Monday, March 28, 2016

Volume 19 - Gabe Helguera

Volume 19 - Gabe Helguera

Man, what can I say about this young man?
He's got that boy next door thing going on but he's a quiet assassin on the kit. Whether it's playing in a band, teaching students on or off line or just being a really kool uncle, this kid has a solid foundation of drums and for life. He's doing things his way but he doesn't for get those who came before him and uses those lessons and experiences to give us his brand of drumming. When you come from one of the most influential music cities in America, you better know how to throw down. I can we're in good hands with Gabe and so are his sticks. Let's see what happens when we Talk Chop....

Name or Stage Name: Gabe Helguera (Drum Beats Online)

Where are you from? Detroit, Michigan.

How long have you been playing? 11 Years

What is or are your main genre of playing? 
My main genre is definitely Rock/Pop music. I grew up playing to Blink 182 and Green Day so that style has definitely stuck with me over the years.

How did you get where you are now? 
Ha that’s an interesting question. I never really think of myself as being in one place, but rather constantly on a journey. The short version of my story is that when I was 12 years old I got a drum set for Christmas and never stopped playing. By age 13 I started playing in a band that was actually gaining some traction, but then people went to college and we broke up. Then I was out of the scene until I was about 19 and tried to get back out playing shows again. But of course, the band broke up again. At that time I had a roommate who was teaching ukulele on the internet and I just thought that was the craziest thing that he could make a living doing that. I had thrown the idea around about creating my own drumming website and YouTube channel, but I felt like there were already so many people doing that. Plus I had literally never taught a drum lesson in my life. After a lot of convincing from my roommate I decided to built a website and start making drums lessons, covers, and other drum videos on YouTube. And I’ve been working on that ever since! 

What are your goals, short & long term? 
Honestly, as long as I can continue to have a career playing drums and helping others I’ll be happy!

Artists you would like to play for? 
I think it would be fun to play with any DJ, Hip Hop artist, or 21 Pilots.

List some of your accomplishments: 
16,000 Subscribers on YouTube, Touring drummer for Flint Eastwood &

Do you have your own band? 
 I play drums for a band called Flint Eastwood. We play all over Detroit as well as the U.S.

So, tell me about Flint Eastwood. What kind of musical situation is it?
Flint Eastwood is a band that plays high energy electronic/rock/pop music and they are known for their live show. They have made a great name for themselves in Detroit and just released and EP called "Small Victories.” I’ve really enjoyed playing for them. The high energy performance piece is right up my alley.

With Flint Eastwood

Do you play any other instruments? 
 I have a rough understanding of guitar, bass, and piano. I’m not great at any of them, but I love writing and recording music using the little knowledge that I have.

What are your touring experiences, if any? 
A lot of small 4-5 day tours, but nothing extensive at this point. We are playing at SXSW this year so I’m looking forward to that!

What is your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items? 
I have an Ayotte drum kit with 8x10 rack, 16x16 floor tom, and a 22x18 kick drum. I use a 14x6.5 Ludwig supraphonic snare. I use an Evans HD Dry head on the snare. Evans G2 or Remo Emperor on the toms. And I use a Remo coated power stroke on the kick. I have a 15” Zildjian K hats, 18” Meinl Dual Crash, 21” Meinl Transition Ride, 20” Meinl Byzance crash, and an old stack of an 18” Zildjian Edge China and a 14” Peavy cymbal on top. And I use Vic Firth Extreme 5A’s.

I love dark and warm tones from my drums. The dark/dry Meinl cymbals are so expressive which is why I love using them. And I pretty much always use coated heads to get that warm/deep tone from my drums. I generally tune everything very low.

Do you have multiple kits and snares? 
I have a 1924 Vintage Ludwig kit that I seriously love! It’s like an artifact. I’m super lucky to have that thing.

Which wood shells do you prefer? 
Haha I have no idea honestly. My knowledge of different wood and shells is pretty much nothing.

Do you have a “Dream Kit”? 
I’ve always loved Ludwig kits. It would be a dream to be sponsored by them. But I don’t necessarily have an Ideal dream kit at this point. I’m so used to simple setups so it wouldn’t be anything crazy.

How do you describe your drumming style? 
High energy rock chops while maintaining a clean pocket.

Why the drums? 
They kinda just fell on my lap honestly! I feel like I never really had a choice in the matter.

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? 
Maybe some type of video editing? Or music producing. If not something creative like that, maybe just something super active. I grew up competing in gymnastics so I love flipping around and climbing stuff.

How has drumming impacted or changed your life? 
Well it has given me a career path to strive for since a very young age. Also, playing music is literally how I have met and bonded with all of my closest friends today.

Is the music business your career? 

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? Very much so through the number of bands that I’ve played with over the years.

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? 
Darren King, Benny Greb, Matt Garstka, Luke Holland, JoJo Mayer. All of these guys are so creative which I love. I’m very drawn towards creativity. But other than that, they are just some of the sickest players out there. (Also, Chris Coleman and Mark Guiliana are insane players.)

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? 
Whenever I see MuteMath I’m always inspired. They have such a sick live show where the drummer literally does all of the craziest things you could think of.

Are you involved in local Shedding sessions? 
 I wish! We don’t really have any around Detroit. At least not that I’m aware of.

You are doing a lot via the Video realm, with Educating drummers, especially beginners.
How and Why did you get in to this? Like I said a little bit earlier, I had a roommate who was teaching beginners how to play the ukulele online and I just thought that was so cool! So I decided to try it out for myself!
Twenty One Pilots "Stressed Out" Drum Cover

So you have one of the absolute best drum videos out there right now. You and your two year old nephew. It's so good, in a number of ways.
How did that project come about? and how long did it take to put it together? 
Haha thank you! I’m so glad you like it! Well my nephew (Jonathan) has been into the drums since he came out of the womb. My brother (his father) is a musician as well so Jonathan has been exposed to drums and music in general a ton. I’m always playing drums with him and he LOVES watching my videos. So I just thought it would be so cool to put him in a video so he could see himself playing the drums. I’ve actually had the idea in the back of my mind for quite some time and I was finally able to shoot it.

