings true for me. I am strongest on drums because I have invested so much time into it. As I heard Will Smith once say, “Self-discipline is the center of all material success.” I will continue to focus on bettering myself at these instruments and in all aspects of my life, for that matter.
MA: Do you plan on touring to support this record?
ES: Although it would really be cool if I could, the immediate answer is no. Until we have a vaccine readily available to all, and people are being intelligent and exercising smart health practices, I don’t think it’s smart for me to be touring. I totally understand that it would significantly increase the exposure of these records, but in the grand scheme, it is worth far more to me to do the right thing for right now.
My current thought is to release my second EP in 2021 and see where things stand with the health of my family and the nation. If all seems under control, then I may revisit the idea of touring with the right people.
In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy working on my own project. And, I am absolutely psyched to continue tracking drums and percussion in the studio for all the amazing artists that I am blessed to work with on their own projects!
Visit Eric’s webpage at: https://ericselby.com/
Its two weeks until Christmas and there is still time to pick up our book FUNdamentals(TM) of Drumming for Kids. This book is exactly what it sounds like: a fun way of introducing the basics of drumming to children between the ages of five and ten.
Although there have been many programs developed for teaching music theory to children, few cater to this younger age group. By using a combination of enjoyable and familiar learning techniques, children are able to gain a better understanding of rhythm and the basic philosophies of playing drums.
FUNdamentals(TM) of Drumming for Kids has been written so it can be used by individual children and by multiple students in a classroom. It’s complemented by exclusive video shot at Drum Channel Studios, which contains additional information and playing examples of the FUNdamentals philosophy and exercises. Video is accessed online using the unique code in each book.
Here’s an overview of our program:
You may not be aware, but probably won’t be surprised to know that my friend and co-author (who also is an actor, and teacher, and entrepreneur, and motivational speaker, I could go on…) has his own popular podcast called “The Rich Redmond Show.”
The entertaining and educational podcast is about all things music, motivation and success. It features candid conversations with musicians, actors, comedians, authors and thought leaders about their lives and the stories that shaped them. It is hosted by Rich and his co-host Jim McCarthy.
Rich is the longtime drummer with Jason Aldean and many other veteran musicians and artists. He has been heard on thousands of songs, over 25 of which have been #1 hits! Jim has voiced well over 10,000 pieces and garnered an ear for audio production business which he now uses for various podcasts, commercials and promos.
Just some of Rich’s guests include: Victoria Jackson (Saturday Night Live), David Cook (Winner of American Idol Season 8), Katie Cook (Host, CMT), Dann Huff (world class record producer-Rascal Flatts, Keith Urban), Libby Vincek (Season 36 of CBS’ Survivor), Neil Thrasher (one of the most recorded songwriter’s on the planet), Johnny Garcia (band leader for Garth Brooks) and Shaun Silva (hit video director for Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney).
Specific drummers Rich has hosted include: Ray Luzier (drummer for David Lee Roth and Korn) and Paul Leim, Greg Morrow, Lonnie Wilson, Eddie Bayers (the world’s most recorded drummers).
If you like to learn how people become successful and stay there listen to “The Rich Redmond Show.”
For more information, visit www.richredmond.com
“Neil Peart is acknowledged as one of the greatest drummers of all time. The impact he had on the drumming community was huge. He inspired a generation of drummers and is still a formative influence. He was nicknamed “The Professor” for his musicality, precision and accuracy on the drums.”
This opens the Introduction to the new book from Francesco Vecchio titled: Neil Peart: An Introduction to His Drumming Style. Part Biography – Part Transcription Book this work is an extremely well-rounded look at the life and work of “The Professor,” considered by many to be the best of all time.
This opens the Introduction to the new book from Francesco Vecchio titled: Neil Peart: An Introduction to His Drumming Style. Part Biography – Part Transcription Book this work is an extremely well-rounded look at the life and work of “The Professor.”
The biography portion looks at the life of Peart from a young aspiring drummer to perhaps the greatest drummer ever to pick up a pair of sticks. The book analyzes and includes the drum sheet music for one of his most remarkable works: “Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres.” Every drum part analyzed is accompanied by an audio file. The audio samples are available for download (both MP3 and WAV) by scanning a QR code, or for streaming with a link that is provided.
The book presents a song-by-song analysis of five songs chosen by the author. This is an introductory guide for those who want to approach Rush’s discography and Neil Part’s drumming.
The author was kind enough to send a preview copy of the book to Off Beat for review. The first thing that I noticed was the wealth of information included in the narrative. Vecchio covers Peart’s life in a clear and concise manner. Chapters include Drum Influences, The Interview, Cygnus X-1 Book II: Hemispheres and Further Listening 1977-1981. A photo gallery is also included.
Vecchio’s admiration for Peart is evident and his passion for presenting the life story of the drumming legend both behind and in front of the kit shines through. The book is intended both for drummers and Rush fans: a guide for all the drummers who want to understand the basics of Neil Peart’s drumming, a document to collect for all the Rush fans, and for the younger generations, a way to approach the music of Rush.
The book will be available from January 4 in two print formats, paperback, and hardcover, and in an eBook version now available for pre-order. For more info about the book: https://francisdrummingblog.com/2020/11/19/neil-peart-an-introduction-to-his-drumming-style/
For more on Francesco Vecchio visit: francisdrummingblog.com – Drum sheet music, exercises & other stuff
Here is a preview (Click , then use magnify for full size):