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Drummers of the Pacific North West Part I

Article by Donn Garrett // March 27 2014
Drummers of the Pacific North West Part I

What do you get when you live in, or near a city like Seattle that has been nationally known for it’s rich music culture and it’s open and supportive music scene? You get a lot of really good drummers who have spent many years developing their craft, who daily are honing their chops in order to help separate themselves from the rest of the pack. 

Drummers of the Pacific North West is one drummer’s way of giving back to a great community of drummers by shinning a spotlight on their talents. Donn Garrett enlisted the help of dear friend and drummer advocate Teri Beede. Both are veteran volunteers of Woodstick; a day long drum clinic/trade show/concert/swap meet that takes place in and around Seattle, Washington every year. They will be highlighting the talents of 50 of the best NW drummers of all ages. 

Several of the drummers are touring nationally/internationally and some are just fixtures on a vibrant local scene. These are Players that stand out for their character and abilities. All drummers where asked the same ten questions. The first DNW Hang was held at London Bridge Studios in Shoreline, WA. November 9th 2013. These “Hangs” will grow as more drummers are interviewed. 

Stay Tuned


Donn Bennett

Donn Bennett is the founder of Bennett Drum Studio in Bellevue Washington. He is also one of the visionaries behind the Woodstick Big Beat.

Donn Garrett: Donn, how long have you been playing?

Donn Bennett: I started when I was 12. I'm 54 now.

DG: Are you self taught.

DB: Yes and no. I took drum lessons as a kid. They were extremely boring and I saw no connection between the excesses I was learning on a rubber pad and the amazing rock and roll I wanted to learn so badly. That was my youthful ignorance. I eventually got a teacher who could get me started playing the drum set with the music that inspired me. I practiced for many, many years on my own. Since then I've had the extreme good fortune to both study with and get to know some of the greatest drummers in the world. The formal lessons I received were invaluable but I think the real education came form getting to know these drummers on a personal level. It made me understand what makes a great drummer tick.

DG: How do you find a balance between business and drumming?

DB: It's a delicate balance. Ultimately I think you have to love drumming and pursue it with all of the passion it brings you. This kind of passion is infectious. People want to be around it. Anything you attach with passion like this is bound to be successful.

DG: What made you decide to play drums?

DB: Kenny Jones. The Faces. Seattle Center Coliseum. September of 1972. First concert I ever saw. Kenny Jones did a solo and BOOM, suddenly I had to be a drummer. 

DG: Do you sing or play other instruments?

DB: Nope. One of my few regrets. I suppose it's never too late to learn. Maybe in my spare time.

DG: What was your first kit and do you still have it or anything from it a picture would be cool.

DB: It was a, very early Pearl 4 piece blue sparkle. Probably from the 60s. We got it used at the Music West on Bellevue Way (where McDonalds is now). It was a Christmas present but I overheard my dad talking to the sales guy and I knew what he was up to. I still acted surprised.

DG: Who did you most want to be or play like?

DB: Growing up it was Kenney Jones. Later it was Ringo, and then Kenny Aronoff, and now it's Charlie Watts.

DG: What venue do you dream of playing or you’ve already played there?

DB: Performing at Woodstick every year is like a dream come true. Playing next to all of those amazing drummers and in front of all of my drumming friends is extremely exciting (however nerve wracking). I guess I've always wanted to play at Key Arena. That was The Seattle Center Coliseum where I first got bitten by the bug.

DG: Who would you jam with?

DB: Keith Richards and Ronnie Wood. If I got a chance to experience what it feels like to be in the middle of the interplay between those 2 guitarists I think I would die and go to heaven.

 What gear do you use and why?

DB: I play and endorse all of the following. Mapex Saturn Pro drums, they are currently making me a custom 24,12,15,16 set in a white ripple pearl finish. Sabian cymbals, the crashes are HHX Explosions. I have a variety of rides and hi hats. Remo heads and Vic Firth sticks. I also use Grombals and a Kickport. They just sent me some Kickports for my toms and snare. I'm looking forward to trying them out.


Andrew Cloutier is a drummer/singer from Seattle who plays with famed harpist Lee Oskar, and Seattle band Left Hand Smoke.

Donn Garrett: How long have you been playing drums? 

Andrew Cloutier: Since I was 6 years old. So, 40 years. 

DG: Are you self taught? 

AC: Yes. I am self taught Learn from other great drummers 

DG: How do you strike a balance between business and music? 

AC: Well if you don't focus on the business you can't only be a musician for a career. I give the business part of the job the time it needs to continue in a successful manner. That being said it's the drumming I truly love!

DG: What made you decide to play drums (if a particular artist, which one)? 

AC: My older brother was in a band and they rehearsed in our basement. The drummer left his kit at our house. I was drawn to them and practiced after school. That's how it started. 

DG: Do you sing or play other instruments? 

AC: I sing and used to play a little guitar. 

DG: What was your first kit, do you still have it or pieces of it (pictures of your first kit would be cool)? 

AC: My first real kit was Ludwig sky blue pearl 1968's. I still have them. 

DG: Who did you most want to be like?

AC: John Bonham like most drummers my age

DG: Name the venue that you dream of playing at or you’ve already played there. 

AC: Madison Square Garden! Haven't played it yet. 

DG: Who would you love to jam with? 

AC: Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, and so many more 

DG: What gear do you use and why?

AC: Endorsements, Vic Firth and Istanbul. I have several kits Gretsch, Ludwig, and Pacific. With many snare drum options.



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About the Author
Donn  Garrett

Donn Garrett is an accomplished drummer, songwriter and producer. He has performed with Alan White, Liberty DeVitto, Reek Havok, Shelley Tomberg, Steve Fossen, Chris Slade and many other talents. Visit Donn online at http://www.donngarrett.net/

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