Cool new band - The DIVES
Rich Redmond and Co. discuss drumminginthemodernworld.com
Ray Luzier playing 'Freewill' during HURRY (Rush Tribute) - photo by Natalia Britt
Me and the Capoccia Brothers of CODA
When Roberto Capoccia told me his band was named CODA, I knew immediately his dad Richard didn't drag him to BONZO BASH, but a mutual love for the band propelled them there along with his brother and guitar player, Marco.  Richard sent me a CD, actually two.  Am I giving the extra CD away for a friend to listen to....hell no!   I want one for the office and one for the car.    A little selfish but this job does have its perks.    One of them is discovering cool bands.  Not that there isn't good music out there, but it's not easy to find anymore because there's so much dilute milky toast being served up.   CODA is meat and potatoes....good solid fulfilling hard rock with a sense of dynamics..yet still enough reckless abandon and the energy of youth  to propel the band at breakneck speed without rushing.   CODA, influenced by Led Zeppelin, duh....and Roberto, influenced by John Bonham, know how to push and pull the beat and play late, giving the music weight and also the wisdom to cut it loose and let it run.   Even more amazing , since their debut EP 'CODA' was recorded when they were 14.   Now 17, the brothers soldier on with Singer Johnny Jamison and Bassist Dylan Howes on their next project which will be out soon.
It's cool when drummers of my era pay tribute to Led Zeppelin but cooler still when kids dig the band and make their 
 own path.  Do pure rock and roll bands have a future?  I sure hope so, and bands like CODA make that hope seem well placed.
Glen Sobel killing it on 'Candy Store Rock' with Michael Devin, Tony Franklin, Tracii Guns - filmed by Brandon Khoo
California Music Fest immortalizes three of our lost artists and showcases dozens of our current greats
Brian Tichy and Co. were not content to deprive many people of sleep for one or two days but three during the NAMM show.    In possibly the biggest blow out ever of major artists in marathon sessions of bombastic tributes BONZO BASH - RANDY RHOADS REMEMBERED and The OX and the LOON shows left everyone in desperate need of a nap but with memories to last a lifetime.

University of Missouri - School of Music 
The University of Missouri may have its most visible musical component on the field at the MIZZOU Tigers SEC football games but the School of Music has students in Orchestras, Jazz and other configurations as well.   I caught up with Fuller Lyon, Assistant Director of Bands (below) just before 60 students left to perform in Italy as school got out for the summer.

MIZZOU encourages creativity as evidenced by Mort Walker, creator of Beetle Bailey.
Columbia has some pretty diverse venues for a relatively small midwestern town.   I caught Sarah Ault and Mary Scholz at the Bride downtown and Mushroomhead at the infamous Blue Note.
Sarah Ault - Mary Scholz - The Bridge - Columbia, MO - May 1, 2014
     I saw Paul McCartney some 12 years a ago and what impressed me the most was his performance of 'Blackbird' alone with an acoustic guitar.  Since then I have thought the hardest thing to do musically is hold the stage by yourself and keep the audience's attention.  If you go to singer/songwriter venues, often you are unfamiliar with the material being performed unless you are a fan of somebody you specifically went to see.   
     That's why May 1, 2014 was a particularly interesting day for me.   I knew a little about Mary Scholz and nothing about Sarah Ault, two very different singers who complemented each other so well.  Without the bombast of the typical rock show, I am used to covering, all they had was their material and their voices accompanied by a single instrument which they were playing.
    Sarah Ault began the show and I was stuck by a very powerful and soulful voice and songs I have never heard before but enjoyed immediately.  She also had the relaxed relationship with the piano that only comes with years of familiarity and practice.   Mary Scholz's material I had seen on YouTube but it was even better live...no ProTools, AutoTune or other devices used by mediocre talents...Mary Scholz actually sang her songs better live - imagine that.  The great ones make it look easy.   I can't sing or write a melody but I've seen enough to know how to enjoy good material performed well.   It isn't that music is so bad these days, it's just that the really good stuff isn't necessarily being mass marketed...but it is most definitely out there.
MUSHROOMHEAD at the Blue Note - Columbia, MO Spring 2014
Missouri State Music Festival on University of Missouri Campus in Columbia, MO 
I began reflecting back on 2013 and wondered 'What have I really accomplished?'Then I looked at my pictures and they made me feel quite content with my year.  I worked hard but I was pretty LUCKY as well
January brought the always fun and educational NAMM Show which showcases products and people in the music industry.  BONZO NAMM JAMM kicked off the weekend with numerous A-List drummers and musicians for a memorable performance.  We also visited with Robbie Cope on the 3 Doors Down /Daughtry Tour and chatted with drummers Greg Upchurch, Robin Diaz and Adrian Benavides.

