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Archive of The Greats

  • Sam Ulano, a beloved yet controversial player and instructor who Modern Drummer readers will recognize from the many ads he ran in the magazine over the years, passed away last week, at the age of ninety-three. MD published an interview with Ulano in the September 2011 issue, which we’ve reprinted here in honor of his long career....

    Drum Instructor Sam Ulano Passes

    Sam Ulano, a beloved yet controversial player and instructor who Modern Drummer readers will recognize from the many ads he ran in the magazine over the years, passed away last week, at the age of ninety-three. MD published an interview with Ulano in the September 2011 issue, which we’ve reprinted here in honor of his long career....

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  • After changing its name from Mammoth, Van Halen strutted a glam-punk attitude when it burst onto the national scene in 1978 with its self-titled debut album. Featuring the template-smashing talent of the whammy-bar-happy, two-hand-tapping guitarist Eddie Van Halen and his percussive-dynamo brother, Alex, Van Halen the band, to many, became the obvious successor to the hard-rock crown once worn by Led Zeppelin<a href="http://www.moderndrummer.com/site/2012/02/alex-van-halen-hard-rock-archetype/">...(read more)</a>

    Alex Van Halen: The Hard-Rock Archetype

    After changing its name from Mammoth, Van Halen strutted a glam-punk attitude when it burst onto the national scene in 1978 with its self-titled debut album. Featuring the template-smashing talent of the whammy-bar-happy, two-hand-tapping guitarist Eddie Van Halen and his percussive-dynamo brother, Alex, Van Halen the band, to many, became the obvious successor to the hard-rock crown once worn by Led Zeppelin...(read more)

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  • For big band great Mel Lewis, the drums were his easy chair and the band his hearth. He was the fire.

    Mel Lewis: A Quiet Fire

    For big band great Mel Lewis, the drums were his easy chair and the band his hearth. He was the fire.

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  • Marky Ramone held the drum chair with legendary punk pioneers the Ramones longer than anyone else. But there’s much more to his story...

    Marky Ramone: Punk Legend

    Marky Ramone held the drum chair with legendary punk pioneers the Ramones longer than anyone else. But there’s much more to his story...

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  • An interview with the late, great Nashville percussionist, which originally appeared in the May 1996 issue of <i>Modern Drummer</i> magazine.

    Tom Roady: Down Home Percussionist

    An interview with the late, great Nashville percussionist, which originally appeared in the May 1996 issue of Modern Drummer magazine.

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  • An interview with post-bop master Paul Motian, which ran in the April 2005 issue of <em>Modern Drummer</em> magazine.

    Paul Motian: Embracing The Past, Forging the Future

    An interview with post-bop master Paul Motian, which ran in the April 2005 issue of Modern Drummer magazine.

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  • Billy Higgins, who would come to play on more than five hundred albums, including three of the biggest jazz crossover hits of the 1960s (Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder,” and Eddie Harris’s “Freedom Jazz Dance”), was born in 1936 and grew up in Los Angeles. He began playing drums at a very early age, influenced first and foremost by Kenny Clarke but also by non-drummers like pianist Art Tatum and saxophonist Charlie Parker.

    Billy Higgins: The Shape of Jazz

    Billy Higgins, who would come to play on more than five hundred albums, including three of the biggest jazz crossover hits of the 1960s (Herbie Hancock’s “Watermelon Man,” Lee Morgan’s “The Sidewinder,” and Eddie Harris’s “Freedom Jazz Dance”), was born in 1936 and grew up in Los Angeles. He began playing drums at a very early age, influenced first and foremost by Kenny Clarke but also by non-drummers like pianist Art Tatum and saxophonist Charlie Parker.

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  • Tony Allen, who along with vocalist/activist Fela Kuti created one of groove music’s most glorious subgenres, Afrobeat, deserves a place on the list of the greatest funk drummers of all time. For more than forty years he has been honing a distinctive style that crackles with vitality, pulsates with rhythmic wit, and pushes audiences into dance-party ecstasy.

    Tony Allen: Afrobeat Innovator

    Tony Allen, who along with vocalist/activist Fela Kuti created one of groove music’s most glorious subgenres, Afrobeat, deserves a place on the list of the greatest funk drummers of all time. For more than forty years he has been honing a distinctive style that crackles with vitality, pulsates with rhythmic wit, and pushes audiences into dance-party ecstasy.

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  • John Guerin was one of the most prolific and influential drummers of the L.A. studio scene, contributing to recordings by Frank Sinatra, the Byrds, Thelonious Monk, Lou Rawls, George Shearing, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others.

