The cool world of drumming by Menzie Pittman

The cool world of drumming

There are so many cool experiences in this life time… not your everyday mundane stuff: we are talkin’ cool… and drumming is one of the coolest.

Drumming is musical, while at the same time very physical. It brings music to life; it puts air in the notes… It’s primal, and I love it!

There are so many great drummers. A world of people who have this crazy passion in common. There are the “obvious” names: Buddy Rich, Steve Gadd, Bernard Purity, Vinnie Colaiuta, and Denis Chambers, Neil Peart etc… and now there is a new breed such as Keith Carlock. I could list hundreds of great drummers and there are some you wouldn’t recognize, but their grooves are infectious. They just have this way of playing that is unique. There is just a dash of something special in their playing.

Don’t believe me? Check out “Asia“, or “Babylon Sisters“, by Steely Dan, or an old (live) James Brown record. Grab onto the original version of “Hard to Handle” by Otis Reading. Maybe some Sly and the Family Stone, or a touch of Tower of Power. If you let your guard down, this stuff will infect you like the bird flu. Of course, you could be brave and search Al Jarreau’s version of Spain with Steve Gadd, but you’re on your own here; once you start hangin’ out with monsters, I can’t be responsible. It could change your life, so be careful.

You could also search any of the greats and see what they are doing now, or read what they think is great drumming. They are all doin’ it, and doin’ it to death.

There are also great players that have come from the Washington area. Timmy Biery, Bruce Guttridge, Vince Santoro, John Molo, and Robbie Magruder, to name only a few. Vince, Tim and Bruce are in Nashville; Molo is in L.A. and travels with Moonalice. We also have a new breed as well; our own Dave Previ (a former student and teacher at CMC) is now at the Collective in NYC, and Nik Hughes (also a CMC student) is based in L.A. with Youngblood Hawk. Their new video release was just reviewed in Rolling Stone magazine.

Search these guys and you will see the Washington area has produced some extraordinary drummers. What a great fraternity to be part of!

There is a kindred spirit among drummers. It is an unsaid but something that just exists. If a fellow player has a spot of trouble in life, it is unspoken, yet understood that a drummer will lend the helping hand. Maybe it’s because it is such a grounded instrument, one of such soul and feel; maybe it’s just getting back to nature. Whatever it is, in my opinion, drumming is without question one of the coolest experiences you can have.

Why not join in?