296 – Peter Erskine: Tools for Remote Work, Enjoying Life Off the Road, Creativity Through Subtraction
Peter Erskine is a drumming legend and a friend of WDP. He has appeared on WDP more than any other drummer, and for good reason. As we near the end of 2020, Peter shares how the year has affected him as a performer and educator. On November 21 and 22, he’ll be performing a livestream concert as part of Drumhead Live https://live.champion.biz/. In this episode, Peter talks about * How he adapted his home studio into a multi-cam, multi mic teaching suite* Using the virtual platform to help his students up their audio game* Things he misses and doesn’t miss about pre-COVID times* The psychological shift he made partway through the pandemic * His upcoming livestream performance for Drumhead Live https://live.champion.biz/* Improving through subtraction rather than addition* An engineer’s mixing trick * His new Tama signature snare Peter endorses Tama drums, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Remo heads, Roland V-Drums, Meinl percussion, and Zoom recorders This episode is sponsored by Shure Microphones. Check out the featured mic bundle DMK57-52
1 hr 26 min
295 – Miles McPherson: Building a Creative Sound Design Library, Early Studio Opportunities, Touring with Paramore and Kelly Clarkson
Miles McPherson moved to Nashville in 1986, when his father, Jerry, relocated the family there so he could work in the studios as a session guitarist. When he was still touring, Miles played with Kelly Clarkson, Paramore, Tonic, and Better Than Ezra. In 2013, he came off the road to pursue being a session drummer full time. In the studio Miles has worked notable artists such as Reba McEntire, Rascall Flatts, Chris Young, Kelly Clarkson, Tyler Farr, Lee Brice, Chase Rice, Jeremy Camp, James Otto and many others. In 2017 he was awarded drummer of the year by the Academy of Country Music. In this episode, Miles talks about: * Building a usable sound library from unconventional things* Staying busy during the Covid crisis* Growing up with a father who was a professional session guitarist * Touring with Paramore and Kelly Clarkson* Surviving a horrific golf cart crash This episode is sponsored by Shure Microphones. Check out the featured mic bundle DMK57-52 Miles endorses: Yamaha drums, Meinl Cymbals, and Vater drumsticks.
1 hr 17 min
294 – Tony Coleman: An Encyclopedia of Blues & Soul, Playing with B.B. King and Bobby Blue Bland, Demystifying the Shuffle
Tony Coleman has played with Blues and Soul legends such as B.B. King, Bobby Blue Bland, Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, and many, MANY others. Over his long career, Tony has lived in Chicago, Memphis, and Texas, and the succession of artists and regions he’s gone through have made him a unique authority on many sub-styles of blues and soul drumming. In recent years, he has also toured with country artist Jamey Johnson. In this episode, Tony talks about: * The importance Black culture places on arranging a show, not just songs* How exhibitionism detracts from music* Looking down on the Blues in his younger years, and how B.B. King changed his mind* Some of the differences in Blues and shuffle styles between Chicago, Memphis, and Texas * Understanding a culture in order to master its musical styles Tony endorses Mapex drums, Sabian cymbals, Remo drumheads, Vater drumsticks, Audix mics, Gon Bops percussion, Jerry Harvey in-ears, and DW pedals.
1 hr 25 min
293 – Robyn Flans: Author of “It’s About Time: Jeff Porcaro, The Man and His Music,” Her Early Days at Modern Drummer
As an entertainment journalist for more than 40 years, Robyn Flans has worked for such diverse publications as People Magazine, In Touch, Mix, Modern Drummer, Country Weekly and a daily newspaper. She has authored four music books, written numerous bios, electronic press kits, including cut by cuts for artists, and album liner notes. She has a new book about Jeff Porcaro that only someone as close to Jeff as she was could write. Links to Robyn and the book: Robyn Flans Drummer Interviews Robyn Flans Media Jeff Porcaro Book In this episode, Robyn talks about: * Her early days at Modern Drummer* Her book about Jeff Porcaro* Getting Jeff on the cover of Modern Drummer* Jeff’s influence on music today* The sadness of finishing the book
1 hr 1 min
292 – Andrew Atkinson: Playing with Oz Noy and Gregory Porter, Building a Foundation in Miami, Becoming an Individual in New York
Andrew Atkinson’s drumming draws on the seductive beats of his native Jamaica, the percolating rhythms of his childhood home Miami, and the world of jazz that has beckoned and captivated him in all his travels. Highlights of his resume include guitarist Oz Noy, vocalist Gregory Porter, and steel pan player Othello Molineux. After graduating high school, Atkinson would find himself becoming one of the most in demand young drummers in Miami, playing with every type of band imaginable. With reggae-ska band The Monjees, Atkinson got his first taste of life on the road by performing on the 2002 Warped Tour and opening for James Brown at the 2002 Sunfest. Of course, he stuck close to jazz, his first musical love, and wound up doing gigs with luminaries such as Randy Brecker, Arturo Sandoval, Danilio Perez, and Donald Harrison. Andrew moved to New York in 2011, where he has played with many of the biggest names in jazz, subbed on Broadway musicals including “Hamilton” and “Ain’t Too Proud,” and will be the full time drummer for a new musical currently in development. In this episode, Andrew talks about * How he came to the drums through a middle school scheduling error* His early career in Miami playing Reggae, Punk, Ska, Salsa, Timba, and Jazz * Being attracted to New York’s celebration of individual artistic voices, and wanting to develop his there* Going out every night (literally) his first year in New York to learn the scene and make contacts* How to be a drummer that singers like* Adapting to Broadway’s detail-oriented culture Andrew endorses Vic Firth sticks, Sabian cymbals, Sonor drums, and Westone in-ears.
