Eric Slick on Palisades
On April 21, Eric Slick, the drummer for the ’60s-influenced indie-rock band Dr. Dog, released his debut solo album, Palisades. Although he also recruited drummer Ricardo Lagomasino to contribute, Slick plays the majority of the huge, fluid drum grooves that brew beneath the record’s distorted, melodic, and meditative tracks. Slick explains that stepping out from behind the kit allowed him to gain a new perspective on the drummer’s role in a band. “Sometimes when I’m working with Dr. Dog, I try so hard to push the envelope with what I can get away with,” he says. “I try to get a Jim Keltner or Glenn Kotche vibe by throwing up trash can lids and running contact microphones on my drums. But nowadays I’m just interested in being completely transparent. Sometimes playing something simple is exactly who you are in that moment. No one else can play like you. I would stress that to all younger drummers, and I wish I’d learned it sooner.”
While massive, Bonham-esque tones tear through the majority of the album, Slick also employed some unique production techniques to create the brooding, atmospheric drum sounds on songs such as “Palisades.” “The original idea for that tune was to not have any drums at all,” he explains. “We initially used an old Chamberlin tape-loop drum machine to keep time, which is still in the track. Then I reversed the feel of the loop in Pro Tools. Then we ran that reversed tape loop through a modular Moog in a studio at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. We were triggering all kinds of oscillators. Then we recorded the drum take at Ricardo’s place and opened up the studio door. The hallway to his studio is huge, and we basically used it as an echo chamber. One take and it was done.” Willie Rose
Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen on Mew’s Visuals
This past April 28, the Danish indie-rock band Mew released its seventh full-length album, Visuals. Throughout the record, drummer Silas Utke Graae Jørgensen’s creative and intricate hand patterns complement the solid and grooving four-on-the-floor pulses that often energize the tracks. And although Visuals doesn’t necessarily showcase some of the more prog-infused elements that the band has flirted with in the past, there are plenty of moments where Jørgensen’s chops shine in between Mew’s signature infectious hooks and pop-infused melodies. “Sometimes hooks can be interesting if they serve the song well,” Jørgensen says. “But I’m not very technically trained. I do feel that there’s a fine line between playing loosely and still keeping control. I think both elements can be good from time to time. And the band grew up with pop music. It’s still in our DNA today.”
Mew formed more than twenty years ago in Copenhagen. When they went into the studio to record their latest album, the band members decided to produce the recordings themselves. “We had a great working process while making Visuals,” Jørgensen says. “It was a good decision to self-produce the record, because the time felt right to do so. I think we’ve learned a few tricks over the years.”
And what does it take to have a lasting career through those years? For Jørgensen, it’s simple: “Believe.” Willie Rose
More New Releases
Kevin Eubanks East West Time Line (Jeff “Tain” Watts, Marvin “Smitty” Smith) /// Robert Cray Robert Cray and Hi Rhythm (Steve Jordan) /// Preservation Hall Jazz Band So It Is (Walter Harris) /// Trans Am California Hotel (Sebastian Thomson) /// Tigerwine Die With Your Tongue Out (Steve Lichtenwalter) /// Alvarez Kings Somewhere Between (Richard Walker) /// Maxïmo Park Risk to Exist (Tom English) /// The Octopus Project Memory Mirror (Toto Miranda) /// Procol Harum Novum (Geoff Dunn)
Josh Eppard with Coheed and Cambria
A decade on, the seasoned drummer revisits a landmark Coheed record on the road.
Josh Eppard is currently touring with Coheed and Cambria on a nearly thirty-date national trek that lasts through May. The group is exclusively playing its third album, Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness. The 2005 recording saw the band adopt more of a progressive sound while retaining its harder yet melodic roots. It was also the group’s first major-label release, and to this day it remains its most successful effort.
“Revisiting the material from Good Apollo, Volume One has dredged up a plethora of emotions, but the most prevalent one is excitement,” Eppard says. “When you’re lucky enough to be in a band for as long as Coheed has been together, these records become like time capsules. The little things that come back as you listen and play these songs can be quite powerful. Listening to them deeply, the way one would when you’re preparing to play them live, brings on a flood of memories and feelings, and I’d imagine that those feelings are pretty unique to the individual who’s listening. For me, it’s been an emotional look back and truly affirms how powerful and transformative music can be.”
