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Revenge of the Drum Geek

Article by Jayson Brinkworth // December 02 2007
Revenge of the Drum Geek

In this month’s article, I want to share my thoughts on being a drum geek. I know you are thinking, “What is a drum geek, and why would I want to be one?” My definition of the term drum geek is this: a drummer who is very passionate about drumming and music; he or she loves to talk about drum gear, talk about drummers and music, watch and listen to drummers play, read about technique and licks, and just generally be consumed by their love of drumming. I am a drum geek, and I am sure that if you are reading this article right now, you fit into this category as well.

Have you ever spent time with other drummers and just went on and on about new drum gear? Drum Geek. Have you spent hours on the internet watching clips of drummers playing? Drum Geek. Do you read the liner notes on CDs to see who played drums on what tracks? Drum Geek. Do you own so much gear that you have to keep some at another residence? Drum Geek. I think I should turn this subject into a spin off of Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck.” I will call it “You might be a drum geek.” Email me at jayzdrumz@yahoo.ca with your answers, and I will include them in an upcoming BP issue.

The best part about being a drum geek is that we are constantly learning new things. I remember being in high school and wanting to learn everything about drums and drumming. I would ask questions, read magazines, listen to a lot of music, and watch whatever live music I could. It was different back in those days (I know, I sound old), but there was no internet and only a handful of drumming video resources (thanks to Star Licks for these; they are great). I spent hours reading Modern Drummer and learning from authors like Roy Burns and Ronald Spagnardi. I would also try and get in touch with any drummers coming through town to pick their brain on drumming and music. One drummer that I ended up hanging out with a lot was Jeff Randolph. Jeff was the drummer in a Florida based band that would be in Canada playing a couple of times a year. He had attended the University of Miami for music and was a wealth of knowledge. When we would get together we would discuss the Moeller method, work through funk grooves and licks, and record ourselves playing. We would also work with the click and listen to great music by Tower of Power, Sly and the Family Stone, Chicago, and many others. These lessons were so valuable. I thank you, Jeff, for your time and wisdom.

I still to this day will try and track down drummers when they are in town. I just need to learn and love sharing information. Some great moments in my “drummer stalking” history include hanging out with Mark Schulman while he does his laundry, spending an hour with John Blackwell before a Prince show, supper with Cactus Moser, lunch with Billy Thomas, hanging after the show with Billy Kilson, long chats with Dom Famularo and Dave Weckl and many other very positive experiences.


As teachers in this day and age, we have access to some amazing resources in our musical journey. The internet is an extremely inspiring tool, as well as all of the instructional DVDs out there. Drum companies also have educational spots on their websites for all to enjoy and learn. All of this information can be inspiring but can also be confusing if we don’t know what to look for.

In the remainder of the article, I have listed some of these resources that will let you see and hear great drummers playing and get some very valuable lessons for your own playing. If you have any questions, please contact myself, or if you have any particular sites that you visit, let me know.


This is my favorite, thanks to Bernhard Castiglioni for all of his hard work. Here you will find everything drumming, from video and audio clips, music, books, to pictures and bios of your favorite players. I can spend hours on here just reading drummers biographies and watching videos. This is where you can read about drummers you don’t know and learn a lot about the history of this instrument. Go to the video collection and watch all of the incredible players. Some of my favorites are Abe Laboriel Jr., Billy Ward, Gerald Heyward, Elvin Jones, Jo Jo Mayer, Jim Chapin, Eddie Bayers, and Steve Gadd. Actually, just check them all out; it is worth your time. You can also go to the drum clinic section and get lessons from Peter Erskine, Stanton Moore, Keith Carlock, Freddie Gruber, and Joe Morello. Again, too many to list, but you will be a better musician for this.

I love being away on a gig and taking a few hours on a Saturday afternoon to just geek out on the computer and take all of this in. Check out all of the sections on the site; you will find some very cool stuff, and learn a lot. Also, keep your practice pad close by the computer as you will be inspired to play after watching for a while.


On this site, it is unbelievable what you can find footage on. On YouTube you can watch drummers, for sure, but you can also watch bands playing and recording live. When I type in "drums" in the search bar, I find great clips like Stevie Wonder playing an amazing drum solo (too funky), Thomas Pridgen (who is a young monster of a drummer), a solo from a Foo Fighters concert (Taylor Hawkins and Dave Grohl on drums!), Terry Bozzio solos, Phil Collins playing, and lessons from Derrick Pope. This was just a search on the word "drums." Check out live footage by Porcupine Tree (Gavin Harrison is so good. He has great videos on Drummerworld as well), Toto live (with the late Jeff Porcaro on drums), and Avenged Sevenfold also has great clips. These lists go as far as your imagination will take you. You can watch old footage of Miles Davis or John Coltrane with Elvin Jones and Tony Williams on drums. These are timeless pieces of history. This can also become very time consuming, so make sure you have all of your homework done before losing yourself in all of this music.


Quite a few drum companies have great instructional audio and video on their sites as well. The most notable is probably Vic Firth. These lessons aren’t just for drum sets; you will find marching, classical percussion, and Latin throughout. Watch Jeff Queen tear up a snare drum with amazing chops. Learn from Dom Famularo and Tommy Igoe. Again, so much valuable information in one place. 

Evans drumheads also has an educational element on their site, and it is located in the media library. You can watch clips from Chris Pennie, Chad Wackerman, and Billy Cobham; have some conga lessons with Brian Kilgore; or hear an interview with Dennis Chambers. The list goes on and on, but again it is not limited to just drumset. 

Remo also has a wonderful site with education available. Click on drumming in the toolbar, and you find lessons on developing your sound, hand techniques, the history of Latin percussion instruments and many other subjects. Remo also has resources on world drumming and drum circles for all hand drumming enthusiasts. 

Zildjian has lessons online as well. Go to the "Zildjian-U" icon and find percussionist resources. Here you will find lessons on cymbals sounds and playing from Ed Soph, John Riley, Steve Smith, and others. They also have plenty of education on cymbals in classical music, as well as marching.


I apologize if I have missed some other site with important information. There are too many to list in one article, but you will find plenty of useful stuff on all of the sites listed. Even though we can spend hours researching, watching, listening and being inspired, the true value in this is applying it to our own practicing. Nothing will replace sitting at your drumset, conga, djembe, Timpani, or whatever your drum of choice is, and just playing. Take all of the information you learn from these sites and put it into your own style of playing. In the end, this is what a being a creative musician is all about. And finally, try being a drum geek for a little while. You just might like it. 



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About the Author
Jayson  Brinkworth

Jayson Brinkworth is an accomplished drummer, percussionist, vocalist, educator and writer based out of Canada. He is co-owner of the Saskatchewan music school Music In The House, as well as the founder of both the Regina Drum Festival and The Stickman Drum Experience.

Jayson proudly endorses Yamaha drums, Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans heads, Impact cases, Kickport, Flix, Future Sonics and Mountain Rhythm. Visit Jayson online at www.jaysonbrinkworth.com.

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