Greg Upchurch and Robbie Cope of Three Doors Down
MARCH brought us Spring and Stanton Moore of GALACTIC right after Mardi Gras.   GALACTIC fuse FUNK, JAZZ and classic NEW ORLEANS music into a style popularizing a regional music as far away as JAPAN.  Stanton did extensive work on his large and diverse drumkit, gave a lesson, did an interview with us, sound checked and played the gig all on very little sleep over several days.   Ah...the 'glamourous' life of a touring musician.

MAY let me revisit my youth on the Ted Nugent, REO and STYX tour.  Also caught up with OLD 97's and Drive By Truckers

Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson. Picture Me Broken - Nice catching up with Glen Sobel and Michael Miller of Alice Cooper, learning more about Jason Sutter and his tech Daniel Fox and discovering the talents of Shaun Foist and Jake Townsend
In July we got to see where it all began with Chuck Berry at Blueberry Hill.  Chuck recently played his 200th show at Blueberry Hill with his son and daughter furthering his Guinness World Record for the most shows by a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer at one Venue.

RUSH played their last show on the Clockwork Angels Tour in Kansas City - August 2013.   Even Paul Rudd showed up.   I got to take my 19 year old niece and relive the joy of my first RUSH concert through her eyes.

I didn't take any pictures at the RUSH concert, sorry, just went to enjoy the show.  The show is out on DVD. (not the one to the left)


ZAPPA PLAYS ZAPPA recreated The Roxy and Elsewhere performance by Frank Zappa. originally stage at The ROXY in LA 40 years earlier.  ZPZ would later perform 40 years to the day at The Roxy in LA.
Living Colour played an intimate show at Blueberry Hill celebrating the 25 Anniversary of VIVID

MUSHROOMHEAD celebrated their 20th Anniversary as a band and brought IONIA, ONE EYED DOLL and UnSaid Fate along for the Party


The Life of Professional Drum Techs

Robbie Cope and Lorne Wheaton at NAMM 2011
Editor's Note:   What makes Drum Tech's so special?   They have a difficult job which they absolutely love.  If you've ever painted it's the prep work that's difficult....the painting is easy.  The Tech's prepare and set that canvas for the artist to paint, gather the brushes, stir the paint, mix the pallette of colors.   Some of them are artists but they are master technicians, attuned to every logistical detail necessary to be covered for a given performance.   Being good at your job doesn't necessarily make you that unique but Techs somehow go above and beyond, providing a level of service that is amazing...what they expect from themselves. They set a standard that isn't even really necessary - they could do less but that is unthinkable.   They retune drums because sound check vibrations may have caused a lug to come loose.  They check and recheck, retighten things that were tight, polish things that are already shining.  They have OCD (Overly Caring for Drums) or ADD (Astronomical Drum Diligence) perhaps.  Yet that is not what makes them truly special.  These guys really care about people - the guy playing the kit, the band, the crew the fans and people in general.
     Besides teching for Neil Peart, Lorne Wheaton toured Rush's 30th Anniversary Kit following Hurricane Katrina to raise money for flood victims in New Orleans.   A few years later I talked with him when he displayed Peart's 'Time Machine Kit' at the NAMM show.   I thanked him for bringing the kit (a beautiful piece of artwork as well as a fantastic instrument) and he said something like, "Well, I would have just been lounging around home, so why not?"  Vacation perhaps?  You could take a vacation Lorne.   Lock the kit up in the warehouse and take a vacation.   Nope, he preferred to move that monstrosity (just a sheer size reference), platform and all into the NAMM show and stand there for four days talking about the kit.    Before I saw that kit at NAMM I lost a friend in the crowd...we were going to meet up and I found out later he got sucked into the warp of 'The Time Machine Kit'.   Later, I saw a kid wearing a RUSH tour shirt and asked him, 'Did you see the Time Machine Kit?'   He made an ecstatic audible noise so I knew he could speak but the drums left him speechless and I knew exactly how he felt.  That's what makes Drum Techs so special.   Mike St. John
Adrian Benavides techs for drummer Robin Diaz of DAUGHTRY.   Adrian is also a playback tech and Producer for many bands.   Check out how his diverse skill set contributes to the success of the 3 Doors Down / DAUGHTRY 2013 Tour.
We visited with Drum Tech Ron Hise on the REO - Styx - Ted Nugent Tour this Summer.   He shared some cool info about a number of bands that use his skills.
Alice Cooper - Marilyn Manson - Picture Me Broken

