Thursday, July 21, 2016

Volume 42 - Myron Carlos

Myron Carlos


All aboard! It's time to take a vacation to Paradise.
That's were heading to Maui, Hawaii.
As you can imagine a land rich with a musical culture, heavily involving drums, it's no mistake that we would get to some drummers from this beautiful place.
I met Myron through another connection via Facebook, and so our "drumship" (is that a thing?) began.
As you know, I dig having educators on the Chop. They give different perspectives and remind us of how important it is to going and growing. Myron has been growing some of his own drummers in Maui and has an extensive background in music and teaching. Now with the age of YouTube, he has jumped in full throttle and is still reaching those who want to learn.  So let's enjoy the palm trees, tropical drinks, roasted pig and some drums with our host Myron Carlos, right here on Talkin' Chop.(who know's we might get lei'd)

Name or Stage Name: Myron Carlos (Xymbalreborn)

Where are you from? Maui, Hawaii

How long have you been playing? 28 years

What is or are your main genre of playing? 
Virtually all but for argument's sake: pop, rock and metal. I'll be honest though, certain Latin rhythms and fantasy metal give me a hard time.  Soloing is weird for me too.

How did you get where you are now? 
I started getting into music in elementary school. Decided to take drum lessons. Joined the intermediate school band and just kept going. Ended up enjoying music so much, I decided to make a career to inspire others to reap the benefits of music.

What are your goals, short & long term? 
I plan to continue teaching and putting up drum videos unless of course, I get recruited into a drumming gig that pays well.  Haha!

You talk about wanting to be a "rock star" back in the day, what did or does that mean to you? 
I use the term "rock star" synonymously with "doing your best".  "Rock star student", "Rock star teacher", "Rock star dad".....It's something I use to describe doing what you have to or need to do to the best of your ability with the resources you have.

Were you in a lot of bands before you started teaching? 
Aside from school bands and playing at the University of Hawaii at Manoa bands, I think I've been in about a dozen bands or so.  Not even playing drums for some of them.  I've been in bands where I've been on guitar, bass, ukulele, keyboard....even singing.  The thing about the bands that I've been in though is that we actually HAD gigs to play.  Never joined a band "just because".  They've been bands that just needed someone to play (whatever) and I fit the bill.  I played in a band with George Kahumoku Jr. (3 time Grammy Award winner) for a bit where I started on drums, moved to guitar, ukulele, bass and eventually ended up singing some tunes.  It was interesting!

What or who was the artists you wanted to play for back in the day? 
As a kid, I would have loved to drum for Metallica or Motley Crue.  As I got older, I fancied the idea for playing for one of those late night show bands.  Recently, I actually contacted the management for Avenged Sevenfold (when Arin left) to see if they were looking.  Got an email back from them saying that they had someone they've been working with.

Myron w/ James Hetfield of Metallica

"Without You" by Mötley Crüe Motley Crue Drum Cover

How do you describe your drumming style? 
Eclectic I suppose.  Since I've been mainly doing covers, I try to do a little of everything (even though most requests are for pop, rock and metal).  I think it has something to do with being a band and choir director and music teacher.  We've been exposed to EVERY type of music you've heard of (and some you haven' me, some are completely off the wall) and it's kind of bled into my style.  In any given concert season, I'd have my Marching Band doing a pop show, an English Madrigal with the Choir, Big Band with the Jazz Band, a multi-metered contemporary composition with the Concert Band all while studying a bunch of songs to cover on my free time.  My mind is a mess of sounds.  Haha!

What was the motivation to become an educator in music and drums? 
Believe it or not, I was planning on being an Architect or Civil Engineer (like my father) up until my senior year in high school.  It was actually my dad who convinced me to look into studying music.  Even then, I was thinking of going into music composition.  Music education wasn't something I thought about until my second year in college. I helped out a friend's drumline (he was a high school music teacher at the time) and I really enjoyed seeing the progress the students made and knowing that I helped them with that. Besides, the odds of becoming a half decent composer seemed as  good as dropping out of school to become a rock star and I at least wanted to get a degree.  I also remembered having some really (I wouldn't say "bad") teachers but I thought it was appalling that some of these yahoos were actually TEACHING kids.  Kids (society in general) deserve better than that.  