As the group gets a fresh perspective on each of Good Apollo, Volume One’s tracks for the current tour, Eppard explains that the songs will still grow on stage. “Any touring musician will tell you that over time songs absolutely evolve,” the drummer says. “I guess in a sense you could draw a comparison to how I would handle playing another drummer’s parts. There’s a guideline, if you will. But inside of that guide there are many opportunities to expand on things. And playing a song night after night is a great way to know a piece so well that you naturally start to toy with those opportunities. Coheed songs always evolve live, while staying within those parameters set by the original recording.” Willie Rose
Also on the Road
Matt Cameron with Soundgarden /// Jack Ryan with the Marcus King Band /// George Daniel with the 1975 /// David Lovering with the Pixies
Whos Playing What
Broadway drummers Andrés Forero (Hamilton), Matt Vander Ende (Wicked), Sean McDaniel (The Book of Mormon), Warren Odze (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Sammy Merendino (Kinky Boots), Jared Schonig (The Color Purple), Gary Seligson (School of Rock), and Joe Bergamini (various) are endorsing Cympad accessories.
Christian Paschall (Maren Morris) has joined the Vater artist roster.
John “JR” Robinson has joined the Soundbrenner family.
PMC Reunites Hal Blaine and Ronnie Spector at 2017 Winter NAMM Show
Hal Blaine, one of the most recorded musicians of all time, famously drummed with Phil Spector’s “Wall of Sound” studio band, which was nicknamed the Wrecking Crew. One of the most popular songs they recorded was “Be My Baby,” sung by Ronnie Spector and the Ronettes. This past January 21, at the NAMM Show, members of the Percussion Marketing Council (PMC) arranged for Ronnie Spector to perform the song on the Nissan Grand Plaza Stage with two drummers: Blaine and former Billy Joel kit man Liberty DeVitto.
“Ronnie looked exactly like she looked all those years ago—absolutely gorgeous,” Blaine says. “And she sang absolutely gorgeous. I had goose bumps, and my beautiful new DW drums and Zildjian cymbals had goose bumps too. The audience was covered with goose bumps—and Liberty played his goose bumps off! The performance was a holistic adventure that brought me back to Gold Star Studios in Hollywood in the ’60s. I’m thankful to the wonderful PMC members for giving me the opportunity of my life to relive those memories.”
PMC members Drum Workshop, Zildjian, and Hal Leonard made the reunion possible by contacting Spector’s management and arranging for Blaine to have his drumset available. The PMC consists of drum and percussion companies that share the mission to go outside the industry and make more players by implementing programs with schools and retailers. “The PMC strives to bring inspiring events to the next generation of players,” director Karl Dustman says. “Hal Blaine’s playing on ‘Be My Baby’ made a generation of kids want to pick up sticks and experience the joy of drumming, creating thousands of new drummers. We felt it was worth the effort to have him play with Ronnie Spector when the opportunity was presented. We’re grateful to Ronnie; her manager, Jonathan Greenfield; Liberty DeVitto; and drummer Dennis Diken, who suggested the idea. That song continues to inspire people to become musicians.”
Zildjian Names John Stephans President
Zildjian recently announced that John Stephans has been appointed company president, reporting directly to CEO Craigie Zildjian. Stephans was formerly CEO of IdeaPaint, creators of an innovative dry-erase paint for workplace collaboration. In his new role, he will lead all sales, marketing, product development, and manufacturing efforts for the Zildjian and Vic Firth brands.
In a statement, Zildjian says that Stephans brings significant experience in managing and growing global brands, having also previously held senior leadership roles in marketing and general management for Monster Worldwide, Ocean Spray, and Gillette. “Throughout my life I’ve had a passion for music, so it’s an honor to join a truly legendary company,” Stephans says. “I hope to use my experience to grow these great brands now and in the future.”