“I’m a sonic chameleon,” says drummer Brian Stephens.
“Throughout my career, I’ve done so many kinds of gigs. The day before I left for a break, I did a country session during the day and in the evening played with a ska group. I can change what I do to fit any situation.”
Stephens’ r’sum’ reveals the range of gigs he has landed, everything from shows with The Drifters, The Coasters, and The Shirelles to stage productions of West Side Story and Oklahoma. Stephens is also currently working on Stand Up And Testify, a CD of all original music. “Stylistically, it’s going to be a combination of modern guitar rock, R&B/hip-hop, and jazz,” Stephens says. “It’s going to be a real departure from what most people think of as jazz music. The aim is to create a jazz album slanted toward the ‘Gen X’ demographic, something that can attract a younger crowd while not alienating older jazz enthusiasts.”
Indeed, Stephens is active and successful in a variety of music-related pursuits. Like many other drummers, he is a private instructor and a clinician. However, he’s extended his gifts as a teacher, creating and completing several other projects. He developed and released Stickin’ It Out: The Anatomy Of A Professional Drummer, Steps To Becoming A Pro, a two-CD package that covers a range of topics including goal setting, skills and repertoire, equipment, and developing a business plan. Stephens is also a writer, having penned a workbook to go with the CD, as well as articles for Modern Drummer and several other music publications. Finally, the drummer owns his own studio, where he composes, arranges, records, and produces music for commercial CDs, television, radio, and industrial films.
“At heart, I am a creative person, a player,” Stephens says, “whether I’m teaching, running the studio, or writing. I’m a musician first, no matter what role I’m playing.”
For more information on Stephens’ CD and other educational projects, go to www.brianstephens.com.