Category Archives: Drums and Drumming

presentation2Off Beat is proud to announce an online partnership with Around The Kit, a three-hour weekly Drum-Talk Radio show that features exclusive interviews with some of the biggest drummers. Visit their website and Facebook page for information on upcoming guests.

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A Fallen Star

jim_gordon_rolling_stoneThere is a fascinating video posted over on YouTube titled “MI College of Contemporary Music: Jeff Porcaro Throwback Thursday from the MI Vault.” In it Jeff Porcaro speaks to a group of students about his experiences as a session and stage drummer. At one point Porcaro discusses who he believes to be the “best drummer ever,” Jim Gordon. Specifically citing his groove and feel Porcaro invites the audience to seek out his recordings. Second to only Hal Blaine, Gordon played on a very long list of hits for some of the biggest names in music. This included The Beach Boys, Eric Clapton, Joe Cocker, Neil Diamond, BB King and many-many others. You can view a complete list of his tracks over on Wikipedia.

Very tall and muscular, Gordon was a strong presence on-stage. He played with a power and stamina that made him a top choice among percussionists. After fellow studio phenom Jim Keltner pulled out ahead of a tour with the band Delaney & Bonnie, Gordon took over and backed the act for two years. After that, he continued to do sessions whenever possible. Unfortunately his life would take a very dark turn.

There was a dangerous side to Gordon’s personality. This included schizophrenia and other aspects of mental illness that began to take over his psyche. Starting in 1969 he would disappear for days at a time and exhibit bizarre, self-destructive behavior. As his illness progressed he often heard voices inside of his head that directed him at various times to act out violently. While on tour Gordon punched his girlfriend (soon to be ex-girlfriend) in the face in the corridor of a hotel.

By 1981, he was unable to continue in music. In 1983, the voice told Gordon to kill his mother, which he did. He was sentenced in 1984 to a term of 16 years to life, and remains at a psychiatric prison as of 2017. Gordon explained his feelings in a 1994 interview, “When I remember the crime, it’s kind of like a dream. I can remember going through what happened in that space and time, and it seems kind of detached, like I was going through it on some other plane. It didn’t seem real.” Ironically, thanks to his composer’s credit and the continued sales in which he is entitled to royalties, Gordon is likely the richest white felon in the California (psychiatric) penal system.

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Reflection and Request

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Since March of 2015 I have worked hard at providing interesting and useful content for my readers. This has included historical, technical, instructional and educational posts. I have interviewed all kinds of drummers, reviewed drum gear and books, taught drum history, shared drum videos and offered perspective based upon my experiences as a drummer and writer. All along I have continued to be impressed by the connection that is made between blogger and reader.

Through emails and comments I can get immediate feedback on what is working and what needs work. Perhaps that is why I prefer online publishing to print. I love writing for drum magazines but traditional publishing has disconnect between the writer and reader. To hold the attention of anyone and keep them coming back for more requires effort. As a blogger I post things that not only interest me, but also the reader. This keeps a two-way street between the two.

When I interview someone I initiate the interview because the interviewee interests me, but I write the resulting post to appeal to the reader. It is my goal to inspire them to gain an interest in the person. When I post a historical piece, it is my goal to inspire the reader to do their own research. So for me, the post is not the ending to a thought, but the start of something new for someone else to explore. That is my continuing goal, to provoke thought.

In keeping with the “two-way street” that is Off Beat, I invite you to submit ideas for what you want to see next. Let me know what direction you would like me to go. Post your thoughts in the Comments below or email them directly to me at ma@pinstripepress.net. You have a direct influence on what comes next.

