Looking Back at 2014:
I ended 2013 with a great NYE gig in Philly with troubadour rocker John Eddie (with the great Kenny Aaronson on bass). Then… it was off to the races.
-In 2014, we played 80 major market amphitheater, arena and stadium shows; many of which were sold out. I was proud to be part of the team that recorded hit singles like “Burnin’ It Down” and “Just Getting’ Started”. To make it even more special, Aldean’s 6th record “Old Boots New Dirt” was the only country record in 2014 to achieve platinum sales status. 2014 was also the year that Jason was declared “the most downloaded male country artist” of all time. It is wonderful to be part of this success story. In addition, I appeared in the video for “When She Says Baby” and hot and heavy music video for “Burnin It Down”.
-I performed on CMA Music Festival’s “Country’s Night To Shine” on ABC, The Country Music Awards, The American Country Countdown Awards, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Ellen, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Good Morning America, “Crossroads with Bob Seger” on CMT, The Today Show, and “Nascar Live” on ESPN.
–Yahoo Live (In Santa Monica)
–Iheart Radio Live (In Burbank)
New Voice Entertainment:
Our company New Voice Entertainment (Kurt Allison, David Fanning, Tully Kennedy, and myself) produced and performed on new tracks for recording artists Lindsay Ell, Christy Lee Cook, and David Fanning. We also started recording the highly anticipated 2nd record for the hit act Parmalee.
-I played on new records by Terri Clark, Montgomery Gentry, Chelsea Bain, new songs for Latin country hero Rick Orozco, rockers Rockett Queen, new country artist Brandon Holland, country rock duo Lovella, Jersey rocker John Eddie, newcomer Lainey Edwards, Toree McGee, 3 West and many others.
-I recorded all of the thematic and “bumper” music for The Country Music Awards and The American Country Countdown Awards. My friend Edgar Struble produced.
Online Session Drumming:
-I recorded with artists like Reagan Browne’s “Gyspy Woman’s Got The Groove” featuring Eric Johnson on guitar. (Available on ITUNES). I also recorded tracks for Japanese pop artist Aika, indie troubadour John Taglieri (sharing credits with Kenny Aronoff) and many others.
Freelance Live Drumming:
-I loved playing with a new super group called Loving Mary (featuring Rebecca Lynn Howard, Elisha Hoffman, Suzie McNeil, and Marti Frederikson).
-I enjoyed playing the song “Fy By Night” in The Nashville Drum Jam‘s tribute to Neil Peart and the music of Rush.
“CRASH Course For Success” Drum Events:
Here are a few of my educational events from 2014.
Jan 30: Manchester Music Mill. Manchester, NH
Feb 20: Guitar Center. Grand Rapids, MI
Feb 22: Moondog Drum House. Moline, IL
March 8: School Of Rock. Nashville, Tn.
March 31: Texas State University. San Marcos, Tx.
May 10: Birmingham School of Music. Birmingham, Al.
June 01: “Sean Deel Foundation Presents” Roanoke, Va
June 10: “Drums For Funds” Fundraiser sponsored by The Drum Shop North Shore. Salem, Mass
June 13: Guest teacher at “The Grammy Camp”. Belmont University. Nashville, Tn.
June 16: RVP Studios. Milford, Ct
July 5: Stickman Drum Experience. Saskatoon, Canada
July 8: School of Rock. Franklin, Tn.
July 21: Indiana University Percussion Camp. Bloomington, IN
Sept 6: 2112 Percussion. Raleigh, NC
October 15: Studio Percussion. Gainesville, FL
October 16: Seagull Industries for the Disabled. Tampa, Fl
October 30-Nov 1: 2nd Annual CRASH Course for Success Drummer’s Weekend. Nashville,Tn.
November 8: Sam Ash Music (with Sandy Gennaro). Madison, TN
December 6: Rocky’s Music Studio. Albany, NY
-I enjoyed doing master classes for great hosts like Andrew Lamarche, The Atlanta Drum Collective, Karen Lussier, Chris Sutherland’s “Drum Hang” Facility, The Lexington Drum Shop, Dennis Gast (with Troy Luccketta), and Josh Ward.
