Monday, April 18, 2016
Volume 25 - Lee Marciniak
VOLUME 25 - LEE MARCINIAK
Ok, we got our first Lefty on TC. Well not really...you'll see.
What we do have is a drummer who can pretty much do it all.
I had the pleasure of meeting him back in March, when his band and my band were on the same gig. Both bands competing for a chance to play the Warped Tour show in Alaska. It just so happens both bands are in the finals, so I get to see him do his thing again. Lee has a great work ethic, which always a good thing when you're a drummer. From sessions to original bands and everything in between is where you'll find this artist doing his thing. I was glad when he agreed to take part, he has a lot to offer and I'm here just to put out there. Lee Marciniak is his name and he is Talkin' Chop!
Name or Stage Name:
Where are you from?
I grew up in Maumee, Ohio about an hour South of Detroit. I used to hang out there - In the Detroit area - and Chicago to see shows; played there in my teenage years also.
I moved to Los Angeles after recording and touring out of Austin, Texas for five years.
How long have you been playing?
Since I was a kid; I got my first drum kit when I was four. My godfather, Jeff, gave me his 1972 Rogers for Christmas when I was 8. That made a huge difference; just having a kit that sounded really cool and felt great to play on.
What is or are your main genre of playing?
I really enjoy playing almost anything; I definitely practice outside of the range of what I end up playing most of the time. Which I also really enjoy and I find I can use things outside of those normal boundaries to push what’s “normal” in those genres. I think that’s what interests me most about things outside of what I normally play, is, “okay, this is cool. How can I use this?”, or some version of it. But, I’ve made most of my friends playing indie-rock and pop, so that’s usually what I end up playing.
How did you get where you are now?
Well, I was born in a hospital, and then… ;-) … Hmm, it’s kind of hard to say exactly. I just do my thing everyday and try to address anything I may be overlooking, or I may consider a weakness. But, I just sort of keep playing, recording, and touring. I don’t think I’ve had any one experience that would help me explain how I got to where I am; it’s more a combination of several things.
What are your goals, short & long term?
I want to play on as many records that I would enjoy being a part of as possible. I’m not sure I have anything more specific than that, making a living off of it is nice, I guess awards are cool. Everyone likes to be recognized for their work; but yeah, just records that others’ can enjoy.
Artists you would like to play for?
I starting playing because I loved Tom Petty’s songs. He would be the first that comes to mind, but I think Steve Ferrone has a pretty good handle on that. haha … Prince… Conor Oberst (Bright Eyes)… Chvrches (They use a drum machine, but the groove is really there.)… I just played Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco with an artist from Austin named Mobley and his music is a ton of fun to play. I’m not sure if I have a dream gig; mostly I get excited about working with friends who are motivated and I dig. Also, to see them move up is really exciting too.
List some of your accomplishments:
I’ve been lucky enough to work with some great producers… Jim Eno (Spoon), Jonas Wilson (Ghostland Observatory), and Ethan Kauffman (Avril Lavigne, Ryan Cabrera), Glen Phillips (Toe the Wet Sprocket). All of those projects were especially fun; I also have played the main stages at ACL, SXSW, FunFunFunFest, Tomorrow Never Knows, and Noise Pop.
Do you have your own band or do your freelance?
I do both; I really like to stay as busy as possible, so I just try and move with the ebb and flow. Usually I’m long-term friends with the bands I have consistently played with or I was referred by a mutual friend. I definitely enjoy work outside of that though; it keeps it fresh and challenging.
How did The Eiffles come about and how long have you been in the band?
The Eiffels started playing together a little over a year ago. I had just moved to LA and a producer friend put me in touch with them.
(That's how I met Lee, we played the same show. A BOTB for a spot at the Warped Tour Alaska and will be doing it again)
The Eiffles - I Did It Now
Do you play any other instruments?
I don’t. I learned music theory and a bit of piano in college. I prefer to really stick to one thing and master my craft.
What are your touring experiences, if any?
I’ve toured a bunch. Mostly US tours. When I left Austin I was playing around 200 shows a year on top of session stuff; most of that was touring.
Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included?
I usually play a Yamaha Oak Custom. It was one of the first Oak kits made, so it’s about 6 years old now. Just a really beautiful full-tone with great attack. I couldn’t have asked for more out of the box. I’ve re-headed it with Remo Powerstroke 4s Coated/Dot on the 12”,14”,16” toms with Remo Pinstripes on the bottom. It was super boomy when I first unpacked it; now it’s nice and focused which makes it more useful in the studio or live situations when I want to use triggers/hybrid kit. It nice and balanced now. The Oak snare has a Powerstroke 3 Coated/Dot on top with a batter bottom (Thin tape around the edges.) for that tight gated snare sound. Pure Percussion 30-strand to maintain some softness.
I use Paiste 2002s 24” Ride, 22” Crash and a Twenty Series 20” Ride (As a crash.). I put sizzle beads on all of them t make them decay faster. I love how mid-range all of these cymbals are; they can get washy and still sit right in the mix. They also never over take the drums, as long as they’re not smashed on. Great projection with a lower volume hit was why I went big with fast decay. The Hi Hats are 16” Paiste 2002 Crash/16” Paiste Dry Crash on bottom; again same thinking… I do stack a 10” splash on the bottom inside - to dry it up - and a tambourine sitting directly on top. Again, to get them dry and chuckey, but still mid-range tone.
Playing lefty, have you ever feel like the "odd man out" when it comes to drumming?
Hahaha, not really. I think I'm asked how it happened more often than not. I'm "naturally" right-handed.