Caught up with Michael Miller and Glen Sobel of Alice Cooper on Masters of Madness tour.   Cool info below from Daniel Fox, Jason Sutter's tech for Marilyn Manson.   Also check out Shaun Foist of Picture Me Broken in Interview Section.   More to come from Shaun's tech plus interview with Jason Sutter - stay tuned!

Daniel Fox - Jason Sutter's Tech on Manson Tour
Shaun Foist and Jake Townsend of Picture Me Broken
Shaun Foist and Jake Townsend show it's not all work on the Marilyn Manson - Alice Cooper Masters of Madness Tour
Ya Gotta Cope
     Robbie Cope gets to set up two drum kits for every 3 Doors Down show because Singer Brad Arnold, the band's original drummer, still likes to play a little.  At break time during show set up Robbie was still on deck because it was 1 Kit Down, 1 to Go.
Robbie Cope preparing for 3 Doors Down Show
I spent the day with Robbie Cope as he prepared for a 3 Doors Down Show and got an in-depth look at what he does as a Drum Tech.  Check out the Video Diary below.
John Aldridge
John Aldridge at Play
Go to a Museum and you can identify Picasso, Warhol..go to a lot lot of museums and you can tell the difference between Monet and Manet ...see just one amazing engraved snare drum..most likely it's John Aldridge.  Besides being the touring tech for REO, John has preserved the art of drum engraving and taken it to a whole new level with intricate and beautiful designs.  Not sure how he does it but we're gonna find out when REO rolls their Speed Wagon through town this spring.   For now enjoy some of John's truly inspired designs.
John Douglas
Joe Perry, 'Billie', John Douglas
John Douglas is an accomplished Drummer, Tech for Alex Van Halen and Others, Painter and Drumset Designer.  He has painted custom kits for countless professionals and even guitars...including the infamous 'Billie' guitar for Joe Perry of Aerosmith.   Click on the 'Billie' guitar above to see more of John's incredible work at johndouglas.com and enjoy some of John's work in the slideshow below.

'A Drum Kit is like a Classic Car - It's Gotta Shine'    
Michael Miller
Bass Drum Lights - DETAILS!!!

If people understood what Michael Miller did in a day he could put one line on a resume (‘Drum Tech for Alice Cooper’) and get any job he wanted.   His professionalism is unparalleled and although I hope I have some of his attributes I could never do his job for the simple fact that I am not tough enough.
Michael Miller at work after the show

So you want to be a drum tech – Ok, let’s start with the benefits:


You get to tour the world and see a lot of places – like crowded backstage areas


You get exotic food – mostly because you can’t identify it


You get to work half a day – 12 hours if you’re lucky, more like 16


You get to hang out with musicians – and move their gear

Michael Miller at BONZO NAMM JAMM '13

Michael Miller Gaff Tapes his right side and becomes a measuring tape to save time between drummer changes during BONZO NAMM JAMM 2013. This great idea saved about 30 minutes during the show. 

There is not a lot of room at many venues, especially with multiple bands on the bill.
Typical schedule encompassing a 16 hour day on the road with a 7 hour drive to the next performance.

Assuming all goes well - it's a tough job.   Besides the tasks at hand Miller has to anticipate all the needs at the next gig.

It's a TV show and you can't just bring your regular kit into a TV studio.   Besides, it may be packed at the front of the truck (a truck which may be headed to Las Vegas for another concert) because the rigging usually goes on last so you can't get at it even if you wanted to.

