Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Volume 68 - Tim Penska


Once again, I bring you another drummer from the Pittsburgh, PA area. It's such a kool thing to come across all of these players from all over the country and the world. You never know what you're gonna get.  So, that brings me to our guest for this edition of TC. A kat who's doing some kool music with his band and working hard around town and the region. This is a resilient drummer, who has had some speed bumps in his path but still has the burn to play and create some great art. So let's get down to business and get in to some Trucker Rock with Tim Penska. 


Name or Stage Name:
Tim Penska 

Where are you from? 

How long have you been playing? 
30 years and counting

How did you get started playing drums?
My dad was a drummer turned bassist and when I was like 5 or 6 and I would tell him how I always wanted to play drums. He had a pair of sticks laying around, they were JoJo sticks. Can't believe I remembered that after all these years. But, I would pound on anything with them from magazines to Tupperware.

How do you describe your drumming style?
I'm a metal head at heart and that influence totally shines through with almost anything I do. I also like to have an actual groove to my playing. Once I find that perfect tempo and groove for a song I then tastefully throw in some double bass patterns. 

What are your aspirations for your drumming career? 
I would like at some point be either a studio drummer or a touring drummer. It doesn't really matter as long as I'm playing. 

Your in a band called East Coast Turnaround, how did that come about? 
Well I was actually went to school and were friends with the singer and bassist. They would come out and see some of my other bands before they started ECT. I had just quit a band and their drummer was on his way out. So I was asked to try out and if worse came to worse at least we got to jam together. My first show show was for a Pittsburgh 
Pirates block party. I got the call the day of to play. That was 8 years ago. 

East Coast Turnaround - "Where's My Sunshine" (official video)

Describe "Trucker Rock": 
It's a mixture of Rock, Blues, Outlaw Country and metal. And some how it just works. That name was actually coined by a fan trying to describe us. 
What's the writing process with the band? Are you one of the songwriters?
The process we have is that the singer/guitarist starts with a a lyric. He then puts its to a melody and then to music. Other times the music comes first but. It very often. From there the other guys will add an idea that they had or a riff they came up right there on the spot. I'm not so much a writer but I have been known to come with things a time or two. I'm more the arranging side. I like things to flow naturally. That's definitely my forte.

Is there an overall theme for the bands music? What types of things do you guys like to write about?
The theme of the bands music is a Trucker Rock / Outlaw Country vibe mixed with blues.
The things we write about extend from drugs,alcohol, to cars, daily life, dying, taking what's yours, amongst other things. It boils down to nothing is off limits really. It's the way art should be.
So, what's the scene like in your hometown? 
The scene is actually decent around Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas. National acts come through a good bit and a local band usually has a great chance to open up for them. There are bands that play 2 to 3 times a week and some that play 2 times a month and anywhere in between. Definitely no shortage of venues. 

You guys do any touring?
We're doing the regional circuit right now in the Winter. When Summer comes that's when we go to upstate PA and get a show or two near central and eastern PA 

You played the CMA Fanfest, what was that experience like? 
It is music overload, lol. We did 2 days of music showcases The first time we were there and it was just crazy fun. From the traveling to playing to going out and about Nashville. It was a blast. Nashville is one of my favorite cities for music. 

Are you guys working on a new album project?
We are always working on material. I believe we have 3 to 4 songs completed so far. We are taking our time with the material this time around. Every now and then if people are at our shows early enough they can catch us sound checking with one of the new songs or new ideas we're just kicking around. 

East Coast Turnaround - "Say Yeah"

Describe your current set up & gear - heads and sticks…ect:
I am currently using a PDP X7 maple. Sizes are 8", 10", 12", 14", 16", 22" and a 14" snare. Sometimes I'll substitute the stock snare for my Yamaha Maple Custom or my Pearl Piccolo. My kick drum is fitted with a
SledgePad and The Kelly Shu System. I'm currently rocking Evans drumheads. They can take a beating literally and figuratively. For sticks I use CooperGroove 5B dipped. I currently use the Tama Speed Cobra bass drum pedal and the Speed Cobra Hi hat pedal. My stands are a mixture of PDP and Pearl. The cymbals I use may surprise some people
but I actually use Wuhan cymbals. I have two 14" crashes, two 16" crashes, 20" ride, 14" hi hat, 10" splash, 12" china and 18" china.  And I'm usually wearing something from Pray With Drums

How did you get drawn in to playing Wuhan cymbals? That is not something we see everyday
People are always shocked when they come up to me, ask about my cymbals and find out they're Wuhan. I was looking for a cymbal that would just cut through any live show situation. I've played all the major brands and they just didn't please my ears. I was seeing a lot of people loving the Wuhan China cymbals so I decided to try out their crashes, hi hats and splashes. They sounded like they were already EQed and they have a very bright sound. Those two things sold me on them. I've been using them for 8 years now and and even though they are a thin cymbal they have actually held up over the years. It's probably due to them being so bright you don't have to hit hard to project.

