Monthly Archives: February 2020

My Gear

To be honest I’m not really that much of a gear head. I do get to review gear on the blog from time to time but when it comes to playing drums I don’t get too infatuated with equipment. I’m not the kind of drummer that has to go out and get the latest double bass pedal and I don’t have a snare collection worth more than my car. That said, I do treat my gear very well. I currently have two kits, one acoustic and one electronic.

The acoustic kit is the Questlove Breakbeats kit that is put out by Ludwig. Positioned on a riser for optimum reach, it features a compact 14×16” bass drum, 7×10” rack tom, 13×13” floor tom and a 14” x 5” matching wood snare. It features Remo Pinstripe heads for pro-level tones, and comes with a multi-purpose bags for easy transport, and drum muting. The driving force behind these drums are the 7-ply poplar shells that produce punchy, focused attack with dry, clipped resonance. A 45-degree bearing edge ensures quick, classic shell response, while triple-flanged hoops endure the best rimshots. I bought this set because I was looking for a compact kit that didn’t sound compact. This one delivered.

The electronic kit is the Yamaha DTXPLORER. It features 214 drum and percussion sounds, 22 preset songs, and 32 preset drum kits covering rock, funk, jazz, reggae, and Latin styles. An array of onboard digital effects lets me tweak the sound to my liking. I can create and store up to 9 custom kits. The module also includes a multifunction metronome, backlit LCD display, and simple plug-and-play connections. Auxiliary inputs and MIDI outputs expand the kit’s versatility, allowing me to connect to a PC or other device. The headphone output allows quiet practice. (I supplement this set-up with an Alesis PercPad.) This kit was a gift from a friend. I was looking for something I could practice on any hour of the day.

Both of these kits serve their individual purpose and allow me to accomplish any goal that I have.

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Praise for FUNdamentals

FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids is a great program that covers the important, but less-mentioned drumming topics for beginners such as stretching, warming up, and getting into the right frame of mind. The book progresses logically and contains material for true first-time beginners, as well as kids who have already gotten their feet wet and need a challenge. There is a hefty amount of FUN exercises and playing examples that will give the young reader a fundamental understanding of the drums.

– J.P. Bouvet
2011 Guitar Center Drum-Off Champion and 2011 U.S. V-Drums Champion

Get your copy today

Visit JP Bouvet online

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Perhaps the most important skill to learn in drumming is the proper way to hold the stick. The way one grips the stick is critical to how effective they will play. Proper finger technique and control of the natural rebound is essential.

HINGESTIX® Practice Drumsticks is a learning tool that helps drummers understand proper grip and finger technique. Each stick has a rotating finger pad that positions the thumb, index finger and middle finger for the perfect fulcrum. This ensures that the drummer maintains balance between the hands every time he/she picks up the sticks.

A winner of Best In Show at 2011 NAMM, HINGESTIX® makes it easy to guarantee that the user will build muscle memory over time and grip the sticks properly. HINGESTIX® are also endorsed by Bernard Purdie.

Sam Ruttenberg is the inventor of HINGESTIX®. He has performed with many stars and recording artists. He is also a successful teacher and clinician with a client list that reads like a Who’s-Who of famous musicians. Ruttenberg created the HingeStix® practice drumsticks as a learning tool.

HINGESTIX® lists the benefits on their website. Single strokes using the rebound. Like bouncing a basketball, the HINGESTIX® simulate a loose grip where bouncing becomes easier, Learning the double bounce for your “open” roll. Just throw the stick down once and let the stick bounce free for that 2nd stroke and Learning the all important “buzz” stroke for your long or “closed” roll.

They are now available as 5A Hickory Performance Drumsticks. I highly recommend HingeStix® for anyone looking to develop that perfect grip and natural control.

For more information, or to order your pair visit:


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February 19, 2020 · 11:46 am

Bonham Ruins the Show

Most people are familiar with stories of The Who’s drummer Keith Moon being too inebriated to perform and even passing out on stage but did you know that Led Zeppelin’s John Bonham was also too drunk to play?

The band was playing a concert in Nurembug, Germany on June 27, 1980. Three songs into the show Bonham began to falter behind the drums. They had opened the show with “Train Kept a-Rollin’” and went into “Nobody’s Fault But Mine.” At that point Bonham had trouble maintaining the proper tempos.

Realizing there was something wrong, Jimmy Page stepped up to the mic and said “There’s two of us tonight who aren’t feeling at all well…so we’re gonna’ do our best, whatever, as usual.”

The band began playing “Black Dog,” adding the introduction from “Out on the Tiles.” As you can hear below, the band is struggling to get through the song properly. Bonham’s poor playing even affected Page’s guitar solo.