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Welcome to The Drum Library

One of the most talented drummers that I have had the pleasure of getting to know is Steve Goold. You may recall the feature I penned on him that ran in Issue #39 of Drumhead magazine: http://www.pinstripepress.net/Goold.pdf. In addition to being one of the most innovative drummers both on the stage and in the studio (*see his appearance on Drumeo). Steve is also a devout Christian with whom I share my beliefs. I discovered Steve after watching a church clinic that he presented on YouTube.  Not surprising he has taken his interest in educating to a whole new level. Today Steve launched his new website “The Drum Library: https://thedrumlibrary.com/” For a small fee users can access a number of features to include video lessons, live performances, a blog and Q&A. In his ABOUT section Steve sums up his intent: “My intention with The Drum Library is to share, in detail, all of what I’ve learned about being a musician that plays the drums. I hope you find it to be helpful.” For those interested in learning practical tips for improving their drumming visit The Drum Library.

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Up Next…

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Coming up, interviews with two of my all-time favorites, Robert Sweet and Frankie Banali.  If not for them, I wouldn’t be a drummer.

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Shameless Plug

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FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids
by Rich Redmond and Michael Aubrecht

Paperback: 96 pages + 1 hour DVD (Available in print and eBook formats)
Publisher: Modern Drummer Publications; Hal Leonard Distributing
Webpage: http://www.moderndrummer.com/fundamentalsofdrumming/
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/FUNdamentalsOfDrumming

“Sharing my love of rhythm is what this book is all about.” – Rich Redmond
“As a parent, this book is written for all ages and stages.” – Michael Aubrecht

One of the biggest challenges facing teachers today is getting children excited about music. As more and more schools cut their budgets for music programs, instructors struggle to develop an interest in the arts. This is especially true for younger children who are at a ripe age to take up an instrument. Learning music accelerates educational benefits that improve comprehension skills such as reading and math. One book that is rising to this challenge by combining elementary school teaching techniques with basic music theory is FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids.

FUNdamentals is a new step-by-step program geared toward introducing drumming to young children ages 5-10 and up. The book won Best in Show at 2014 Summer NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) and has been an Amazon.com Best-Seller in four different countries including the United States, UK, Canada and Spain.

The first thing you will notice about this book is the overall quality of design and presentation. From the cartoon illustrations to the extensive photographs and typography, FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids delivers an easy to follow curriculum that builds upon itself. These exercises present drum theory in a fun and familiar way by using flash cards, counting exercises, clapping, and more.

Students begin by learning the history of drums, types of drums, proper technique, warm-ups, and basic note recognition. Next they execute counting and hand drumming patterns that later progress into sticking exercises. This evolution culminates in a specially designed music tablature that presents traditional music notation and corresponding sticking tables for three- and four-way independence exercises on the drum set. The specially designed activity book keeps the lessons fun and the hour-long DVD provides an intimate one-on-one lesson.

If you are interested in introducing a child to the drums, look no further than FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids!

ABOUT THE AUTHORS: Best known for his work with country superstar Jason Aldean, Rich Redmond is a top session and touring drummer who also holds a master’s degree in music education. Michael Aubrecht is a best-selling author and drummer. Seeing a highly neglected audience, they decided to combine their talents to develop the FUNdamentals system.

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Drummer Boy Medal of Honor

img_2710Today’s history lesson is the extraordinary life of a drummer boy named William H. Horsfall. One of the most celebrated drummer boys in the American Civil War Horsfall ran away from home at age 15 to serve his country in the “Great Divide”. According to the Evergreen History Tour, he hitched a ride on the steamship Annie Laurie which was docked in Newport. Horsfall received the prestigious Medal of Honor for saving the life of Captain Williamson during the siege of Corinth. He was one of the youngest Kentuckians to receive this honor. The citation with his medal simply stated “Saved the life of a wounded officer lying between the lines.” Horsfall served throughout the war and beyond until March of 1866 when he left the army and lived the rest of his life in Newport. He died at the age of 75.

