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Jim Riley





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Note: Some MD articles are only available in pdf format. Those articles do not appear in this list. Subscribers to Digital and All-Access can view every Modern Drummer issue in their available formats. Browse all MD issues from our archive here.
January 2014:
Seth Raush – The Drummer Behind Little Big Town's Big Hit Record

I’ve been a friend and fan of Seth Rausch for more than a decade. His deep pocket is undeniable to anyone who’s ever heard him play, and he’s the consummate professional and a devoted family man. I’ve been fortunate to have my gig with Rascal Flatts for the past thirteen …


September 2018:
Must-Know Grooves – Demystifying the Half-Time Shuffle

This month we’re tackling a groove that has confounded drummers for more than forty years: The half-time shuffle. This groove’s ghost note placement has been a mystery to many drummers since legends such as Bernard Purdie, John Bonham, and Jeff Porcaro first laid it down in the late ’70s and …


July 2018:
Must-Know Grooves – The Blues Shuffle

Although the blues is considered an American art form, it’s a genre of music that resonates around the world. With that in mind, if you’re a drummer trying to connect with new musicians, there’s no better opportunity to do so than at a local blues jam.


June 2018:
Must-Know Grooves – Disco, a Drumming Staple of the 1970s

In this new series we’ll be taking a close look at some of the most influential, practical, and essential drum grooves of all time, studying a pattern’s history and learning how to play it step-by-step. If you’re serious about getting better at your craft, there’s no better way to improve …


January 2018:
Create Your Own Success

People often ask me about the keys to succeeding in the music business. While there’s no single answer to that question, there are certain measurable and quantifiable elements to discuss. I’m going to try as best as I can to lay out a generic playbook on how to achieve what …


October 2017:
The 2017 Chicago Drum Show

A weekend of rhythmic bliss replete with vintage and modern gear, enlightening workshops, and brilliant performances.


May 2017:
The 2017 Modern Drummer Readers Poll Winners

The universally lauded multi-genre legend joins Hall of Fame, another contemporary giant sweeps three categories, and Neil Peart returns.


December 2015:
Ghost Notes 101 with Jim Riley

One thing that separates the novice drummer from the professional is the ability to play grooves that have dimension. Ghost notes are a great way to achieve this, but first you need to understand, on an elemental level, how to create them.



Posted: September 1, 2020

Category: News
Modern Drummer Festival 2020

Modern Drummer is rebooting its world-famous Drum Festival on September 12 at 8 p.m. Eastern Standard Time with a live-streaming event honoring the late, great Rush drummer Neil Peart. Proceeds of ticket sales will benefit brain tumor research at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. The event, which will be produced and distributed …


Posted: August 20, 2020

Category: News
20th Annual Modern Drummer Festival featuring A Tribute To Iconic Drummer Neil Peart.

LiveXLive to Produce and Distribute Live Pay Per View Show Featuring Incredible Lineup Reaching over 150 Million Social Media Fans — Taylor Hawkins, Chad Smith, Cindy Blackman-Santana, Thomas Lang, Alex Gonzalez A global platform for livestream and on-demand audio, video and podcast content in music, comedy, and pop culture, announced …


Posted: November 27, 2018

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Industry Veteran Kevin Packard of Checkpoint Charley On The Beat

Kevin Packard is combo marketing manager for Pearl Corporation, and has worked in the musical products industry since 1998, holding marketing, product design and management, and artist relations positions with Ludwig, Ddrum, and Peace Drum companies.


