Monday, November 23, 2015

Volume 6 - Dave Bloom

Volume 6 - Dave Bloom

There is an old saying "Those who can, do and those who can't... teach"
Well, as far as i'm concerned, WE NEED MORE TEACHERS!
Whether it's in the classrooms or on YouTube. But since we're talking about drumming let's stick to the practice rooms and the video screens.
Our latest Drummer is just that, a Teacher, in the classroom and also via drum videos. Teaching all of us from beginner to advance the tools to improve our playing and have fun doing it.
Dave is a real kool guy with great enthusiasm, not just for drumming but for life in general and getting the most out of it.
So let's sit down, get our pencils and pads ready...Professor Dave is Talkin' Chop.

Name or Stage Name:
Dave Bloom

Where are you from?
I am originally from Orange County, New York. After getting sponsored in skiing I moved out to Colorado for three years. I now reside in Phoenix, Arizona.

How long have you been playing?
I have been playing drums and percussion for twenty-six years. I began playing in 1989 when I was eight years old.

How did you get where you are now?
I enjoy playing a lot of different styles. I got my start in concert band, blues, rock, and jazz. Over the years I taught myself other instruments (guitar, bass, piano, trumpet, sax, cello, and others) and that really had an impact on what I chose to play. Different points in my life brought me to different genres. During the earlier part of my college years while still working on my degree in production I was playing with a scream band. During that time period I was expanding my knowledge of theory while minoring in music. I liked to record experimental music on my own and really took a liking to that. After several tours and plenty of gigs with the scream band I decided to move on and pursue progressive playing. That really expanded my world. But, while I was heavily into playing that on the side I rekindled my love for listening to hip hop. That drew me into some players that had a hip hop project going on. I played guitar in that project, but it really exposed me to hip hop drumming and I fell in love with it. I began the phase that I am still in now, a groove based phase. While I went through a few different bands, a year at a time, playing progressive rock, jazz, and swing, my focus mentally was on groove based drumming. I think it was at that point that I learned to focus my playing. I had already been drumming for eighteen years, but I found a new direction in how I would progress. I was teaching at a music academy at the time and had more practice time than I ever had before. I was able to combine my progressive drumming and groove drumming and write an album that still to this day I am very proud of. Over time there were life obstacles that blocked focus. But, for the past several years I am back on track and have taken my groove playing to an entirely new level. While I play gigs typically focusing on pop, rock, dance, blues, and country my personal drumming time focuses on complex grooves and fills and backing composition. Lately, I like to play a lot of funk and groove, salsa, groove-prog, and drum and bass. Living in Phoenix I have found the scene to be extremely different than what it was in the northeast United States. That has kept me from playing a lot of what I want live, but I haven’t viewed that negatively. It has given me so much time to focus on really digging into my passion without mixing work with pleasure. I love playing and would never want doing what I love to become a stressor.

What are your goals, short & long term?
I’ve toured, gigged heavily in local areas, recorded a lot, and given up so much of myself for original and cover bands. I may be a bit selfish on this, but I want to focus on being a solitary drummer. I love teaching and with all that I spend time on at home I want to put more emphasis on education in music. I am a school teacher by profession and it is what I feel extremely comfortable and confident doing. I have just entered the world of online drum instruction and I am extremely excited. I can’t say that I have any specific short term or long term goals, just that I am excited to focus on education as a personal goal for however long it lasts.

Artists you would like to play for?
I would love to drum for Guns N Roses (the original lineup), Dave Matthews Band, Pearl Jam, 311, or The Who. Those are favorite bands and the energy for me playing with them would be over the top. That could easily be counted as a long term goal, haha.

Do you have your own band? Genre? Details….
For several years I have just been doing session work live and in the studio. Currently I am doing a bunch of gigs with a band that plays various songs within the large realm of rock mixed in with a little pop. Other than that it’s once or twice with a bunch of different groups/artists.

Do you play any other instruments? level?
Intermediate guitar and bass. Moderate beginner on anything I can get my hands on. I’m a bit obsessed with learning every instrument I can. Knowing theory very well and reading music fluently makes the only hurdle learning fingering.

