February 2020 Issue – Volume 44 • Number 2


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Articles in February 2020

Sabian HHX Complex Series

Dark and rich cymbals for fast, explosive attack and short, sweet sustain. The HH series is Canadian manufacturer Sabian’s original recipe for the classic hand-hammered Turkish cymbal sound, which the company has a direct connection to via founder Robert Zildjian.…

by Michael Dawson
Dec 27, 2019

The Power of Silence

The Tasteful Drummer’s Secret Weapon As drummers, we spend so much time developing technique, expanding our musical vocabulary, and obsessing over the components of our drumset. All of that is important and essential for playing the instrument well. But it’s…

by Dylan Wissing
Dec 27, 2019

New Releases by Bright Dog Red, Leprous, Gold Dime, and More

RECORDINGS Bright Dog Red How’s by You? Jazz that draws on psychedelic, electronic soundscapes, improvised hip-hop, funk, and more. On their second album, the Albany, New York, collective Bright Dog Red presents a seamless blend of seemingly disparate influences, creating…

Modern Drummer
Dec 27, 2019

Mapex Black Panther

Design Lab Versatus System Reimagining every element of the drumset to maximize tone and versatility. The Design Lab is what Mapex dubbed its group of drummers, engineers, and designers who contributed ideas and opinions on ways in which the drumset…

By Michael Dawson
Dec 27, 2019

Improvising with Flams

Three Ways to Develop a Creative Flow with Basic Rudiments Improvising is a spontaneous compositional process. As drummers, we can rely on conceptual techniques like theme and variation to change and develop what we play in the moment. Presented in…

by Mike Alfieri
Dec 27, 2019

Chris Vatalaro—Man on the Move

Saying that the world is his stage doesn’t come close to describing the drummer’s career. The New York-bred, London-based player is like a musical, modern-day James Bond, globe-trotting from country to country while supporting cutting-edge artists and established stars alike.…

By Bob Girouard | Photos by Anton Coene
Dec 27, 2019

Idles’ Jon Beavis

Photo by Esmé Bones While on a recent tour opening up for the scorching British punk band, A Place to Bury Strangers’ Lia Braswell got to experience the awesome power of the drummer on a nightly basis. Here she reports…

Lia Braswell
Dec 27, 2019

Acoustic vs. Electronic Drums Plus Other Topics

Acoustic vs. Electronic Drums Do you agree with Danny? The raw drum sound is what makes them human. What makes our music human. The tone and touch of the drum is so important! Even in a metal context the drummer’s…

Modern Drummer
Dec 27, 2019

ddrum Dios Maple and Bamboo Snares

Ultra-affordable yet high-quality plant-based options for everyday use.   The Dios series was originally ddrum’s maple-only offering. The line has since expanded a bit to include a shell pack and snare with a gorgeous zebrawood veneer and snares made from…

by Michael Dawson
Dec 27, 2019

Carter McLean’s Drumset Concepts & Creativity

The Broadway mainstay has written a method book that he refers to as a “multivitamin for your ears, hands, and concentration.” Keith Carne, MD contributor and drummer with the band We Are Scientists, finds an immediate place for the program…

by Keith Carne
Dec 27, 2019

The Drummers of David Byrne's American Utopia

Percussionist Mauro Refosco has toured regularly with David Byrne since 1994, so he was well accustomed to expecting the unexpected from the iconic rock/pop experimenter. But this time, Byrne’s phone call was different. “At first I literally didn’t understand what…

Story by Jeff Potter | Photos by Matthew Murphy
Dec 27, 2019

Robin Tolleson

For forty years, the MD writer epitomized the role of drum journalist The drumming world lost one of its finest writers this past June 24, when Robin Tolleson passed away suddenly in Hendersonville, North Carolina. Tolleson, who had been a…

by Bob Girouard
Dec 27, 2019

On Preparation

Being the Most Responsible Musician in the Room One of the most oft-repeated pieces of advice professionals give to aspiring musicians is to prepare. Prepare for the audition, for the rehearsal, and for the gig. Practice your instrument daily so…

by Andrew Marshall
Dec 27, 2019

April-May, 1980 — Neil Peart

I think of myself still as a student. I’m still learning. We’re all just beginners. I really like that Lol Creme and Kevin Godley album L. The L stands for learner’s permit in England. And that album is so far…

