Category Archives: Drums and Drumming

RIP DH Peligro

Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Dead Kennedys’ drummer DH Peligro has died at the age of 63. The musician, real name Darren Henley, suffered a head trauma after hitting his head in a fall at his home in Los Angeles and died shortly after on Friday, October 28th.

The drummer enjoyed a brief stint with the Red Hot Chilli Peppers in 1988, but was best known for being a member of The Dead Kennedys. Peligro replaced the original drummer of The Dead Kennedys in 1981 and stayed with the group until their break up in 1986. He then joined the rock band Red Hot Chilli Peppers in 1988 – taking over from drummer Jack Irons.

Due to his ongoing drug and alcohol issues, the band decided to fire Peligro in November of 1988. Chad Smith replaced him a few weeks later and has been with the band ever since.  Anthony Kiedis said firing Peligro was one of the toughest things the band ever had to do, although he became a major part of Peligro’s road to sobriety.

A sober Peligro was the frontman for his own band called Peligro (Spanish for “Danger”) and released three albums: Peligro, Welcome to America and Sum of Our Surroundings, which won Rock Album of the Year from the American Independent Music Awards. 

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Never Quit

It can be easy sometimes to get frustrated with your instrument. We all want to be able to play what we want to play – when we want to play it. Unfortunately, this is sometimes not the case. Practice is essential. It takes time to learn things. Sometimes it takes a long time. Patience is required and not always available. I’ve spent plenty of time in the practice room cussing up a storm and throwing my sticks in the air. The key is to keep going.

Take a break, for both your mind and your body. If you find yourself getting frustrated, and you’re beginning to pound out notes, it’s time to move on. You can get a sip of water, close your eyes, stretch, just breathe.

Take a lesson. Find yourself an instructor and take a lesson or two. This will help you avoid developing poor habits. A good drum teacher should be able to clearly explain techniques and give you some pointers which will help you develop your skill and ability.

Set realistic and progressive goals for yourself. Set an obtainable goal and work towards that goal. Don’t move on until you’ve achieved it to your satisfaction. This will give you a sense of gratification and improve your attitude toward practicing.

Enjoy yourself and have fun. Never forget why you took up the instrument in the first place. If you’re not having fun you’ve lost your true motivation. Try taking a break from exercises and play along to songs you like. Make up your own exercises. You’re in charge of you.

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October 20, 2022 · 4:38 pm

New blog

I’ve finally started a blog for my work as a historian. If you’re interested in that kind of stuff visit www.michaelaubrecht.wordpress.com.

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Veteran Drummer

It’s been a while since I’ve posted any history on the blog. Today I’ll share the story of one of the oldest veterans ever to survive the Revolutionary War, Alexander Milliner. Too young at the time of his enlistment for service in the ranks, he was enlisted as drummer boy; and in this capacity he served four years, in George Washington’s Life Guard. He was a great favorite of the General who used to frequently, after the beating of the reveille, come along and pat him on the head, and call him “his boy.”

Milliner was at the battles of White Plains, Brandywine, Saratoga, Monmouth, Yorktown, and some others. The first of these he describes as “a nasty battle.” At Monmouth he received a flesh wound in his thigh. One of the officers came along, and, looking at the young drummer, said, “What’s the matter with, you, boy?” “Nothing,” he answered. “Poor fellow,” exclaimed the officer, “you are bleeding to death.” Milliner survived the wound and continued to serve, suffering with his comrades at Valley Forge.

After the war Milliner maintained his affections for his Commander-in-Chief. In an interview published in 1864 he recalled:

“One day the General sent for me to come up to headquarters. ‘Tell him,’ he sent word, ‘that he needn’t fetch his drum with  him.’ I was glad of that. The Life Guard came out and paraded, and the roll was called. There was one Englishman, Bill Dorchester; the General said to him, ‘Come, Bill, play up this ‘ere Yorkshire tune.’ When he got through, the General told me to play. So I  took the drum, braced her up, and played a tune. The General put his hand in his pocket and gave me three dollars; then one and another gave me more – so I made out well; in all, I got fifteen dollars. I was glad of it: my mother wanted some  tea, and I got the poor old woman some.” (His mother accompanied the army as washerwoman, for the sake of being near her boy.)

In all, Milliner served six years and a half in the army. The following is a copy of his pension certificate:
UNITED STATES of AMERICA – WAR DEPARTMENT [Pension Claims.]
This is to certify that Alexander Milliner, late a drummer in the Army of the Revolution, is inscribed on the Pension List Roll of the New York Agency, at the rate of eight dollars per month; to commence on the 19th day of September, 1819.
In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and affixed the seal of the War Department.- JOHN C. CALHOUN.

Milliner lived to be 104 and died in 1865. A drum belonging to him is on permanent display in Rochester, New York at the Hervey Eli Chapter House, which is maintained by the Irondequoit Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

For more on Drummer Boys, see The Long Roll. This exclusive 50-page eBook presents the history of the Civil War Drummer Boy. DOWNLOAD HERE (PDF, must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view)

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Lefty/Righty

Ringo Starr was born a lefty, but—as with many left-handed children born in a certain era—he was taught that a dominant left hand was incorrect. His grandmother “converted” him to write righty, though he still preferred his left hand for most other tasks. Having to adapt to right-handed equipment and instruments is a part of what made his drumming style so unique.  The reason his drum fills usually include a pause between high hat and toms is because he needed time to get his left hand in position. It’s hard to listen to Beatles songs like “Come Together” or “Tomorrow Never Knows” and not be astounded by Ringo’s drumming. In both cases, the beats make the songs instantly recognizable.