What are your touring experiences, if any?
I did a few U.S. tours with a pop punk/screamo band for several years. We played a ton of places and we had so much fun. Those were great times. A lot of stories that probably will never get shared. “What happens on tour stays on tour.” Living out of a van isn’t so bad once you get used to the smell.

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items?
Pearl Reference Pure in Dark Cherry: 20”x16”, 10”x8”, 14”x14”
Pearl Brass Sensitone: 14”x5”
Sabian Cymbals: 14” Paragon hi hats, 8” AAX Splash, 16” HHX O-zone Crash, 18” HHXplosion Crash, 21” HH Raw Bell Dry Ride, Stack: 14” AAXplosion Crash/10” HH China Kang
Pearl Hardware: Eliminator single pedal, Eliminator hi hat stand, P120 single pedal, 1000 series snare stands, boom stands, and straight stands, clamps and tom arms, percussion arms
Aquarian Drum Heads: Snare: Batter – Satin Finish, Resonant – Classic Clear; Toms: Batter - Response II, Resonant – Classic Clear; Kick: Batter – Super Kick II, Resonant – Pearl stock head
Latin Percussion: Ridge Rider cowbell, Black Beauty cowbell
Roland Electronic Drums: KD-7 foot trigger, 12” PD-125 pad, SPD-30 II Octapad
ProMark Drum Sticks: American Hickory 747Rock Wood Tip

Do you have multiple kits and snares?
I had more drum sets, but decided to condense it down to just three drum sets. I have the Pearl Reference Pure as mentioned earlier, a Pearl Masters Studio, and a Roland TD-3 with upgraded pads. I use my Roland TD-3 most of the time for working out new grooves, fills, and just all around focal practice. At least twice a week I spent three years straight working out all of my practice on my Pearl Masters Studio. That drum set consists of a much bigger setup than my gigging kit. It is my “fun” setup. Toms: 8x7, 10x5, 10x8, 12x9, 14x11, 15x13, and 16x13. Snare: 12x8 (Pearl Maple Soprano). Kick: 22x18. Cymbals (Sabian): 14” AA Medium hi hats, 14” AAX-celerator hi hats, 8” Paragon splash, 10” AAX splash, 18” Vault crash, 18” AAXplosion crash, 16” AAXplosion crash, 14” Thin crash, 21” Paragon ride, 14” HH Mini Chinese, 18” AAX china, and 7” Ice Bell. Percussion (LP): Low Tone Jam Block, Large Cow Bell, Medium Cow Bell, and mounted Tambourine. That is all mounted on a Pearl Icon Rack with an Eliminator hi hat stand, Eliminator Remote hi hat stand, Eliminator double pedal, and 1000 series snare stand. All tom heads are Aquarian Performance II on batter side and Aquarian Classic Clear on resonant side. Super Kick II on the bass drum batter with a stock Pearl head on the resonant side. Snare and 10x5 tom are both fitted with Satin Finish head on the batter side. In addition I have three other snare drums; 12x5 Tama Star Classic, 10x4 Pearl Firecracker, and a 10x5 Pearl Popcorn.

Which wood shells do you prefer?
For bass drums and floor toms I prefer mahogany, for smaller toms I prefer birch, and for snare drums I prefer maple or brass.

What would be your ideal gear setup?  list manufacturers and items
My Pearl Reference Pure is exactly what I want to be playing on. If I were to really get the exact sound I would love to try out a Pearl Masterworks 10-ply mahogany 20x20 kick drum and add a 16x16 floor tom to the Reference Pure.

How do you describe your drumming style?
Eclectic. But, isn’t that what everyone says? I am a pocket drummer with Keith Moon’s energy inside of me ready to burst out. I think my ideal drum gods are pretty different from many drummers who have 10+ years of experience. Portnoy, Gadd, Peart, Rich, Bonham, Ringo, etc… are amazing drummers. But, I love the style of Carter Beauford and Dennis Chambers, the groove of David Garibaldi, the energy Keith Moon, the complete control of Thomas Lang, the thought process behind what Chris Coleman plays, and the pure pocket of Chad Sexton. Those guys heavily influence me and I like to say that all of that rolled into a ball is how I see my playing. But, we always judge ourselves by our intensions, so others may catch it differently.

