Saturday, November 24, 2007



Luigi Paulino Alfredo Francesco Antonio Balassoni (born 6 July 1924), better known by the stage name Louie Bellson, is an American jazz drummer. He is a composer, arranger, bandleader, and jazz educator, and is credited with pioneering the use of two bass drums.

Louie Bellson was born in Rock Island, Illinois in 1924 and started playing drums at three years of age. At age 15, he pioneered the double-bass drum set-up. His detailed sketch earned him an 'A' in his high school art class. At age 17, he triumphed over 40,000 drummers to win the Slingerland National Gene Krupa contest.
Bellson is an internationally-acclaimed artist who has performed in most of the major capitals around the world. With the exception of Bob Hope, who has made the most White House appearances, Bellson holds, along with his late wife Pearl Bailey, the second highest number of White House appearances.
He has performed and/or recorded scores of albums (approximately 200) as a leader, co-leader or sideman with such renowned musicians and leaders such as Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, Woody Herman, Norman Granz' J.A.T.P. (Jazz at the Philharmonic), Benny Carter, Sarah Vaughan, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, Art Tatum, Dizzy Gillespie, Gerry Mulligan, Stan Getz, Hank Jones, Zoot Sims, Sonny Stitt, Milt Jackson, Clark Terry, Louie Armstrong, Lionel Hampton, Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis, Shelly Manne, Billy Cobham, James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Tony Bennett, Pearl Bailey, Mel Tormé, Joe Williams and Wayne Newton.
Over the years, Bellson has taken several bandleader's holidays to play under the direction of other leaders or to lead someone else's band. During the 1960s, he rejoined Ellington for his Emancipation Proclamation Centennial stage production, My People, the motion picture soundtrack of Assault on a Queen, and for what Ellington called "the most important thing I have ever done" -— his Concerts of Sacred Music. In 1966, Bellson toured briefly with both Basie and ex-boss Harry James. A few years later, renowned drummer Buddy Rich (referred to by many as "the world's greatest drummer" over the years) paid Bellson a supreme drummer-to-drummer/bandleader compliment by asking him to lead his (Buddy's) band on tour while he (Buddy) was temporarily disabled by a back injury. Louie proudly accepted.
In 1942, he performed with the Benny Goodman band and Peggy Lee in "The Power Girl", the first of his many film appearances. Louie was 24 and a veteran of a U.S. Army band when he joined Danny Kaye, Louis Armstrong, Tommy Dorsey, Lionel Hampton, Charlie Barnett, Benny Carter, Mel Powell, Kenny Dorharn, Harry Babasin, Al Hendrickson, Buck Washington, and Goodman for Howard Hawks' "A Song Is Born," a movie still shown sometimes on late, late shows on TV to this day.
As a prolific creator of music, both written and improvised, his compositions and arrangements (in the hundreds) embrace jazz, jazz/rock/fusion, romantic orchestral suites, symphonic works and a ballet. Not known by too many about Bellson, he is also a poet and a lyricist. His one Broadway venture, Portofino (1958), was a resounding flop that closed after three performances.
As an author, he has published more than a dozen books on drums and percussion. He is currently at work with his biographer on a book chronicling his career and bearing the same name as one of his compositions -- "Skin Deep".
In addition, The London Suite (recorded in his album "Louie in London") was performed at the Hollywood Pilgrimage Bowl before a record-breaking audience. The three-part work includes a choral section in which a 12-voice choir sings lyrics penned by Bellson. Part One is the band's rousing "Carnaby Street", a collaboration with Jack Hayes.
Bellson has been known throughout his career (up to and including the present) to conduct drum and band clinics at high schools, colleges and music stores. Aimed at student musicians of all ages, they are known to be attended as much by many professional musicians as well as by youngsters and aspiring drummers.
Bellson has led his own orchestra almost steadily for more than forty years. His present band is called the Big Band Explosion.
Bellson received his Doctor of Humane Letters in 1985 at Northern Illinois University. In 1987, at the Percussive Arts Society convention in Washington, D.C., Bellson and Harold Farberman performed a major orchestral work titled "Concerto for Jazz Drummer and Full Orchestra", the first piece ever written specifically for jazz drummer and full symphony orchestra. This work was recorded by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in England, and was released by the Swedish label, B.I.S.
Bellson maintains a tight schedule of clinics and performances of both big bands and small bands in colleges, clubs and concert halls. In between, he continues to record and compose, resulting in more than 100 albums and more than 300 compositions to date. Bellson's Telarc debut recording, "Louie Bellson And His Big Band: Live From New York", was released in June of 1994. He also continues to create new drum technology for Remo, Inc., of which he is vice president.
Between 1943 and 1952, Bellson performed with Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James, and Duke Ellington (for whom he wrote "Skin Deep" and "The Hawk Talks"). In 1952 he married Pearl Bailey and left Ellington to be her musical director. Later in the 1950s and 1960s he performed with Jazz at the Philharmonic or J.A.T.P., Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Count Basie, Duke Ellington again, and Harry James again, as well as appearing on several Ella Fitzgerald studio albums.
Once married to American singer and actress Pearl Bailey, Bellson also recorded extensively and led his own bands (occasionally maintaining separate bands on each coast). His sidemen have included Blue Mitchell, Don Menza, Larry Novak, John Heard, Clark Terry, Pete and Conte Candoli, and Snooky Young. He was equally effective as a big band drummer and as a small group drummer.
As of 2005, among other performing activities, Bellson visits his home town of Rock Falls, Illinois every July for Louie Bellson Heritage Days, a weekend in his honor close to his July 6th birthday, with receptions, music clinics and other performances by Bellson. At the 2004 event celebrating his 80th birthday, Bellson said, appropriately for the inventor and pioneer of double-bass drumming, "I'm not that old; I'm 40 in this leg, and 40 in the other leg." (Drum! Magazine, September/October 2004, pg. 30, by Rob Howe.) He also celebrates his birthday ever year at the River Music Experience in Davenport, Iowa.
In 2006, Mr. Bellson released a CD entitled “The Sacred Music of Louie Bellson and the Jazz Ballet.”
In May of 2007, Mr. Bellson recorded a number of his compositions and arrangements for big band, featuring Clark Terry on Flugelhorn, as well as Kenny Washington and Sylvia Cuenca on drums. The big band was manned by the members of Clark Terry's Big Band. The music was recorded in Studio A at Clinton Recording Studios in New York City.

