Photo by Jeff Smith

Happy New Year! It’s that time again, when we reflect back on the past year and appreciate all the wonderful opportunities we’ve been blessed with.

Time has always fascinated me. Maybe being a drummer has something to do with that. I’m always amazed by how fast it tick-tocks on.

I’m one who believes we were each put on this planet for a reason, and that we should do what we were put here to do. I’m extremely grateful for the gift of music in my life, especially this year, as I continue my journey now as a sixty-year-old. I try not to think about aging too much, but I think I’ve accepted it pretty well. Anyway, do we even have a choice? Thankfully, I’m in a pretty good place mentally, and I feel healthier these days than I did when I was in my forties and fifties. (Well, today I do anyway!)

With the help and support of you, the readers, as well as my friends and family, I’ve accomplished many of the musical goals that I dreamed about since I started playing fifty years ago, at ten years old. By the time I was in my late teens, I’d developed a taste for the rock-star lifestyle through touring and having records on the radio. In the 1980s and the ’90s, I got to do some studio work, mostly in my hometown of New York City, and my wife and I started a family. When I turned forty, I reinvented my career and started working here at Modern Drummer. For me, it was a nice way to break away from the madness of touring and performing, and to recharge my batteries.

I’m extremely thankful that I’ve been fortunate enough to meet and become friends with many of my influences and childhood idols. A good number have been friends for years, many from before life at MD. You all know who you are, and I appreciate each and every one of you. If I were going to drop one name, though, it would have to be Ringo Starr. Ringo is the reason that I (like so many others) play the drums, and why I first wanted to be in a band, writing and playing songs with my friends. I’m honored to have known him for almost thirty years now—we first met when he hosted SNL—and to be in his company is just magic. I was beyond thrilled when he invited me to play percussion on stage with him and the All-Starr Band; it was like reaching the mountaintop. (Click here to watch the video.) Years earlier I’d interviewed Ringo for a Modern Drummer cover story, and recently the tables were turned when Dom Famularo interviewed me for a Sessions Panel video, where I got to discuss my fifty years in the music business. (Click here to watch the video.)

The interview made me think back to when I first started playing, and later when I was introduced to this informative and entertaining magazine. That led me to think more about all the people I’ve met and all the readers I’ve interacted with over the years. You know that saying “Always be nice to everyone you meet, because you never know who or what that person will do for you someday”? Well, the key is: Just do it, without expecting anything in return. Make it a habit, and good things will inevitably happen for you. These days it’s so much easier than ever before to reach out, so take advantage. I’m a huge fan of social media, so if you ever want to fill me in on your life and career, please find me on Instagram and Facebook and let me know what you’re up to.

Again, thank you, thank you, thank you for your support these past fifty years; it’s much appreciated. Have a safe, healthy, happy 2018, and enjoy the issue. Peace and love always.




Billy Amendola
Editor at Large

I’m a huge fan of social media so if you want to reach out on Instagram and FaceBook please come say hello.