Session Drummer – Studio Musician
Session musicians are the unsung heroes in the record industry. When we think of some of the iconic groups that have shaped our lives we know the drummer of the Beatles – Ringo Starr, Rolling Stones – Charlie Watts, Billy Joel for years was Liberty DeVito, Aerosmith – Joey Kramer and so on. How about the thousands of other artists that we either hear on the radio, ITunes or in concert. Who are those drummers? They are Session Drummers.
The drummer is considered the pulse/timekeeper of the band; by many considered the foundation. You can go back as far as the 13thcentury to find, that through the drummer’s cadence, which created the steady pace for marching, elevated the troop’s morale on the battle field. In music, for generations, that concept of the drummer’s foundation has lived on in the music that has been the fabric of our lives; yesterday, today and tomorrow.
There are countless drummers today who for generations have collectively played as session musicians on thousands of records, and have forever put their unique stamp on. These are records that we have tapped our foot to, danced to, and forever made memories with. Although the general audience has no idea of who these drummers were, these are some of the greatest drummers and most of them are icons to the drumming community at large.
There are too many studio drummers to list and give due credit to for this article. The one stand out to me, and probably most of the drumming community, a drummer who personifies what a Studio Drummer is and stands for is Dr. Steve Gadd.
Steve Gadd transcends generations of music and a vast set of genres of music. Born, April 9th, 1945, Steve is one of the most iconic drummers of all time. There are many drummers that come to mind that were known exclusively for a specific genre of music. Regardless of the genre of music, Gadd is incredible and covers them all perfectly.
Going back to the early 70’s Steve Gadd was on so many different albums by an array of great artists. Probably his most notable track of 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover, Paul Simon, is what catapulted him to fame as a studio musician. Steely Dan’s, Aja was soon after that. Steely Dan’s Aja album really showcased his greatness as a studio drummer in an album setting.
The lists of artists that Steve Gadd has played with are absolutely incredible and unmatched by most, if not all other drummers today. These artists include: Carly Simon, Roberta Flack, George Benson, Frank Sinatra, Dionne Warwick, Paul McCartney, Frankie Valli, Al Jerreau, Peter Garbriel, Barbara Streisand, Natalie Cole, Aretha Franklin, Barry Manilow, Steely Dan, James Taylor, Eric Clapton, Kate Bush, Joe Cocker, Grover Washington Jr., Chet Baker, Brecker Brothers, Al Dimeola, Kenny Loggins and Chic Corea.
On tour you would also see Steve in the drum chair for many artists. To name a few:
- 1990’s: Eric Clapton, Paul Simon, and Michael Petrucciani
- 2000’s: BB King, Eric Clapton and Jimmy Vaughn
- 2010’s: Eric Clapton, Kate Bush, James Taylor and Chick Corea.
For years Steve Gadd has played:
- Yamaha Drums
- Zildjian Cymbals
- Remo Drum Heads
- Latin Percussion
- Vic Firth Drum Sticks
Look at The Sessions Artist interview of Steve Gadd by Dom Famularo, the world’s drumming ambassador. This will give you the essence of the greatness of this artist and all that he has and continues to accomplish and contribute to our profession.
Steve Gadd has for years been an incredible inspiration to me. I have always tried to incorporate his finesse, musicality and rock steady time into my style of playing.
Several years ago when I transitioned from a live performing musician to a session musician I have constantly tried to maintain some of Steve Gadd’s focus and attributes.
Today I continue to develop my Studio Session Drummer services. Offering my services to those musicians / bands that are looking for drum tracks to complete their projects. Be it jingles, film soundtracks, demos, albums, etc.
My studio is partially comprised of:
- Yamaha 6 piece recording series kit
- Roland SD30 Octapad
- Yamaha EAD10 drum trigger
- K Zildjian cymbals
- Universal Audio and Focusrite interfaces and preamps
- Protools DAW
- Seneheiser, Shure, Audix and Rhodes mics
- Several plugins
I look forward to being part of your recording projects as your studio musician – session drummer. Please check out some of my groove examples and tracks…
Hope to see you in the studio… virtually!