Devendra Banhart’s Gregory Rogove : Modern Drummer
photo credit: Neil Krug

I’m Gregory Rogove, and I play drums and/or sing in few groups, including Devendra Banhart and the Grogs, Megapuss, and Priestbird. I recently finished work on a new Priestbird record that will be released a little later this year. Megapuss, which is Devendra, Fab Moretti (drummer of the Strokes), and I just started working on some new material and hope to record another album this summer.

I also just completed a solo piano record; I wrote the compositions, and I had John Medeski of Medeski, Martin, and Wood perform them for the recording. It was an honor to work with such an incredible musical voice. A few days ago I finished a short run in the middle of a yearlong tour in support of a new Devendra Banhart and the Grogs record, What Will We Be. We pick up the tour again in Europe for the summer festivals.

But all of that is rather bleak in spirit in comparison to art of soloing. Soloing has not been a large part of my oeuvre to date; however, I’ve recently developed an interest in improving this side of my craft.

Now, soloing usually implies an improvisatory exploration or statement; however, solos can be composed or at least somewhat premeditated as well. Regardless of how you approach a solo, one thing that sticks in my mind about this aspect of drumming is the story. Billy Martin, a hero and instructor of mine, taught me to always tell a story when soloing. It can be about anything; it can be about something profound such as losing a close friend or falling in love, or about something mundane like doing the laundry. It is not necessary that the story be complex or exhibit your technical prowess. It’s more important to make it honest and unique. You are the storyteller, and only you can tell your story your way.

In honor of this bit of sage advice from Mr. Martin, I made a short video during this past tour of a few friends telling their stories. You’ll see virginal drum solos by Devendra Banhart, Rodrigo Amarante (Los Hermanos, Little Joy), Noah Georgeson (producer of Joanna Newsome, Devendra, Little Joy), Luckey Remington, Binki Shapirio (Little Joy), Matt Stein (Nudist Priest, Ape Has Killed Ape), Aram Goldberg, and Fabrizio Moretti (The Strokes, Little Joy). Good luck to you all.

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