Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Volume 5 - Kenwood Anderson


Hey there TC fam, 
We have another good one for you! This kat is someone I met years ago, when both of our bands did a show together and we're working on some other projects, that never happened but none the less, I met Kenwood and was able to watch him do his thing. We have kept in touch via Soc. Med.  and I'm glad we did. He is REALLY good and deserves some publicity, so I'm glad I can do my part.
Without further delay, let's see what's up with Kenwood Anderson....He's Talkin' Chop

Name or Stage Name: Kenwood Anderson
Where are you from? Rochester, NY
How long have you been playing? 32 years.
What is or are your main genre of playing? R&B, pop, jazz
How did you get where you are now?
I took private lessons, went to School Of The Arts in my hometown, went to Berklee College of Music, then moved to Los Angeles in 1993.
What are your goals, short & long term?
Short term: to make a living with music. Long term: Be a successful producer, songwriter, as well as drummer.
Artists you would like to play for?  Stevie Wonder, Journey, Billy Joel, Earth Wind, & Fire, Toto, Michael McDonald, Phil Collins, Chick Corea, Mike Stern, Herbie Hancock, Jeff Lorber, John Scofield, Cameo, so many others...

"Rolling In The Deep" Adele via Dirty Loops version.
Could you list some of your accomplishments?
I produced a smooth jazz album under my own name. I also did an audio book, which I plan to re-master and release in the future.
I was a member of the band RioSoul. We recorded albums and performed many shows. (Actually, that's how I met you , DeHaven, and Arif from Olio. We played shows together at B.B. King's Club, and other places.)
I have performed, recorded and produced albums with Jordan Allen White.
I played on the soundtrack for the TV movie "Happiness Is A Warm Blanket, Charlie Brown"
I did a "sideline gig" on "The Lonely Island" movie, which comes out next year. I pretended to be playing onstage in concert scenes, with other musicians and singers. I had to look like I was playing hard, without actually hitting the drums! It was a challenge, but fun.
I played on the soundtrack for the movie "Vacation"
Do you have your own band? genre? Details… I'm currently not in any bands. I used to play with the Reall Deall Band, which is a fantastic cover band. But last year I got an opportunity to do producing and writing, so I left the band to focus on that. That opportunity eventually fell apart. And that pissed me off, because it took me out of a great band situation. But that, as they say, is show business...   :P
Do you play any other instruments? level? I play keyboards, but I'm not good enough to play live. I'm better in the studio, where my wrong notes can be fixed!  :)
What are your touring experiences, if any?
I have toured with RioSoul, and also original bands, cover bands, and a comedy variety show.

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items?
I have a Yamaha maple custom drumkit that is 20 years old and sounding better than ever. I was a big Yamaha fan in the 1980s and 90s, because my favorite drummers played them back then. But I like different brands of drums... more on that later.
My grandma bought me a pair of Zildjian New Beat hi-hat cymbals when I was a kid, and I've been hooked ever since. There are many great cymbal brands out there, but Zildjians just sound perfect to my ears. I use A Customs and Ks.
Evans drumheads are my favorites - they always sound great, and I love their innovative designs.
Vater drumsticks - they just feel perfect for me. I have their pink "girl drummer" drumstick bag, which I love. I bought it to remind me to always have fun and enjoy every chance to play.
Do you have multiple kits and snares? Which wood shells do you prefer?
I just have the one kit right now. I have a Tama Starclassic maple snare that sounds great at any tuning. I also like bubinga and cherry snares, but I can't afford them yet! :)
What would be your ideal gear setup? list manufacturers and items
My dream setup would be 22x18 kick, 14x6 snare, 8", 10", 12", 14", 16" toms, 14" hats, 2 crashes, ride, splash, china, and a "special effects" type cymbal. that would be my ultimate fusion chops-meister noise maker! LOL.
I like several kinds of drums - DW maple, Tama maple, bubinga, or birch/bubinga, Gretsch maple, and the Pork Pie cherry wood drums. These all sound fantastic, and I would be happy with any of them. Or all of them! Regarding hardware, many companies make killer hardware these days. My favorite hardware is DW, hands down. Durability, design innovation, options... they are just great at what they do. And Evans heads are my favorites.