You're playing CooperGroove Sticks, how do you like them?
They are amazing! I kept on getting hand cramps towards the end of my shows because I found myself gripping my sticks harder to keep from slipping. One of the drummer groups I belong to Carlo Cooper (owner/inventor of CooperGroove) was posting about these sticks that had grooves cut into the stick. Me and him started chatting about them and he asked if I wanted to try them out. When I received the sticks I took them to my first show and I started warming up with them. The amount of relaxation that came through my hands was amazing. Even when I switched over to a regular stick that same relaxation carried over. From that point on I was fan. The durability these sticks have is insane as well. I have a pair of sticks from last year that I'm still using at shows and when I'm practicing.

Another thing that is great about these sticks is when I had my stroke I lost the use of my right side temporarily. Building the ability to use my hand was a struggle. I was doing hand exercises to building LEGO sets. My grip was completely gone. They were the only sticks I could grip at the time were my CooperGroove marching sticks. With the physical and occupational therapy going on, in between those days I would grab my CooperGroove marching sticks and start practicing rudiments. The grooves kept the sticks from slipping out which was encouraging. I have regular marching sticks as well but they were discouraging because I couldn't grip them hard enough to keep them from slipping. CooperGroove sticks gave me the determination to keep going. I honestly think if I didn't have those sticks I wouldn't of bounced back as quick as I did.
They definitely have a special place in my heart.

Do you have a “Dream Kit”? 

I do and it would just stay home. It would consist of 27 drums. An 11 piece kit with two sets of 8 octobans. Cymbals count is yet to be determined. 

If you weren’t playing drums, what would you be doing? 
I'd like to think i would still be doing something in or with music. Maybe a Producer/Engineer or maybe a Manager. 

Name 5 of your drumming influences? why? 
Dave Lomabardo from Slayer. I never heard anything like what he was doing. To be able to go that quick and be that precise it was just mind blowing. 
Mitch Mitchell from Jimi Hendrix Experience. The organized chaos of what he did was awesome. 
Ringo Starr from The Beatles. His in the pocket playing and just playing what needed to be played no matter how simple was an eye opener. 
Mike Portnoy from Dream Theater. All the odd time signatures that he can play and process. It was a "You can do that?" moment for me and it was something I had to dabble in. 
Tim Alexander from Primus. That guy is a beast on the drums. His technical side of things is what I really dug about him.
I'm throwing in a bonus: Johnny Kelly from Type O Negative. Just an all around solid player. If you want a tempo work out I suggest picking up an album and have fun playing slow to playing fast. 

Name an inspiring concert that made you want to go home and start shedding? 
There isn't just one concert that I've been to that makes me inspired. Every concert I attend I take something away from it. From Eddie Money to Suffocation there's always something that just sticks with me and pushes me to be a better drummer.

How much time do you practice?
Around 2 hours a day. I just bring up something that I heard on Pandora, Spotify or Youtube that interested me and just go to town. I just rediscovered Coal Chamber and just heard an old Hank III song. So that's what I'll play along to. 

What types of things do you work on, in those sessions? 
Lately I've been focusing on strength, stamina, slower and faster tempos. 

Do you record drum videos of yourself? if so, how has it helped you?
I think I have just 2 or 3 that I did. It was more for how my drums sounded. Some venues we'd get a video of the performance or fans will post live footage and I go through it see to if I did something cringe worthy that I can change or if I did something that I liked or an idea that I liked but wasn't quite there and refine it.

Do you have a crazy or interesting gig you can share with us? 
One year we played outside down in Ocean City, Maryland. We were an hour and a half into our set and a tornado touched down about 2 miles away from us. It was pretty crazy to think how close we were to danger.

What are your words of wisdom for your fellow drummers out there?
Never give up your dream and learn as many different styles as you can.

Last Words, Links, Hashtags and Thank You’s??? 
Visit East Coast Turnaround at: Our FaceBook and Twitter pages are there to follow. 

My drum page: 

I would like to thank my wife, kids, parents, friends and the fans for their support. 
My sponsors Jeffery Kelly, Carlo Cooper, Mike and Michelle Vermillion 
and Jeffrey J. Neal for having faith in me. And thanks to DeHaven for the interview.


Hey Tim, thx so much for taking the time to share your story and your drum life. And thx for exposing us to Trucker Rock. Kool band and great drumming man. I wish you and the band nothing but success.

I hope you all enjoyed this interview and show some love to Tim. Make sure you visit Tim's pages and drop a "hello" on him. Check out more of the bands music and support Indie Artists!

If you or someone you know would like to be interviewed and help promote their situation and for free...hit me up!

DeHaven -

I would like to thank all of my supporters and drum companies...

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