MD: Hi Todd, tell me about the inspiration for the all-drummers band coming together to do the Paul McCartney song, ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’?
TS: Randy Walker, who’s a long time pal put this together. He is a drummer, producer, drum tech, tour manager among many other things. Everyone is a drummer in this video and Gregg Bissonette is on piano, Lenny Castro on percussion, Jimmy Branley on bass, Jason Hartless double drumming with me, Danny Kim on B3, Alyssa Simmons and Ken Mary on background vocals, and JK Harrison on vocals and guitar who is just killing it. JK was my co producer and writer on my record, “Last Flight Home” that came out last year. He’s also a bad ass drummer too, which was his first instrument.
MD: You recently did a Drum Solo Soundtrack for Pearl’s 75th Anniversary Video. How long have you been with Pearl and what’s your approach to creating drum solos?
TS: I’ve been with Pearl 21 years now. As for solos, music is always the notion that guides me. In an open solo such as this, I think of it as a song. There’s melodic and rhythmic themes or motifs. Then those ideas are built upon and other related sections occur—often in a song form. So that would be the basic framework and then I try to compose ideas that work in that structure.
MD: You told us in the your last MD Podcast that all the tracks for the new Styx Album are finished, when is the album going to be released?
TS: It’s hard to say but it will hopefully happen in the summertime…some time.
MD: Which leads to is there a Styx Tour on the horizon?
TS: There always is! We had 80 dates that were wiped out in 2020. Those have to go somewhere, so once the coast is clear, we will be very busy.
MD: You have been keeping busy during the pandemic, with your Styx album, tracking for other artists, and your work with Drumeo. What tracking for an artist (that maybe our readers have not heard of), are your most proud of?
TS: I’ve been thankfully quite busy and artistically challenged over the last year. I just wrapped up a few songs for the third ‘Legacy Pilots’ record. I’m sharing drum duties with Marco Minnemann on that. The 2nd ‘Finally George’ record was just completed and it is really incredibly beautiful music. The first one I did (Finally George “Life is a Killer”) is really special as is this follow up release which will hopefully come out before the end of the year. I’m getting ready to do Neil Zaza’s next record so I’m learning that material at present. I’ve been fortunate that when I finish a project another one pops right up and so my attention has been focused on what’s ahead. Several irons in the fire and things that may or may not materialize— you never know —and I like that.
MD: If you were on a desert island, that happened to have a record player, and you had one album to listen to, what would it be?
TS: Impossible to pick one. I’d almost rather have none than one— so I could remember everything else easier!
MD: What piece of advice would you give young drummers who are striving to turn professional?
TS: Always be early (or at least on time) and be prepared. Have the right gear for the job, nail the job, and leave everyone happy that you were there.
MD: On that note, what drummers do you think young drummers should listen to and learn from?
TS: ALL the greats. Not just the handful of drummers or bands you like. Be curious, not judgmental. Know your history— the history of your instrument and know where things came from. That makes you not only a better drummer but a more interesting person that can converse with other musicians who may be better than you, more experienced than you, and you can hang in their world and learn even more from listening to them.
Check out Todd and fellow drummers in this performance of “Maybe I’m Amazed”:
And here is Todd’s performance for the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Drums:
For more info on Todd Sucherman, or to purchase his solo release of Last Flight Home visit his website: https://www.toddsucherman.com/lastflighthome.htm
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