Episode 18 – Tom Lonardo: “It All Leads Back to 1”


Born in Paris – Paris, Tennessee, that is – Tom Lonardo has been a drummer and drum educator for most of his life.  Coming from a musical family – his father was a bass player and owner of a music store, the largely self-taught drummer has a bachelors and masters of music from the University of Mississippi and studied with the great Alan Dawson at Berekely. He was inducted into the Ole Miss Jazz Hall of Fame in 1991 and received the “Life Time Achievement Award” from The Memphis Musical Heritage Foundation in 2011.

Famous – or is that infamous – for his role in The Dog Police (check it out on YouTube), Tom still keeps a very active calendar, playing six nights per week.  After discussing his own unique path to the drums, Tom opens up about his drum philosophy and shares advice for new and returning drummers on keeping time and playing unisons.  Seeing the drums as “a place of peace” that drummers should approach fearlessly, Tom is incredibly inspiring and I consider this one of the “must listen to” interviews.

For more information on Tom, visit 

Also, check him out in a very brief but incredibly cool interview, Groovin’ in Memphis with Tom Lonardo, that Tom did with Chris Bounds at Memphis Drum Shop

And watch Tom in action with blues pianist/vocalist Di Anne Price and bassist Tim Goodwin

Episode 17 – Stanton Moore: “Be Kind to Yourself”

Stanton Moore 2019

When I started the podcast back in October of 2018, I had a list of people I really wanted to talk with. One of those at the top of the list was this episode’s guest, Stanton Moore. Whether you know him as the drummer for Galactic, or with other bands and projects covering a wide range of styles, as a drum educator and founder of the Stanton Moore Drum Academy, as a clinician, or for his signature Crescent cymbals by Sabian or his own Stanton Moore snare drum, he is a drummer’s drummer.

Stanton’s excellence and passion in all things drums – and all things life in general, I’m sure – make Stanton the perfect musician for the new and returning drummer to listen to and explore. In this interview, we talk about a wide variety of subjects, from high school drum programs to equipment to some wonderful tips on timing, the jazz ride pattern and, for the first time anywhere, as far as I know, anyways, a definition and demonstration of “playing in the cracks.”

For all things Stanton, visit

Go to Sabian cymbals to get a look at Stanton’s signature Crescent line, along with the entire range of Crescent cymbals.  I own the 22″ Element Ride and it is the sweetest sounding cymbal I have!  I trade a lot of stuff back and forth, buy and sell, but I’ll never let go of my Crescent.

Here’s a great intro to Stanton’s online teaching offered by his own Stanton Moore Drum Academy.

Watch Stanton playing his Stanton Moore Drum company 14 x 4.5 Titanium snare, which he talks about in the interview.

Special note: Now that I’ve been back at drums for a couple of years, I decided to record the signature outro jazz ride pattern that has become our theme song.  So that’s me you hear on the kit at the very end of the episode.  Let me know what you think – unless you don’t like it.  After all, as Stanton advises in this episode, we’ve got to be kind to ourselves.

Photo: Linda Del Rio

Episode 16 – Ulysses Owens, Jr: “Let’s Get Back to Basics”



Ulysses Owens Jr. has firmly established his place in drums, from his work as a jazz drummer, educator, and author of his upcoming Hal Leonard publication on brushes.  Lauded in publications like Jazz Times, All About Jazz, and The New York Times, Ulysses reputation is well deserved and firmly secured.

Keeping a busy schedule of touring, workshops, recording, producing and teaching, the Grammy award winning Owens, well known for his work with the Christian McBride Trio, remains gracious and humble, always looking to help his fellow artists and the community. Case in point – Owens is artistic director for Don’t Miss a Beat, Inc., a youth-empowerment non profit founded by his family in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

For our second season opener, Ulysses talked with us about his path to drums, the importance of mastering the basics, his upcoming Hal Leonard publication on brushes and his other upcoming work on the business of music.

To find out more about Ulysses work, projects and performance schedule, check out his website,

Check out this quick example of Ulysses’ teaching in this Open Studio video on playing with brushes. And learn more about enrolling in Ulysses Open Studio master class, Finding Your Beat..

