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


Episode 8 – Sean Dobbins: “We’re in the Healing Business”


Detroit-area drummer/drum educator Sean Dobbins has been playing since he was a very young man.  As a student in the Ann Arbor, Michigan school system, he was fortunate to study under Louis Smith, an amazing trumpet player and long time Blue Note recording artist.

Influenced by jazz greats like Ed Thigpen, Elvin Jones and his favorite drummer – Art Blakey – Sean has performed with an amazing number of artist over the years, including Bennie Golson, Frank Morgan, Tad Weed and Mose Allison, to name just a few.  Interestingly, Sean is our third interview with a person whose played with Mose Allison.

While Sean keeps busy with numerous gigs and recording sessions, he also excels as a drum educator, a career move that came as a bit of a surprise for Sean who, early on, never dreamt he would teach.  He’s not only an Applied Professor of Jazz Percussion at Wayne State University, but also the Director of the Ann Arbor Public School’s Summer Jazz Program. It was great talking to Sean about his approach to drums and in our interview he offers a great deal of insight for the new and returning drummer.

For more information on Sean Dobbins, visit his Detroit Music Factory website

Also, check out this wonderful video of Sean Dobbins in action with his Trio You from 2018.

And a video of Sean Dobbins Organ Quartet at the Dirty Dog in Detroit (2015)

For information on Sean’s teaching, check the following faculty sites:

Sean Dobbins faculty page at Oakland University

Sean Dobbins faculty page at Wayne State University



Episode 7 – Ra Kalam Bob Moses: “Living the Music”

Ra Kalam in prayer mode

When I first got back into drumming a year or so ago – I mean, really taking it seriously – two of the teachers I had been studying with got me started on something known as the 8/8 concept or resolution points.  Many of you already know that’s from Rakalam Bob Moses’s seminal book, Drum Wisdom.

Since learning the 8/8 concept, which Rakalam Bob Moses makes great use of in his two recent videos for his MyMusic Masterclass sessions, available now for download and live streaming, I have never had a practice session go by that I have not thought about and/or practiced singing or playing resolution points.

And I’m just one of thousands of drummers who follow this important teaching to improve their work.

I’ve been a fan of Bob Moses since his Bittersuite in the Ozone album, although I came to it a little bit later than its 1973 debut. He’s also the drummer on one of my favorite albums, Pat Metheny’s Bright Size Life.

The godson of Ed Shaughnessy, young Bob Moses was fortunate to grow up in the same building with such greats as Max Roach, Art Blakey and Elvin Jones.  I was honored recently to talk with Rakalam Bob Moses, who shares stories of his past, news of his current and upcoming work, and his overall “drum wisdom.”

To hear Ra Kalam Bob Moses’ past and current work, visit Ra Kalam Records on the nativepulse.com site.

Watch Ra Kalam Bob Moses and John Medeski with the New England Conservatory Jazz Orchestra in their 2015 performance of the Rakalam Bob Moses composition, African Violet.

And here’s a trailer from the MyMusicMasterclass “Living Music 2.”

Episode 6 – Gina Knight: “Embrace the Mundane”


The title of this episode is “Embrace the Mundane,” but I really hesitate to call it that because our guest, Gina Knight, is about as far from mun-dane as you can get.

An incredible drummer, amazing teacher – and, by day, a super real estate agent (no, I’m not kidding), you probably know Gina as YouTube’s Drum Lessons Girl. A popular, helpful series of videos, her lesson on the half-time shuffle itself has over 700K views!

Gina is an incredibly busy, gigging Chicago drummer as well as a singer and all around entertainer. She’s even played drums in several episodes of the Fox hit series Empire – and she’s so humble, she didn’t even mention it in our interview.

So — why “embrace the mundane” – well, that’s Gina’s incredibly profound advice to new and returning drummers and by the end of this episode, you’ll see why it’s so important.

Pick up a copy of Gina’s three hour Drum Lessons Girl DVD and check out her website to keep up on all her shows and events.

And here is Gina’s complete drum solo video excerpted in the interview.

Gina’s talk about swing bands made me think of one of my teachers, Tim Froncek, who has an amazing video of “Sing Sing Sing” on YouTube that I want to share with you.  As mentioned, Tim, a professor of music at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the teacher who appears in my self-deprecating podcast intro.  Enjoy!

By the way, I just have to say I love that story of five-year-old Gina telling those boys at Radio Shack how NOT to play piano!  A lifelong educator if ever there was one.  So grateful to Gina for her time and her profound thoughts on drumming.  You’ll all really enjoy this one!

Episode 5 – Ed Soph: “Open Mind and Open Ears”


In January 2017, when Drum! Magazine published “10 Drumming Educators Share Their Number One Piece Of Advice For Students,” they talked with a veritable who’s who of those at the very top of their field. Among them, today’s most honored guest, Ed Soph, whose work as a professional drummer, clinician, and ground-breaking college professor has made him one of the most respected people in drumming today.

Soph’s career includes playing with such as Stan Kenton and the Woody Herman band. You may have even played along with him as the drummer on a number of the Jamey Abersold play-along records. In 1987, after twenty years on the East coast, Ed and his wife returned to his alma mater, the University of North Texas, where he eventually became the first tenured professor of drumset at any public university in the US. Some of Ed’s students have become famous in their own right, including Jazz drummer Ari Hoenig, LA-based Jason Sutter, and the legendary Dave Weckyl.

Born in California and raised in Houston, Ed—like so many of the drummers we’ve talked with in this series, began around age four or five, when his father, who enjoyed playing ragtime piano, came home with a wood block and encouraged Ed to play along. Drum lessons soon followed with teacher Elder Mori. Soon Ed was playing gigs and learning from the older, more experienced member of the band.

Recently retired from UNT, students still learn from Ed, his books and videos, and the many YouTube interviews and lessons, including a series of Quick Tips he made for Evans. A new series of videos is coming soon to The Drum Channel.

Before you do anything, watch Ed’s Jazz Trio video from Drummerworld. Ed’s as great a player as he is an educator!

For a quick biography, read the excellent Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame entry for Ed by Lauren Vogel Weiss.

The following titles are available on amazon.comMusical Time: A Source book for Jazz Drumming; Musical Time: DVD; Essential Techniques for Drumset: Book 1

Check out the first of Ed’s 7-Part video lesson on playing brushes, just one of many Ed Soph videos and “Quick Tips” produced by Evans.

Photo credit: Folletts