The 42nd Annual Percussive Arts Society International Convention

Clinics and performances abound as the industry’s biggest names gather for drumming’s largest event

This past November 8–11, thousands of drummers and percussionists of all levels gathered at the Indiana Convention Center in Indianapolis to participate in four days of nonstop clinics, concerts, lectures, master classes, workshops, and panel discussions. The drumset portion of the event was rebranded as Drumfest with the help of a new lead sponsor, the educational website Drumeo.com.

The drumset artists were presented in clinic/performance and master class formats. The clinic/performances occurred in a ballroom with a full stage and a large-scale audio-visual production. The master classes were given in a more intimate setting so that attendees could interact more closely with the performers.

Thursday’s clinicians included hybrid electronic/acoustic drummer Kaz Rodriguez, August Burns Red’s Matt Greiner, funk/hip-hop great Adam Deitch, and renowned soloist Eric Moore II. Nashville-based drummer/educator Keith Dudek and University of Texas faculty member Wayne Salzmann II conducted master classes; the latter presented concepts from his book Developing Melodic Language on the Drums. Thursday’s events concluded with an evening concert by fusion great Chad Wackerman and his trio.

Matt Greiner
Adam Deitch
Chad Wackerman

Friday’s clinicians included Broadway drummer Andrés Forero, swing specialist Bernie Dresel, rock/hip-hop innovator Daru Jones, and rock/fusion legend Steve Smith. The master classes featured a technique-focused presentation by former Freddie Gruber student Bruce Becker, as well as a re-creation of the traps style of drumming used to accompany silent-film-era productions, by drum historian Daniel Glass.

Daru Jones
Steve Smith

The final day of PASIC included clinics by New Orleans jazz great Johnny Vidacovich, pop/R&B drummer Hannah Welton, funk/rock drummer Nikki Glaspie, and Stevie Wonder’s Stanley Randolph. Sergio Bellotti conducted a master class on drumset fundamentals, and Rio de Janeiro–born percussionist Christiano Galvão dug into ideas from his book Creative Brazilian Drumming. Austin-based drummer Brian Ferguson gave the final master class of the convention and focused on serving the song with tasteful ideas and an impeccable feel.

Wannah Welton
Nikki Glaspie
Stanley Randolph
Brian Ferguson

PASIC 2017 concluded with an evening concert by the Airmen of Note big band with Steve Smith on drums. Organizers plan to bring the convention back to Indianapolis this November 14–17. Check pasic.org for more information.

Text by Michael Dawson
Photos by Warren LaFever



Jones, Saylor, and Kennedy

Cascio Music Drummerfest 2017

The instrument retailer’s celebration gathers some of drumming’s best and brightest stars and brands.

This past October 14, the music retailer Cascio Interstate Music hosted its seventeenth annual Drummerfest, in New Berlin, Wisconsin. The free event featured performances by Daru Jones (Jack White), Joe Saylor (The Late Show With Stephen Colbert), and Will Kennedy (Yellowjackets). After their performances, the artists met with fans and offered insight into their playing. Representatives from DW, Tama, Pearl, Yamaha, Zildjian, and Paiste were also on site, showing their latest drum gear and offering exclusive discounts.

Jones performed first, on his DW/PDP New Yorker drumset along with his signature Paiste PSTX DJs cymbals. “Daru’s playing featured ‘un-quantized’ grooves—[patterns that are] slightly off time yet in the pocket at the same time,” Cascio drum and percussionist specialist Scott Thayer explains. “This results in an extremely fat groove, which delighted the crowd and the other artists.”

Saylor performed in a trio setting with an upright bassist and saxophonist. The group played a unique set that comprised music influenced by Latin and New Orleans styles. “Joe also did one of his famous tambourine solos, which was an amazing display of hand work, foot work, and voice,” Thayer says. “It brought the house down.”

Kennedy closed out the individual performances with an energetic set. “His solos were smooth, fluid, powerful, creative, and flamboyant all at once,” Thayer says. “He talked with the crowd with great enthusiasm and humor, and his stories and insights were inspiring and entertaining.” The day concluded with a jam session in which the three performers traded solos and played each other’s kits.

“Events like this are happening less and less around the country, especially events that are totally free for the public,” Cascio Music CEO Mike Houser says. “We’re proud to continue the tradition, and look forward to Drummerfest 2018.”


Who’s Playing What

Jared Kneale (Hunter Hayes) is playing Doc Sweeney drums.

Florian Alexandru-Zorn (author/educator, above), Christopher Smith (the Internet), Sean Friday (Dead Sara), Jordan Harvey (Mason Grace), and Michael Kelton (Zane Williams) have joined the Paiste artist roster.