Filming took awhile because I had to drag all of my gear to my brothers house and getting Jonathan to sit still was the hardest part. The editing surprisingly didn’t take that long! Maybe 4-5 hours? I had a blast making it though and I’m glad people are enjoying it!
Drum Battle with 2yr old nephew.

As an educator, have you noticed a change in your own playing? 
Absolutely! I’m the type of person who grew up not understanding the type of grooves and fills I was playing. So if you asked my to play a triplet based fill I would have no idea what to do. it’s not that I didn’t have the ability, It’s just that I didn’t know the names of anything I was playing. But when you are teaching other people how to play certain grooves or fills it’s very important to have a full grasp and understanding of all literally everything you are doing. So teaching has really helped grow my overall drum knowledge in a huge way!

In your practice sessions, what things do you like to work on? Oh man, It totally depends on the day! I’d say right now I’m just trying to focus on my weaknesses. Such as timing, chops, rudiments, and foot control. I’ve really enjoyed Benny Greb’s newest lesson course, although I haven’t finished it yet.
Zayn "Pillow Talk" Drum Cover

Are you into electronics and programming at all? If you are referring to electronic music then yes! If you are referring to hard wiring electronics and programming as in computer coding then no haha.

Are you a songwriter as well? 
Yes! I love writing music. I haven’t had much time lately to write because I’ve been focusing hard on Drum Beats Online. But I’m working on a solo EP right now so I’m excited about that!

Tell us about this solo EP, where are you taking us musically? The solo EP is surprisingly not super drum heavy. There are definitely drums in the album, but they definitely stick to the pocket. Overall the EP has a mid tempo electronic vibe with fat chorus’ and some really fun instrumental moments. I love just big instrumentals, so I made sure to put some cool ones in there. I hoping to release it this summer. 

Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring? 
I definitely prefer local live gigs. There’s something so nice about playing a show with other bands from your area and giving that show all you’ve got, and then coming home and sleeping in your own bed. I’d say performing live is one of my biggest strengths as a drummer.

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman? That’s a tough call. They both have a lot of pros and cons. I like being an artist because you are really able to pour out all of your creative energy and passion into a project which is great. But with that also comes a lot of pressure with the success of that band which can be so stressful. 
But when you are just a hired gun you are able to just show up and play your parts without any of the pressure of something being successful. You know beforehand what you are getting paid so it doesn’t matter if there is 1 person in the room or 1,000.
I really enjoy both is my final answer!

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? Well I got to open up for the Beach Boys in front of about 10,000 people. So that was pretty insane! The craziest part of that gig was just how cool the guys from the Beach Boys were. I was expecting them to not say a word to us. But they invited us on stage to sing a few songs with them (so surreal) and at the end of the night we talked for like an hour over a couple of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. That was one of those nights where I just knew I would probably never play a better gig than that one.

What would you like your legacy to be? 
I just want to love and support other people. Whether in drumming or just life in general.

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? 
Have fun and work hard! Drumming is so much fun, so keep it that way. But always be continuing to grow in your craft. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you don’t need to get any better because the better you get at drums, the more fun they become. And also, expose yourself to a wide range of amazing drummers. Don’t just stick to one. The more styles that you expose yourself to, the more you will pickup!

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? 
Thanks so much for the interview! I had a lot of fun! Feel free to check out my videos and other things at: 

Instagram: @DrumBeatsOnline

I really want to thank Gabe for taking the time to share his drum life with us.
Continued success my brother!
I dig when you see young katz doing it right and have a good head on their shoulders. They can even teach some old heads a thing or two.
Make sure you reach out to Gabe and help support DrumBeatsOnline if you can.

If you're a drummer and you would like to be featured on Talkin' Chop, just hit me up:

#DrummersSupportDrummers  #TalkinChop


Volume 18 - JoJo

Volume 18 - JoJo

Here comes the fun! When you have a personality like this, you kinda don't have a choice but to play music. High spirited, multi-talented man on the move, Joseph Drew has settled down in "lala land" to continued his pursuit of music and success. Picking up various musical nuggets along the way JoJo has a kool vibe and perspective to his approach to drums. He's like a walking mantra, the positivity ooozes from this guy and some of it could get on you. Make sure you check out his Facebook page and go to his videos, he's got some good stuff there, focusing on various patters and grooves. He's a big supporter of music and has an honest passion for it, so I had to get this guy to Talk Chop and he said "Yes".

Name or Stage Name: 
 Oh boy... Should be a simple question right? Um, Well it's been this and that over the years. Just because of bands bein silly... or just cause folks seem to like addin on another nickname for me..but I was born Joseph Lee Drew. However, since I was two years old I've always been JoJo. Haha! Always....but when I got older and saw the world and music and the magic of it all at is core. I began developing a much more devout approach and viewed it all from a deeper perspective. So I developed an obsession with the 'essence of Mojo' which of course is what all them old school blues cats were talkin about, on all them Classic cuts that still hold their place today...the deal was sealed soon after some fella after a blues gig in Georgia came up to me and said "Damn play like your life depends on it...that mojo just comes off you like a waterfall Youngblood" hahaha despite his colorful review on my performance....what he said struck a made sense. 'Mojo' seemed like a great balance between the little boy named JoJo and the drummer who evolved to become Mojo. And has become the brand and logo for my personal business as well as a huge part of my curriculum when teaching. So let's just call my alter ego Maestro Mojo 😃. But can call me whatever you'd like haha!

Where are you from? 
Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri...moved east my Freshman year to South Carolina...early manhood life change for a baseball dream. That's a whole different story. Ha!

How long have you been playing?
I've been obsessed with music since I was 2 years old. Slight detours here and there on my early teens...boys will be boys. But sometimes u gotta accept that face that it's not up to you all the time. Sometimes music as rhythm make the choice for you. I was one of those. Nothing in my life has ever made more sense or come more easily to me than music.

What is or are your main genre of playing?
I honestly have zero preferences as to who or what kind of music I'll play...Studio stuff is my bread and butter, although nothing beats steppin on stage in front of a packed house and playing live.

