Monday, May 9, 2016
Volume 29 - Mike Mule
Once again I am honored to feature a Drummer/Teacher.
A guy who also is in a band and works hard at all aspects of his life. This is what Talkin' Chop is about. The players that deserve some attention and know that we appreciate their work and talent.
Mike Mule is that kind of guy. He's making an impact on the next generation of drummers as an instructor. He's rocking the house as the drummer for his band Dave Allen & Old School Logic. Keeping the party going and the beer flowing.
It is my pleasure to have Mike Mule Talk Chop with me and share with you.
Name or Stage Name: Mike the Mule was my stage name.
Where are you from?
I grew up in Island Park, NY.
How long have you been playing?
I have been playing for a little over 40 years now.
What is or are your main genre of playing?
The genres of music that I play most now are Rock, Country, and Southern Rock.
How did you get where you are now?
I got where I am now with a lot of practice, practice, practice; hard work and dedication.
What are your goals, short & long term?
I don’t really have any short term goals right now but my long term goals would be to continue playing and doing what I have been doing. I have been fortunate enough to make a living with teaching and playing; what I really love. It has been a blessing to be able to share with my students and watch them grow. It’s a beautiful thing.
Artists you would like to play for?
I guess I am old school because the artists I would most like to play for are Led Zeppelin, Sabbath, Deep Purple, or Jeff Beck. I could go on, I would like to play with them all.
List some of your accomplishments:
My accomplishments include: being married to the most beautiful wife in the world, we’ve been married for almost 27 years now; I have three beautiful daughters and a son, and a granddaughter and a grandson on the way; I’ve been fortunate enough to play all over the country from New York to South Dakota to Vegas and the list goes on. I would definitely say teaching took a lot of hard work, dedication and practice to be able to teach the right way. That was a big accomplishment for me. To get endorsed by Soultone cymbals and Silverfox drumsticks is a great accomplishment. I can’t say enough about those guys. They are awesome and they treat you right. Their cymbals and sticks are truly the best. Thank you to Soultone and Silverfox. You guys are awesome!
Mike with his granddaughter
So, you're a drum instructor, How did that come about?
I always wanted to teach, to be able to give back and share what I have learned. I used to teach out of my house. I was playing at church which I have also been doing for eight years now. I heard there was a music school opening about five minutes away. I told the bass player at church about the new school. He said yes, my parents are opening the school. After the Mass they approached me and asked if I would consider teaching drums at the school. I said that would be awesome! Then their son went off to Berkeley and they sold the school to Brian and Angie Benson. It is now called Rhapsody School of Music. It is an awesome place to work. It is one big family. I’ve been there for about five years now. All of the instructors there are absolutely amazing.
Do you enjoy teaching drums?
I love teaching. It is one of my favorite things to do. Watching your students grow and sharing the knowledge that I have gained, watching them play in bands, really good bands, puts a big smile on my face! It makes me feel like I am doing something right! It has an impact on their lives and also on my own. One of my students has been touring with his own band for about two years now. The band is called Happy Accidents, Check them out! They are awesome! Check out their Facebook page! Thank you to all my students. You guys rock!
Are you playing around town in a band?
I currently am playing with a local band David Allen and Old School Logic. We mostly just play on the weekends in Arizona. We are just having fun playing some good old classic rock, originals and country music. The band is made up of top notch players. We have a lot of fun! We love the response from the crowds. We have a good fan base.
Do you play any other instruments?
I don’t play any other instrument. If I did, it would probably be the bass. Always intended to take lessons, but never got around to it. Maybe one of these days! For now I just stick to my drums because that is what I truly love.
What are your touring experiences, if any?
I have some touring experience. I toured with a band named Tumbleweed Junction. We toured all over the country. We had a tour bus, played a lot of shows at Sturgis (the biggest bike rally in the world) Bike Week at the Buffalo Chip. We played alongside Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, Stix, Greg Allman, Doobie Bothers. Journey, Zack Brown, Jason Aldean, Kid Rock, Toby Keith, Aerosmith and so many more. We opened up for War, Vince Gill and Amy Grant Family and Friends Tour, Confederate Railroad, and Taylor Swift. I also played in a band called Inner Sanctum in New York. I did some live TV shows. Played with them for a while. Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater was the original drummer for that band. I played at CBGB’s in NYC, also at Kenny Castaways, Arlene’s Groceries, Webster Hall, February’s, The Right Track Inn, The Ritz in Vegas, The Wynn in Vegas, Catalina Island in CA, also Country Thunder in Arizona. I also played in many other bands.
