Saturday, September 22, 2007
Name: Jason Rullo
DOB: July 17, 1972
POB: Hackensack, NJ
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"...so 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
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
ALL TIME FAVORITE DRUMMER:
OTHER FAVORITE DRUMMERS:
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.
ENDORSEMENTS OF TONY ROYSTER
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
ABOUT DAVE WECKL
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
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.
ABOUT DAVE WECKL's DRUMS
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!
This is the kit in Dave's studio - with the Vintage finish - and he occasionally plays a Birch Absolute when touring the European Union.
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.
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
Eye color - Green
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.
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!!!
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.
- THE ALBINO MONSTER
- THE SIAMESE MONSTER
This is a MikePortnoy.com 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 PURPLE MONSTER
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!
- THE TRANSLANTIC KIT
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.
- THE AWAKE/ A CHANGE OF SEASONS KIT
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.