Modern Drummer
Dec 27, 2019

Darryl "Lil Man" Howell

Chicago-area native Darryl “Lil Man” Howell holds down the drum chair for three artists at the top of their genres: gospel singer Jonathan McReynolds, rap star Nicki Minaj, and R&B crooner Maxwell. For his work as a record producer with…

Story by Stephen Styles | Photos by Gene Ambo
Dec 27, 2019

Rhythmic Design with Your Eyes

How to Discover New Ideas via Written Notation, Part 1 We’ve all felt stuck in a creative rut at one time or another. One of my favorite ways to break away from my usual playing habits is to take whatever…

by Aaron Edgar
Dec 27, 2019

Joel Taylor

His résumé reads like a drummer-fantasy list: Allan Holdsworth, Al Di Meola, Joe Sample and the Crusaders, Banned from Utopia, David Foster, Brian Bromberg, Gloria Estefan, Stu Hamm, Jon Faddis, David Sánchez, Oz Noy, Hendrik Meurkens, movie soundtracks, solo recordings,…

Story by Ken Micallef | Photos by Alex Solca
Dec 27, 2019

New Gear From Mair, Bitmi, TRX, Future Sonic, Slug, and More.

Mair Drums Vantage Series Snare Made from carbon fiber, Vantage series snares are available in a Black 3K finish as well as a variety of other colors and textures. Features include a 1.8 mm shell, die-cast hoops, and a Dunnett…

Modern Drummer
Dec 27, 2019

Grace Potter’s Jordan West

Photo by Alex Solca The multitalented musician puts several of her well-honed skills to work on the road with the soulful rock artist. Since leaving her native Fort Wayne, Indiana, for Los Angeles, California, Jordan West has drummed with the…

by Meredith Ochs
Dec 27, 2019

Why Do You Do It?

Among my responsibilities each month at Modern Drummer is writing un-bylined parts of the magazine—captions, feature deks, cover heads, that sort of thing. This month, as I was putting together the contents page, I noticed something interesting: there were no…

by Adam Budofsky
Dec 27, 2019

Eric Harland — Jazz Swinger, Drum Prophet

The Texas native has played on hundreds of albums, recorded multiple soundtracks, performed with jazz royalty, and led his own incendiary projects. He’s accomplished all of this by hyper-analyzing the most basic of musical ideas, and applying what he’s learned…

Story by Ken Micallef | Photos by Gene Ambo
Dec 27, 2019

In the Studio with Nashville Performer and YouTube Success Story Harry Miree

If you’ve perused YouTube in search of drum-related videos, you’ve likely stumbled upon one of Harry Miree’s informative and humorous offerings. Occasionally instructional but mostly providing insight into the business of making music, Miree never ceases to enlighten and entertain…

Story and photos by Sayre Berman
Dec 27, 2019

Hawthorne Drum Shop, McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania

Of all the drum retailers we’ve profiled, Chris Hawthorne is the first proprietor to volunteer that his store is “kinda dirty.” He’s not inaccurate. Hawthorne’s warehouse spot, located in a nondescript building just across the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, is…

by Patrick Berkery
Dec 27, 2019

Steve Gorman’s Hard to Handle

Just three of the Black Crowes’ dozen-plus members lasted with the band from beginning to end, and two of them were brothers Chris and Rich Robinson. The third, drummer Steve Gorman, nearly didn’t survive the sessions for the Crowes’ 1990…

Patrick Berkery
Dec 27, 2019

Ilan Rubin on The New Regime’s Heart

The bandleader and freelancer to the stars drops his new album in four stages. As usual, Ilan Rubin plays every instrument on the latest release by his longtime New Regime project. Heart is the first of four EPs that will…

by Ken Micallef
Dec 27, 2019