–Johnson and Johnson (Walgreens, CVS) team building event. Orlando, FL
-I happily performed two CRASH motivational events for 250 students at Thales Academy (Raleigh, NC) and for 750 students at Dexter Middle School (Dexter, Mo).
-My first book “FUNdamentals of Drumming For Kids” was released on July 7th. I co-wrote this book with drummer/filmmaker Michael Aubrecht. It was a labor of love! The book was published by Modern Drummer Magazine and is distributed by Hal Leonard Publications. The book also comes with a one hour DVD that I filmed at The Drum Channel Studios (Oxnard, Ca) in late 2013. The book received a 4 star rating at Amazon.com. The book is available at www.moderndrummer.com, www.musicdispatch.com, and at fine retailers everywhere. An E Book version for all tablets and devices is currently being created.
Educational DVD/Downloadable Lessons:
-I shot footage for my new educational product over a 6-day period at Ronnie’s Place Studio, Treasure Isle Studio, CRASH Studio and on the road. This new series will be released mid 2015 and will be called “Drumming In The Modern World”. The product will feature performances, lessons, deconstruction of hit songs I have played on, and advice on recording, touring and navigating the music business. My all-star team for the project included Eric Dorris (director/editor/co producer), Chris Beals (2nd camera/lighting), Tyler Spann (jib operator), Jon Hull (drum tech), Justin Francis (engineer) and Jeremy Gold (social media, assistant). The project will be available in both physical form (double DVD set) and in mini-lessons as digital downloads.
Thank YOU for always voting for me in the industry trade polls! It is sincerely appreciated. Also, a big thanks to the editors and staff of both Modern Drummer and Drum! magazines for featuring me on a regular basis.
Modern Drummer Magazine:
-Runner up for “Country Drummer” of 2014 and Runner up for best “Clinician/Educator”. I also wrote a 7-part educational column with corresponding video content, available at www.moderndrummer.com.
-Runner up for “Country Drummer” of the year and “Drum Set Clinician” of the year. I was also featured prominently in the August 2014 Issue’s “Business of Touring” piece.
I have had the pleasure of combining words and music this year with:
Jacob Knight, John Eddie, Erik Halbig, Adam Fears, Shane Minor, Andy Velo, Cole Taylor, Billy Dawson, Kathy Majeski, Chad Raymon, Jeremy Bussey, Mark Holman, Tat Holler, Lauren Mears, Elisha Hoffman, Rebecca Lynn Howard, Lewis Brice, Ken Johnson, Andi Zack, Lindsey Highlander, Jared Blake, Damon Ranger, Drew Davis, Brandon Holland, Jason Gambill, Waterloo Revival, and Garen Gueyikian.
-Here are a few of my songs cut by recording artists in 2014. My wonderful co- writers included: Mark Holman, Jake Scherer, Kevin Kadish, John Eddie, Erik Halbig, JT Hodges, Colt Ford, David Fanning, Kurt Allison, Cody Hanson, and Marshal Dutton. Special thanks to everyone that supports the music we make!
-“Sons of Night” cut by the Black Veil Brides on their 2014 self-titled release.
-“Crank It Up”, a single by Colt Ford. Also on his album “Thanks for Listening.”
-“She’s Like”, an album cut for Colt Ford. Also on his album “Thanks for Listening.”
-“That Kinda Night” cut by The Wolfe Brothers. The song was a #1 single on Australian Radio. The song can be heard on their debut album “Nothin’ But Trouble.”
–“You Got To Me” cut by The Wolfe Brothers on their record “Nothin’ But Trouble.”
-“Get Your Honky Tonk On” cut by Canadian country artist Mike Trudell.
All the above songs are available at ITUNES.
More Educational Events:
-I was very proud to be asked to judge The School Of Rock National “Battle of the Bands” competition with a great group of judges. The judges included:
Carl Restivo (Tom Morello), Demitri Coats (Off), Zach Carothers (Portugal The Man), Earl Slick (David Bowie), Damon Ranger (Music for Kanye, Pink), Jimmy Chamberlin (The Smashing Pumpkins), James Williamson (The Stooges), Jim Peterik (“Eye of The Tiger”), and myself. The event took place at Summerfest. Milwaukee, Wi.