Horsfall himself recalled his wartime experiences:

I left home without money or a warning to my parents,and in company with three other boys, stealthily boarded the steamer ‘Annie Laurie,’ moored at the Cincinnati wharf at Newport and billed for the Kanawha River that evening, about the 20th of December, 1861. When the bell rang for the departure of the boat, my boy companions, having a change of heart, ran ashore before the plank was hauled aboard, and wanted me to do the same. I kept in hiding until the boat was well under way and then made bold enough to venture on deck. I was accosted by the captain of the boat as to my destination, etc., and telling him the old orphan-boy story, I was treated very kindly, given something to eat, and allowed very liberal privileges.

gravesI arrived at Cincinnati without further incident, and enlisted as a drummer boy. In the fighting before Corinth, Miss., May 21, 1862-Nelson’s Brigade engaged -my position was to the right of the First Kentucky, as an independent sharpshooter. The regiment had just made a desperate charge across the ravine. Captain Williamson was wounded in the charge, and, in subsequent reversing of positions, was left between the lines. Lieutenant Hocke, approaching me, said: ‘Horsfall, Captain Williamson is in a serious predicament; rescue him if possible.’ So I placed my gun against a tree, and, in a stooping run, gained his side and dragged him to the stretcher bearers, who took him to the rear.

According to Deeds of Honor: Drummer Horsfall was on all the subsequent marches of his regiment. During the famous charge at Stone River he presently found himself hemmed in by rebel horsemen and hostile infantry. Even the rebels took pity on his youth and one of them shouted: “Don’t shoot the damned little Yank! I want him for a cage.” The plucky little drummer made a run for his life and safely got back to his regiment.

For many more posts on the history of drummer boys search this blog using the term “Drummer Boys.”

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Gear Spotlight: Rick Allen

Everyone knows the saga of Def Leppard drummer Rick Allen. His story is one of triumph over tragedy and it inspires not only drummers, but people in general. Allen himself contemplated how his life was forever changed following his catastrophic injury. He said, “…I wouldn’t be the person I am today, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I may not even have been here if it wasn’t for the accident.” By not allowing his injury to prevent him from following his passion Allen pushed forward and altered every aspect of his playing from tools to technique. His style is remarkable as he bridges the gap between his hand and feet to create a seamless sound. Due to his physical limitations Allen has been on the forefront of his electronic kit designs that cater to his unique situation. The compact positioning of the drums and cymbals along with the multiple foot pedals enable him to play better than many two-armed drummers. One interesting aspect of Allen’s current kit is the multiple hi-hats that are opened differently. This enables him to get a variety of responses required for different songs. Another is the intricate foot pedals that replaced the left side of the kit. Playing this configuration requires extensive coordination in order to pull it off. As one who has stood backstage beside the man and watched him close-up in a live situation I can attest to his ability to “pull it off” while giving fans an amazing performance from the stage. Proving all skeptics wrong he even does a drum solo. Here are images of Allen’s first and current set-ups:

Original Set-up

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Current Set-up

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History Mystery

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Here’s something different. This looks like a racey advertisement in a men’s magazine, perhaps from the 30’s or 40’s. I’m trying to identify the drums by just a snare and bass drum. I think the block says “A DOLL WITH A DRUM ‘N’ DAZZLE TAKES BROADWAY.” Any ideas feel free to email me.

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Exclusive Interview: Jason Hartless

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Ted’s Timekeeper
By Michael Aubrecht

I first became aware of Jason Hartless after watching a video of him participating at a Ronnie Montrose tribute concert. His high intensity performance of “Free Ride” caught my attention and his infectious energy was impossible to miss. A little research led me to a series of online videos capturing his day job as a member of Ted Nugent’s rhythm section. The first thing I noticed was the balance that Hartless had between pocket playing and chops. It is obvious that the Nugent gig calls for both. “The Motor City Madman” as some call him enhances his classic songs with long guitar solos. This requires his backing band to constantly adjust to wherever their fearless leader goes. It is essential that the drummer sync with the singer in order to propel the rest of the band. Hartless excels at this. More than a drummer he has an impressive resume of side projects including studying Music Business at Berklee College of Music, acting as a managing partner of a record label and instructing students as a music teacher. Despite his busy schedule Hartless took some time out to discuss his drumming and much more.

MA: Let’s start with the obvious; what brought you to the drums?

