Anthony Zimmitti of The 88 drummer blogHello out there!  My name is Anthony Zimmitti and I am the drummer in The 88. I was born and raised in Van Nuys, California. Drums have been a part of my life from the time I was about two years old. My dad, Bob “Z” Zimmitti, is a studio percussionist/drummer and always made a drumset available for me to play. Thanks dad.

I was very fortunate to grow up in a musical community of very talented players. I grew with the Porcaro family and used to see Jeff Porcaro (Toto) play at the house with his brothers. I never knew how cool it really was until I was much older. Jeff is one of the best drummers ever and is a real influence to me. I was actually even in the video for Toto’s “All Us Boys” playing drums as a kid. It was a lot of fun and pretty hilarious.

I grew up with more jazz, disco, and R&B than rock and roll, so I wouldn’t call myself a true “rock drummer.” I lean more towards jazz and R&B tendencies when I’m playing. I didn’t start playing rock until I was about twenty when I met a Lynyrd Skynyrd/Jimi Hendrix–influenced southern rock guitarist from Florida. We started a band called The Sweet Tree Band, and were just a drum and guitar outfit for four years–it took us that long to find a bass player! But then we did meet one and started to play a bunch of live shows, and that’s where I really started to play more rock.

It wasn’t until I was in another LA rock band, Sunhouse/Rocket, that I started getting hip to the Beatles’ sound, which with The 88 is a very strong influence. I mean, it was obviously all around, and I recognized that The Beatles were great musicians and songwriters.  But even playing with a more “Beatles-esque” pop rock group like Sunhouse, and now with The 88, I never turned into a real Beatle-head–yet–but I do like them.

Anyways, I’d say my all-time favorite drummer is Steve Gadd. He’s done so many different things–Steely Dan, Boz Scaggs, James Taylor–he’s really a studio guy and is hands down the cat.

I love working in the studio, and The 88 just finished up our new album Not Only—But Also, which is our first major-label release. So, this time around, because we had a much bigger budget, I had access to whatever equipment I wanted. I could rent anything at all. But it turned out that I stuck with my basic setup, because I wanted the sound to roll over into the live shows, too. I didn’t want it to be a whole different sound live than it is on the record–so if it’s good enough for the road, it’s good enough for the studio.

Funny thing is, “Sons And Daughters,” my personal favorite track off Not Only—But Also, is pretty much a one-take live track as far as the drums go. “Sons And Daughters” is a real rocking song we had done original with producer Kenny Edmonds, and after we had done it we figured it was going to be on the record, but I was never happy with the drums. So I redid the drum track when we went back into the studio with our second producer Matt Wallace. Matt said “Well, let’s just get a quick reference track for Kenny’s engineer when he gets here.” He pressed record and I laid down what we thought was going to be a practice track. Usually you play it a few times and they comp to make you better than you really are–just kidding.  But when Kenny’s engineer came in and heard the reference drum track, he was all “OK, we’re done.”  It was fun.

I can’t wait to get back out on the road with the new material. The only thing is, I have carpal tunnel in my left wrist not just from drumming, but also from cycling. I had to give cycling up a few months ago to give my wrist a break. So when I’m on the road, it’s crucial for me to warm up on a practice pad and stretch out for 30—60 minutes before each show. It’s not like playing jazz or singer-songwriter stuff; it’s like jumping on a freight train from the very first song. As long as I’m warmed up, I’m good to go!

Thanks for reading!

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