Posted: April 26, 2017

Category: A Different View, Drummers, Feature Stories, Web Exclusive
Web Exclusive: Producer Russ Titelman on 10 of His Favorite Drummers

The June issue of Modern Drummer magazine features an interview with three-time Grammy Award–winning producer Russ Titelman who in his long career has worked with musical giants including Little Feat, Randy Newman, James Taylor, Brian Wilson, Cyndi Lauper, Graham Central Station, Rickie Lee Jones, George Harrison, Chaka Khan, the Bee …


Posted: June 30, 2016

Slipknot’s Jay Weinberg on the August 2016 issue of Modern Drummer
Category: Drummers, Featured, Issues, News, News and Events
August 2016 Issue of Modern Drummer magazine featuring Slipknot’s Jay Weinberg

(Available in print and digitally June 30, 2016) Print Copy ○ iTunes ○ Amazon ○ GooglePlay ○ Subscribe On the Cover Slipknot’s Jay Weinberg “They didn’t want a copycat, so I needed to play it in my own way. I can’t play it any other way.” Taking the place of …


Posted: June 30, 2016

Category: Drummers, Featured, Issues, News, News and Events
August 2016 Issue of Modern Drummer magazine featuring Slipknot’s Jay Weinberg

(Available in print and digitally June 30, 2016) Print Copy ○ iTunes ○ Amazon ○ GooglePlay ○ Subscribe On the Cover Slipknot’s Jay Weinberg “They didn’t want a copycat, so I needed to play it in my own way. I can’t play it any other way.” Taking the place of …


Posted: December 30, 2015

Category: Clinics and Events, Feature Stories, Multimedia, News, News and Events, Videos
Exclusive Video Interviews from PASIC 2015

This past November 11–14, the Percussive Arts Society held its annual international convention in San Antonio, Texas. This milestone event marked the fortieth anniversary of PASIC and the first year that live-streaming passes were offered. Within the convention, attendees had access to an expo hall filled with the latest gear …


Posted: November 2, 2015

Category: Feature Stories
Dom Famularo’s Teachers List

Over the course of his forty-year career traveling the globe to teach, perform, and conduct clinics, Dom Famularo has interacted with some of the finest drummers and drum instructors in the world. The following list contains many of those names, organized by country/continent. If you’re looking for top-notch drum instruction, …


Posted: October 30, 2015

Category: Drummers, Issues, News, News and Events
December 2015 Issue of Modern Drummer featuring Dom Famularo

See what’s in the December 2015 issue of Modern Drummer magazine featuring Dom Famularo!


Posted: March 26, 2015

Category: News, News and Events
News: Vic’s Drum Shop Wins 2014 Outstanding Retailer Award From Vic Firth Company

Vic’s Drum Shop in Chicago has been selected to receive the 2014 Outstanding Retailer Award from Vic Firth. The award was presented to drum shops across America that achieved double-digit sales growth last year with more than $25,000 in annual sell-through of Vic Firth products….


Posted: February 4, 2015

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories, Lessons, MD Education Team
Modern Drummer Education Team Weighs In On: Learning Other Styles

We asked the members of the Modern Drummer Education Team if they felt that it’s important for all drummers to study Latin music and other musical genres, even if they don’t intend to ever perform those styles. Here’s what they had to say….


Posted: December 22, 2014

Category: Clinics and Events, Drummers, News and Events
News: Rich Redmond Hosts Second-Annual “Drummer’s Weekend???

This past November, Jason Aldean drummer, Rich Redmond, led a weekend of drumming education, inspiration, and entertainment in Nashville. Highlights of this second-annual event included hands-on training with Liberty Devitto (Billy Joel), Chris Fryar (Zac Brown Band), and Sean Paddock (Kenny Chesney). Other teachers included percussionist Billy Hawn (Colbie Callait) …


Posted: May 30, 2014

Category: Feature Stories, Multimedia, Spotify Playlists
July 2014 Spotify Playlist

Want to hear music from the artists featured in the July 2014 issue of Modern Drummer? We’ve got you covered. Our July 2014 Spotify Playlist includes some fantastic tracks, including several cool covers….


Posted: May 12, 2014

Category: Drummers, Jazz Drummers' Workshop, Lessons, Multimedia, Videos
VIDEO! Jazz Drummer’s Workshop: Syncopation Revisited, Part 1: Basic Applications (From the June 2014 Issue)

Click here to check out part 1 of a Jazz Drummer’s Workshop series by Steve Fidyk focusing on ways to develop coordination on the drumset using Ted Reed’s classic book Syncopation.