JH: My dad had been a professional musician in Detroit for many years. About the time I was born he had just given up on his dream. He stopped playing music professionally so his drums were always sitting around the house. I have photos and videos of me when I could barely walk crawling downstairs and sitting behind his drum set and banging away. For some reason it must have felt very natural to me. I took up the drums at a very young age and even back then I had a passion and love for the instrument. By the time I was around five years-old my dad started pairing me up with some of his old buddies and we started playing around town. So at five I was already playing gigs with an all adult band. It helped that my parents understood the business and they didn’t want to push me to the point where I didn’t want to play anymore. They never once told me to practice. They never once told me that I had to work on this or that. They wanted me to enjoy the drums and naturally progress. They wanted me to do things out of love for the instrument. Forcing your child to play music is a mistake. I see so many prodigy musicians that have parents like that and it’s a real shame because some end up developing a hatred for music. Instead of fun it becomes a rigorous task.

MA: Even at an early age did you have any influences?

JH: One of my earliest memories as a drummer is watching this VHS tape that was a collection of Top of the Pop performances from the 1970’s Glam Rock era. It featured artists like T-Rex, The Sweet, Gary Glitter and Slade. Those guys were my earliest influences. That was when I began to realize what music was. I eventually got into KISS and Alice Cooper. Of all the drummers Corky Laing from Mountain was the guy for me. He had a huge influence on my playing. Little did I know how much of an influence. My dad had some connections in the industry. He was very dear friends with Richie Scarlet who plays guitar in Ace Frehley’s band. He is actually now my godfather. Richie played bass with Mountain in the 1990’s and into the 2000’s. My band did some covers of Mountain tunes and my dad sent a video of us playing Nantucket Sleighride to Corky Laing. Soon after, my dad got a call from Corky who offered to mentor me. He also offered to work on a little solo record with me. From the time I was around seven to about ten years-old he would drive to Detroit from Toronto a couple weekends here and there and we would work on my record. In addition to drumming he also taught me about surviving the studio and the music industry. He showed me a lot of fundamental drumming skills that had an impact on the way I play today.

MA: Did your schools have music programs?

JH: Yeah. I was very fortunate that I went to a public school that was in Fraser, Michigan which is a little four square mile town outside of Detroit. Despite its size Fraser has been recognized by the NAMM Association as having one of the top music departments in the country. I was incredibly lucky to have grown up there. I had a very deep public school education when it came to music. I was in jazz band, concert band, symphony band, marching band, drum line, percussion ensemble and I also played drums for the show choir from time to time. When they were performing in competitions around the country they would take me along. I was mostly self-taught although I had casually studied with various guys like Corky Laing and Tommy Clufetos who plays with Black Sabbath and also drummed with Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent. (Small world). He’s a Detroit boy as well so I studied with him for a little bit.

I had never had formal private one-on-one lessons until about Middle School and High School. I started seriously studying with a guy named George Dunn. He was a strict jazz player who was regimented. He is one of the most well-known instructors in town and he “super-whipped” my ass into shape. He taught me about reading music and playing all of these different styles. He taught me self-discipline. There is a big difference between being a rock drummer and playing in a symphony where you count two-hundred measures before hitting a triangle. My knowledge and maturity in regards to drumming came along the more I studied. I wouldn’t have the skills I have today without any of those teachers. Music was valued where I was from.

MA: Tell us about your first “real” drum set.

JH: The drum set that I learned how to play on was my dad’s late-80’s Pearl World Series kit. I pretty much played on that kit from the time I started until I was about five years-old. My first personal drum set I got the Christmas of 2000 and it was a Pearl Export kit. I used that kit for years, in fact I used it up until I got endorsed by Pearl in 2005. I guess it was meant to be. It’s really cool because a couple years ago I did a video for Pearl when they were doing an ad campaign for their “My First Drum set” website. I used that Export kit in the video and it was neat for things to go full circle. There were so many videos of me playing my dad’s Pearl kit from the time I was a year-old with a huge Pearl banner in the background. It’s good for their marketing to show that I’m a drummer that has played their product his entire life. Years later I’m a drum hoarder and I have every single Pearl drum I’ve ever had. I also collect vintage ones. It’s a blessing and a curse. I’ve got this great collection but my basement looks like a Guitar Center.