I don't like all the branding honestly man...I feel it sets false limitations on capable musicians. You focus so much on bein a 'rock' drummer or 'funk' drummer or 'jazz' drummer or a 'rockabilly' drummer. I can keep going but u get my point haha! It's a bit excessive but I stand firm on the principle that these classifications ultimately stunt the growth of music as a whole. Just be a musician first. And a drummer 2nd. If u can do that, I feel you won't have to worry about 'main genres' .... Because you will be able to play EVERYTHING. With that'll learn to respect all the styles and music genres worldwide.

How did you get where you are now? 
Hmm. Well it started when I was 2 yrs old...An obsession over music. More specifically, rhythm and the magic it cast throughout the universe binding us all together kind of like the force for the Jedi if you can forgive my Star Wars reference...I taught myself as long as I could until I realized I had brought my chops up to very high levels. Soon though the time came where I realized I wasn't finding many paying gigs by being a chops monster. So I sought out the teachings of drum gurus like Benny Greb, Marko Djordjevic, Benjamin Taylor, Trevor Detling, and Kent Aberle. The combined principles of such renowned drummers with my own ambitions quickly got me in a position to be able to go and sit in at open jams, pick up gigs, and virtually play anything that came my way. Before I could blink my schedule was slammed and I could finally call this passion a profession.

What are your goals, short & long term?
I just want to play, teach, and show the world that when you truly love something. You go for it and you don't quit. Ever.

What do you want to accomplish here in L.A.?
Well I really hope to just establish myself as I have I the other scenes that I came up in. And that is to be a first call, first take drummer who is available at all times. 

You have been on the move across the country, obviously music has been your anchor. how did you fare in those other cities, musically? 
You know each stop along the way was filled with lessons and experiences that I've carried with me along the way. It's been an unbelievable journey thus far. 

Artists you would like to play for? 
Oh wow...this list could get out of hand. I will just keep it with the fact that I'd be honored for any top tier slot...but I would be overjoyed to share the stage with Prince, The Eagles, Joe Bonnamassa, Gov't Mule, Foo Fighters, Bruno Mars, some metal acts like Monuments, Periphery to flex my chops. But given the impossible chance. I've always yearned to drum behind the late great Michael Jackson, and my all one favorite blues man Stevie Ray Vaughan

List some of your accomplishments:
Just being able to do what I love and make a living is enough of an accomplishment for me. This is my 12th year as a professional musician...I've been so many places and played with so many amazing musicians. The endorsements and sponsorship's are very humbling but I don't know man. I just love to play. And I'm proud of working my butt off to the point where that's how I've made my living.

Do you have your own band? 
I got plugs into many of the scenes from coast to coast but I prefer to stay independent. Saves myself from strange politics and what not. That's the best way I can put it.

Do you play any other instruments? 
Yea I love guitar and have been recently falling in love with the piano. Really helps with my songwriting chops by utilizing instruments that carry a melody, you know?

What are your touring experiences, if any? 
Well many of the most memorable experiences may or may not be somewhat incriminating haha!! But I will say while on the road with Pistol Town I got the pleasure of rocking out with Drowning Pool at one of the first sold out shows I had been apart of... and that for me at that point in time was the defining moment that I was actually gonna be able to do this

Let's talk  gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items?
I endorse Sonor Drums and Soultone cymbals....they have always been one of my truest loves gear wise and I'm blessed to be on their team. I've had many configurations over the years but the last little while I've really scaled it down to kick, snare, floor tom w/hi hat and a crash/ride. Gives me so much space to sit tight and explode in a very liberating way. 

Do you have multiple kits and snares? 
Yes sir. Kind of a hoarder in that regard. 

Which wood shells do you prefer? 
Oh man.... Maple has always been there for me...but I'll never forget the first time I heard an Beechwood shell. However, Sonor had a kit made from Makassar Ebony...I have never been the same.

Do you have a “Dream Kit”? 
Oh yes...yes I do...Sonor SQ2 Acrylic set in their Smoke well as a 60s Sonor Beechwood kit. THAT my friend is the finest drums I have EVER heard.

I see your a drum junkie, how often do you need to get that fix for some new (or old) piece of gear? 
I will say that more so than new gear...when I stumble upon a piece of vintage gear...I absolutely lose my mind. And if I got the cash at the time. She is mine hah! 

How do you describe your drumming style? 
Very aggressive with a deep emotional touch

Why the drums? 
It's the heartbeat of it all. It's the pulse that makes us move. And we're born with that inclination. Our hearts beat in time and our mothers heart is the first sound that we all hear. It's the rhythm of life.

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? Farming

How has drumming impacted or changed your life? 
It saved my life. Brought the fire back into a very dark place in my life

Is the music business your career? 
Yes sir it is

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? Absolutely but I made the venture out to LA just last week actually. Finally chased down my 'unicorn'.

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? 
1-Buddy Rich- cause perfection was never so violently but beautifully conjured up in one person before him.
2-John Bonham-His groove was unstoppable and he was one of the founding fathers of what I've learned to just call the 'x factor'
3-Benny Greb- Simply brilliant and his gift is something he takes great pride in...especially as an educator. He is absolutely one of my all time favorites 
4- Morgan Rose- There's just something about the fire that this man plays with that makes my insides burn with desire and determination. He's the one that showed me it's not the notes but what you put into them. far and large my earliest influence as a young buck...a drummer SO CRAZY he had to be chained to his own set. I love it

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
Working as a grunt and tech for the Benny Greb clinic as my first gig at Atlanta Pro Percussion. Everything changed within me when i walked away from that event

How much time do you practice? 
It's varied at this point in the game because I'm playing live and studio stuff so much...but when it was the woodshed least 10 hours a day on top of lessons, workin at the drum shop. It was crazy and got unhealthy eventually....but i didn't care. I'm a man on a mission

Describe your current gig(s): 
I do a lot of session work around the country for various artists. Workin with a Armored Star Studios out in Austin, Red Clayy Entertainment and DDB studios out of Atlanta. Ohana Music Group out of Kentucky/Nashville area, and now out here in LA for Jose Perez and a few other artists-studios I cannot currently discuss but I'm very excited man

Do you record drum videos of yourself? why? 
how has it helped you? Yes. Well being from an athletic background...watchin yourself on film is the sure shot of how to see your flaws, repetitive tendencies, your posture, and whether or not you make ugly drummer faces, hahaha!