So you arrange backline for the next day on the phone to get the best gear you can that will fit in the TV studio - there goes your lunch time which you were looking forward to because the eggs at breakfast were inedible.
You get to fly on planes – after you unloaded the gear from a truck into an adjacent cargo plane at 4am, sleep for two hours get up to do it again only to find out there’s no food you can eat, no hot water, customs seized your ‘stick grip’ the hardware you coordinated with the drum rep in a foreign country won’t work because he misunderstood you while assuring you he understood what you needed, it’s a festival so you have to set the drums up in a truck and it’s 100 plus degrees in there, you only have a couple hours but there’s soot and debris all over the shells from pyro and bubbles the night before…while you want to curse the guy who thought it was a good idea that pyro plus bubbles equals fun…you reset your attitude put a smile back on your face, ignore the pain in your back and fight your way through another gig which involves hundreds of steps which have to happen in the right order with military precision to keep your boss happy.   Any takers?... there are a few…and these extraordinary individuals make the show possible.   The musicians may perform it but the techs and crew put it on.   Take them away and the next Alice Cooper tour will be Alice accompanied by Tommy Henriksen on acoustic guitar with two microphones.   Although that may be interesting it won’t work on the bill with Iron Maiden in front of 80,000 kids in Europe!
'Work is having to do with anything other than Drums.'
Michael Miller

Miller's chart for his responsibilities during the show. Besides setting click tracks, triggering samples, picking up dropped sticks (which could end up in pedals and cause a real problem) Michael is handing Glen towels and refilling his orange juice constantly.

Then, near the end of the show he sprints after Glen's practice kit, hoping nothing goes wrong on stage because that's the only time he has to retrieve it.

He also listens to the mix for any strange or errant sounds coming from the drums - like a head going out of tune.  They also seamlessly switch snare drums during the show.

Although the set list doesn't change the adjustments do.
Miller and Sobel discuss each performance immediately after the show to address any problems so they can be fixed immediately.

Note the 'Evil Bubbles' for the last song.   'Evil' because Michael has to clean them off the equipment before the next show!

Note:  Miller's attention to detail is so thorough, he did not want me to show this chart with hand written notes... not neat enough.  I love the notes which illustrate the dynamic nature of his job.

Michael Miller - Tricks of the Trade

No Memory Lock - No Excuses  
You make one!

Plumbers tape underneath and gaff tape on top to keep wing nuts in place

Leukoplast - 
Excellent tape for blisters - won't come off
Building Drums in the Truck
CONCLUSION:  I played a gig once in Milwaukee, had to drive 400 miles set up my drums, play...then tear them down.   I watched the headliner but afterwards was lucky to make it to my bed at the hotel.   I was dehydrated and exhausted plus my back muscles went into a spasm…one day and I had enough.   Yet I didn’t perform 90% of the detailed tasks a professional drum tech does on a daily basis for months on end.

Michael Miller gave me a rundown of his average day.   It took over 90 minutes for him to list all of the things he does from: cleaning drums, running cables and operating equipment during the show to coordinating backline for festivals in Europe.   I am tempted to list them but don’t think I have the stamina to transcribe it all, let alone perform those tasks.

A lot of this story sounds like things are going wrong all day and everything is breaking down.   I saw Alice Cooper, the show was great...I didn't notice any problems, EXACTLY!!!

Michael Miller and Glen Sobel - TEAMWORK
Michael Miller and Charlie Workman visit with us at NAMM for more fascinating behind the scenes info

Drum Techs Charlie Workman and Michael Miller being interviewed on DRUMTALkTV.com by Dan Shinder at NAMM 2013
Miller and Burr at BONZO NAMM JAMM '13
'D' is for Drums
Tod Burr has built an amazing multi-faceted career around all things 'Drum'.   That's why he only has one 'D' in his name...   He saved the other 'D' for Drums.
Making of the 'LEXUS plays DRUMS' Commercial
Tod Burr
  You've probably seen his work several times with Cinderella, Motorhead, INXS, Def Leppard or enjoyed Tod playing the drums at the 100 plus gigs his bands play every year...including 'Merle Jagger'.
     No wonder Brian Tichy tagged him to coordinate the Bonzo Tributes with up to 30 drummers, a monumental task.  The drum kit was adjusted between every song to suit a new set of requirements.    'A drum set is a very personal thing'  says Burr; and being an accomplished drummer himself, he knows what drummers need.
Tod adjusting the Bonzo kit between songs

 BONZO:  The Groove Remains the Same

   'The kit is just like Bonzo played it - wide open tuned higher, more of a jazz tuning - down to the felt beater on the kick.  John Bonham could play anything and play it well.'  Tod Burr
Tod leads a seamless effort with multiple drum techs at the Bonzo Tribute Shows. (see Blog 3 for Story).   They not only set up the kit initially but have to adjust it between every song for 20 - 30 drummers.   The show was initially a celebration of John Bonham's influence on today's drumming pros coordinated by Brian Tichy and Joe Sutton.   Due to popular demand, it returns for a fifth time and is kicking off NAMM 2013 at the Observatory in Santa Ana, CA.
    I saw the show in 2011 and it's a rare opportunity to enjoy so many great drummers and musicians playing Led Zeppelin music.  I didn't even notice the crew the first time I saw the show and that's exactly how they want it, although they deserve tons of credit.