You have really accomplished a lot in this field. Did you ever think you would make such an impact? 
I'm humbled!  To be completely honest, I'm not quite sure how much of an impact I've made.  I know of some students that went on and continued in music and many that still perform in their respective communities.  

There is a long list of your accomplishments but can you name a few that stand out to you? 
Difficult to say but one of the most unique experiences I'd have to say is assisting with the Mick Fleetwood instructional video.  The producer is from Vegas and we connected on Craigslist (of all places) after a student of mine at the time forwarded me the link.  He was looking for someone who knew drumming that could help verify some of the info Mick would talk about.  Basically, steer the conversation from "rock star talk" into using "musical layman's terms".  Funny story....During one of the breaks, Mick and I went to the restroom and we were talking about where we live.  I've known for years where he lives.  He lives right down the street from me and my mother (a seamstress) occasionally tailors some of his clothes.  I mean, here I am, using the restroom with one of the world's most famous drummers and we're talking about how nice the weather is where we live.
Myron w/ Mick Fleetwood

Can you share some of your core principles you give your students?  
It varies from moment to moment but in general I hope that students come out of studying music with an appreciation of the art, learn and work on a skill, learn to communicate, learn to work together for the betterment of the whole and pride for their craft and school and community.  You'll probably get different answers from them though.  Haha!  

Do you have the time to do any gigs? If so, what kind of gigs are you doing? 
I've tried to.  It's tough.  Running a full fledged school music program with 200 to 260 students, wife, 3 kids and finding some time for myself leaves me with little time to gig.  I can do sit in things but I cannot commit to repetitive entire group practices.  Give me the sheet music or track to practice along to (the earlier the better), have an hour or two long rehearsal as a group and do the gig.  A lot of musicians I find find think that MORE entire ensemble practice makes you better when in actuality, QUALITY practice makes you better.  You get QUALITY ensemble rehearsals from focused practice by yourself first.  I can't tell you how much it bothers me (as a director or a performer) when we do the same thing over and over again because someone hasn't worked on their part on their own time that we have to waste group time to do it.

How would you describe the music scene in Hawaii? 
It's different from island to island.  Hawaiian music and reggae is huge all over the state.  Cover bands are particularly popular. Even then, it's usually a straight up cover or a reggafied version. There are way more "diverse" opportunities on Oahu.  Oahu is comparable to most other big cities on the mainland (rock, ska, jazz, theater), just smaller in scale and with a whole lot more "local music" gigs.  Even the Hard Rock on Maui has more reggae bands performing than rock or metal (if any).  We don't have much concerts like on the mainland.  It's the cost of travel that shy many acts away.  If anything, Oahu gets a few big names here and then, Maui gets a lot of the classic rock acts from the 70's and 80's, even less acts on the other islands.

"Stitches" by Shawn Mendes Drum Cover

Do you get a chance to see any of your students in action, on their gigs?
I have.  It's kind of fun seeing them "put on the act".  I had students some years ago perform at our local Hard Rock for some competition.  All covers of rock and metal songs.  A lot of my other students are restaurant musicians too (guitar or ukulele during dinner at a restaurant).  Besides that, Youtube has been the only way I can see some of my other former students perform (many of them move off the island).

With the string of cultural influence in HI, do you see a difference in the drumming style there versus what happens here on the mainland?
Not so much in the world of drumming. The internet seems to have "streamlined" drumming in general worldwide.  Other forms of art and music is a different story.

Do you have a “Dream Kit”?  
I like my current kit setup but would change some things around and add more to it.  I am really happy with my endorsers. I could use a few more crashes, splashes and stacks.  I really would like a set of trigger pads for sound effects and bass drops. I don't have a drum endorsement but I really like Tama.  I'd like to have smaller and shorter toms and slightly larger bass drums.  Maybe add a couple more smaller bass drums (tuned differently) and a popcorn snare or two. Definitely add a set of octoban type drums.

