An Editor’s Overview
Hello, everyone! We’re already well into the new year, and I always like to take the opportunity around this time to thank readers, drum industry members, and everyone else who has supported Modern Drummer over the past forty-one years. Some of you will be picking up this issue at the winter National Association of Music Merchants show, the enormous gathering of dealers, manufacturer reps, and artists that takes place in Anaheim, California, each year. I’ll be at NAMM with my fellow MD staffers Mike Dawson and Miguel Monroy, and we’re all excited to check out some new gear and to thank some of you personally for your support.
This is one of life’s simple truths: The more you learn, the more you realize how much more you have to learn. Here is another simple truth: Kenny Aronoff understands this better than almost anybody. It’s a key reason he’s one of the most valued drummers that history has ever known.
In 1985, Chick Corea, who had helped usher in jazz-fusion with Miles Davis in the ’60s, introduced a completely new sound. Appropriately naming his project the Elektric Band, the keyboard legend enlisted up-and-coming drummer Dave Weckl to see how much further he could push genre boundaries.
Forty years ago he went electric with his guitar-slinging, blues-wailing childhood friend. Since then, millions of albums have been sold and as many miles traveled, and he’s still the unstoppable heartbeat of his good buddy’s band.
There’s no sleep for Mike Portnoy. He’s simply everywhere, touring and recording all year long with a variety of artists, including Transatlantic, Flying Colors, and the Winery Dogs. He even recently filled in with Twisted Sister. But at the moment Portnoy is most excited—maybe more excited than he’s ever been—about his latest effort with former Spock’s Beard multi-instrumentalist Neal Morse, The Similitude of a Dream.
Listening to the airy, floating, Baroque-style “Persephone,” the opening track from 2016’s Sorceress, one would never imagine that when Opeth was founded in Stockholm, Sweden, back in 1989, it was an out-and-out death-metal band.
The ’80s might not be anyone’s first reference point for the golden age of jazz, but a closer examination reveals wonders under the surface. Sure, traditional acoustic jazz was no longer in favor, though some of the established innovators of the ’60s and ’70s were still playing at a high level.
If you’ve ever seen Live From Daryl’s House, it’s a good bet that you’ve thought to yourself at least one time, Now that’s one gig I’d love to have. And to be sure, the enormity of performing with pop and rock’s greatest artists, in an old-school, seat-of-your-pants environment—on national television no less—is not lost on the drummer tasked with holding it all together week after week.
He hasn’t been a member of THE DAMNED for twenty years. But the impression he made on fans of the legendary British punk band was indelible. With a current documentary hipping legions of younger listeners to the wild and wonderful world of their new favorite group, the time is right for the explosive sticksman to reflect on a life spent making records and breaking rules. Superchunk/Bob Mould drummer JON WURSTER asks all the right questions.