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 tomlonardo.com 

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 StantonMoore.com

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, usojazzy.com.

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, sarahthawer.com

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.

Episode 11 – David Anderson: “What the Music Calls For”


David Anderson is another drummer who comes to us through our interview with legendary drum educator, Ed Soph. A student of Lee Rucker at the University of Central Oklahoma, David would also drive three hours to Denton, TX to study privately with Soph. Between Rucker and Soph, along with inspiration from his brother — the late William Salter, a professional drummer twenty years his senior — David made it out to LA where he is still flourishing as a working drummer and drum educator.

David has toured and recorded with some incredible musicians, including Eddie Harris, Dionne Warwick, The Rippingtons, Tom Scott, Hubert Laws, Chaka Khan, and Larry Carlton, to name just a few.

For listeners serious about drumming, David is a wonderful inspiration. He had a dream from a very young age, knew what he wanted to do, and, despite his doubts, stuck with it. And that’s what being a pro takes, regardless of what you’re doing. It’s hours and hours of practice, chasing down lessons three hours away with the best teacher you can get, knowing that the practice and learning never ends, and ultimately, having a belief that you can do it. And all of that takes courage, because devoting to something you really want takes courage.

For those of us who have less ambituous dreams, like being able to play locally without embarrassing ourselves too, too much, well, that takes courage, too. And time. And practice. And a belief in yourself. For all his success,

David strikes me as an incredibly humble, grateful person.  He was kind enough to tale with us and share stories of his history, work, and approach to drums.

To see David in action, check out this YouTube Video, as well as this little taste of David’s Steve Gadd inspired Aja Outro.

Episode 10 – Craig Pilo: “Get Out and Play”

USA - Music - Craig Pilo Performs in Florida

Drummer/drum Educator Craig Pilo came to us through our interview with Ed Soph. As one of Ed’s students at the famed music program at The University of North Texas, Craig heard the interview with Ed and emailed to tell me how much he enjoyed it. I decided to ask him to be a guest on the show and he happily agreed.

Originally from Connecticut, Craig graduated from UNT in 1995 and began life as a working musician in LA a year later. One of his earliest gigs was with trumpeter Maynard Ferguson! He’s also worked with Pat Boone, Edgar Winter and was on tour for several years with rock and roll Hall of Fame’s Frankie Valli. Craig continues to work with the group Little Fish, as well as Player, which became famous for the song, “Baby, Come Back.”  Craig also keeps a busy schedule recording and teaching, including a faculty position with the California School of Music.

Having studied with Alan Dawson, Ed Soph, Dave Weckl and Jeff Hamilton, to name just a few, Craig’s professional work and lifelong teaching and learning makes for a wonderful interview for Contraption’s new and returning drummers.

Like so many we’ve interviewed – wait is it all of them? – Craig started with drums very young, inspired by his father who took him to a life changing music performance with one of drumming’s royalty…

For more information on Craig’s work, teaching and schedule, check out CraigPilo.com

And click here to see an incredibly impressive performance of “Impressions” by John Coltrance.

And, you can download Craig’s music at iTunes and cdBaby

Episode 9 – Jeremy Bout: “Masters of Resonance”

masters pic

We depart a bit in our interview today to feature a filmmaker instead of a drummer. Jeremy Bout, a prolific filmmaker, speaker and overall inspiring individual, is the founder of Edge Factor, whose mission is to “inspire and equip communities through the power of storytelling.” The story Jeremy talks with us about today is his incredible film Masters of Resonance, which features the story of John Good of DW drums and the journey of a centuries old log from river to rock stage.

The film is actually way more nuanced than that, but it’s something you have to experience. Indeed, it’s not just about the building a a great DW kit for famed drummer Neil Peart, but also an inspiring story of following one’s passion, whether that be drumming, drum making, or any other thing you call your own.

I first learned about Masters of Resonance while doing the first interview for Contraption, which was with drummer Paul Wertico. I had actually interviewed Paul the day after he returned from LA as a panel member for a screening of Masters of Ressonance, in which he appears.  Jeremy was happy to share his story and the story of the film, which I highly encourage you to see.

To see more about the film, check out the official Masters of Resonance trailer and another Masters of Resonance teaser on YouTube.

Also, be sure to subscribe to the Masters of Resonance Facebook page.

For more information on Jeremy Bout, his films, and Edge Factor, check out EdgeFactor.com