MA: Let’s fast forward to your current gig with the “Motor City Madman.” How did you get the Ted Nugent gig? It sounds like Ted stays true to his Detroit roots.

JH: I was touring with a band called Pistol Day Parade that had a lot of success nationally. They were on the radio and had two songs in the Top 40, with one being in the Top 20. We toured with Ted Nugent in 2014 for about three months while opening for him. That helped introduce me to Ted’s management and crew members. Last winter I was shopping around for a gig and I emailed a couple people in the industry just saying “Hey I’m looking for something in the summer. Please keep me in mind.” One of the people I emailed was Ted’s manager. A short time later I got an email from him and he asked if I could play the Ted Nugent set. I said yeah! He responded right back and said that Ted was going to call me in a few days. Next thing I got a call from Ted and we talked for about 45 minutes. We discussed Detroit music and where my style comes from. He wanted a drummer that had a little bit of a snap, someone who could move the beat forward very similar to Cliff Davies who played on all of the iconic Nugent records from the 1970’s. He was a jazz-influenced drummer that played rock. There was almost a swing to his style. Since I’ve played with him we toured all summer of last year and we will be back out this coming year. It’s been a phenomenal experience playing with him.

MA: It’s obvious that is a very intense gig. How does backing someone like Ted Nugent vary from other acts you’ve played with?

JH: Fifty-five shows in sixty-five days (laughs). Last tour we played eighteen shows in nineteen days. That was an incredible experience. Ted is 68 years-old and he is in amazing shape. Myself and the whole crew have a hard time just keeping up with him. He brings over 100% every night. It’s a challenge because he goes nonstop the whole show. The biggest thing is always being on your toes and watching the guy the whole time because you never know what he is going to do live.

MA: Did you have to chart Ted’s music or did you pick it up from listening to it?

JH: I didn’t really have to chart it. There was one song that I was going to chart but we ended up not playing it so it all worked out. His music is a groove style. I wanted to concentrate on finding that pocket and all of the intricate things that went along with it. When I play it I am playing my interpretation of it. It’s all about taking the groove that he wants and adding my flavor and fills to everything. Of course there are iconic parts that have to be there but we do have some freedom to play around with the rest. That was something I was a little unsure about when I first started. I had heard a lot of stories from past musicians that he was demanding on his players. I guess I got lucky because everything I’ve done he’s been pretty happy with.

MA: Of all of these shows do you have a favorite that sticks out in your mind?

JH: One of my favorites that we played on this past tour was in Detroit at a venue called Freedom Hill. It is an amphitheater that is about seven or eight-thousand seats and is literally a mile from my house. It was very cool that I got to perform in my own back yard.

MA: Ted has had such a long career that spans decades. I would imagine that the audience is a mix of faithful fans that have been following him for years as well as young fans that are just discovering him now. Do you see him bridging that gap?

JH: It’s kinda funny because The Amboy Dukes’ records, which are from Ted’s first band, have a cult following here in Detroit. Some of the more psychedelic ones have become popular albums in the used record stores and the hipster crowd and the millennials, which is my generation, really connect to it. Some of his classic stuff like Stranglehold, Free for All and Cat Scratch Fever are timeless classics that you’ll always hear on TV shows and films. Outside of his music he has an audience of hunting fans that are drawn to him as an outdoorsman. It’s really neat to see young kids with their parents in the audience. I certainly didn’t expect that when I first started playing with him.

MA: Do you guys play the same set night after night or does Ted switch it up often?

JH: We have our base set of songs but things change a lot. We add or remove songs at almost every show. It keeps things from getting repetitive for all of us. We started the tour learning about twenty songs and we pull maybe ten or eleven out of that night after night.