Watching some of your videos, you definitely display some passion behind the kit, is that your drum persona or is that just you all the time?
You know it's funny...for the most part I'm a very gentle and tender man...But there is an animal that lives inside me and back behind the kit is where he is released.

Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves? 
Both. It's all about the balance between

Are you into electronic drums? 
They are invaluable as a practice tool, and utilized in some cool ways live. At the end of the day ain't a real drum.

Do you program drums?
I have been getting more into that. It's really a much more elaborate metronome and when u can do counter/poly rhythms along with it you get some super cool grooves.

Are you a songwriter? 
Yes sir

As a songwriter, are you looking to put out your own project or contribute to someone else's? 
You know in the regard for the last several years I've just been content with contributing songs to others and various projects along the way. More recently I've been motivated and even prompted by folks in my own inner circle to give it a shot. I dunno man. The verdict is still out on that one 

Do you sing and play? 
Yes sir 

Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring? 
Studio is my bliss but live performances and the tour life is where I get to unleash a whole other kind of animal.

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman? Being in a band forms a unique bond but I've found being a nomad and just slingin the sticks wherever the wind takes you is the best method for me. I like to play too many different styles to lock into a band without being in love with the music and the brotherhood. 

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? 
Oh man....yea Club La Vela w/ Pistol Town....we played non stop til 10-4 in the mornin...we usually stop at 2 but the crowd was feelin it and truth be told we were as well....but that band went freaking hard. I went to get off stage just rolled off the drum riser unconscious. My boy Dwayne had to carry me to the van. Man that was nuts.

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? 
You get out of it what you put into folks. If drums is what you want to do. DO IT. And Don't EVER get discouraged. Don't ever get up. You're gonna fail. You're gonna suck...for a long long time. But you push on and don't give a rip of what anyone thinks or tells you. And you just work and work and sweat and bleed until those people that doubted you have no other option but to sit back and hush up with their negativity. Drummers are a unique breed. Carry that torch proudly and be the light! 

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? 
Only thing left to say is how much I really appreciate you taking the time to bring me into this. It's an honor man. Truly. Thanks to my sponsors and my endorsers for all they do. And thanks to my mom and dad for not killin me growin up with a kid who would beat on everything... and as far as hashtags go their is always #mojosdojo and #demondrummer... My website is under construction but my personal and artist pages on Facebook are readily available and filled with drum and music goodies. Once again, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Til next time!


Hey JoJo, thx for the ride my brother!

This thing called music, isn't just a pursuit of a dream, it's a lifestyle. Musicians like Jo reinforce that sentiment and give us even more of a reason to keep doing what we do.
Once again, please reach out to Jo and say "hello" and show your support.

If YOU or someone you know would like to be interviewed on Talkin' Chop
Please contact me:
DeHaven -


Monday, March 21, 2016

Volume 17 - Eddie Vallee

Volume 17 - Eddie Vallee

What's up people?!
I have another treat for you today. This guy is a grinder and educator. A husband and father, who is one we all can relate to and hope to emulate. As musicians, we all want to be out there playing and making a good living. Well there are a number ways we can do this and be happy but you still have to be good at what you do. Eddie is the kind of guy I used to always meet when I was coming up. Playing in clubs all of the time. These guys are the heart of the music industry, because they keep the music pumping night after night!
You don't have to be on a fancy tour, playing for some famous artists. You have to be really good at your craft and know how to be successful and happy at being a professional musician.
I found a Happy guy, his name is Eddie and he's Talkin' Chop.

Name or Stage Name: Eddie Vallee

Where are you from? I live in a small suburb on the west side of Phoenix, Arizona, but I grew up in a small town in the Finger Lakes region of New York called BIG FLATS. You can't miss it on the's right in between Horseheads and Painted Post!  
In Arizona I'm sandwiched in between the Air Force Base, The Arizona Cardinals Football Stadium, several Spring Training Facilities for Major League Baseball and my favorite Pizza joint called Marios.  It's never a dull place to live.  Everyday is an Airshow....and you never know who you might bump into at a restaurant, grocery store or shopping mall!

How long have you been playing?  Well.....I'm turning 49 next month - so, wow......45 years.  I remember I was given a small toy drum set at the age of 4.  This was because my folks realized that I like to drum on everything from a very early age.  My mother says I used to beat on my highchair tray in perfect rhythm with the radio she had playing in the kitchen. Along with pots and pans that I'd pull out of the cupboard.

What is or are your main genre of playing? Rock and Roll mainly. At least that's the genre of music I've worked with the most. I like all the other genres - but as far as workability and gigs. Rock and roll. 

How did you get where you are now? I was very hungry to perform when I was a kid. Even when I was 8 years old I would set my kit up by a large window in my bedroom so my neighbors could hear and SEE me play. I would turn the record player on, open the curtains and hammer out tunes for an hour or so.  I'm surprised no one ever called the cops. But the old people in the neighborhood loved it and thought it was great. They'd even applaud! 
When I was a teen I was given an opportunity to play in a large adult church worship group.This wasn't your typical slow hymns. This was upbeat swing, a lot of thick  6/8 gospel - lots of high BPM's at time too. It was a blast. I played to a full house 3 or 4 times a week.   It was quite the adjustment in my playing though.  I learned a lot about dynamics - and because it was easy to record a service...I got to hear how bad I sounded at times. became a huge learning experience over time.  

Eventually I began playing in cover bands with people  much older than me. This is probably a good thing. They kept me in line and were experienced. 
I ended up getting a gig with a popular group called THE ROGUES. They were very popular and booked solid playing up to 5 nights a week. I played with them for 10 years then moved to Phoenix, Arizona in '98. 
I put an ad in the paper and must've had 200 calls. But they were all garbage. I just wanted to gig and play. Eventually I got a call from a guy on a Wednesday night. He needed a sub drummer at the last minute. He talked to me on the phone for about 5 minutes than hired me on the spot providing I didn't mind playing the gig "cold" without any rehearsal.  
After we finished the first set, he turned and asked if I wanted the gig full-time.  So - I took it. 
After that I ended getting a lot of work with the blues scene in Phoenix. It kept me busy - but it was very incestious and I wanted to play more rock and roll.  I ended up in a band called the Sofa Kings and a couple other things, but like most bands, they couldn't seem to stay together and stay working steadily.  Eventually I started my own band with a friend and we've remained busy ever since. 