Why did you choose the drums? 
Tommy Lee.  It was the stick twirling that hooked me in.  I've always had guitars around the house as a kid (my father played a little) but I never had the patience at the time to learn.  Tuning was the hardest part.  I had the right fingers in the right places but my ears weren't good at tuning (again, I was a ears are MUCH better now) so I got frustrated easily.  Decided to put my guitar hero dreams to the side and play the drums instead.

Myron's Gear List:

Tama Rockstar DX 1990
14" Snare, 10" Tom, 12" Tom, 13" Tom, 16" Floor Tom, 

22" Bass (2) 

Pearl Concert Toms
6" 8" 10” 12" 

Cymbals  Endorsement 
22" Extreme Ride, 18" Extreme Crash, 16" Extreme Crash
10" Extreme Splash, 6" Extreme Splash, 18" Extreme China
14" Extreme Hi Hats, 13" Gospel Hi Hats, 16" FXO6 China
6" FX Bell, 12" Extreme China/14" FXO6 Stack

Sticks Endorsement
SilverFox 1A 

Drumheads Endorsement
Snare: Black X top; Black Suede Snare Side resonant
Toms: Clear Pinstripe top ; Starfire Chrome resonant
Bass: Clear Powersonic top with Remo Falam Slam Padstop; Starfire
Chrome resonant
Concert Toms: Clear Ambassador

Hardware Endorsement
Gibraltar Custom Rack

Roc N Soc Drum Throne

Gibraltar Intruder 9611DD Direct Drive Single Pedal (2)
Gibraltar 9607NL

LD Liquid Drive No Leg Hi-Hat Stand

Vic Firth SIH1 Stereo Isolation Drummer’s 


LP Black Beauty Cowbell, LP Red Jam Block, 

Unknown Cowbell 

Audio Endorsement
Samson R21 Vocal/Recording Microphones
Samson C02 Pencil Condenser Microphones
Samson TXM16 Tabletop Powered Mixer

Samsung RF511 Laptop
Sony Vegas Pro 11 (software)

Accessories Endorsement
Cympad cymbal pads
Footwear: Endorsement
Keen A86 TR in Gargoyle/Super Lemon

If you weren’t playing drums and teaching, what would you be doing?
If I stuck to my original plan as a kid, I'd probably be an architect or civil engineer.  If I knew it was a possibility when I was in high school, maybe something in video game development

How has drumming impacted or changed your life?
It's pretty much paved my life thus far.  If I didn't get into drumming, I would have never: gotten into music, join my school bands, meet my future wife, have three beautiful kids, got a job that can support my family and hobbies.  

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why?
Ooh....that's tough....If it were JUST drummers:
Tommy Lee - Theatrics got me hooked.  I learned how to twirl sticks way before I even sat behind a kit.
Lars Ulrich - Say what you will about the guy but we all had a gateway drug to something bigger. It was all about the sextuplet bass drum part in "One".  We didn't have Youtube back then and Metallica was accessible back in the day.  I mean, the word "Metal" was in their name afterall! He did EXACTLY what a thrash metal drummer should more, no less (let's forget for a second his choice of snare sound from St. Anger).  He (that entire band for that matter) is basically the "template" for metal.
Mike Portnoy - I actually didn't hear of him until college.  I realized that he and I had similar interpretations on fills and patterns.  I never thought too highly of my technique to be honest because it's something I thought I made up.  It was like a mix of Lars meets hip-hop.  It was just 5 years ago or so that we both abused linear fills.  Even the term: "linear fill" was something I just learned about recently. Always learning I suppose.
All funk drummers - It's just rock but displace a few things an eight note or sixteenth note away....GENIUS!  There are too many to name but just about every funk band's drummer had aspects of their playing that was so unique that I loved emulating it.
Drumlines - Not the movie (don't get me started).  Marching drumlines.  Real, legit drumlines from all over the world.  I was first exposed to drumlines late in my life (Maui [school] bands never had the enrollment numbers for large drumlines and Youtube then).  Not just their show music either.  Great drumlines can grab your attention from a simple 8 on a hand warm up.  Us UH (University of Hawaii) drumline guys used to watch bootleg dubs of Drum Corps International (DCI) drumlines.  In fact, our captain used to march Santa Clara Vanguard.  Then when Youtube came around, I got to watching more and more college lines, high school lines, lines from Europe, even lines from Japan made up of 7 year old kids.