Rick Allen's kit with Def Leppard
'Obviously the most fascinating part is the fact that its designed to be played with right arm and both feet due to his accident in 1984.  The five pedals are set up to take the place of the left arm. The main snare is pedal number two on the left. Pedal one and three are mostly floor tom and kick but i would change the sounds depending on the song. The acoustic snare on the top is triggered with the same sound as the foot so tom rolls and fills can be played...same with the Hart tom pads on the kit.  Believe it or not the drum samples only have 8 channels to FOH! However, because the redundancy of multiple pads and drum triggers there are 13 triggers going in.  The development of Rick Allen's kit has been over 20 years in the making and will continue as long as Rick's drumming gets stronger, more inventive and new songs are added to the set...' Tod Burr
John Farris's INXS Kit

'John Farris got food poisoning one night and I had 20 minutes to learn the set.  I held him up throughout the show, he was the color of a white delivery van.  He appreciated the fact that I was ready to jump in and play if necessary.'

"It's a lot of work but I love what I do."  Everybody has their own needs like John Farris sings half the set and you have to know the keys to give him the microphone."

They called me Mr 8x8 because I was so concerned with the area occupied by the kit.    No one ever showed or told me to polish the drum kit every day - It's just the things that you do to take pride in your job...and it goes the other way...when I go to shows I want the drums to be clean, I want the bass drum to have a cool logo head.   I've even designed drum heads for INXS and Def Leppard.
Tod Burr and Yamaha 
   I was also the Tech for Yamaha's 'Groove Night' for five years. The first time I was the only tech for 25 drummers.  While Steve Gadd was playing on the birch kit I was getting ready for Gerry Brown in the dark and then I'd move on to a third kit for Tommy Aldridge.   Because I had more time I was able to subtract or add drums or get Jimmy Chamberlain his Signature snare drum.

   I became a trainer/merchandiser for Yamaha Drums as well, I would go to Sam Ash or Guitar Center - take the kits on the floor, tune them up, put new heads on, do inventory...training seminars.   I would show drums that the stores don't normally stock.   I also did training for the electronic drums.   Once they thought the pads were all broken but there was an option on the brain to disable the pads' (laughs).

   There have been several times I've received products to test.  I told Hagi, the drum guru at Yamaha and the inventor of the boom stand,   'I love the hardware but you need a memory lock on the boom stands to take the boom out.'  I'm not taking credit but guess what happened at Yamaha the very next year...Boom Memory Locks.
It's a wonderful company, I love everybody there.  I toured the Yamaha factory in Japan and actually made my own snare drum.  It was a fantastic experience.  

   I will be setting up all the drums at the Yamaha Booth for NAMM 2013.  A few year's ago I set up Tony Thompson's  Red Yamaha Kit - I had an old Modern Drummer which had the exact kit.   I got the cymbal stackers, boom stands, correct bass drum head..as well as some 1980's vintage Zildjians.  I set up the kit just as Tony would be playing it in 1985.  The best part of the whole thing for me was when Tony's widow came up and asked who set it up.  She smiled and said 'That looks exactly like Tony's kit...Thank You'.
Tod Burr in his band 'Merle Jagger'
MORE TOD.......Fine Tuning
Tod Burr with Pretty Boy floyd - 2006
    I started playing drums in the high school marching band.   I was in college about three days and my roommate's band need a drummer.   I take it seriously - I've had drummers I work for appreciate that I play and they can go out into the arena and hear what their drums sound like.  Being a drum tech helps being a drummer and being a drummer helps being a drum tech - It's all connected.

    I've done fly in shows where I'm playing someone else's kit and I'll fix something for the other drummer or tune the drums.  Usually when I play someone else's kit I'll show them tricks to putting the drums in the cases or carry a certain way to protect them.

   The most challenging thing in the entertainment business is you gotta do something to keep the lights on - work in a music store, tech, give drum lessons...I take a cover gig every now and then.  