Why the drums?
I was all about playing the trumpet at first. But, at a family friend’s celebration I sat on the drum set when no one was looking at my brother’s band teacher was there. He told my dad drums is what I need to be playing. Keep in mind he was a trumpet player and knew I wanted the trumpet. I guess it worked out because my father and brother both play guitar (brother plays trombone also), so we did the family band thing is a bonding point for most of our lives. Music is so important to my entire family, so it really worked out.

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing?
I love doing everything. Sitting still is not always something I am very good at. I like to hike the mountains here in Arizona and in Colorado, run (I used to be sponsored and compete in ultra-marathons), work out, watch movies, writing/editing (I used to freelance for a magazine and am currently working on a children’s book), cook, ski (I used to be sponsored), skate (I used to be sponsored), work on video and audio projects, work (I am a school teacher), and when I get to take a deep breath I like to either walk around, go to the dog park, or just hang out at my home with my amazing fiancĂ© and two dogs.

You mentioned you are a Teacher, tell us about about your teaching career...
I teach grade school. Currently, I am teaching fourth grade (all subjects). This is my eighth year teaching. I taught third grade, sixth grade, English as a Second Language, and now fourth grade. I have also worked assisting in kindergarten as well as spending a month teaching middle school and high school chorus. While teaching sixth grade for three years I taught two elective classes throughout that time; video production and journalism. I love my job. I get to assist children in becoming lifelong learners, inspire them through taking my own experiences in school that I disliked and applying them in exciting ways, and be a role model where they don't have one. With the exception of my first two years of teaching I have taught in low socioeconomic areas. Low income, broken families, high levels of life stress, etc... It's my way of doing what I can to try and give kids a chance and help them make it even after life has given them barely anything. 

Tell us about your Dog Life...
My fiance and I have two dogs. Dallas, our four and a half year old is part golden retriever and part chow. She is a sweetheart and very laid back. Other than her late night crazy playtime where she runs around the house playing catch with me just before bed she is super mellow all day. However, she is a great guard dog. At the sign of anything unusual outside she barks and lets us know. She is also very protective and will check anyone who comes into the house. My fiance rescued Dallas about a year and a half ago. Our second Dog, Bella, was rescued a few months ago. She is eight years old and had a tough life. She was in a hoarding situation for six years and then in boarding for two years. I knew the moment I saw her that I wanted to give her a great home. She is the most loving dog. Not a night goes by that she isn't snuggling and sleeping in bed with us. She is said to be a lab mix, so we really aren't sure. But, she is a 35-40 pound dog that looks more like a big chihuahua with cute, small floppy ears. She only barks when she is hungry, is ready for a walk, or when Dallas starts up. I could go on and on about our dogs. We love them so much. One of the coolest things is that whenever I am practicing on my electronic kit they are both laying right there near me. They must either love me or love my drumming. Dallas is known to occasionally walk around with a drumstick in her mouth.

How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
As far as activities it has been the one constant in my life. It keeps me focused, goal-oriented, and happy doing what I love. On top of that I have a mountain of memories, tons of friends, and have even earned a few dollars.

Is the music business your career?
It is not. As much as I love it I have found that once something is a career and becomes a requirement it puts some negative pressure. I am happy to see so many people make a career doing what they love, but for my own experience it wouldn’t be the best route. I get to play and love doing it while earning my income doing another thing I love.

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown?
Since moving here to Phoenix I have gotten very involved in the local scene, especially with drummers. In November I started a Phoenix Drummers Jam where we gather once a month and have a big jam, teach some lessons, and trade up gear. Through that I have taken my private drum lesson business and now offer video drum instruction lessons. In addition to the drummers community I am very active in the local jams. It’s great getting thrown up on stage with some random people (some I know, some are new) and just creating music on the spot. I feel very at home when I am at the local jams. I was the same way when living in New York. I was extremely active in the jam scene, played gigs regularly and attended people’s performances when I was free, and helped organize events. I love being able to contribute to the scene I am part of.

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
Anytime I see 311 or Dave Matthews Band I get home and groove on the drums until I get yelled at by parents, neighbors, fiancé, cops, or any combination of the mentioned.