Among Bellson's numerous accolades: He has been voted into the Halls of Fame for both Modern Drummer magazine and the Percussive Arts Society. Yale University named him a Duke Ellington Fellow in 1977. He received an honorary Doctorate from Northern Illinois University in 1985. He performed his original concert-- Tomus I, II, III --with the Washington Civic Symphony in historic Constitution Hall in 1993. A combination of full symphony orchestra, big-band ensemble and 80-voice choir, "Tomus" had been a collaboration of music by Bellson and lyrics by his late wife, Pearl Bailey. He received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1994. Additionally, Louie Bellson is a four-time Grammy Award nominee.
In January 1994, Bellson received the prestigious American Jazz Masters Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, a U.S. federal agency. As one of three recipients, Bellson was lauded by NEA chair Jane Alexander who said, "These colossal talents have helped write the history of jazz in America."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Raymond Herrera (born Monday, December 18, 1972), is a musician and the drummer, and one of the original members of the Industrial Metal Band Fear Factory. He is credited for inventing the "machine gun" double bass sound. When first listening to Fear Factory most listeners believe that the drumming is too fast for a human and think that it is some sort of drum machine or computer that is creating it. It is an understandable mistake to believe this as Raymond's drum set is rigged with triggers that adjust the sound of the drums so that they come through with a cleaner sound than other drum sets which in turn make it sound more Machine-like or computerized however he does all drumming. Another reason for Raymond's Machine-like drumming is that he plays differently than other drummers of the same genre. He uses more of a stop go technique for his double bass rather than the usual Flooring face that is so popular with other drummers. A good example of this style can be heard on the Fear Factory Songs "Securitron (Police State 2000)" and "No one".Raymond has been a hardcore gamer all his life. His passion for computer games led him to create a company called 3volution Productions, a company that produces orginal songs, remixes, ambient sounds and voice-overs for computer games.His career has earned him 3 gold records, 1 platinum record, and the California Music Award for Best Hard Rock Act.


