DRUM! Staff Blogs
Chad Smith Honored for Supporting Little Kids Rock
Red Hot Chili Pepper drummer Chad Smith was honored at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, California for his recent charity work with the Little Kids Rock foundation on May 16th. Little Kids Rock is a program founded by Chief Executive Officer David Wish who has been working with Chad since 2002.
Chad originally started working with Little Kids rock in 85 schools in the Bay Area and New York and now they’re in over 1500 schools in 30 cities around the country. That’s 14 years of work and 14 years of support. For David Wish, “That’s why we’re honoring Chad today with our Living The Dream Award.”
We talked with Chad when he had just gotten back from attending the Acoustic for a Cure event on May 15th in San Francisco, California. It was a fundraiser for kids that have cancer and featured guest performances by Sammy Hagar and James Hetfield. He was visibly impressed with that event, mentioning how they raised more money than expected, and was anxious to see the success of the Little Kids Rock event.
When asked about what he enjoys most about working with children and music Chad gave insight to his personal experience growing up in the public school system “If it wasn’t for the music classes and the music programs in my schools that I went to, I certainly wouldn’t have graduated from high school," Chad said. Chad went on to say his interest was not math or english but music and he is ashamed that how music and art programs are often the first to be cut by schools. “I think it’s important that kids be exposed to music and art. So I wanted to do everything to support that.”
Chad's high-profile drum-off with Will Ferrell that aired in 2014 on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon is another example of his efforts to help the program. According to David Wish, Little Kids Rock was able to donate 287 drum sets to schools across the country thanks to Chad and Will.
Not only does he support Little Kids Rock, but Chad is also engaged nationwide with Michelle Obama’s Turn Around Arts Program. Chad describes The Mary Chapa Literacy and Technology Academy as an underachieving school in a tough part of the city where “no one cared about the school or learning or for the kids to have any inspiration at all.” Chad’s vision was to rekindle that fire and bring inspiration and hope to the students at Mary Chapa. Through his efforts the school received donations from the companies he endorses: Pearl Drums, Sabian Cymbals, Vater Drum Sticks, and Remo Heads. Chad feels the Turn Around Arts Program provides multiple benefits to the community because “parents get involved when they see that their kids are excited about art and music” plus “attendance and graduation rates are up.” Clearly his vision is working. I’m blown away at the success," he says adding, "It [Little Kids Rock] is one of the programs that actually works which is pretty cool to see.”
Africa Is The Source Of The Music
February is African-American History Month. And, the history of modern music is impossible to imagine without African-American History.The rhythm of today's pop, rock, funk, blues, r&b, jazz, punk and hip-hop is traced back along a river of sound that rolls back into history, starting today in places like New York and Tokyo and Stockholm and Johannesburg and working its way back to America to New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Kansas City, Nashville, Memphis, Clarksdale, Mississippi, and ultimately New Orleans, and from there to Caribbean islands, Brazil, and, finally, the west coast of Africa.
Humans probably have always musically inventive, in all cultures. But from African-Americans we got something special. We got supercharged doses of rhythm, the tools of polyrhythms, syncopation, and group vocal styles such as call-and-response singing. We got heavily swung notes and blue notes. And, people loved it. Slaves weren't in the new world very long before they were being pressed into roles as musical entertainers, and military band members. But it was after emancipation and the beginnings of the 20th century that dozens of exciting new styles began to emerge from the mating of African music with European ballad forms. Blues, ragtime, Dixieland, swing, jazz, bebop, r&b, soul, funk and on and on. It's impossible to find an American style of music (North American or South American), from blues to hip-hop to salsa, even country, that doesn't get its rhythmic energy from the African musical tradition.
That huge gift of music and rhythm that Africa gave to the world still reverberates in every corner of the globe. It made everything about modern drum set and hand drum possible. That's worth acknowledging, and celebrating.
Caught In The Act: Matt Halpern
Artist: Matt Halpern
Where: Carrboro, NC
Venue: Cat's Cradle
Periphery's tour kicked off this week in North Carolina and we got shots of Matt Halpern in performance and giving a class in a bar. Who knows? It's a trend that could catch on. Matt is on the cover of DRUM!'s February 2015 issue with an interview that takes you inside his playing secrets and survival tips for today's drummers.
Remaining Tour Dates
- January 14 Ft. Lauderdale, FL Revolution Live
- January 16 New Orleans, LA House of Blues
- January 17 Houston, TX House of Blues
- January 18 Dallas, TX House of Blues
- January 20 Albuquerque, NM Sunshine Theatre
- January 21 Phoenix, AZ Club Red
- January 22 Los Angeles, CA House of Blues
- January 23 Anaheim, CA Yost Theater
- January 26 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore
- January 27 Portland, OR Hawthorne
- January 28 Seattle, WA El Corazon
- January 30 Salt Lake City, UT In The Venue
- January 31 Denver, CO Summit Music Hall
- February 2 Minneapolis, MN Varsity Theater
- February 3 Chicago, IL House of Blues
- February 4 Detroit, MI St. Andrew’s Hall
- February 6 Toronto, ON Opera House
- February 7 Montreal, QC Corona Theatre
- February 8 Albany, NY Upstate Concert Hall
- February 9 Rochester, NY WaterStreet Music Hall
- February 11 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
- February 12 New York, NY Irving Plaza
- February 13 Silver Spring, MD The Fillmore
- February 14 Philadelphia, PA District N9ne
For more info visit Periphery on Facebook.
Caught In The Act: Robert Downs Outtakes
Photograhper: Robert Downs
Subject: Cover Shoots For DRUM! Magazine
Robert Downs has been a regular contributor of covers and inside photography for DRUM! in the past decade. Here's a series of outtakes from four of his shoots.
Steve Jordan with Robert
Stanton Moore was posed on the banks of the Mississippi.
Brann Dailor of Mastodon made a great camera subject.
Middle East To Cuba: Journeys With Street Drum Corps
During their recent ten-year anniversary, Street Drum Corps got the chance to visit US military installations in the Middle East, