An Editor’s Overview
Being an employable drummer in 2018 carries more demands than it did in 1918, especially when it comes to melding live performances with the variety of A/V technology being used by most pop, rock, and R&B artists these days. And that applies not just to full-time touring professionals, like this month’s featured players Eric Hernandez (Bruno Mars), Rico Nichols (Kendrick Lamar), and Courtney Diedrick (Damian Marley), but also to those of us gigging on a more local/regional level with Top-40 wedding bands, electronic-inspired indie projects, club acts, or theater productions.
By now most fans know that Eric Hernandez is not only Bruno Mars’ drummer, he’s also his brother. A pretty good player himself, Bruno tells MD, “I wouldn’t consider myself a drummer; my brother has always been a better one than me. We’ve been playing music since we were kids, and when I would venture off into other things, he’d keep on practicing his instrument. He’ll always have that over me—but in all honesty, I wouldn’t want anyone else playing for me.
Bon Jovi already had on board keyboardist David Bryan and bassist Alec John Such, veterans of the fertile New Jersey music scene. When Such told him that he knew “the baddest-ass drummer in the land,” it didn’t take long for Jon to convince the rock-solid drummer Tico Torres to give up his established career with the Jersey group Franke and the Knockouts—who had a top-ten hit in ’81 with “Sweetheart”—to join him in his new venture.
For most musicians, the idea of playing with Pulitzer- and Grammy Award-winning superstar Kendrick Lamar would be a lesson in surviving the hot seat: an endless tour of stadium concerts and television shows, and globe-trotting, sleep-deprived, eye-of-the-hurricane schedules. Talk about pressure! But twenty-five-year-old Tony “Rico” Nichols lets it all roll off his back like seawater off a seal.
On the touring front, the modern metal titan and his bandmates are spanning the globe on Slayer’s final world tour. Meanwhile, on the new Legion: XX album, released under their original moniker, Burn the Priest, Adler and company have rekindled the songs that made them want to rock in the first place.
Photos from Slayer's final world tour.
It might have been a chance encounter that led to his working with one of reggae’s biggest stars. But his skills are no accident—a highly developed musical sensitivity and copious practice time made him the drummer he is today.
On tour with the indie/alternative/pop act Børns, Kristen Gleeson-Prata translates heavily produced and electronics-infused recorded drum parts onto the live stage. Here the drummer explains her approach and invites a few drumming colleagues to weigh in with their own perspectives on the process.
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