Name: Jason Rullo
DOB: July 17, 1972
POB: Hackensack, NJ
Instrument: Drums
How + why did you start playing/ Early Influences/ Musical training/ First piece of gear, etc:I had taken a few lessons for piano and guitar but nothing had really grabbed me yet. Then my mother read that hitting something was a good form of therapy, and since my father had just passed, she was concerned about that. I was 11 at the time and she asked if I wanted to get some sticks and a pad and I lit up at the idea. Then a cousin of mine told me he had a drumset sitting in his closet collecting dust and offered it to me, so of course I jumped on it. I had grown up listening to Stevie Wonder and bands like Earth, Wind, and Fire but by that time my main influences were Alex Van Halen and bands like Iron Maiden...but at that time I would also play to anything that came on the radio. I had lessons for only about 4 months and I was more interested in playing Van Halen songs than practicing my rudiments. That first set was a vintage Slingerland pearl black 4 piece.
Later Development / Main Influences:Then I discovered Rush and the world of progressive music while still listening to some heavier stuff as well....everything from Slayer and King Diamond to Zeppelin. A few years later I started getting into fusion and jazz also...Mahavishnu Orchestra, Chick Corea, Tony Williams, Frank Zappa, Miles Davis and the list goes on and on. As far as drummers I would have to add names like Dennis Chambers, Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Simon Phillips, Terry Bozzio, Steve Gadd, Manu Katche, Steve Smith, Jeff Porcaro and of course Buddy Rich. Now I listen to all kinds of stuff depending on the mood I am in.
When I was 16 I found out that Sonny Igoe was living and teaching in the same 1 sq mile town I lived in so I started studying with him, which I did on and off for about 3 years. After High School I attended Drummers Collective and graduated the Certificate Program there.
How did you hookup with the band Symphony X:I had known our first singer Rod for about a year when he introduced my to Mike and Tom. He had been telling me "yeah I may have this cool thing you might be interested in, this guitar player might be putting a band together" eventually Mike called me at work one day set up a jam, and the rest is history as they say.
Important turning points in your musical career:The first was when I started taking lessons with Sonny, the next was one of my first concerts (Spyro Gyra) with the very talented Richie Morales on drums, which was when I realized I really had to make a life of drumming. After that I would say Drummers Collective, which took my playing and awareness to another level. Then it was the first show with Symphony X, which was in Japan. I think for the whole band it got us right over that nervousness and made us a real band. More recently I would have to say being named on the Modern Drummer readers' poll.

Thursday, September 20, 2007



October 9, 1984
The Tony Royster Jr. Band, LazyEye
Hinesville, Georgia
Football, Basketball, Soccer, Baseball, Marching Band, Horseback riding, Bowling
Off to College!! - TBA
Raised money for Special Olympics, active member for D.A.R.E.
Parents - Anthony & Gail Brother - Calvin
To get a music scholarship and become a professional drummer. Tony also has interest in being a doctor!
Has won numerous talent shows worldwide, Appearances at NAMM and PASIC, Natl. Guitar Center drum-off winner (at ll yrs. old!)
"Be cool, Stay in school!"
DW, Zildjian, Drum Bum, Shure, Vic Firth, Protector, Drum Frame, Warner Brothers, Drum Socks, Hart, Evans
Honor roll student, "Perfect Score" in YABABowling Tournament
Jenny Jones, Montreal Drum Fest, Modern Drummer 10th Anniv. Drum Festival, Nickelodeon house band, Florida Drum Expo, NAMM, PASIC, Grammy Awards
Video with pro drummer, Dennis Chambers on Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon house band (directed by Paul Shaffer), Appearance on 42nd Grammy Awards, Voted #1 Up & Coming by Modern Drummer Magazine.
Music, Inc., Downbeat, Modern Drummer
An hour a day or more by himself, then an hour with his father on guitar
Dennis Chambers!!
Billy Cobham, Omar Hakim, Buddy Rich, Steve Smith, Frank Briggs, Akira Jimbo, Chad Smith ...


