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Showing posts from September, 2012

Out of Exile

So, I've gone and done it now. I've actually gotten myself into a situation where I will be opening the show for Chicago Prog band, DISTRICT 97, at Shank Hall here in Milwaukee on October 11th. In case you know nothing about DISTRICT 97, go here and check them out, their music is fantastic.

As for me, while I live in Milwaukee, I rarely play here. In fact, the last time I played here was Sept 2007! That's five years ago. I've been in exile. In case you know nothing about me, go here to check out my music, which is interesting (I'd say fantastic, but that would sound like bragging. Interesting will do. You can decide if it's fantastic or not).

For the show, I plan on playing selections from my extended compositions SOUNDINGS & SCATTERED LIGHT. But then I might change my mind and play something else entirely. I'll know at the gig. You'll know too.

So please come out, celebrate my return to Milwaukee, dig DISTRICT 97, and maybe we can get pizza after the …

Why Study Drums/Percussion With Me?

This is an update of a post from my old blog a few years ago:
Being a drummer is hard. To be a drummer is a life force. You have to be motivated to even deal with this instrument. ~ the late, great, jazz drummer, Roy Brooks

I've been teaching drums & percussion since the '70s. While I have taught hundreds students over the course of my drumming career, a good question for anyone would be: 
Why study drums/percussion with me?
I ask myself that often. I think it's important for me to continually look at what I'm doing, what I'm presenting to others. It’s also important for me to give something tangible to my students. I’m not in this to just collect their money and then pass out exercises from some drum book. I really want my students to get a wider experience.
So, if you study with me, whether drum set, hand drums, Gongs, or percussion, what should you expect to get with your lessons?
    technical exercises     mental exercises     rhythmic explorations why we do things h…

The Death of Nostalgia and the Birth of Creation

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OK, I'm on a roll here (no drum jokes please) with this nostalgia thing. So I'm going to present a few more ideas on how I perceive things. To start with, I love "old" music. I mostly listen to '60s pop (Scott Walker, Dusty Springfield, Lulu, Motown, etc.) and '70s prog (YES, Crimson, ELP, Soft Machine, Gentle Giant, etc.) & hard rock (Montrose, UFO, Led Zeppelin/Wishbone Ash/etc.). This is the music I grew up on, so it's ingrained to my core. This is not to say I don't listen to other things (I love '60s/70s jazz and most anything on the ECM label, as well as 20th century classical/avant-garde composers), but these 2 styles/eras are what I tend to gravitate towards. 


Meet your new art, same as the old art

In light of all this, I feel it would be ridiculous for me to try to recreate a drum or cymbal sound from any of those eras because, well, those eras are gone. It's the same with all the jazz drummers chasing their own tails trying to find…

The Nostalgia of Nostalgia

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nos·tal·gia[no-stal-juh,-jee-uh,nuh-] noun1.awistfuldesiretoreturninthoughtorinfacttoaformertimeinone'slife,toone'shomeorhomeland,ortoone'sfamilyandfriends;asentimentalyearningforthehappinessofaformerplaceortime:anostalgiaforhiscollegedays. 2.somethingthatelicitsordisplaysnostalgia.
[from Dictionary.com]
OK, I must admit it, right here in this blog, that I play almost all old drums and old cymbals. There. I've said it. But the funny things is, I play them not because they are old, but because I've had them a long time. You see, I am still playing the drums and cymbals I bought new in the '70s & '80s. I have nothing against new gear. In fact, I have some newer stuff that I use, but I only use my old stuff because, well, I like it and see no reason to change it. Oh sure, I'd love to have some fancy new kit in a fantastic modern finish, but it probably wouldn't sound much different then the drums I already have, because the sound is in how I tune them…