-I also judged The Guitar Center “Drum Off” in Nashville. My co-adjudicators were Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts) and Sandy Gennaro (Joan Jett, Cindy Lauper).
-I filmed promo/educational videos for Latin Percussion (LP) Instruments.
-I was honored to appear in a promotional video for The Percussive Arts Society.
-New Nashville resident and uber percussionist Billy Hawn and I formed a new improvisational percussion duo called STRIKE THAT! The duo has opened many shows for my bride Cindy Kaza. The group combines traditional percussion, household items and “found” sounds to create a unique improvisational experience that lifts energy to new heights and sets the mood for any event. We also started recoding our debut record, which will feature instruments from around the world to create theatrical sonic landscapes.
New Web Videos:
-I filmed a video interview that takes a closer look at sustainability in the drum and percussion industry. The interview was shot at The House of Blues Studio in Nashville, Tn.
My 2nd Annual “Drummer’s Weekend”:
-This annual event brings drummers from around the country together for 3 days and 24 hours of education and insight with some of the biggest names in the drumming world. Highlights of this 2nd Annual Event included hands on training with Liberty Devitto (Billy Joel), Chris Fryar (Zac Brown Band), and Sean Paddock (Kenny Chesney). Other teachers include percussionist Billy Hawn (Colbie Callait) and Ben Jackson (Frankie Ballard), who taught a class on Ableton LIVE in modern music. Jim Riley (Rascal Flatts) taught a class on The Nashville Number System, and Bruce Springsteen/Max Weinberg drum tech Matt Payne presented a tuning master class. Beth Gottlieb (Lt. Dan Band), Jack Bruno (Tina Turner/Joe Cocker), and Jason Aldean’s 3 Kings rhythm section (Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy) also made themselves available for insightful Q and A sessions. Campers also shared Q and A sessions and delicious meals with Troy Luccketta (Tesla), Eddie Bayers (Studio Legend), Ed Toth (The Doobie Brothers), Matt Billingslea (Taylor Swift), Lester Estelle (Kelly Clarkson), Sean Fuller (Florida Georgia Line), Keio Stroud (Big and Rich), Kent Slucher (Luke Bryan), William Ellis (Montgomery Gentry), and Wayne Killius (Sessions). An all star rhythm section of Chris Nix (Chuck Wicks/Sessions) and Luis Espaillat (Lindsay Ell/Sessions) played with students and give them immediate feedback for improvement. This rhythm section was also the house band for a Closing Ceremony Concert at the famed Douglas Corner Cafe. This event allowed students to play with recording artists like Rick Brantley and Shelly Fairchild in front of a real Nashville audience. All proceeds from this event benefitted the W.O. Smith School of Music in Nashville. The event had strong support from it’s official sponsors: Fork’s Drum Closet, Soundcheck Nashville, School Of Rock, Douglas Corner, Sean Deel Foundation, Western Beat, DW Drums, Sabian, Remo, Promark, Daddario, Roland, Gator, Cympad, LP, Prologix, Audio Technica, Drumtacs, Pitch Slap, Great Leather, Anthology Gear Wear, Red Monkey, Danmar, Auarlex, and many other amazing companies, as well as event coordination by Josh Mighell.
-Our 3 Kings rhythm section (Kurt Allison, Tully Kennedy, and me) took a fun trip to Cancun to showcase country rocker gal Kristy Lee Cook to radio tastemakers. Sun!
-I was asked to appear with my psychic medium bride Cindy Kaza on “Value View Live” on ABC-TV in Las Vegas, NV. Cindy and I commented on current events, I taught a live drum lesson to my co-hosts, and sat in with the fantastic house band Ashley Red.
-I also confirmed a role in the upcoming horror film “Reawakened”, which films in early 2015. The film will star Steffani Brass (“The Middle”) and Tom Ohmer (“The Dark Knight”).
I brought in 2015 with a fun gig playing percussion with Nashville drummer Wes Little’s killer funk band Big Greasy at Puckett’s in Leiper’s Fork, Tn.
Thank YOU for all the support! Let’s have a fantastic 2015!
Happy New Year!!!