Tony Royster Jr. is only 21 years old and has been playing drums since the age of 3. Often referred to as a "prodigy" by his fans, he has participated in numerous drummer events and contests worldwide including the 1995 Guitar Center National Drum-Off competition in Hollywood, CA which he won at the ripe old age of 11!
Tony is becoming accustomed to high-profile performances that include TV's Nickelodeon House Band (lead by Paul Shaffer of the David Letterman show), the Jenny Jones show, the 42nd Annual Grammy Awards show, and an international tour in 2001 as the drummer for #1 selling Asian artist, Hikaru Utada. Additionally, he is regularly invited to perform at prestigious events worldwide such as PASIC (Percussive Arts Society International Convention), Modern Drummer Festival, the Montreal Drumfest, and the Florida Drum Expo.
Proficient in numerous styles, Tony excels at Funk, R&B, Latin, Rock, and Jazz. He has performed alongside such notable drummers as Dennis Chambers, Billy Cobham, Steve Smith, Sheila E., and veteran drummer Chester Thompson. He has also graced the stage with legendary musician's Branford Marsalis, Paul Shaffer, Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, among others.
Tony Royster Jr. was voted #1 Up and Coming Drummer by Modern Drummer magazine 2000 readers' poll and has been voted #2 in the UK 2001 readers' poll. He has appeared on the cover of the millennium issue of Modern Drummer magazine with Dennis Chambers and continues to receive high marks that earn him endorsements with companies such as DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans drumheads, LP percussion, Drumframe, Shure microphones, Warner Bros. Publications, HQ percussion products, Drumometer, and Specialty Cases.
Tony's talents have carried him across the globe to Europe, Japan, and Asia but in 2001 he achieved substantial international acclaim with the Warner Brothers video release of, "Common Ground", featuring Tony with his mentor, and favorite drummer, Dennis Chambers.
Most importantly, Tony is a positive role model for all kids. His motto is "Be cool, stay in school" and he sets the standard for personal achievement among his peers.


Bob Gatzen of DrumFrame is the producer of Tony'slatest video release on Warner Brothers video.


* Other Endorsements include HQ Percussion, Shure Mics, DrumoMeter, Protector Cases, Hart Dynamics, and Warner Brothers.



Tuesday, September 18, 2007



For more than 20 years, Dave Weckl has developed and maintained a reputation among fans, peers, and the international music community as one of the great living drummers. For this, he has received numerous accolades and honors; Modern Drummer inducted Dave into their Hall of Fame and named him "one of the 25 best drummers of all time."
But these honors, in addition to many more bestowed by the music community, are the product of Dave's undying commitment to making great compositions. Da
ve's incredibly dynamic and diverse drumming, which has inspired musicians worldwide, is built on a solid foundation of knowledge and respect for music.
Born in St. Louis Missouri, January 8th, 1960, to a mother who loved music and a father who played the piano as a hobby, Dave started playing drums around the age of 8.
During his high school years, Dave received many awards from the NAJE (National Association of Jazz Educators) for outstanding performances in his high school's competition-winning jazz band. He was involved with numerous local groups from a very young age while studying with St. Louis-area teachers Bob Matheny and Joe Buerger.
At age 16, Dave began to work professionally with local pop and jazz groups. In 1979, he moved to the East coast to study music at the University of Bridgeport in Connecticut. At just 19 years of age, Dave was getting recognized.
While playing the club scene in New York City with a band called Nite Sprite, Dave started to receive accolades from established studio musicians such as Steve Kahn, Michael Brecker, and especially drumming great Peter Erskine. It was Peter who recommended Dave for his first 'big gig' in town with a group called French Toast, forerunner to the Michel Camilo band, which has been recorded quite extensively over the years.
From this group, legendary bassist Anthony Jackson recommended Dave for the prestigious Simon and Garfunkel reunion tour in 1983. After this tour, it was not long before Dave was regularly being called for radio and TV jingles, sound track sessions, and top recording dates with such artists as George Benson, Peabo Bryson, Diana Ross, and Robert Plant, to name a few.In 1985, Michael Brecker suggested to Chick Corea that he look into Dave's services for his new Elektric Band. That was the beginning of a seven year relationship with both the Elektric and Akoustic Bands, where nine recordings and three videos were produced, including a Grammy for the first Akoustic Band release.
The Elektric Band showcased Dave's cutting-edge drumming and innovative use of electronic and acoustic drums, bringing him world-wide recognition. Though the Elektric Band went on a 10-year hiatus in the early '90s, the band is once again touring from time to time. It also released a 17-part conceptual album entitled "To The Stars" in mid-2004. As a solo artist, Dave has recorded and produced nine recordings to date, including GRP/MCA solo releases Masterplan, Heads Up, and Hardwired. In 1998, Dave realized his long-time goal of forming a world-touring band. To date, the Dave Weckl Band has released five studio records, including: Rhythm Of The Soul, Synergy, Transition, Perpetual Motion, and Multiplicity. The band also released its hot live album, LIVE (and very plugged in) and a compilation of DWB and instructional videos entitled The Zone.
The DWB keeps Dave very busy, but he still enjoys sideman work. Dave regularly joins guitarist Mike Stern, among others. When off the road, Dave keeps busy with session and production work at his home studio in Los Angeles. He also accepts a limited number of private students - and offers classes through the Virtual Drummer School. Additionally, Dave has many instructional video/DVDs and play-along packages on the market (see the "instructional" dropdown menu at the top of the page).A constant student of the art of drumming and music, Dave gives back every chance he gets through clinics and classes all over the world. Of teaching, Dave says:
"It is my goal to inspire as many young (and not-so-young) people as possible to want to play music, whether it be on drums or another instrument. With all the negatives in the world today, I feel this is my way of contributing a positive action toward spiritual happiness, which music can be a big part of, if you let it. So parents, if your child has a talent for music, please allow them the opportunity to develop that talent!"
Of course, a guy this busy does need to get around town efficiently. A fan of automobiles, Dave stays on schedule by driving a 440 horsepower Lingenfelter Camaro (read about it
here). With a 0-60 time of 4.2 seconds, you're not likely to see him out on the L.A. highways - but you're bound to hear him!
It's a drummer thing...
But beyond all the recording, producing, touring, teaching, working with companies he endorses to build better products, and tearing up the highway every now and then, Dave's passion is spending quality time with his daughter, Claire, Sophie (his Golden Retriever), and friends.
This is what all the hard work is for - the inspiration to keep doing it - and that perspective is probably Dave's biggest asset.