MA: You mentioned that Ted allows you room for interpretation while maintaining the classic parts. Have you talked to any of Ted’s past drummers for their perspectives?

JH: I knew Mick Brown who was my predecessor. He drummed for Ted for about ten years or so. Of course I studied with Tommy Clufetos so I knew a couple guys. I didn’t discuss their styles because I wanted to bring something new to the table myself. I wanted to go back to the Cliff Davie’s mentality. He’s had a ton of drummers over his career so everyone that plays for Ted is going to interpret his songs a little differently. There’s always the small little things that must remain the same. For instance, in Stranglehold, the hi-hat has no accents at all. It’s so “drum machine” and staccato-like. That’s what makes the song almost trance-like. I think I’m one of the first drummers in a long time to go back to the original part. It’s super hard to play because you are sitting there for nine minutes trying to keep things exactly the same. It feels incredibly stiff when you are playing that beat. It brings a whole different character to that song. Nobody plays that song like Ted. His right hand is amazing and I’ve never seen anyone play the guitar like he does. He will definitely go down as one of the greatest of all time.

MA: I assume that you have to play with some great intensity. How do you manage the energy to do that night after night?

JH: It’s definitely a workout. I have to train myself. I naturally hit very hard from the wrist. I’m not a drummer who is going to over extend and bash the drums. I think you can lose the sound quality of the drums and it doesn’t look good. I’m not a big fan of showmanship drumming. With Ted I have to play with a little more flashiness because the gig calls for that. I have to do pushups every day and get my upper body strength ready for the job.

MA: You play matched grip right?

JH: I actually play both depending on the situation. Usually when I’m teaching, playing jazz sessions or recording I play traditional. For Ted I use matched because it fits the part.

MA: Do you have a preference?

JH: I guess it’s really a matter of what situation I’m in. For more chops-oriented stuff I play traditional because I feel that it is an easier flow around the drum kit, especially when I play jazz or any kind of sensitive music. Power-wise and getting more wrist action calls for matched grip. I played matched most of my life. I only got into traditional for school bands and marching band. Sitting there doing all those rudiments got my grip in shape. Our drumline instructor was also my private teacher so I ended up using traditional more with him. He used to destroy us. We would sit there for twenty minutes doing double stroke rolls and triplets. Our hands would hurt but it really built up my strength that I took to the drum set.

MA: Can you tell us about the current touring rig that you are using?

JH: Two years ago I did a video for Pearl down at their Nashville headquarters for the wood-fiberglass kit. I’ve always been a huge vintage Pearl drums guy, especially the 1960’s and 1970’s. When they re-issued the wood-fiberglass kits I was super excited and I had to get one. The one I am using for Ted is actually a custom one. It’s the only wrapped wood-fiberglass in existence. All of the others are lacquered finished. It’s worked out great and these drums sound amazing. It’s a Kapur shell with a fiber-glass inlay. I actually ordered the kit before I was with Ted so the sizes aren’t ideal for the gig but they sound so good I went with them. My drum tech Randy Walker tunes them perfectly.

There’s a 24×14 bass drum, 12×8 rack tom, 14×14 floor tom and a 16×16 floor tom. I switch up snares pretty frequently on each tour, but on the last tour I had with us a 14×5 Pearl Chad Smith Signature Snare and 14×6.5 Pearl Hybrid Exotic Kapur/Fiberglass snare. I also used a snare that my friend James Beier custom built for me, a 14×5.5 Beier Steel Snare. I’ve pretty much used Sabian cymbals for my whole life. I love them. I’m mainly using HHXs with a Paragon Ride and China. My setup for the last tour was: 14” HHX Stage Hats, 18” HHX X-Plosion Crash, 20” HHX X-Plosion Crash, 22” Paragon Ride, 19” Paragon China. My sticks are usually Signature Vater 5As but when we started the Nugent tour I was breaking sticks like there was no tomorrow. So I ended up switching to the Vater Josh Freese H-220 sticks which are the same length as a 5A but slightly thicker. I’ve always been a big proponent of only using what you want to use. I’m not a fan of players switching companies for free gear. I’ve played everything I play for all or most of my life.