How is the music scene in Phoenix? 
I think it's like it seems to be every where else.  5 times as difficult to find 1/5 the work for less than 25% of the money you could get back in the 80's and 90's.  But...I'm fortunate to be able to work in a group that plays as much as we do. But it wasn't - and still isn't easy.  I still wonder how long until the music scene completely dries up.    

As a drum instructor, are there any tendencies you see in young players, good or bad? 
think the more frustrating thing I see is that a lot of young players focus to much on speed and double bass blast speeds instead of feel and dynamics.  They can do a 200bpm blast beat,  but can't play a simple blues shuffle. They can blast single strokes on their snares - but can't butter out out a smooth Samba, Bossa Nova or a simple 6/8 groove. 
I think there's certain "Money Beats" that a drummer who wants to be employable and giggable needs to learn. If the student only wants to spend their time "fugga-dugging" - they need to realize that they are limiting themselves to one genre and minimizing their drumming toolbox.  I think it's incredibly important to be versatile, and as a Teacher, it's my responsibility to convey that message to my student loud and clearly. 

Do you feel young players of this generation are getting the same from "their" music today as some of us "old school" katz
I's so different today, technologically.  When I was a kid, the only way I could hear new music was on the radio. You didn't always know what your were listening to  But I could tell that it was John Bonham, Charlie Watts, Phil Collins, Steve SmithJohn Densmore or so many others - just by their "Sound". It seems to me that with most new stuff I hear these days, all the drumming sounds the same.  Over produced and unnatural. Seems the only guy I can identify on the radio instantly is Carter Beauford. I wish the mainstream would get back to more natural sounding drummers where there sound came from their fingers first.  
On the other hand, young players today have resources where they can see pioneers of the drums on YOUTUBE.  I didn't see John Bonham play (on a video) for almost ten years after I bought Zeppelins first album. Now you can order DVD's, download vids, see Vines and instantly share stuff. 
The other problem today is no one is teaching the new comers about the history of the instrument and it's players. How can we expect new comers to the instrument to appreciate the pioneers of it if we don't tell them about them?  

Being a veteran in the game, what are some of the differences you see in musicians, in the last 10yrs or so..?
TECHNOLOGY.  Musicians today can record a fantastic album of their own material in their bedrooms, and even sell it online.  The big problem with this is then they many can't do it LIVE or have no LIVE show to offer with it. Especially when the drum beat was a computer and the individual overdubbed all the tracks.  I get it. replicate it with humans!  
On the other hand...TECHNOLOGY has made marketing yourself and your band so much easier and targeted. It baffles me how some bands and club owners don't take full advantage of FACEBOOK and other social media to promote themselves and their bands.  It's FREE ...and even "boosting" a post for a band gig can be done fairly inexpensively through FACEBOOK.
Ten years ago venues used to advertise shows in Entertainment sections of the newspaper - but the readership numbers dwindled so much over the last 10 years that bands don't promote like they used to in these mediums. Why bother, no one reads it.  However.. if they're not using social media to the best of their ability they are making a huge huge mistake.  

What are your goals, short & long term?  
It's funny....when I was in 8th or 9th Grade I remember having this same question asked to me by my folks.  I was jelly-fishing through life, my grades were ok but for the most part I didn't like school, and all I wanted to do was play the drums. I didn't care about fame, I didn't want to travel or tour, didn't care if I was in a well-known band, I-JUST-WANTED-TO-PLAY-MY-DRUMS for people and earn money at it.  
I remember my folks having a "come to Jesus" talk with me about my future and what I was going to do with myself.  I sat on their bedroom floor crying...and remember saying..."All I want to do is play my drums...All I want to do is play my drums".  
The answer hasn't changed since then, and I don't expect it to.  I want to play these drums for the rest of my life. Period.I'm an addict. 

Artists you would like to play for?  
You know...I've never really envied other drummers and who they play foreven though I think drumming for The Foo Fighters would be a blast.  If I could get Gene Wilder to do a Young Frankenstein procedure with me and Gavin Harrison of Porcupine Tree, I'd be thrilled.  Second choice would be Gregg Bissonette.  I might even change my mind at the last second and choose Greg over Gavin!  Then there's Simon and Vinnie, so so many great drummers. 
Lastly..If I would love go back in time and play with Buddy Holly, I would. 

List some of your accomplishments. 
Three things mainly:
#1) I'm proud to have been drumming in local/regional bands that have worked a lot and stayed together for a long, long time. I played with The Rogues in upstate New York for ten years and now the band I co-founded "Boomer" is closing in on it's 9th year.  It's a lot of work, and a lot of frustration sometime, but the people around me are good and we all have the same passion, desires and commitment. It's difficult to keep a band together for 18 months. Let alone almost ten years. 
I recently watched the EAGLES Documentary. They were commenting on how hard it was to keep the band together. I got to thinking....they were famous, had all the benefits of success,  making millions of dollars and they were unhappy and struggled to stay together?   
My band here in Arizona are a bunch of guys that love to play. We play a lot, don't  make a lot of money - and have been together almost ten years, enjoying what we do.  Wow. I think that says something.    
#2)  "Playing drums as much as I could throughout my entire life" was a huge goal in my life and I've done it. But it wasn't my first goal. Ever.
My first goal was to be a good husband and dad. With a house, white picket fence, a couple dogs and beautiful kids. With the exception of the white picket fence, I believe have accomplished that so far. (and I have twice as many dogs as I ever thought I would).
​(from the back "Thunder, Peanut, McCoy and Rascal") 

I've grown even more proud of my kids over the years as "accomplishments".  My 14 year-old son is a "Double Freshman" - meaning he's a Freshman in College and High School at the same time. He's brilliant, love Avenged Sevenfold, Porcupine Tree and Fall Out Boy.  He also works with me and my band as a roadie and Light tech.  