As Robert Plant was introducing the next song (“In the Evening”) Bonham lost consciousness. “Hang on a tick,” Plant said to the crowd. “Just got a slight technical problem if you can bear with us. … We just have a minute problem, so if you can wait patiently, we’d be very grateful. Hang on.”

Some witnesses at the show said Bonham was so drunk he was knocking over his cymbals. Unable to regain his composure he could not play and the show had to be stopped. The show was never rescheduled. Later that year (September) Bonham would die from drinking.

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Krupa and Cole School of Drums

In 1954, Gene Krupa partnered with Cozy Cole to open a drum school in New York City on West 54 St. in a second-floor walkup. In two years, the school averaged 135 to 150 students per week. “The more you study,” Cozy said, “the more you find out you don’t know…” They offered complete courses for both beginners and advanced students, in percussion instruments, Vibraphone and Latin-American rhythms, as well as drums. Beginners did not use drums, just the pads. Gene followed his book, “The Gene Krupa Drum Method” and Cole used his “The Cozy Cole-William V. Kessler Sensational Drum Book”, but their teaching was basically the same. The youngest pupil was a seven-year-old and the oldest, who was also the first pupil, was a lady in her forties.

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Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month I give you the story of “Old Jordan.”

Jordan Bankston Noble also known as “Jordan B. Noble” was an African American drummer boy who is best known for his courage in the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. Born into slavery in 1800, he was only 14-years old when he became the drummer for General Andrew Jackson’s 7th Regiment. Noble’s drum played a crucial role in relaying his commander’s orders during the main British advance on January 8, 1815.

On that day, the British launched their main and final assault on the American forces defending New Orleans. During the battle, young Noble held his position and continued the beat on his drum. In the confusion of the battle, this let the troops know what needed to be done, and that the American force was still successfully defending the city. This was the final battle of the War of 1812, as the Treaty of Ghent had recently been signed and was on its way to the United States from Europe.

After his military career ended, Jordan B. Noble continued to be a prominent fixture in New Orleans culture. He would participate in parades, be seen around town playing the same drum he used in the Battle of New Orleans and would even recreate the famous drumbeat that was heard during battle. After the Battle of New Orleans, Jordan earned the nickname “The Drummer Boy of Chalmette”, and in his later years was referred to as “Old Jordan.” His reputation as a hero of the Battle of New Orleans allowed him the freedom and mobility to pursue music and work.

Noble became such a fixture of his city’s culture, the local newspaper, The Daily Picayune, told his story in an article published June 21, 1890, the day after his death. It read:

“He gave frequent “field music” entertainment with his historic drum that he carried with him throughout all his services, and many will remember the white-headed old man and his well-worn drum, so often seen during the exposition of 1884-1885. The famous drummer boy of New Orleans has gone to join his comrades of many campaigns. Peace to him and honor to the brave man who served his country so often and so well.”

According to Jerry Brock, “Jordan Noble’s experiences in the 7th Regiment introduced him to music that was, along with his African ancestry, the basis of his profound contributions to music and parade traditions in New Orleans. It introduced him to a camaraderie and fellowship of respect beyond race and an experience of solidarity of purpose that carried him forward into an extraordinary life. Within his life and legacy there is a face, a name and a record of a life well spent, drummed up from the bottom of a top-down society and echoed each time a young boy or girl picks up a stick and beats a rhythm.”

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Why so angry?

Shakira playing drums during Super Bowl LIV

I feel the need to comment on the latest uproar that is making its way around Facebook following the Super Bowl half-time show. It seems people are upset that Shakira and Jennifer Lopez were selected as the performers.

First off, the game took place in Miami so the decision to do a show with a Latin flavor makes sense.

Second, people can say what they want about Shakira but how many entertainers can write their own songs, sing, dance, model, play guitar, piano and drums and look like that. Not many. Yes they mime their instruments and lip sync just like every performer that does the show (the Red Hot Chili Peppers proved that) because they can’t afford there to be any disruptions in the performance. Everything has to run like clockwork.

Third, people, mostly drummers, are arguing over Shakira’s performance on the drums. Can she actually play drums? Yes, she can. Is she Neil Peart? No, but she plays well within the context of the music. So everyone who seems to have a problem with this look at the show for what it is.

Was it entertaining? Yes. Did it fit the location and atmosphere? Yes. Is Shakira talented? Yes. Did she put on a good show for what she does? Yes albeit a bit risqué at times. My point in all of this is you can respect performers for their talents, regardless if they are from your preferred genre of music. I would venture to guess that’s the reason most of these people are pissed off in the first place.

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