"Man in the Box" by Alice in Chains Drum Cover

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding?
Sadly, I've only been to a handful of legit "concerts" with a big name artist.  Like I's Hawaii.  What I actually watched a lot as a kid though was the 2 volume Metallica video set: "A Year and a Half in the Life of....".  Hey man, you gotta get fired up with what you have to work with.

How much time do you practice?
I actually don't practice a lot the way I'm supposed to.  Since my playing nowadays are just to other songs, I just try to get the basic blue print of a song and play along to it until I get the sections set in my head.  A lot of the times I mess around behind my kit between classes or while the students are setting up for class.

What types of things do you work on, in those sessions?
Aside from figuring out a songs form, I did actually try for a couple of months to develop my foot speed while still maintaining a relatively strong punch (fantasy metal).  Used a metronome and slowly increased the tempo, taking rests when needed.

You record drum videos, for education purposes but have you been able to use them as a tool for yourself? What do you learn from your own videos?
I learn that I do the "same tricks".  I'm pretty predictable.  Even some of my students can tell if it's me playing from outside the bandroom.  I've been trying to watch other drummers online to see what I could "steal" from them.  I've also learned A LOT about recording drums and editing tracks.  That's something I realized on accident.  Cardioid vs. Condenser mics; polar patterns; phantom power; mic placement; EQ.....I've gained an enormous amount of respect for audio engineers!

"Ex's and Oh's" by Elle King Drum Cover

Are you doing any studio sessions?
Currently, no.  Just things for myself and my current and former students.  

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us?
The converstion I had with Mick Fleetwood is pretty high up there!  Actually, I was in a band and we had a gig at a bar.  It was on a Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving).  The night before, I was out shopping with my wife until sunrise and we had a setup around lunch.  The gig was after dinner.  Mind you, all the shopping and the gig is about an hour drive away from home so I was completely wiped.  I must have driven over 100 miles that day going back and forth from home.  At the gig, there was about 10 people total including the bar staff.  We felt like we were set up for a bad turnout.  

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
Have fun but do take time to learn your craft and hone your skills.  Don't necessarily try to be better than the next different.  If you have nothing unique to bring to the table, what use are you?  A lot of drummers say that they're "rock drummers" or "jazz drummers" or "orchestral percussionists" or "drumline guys"....what have you.  Don't be THAT guy.  Be all of them. Be more than all of them.  "I can groove but not read music"..."I can read music but not groove"...blah, blah, BOTH.  Since when was it wrong for a drummer to play a wind instrument, or learn to sing, or learn to dance?  Be more than a "one trick pony".  

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s???
Thank YOU for giving me the opportunity to share some of my thoughts!  Much mahalo to my family for their support and letting me do what I do and to my students (former and current) who join me on this road of learning life though music education and performance. Finally, thank you to the online friends that keep watching those vids!

Big MAHALO to our new friend Myron Carlos.
He's doing some great work in Maui and I'm sure his students appreciate his efforts to make them better.
U really dig his versatility and attitude for the craft. Myron is definitely a drummer who works hard and is making an impression, whether in a classroom or using a drum video.
Keep It Strong my friend!


Hey drummers, there are always spots available for interviews. Do you have a band that needs some extra promo or maybe your doing some kool drum videos or your a weekend warrior...makes no difference.
Hit me up and let's share your drum life.

DeHaven -

#DrummersSupportDrummers  #TalkinChop  #DrumLife


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