Hello, out there, my name is Nick Gimiliano and I am very honored to be asked to contribute to Modern Drummer‘s blogs. I have been the house drummer on PBS’s American Soundtrack series and most recently on the My Music series.
These concerts have given me the unique opportunity to play a wide variety of music with the original artists who had hits back in the day, such as Patti Labelle, The McGuire Sisters, Jerry Butler, Jerry Vale, Eddie Floyd, Crystal Gale, The 4 Aces, and Rick Derringer–over 200 artists. Who would of thought, as a fourteen-year-old just starting out, sitting in my basement and playing along with Billy Stewart’s “Summertime,” or The Essential Gene Krupa, plus all my 45’s, that some day I’d actually be playing behind the names on these records. It’s pretty cool!
My advice to any young drummers who may find they’re playing a show behind acts they’ve never backed before, would be to do your homework and listen to the originals very carefully. Too many times we listen superficially, thinking this song is just another 12/8 ballad or that one is just another shuffle. A lot of fine studio musicians recorded that music, so listen carefully and learn the nuances. Write accurate drum charts, and don’t leave anything to memory–especially if, like myself, you are performing up to thirty or so tunes in one day. And be ready physically. You have to be able to put as much energy into the last tune of the day at 1:00 A.M. as you did the first tune at 7:00 P.M., not to mention the six-hour rehearsal that started at 10:00 that morning.
My regular band in town is Pure Gold–a fine collection of great singers and players. I also play timbales for A.L.O. (The American Latin Orchestra), plus the usual jazz and lounge gigs, and whatever else comes along. I also give private lessons on drums, piano, and guitar, and I teach at Drumworld in Castle Shannon, Pennsylvania. I’d like to give a big thank-you and shout-out to Derek W. from Pearl and Billy A. from Modern Drummer. If you get a minute, visit me at www.nickpbsdrums.com or email me at [email protected].