Friday, July 8, 2016

Volume 38 - Rikki Woods



Hey Drum fam,
it's nice to be back at it. I was on vacation with my family and before that my band Olio had a show in Anchorage, AK for the Road to Warped Tour Kick-off show.
I have missed bringing you drummers and their drum lives and stories. So let's get to it, shall we?!

Today I bring you a kool lady who has been in the music game for a long time but only in the drum game for a few years. She is already a busy working drummer, playing in 3 bands, all while holding down a 9-5 and raising a family. (applause!) #DrumMomsRock.
She is also a really kool person with a great sense of humor. I met her on FB and I always look fwd to her comments, when I'm ranting about stupid music stuff.
I am glad she finally agreed to do Talkin' Chop. I believe everyone out there has some to offer and deserves a spotlight. Well the light shines on Rikki Woods right now and she is Talkin' Chop!

Name or Stage Name: Rikki Woods

Where are you from? 
Born in Bronx, live in beautiful NW New Jersey 

How long have you been playing? 
Just over three years, but I’ve been a musician almost my entire life and wish I began playing much earlier in life, but still thrilled that I play now.

What is or are your main genre of playing? 
Punk and Rock

How did you get where you are now? 
Where am I again?

What are your goals, short & long term? 
Have fun, learn as much as I can before I die, gig steadily, continue writing new songs.

Name some artists you would like to play for? 
Anyone who will have me, but honestly, no one in particular.

Give us a list of some of your accomplishments – 
Three time finalist in International Hit Like a Girl contest…top 3 “fan favorite.” Second place in Foxy Drummer’s (stick manufacturer) drum solo contest. Role model, particularly for women, and especially those over 40. It’s never too late to pursue your passions.

Hit Like a Girl Excerpt from 2016 Contest

Do you have your own band?  
Details….I have three bands. One is a punk band called The Bathwater. I play drums and sing backup and occasional sing lead, although when our fist singer quit, I did all the singing and drumming. Not fun…not at some of those speeds. My second band is called Infinite Parallels. We are a 90’s grunge cover band. I’m the singer but I switch drums/vocals with the drummer for a few songs. I play for Hot Flashes, although we only gig a couple of times a year now. We are an all-female power trio and play original music, as well as select covers from the 60’s-now.

Do you play any other instruments? 
I haven’t played my other instruments for a while, but I played them for close to 25 years. I play clarinet, flute, bassoon, sax, guitar (really poorly), in addition to drums and vocals. I will sometimes break out a clarinet to cover a violin solo in a song (like Green Day’s “Good Riddance.”) I was an extremely advanced woodwind player.

Any touring experiences? 
Just local east coast NY/NJ/CT/PA. Had the opportunity in the 1980’s when I sang with a thrash metal band, but it’s not what I wanted to do. I might have made a different choice if I was a drummer back then.

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks...
 Let’s see…I have two kits. One is a classic Pearl Export, but an older set that was sitting unused in a warehouse. It’s a discontinued model and absolutely gorgeous. 20” bass, 18” floor, 16” & 14” toms, snare. It’s honestly the best kit I’ve heard live that wasn’t a famous band. My other kit is a vintage (early 1980’s) Pearl Pakemaker kit. This kit was only sold in Japan. It’s a nine piece (but not double bass), gorgeous, gigantic, chrome kit, affectionately known as “The Terminator.” It has a 24” bass drum, 22” and 20” floor toms, 18”, 16”, 14”, 12” and 10” rack toms and a snare that I love. I currently have this kit for sale, and I’m tempted to not include the snare, but we’ll see.  I chose these kits because I fell in love with them at first sight and first stroke. I use Remo Ambassador and Evans heads on the Exports, and Remo Starfire/Starfire Pinstripe on The Terminator. Hard to get indeed. I have some “Pearl” heads just in case.
I use Vic Firth American Classic 5A nylon tip sticks and endorse Soultone Custom Cymbals…both chosen after trying everything under the sun. 5A’s were like coming home and my Soultones were like finding the sound of heaven.

Which wood shells do you prefer? 
I do not have a preference. Maybe as I become more experienced I will.

How do you describe your drumming style? 
Unconventional in ways. I’ve had people say they enjoy watching me play. I find this curious, as while drumming is visual, I’d like people to enjoy listening to me. J My style is still evolving. I’ve had to teach myself to not be a basher when I play. My first teacher told me I’m an animal. That’s really not what I was aiming for. A former bandmate helped me to develop better dynamics. I’m still somewhat of a beginner really. Overall, I’m told I’m good and that I’m badass…HA HA. I will say that is my style…badass.

Why the drums? 
I have always wanted to play the drums. It was my first instrument of choice back when I was 8 years old, but my parents told me no. Ironically, in my 40’s when I started playing, my mother told me no. I just laughed and told her she no longer has any say…and no I don’t live with them. I chose the drums not only because I always wanted to play, but because my son, who was 8 years old at the time, decided to take up the guitar. He wouldn’t practice though, so I decided to lead by example and take up an instrument that was totally alien to me. I took lessons in the same music store, at the same time as his lesson. I showed him the value of practice and what happens when you do so. Well, he quit guitar after a year and I’m still playing. (He is now a “star” trombone player in his school.) I wish I picked up a pair of sticks long ago. The challenges of independence, speed, learning new rhythms and fills is never ending. It’s such a psychological instrument.