So why didn’t Ringo ever adjust his kit, especially after the Beatles made it big? It might have been because, after years of playing drums with a righty set-up, he became proficient leading with his left hand despite the challenges. The backward playing also helped give him a signature sound. That different sound and feel contributed to some signature drum riffs, such as his mini-solo early in the Abbey Road song “The End.” Ringo’s “backwards” playing style emphasized feel over technical virtuosity. This influenced many drummers to reconsider their playing from a compositional perspective.

In an interview on Conan O’Brien’s show:

“I was born left-handed, and my grandmother thought that was not a good sign, and so she turned me right-handed. So, I write right-handed, but anything else I do left-handed; golf and whatever. So, I have a right-handed kit, but I lead with my left. It makes it weird because I need time to do a fill … [Conan’s drummer] can roll from the snare to the tom-tom to the floor tom, where I can’t do that because I’ve got to come under [my right hand] all the time. I can go this way [to my left] really good.”

Ringo had that old school backbeat. Consistent and deep sounding, it anchored the Beatle’s biggest hits. With the signature left-handed fills and licks, you know he was the right man for the job.

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New Video

Check out a new Amazon Video from Modern Drummer for FUNdamentals of Drumming for Kids

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Nothin’ to it but to do it

If you’re like me, you probably have a lot of commitments in your life between your family and your work that ultimately affects your time and ability to practice the drums. My practice life couldn’t get any easier as I am fortunate to have a drum room in my house that is located downstairs and is virtually soundproof. I have an acoustic kit and an electronic kit to choose from and I am spoiled for sure. So, what do I do? I ignore the drums in favor of life’s responsibilities.

I still think about the drums. This blog and Facebook posts keep my mind sharp on the subject, but my chops suffer due to a lack of muscle memory. I’ve posted before about my Practice Notebook. I have a notebook sitting right next to my drums that I record my practice session in. I write down what worked, what didn’t work, and what I need to work on. Not only does this tell me what I need to do, but it also holds me accountable. It’s been a while since I’ve had to record anything. So, what are some ways I can get off my butt and get back in the saddle? Here’s some suggestions:

  • This is an important one and may help solve my problem: Set aside a regular time for practice and stick to it as much as possible. Consistency is key.
  • Don’t try to learn too many things at once. Master one thing before moving on to another.
  • Practice with a metronome. Always work on developing a sense of timing and rhythm.
  • Listen to music. Give yourself ideas for things to try in your own playing.
  • Try using a 5/5/5 rule: five minutes of rudiments, five minutes of independence, and five minutes of jamming to a backing track. (Add more if you have time.)
  • Remember that ten minutes of genuine, focused practice is way better than twenty minutes of scrolling Facebook.

So, there you have it. Now I don’t have any excuses. I just need to get off my butt, get in the drum room, and get to work. Some practice is better than no practice. It’s time to knock the dust off.

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Big Modern Drums Vol. 2

Big Modern Drums are back! This time with even more loops, multitracks, samples, grooves, tempos, and feels. Featuring live studio performances by Rich Redmond (Jason Aldean, Nashville and LA sessions), Big Modern Drums Volume 2 serves up some of the most powerful and punchy beats and sounds that we’ve ever released. 

Want even more? Check out The Big Modern Drums Bundle and receive both Volume 1 and Volume 2, all at a 25% bundled discount!

About Rich Redmond Big Modern Drums:
Recorded at Graybox Studios in Nashville, Big Modern Drums features 10 unique sessions, each covering a different feel, tempo, and sound. Do you want 100% control of the drum mix? Just select the Multitrack Edition and get instant access to all 9 audio channels including kick, snare, toms, overheads, and even multiple room mics, allowing you to dial in the perfect drum mix for your production.

The Stereo Loop Edition features 2 mixes of every beat; “dry” and “wet”, providing you with either a “tighter” or “roomier” drum sound based on your needs. In addition to the loops, samples of Rich’s Drum Workshop kit and Sabian cymbals (again, in both “dry” and “wet” mixes) are also provided, allowing you to easily program your own beats with Rich’s signature sounds.

Want to save over 90%? Download The Ultimate Bundle and get instant access to every library in The Yurt Rock catalog!

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The Critics Have Spoken

Today I want to take a quick moment and talk about the Internet. Ever since the development of social media sites to include YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, etc. people have communicated online with reckless abandon. The concept of posting comments in a virtual setting using a pseudo-anonymous personality has opened the door to both positive and negative comments. In many cases critical analysis of one’s work is understandable, even welcomed. That said mean and hurtful comments also come with the territory. By “putting it out there” one has opened themselves up to an assessment. I have found that often a balance can exist between the constructive and destructive. I am experiencing this trend over on my YouTube channel. Folks either like or dislike my posts with no feelings in between.

Fortunately for every negative comment that is posted I usually receive a positive one. As a result I welcome these online reviews and the remarks they represent. Good or bad. There is an old saying that goes “you can’t please everybody all of the time.” This is true. These comments can only make me better as I strive to improve my playing as a drummer both on and offline. Instead of becoming discouraged I am encouraged. I recommend maintaining a confident attitude no matter what people think. Don’t let the negative vibes overcome the positive. We all play drums for a variety of reasons and our journey with the instrument takes us down many paths. Stay steadfast regardless of others reactions and you will move forward. Here is an example (*click image for full size):

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