1 hr 10 min
291 – Mike Dawson: The New Modern Drummer Podcast, Continuing to Learn in all Stages of Life, Effective Use of Time
Michael Dawson is a New Jersey–based drummer, educator, and clinician and is currently managing editor for Modern Drummer, the world’s most widely read magazine exclusively for drummers. Dawson produced and co-hosted the industry-leading weekly podcast, The Modern Drummer Podcast With Mike and Mike, along with renowned online educator/clinician Mike Johnston. 2020 is bringing a new, interview based podcast called The Modern Drummer Podcast. Additionally, Mike serves as book editor for Modern Drummer Publications, with most releases including Progressive Drumming Essentials by drummer/educator Aaron Edgar, Rhythm and Chops Builders and Stick Technique by rudimental specialist Bill Bachman, and Exercises in African-American Funk by top touring drummer Jonathan Joseph and University of Miami faculty member Steve Rucker. In the pages of MD, Michael has authored dozens of artist features, educational columns, and product reviews. Dawson has a bachelor’s degree in music education from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in music from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He’s a senior lecturer in music journalism and drumset at the UArts, and he operates a recording studio out of his home in New Jersey, where he tracks drums and percussion remotely for artists around the globe. Michael was a regular sub for the drumset chair in the hit Broadway musical The Lion King. In this episode, Mike talks about: * Effective time management* Drawing inspiration from the community at Modern Drummer Magazine* The ability to grow as a player through all stages of life* How to inspire and be honest when teaching* The creation of the Neil Peart MD tribute issue* The new Modern Drummer Podcast This episode is sponsored by Beier Drums
1 hr 11 min
290 – Billy Brimblecom: Losing a Leg to Cancer, Moving from KC to Nashville and Back, Heading Up the Steps of Faith Foundation
Billy Brimblecom’s career has taken him from drumming to philanthropy, and from his hometown of Kansas City to Nashville, and back to Kansas City. Over his 25 year career, Billy has manned the drum chair for Blackpool Lights, The Start, The Creature Comforts, and Summer Breeze. In early 2005 Brimblecom learned he a form of cancer in his leg called Ewing’s sarcoma. This resulted in his left leg being amputated above the knee. After 13 rounds of chemotherapy and a few months of rehab, Brimblecom re-joined Blackpool Lights and returned to touring ( with a prosthetic leg) in March 2006. Brimblecom and the band did extensive tours of the U.S., Canada and Japan as well as support slots for Social Distortion, Anberlin, Angels and Airwaves. Brimblecom relocated to Nashville in 2009 where he did session work with producer/songwriter Don Chaffer (of Waterdeep) and Greg LaFollette. During this time, he also founded the Steps of Faith Foundation, which helps amputees get the prosthetics they need. Billy and his family returned to Kansas City in 2017, where he has continued both his philanthropic and musical endeavors. Since 2017, he has partnered with his fellow Kansas Citian and high school friend Jason Sudeikis to produce Thundergong, a live benefit for Steps of Faith which featured performances by a host of big names including Ben Harper, Fred Armisen, Wynona Judd, and The Get Up Kids. In this episode, Billy talks about: * The challenges of playing Yacht Rock* Merging his old life in full time music with his new life in philanthropy* How he moved forward physically, emotionally, and practically after losing his left leg* What attracted him to Nashville, and why he ultimately returned home to Kansas City* Becoming the Executive Director of the Steps of Faith Foundation, and how he has fused that role with his identity as a drummer and his expertise in the music business* Thundergong – a yearly fundraiser event he coproduces with Jason Sudeikis
1 hr 18 min
289 – Jason Cooper: Balancing the “Day Gig” with a Thriving Home Studio, Cymbals that Work in the Studio, The Good & Bad of Social Media