   Any drummer who plays could definitely benefit by working for another drummer.   I do over 100 shows a year with my own bands.   I've actually helped out other drummers on the bill with me.  I have a little bag with spare parts...us drummers stick together.  I worked at Drum Doctors and eventually became a manger at SIR (Studio Instrument Rentals) - We used to do the Latin Grammys - We could do a whole show - just add musicians and crowd (laughs) - (Note:  If I put in 'laughs; every time Tod Burr actually laughed it would have lengthened this story quite a bit).

Tod Burr:  I did a TV show called 'The Rock and Roll Acid Test' where they dropped the backline off a crane - We thought 'If we don't succeed we're out of jobs because we're on national TV failing'....but fortunately we've seen worse!  
Chuck Garric, Orianthi, Tommy Henriksen, Glen Sobel and Ryan Roxie of Alice Cooper
Glen Sobel, Michael Miller, Tommy Henriksen and Ryan Roxie Interviews 
Glen Sobel Drum Solo at Bonnaroo with Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper Live in St. Louis, MO at The Pageant - June 16, 2012

I'm not afraid of Alice Cooper, partially because I went backstage before the show and realized it was theatre; not just a concert but a spectacle, a show.   Alice is a character portrayed on stage while the actor (I know his real name but can't help but call him Alice) playing the lead role goes home perfectly sane and sober and plays golf the next day.
Alice is a pure villain, yet some of the songs are so much a part of my youth I can't help but love the evil a little.   You shouldn't fear Alice anymore than you fear Halloween but embrace him once a year and revel in the fun of it all.  Alice knows how to put on a show.   Through all of the props, however, its still a rock show and the best part is the music.
The Alice Cooper Band features three amazing guitarists (Tommy Henriksen, Ryan Roxie, Orianthi), a fierce bass player (Chuck Garric), thunderous drummer (Glen Sobel) and of course Alice Cooper on lead vocals.  They are tighter than tight and spot on at every turn.   Alice cruises the stage with boundless energy and vocally is as good as ever.   He even has a pretty funny sense of humor, announcing his new song with a jacket that says 'New Song'.
"No more Mr. Nice Guy" was scrawled on the drum riser.  I like that song.  I grew up in a small town but Alice had so many hits I knew most of them.   I remember being bullied on the playground as a kid and I said "OK, no more Mr. Nice Guy!"   The other kids thought that was funny and tried to use that phrase against me repeatedly, probably because they were lemmings and couldn't come up with an original thought.   They didn't know that phrase's origin or they might have thought it was cool.  I borrowed it from Alice and cloaked myself in it for protection and transported my mind to a better place even though I was still stuck on the playground.
Alice may spook us a little with that guillotine but he still champions art and creativity.   He's the first one that would tell us to stand up for ourselves.   I am not afraid of Alice Cooper but what makes him still relevant to me are all the other things I do not fear.
I've met Glen Sobel a few times at NAMM via my drum circle of friends.   Now Glen is playing with Alice Cooper, persistence pays.  Congrats Glen!  Not sure how he got the gig... thought Alice didn't want more nice guys.
NAMM 2012 - January 19 - 22, 2012
NAMM 2012 in Anaheim, CA (January) was crazy good.   Lots of innovation and cool people to meet.    I have categorized my experience into 1- BOOTH tours (given by manufacturers reps) and company promos 2 - PERFORMANCE (Drum Circle, etc.) 
3- INTERVIEWS (segments longer than a couple minutes) and  4- Hello DRUMline (quick visits).  Wish I could have covered more but it is impossible to visit all the great displays.  There is more info on manufacturer websites and extensive coverage on YouTube. Enjoy!
dw - drum workshop
Rockett Drumworks
Rockett Artist Harley deWinter

Rockett Drumworks...
my favorite booth for years...even more so after meeting their cool team, raised the bar again with innovation and creativity.   When you see the respect Rikki has for the Past, Present and Future Drummers it foreshadows a tremendous future for his company.
Me and Nick Seiwert

Thanks to all the cool reps who gave me the booth tours...like Nick Seiwert at Gibraltar.   
I got a lot of info but also had tons of fun.