Mike w/ Tumbleweed Junction
Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks included and why you choose these items?
I play on a DW Collector Series maple drum set, black oyster glass with silver/gold sparkles with 12 and 13 “ rack toms, 14 and 16” floor, and a 24” kick drum, stainless steel DW snare drum, 14 x 5; I’m playing Remo Embassador white heads; DW 5000 foot pedal, DW 5000 hi-hat stand with a Yamaha rack. I play with Silverfox drum sticks; they last longer and you can hit harder! I also play with Soultone Extreme cymbals. My cymbals; 14” hi-hat extremes, 16 and 17” crash extremes, 20” ride extreme, 10” splash extreme, 18” china extreme and XO12J cymbal. I use Soultone cymbals because they sound great in any situation, any style you are playing. They are straight up awesome cymbals. I am playing Embassador drum heads, love the way they sound. They sound great. I have played Remo black dot heads pretty much all of my career. Still love them, just wanted to try something different. I usually go back and forth. DW for my kick drum sounds nice and deep and punchy at the same time. I don’t like leaving home without it. I use MS57 Shure mikes for my snare drum, hi-hat and rack toms, Beta 52 for my floor toms, and Audix 6 for my kick drum.
Do you have multiple kits and snares?
I also have a Pearl Export kit. I bought that when I moved to Arizona 13 years ago, still looks and sounds good. I also have an orange, acrylic Porkpie snare drum. I have a couple of electronic kits. I have Yamaha electronic kit upstairs in my practice room. I have one at our practice studio. I also have a Roland ST10 at the church where I play.
Do you have a preference for wood shells?
I definitely prefer wood shells. I love the warm sound that comes out of the mahogany, maple, birch and other wood drums.
Do you have a “Dream Kit”?
My dream kit is the set that I am playing now. It took me a long time to get it, but I finally have my dream kit. I absolutely love it.
How would you describe your drumming style?
How would I describe my drumming style? That is a good question. I guess it all depends on the style of music I am playing. I would say mostly the “rock” style since it is what I grew up playing. I love playing shuffles, linear patterns, rock and funk grooves and I’m working on my gospel chops. I’m finding ways to put it all together. I love playing heavy metal. I think I have many styles of playing and I love them all.
Why the drums?
Because I can’t sing and dance and I love the sound of the drums, it’s like a heartbeat and extension of my soul. When I’m playing drums and hearing that kick drum in my face, when the band is tight, and the crowd is going crazy, and the hair stands up on the back of my neck, and I get the chills, that is one of the best feelings in the world. It’s also like having your own castle. You can build it as big as you want or as small as you want. You can add cymbals, china's, cowbells, etc, etc, whatever you want! You cannot do that with any other instrument. To me it is the best therapy in the world. That and riding my Harley! And that my friends is why I love playing the drums!
If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? If I weren’t playing the drums I’d probably be sitting in my back yard barbecuing and drinking beer and getting fat! Only kidding, I’d still be thinking about drums! I used to work construction when I was younger. My dad had his own company. I also had a class A license, so either construction or driving a truck is probably what I’d be doing. Or I might possibly be playing basketball because I gave up a basketball scholarship in New York to play the drums.
How has drumming impacted or changed your life? Drumming has definitely had a great impact on my life. If it wasn’t for drumming, I would have never gotten to meet so many people in my life including awesome drummers and so many good friends, nor would I have had the opportunities to travel so much and see so many places. Now I am teaching and making a living with something that I truly love to do. Drumming truly changed my life.
Is the music business your career?
The music business is indeed my career. I am blessed to be able to wake up every morning to be able to play my drums each day. I am able to make a living at it while still being with my wife, family and friends, and to be able to do this interview with you my friend! Thank you for all that you do for our drumming family. You are awesome thanks!
Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
Five of my drumming influences? A good question! There have been so many who have influenced me in my life! Definitely one would be John Bonham. Just the way he approached the drums and the way he played single bass, and his foot and triplets were incredible, and that big fat sound definitely influenced me a lot, and still does! He made a big impact on my playing - thank you Mr. John Henry Bonham! This question is much harder than I thought it would be. There are so many drummers, it is hard to narrow it down to just five. I will just name a few: Neil Peart, for his talent to be able to sit down and write all the great music and drum charts for the whole band is amazing; Tommy Aldridge, just the way he approaches and hits the drums incredibly hard and the bands he has played with like Ozzy and Whitesnake, he’s just an incredible drummer; Billy Cobham, the way he plays open handed and his drumming style just blows me away; and Dave Weckl, for his amazing fusion drumming, wow. And finally I need to include on this list my drum instructor, Mr. Brett Frederickson. He is incredible! He is one of the best drummers I have ever heard. His playing is off the charts. He has been my instructor and good friend for about five years now. He brings my playing to a whole new level. He also teaches drum line in two different schools. He has won many, many awards. He is an awesome teacher and drummer and I still take lessons from him to this day. Thank you Brett for being my instructor and friend and for bringing out the best in my ability to play drums. You are a great inspiration to me, thanks!
Mike w/ Nicko McBrain
Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
An inspiring concert definitely would be Rush. I saw them in concert when they did the 2112. You know everyone was playing air drums to that. That one made me want to go home and shred and put all my toms on my kit.
How much time do you practice?
I practice at least an hour a day, Monday thru Thursday and on the weekends I’m usually playing out.
What are some of the things you like to work in those sessions?
Some of the things I like to work on in sessions: I’m usually practicing my Sambas, my Mozambique's, Mambos and linear patterns and jazz, which drives me crazy, definitely a weakness of mine which I’m working on, and my rudiments.
Do you record drum videos of yourself?
I don’t usually record videos of myself. If I had a studio in my house I think I would make more videos. I don’t like putting stuff out there that doesn’t have a good quality recording.
Tumbleweed Junction "The Job They Do" To thank our Veterans for their Sacrifice and our Troops still Fighting
VIDEO Link: Mike with his band...
Do you sing and play drums?
I do back-up sing when I’m playing out.
Do you prefer studio sessions, local live gigs, touring or teaching?
I prefer all; studio sessions, local live gigs, touring, and teaching. I do especially love teaching and going to the studio and recording. It is definitely one of my favorite things to do.
Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
I have a few crazy / interesting road stories to share. We were playing in South Dakota. It was an awesome show. I think we were into our fifth or sixth song, right behind the stage was a green room for equipment, we were playing outside around 1000 people in attendance, the crowd was going crazy, I hear a couple people yelling turn around, so I turned around and one of my friends is standing behind me butt naked dancing around needless to say I laughed so hard I fell off my drum stool and had to leave the stage until I could stop laughing and get back to playing. Another time when playing at Webster Hall in New York City, while we were playing on stage, they had a whole trapeze show flying overhead. I’m glad they had nets! I thought that was pretty crazy and awesome at the same time. Crazy road stories, gotta love ‘em!
What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
Words of wisdom: keep practicing, don’t stop believing in your dreams, there are no shortcuts, just hard work and dedication. Practice to a click track and the band you play with will love you for that. When you play like a well-oiled machine, it makes everybody play better. Lock in with the bass player and if you have trouble hearing him, just lock in with the vocals and you guys will be tight. If you sit down to practice and find yourself practicing the same stuff over and over again, consider this: someone told me long ago if you keep practicing the stuff you already know, then you are really not learning anything new. Go out and find yourself a good drum instructor and he will open up a whole new world of playing and bring your drumming to a whole new level. You will be practicing something new every week. Listen to all kinds of music, whether, Jazz, Cuban, Funk, Hip Hop, Country, Rock, Metal, or Latin. You will find something in each that you like. Always remember why we started playing in the first place; for the love of drums and the music. Rock on to all my drummer friends out there! Thanks!
Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? Thank you DeHaven, for the interview! Thank you Soultone cymbals! Thank you Silverfox sticks!
Yo, Big Thx to Mike for talking time and sharing his Drum Life with us!
I dig being able to profile quality guys who are out there teaching music. It let's us know that, we're still shaping young musicians and they will be able to take our places one day.
We appreciate you Mike! Your doing great things in the drum community aside from just playing and making music.
btw- always watch out for the naked guy...ijs
You guys make sure you drop by Mike's page and give him a shout out!
Did you like this interview? Can you see yourself as the subject of Talkin' Chop?
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