Posted: May 12, 2014

Category: Artist's Sidebars, Drummers, Lessons, Multimedia, Videos
VIDEO! Drum Country: Train Beat Variations (From the May 2014 Issue)

Click here to check out Rascal Flatts drummer Jim Riley’s article on train beat variations….


Posted: May 1, 2014

Category: Feature Stories, Multimedia, Spotify Playlists
June 2014 Spotify Playlist

Listen to the music from the pages of the June 2014 issue of Modern Drummer featuring Nate Morton of The Voice in this month’s Spotify Playlist…


Posted: April 16, 2014

Category: News, News and Events
KoSA Percussion Workshops

The 2014 South Florida Percussion Workshop/KoSA Miami will take place…


Posted: April 3, 2014

Category: Feature Stories, Multimedia, Spotify Playlists
May 2014 Spotify Playlist

Welcome to the Spotify Playlist for the May 2014 issue of Modern Drummer magazine….


Posted: March 26, 2014

Category: Drummers, Issues, News, News and Events
May 2014 Issue of Modern Drummer Featuring Jim Riley

See what’s in the May 2014 issue of Modern Drummer Magazine featuring drummer Jim Riley…


Posted: March 26, 2014

Category: Drummers, In The Pocket, Lessons, Multimedia, Videos
VIDEO! In the Pocket: Dubstep Drumming, Part 1: The Basics (From the May 2014 Issue)

Click here to check out the In the Pocket article on Dubstep from the May 2014 issue….


Posted: December 25, 2013

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Jason Aldean’s Rich Redmond

Hello MD readers! It has been some time since we last visited here. I am still enjoying life in Nashville, juggling touring, recording, producing, writing, and teaching. I love this life we live as modern drummers!


Posted: September 18, 2013

Category: News, News and Events
Nashville Drummers Jam 3: Tribute to Jeff Porcaro

The Nashville Drummers Jam, along with promotional partner, Tom Hurst Presents Loud Jamz, and venue partner, Douglas Corner Café, involves bringing top Nashville drummers together to perform their favorite songs from a selected theme while raising money for worthy causes. The Nashville Drummers Jam 3, which took place on September …


Posted: July 18, 2013

Category: Feature Stories, Lessons, MD Education Team
MD Education Team Weighs In On: Tuning (UPDATED)

We asked the members of the MD Education Team to share their thoughts on how they prefer to tune their drums. Here’s what they had to say….


Posted: June 28, 2013

Category: Feature Stories, News, News and Events
Modern Drummer’s 2013 Readers Poll Winners

The results are in for the longest-running, most prestigious drummer poll in the world. Without further ado, here are your winners for 2013….


Posted: April 26, 2013

Category: Feature Stories, Lists
25 Timeless Drum Books

What makes a great drum book? There’s no single answer, as different books have been written to address a wide variety of styles and techniques. But judging by a recent poll in which Modern Drummer readers were asked to name their favorite volumes, a few characteristics stand out….


Posted: April 15, 2013

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Chris Prescott of Pinback

Pinback has been traveling constantly this past year in support of the new album, Information Retrieved. We were planning the final leg of our US tour when the opportunity came up to play on Jimmy Fallon’s show in New York. The tour had been planned originally as a mostly southern …


Posted: January 10, 2013

Category: Feature Stories, Lessons, MD Education Team
MD Education Team Weighs In On: Learning Jazz

We asked the members of the MD Education Team if they think it’s important for their students to study jazz. Here’s what they had to say….


Posted: November 19, 2012

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
The Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s John Riley

In addition to the cover story on big band star Buddy Rich, the December 2012 issue of Modern Drummer magazine features a fascinating conversation between the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra’s John Riley and VJO drum sub Paul Wells. The article contains lots of useful real-world advice from Riley; here Wells asks …


Posted: July 30, 2012

Category: Drummers, Lessons, MD Education Team
MD Education Team Weighs In On: Reading Music

We asked the members of the MD Education Team if they think that reading skills are crucial. Here’s what they had to say….