How much time do you practice?
15-20 hours a week. I spend 10-25% on sticking, 25-50% on grooves and fills, and the rest on jamming. If I need to get together with a band for show preparation I add on another three hours with them.

I see you’re doing drum videos. What is your motivation for these videos?
I have been recording live gigs for years. That has typically been for the purpose of using as review footage or promotional purposes. More recently, my love of teaching has evolved into video teaching lessons. I received my first college degree in video and audio production. That has been a major passion of mine for many years. Now, I am able to combine that with teaching drums and create these videos that I am so proud of. My goal, for at least now, is to produce video lessons that teach drummers grooves that are actually useable in their performance lives. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love watching video lessons that teach abstract grooves that really challenge my playing. But, for what I am creating I want people to play fun grooves that are applicable to their daily playing with groups.

Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves?
Can I say both? I have a book I have been creating both a section for grooves and a section for chops/fills. This is where I choose what I will teach in a video or private lesson. On many occasions a student or friend asks me to write something geared towards their desire and those go in the book as well. I try to let the book be a representation of my own intended variety. The lesson videos come from what I am feeling during a given week. I spend equal time between both sections when practicing daily. So, I guess it’s really how I am feeling at the time I decide to create the storyboard for my next lesson.

In a drum world full of "chops" videos, do you find your getting more response from drummers looking for more pattern and groove type drumming?
I have received a really good response to most of my videos focusing on useable content. The videos I create are more of my ideas on what people would in a gigging situation while my private lessons are more about what a student’s desires are to learn at any given time.

Are you into electronic drums?
I practice regularly on my Roland kit. I include samples through triggers and a Roland SPD-30 in my live playing. I like the versatility that electronic drums add to traditional playing.

Are you a songwriter as well?
I have written and produced my own work. I have a second album in process.

What type of songs do you write?
The music I write is all over the place. I have no one direction. I guess when it is just grooves and beats I intentionally try and write stuff for all genres. But, when I am writing all of the parts and recording myself I am really all over the place. I have been working on an album for a while that is this decade-long project. It encompasses everything I have come across. Some funk, some punk, some metal, some prog, some jazz, some middle eastern, some orchestra, some big band, some hip hop, and so on. It really does spread the gambit. I'm not a singer, so it is all instrumental and it can stand on its own without vocals. It's very organic from what I just piece together and the parts themselves great this journey through emotions and movements. I look at it from birth to death. It just carries this feeling. So, my writing can be pretty erratic. But, when I am in a band I know how to take my influences and tune them into what is needed for that specific project.  

Do you sing and play?
Nobody wants to hear that happen.

Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring?
I love studio work for the same of being solid, but jamming out on stage is where things really come alive.

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman?
Sometimes I miss being in a band because of the chemistry that is truly built from that experience. For at least this time in place I am very happy sessioning though. It allows me freedom without commitment.

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
With this one band I was with I used to hang from the rafters during drum breaks while the guitarists did this whole exploration section. It was a prog band, so this happened virtually every show. One time I jumped from my throne up to the rafter and it was so dusty that I slipped and came crashing into my drums. Yeah, that was in the middle of a show, on stage, in front of several hundred people.

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
Play as much as you can while you can. Whether you’re a pro, someone playing at the local VFW hall with some garage bands, or playing alone in your basement, play as much as you can. And more specifically, play what you love. It’s also important to remember that whenever you get stuck and are frustrated just remember there are a million of us out there to support you. Jump on social media, meet up with a friend, or just flip on a video. There is always a way out of the hole you feel you are stuck in that can lead to new heights of drumming ability. As long as you focus on the love of drumming it will never let you down.

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
#DaveBloomDrums #DrumLessonsWithDaveBloom #PearlDrums #SabianCymbals #Promarkdrumsticks #AquarianDrumheads #eastvalleyrocks #PhoenixDrummersJam
“I’m a dreamer. I just need a canvas to breathe on.” – Dave Bloom, 1999

Thank you to my parents for supporting me all of these years and pushing me to achieve my dreams. They all keep coming true, especially finding my dream girl who now equally supports my dreams. Life is great when the drummer you march to is yourself. Cheers!

Did you learn something? I know I did.
Big Thx to Dave for sharing his experiences. I hope you guys enjoyed it.
Remember to Keep It Locked.


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