Here’s a great example of Ulysses in the Christian McBride Trio.

And here’s a link to the Ulysses Owens Jr. signature U stick from Regal Tip. Hopefully they’ll be available again soon!

And make sure to learn more about the Owens’ family Don’t Miss a Beat youth-empowerment program.



Episode 15 – Cindy Goldberg: “Beat Keepers”


beat keepers

Artist, writer, musician, drummer and filmmaker, Cindy Goldberg is getting great reception for her new feature length documentary, “Beat Keepers: Women with Rhythm.” Exploring the challenges and prospects women face in the drum community. Cindy was kind enough to talk with us about her film, her path to drums, and her own empowering ideas for new and returning drummers.

Buy or rent Beat Keepers now on Vimeo.

Follow Cindy and all the Beat Keepers news and events on the Beat Keepers Facebook page.

Episode 14 – Sarah Thawer: “Each Limb is a Voice”


Toronto based drummer, Sarah Thawer, has been bringing Indian rhythms, infused with her incredible talent and energy, to numerous stage and recording projects.  Her love of the instrument is seen in every video and performance she graces, proving once again that those with the greatest passion for the instrument make the greatest drummers.

Sarah studied jazz and world music at York University, where she graduated Summa Cum Laude. She received the Oscar Peterson Scholarship, the highest award given by York. For all her academic achievement, Sarah, like so many of the drummer’s we’ve talked with this first season, started playing at a very young age and never touched a drum book–technique or otherwise–until college, developing a very natural style inspired by the Indian music her father performed and listened to.

For more information on Sarah, visit her website,

And be sure to catch this amazing Drumeo video including Sarah’s lessons on Indian rhythms.

You’ll also love this Vic Firth Jams Live video with Sarah.  Note – sh’ed never played with these musicians before this video!

And here’s the complete, mind-blowing YouTube video of Drum City as heard, in part, in this episode’s podcast intro.

And please visit Sarah’s sponsors pages Vic Firth, Yamaha drums, Evans drumheads, Zildjian, and Gruvgear.

Episode 13 – Tony TC Coleman: “I’m a Natural”

tc pic

He’s been the drummer for the best of the blues, from Albert Collins to Albert King to the “King of the Blues” himself, B.B. King.  Tony TC Coleman, this episode’s guest, talks about how he came to appreciate the blues and how aspiring drummers need to approach playing it. A self-confessed “natural,” Tony has mastered the “less is more” style, placing groove above all and making it pay off in a wonderful career that continues to keep him one of the busiest blues drummers around.  A living legend we can all learn from in an amazing “no holds barred” interview!

For all things TC, visit Tony TC Coleman’s website

And be sure to check out Drumeo’s TC Lesson, “The Real Way to Play the Blues” on YouTube!

For an example of Tony’s command of the blues (not to mention his beautiful Mapex kit), be sure to check out his moving tribute to B.B. King in this 2017 version of “Caledonia” on YouTube. Notice around 2:40 into he video where TC, during his talk, perfectly keeps that beat going!

Episode 12 – Tony Bartone: “Just Stay in that Groove”


I first came to know Tony Bartone through yet another search for a drum set – this time a Yamaha Stage Custom Bop kit I was interested in. Prominent among the Youtube searches were videos of Tony playing in a variety of styles on the very kit I was interested in. Not only was I sold on the quality of the set, but on Tony’s incredible ability as a drummer, and, as I later found out, as a drum educator.

Much like everyone we’ve talked with this first season of Contraption, Tony’s been playing drums most of his life. His early training in rudiments definitely paid off as he grew to become a working professional with some pretty high profile gigs, including a year on the set of Everyday with Joan Lunden.

Today, Tony teaches a wide variety of students in his home state of New Jersey; he’s also an accomplished piano player and vocalist who gigs weekly. We met up on the phone early one Saturday morning before his student’s began arriving for lessons to talk about his path to drums, his professional experience, and his advice to new and returning drummers.

To see Tony in action, check out this YouTube playlist of Tony Bartone.

For an example of Tony’s teaching, check out this YouTube playlist of Tony’s lessons on rudiments.