Yamaha Recording Custom
It all started with the Yamaha Recording Custom. Dave's fans will remember that cherry wood kit from his earliest work with Chick Corea and his early instructional videos.
They looked and sounded great!

Yamaha Maple Custom
These are the drums Dave has been using for many years now - the Maple Custom, Vintage finish. As striking as they are to look at, these drums are well-known for rich sound they produce.
You'll see this beautiful set of drums at practically every Dave Weckl Band show. If you can keep from staring at them - give 'em a listen!

Yamaha Birch Absolute
This is the kit in Dave's studio - with the Vintage finish - and he occasionally plays a Birch Absolute when touring the European Union.

Dave Weckl 13" Maple Snare
This is the original design concept Dave had for his signature drum in size and material. This drum is incredibly versatile, sounding amazing tuned high or low. Dave uses this drum now more as a second snare to his left for a tighter "pop."
Of course, the "signature" aspect of Dave's drums from Yamaha are the dual snare strainers.
Dave always had a problem with only one strainer. It was either too tight or too loose, and he could never quite get it comfortable. With this design, he uses one tight strainer (with normal steel wires) for the precision and one loose (with stainless steel wires) for the snare buzz to get theto get the best of both worlds simultaneously.

Dave Weckl 14" Maple Snare
The 14" snare features the same aspects as the 13", but with the sound and feel that the traditional size offers. The dual strainer system is also featured on this drum.
The new version of this drum is now 5.5 inches in depth (instead of 5 inches).

Monday, September 17, 2007



Full name - Michael Stephen Portnoy

Birthday - April 20, 1967

Height - 5' 10''

Hair color - Black

Eye color - Green

Equipment - Tama Starclassic drums, Sabian Cymbals, Remo heads, DW Pedals, Pro-Mark Drumsticks, Latin Percussion


Directors - Woody Allen, David Lynch, Stanley Kubrick

Actors - Robert DeNiro, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino

Sports - Boxing

TV shows - Twin Peaks, The Simpsons, The Twilight Zone, The Sopranos

Food - Fast food, especially Taco Bell

Drink - Used to be Jagermeister, beer. Does not drink any more.


Mike Portnoy was born on April 20, 1967 and raised in Long Beach, New York, where his interest in music started at an early age. "My father was a rock n' roll disc jockey, so I was always surrounded by music constantly. I had this huge record collection when I was real young and loved the Beatles and then later on Kiss. It was inevitable that I'd become a musician."
Although Mike taught himself how to play the drums, he did take music theory classes in high school. During that time he began playing in local bands Intruder, Rising Power and Inner Sanctum, the latter of which released their own album. Mike left the band after being awarded a scholarship to attend Berklee Music College in Boston.
An avid collector of many things, Mike has a vast array of Dream Theater memorabilia including bootlegs, posters, clippings and everything else under the sun with the band's name on it. He is also responsible for capturing everything the band does on video tape and DAT. His huge video collection includes favorite films as 2001, A Clockwork Orange, Jacob's Ladder and The Wall along with episodes of The Simpsons and memorable boxing matches.
Mike says his biggest influences are Rush drummer Neil Peart and the late Frank Zappa. Other favorites include drummers Terry Bozzio, Vinnie Colaiuta, Simon Philips, John Bonham and Keith Moon and bands such as The Beatles, Queen, Yes, Metallica, Jellyfish, Iron Maiden, U2 and Jane's Addiction. He is also a fan of rap music.
Mike and his wife Marlene live in Rockland, NY with their daughter Melody Ruthandrea, son Max John, dog Bongo and cat Cypress. Their other cat, E.T., passed away on January 12th 2001.