My 11-year old Daughter is my Artistic butterfly, living without a care in the world and as sweet-hearted as anyone I've ever met. She's also a straight A student and growing up so fast.  She loves music too, and most recently became a fan of ONOFF.  A group from Ireland I happened to meet up with at NAMM this year! 
Lastly...I proposed to my wife in front of Big Ben in England in 1994 and we've been together ever since. That's my best accomplishment!   I'm proud of her and her support for my passion.  I couldn't do it without her support. She's a blessing. 

​My Wife, Suzette.  She's my rock.

​My Son Eddie, Myself, Suzette and my daughter Savannah. 

#3)  I left a solid day-job on good terms in 2008 to pursue playing and teaching full-time. I had two little kids, one just out of diapers.  The economy was collapsing and the whole country was going to hell financially. It was the worst financial times this country has seen since the Great Depression and the WORST time to leave a steady job that had benefits, vacation and steady pay. I was laughed at....but I did anyway.
It wasn't ever easy, and scary as hell. Fear can be a great motivator and it sure was for me. I survived and stayed afloat on my own. I'm in one piece. I had to make a lot of sacrifices, but it was worth it.  I knew I would go crazy if I never tried, so I did. If I decide to make a change or work dries up for me.  I can rest easy knowing I gave it my best shot!  When you are a musician - you can always circle a date on a schedule and say "I'm unemployed as of this date".  The date keeps moving and I'm fortunate to be able to do what I do.
I look forward to years from now when I'm in the twilight of my years and this period of my life is discussed.  I can look back and admire what I did when I did it.  I'm sure I'll get a good chuckle about it.  
"Hey Grampa...what was the Global Financial Crisis like for you in 2008?"  lol   I can't wait to for someone to ask me that. 
Are you in a band? 
Yes "Boomer"Boomer is a band I started in 2008 with a smart, committed guitar player/vocalist I had done some sub gigs with back in the 2000's.  I wanted to start a classic rock/variety band that targeted people in the 40's and up.  Baby-Boomers mainly.  I felt that we could continue to play the same classic rock set lists that we'd grown up with and with 50% of the peoplein Arizona being over 50, it would work. It did.  We play close to 200/225 dates a year all over the county and around the state.  We don't play anything to heavy and nothing too old, and our set list is broad and eclectic.  It's fun to play a set of music that includes Cheap Trick, Johnny Cash, Prince, The Eagles, KC and The Sunshine Band and Steely Dan.  We cover a lot of fun stuff without the ringers everyone else plays. 


Do you play any other instruments? 
I play the piano. Self taught. I'm good enough to play a handful of tunes that you'll know. But I've transposed them so they're mostly white keys! ;)

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items?

(My Son and Drum Tech/Light Tech!)​​

These Birch Pearl Vision are a great kit for the money.

​My Pearl Prestige Session Selects

My Yamaha Power Stage Series.....and short hair. 

​Yamaha 5000's 24 inch kick.  This kit has about 7 toms, but I rarely use them all. 

I've never considered myself a big GEAR HEAD, but I have many kits. I rotate my main gigging kits between a Pearl Prestige Session Select and a Mapex Pro M kit. Both are Maple. My hardware is a cannibalized collection of this and that. So many gigs on the stands I've had to replace one tube with another.  Something will strip and I have a pile of old stands in my garage.  I can usually find something that fits.  

As far as cymbals -  I recently joined the SOULTONE cymbal family and just absolutely love them. I call them my SOULMATES because they are perfect in what I'm looking for in acymbal. 


I've been championing SILVERFOX Sticks since 2008. They are simply the best sticks I've ever used. When you're playing 200 gigs a year and spending 10 bucks for a pair of sticks each night - it gets expensive.  Silverfox sticks started saving me money...A LOT of money right from the beginning.  Owner Greg Scarselletti asked me to come on board as an Endorser a few years ago.  I'm thrilled to be a part of their family. Best sticks ever! 

Eddie with Jim Simonian and Greg Scarselletti @ NAMM

I use an assortment of heads (Remo, Evans, Aquarian). Only because it's difficult to get all the heads I need at once.  In Arizona with the dry hot climate, I'm forced to change my heads a lot. IT GETS HOT IN ARIZONA!  They get brittle and stiff quicker that they did back  east.  

118* outdoors. July 29th - 4-hour gig. Yep.
I try my best to support the local store as much as I can.  But most of the time they are missing a size that I need in one model or I end up with another brand of similar construction. I guess if I planned ahead I could remedy the situation.  My plates pretty busy....I just don't always think about it.  

Do you have multiple kits and snares?
I also have a couple old Yamaha kits, a 5000 series and a Power Stage Series kit that I've had since the early 90's. I also have a Pearl Vision kit that I use for gigs and to teach on, and a small Tama Imperial Star with an 18 inch kick that I used to teach my littlest students. I have some students that are 6 and 7 years old so a regular size kit is too big.  I also have a Vintage Rogers R-360 Red Ripple kit stored away.  I've got a lot of snares. My favorite is Limited Edition Pearl Masters Series Power Piccolo. 13x8. 

Which wood shells do you prefer?

Depends on the gigMost nights I'm playing mic'd up, so I like my maple kits. But if I'm doing an agency corporate gig where it's lighter and quieter, I prefer my Champagne sparkle BirchPearl Vision kit.  It's bright and thick and doesn't need mics to project some good tone. Sounds good with a couple overheads and a kick mic.  That kit is really impressive for a lower budget kit.  

Do you have a “Dream Kit”?  
No....but I always liked the kit Tommy Aldridge used when he was in WHITESNAKE back in the 90's. 

How do you describe your drumming style?

A combination John Bonham, Liberty Devito and Pat Torpey. (with a little sniff of Stewart Copeland). 

Why the drums?
I never picked the drums. They picked me.  There's not a single day in my life where I remember deciding to pick up a stick and play a drum. It's always been something I've done.

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing?
Probably working with young kids as a Teacher.  I love them. They're fascinating creatures so full of curiosity and amazement. I can have conversation with Elementary school kids for hours! 

Reading a book to a class of Kindergartners.  More terrifying than playing a gig in front of thousands of people but a thousand times more rewarding. ​

How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
I don't know..I never really been with out it. I can't imagine what I'd be like with out it.    

