Jeff Gilbert of KutlessMy name is Jeff Gilbert, and I play the drums. “No duh,” you might think, “Why else would this guy that I’ve never heard of be writing here on MD?” Well, let me tell you why you are here. It’s incredible, this society we drummers have built. I mean, back even fifteen years ago, when I started drumming, kids wanted to play for the Dodgers or the Yankees, not play an instrument. The reason I started drumming was because I was terrible at everything else! I tried all the sports, and with all the effort in my heart, constantly blew it. It’s awesome to look back now, but at the time, it was a bummer.

Another reason that I started drumming was because I was really into music as a kid. I had the record player figured out when I was still in diapers, and I would listen to records with these huge cans on my little head, bobbin’ away. I would also make fake drumkits in my room and use Lincoln Logs for sticks, jamming away like Animal on The Muppets.

I’ve been playing with Kutless since 2004, and it’s been incredible being a part of it. We’re signed to Tooth And Nail/BEC Records out of Seattle, WA, and we just released our latest record, To Know That You’re Alive, this past June. It’s been doing extremely well, so we’re really stoked for our headlining tour in the fall to support the record.

We started pre-production on the record with producer Peter Kipley (Robert Randolph, Mercy Me) at his studio in Nashville, TN. We ended up recording half of the songs in Portland, OR, at Supernatural studios, with Grammy-winning F. Reid Shippen engineering.

The next portion was recorded in San Diego, at Big Fish Studios (Switchfoot, As I lay Dying, POD, Jimmy Eat World, Blink 182). Some of my favorite drum sounds have come out of this studio, so I was thrilled to track there. Multi-platinum and multi—Grammy winning producer and engineer Steve Churchyard engineered the latter portion of the record and blew us away with his humility and knowledge. The sessions for this record were the most rewarding and memorable of my life. The songs came together flawlessly, and I had an absolute blast putting the beats down.

You know why you’re really here, because you love the drums, and so do I, so we have that common ground. Not everybody gets us, which is rad. Some guys want to hear about all the polyrhythmic theoretical science of drumming while other guys will come here just to find out how to play a straight eight. Let me be honest, I can’t read music and I have never studied under a teacher, but it turned me into the player that I have become and still becoming. I have general rules, like never owning a double kick pedal, and using minimal things on my kit to expand the sounds I already have. I play from my heart, it moves me in ways that nothing else ever has or ever will. It’s an absolute gift from God to feel that way.

I feel that my job as the drummer is to play for the melody. If you can’t just lay it deep into the pocket and sit tight and wait for your moments, then you can just keep your polyrhythmic theoretical science and be happy in your cubicle Monday through Friday. But if you learn to play for what the song is offering and pick those intense moments for that fill that you have been working on for two years, then the payoff is enormous and you’ll be booking gigs.

For all you gear-heads out there, I’ve been working closely with some companies that I really believe in and which have helped me stay in tune out on the road and in the studio. I’ve been playing Truth Custom drums (www.truth drums

.com) for six years now. If you really want gorgeous, meticulous, and sonic drums, then you are doing yourself a huge favor by checking out Truth. Pro-Mark drumsticks have the best balance, the best assortment, the strongest wood, and the best customer service for me. Remo heads added me to their roster earlier this year and are amazing people; they care about their customers, players, and sound. DW hardware, I am amazed at how well my 9000 series hardware has held up! The 5000 and 9000 pedals are the most advanced models available because they are so easy to adjust. Their whole line is insane–if you’re looking into new hardware, don’t go anywhere else.

You can check out our records on iTunes and at Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart, or just about anywhere else where you can buy a CD. Please check me out at www.kutless.com, www.exclusivekutless.com, or www.myspace.com/kutless

Thanks for checking out this blog. God Bless,

JG