Posted: May 31, 2012

Category: Drummers, Lessons, MD Education Team
MD Education Team Weighs In On: Teaching Feel

We asked the MD Education Team if feel could be taught. See what they had to say….


Posted: May 8, 2012

Category: Drummers, Lessons, MD Education Team
Modern Drummer Education Team Weighs In On: Practicing With a Metronome

The MD Education Team chimes in on the pros and cons of practicing with a metronome….


Posted: March 19, 2012

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Tim Walsh of the Stepkids

I’m Tim Walsh of the Stepkids, and I’m excited to be on here and hope to add to the wealth of knowledge that is MD’s awesome thirty-five-year history…


Posted: January 23, 2012

Category: Drummers, Education Team Members
Jim Riley

[MDEdTop]Jim is the drummer and bandleader for multi-platinum group Rascal Flatts. His recording credits include Rascal Flatts’ multi-platinum disc Me and My Gang, EA Sports’ Madden NFL 11, Brian McKnight’s Ten, and a track on the soundtrack to Hannah Montana: The Movie. In 2009, Jim was voted “best drum clinician” …


Posted: November 2, 2011

Category: Drummers, Multimedia, Videos
Jim Riley’s Drum Dojo

Take a Tour of Rascal Flatts drummer Jim Riley’s Nashville Teaching Studio in this video.


Posted: September 21, 2011

Category: Book Review, Drummers, Reviews
Song Charting Made Easy by Jim Riley

This is an essential study for all drummers looking to develop a deeper understanding of popular song structure.


Posted: August 8, 2011

Category: Drummers, On the Beat
Aaron Steele of Aabaraki

Hey, all, it is a pleasure and honor to be writing a blog for Modern Drummer. I grew up in the church tradition, playing gospel. Around age eleven I got really into break-dancing and I kind of got away from the drums for a few years. But when I was …


Posted: July 1, 2011

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories
MD Readers Poll 2011 Results

Welcome once again to the MD Readers Poll, where the greatest drummers on the planet are honored by the most educated drum fans around. Let’s get right to it: the envelope, please….


Posted: May 21, 2011

Category: Drummers, Modern Drummer Festival
The Set-Up and Jim Riley

View behind the scenes photos of the beginning of the Modern Drummer Festival and Jim Riley’s performance.


Posted: May 21, 2011

Category: Drummers, Modern Drummer Festival, Multimedia, Videos
VIDEO! Jim Riley 2011 Modern Drummer Festival Performance Montage

Watch this video as Jim Riley starts the day off with a Master Class.


Posted: February 19, 2009

Category: Drummers, Feature Stories, Update
Mitch Mitchell: Drummers Weigh In

Mitch Mitchell was not alone in blending jazz and rock drumming styles, but he may have pushed the combo further than anyone who came before him. Here a number of noted drummers provide further insight into Mitch’s influence….



Posted: August 3, 2018

The Modern Drummer Podcast with Mike and Mike
Category: Mike and Mike Podcast, Multimedia, Podcasts
Episode 153: Nate Smith, Demystifying the Half-Time Shuffle, Istanbul Mehmet Hamer Series, and More

In this episode Mike and Mike crack open the September issue and talk about cover artist Nate Smith, whose groove-drenched videos have racked up millions of views.


Posted: November 6, 2015

Category: Mike and Mike Podcast, Multimedia, Podcasts
Episode 15: Jim Riley’s Ghost Notes, Dom Famularo, Zildjian’s new K Custom Dark Crashes, Drum Muffling, and More

In this episode, Mike and Mike dig into a few of the stories in the December 2015 issue of Modern Drummer, including Jim Riley’s educational article on ghost notes, the cover story with global drumming ambassador Dom Famularo, and the product review of Zildjian’s new K Custom Dark 19″ and …