Is the music business your career?
No, but Drumming is, even though I've never considered myself a "Professional Drummer".  I'm not comfortable putting myself in the same category with famous drummers we all know and love. It's just not my style. 
When people ask me what I do...I tell them I'm a self-employed full-time drummer/teacher and leave it at that. 

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? band Boomer plays a lot, from Casino gigs, Bars and Restaurants to University of Arizona Homecoming games outside the stadium in front of 50,000 tailgaters. I do a lot of sub work and agency stuff from time to time too. It's fun to be able to work in other groups and with other musicians. As much fun as I have in BOOMER, it's nice to do a gig with an Elvis Impersonator, or fill in for another band as needed and nail the gig. 

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?

John Bonham- I loved the way his drums sounded when I first spun the first Zeppllin album on my record player when I was in Kindergarten .  I'd never heard drums sound that HUGE before and it blew me away.  
Liberty DeVito-  I began listening to Billy Joel's 52nd Street Album at an early age. The album was very eclectic in style and was some of the first exposure I'd had to jazz and latin rhythms. The drumming crossed over so well, and I loved the way Liberty could play the groove within the song on any of Billy's albums yet suddenly blister a tom fill that would hit you right between the eyes -  then go back into the song.  How recognizable is the drum intro to the song Allentown?  Yet so simple. 
Greg Bisonette-  I saw Greg early in the 80's when he was just out of College and playing Maynard Ferguson. His incorporation of double bass drums and latin grooves within his jazz playing was something I'd never heard before. He instantly became my favorite drummer, yet no one really know of him back then.  I felt a lot of vindication when he landed the David Lee Roth Gig.  I got to meet Greg this year at NAMM. It was early in the morning and we got to talk by ourselves for a few minutes when no one was really around.  He couldn't believe it when I told him about seeing him with Maynard. What a fantastic guy. 
Buddy Rich- Obviously his speed, showmanship and cantankerous attitude.  When I was a young kid, my Dad would wake me up at night just so I could see him play on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. I actually got to meet Buddy and spend some time with him on his tour bus when I was a kid. I think Buddy's temperament is very misunderstood. 
Phillip Gould- A bass player I'd been in a band with when I was young turned me on to this English band called LEVEL 42. This was before they'd had any hits in the USA.  It was a blend of funk, pop and jazz that I liked right away.  The Live album A PHYSICAL PRESENCE changed my life.  I even named my band after one of the songs. We were three paste white guys playing original reggae and ska music. (It was a strange sight, really)   So...we chose the name MR.PINK.   We had a blast in that band and had a lot of fans in the community. It was short lived though. Band fell apart after a couple years. 

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? 
Not necessarily a live concert that I attended, but as mentioned, Level 42's Live album A PHYSICAL PRESENCE changed my life.  Up until then..I was all about ROCK MUSIC for me. But when I heard that album and it's blend of Funk, Jazz and Pop.  It completely changed my approach to drumming.  I think I could still play the entire double sided album note for note.  It still makes me want to play my drums after all these years. 
Level 42 "A Physical Presence" Live Album: 

How much time do you practice?
It depends. Usually at least a couple hours a week on something new or something old.   My schedule can be pretty crazy at times.  In addition to gigging and my private teaching, I also volunteer with two different Elementary schools teaching all 5th graders about drums, drumming and rhythm. I also do a snare drum group at one school and a bucket drum group at another.  Some times I need to brush up on lesson material that I'm teaching. Nothing worse than tripping over a New York Mozambique chart when you're trying to teach it!    

What types of things do you like to work on?
It depends a lot on what I'm working on with my more advanced students. Much of the time just basic fundamentals and practicing with a click. Recently I've been practicing working one rudiment into a drum less track. Experimenting with a funk groove, a jazz groove, a rock groove, etc. I then video record it and listen to it.  I also evaluate my gig playing and work on a beat or something.  Most recently dialing down the tempo on Boz Skaggs LOW DOWN.  It's a great groove, but it pushes when we play it live so I've been practicing it with a metronome and the original tempo. Typical drummer stuff I guess.   

Do you record drum videos of yourself? why?
Yes....I call the camera THE SUCK-O-METER.  I record a lot of what I'm doing when I'm gigging. Just to make sure I'm steady, tempos are ok and what fills work and don't work. There's always something that I can improve and I'm always analyzing my playing.  I'm my worst critic.     
In my rehearsal/Lesson studio I like to record to drumless tracks and try new stuff. Then listen to the play back and see what works and doesn't.  Sometimes it's really surprising to hear what does and doesn't work.  
As much as I appreciate the compliment of being "A Rocker",  I'm trying to develop a more Nashville-type middle-of-the -road style.  It's difficult and quite a challenge, but I like it.

"Use Me" with BOOMER

(one of the koolest grooves to play)​ 
Are you into electronic drums or programming? 
No not "in to",  but very interested.  I really enjoy playing to tracks, have done it with some sub gigs I've done - and would love to get more into that technology. I'm sure I will. 

Are you a songwriter as well?
A little bit....I like to write things on the piano but have never recorded anything. I have a ton of songs in my head. I'm got a poetry bug too. So lyrics can come pretty easy depending on my mood. Someday I'll get them out of my head and onto a recording. 

Do you sing and play?
Yes...but I don't always like to. I was always forced to sing LEAD parts when I was in Elementary school. Hated it.  I don't mind singing back up and harmonies - and feel that I am very good at it. But I'm not fond of my own voice.  I guess that's normal. I cringe when I hear my voice.  

Do you prefer studio sessions or local live gigs?

I love playing LIVE.  Especially smaller clubs and casinos.  It's fun to interact closely with crowds. My Band Boomer is such a different band when we have a close, intimate interaction with the crowd. It's amazing. 
That being said. I really enjoy recording in the studio. I used to record jingles back in New York for a while.  It was a blast.  when I was a kid I thought it would be cool to hear yourself on the radio.  It was but who'd a thought it would be me drumming and singing about a Hornell NY furniture store 50 times a day for thirty seconds a pop. 

