Monthly Archives: February 2021

Book Review: It’s About Time: Jeff Porcaro

Jeff Porcaro is still revered today as one of the most prolific studio drummers in all of music history, as well as a founding member of the epic rock band TOTO. Jeff’s work can be heard on hundreds of timeless recordings by artists such as Paul McCartney, Steely Dan, Boz Skaggs, Barbara Streisand, and Bruce Springsteen. Porcaro also contributed drums to four tracks on Michael Jackson’s Thriller, one of the best-selling albums of all-time.

His untimely and suspicious death at the age of 38 cemented Porcaro’s name in rock-and-roll lore.

Robyn Flans, a music journalist with more than 40 years working for such publications as Modern Drummer, County Weekly and People has tackled the life of Porcaro in her new biography titled It’s About Time: Jeff Porcaro – The Man and His Music (September, 2020).

Covering Porcaro’s professional career in its entirety Flans presents Porcaro’s growth from a backyard garage musician to a superstar on the world’s biggest stages.

Relying on in-depth quotes from those that worked with Porcaro or knew him best Flans paints an intimate portrait of the man both in front of and behind the drum kit. This takes the reader on a journey that follows Porcaro from his teenage days as a budding drummer all the way to his end of days as a successful songwriter and producer.

Readers may be surprised to find facts such as that Porcaro started out as the touring drummer for Sonny and Cher or that he was a very talented artist who was the Art Director for all TOTO’s imagery.

Flans shys away from Porcaro’s controversial death in August of 1992 which was determined to be a heart attack from either spraying insecticide in the yard of his Hidden Hills home or coronary artery disease which ran in his family or was caused by cocaine use. This book focuses on the positive life of Porcaro instead.

Flan’s publisher Hudson Music was kind enough to send a review copy to Off Beat. I was able to read the entire book in two short sittings as it was an enjoyable and easy read. Flan’s 40 years of writing shines through.

As a fan I had been familiar with the overall career of Porcaro from reading about him in Modern Drummer and on Drummerworld but I had no idea of the detail that Flans provided. My respect for Porcaro has deepened and I am even more impressed with his discography.

Off Beat asked Flan a couple questions about her book:

MA: What inspired you to write this book?
RF: A desire to honor my friend, keep his memory and legacy alive for generations who are yet to be born and give everyone back some time with Jeff who they’ve missed so much.

MA: What do you want readers to come away with?
RF: Just the joy of spending time with Jeff and hopefully a chance to get to know him better.

For fans of TOTO or drummers looking for inspiration It’s About Time: Jeff Porcaro gets inside the mind of a legend. The book is available on Amazon, and where most books are available.


Hudson Music Book Page

Robyn Flans Drummer Interviews

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Black History Month: The Greats

In recognition of Black History Month, here are some of the most influential African-American players who shaped the sound of jazz drumming: Baby Dodds, “Zutty” Singleton, Chick Webb, Papa Jo Jones, Max Roach, Art Blakey, Sonny Payne, Elvin Jones and Tony Williams. (others not pictured Big Sid Catlett, Kenny Clarke and Art Taylor)

Here are some videos (solos) featuring these amazing players:

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Product Review: Lem’s Cymbal Felts

Far too often we overlook certain pieces of drum equipment that we use every day. For instance, drum sleeves and felts are probably something that you don’t think about as they usually come with the cymbal stand. Sometimes the quality of these accoutrements leave something to be desired.

Earl Lemley has an answer to this dilemma. A gasket maker by trade, Earl has designed and manufactured high-quality cymbal sleeves and felts that are far above the quality that come with standard cymbal stands.

Coming as Short and Tall options Lem’s Cymbal Sleeves are made from high-quality plastic and fit any cymbal stand. Lem’s Felts are made from 100% wool and come in a variety of packages: Hi-Hat Clutch and Seat felts, The Swingers, and Standard and Thick felts. The calling card to Lem’s Sleeves and Felts is that they help drummers save their cymbals from wear and tear.

Earl sent Off Beat samples of his product and they were found to be of the highest quality. Each sleeve and felt fit on standard cymbal stands and not only worked well but also looked good in appearance.

Lem’s Cymbal Felts have been used by professional drummers who have performed with Tom Watts, Cher, Tina Turner, Los Lobos, Hall and Oates, The Cult, Alice Cooper, Steve Winwood, David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Carly Simon, T Bone Burnett, Richard Thompson, Bryan Adams, Hank Williams Jr. Gary Allen, Mark Chestnut, Kellie Pickler, Aaron Tippin and Rickey Van Shelton.

If you are interested in preventing wear and tear on your cymbals with high-quality sleeves and felts visit Lem’s Cymbal Felts online at: or call Lemley Industries at 860-584-2724.

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