As anybody who knows me personally would tell you, I am the walking definition of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder..... I always have been and probably always will be...
This curse for me means that when I "get into" something, I can't just casually enjoy it.... I become obsessed with every aspect of it.... If I discover a band that I like, I must go out and get their entire catalog. If I see a film I like, I must go out and see every film that the director has made...and even worse, collect the director's entire body of work for my video, laser & DVD library...
This behavior has not only driven my wife Marlene crazy, but has forced us into building a huge library/ "Dream Theater museum" seperately from the rest of my house so nobody gets hurt! : )
As anybody who has interviewed me would tell you, I would rather spend my time discussing & promoting other bands or films than talking about myself or Dream Theater....(How DT or my record company continue to let me be the band's main spokesman is still beyond me!!!) : )
What this part of my web-site provides is a real look into my biggest interests: Film, Boxing and of course, Music....(and a few other things for good measure)
Some of you may read through these lists and say "you know, I could care less about this crap!"....but that's OK with me; because of my OCD, I had fun compiling these lists....even if only for myself!
For those of you who actually might find these lists interesting, I think it is a good way to see what has made me the person I am today.... I constantly get asked about my influences, and I always answer: a) they branch WAY beyond just drummers and b) I could never site just "a few" names, because it is the diversity of the artists I admire that make the big picture complete...
By looking through these lists, you can gather a pretty complete answer to that eternal question "who are your biggest influences"... And maybe it will give some free promotion and support to some of my influences, whose careers you can now go check into and turn yourself into a babling Obsessive Compulsive idiot like me!!!

Carpe Diem,

Mike Portnoy


The Max Splashes are available individually in sizes 7", 9" and 11". They are also available as a Sonically Matched Set in a Signature Max carton. The sounds are fast, glassy and cutting.
The Max Stax is a stacked combination of a specially designed hand hammered China Kang on top of a special raw-edged splash or crash. Sizes are 8"/8", 10"/10" and 12" on top of a 14" crash. The sounds are fast, raw and trashy. These combinations are Sonically Matched in our Vault and are available individually in a Signature Max carton.
You can hear Mike's new Max models on his new instructional video -
Liquid Drum Theater, or better yet, add some to your kit!


I came up with the basic concept for my Melody Master signature snare drums (I named them after my daughter Melody) about four years ago. I thought about how many drummers use several different snares in the studio. Or how they have two snare drums on their own kit to get two different types of sounds. So I suggested to Tama the idea of a snare strainer that locked into several different positions as opposed to just two. In response they built me a custom drum with a foot pedal that activated the throw-off on the drum. It functioned much like a tympani or it could lock into three positions: off, loose, and tight. Later we took the three-position concept and applied it to the much simpler manual throw-off that's used in the new signature snares. With this unique Three-Way strainer, I can get different settings with the same snare drum from song to song - and I can even change settings from section to section within the same song. Of my two signature models, one is a 5 X 12" piccolo-type snare with a steel shell. It has the attack to stand out on a track, but enough low-end to round out the bottom. The other is a 5 1/2" X 14" maple drum very much like the foot operated one I've been using for years. This new version will be my full-time main snare now, and I'll retire the foot-operated one. The two different models complement one another and they complement my kit. That's important because I think the snare is the most important factor in a drum kit. Ultimately, it's the main timekeeper in terms of creating a backbeat.



This was Mike's touring kit for Dream Theaters 20th Aniversary Tour.


( Tama/Sabian)
This is a EXCLUSIVE! Mike has submitted a photo of this 'prototype' for his new setup right from the studio while he's in the midst of recording the new Dream Theater album.


The object of many a drummer's desire, this has been Mike's DT kit for the past few years. We now offer you several closeup shots of the kit, a helpful chart of the drums and cymbals, and the Virtual Monster which allows you to actually play this kit online!


This is the kit Mike uses with one of his side-project bands, Transatlantic. While not nearly as big as the 'monsters', Mike has proven this to be a very effective rig for the TA recordings and live performances.


This set is often affectionatly referred to by fans as the 'Awake' kit. It was used on DT's Awake and ACOS albums / tours, and has since been retired to Mike's basement.