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman?
I love playing in bands. It doesn't matter if it's my own band, or a sub gig.  I enjoy playing the kit.  It could be in a rock band or a polka band, at a large stage or a small Moose club. I'll have fun regardless. As long as there's people watching and enjoying it. I've never considered anything I do on the drums as "Art".  I've considered it a "Craft".  I've had opportunities to do duo type with guitarists.  I just don't enjoy it.  I feel awkward.  I like playing the kit.  
Eddie  playing "Hey Joe"
(u know i love Hendrix)

What would you like your legacy to be?
I've never really thought about that until recently.  
Over the years school budgets have shrunk so much and funding for the arts has dwindled to almost nothing. Everyone agrees that the Arts are important and that it's a shame schools have cut these funds from their program. However, no one is really doing anything about it. 
I'm in a situation where I make my own schedule, am my own Boss, and for the most part, can share my time and energies to teaching kids about drums, cymbals, drumsticks, rudiments, drumbeats and so much more. So.....I do it.   
5 years ago I volunteered to develop a 6-week course that I share with all the 5th graders at a school where my kids attended. I was invited back a second year, then again and again. Two years ago I began teaching this program at a second school. The kids get to hold drum sticks, get to see what a drum head looks like, touch and hit a ride cymbal, a crash cymbal, play with a snare strainer, hear the difference between a steel snare and a Maple snare. Its very Hands-On. They also learn some notation and the silly names of rudiments. We even attempt to play them on their desks with the sticks I pass out. They love it. I Love it. 
It's so fulfilling to spread the love of percussion, drums and drummers to kids who rarely get to see it other than on a flat screen of some sort in a media package that's formatted for something being sold to them.   
I hope that's my "legacy" when I'm long gone -as someone who just passionately adored the drums. Someone that openly shared all his knowledge, passion and stories for the instrument with everyone he could in a fun and interesting way.  
As they say...A candles flame never burns out if it is passed on to another and another.  I feel the same about my passion.
Some of my students

Snare Drum Club in 2014

My oldest and Youngest student, Mike and Brody.

My Snare Drum Club last year..

​My Bucket Drum Group!

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
Dude......I could write a book. The best stories are probably best kept quiet. 
What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?

1989, One late night I was driving home on a long back road from a Rogues gig somewhere in upstate NY.  I was with our bass player Greg. He had cancer and was battling it with every ounce of grit he had. I would drive him to most of the gigs. 
The ride had been pretty quiet. We were both really tired and worn out and there wasn't much chat.  We simply chilled out as we drove and listened to some tunes on the cassette player. 
As the miles turned we came over a crest on a small berm in the road Greg suddenly yelled  "Stop! Stop ! Stop!" 
At that moment I wasn't sure what he meant, was he talking about the tape player in the car,  a deer up ahead in the road? Stop ? Why? 
"The car...stop the car stop the car stop the car!"  He yelled. 
I immediately pulled over. I wasn't sure what was happening, but at first I thought something was wrong. I was confused and a little startled to be honest.  
I'd no sooner had a chance to put my car in PARK when Greg flung open the passenger door and quickly walked toward the front of the car. 
I shut the car off, hit the emergency brake and began thinking that something was very wrong. 
I got out of the car, and met Greg at the front of the car as he just stood there......facing east, staring off into the sky. Just staring into the sky. 
"Look at the Moon" he said he pointed to the sky. 
Sure enough....there it was.... The Moon. 
It was huge and extremely bright. More full than I think I'd ever noticed before as it began to rise above the forests tree tops that silhouetted it's bright glow . 
"That's amazing!"  he said as we stared at it.
We stood there in the dead silence of the night in the middle of somewhere for a minute or two, staring at this giant Moon. It was so big I'd swear you could hear it.  It was beautiful, and a rare awesome site for our neck of the woods.
Then Greg slowly uttered these words. And it hit me like a ton of bricks:
"I'll probably never ever see anything like this again." 

I just stood there.


We quietly stood there and watched the moon. I don't know how long we stayed there. It seemed like a long time....a few minutes maybe, I'm not sure.  
Eventually we got back into the car and finished the drive home. I don't remember anything else after that. 

Not long after that night, a few months maybe,  he was gone. Cancer took his life, and my very close friend.
To this day.....every time I see a full moon. I stop for a moment and appreciate it. 
I'm fortunate to live in Arizona where we get the biggest desert moons you'd ever want to see. It's breath taking,  and it happens often.
It helps me keep perspective. ....just the moon. advice to everyone, drummer or not, is to enjoy every single day of your life, especially the little things. Appreciate what you have, and who you have. Even if you don't have much. At least you have the moon.  You just never know when it will be taken away. 

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???


Thanks to the guys in my band BOOMER. Devo Carrillo, Jason Wylde, and Bobby Sullivan, and some of the other members who have come and gone. Thanks for putting up with my crap and desire to put on a good show. I think this band is something special, even though we are simply a "local act".  
Thank You to my wife, Suzette for putting up with the sacrifices we have to make. For tolerating the dogs barking at 3am when I come home from a gig. Thanks for putting up with 50 weekends of gigs a year. Thanks to my kids for dealing with students in our home while they try to simply live normally in the house we have with people coming in and out. 
Forgive me for the Dinners at 8:30pm after all my students have left.  Forgive me for drumsticks laying around everywhere. Drum keys clanging in the dryer.  Forgive me for snare drums laying in the hallway outside the studio room all the time. Forgive me for so many drums in a garage that we can't even park our cars in there. Forgive me for spending 48 minutes with a student who was booked for a 30 minute lesson while dinner is waiting in a pot on the stove and everyone is starving and patiently waiting. 
A very special thanks to Kandi Reyes and Susan Boquet and The Litchfield School District for giving me the opportunity to work with the kids. It means the world to me.

See, I told you. There are many ways to be successful and fulfilled in this game. Don't let someone dictate to you what is the correct way to achieve your goals. Just hustle and make sure your passion meets your work ethic. You don't need all the fame stuff, you just need the right stuff.
Big Thx to my brother Eddie for taking the time to share his Drum Life. Much respect and continued success to you Eddie!
I also wanted to thank Eddie for a kool thing he did for me and for some other Silverfox & Soultone artists...
     Dig It!

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I'm Out!