Sabian Cymbal Tower - Lots of cool displays at NAMM but the Sabian Cymbal Tower Took the Cake.   The steaming, shining Goliath consisting of 200 cymbals and towering over the show was truly amazing.   I was offered a chance to help dismantle it after the show by Bob Rupp (Sabian Guru)...I passed! 
Latin Percussion - LP
I would not be doing DRUMline without Jim Uding.   Jim owned Drum Headquarters in St. Louis which was key in my drumming career.   Jim got me into NAMM as a guest several times which allowed me to eventually make it on my own.  I told Jim at NAMM, 'I wouldn't be here shaking your hand if you weren't there shaking my hand' and he said 'This business is about relationships.'    NAMM is very fertile ground which allows the music business to grow.  I even tried to get Jim to do DRUMline with me, but DIXON got him first and they are lucky to have him.
Metal Babe
Soren Andersen at tc electronics Booth...Sweet!
Scott Houston 'The Piano Guy' from PBS announces a cool new show.  Music Makers
Me and Scott Houston
You gotta love Scott Houston's attitude.   Play music, have fun!   I had a blast and a beer with Scott for my first interview at NAMM 2012.   My camera blew up halfway thru and I had to switch but the show must go on.

Scott has a cool new show, Music Makers, airing on PBS this fall.   After fourteen seasons and eight Emmys with The Piano Guy, Scott will be interviewing famous musicians and unearthing some details about their paths to success, while encouraging everyone to play and enjoy music.

I suppose I should have been nervous interviewing a TV host and professional interviewer but Scott was too cool, so I basically enjoyed myself.  Also, Scott taught me how to photograph two people myself with his patented arm extension technique.
Bass Players at Dean Markley Booth
Drummers at REMO Booth
Ecotonic and me at the Hilton
Ecotonic are the coolest.   They exemplify what makes NAMM so special.    After all the informative trade show activities you get to meet cool bands at the Hilton and other nearby venues!
Joey Heredia

Joey Heredia's reaction to DRUMline was pretty sweet. I've seen Joey play before at Cafe Cordiale where I filmed the Gregg Bissonette Quintet this time around.   Joey has a lot happening as you can find out in the interview above or at joeyheredia.com.

We were both impressed with the Sabian Cymbal Tower!

Tommy Carlsen,  Soren Andersen, Anders Bo Jespersen
A cool video from Soren Andersen - Black Lady
Jenn Nelson and Mike Dupke (W.A.S.P.)

GROOVE OREO - Anytime I'm between an excellent drummer and bassist I think 'Groove Oreo' cause you can feel the vibe and it's satisfying.   Here I am with good friends: Drummer Mike Dupke (W.A.S.P.) and Bassist Vinny Tomassetti at the Hilton during NAMM 2012.
Brian Tichy (Whitesnake)
BONZO:  The Groove Remains the Same is still up in the Archive Section
Chas West (Lynch Mob)
M.P. and Clark Becker
Clark Becker, me, M.P.
I met M.P. through my friend Clark Becker.    M.P. made me feel like I was on the right path when he said he enjoyed the Band of Drummers article which features Clark.    He gave me so much positive feedback.  M.P is out there doing it for real with LA Guns, School of Fish, Coheed and Cambria.

It was a big surprise to me how many cool musicians embraced DRUMline from the beginning.

Seven Antonopoulos
Michael Devin (Whitesnake)
Drummers rave about Michael Devin of Whitesnake (even before the beard). Although he flashes an evil stare he couldn't be nicer and contributed to the BONZO article in the Archive section.   This got me thinking about including bass players in DRUMline and there is a cool interview above with several bass players at the Dean Markley Booth.   In future DRUMline posts, I will be interviewing bass players too. 
Dave Rude (Tesla), Chuck Alkazian (Producer), Jerome Day (Uncle Kracker), Robert Mason (Warrant)
Keith Graves
Antonio Zamora (Bongo)

NAMM is international in Exhibitors and Artists including the spiritual Antonio Zamora aka BONGO.  I saw him playing some cool grooves in the LP booth...a couple minutes later I had a great interview about drums and communication.
Evil Ed Nijjer
Justin Emord (Love and a .38)
Bassist Justin Emord
Justin Emord, bassist for Love and a .38, is awesome.  I knew this kid was up to something cool.   When I spoke about hoping for a resurgence of cool bands on The Strip (during my DRUMline launch party coverage) I was thinking of Justin.   He's got the look, the attitude and the great band that makes me optimistic about rock music in the future.   Justin and guys like him are keeping rock and roll alive.

Justin was hanging out with friends when I asked if I could take some pics of him..he stood up without hesitation and I got some cool shots.   He a worker, ready for any opportunity.
Curtis Ulin and Matt Spatola
Bobby Rondinelli
Tuesdai (Brand New Hate)