Jason Cooper is a native of Memphis TN and played his first professional gig at 11 years old. Since then, he has gone on to play in many local bands and has travelled the country playing for numerous acts. He has also played in almost 40 professional theater productions including Dream Girls, Footloose, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins and Into the Woods. He has also done numerous recording sessions for artists in the US, Canada and throughout Europe. Jason worked at the Memphis Drum shop from 1999 to 2006. While at Memphis Drumshop, he teched for Dennis Chambers, Sonny Emory, Herman Matthews, Alex Acuna, Billy Ward, Peter Erskine, Will Kennedy, Virgil Donati, Akira Jimbo Keith Carlock and many others. He even changed a drumhead for Tony Williams once. – Very cool. After many years of slugging away in the unpredictable world of the music business, Jason decided to take a break from it all and go back to school and earn a degree that lead to a job as an x-ray technician. Today he splits his time between his “day job” and maintaining a solid roster of clients from all over the world providing drum tracks from his home studio – Old Lantern Studio. A project of note includes the Neal Bowen Trio which will have an EP out soon. In this episode, Jason talks about: * Working as an x-ray technician and leaving room for drumming * His decision to go back to school and get a “day job”* Learning to produce the best drum tracks he can from his home studio* Cymbal selection in the studio* The good and the bad of social media This episode is sponsored by Beier Drums
1 hr 35 min
288 – Adam Alesi: L.A. Gigs of All Shapes and Sizes, A Few Key Relationships, Taking Big Studio Experience into the Home Studio
Drummer Adam Alesi is in high demand for session and live work in Los Angeles and around the greater Southern California region. As a student of drum legend Gregg Bissonette (and later as Gregg’s drum tech), Adam learned how to connect with music and musicians on a personal and emotional level. Like his mentor, he has made taste and versatility his hallmarks. One of Adam’s longest musical relationships has been with veteran pianist/composer/producer Geoff Stradling. Adam has been Geoff’s first call for over a decade, and the two have worked on countless recording projects together including Mad Men, the Golden Globe Awards, the SAG Awards, and Geoff’s original big band, The Stradband. Another decade-plus tenure Adam maintains is with the all-pro band that supports Burbank High School’s show choir, In Sync. The group is nationally competitive, perennially award-winning, and served as the model for the hit Fox series Glee. Adam’s other credits for film and TV include the IMAX original film Pandaswith composer Mark Mothersbaugh, and a national Samsung ad campaign featuring Rihanna. He has performed regularly with numerous big band legends including Grammy Award winner Gordon Goodwin and Tonight Show composer/arranger Mike Barone. Over his 15-year career, Adam has also performed with legendary artists across many genres including Aretha Franklin, Richard Carpenter, and David Benoit. In this episode, Adam talks about: * Getting a jump on the home studio game before COVID* File management skills and other ways he’s improved his workflow* Becoming the go-to drummer for Hollywood composers Geoff Stradling and Mike Barone* What he’s learned through his long relationship with Gregg Bissonette * His experience playing in the Pixarmonic Orchestra at Disneyland California Adventure* Drumming and contracting the band for Burbank High School’s nationally competitive show choir Adam endorses Dixon drums, Sabian cymbals, Aquarian drumheads, Vanguard Audio Labs microphones, and Presonus Audio Electronics This episode is sponsored by Beier Drums.
1 hr 20 min
287 – Neil LaFortune: Hosting the “Gretsch Afternoon Drum Break”, Working with Tribute Acts, Adapting to the Socioeconomic Climate of Your Scene
Neil LaFortune has covered many styles throughout the years from Classic Rock, Funk, R&B, Country, Latin, Pop, Jazz, and Blues based cover bands, to original acts. Studies at Ontario College of Percussion in Toronto and later studies with Jim Blackley helped prepare Neil for professional settings that required reading and versatility. The last several years Neil has been busy with Tribute acts such as Abba Revisited, Police tribute “Message In A Bottle,” as well as many other tributes in the U.S. and abroad. Neil’s work included gigs with his duo Sticks and Tones as well as rising Canadian country singer Meghan Patrick opening for the likes of Rascal Flatts, Dwight Yoakam and Kiefer Sutherland. In 2020 Neil started hosting his weekly interview series called the Gretsch Afternoon Drum Break. Teaching is another passion and Neil teaches lots of private lessons at home and does clinics and workshops locally and abroad. His teaching efforts earned him the Drummers Choice’s Teacher of The Year in 2003. In this episode, Neil talks about: * Differences between the music scenes in Canada compared to the U.S. * Hosting the “Gretsch Afternoon Drum Break” * Navigating the world of endorsements * Adapting to the socioeconomic climate of your scene* Working with tribute acts* Good health after 50 This episode is sponsored by Beier Drums Neil proudly endorses: Gretsch drums, Dream Cymbals and Regal Tip products
1 hr 23 min