THE BATHWATER- Pretty Vacant - The Sex Pistols Cover

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? 
Eating chocolate. Riding roller coasters around the world.

How has drumming impacted or changed your life? 
It’s brought me back into music after a long hiatus. I sang in a few bands over the years, but I could play drums every day of the week now if I wanted to. I cannot believe I get paid to play the drums. It blows my mind. With the exception of being with my family, I am happiest and most at peace when I’m behind a kit.

Is the music business your career? 
I wish it was. If I started playing when I was younger, I would have tried to make music my career.

Are you involved in the local music scene in your hometown? Yes. I play with many local musicians and in local venues. I also play out of the local area.

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? 
I don’t really have drumming influences. I have favorite drummers. I adore Gene Krupa…style, showmanship, chops. I love watching and hearing Roy Mayorga, Tre Cool has some great grooves without over playing, Shannon Larkin is killer, Joey Jordison is a tiny beast, Nicky "Topper" Headon, Dave Grohl, Chad Smith, Roger Taylor, Mick Fleetwood. Eric Carr produced my band in the 80’s, before I played drums and I was really impressed by how he could adapt his style from what he was playing in KISS to jamming some jazz and to filling in with my thrash band until we could find a female drummer. Remembering this was a true influence as I started playing and learning.

How much time do you practice? 
Not as much as I’d like or when I first started playing. I need to get back to more targeted practices rather than learning or perfecting songs. I find I play more often than I practice. I practice alone 2-4 times a week, usually for a total of around 4-8 hours. I rehearse with my bands around 7 hours a week. (plus I work 40 hours a week and raise a family.)

Describe your current gig(s): 
Everything from fairs and festivals to clubs, fund raisers/benefits, and one of my favorites-outdoor concerts.

Do you record drum videos of yourself? why? how has it helped you? 
I record videos of myself to see how I sound against original recordings (when playing covers), and more importantly, to see visuals of a number of things, including where to make technique tweaks, better kit set up, and my personal favorite – to perfect crazy drummer faces.

Do you concentrate on Chops or Grooves? 
Both and need to better concentrate on both.

Are you into electronic drums? 
No. I can’t stand them. There are a few I’ve heard that sound okay, but the cheaper ones sound like banging on plastic beach pails.

Are you a songwriter as well? 

Do you sing and play? 
Yes I do.

Drama Queen at Palisades Fair 6-25-2016

Do you prefer the studio or live gigs? 
Live gigs all the way. I’ve not toured as a drummer. I’d love to but at this time in my life it’s unrealistic.

Do you prefer being in a band (artist) or being a sideman? 
I love being in a band.

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? They all are. Every gig is an experience! This is a little gross, but funny. There was one gig where multiple bands played during the night. Bands loaded in backstage while the band before them was getting on stage and the last band got off the stage. There were only two ways out from back stage…through the load in/out door or across the stage. The door backstage was not allowed to be opened once the band on stage was playing, and courtesy was not to walk across the stage when another band was playing. I got stuck back stage for the band before mine’s set…played our set…got stuck backstage during the band after us. I never got to speak with people who came to see us. During my time back stage I needed a bathroom. It was a dive bar (I love playing dive bars). The bathroom back stage had a sign that said it was out of order. Well I HAD to go. There was no light and the room was pitch black. I used it. I don’t even know if there was water in the bowl. Couldn’t wait to shower afterwards…that didn’t happen until 8 hours later!
I once played a gig and I had forgotten to pack a snare stand. I found a folding chair that didn’t have a flat seat. It was indented to be more comfortable I guess. It worked fine as a snare stand for the show.
(folding chair for snare stand, a lot of us church kats know about this one, lol)

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there? 
Practice practice practice. Slow and steady wins the race…Skills and speed will come. Bad habits are hard to break.  Play from your heart. The best compliment I ever received was when I first started playing. An accomplished musician said he enjoyed playing with me. I told him I wished I was better. He replied, “Anyone can gain chops, learn skills. You have HEART and no one can teach that.”

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
“I’d like to thank the academy for this distinct honor.”
Thank you to my family for their support, as difficult as it can be at times...and to my amazing band mates in The Bathwater, Infinite Parallels and Hot Flashes.


Ladies and Gents, that is Rikki Woods.
She is a character! Out there getting her hustle on and playing her drums and loving it!
Thank You Rikki for sharing a little of your drum life with us. I wish you nothing but success in music but more importantly with your family.
Hey Fam, make sure you hook up with Rikki on Soc. Media and tell her I sent you and show her some love and encouragement.

Would you like to be interviewed on Talkin' Chop?
Do you know a drummer that needs some promo?
Contact me: DeHaven
or @

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