How do you describe your drumming style? Solid groove, interesting fills, click-friendly, musical, tasteful.
Why the drums? When my brother and I were in grade school, my mother asked us if we wanted to play instruments in the school band. My brother said trumpet and I said drums. I don't know why. It was just an instinct, I guess.
If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? Playing keyboards, or writing screenplays.
How has drumming impacted or changed your life? Honestly, it has NOT had that big of an impact on my life! I love drumming, and I always will. But I've never been able to make a living with it, and that is hugely frustrating to me. It can be downright depressing sometimes! I have been in L.A. for 22 years, trying to become a full time musician, and it hasn't happened yet. I have had day jobs all this time, and that makes it harder to network and get into musicians' circles and get better gigs. I don't mean to start a pity party here, but I have had a very hard time trying to "make it". I have been in several bands that all had great potential, but they didn't stay together because of personal drama. I've done tons of freelance gigs, but nothing that led to full time work. But, I won't give up! I love music more than anything in the world. I have learned a lot from all of my ups and downs, and I am a stronger person because of them.
Is the music business your career? Not yet!  :) But, things have been good in recent months. I got some gigs and opportunities that will definitely help me move forward.
Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? Not as much as I would like. Since I have a day job, I can't stay up late hanging out at clubs and sitting in. It's nice to have a steady job to pay the bills, but you miss out on the music scene.  :P
Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
Steve Gadd - impeccable timing, deep grooves, versatility, and ridiculous chops.
        Omar Hakim - wonderful grooves, elegant style, exciting to watch, and an emotional player. I went to one of his drum clinics, and his playing was so beautiful, I cried! Yep!
        Jeff Porcaro - I'm a huge fan of Toto, so there's that. Plus, he was a legendary studio cat. His style and reputation were just hugely important to music.
        J.R. Robinson - killer timing, taste, versatility... he's on so many hit records, you have to pay attention to him.
        Philly Joe Jones - perfect swing feel, lots of fun in his playing, if you like jazz, you HAVE to listen to this cat!
"Crazy in Love" cover with REALL DEALL BAND

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
"Return Of The Brecker Brothers" tour, Boston 1993. With Dennis Chambers, Mike Stern, James Genus, George Whitty. Beyond incredible!!! Those cats were ON FIRE!! My roommate and I stayed up all night talking about it.
How much time do you practice? Not nearly enough! (make weeping sounds) I only have time to practice on weekends. Just enough to maintain my chops, but not enough to improve that much. Hey, kids - stay in school, and don't get a day job!  :)
Are you involved in local Shedding sessions? what do you get out of those sessions? No shedding for me. I need to practice more to get to "shed" level!
Describe your current gig(s)  
I recently played on the soundtrack for upcoming movie starring a beloved TV icon. I can't reveal the name yet, but the movie comes out in March 2016. There's a video clip from the recording session on my Facebook page.
        I'm currently making an R&B album with some amazing people!! We're aiming for a November 1st release date. More details soon...
Do you record drum videos of yourself? why? how has it helped you? Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves?
I record my practice sessions with a Zoom Q3HD camera. It helped me see problems with my posture, or stick position. I changed the angle of my toms, to be more comfortable. The camera's mics provide a nice stereo recording. And if there's some fun moments from the session, I will put them on YouTube. I just improvise for a few minutes to warm up and have fun. Then I work on things that I need to improve, and then finish with some more playing for fun.
Are you into electronic drums? They are a great tool, but I haven't played them that much.
Do you program drums? Yes, a lot. I work with virtual drums and samples in my project studio. I don't have the resources to record live drums at home, so using virtual instruments are the next best thing.
Are you a songwriter as well? Yes. I produce instrumental tracks for singers.
Do you sing and play? Yes, I sing background vocals while drumming.
Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring? Touring is a challenge, because jet lag wears me out. But when you play the shows, and the audience enjoys it, that makes it worthwhile. I would prefer to stay local, but really, I just love to play, so any gig is a good gig!
Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman? It depends on the other people involved. It depends on the personality of the bandleader, or producer, or contractor, whomever is in charge. I have worked for people who are very strict and they want it their way. Those were not the most fun situations, because they were too intense, or they didn't always know what they were talking about.  :)  I try to avoid those situations if I can help it. And then, I have been in comfortable, fun situations where everyone got along great and contributed ideas. But when you're a sideman, if it's a comfortable situation, you still have to do your job, and so you act more professional.  It's hard to say which I prefer at this point. A band can be more relaxed and fun, but sideman gigs usually pay more!  :)

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
Years ago, I toured with a comedy variety show. It was a really fun Vaudeville kind of show, with comedic actors, dancers, and a small band. Unfortunately, the tour was very disorganized. The money wasn't there when it was supposed to be there. I had to call my parents and ask them to wire money to me so I could eat! They hardly sold any tickets - I think one night there were 4 people in the audience. The show closed after two weeks, and we had to take the bus to get back to L.A. but, I remember sharing a hotel room with a trumpet player, and a Marx Brothers movie called "Grand Hotel", came on TV. It was about guys trying to put on a show. We laughed like crazy!! It was just like what we were going through. I think we laughed harder than we should have at the movie, because we were going through that crap.
What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
DON'T... GIVE... UP!!!!
Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
Thank you to James T. Sale, Mark Mothersbaugh, and Peter Rotter.
Check out my website for more information. And there are links to my YouTube and Facebook. I will post updates on my projects when they are available. Thank you, DeHaven!

I want to thank Kenwood for sharing his Drum Life with TC.
He is a kool kat and an excellent drummer. I'm glad we had the chance to share the stage, I know we will have that opportunity again.


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