MA: I notice that you play live behind a drum shield. That’s not common. Why the shield?

JH: It’s mainly for Ted. I never played behind one until that tour. The bass player and myself use in-ears so we don’t have any monitors on stage. In fact the only monitors on stage are for Ted and the only thing that comes out of them are guitar and vocals. Over the years Ted’s got some hearing loss and the cymbal frequencies mess with his ears. There are also venues which are much smaller and Ted will be right on top of the drums. It cuts the stage volume plus it gives our house guy Frank a much better mixing situation no matter what venue we play. We gate the drums but the sound quality is insane. Frank is a master of pushing the drums into the empty spots and it fills the room. You can literarily hear everything in the mix.

MA: You do sessions too. Can you tell us a little about that?

JH: I do most of my work out of a studio here in town called Pearl Sound Studios, which have recorded artists such as Stevie Wonder, Madonna, George Clinton, Ted Nugent (Fred Bear was recorded here), Robert Planet and Jimmy Page. I do a lot of sessions over the course of a year. Last year I did around ten records and a handful of singles for various people. I’ve done remote sessions for artists across the world. It’s fun for me. I actually love studio work, even somewhat more than playing live because every song is different. I get to stretch out more in the studio. You can record something until it is perfect and you have that recording forever. In a live situation there is no re-take.

MA: I understand you are also a teacher at the local School of Rock.

JH: Yes, I teach there when I am not on the road. That is a joy for me. It’s all about sharing your experiences and knowledge with the kids. I get to influence them just like I was influenced by my teachers. It’s inspirational for both of us.

MA: You mentioned collecting vintage Pearl drums. Tell us about your collection.

JH: It’s been a passion for me for a long time. I’ve always been fascinated with vintage drums. When I got a little bit older I bought a 1967 gold-sparkle Pearl rack tom. I think I paid twenty bucks for it. And that led to me buying more and more. I searched for years and years for a particular drum set from the 1970’s. My dad’s first drum set was a 1975 Pearl white Leatherette drum set. It was wrapped in white leather and incredibly rare. I searched on eBay and blogs and everywhere. The only other person that had one was a former A&R rep for Pearl Canada. I finally came across one and I ended up only paying one hundred and eighty dollars because the person who I bought it from had no idea what he had. His loss was my gain (laughs). I restored it and now I have one of the rarest Pearl drum sets in the world. That started the disease. Now I’ve got the late 1980’s kit that was my dad’s. I’ve also got a rare 1975 Pearl Crystal Beat Kit which is the acrylic drums. I just acquired a 1978 Pearl maple drum set in a white marine pearl finish similar to the one I use today on the Nugent tour. It’s a rare Be-Bop kit. Every time I get a new drum set or snare the Pearl guys say “How the hell did you find that!” I always seem to get lucky and I swoop in and get them at ridiculous prices.

MA: Before we finish I have to ask you the most important question of all. I noticed that you are a big time hockey fan. Who’s your team?

JH: Obviously being from Detroit the Red Wings are my team but I also have affection for the Toronto Maple Leafs. In fact, I think the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup in about five years or so. My company (Record Label) has a suite at Joe Louis Arena so I get to go to a lot of games. It’s like my second home. I will be very sad to see the old place go. I am a true hockey nut. My Twitter feed has nothing but hockey news. I rarely follow anything else. Whenever I’m not concentrating on music I’m all about hockey. My favorite all-time player is Sergei Fedorov. He was one of the best to ever to play the game…

(Editor’s note: Jason went on to unleash his incredible knowledge of the game that would have eclipsed this entire interview. He is an encyclopedia of hockey.)

MA: Any parting thoughts?

JH: Music has always been a part of me. Drums have given me a great life and I am never satisfied. I continue to push myself. I’m always working toward improving as a drummer and as a person.

Visit Jason online at http://www.jasonhartless.com.

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