Tag Archive | Drummer

Video Clip of The Week: “She Does” By Influenced

Earlier this week, I  attended a party at The Cutting Room and ran into my friend Billy Amendola, who I got to know during my 13 years spent writing for Modern Drummer magazine. Billy is not only a fantastic writer and editor, but he’s also quite an accomplished working drummer, having racked up a couple of dance hits during the 70s with the band Mantus, as well as playing drums on many of Debbie Gibson’s hits. Billy told me about a project he just completed called Influenced, featuring a song he wrote with a couple of his industry friends called “She Does.” He turned me on to the video, and I was instantly blown away by how much this track sounds like The Beatles.

Actually, The Beatles comparison is not at all surprising, when you consider that they recruited producer Mark Hudson for lead vocals. I remember having a ridiculous crush on Mark Hudson when I was probably 13, and he and his two brothers, Brett and Bill (father of actress Kate Hudson) had a summer replacement television series, The Hudson Brothers comedy variety hour. I even owned a couple of the Hudson Brothers excellent albums, which I absolutely adored because all of their songs sounded so much like The Beatles.

In his career, Mark has worked with huge hit makers including Ringo Starr, and I know Billy is also a huge Beatles fan, so, again, the similarity is no surprise. What’s also a standout on this track is how guitarist Vinnie Zummo (formerly with Joe Jackson) completely channels George Harrison’s Elmore James-influenced slide guitar.

The track was produced by Billy’s son, Matty, who I used to fondly refer to as “Matty’s Fro,” owing to his impressive Afro hairstyle! Matty has gone on to become quite adept producer and multi-instrumentalist in his own right, and it’s fantastic to hear father and son working together on such a solid track. Please enjoy!

Rare Video from 1971: Alice Cooper Band Record “The Ballad of Dwight Fry”

Neal Smith, drummer for the original Band called Alice Cooper sent me the link to this video a couple of days ago and told me it was a clip he had never even seen before. Knowing how many fans of that awesome band I have as readers, I knew I had to post this as soon as I could get it together. This clip is especially great because you get to hear Neal and guitarist Michael Bruce have a very candid conversation about whether Neal or bassist Dennis Dunaway will provide the voice of the little girl in the song’s introduction. Neal twirls his sticks a lot and Kachina the snake also makes an appearance! Enjoy!

Happy 40th Birthday, Billion Dollar Babies!

Billion Dollar Babies Cake

The original band called Alice Cooper released its sixth studio album, Billion Dollar Babies, on this date, February 25th, in 1973. Billion Dollar Babies, which went to the Number One position on every chart, is a very special album for me. Favorite Song: “No More Mr. Nice Guy.”

Gail on Neals Drums

Here I am on one of Alice Cooper Drummer Neal Smith’s drum kits. All of Neal’s Gold and Platinum Albums earned for sales of Alice Cooper band records are on the walls behind me. Billion Dollar Babies is in there, somewhere.

Ringo Was The Drummer

Ringo was the Drummer

Happy 65th Birthday, Neal Smith!

Gail and Neal at Don Hills
Me and Neal in 2002, Don Hill’s Night Club

Drummer and R&R Hall of Fame Inductee Neal Smith, of the original band called Alice Cooper, celebrates 65 year on the planet today, September 23rd. Happy Birthday Neal, you are the best!

Keith Moon Tattoo

Keith Moon Tattoo

I love Keith Moon and everything, and this tatt is a pretty realistic likeness, but…I’m not sure how I feel about it. Keith’s face has a little bit of an Ed Grimley thing going on. It is kind of creeping me out. What do you think?

Remembering Pete De Freitas

Pete De Freitas
Pete Circa 1981 (Image Source)

On June 14th in 1989, Echo And The Bunnymen drummer Pete De Freitas was killed when his motorbike collided with a car as he rode from Liverpool to London. He was 27 years old.

Happy Birthday, Phil Rudd!

Phil Rudd Drums
Image Source

AC/DC drummer Phil Rudd was born on this day, May 19th in 1954. Happy Birthday, Phil! Nobody does the four-on-the-floor like you!

Greek Fire Release New Song In Support of Leukemia Stricken Drummer

Drummer Johnny Venus of Greek Fire
Drummer Johnny Venus of Greek Fire

In February 2012, shortly after completing a tour of Japan, Johnny Venus, drummer for American rock band Greek Fire (and longtime drum tech for Story of The Year) was diagnosed with Leukemia. Devastating news, to be sure. Representatives for the band have issued a statement saying that, “Johnny is fighting the battle of his life, and even in these darkest of times his incredible courage and strength inspired Johnny’s fellow band mates to write a song about this profoundly difficult and emotional journey.”

The song, “If this is the End (The Sound of Belief)” was made into a video, which Greek Fire released via YouTube on May 15th, 2012. Watch “If this is the End (The Sound of Belief)” at This Link. The statement continues that, “The video was made free of charge by a group of amazing and selfless individuals who donated their time and talents, and the result is a heartfelt and emotional offering of hope and support for anyone, anywhere, who has experience with cancer. Greek Fire is releasing this video in hope that it can help people find the courage and strength to fight with all of their heart, and as a reminder that there are people everywhere in the world fighting with them. Please share this video with as many people as you can. Nothing will make Johnny Venus and the band prouder than if the song can help someone, somewhere, in some way.”

“If this is the End (The Sound of Belief)” is also available to purchase/download via iTunes, Amazon, and countless other outlets. 100% of proceeds generated from the sale of  the song will go directly to The Johnny Venus Leukemia Fund to help him with the cost of his medical treatments. You can also make a donation directly to Johnny’s fund, by clicking This Link. Get well now, Johnny!

RIP, Levon Helm

Levon Helm Drumming
Image Source

Musician and Actor Levon Helm (Born Mark Lavon Helm), best known as the Drummer for The Band, has passed away on April 19, 2012 after a lengthy battle with cancer. He was 71 years old. I was fortunate to see Levon play drums once, during a taping of the the short-lived Sundance TV Show, Spectacle, which was hosted by Elvis Costello. Levon appeared on the Build a Band episode, where he was joined by fellow musical legends such as Nick Lowe, Richard Thompson and Allen Toussaint. What an amazing set those guys put together! The East Portland Blog has an excellent Obit and remembrance of Levon’s life at This Link that’s both heartfelt and extremely compelling. Worth checking out even, or perhaps especially, if you didn’t know much about him. RIP, Levon. You will be missed.