I switched when I was around 12 to increase dexterity in my left hand.
It's fun now because certain open handed grooves or doubling the tom with the kick is very easy.
I notice you play with your snare at an angle, similar as if you played traditional grip but you play match grip, how did that come about?
I started doing most of this, including traditional grip, when I was in my teens.
It's a Buddy Rich thing. I've been playing it that way for so long that it feels and looks (from my stool) level to me now.
I angle it forward and left - towards my dominant hand at 10 o'clock.
I really prefer traditional grip most of the time. Tilting it allows minimal stick clearance near the rim and a truer angle coming off the head.
When I play match grip it's easier to do rim-shots.
I play with all of the drums high... The center of the snare is equal to my belly-button and the toms are the same height as that. Aside from my rack tom. But that's also angled with the same idea in mind.
Do you have multiple kits and snares?
I also have a 1972 Rogers. They’re concert toms and the 24”x14” is one of the best sounding kicks in the studio. I also have the Chrome/Brass Dynasonic, the ultimate in thick metal snare sound and amazing projection.
A buddy of mine just let me borrow his 68' Ludwig. I’m having a ton of fun with it. Sits so well in the mix.
I also have a Noble and Cooley Maple 14”x6” Snare, and a Pearl Brass Piccolo 13”x3.5” (Although I haven’t used this in years.).
Which wood shells do you prefer?
I really love my Oak kit. I think a Maple/Oak mix would be awesome.
Do you have a “Dream Kit”?
How would you describe your drumming style?
It’s like a really spicy salsa. … But really, I love the deep pocket of soul, the fills of gospel, the explosiveness of rock and roll, the swing of jazz; I really enjoy figuring out multi-tracked drum parts and finding a way to make it all work.
The Eiffels @ Hollywood Swim Club
Why the drums?
Not entirely sure; I can remember being a kid and being able to “see” patterns in my head. I think it was just there, in a way.
If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing?
I was also really good at hockey when I was growing up, so I’d probably would’ve become Canadian by now.
How has drumming impacted your life?
I’ve moved to two beautiful cities to further my career, so that’s a plus. I think moving through the music industry and making friends that live all over the country has changed me as a person. It’s definitely given me a better appreciation over all for my own life, and for the people I’ve met.
Is the music business your career?
Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown?
Not at the moment; but I’d like to be. There’s a really neat building in Maumee called the Link Inn. It’s haunted. It’d make a great studio. Right on the water too. … There’s talent there, but no resources.
Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
Steve Ferrone - Powerful, reserved, mindful. Nothing ever sounds out of place.
Steve Gadd - Amazingly dynamic and originally useful of rudimentary concepts.
Thomas Pridgen - Love his fills and his energy. I thinking he is a one-of-a-kind in the gospel world - he’s very original, and also hits harder than some of his peers. His tone is just killer because of it.
Glenn Kotche - Jazz applied to Americana Indie-Rock. I think his cross-genre references and creativity are just mind-blowing, and super tasteful.
Keith Moon - The first drummer I really ever liked; mostly because he drove a Cadillac into a pool.
*Ringo - I know, I know, “he doesn’t have chops”. Imagine The Beatles with “chops”; sounds horrible, right? That’s why he’s the best.
Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
My Dad was really cool about this stuff; I saw The Who three times, David Bowie, Rush five times, Alice Cooper three times, Jackson Browne, Tom Petty five times, and a bunch of others. I think seeing acts that were that well polished at such a young age set the bar really high. After everyone of those shows I was endlessly inspired.
The Eiffels - More
How much time do you practice?
I would say I generally play 30-35 hours a week when I’m home. Whether it’s by myself or with other folks.
Do you record drum videos of yourself? if so, how has it helped you?
I didn’t until recently. I don’t know if it has. I didn’t really start until I felt my playing was at a high enough level that it would be acceptable for other people to enjoy. Sometimes I’ll play dynamically different just so the mix sounds better, but always pre-mixing yourself is important.
Do you like to concentrate on Chops or Grooves?
Both. Depends on how I feel inspired. I definitely think playing the fill to fit the groove and keep it going is the most important thing.
Are you into electronic drums or programming?
I think triggers are the coolest thing.
Are you a songwriter?
No, poetry and prose though.
Do you sing and play?
I’ve done studio vocals, but live I’d rather not most times. Just so I can keep the groove working.
Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs or touring?
Love all of it. I love traveling and taking photos, local gigs are fun when you recognize faces and make friends, the studio is exciting because you can enjoy all the hard work when you listen back.
Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman?
I like the idea of continually working with a number of artist. The more I play, the happier I am. I’ve done for-hire or one-off gigs; I don’t really have a huge preference. As long as everyone is professional we’ll get along. Good vibes are key.
Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
Tommy Lee let me borrow his Roller Coaster. (Just kidding.)
What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
Always try to get better, respect your predecessors and learn from them, and always conduct yourself professionally and with integrity.
Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
Firstly, I want to say thank you to DeHaven for inviting me to do this interview.
Final Thank You’s always go to friends, family, peers, and teachers.
Yo, Give it up for Lee Marciniak!
Good luck to him in his drumming endeavors.
It is always a pleasure when you get to meet katz like Lee and see that there are a lot of players out there doing what your doing and hustling and making it happen.
Please check out his band The Eiffels and his other work.
Support Indie Music and its Artists!
I'm always looking for more drummers to interview and profile. So, if you or someone you know falls into the category of Unknown, Up & Coming, Unsung or Underground...hit me up!
DeHaven - firstname.lastname@example.org
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