    John Guerin: All-Around Powerhouse

    John Guerin was one of the most prolific and influential drummers of the L.A. studio scene, contributing to recordings by Frank Sinatra, the Byrds, Thelonious Monk, Lou Rawls, George Shearing, Peggy Lee, Ella Fitzgerald, and many others.

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  • Clutch has been somewhat of an under-the-radar band since its formation in 1990, but to those who are aware of the Maryland-based rockers, there are few who can match their eclectic sound and locked-in groove. […]

    The Greats: Jean-Paul Gaster

    Clutch has been somewhat of an under-the-radar band since its formation in 1990, but to those who are aware of the Maryland-based rockers, there are few who can match their eclectic sound and locked-in groove. […]

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  • By injecting powerhouse drumming into a pop song context, the Knack’s late,
great skinsman helped kick start a playing style that still rules today.

    Bruce Gary:
    Controlled Bombast with the Knack

    By injecting powerhouse drumming into a pop song context, the Knack’s late, great skinsman helped kick start a playing style that still rules today.

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  • Kenney Jones’ timless drumming approach can be heard on classic albums by the Small Faces, Rod Stewart, and the Who. In 2005 <i>Modern Drummer</i> spoke to the drummer about many of his greatest performances.

    Kenney Jones: British Drumming Royalty

    Kenney Jones’ timless drumming approach can be heard on classic albums by the Small Faces, Rod Stewart, and the Who. In 2005 Modern Drummer spoke to the drummer about many of his greatest performances.

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  • Chris Adler, drummer for metal megastars Lamb of God, has a voice and approach all his own, yet he didn’t even begin to play drums seriously until he was already in his twenties. He did, however, grow up studying piano, saxophone, and acoustic guitar before finally settling on playing bass for several high school bands and other projects...

    Chris Adler: Lamb of God’s Uniquely Heavy Drum Star

    Chris Adler, drummer for metal megastars Lamb of God, has a voice and approach all his own, yet he didn’t even begin to play drums seriously until he was already in his twenties. He did, however, grow up studying piano, saxophone, and acoustic guitar before finally settling on playing bass for several high school bands and other projects...

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  • The term “world music” wasn’t invented specifically for Airto Moreira, but it might as well have been. As a percussionist/drummer in his native Brazil in the mid-’60s, Airto was recognized as a leading cutting-edge figure, mixing jazz and Brazilian ethnic music in a profound setting with multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal...

    Airto Moreira: World Traveler of the Highest Order

    The term “world music” wasn’t invented specifically for Airto Moreira, but it might as well have been. As a percussionist/drummer in his native Brazil in the mid-’60s, Airto was recognized as a leading cutting-edge figure, mixing jazz and Brazilian ethnic music in a profound setting with multi-instrumentalist Hermeto Pascoal...

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  • Few players have come close to the level of unpredictability and invention that Keith Moon exhibited between 1964 and 1978, when he manned the drumset behind the grandest, loudest band of rock’s golden age, the […]

    Keith Moon: The One And Only

    Few players have come close to the level of unpredictability and invention that Keith Moon exhibited between 1964 and 1978, when he manned the drumset behind the grandest, loudest band of rock’s golden age, the […]

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  •  June 14 would have been the seventy-seventh birthday of Motown great Uriel Jones, who died on March 24, 2009. MD spoke with Uriel shortly before his passing. We’re reprinting his interview here. (read more)

    Uriel Jones: Architect of the Motown Sound

    June 14 would have been the seventy-seventh birthday of Motown great Uriel Jones, who died on March 24, 2009. MD spoke with Uriel shortly before his passing. We’re reprinting his interview here. (read more)

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  • When many musicians and fans think about no-nonsense, rock-solid, play-for-the-song drumming, the first name that comes to mind is Phil Rudd.

    Phil Rudd: The Very Definition of Rock Drumming

    When many musicians and fans think about no-nonsense, rock-solid, play-for-the-song drumming, the first name that comes to mind is Phil Rudd.

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  • Roy Burns has done it all—and done it well. He’s held the throne of numerous big bands. He’s established himself as an in-demand studio player, teacher, and clinician. He’s written numerous drum instructionals. And he’s […]

    Roy Burns: Swing Star, Clinic Pioneer, Entrepreneur, And Beyond

    Roy Burns has done it all—and done it well. He’s held the throne of numerous big bands. He’s established himself as an in-demand studio player, teacher, and clinician. He’s written numerous drum instructionals. And he’s […]

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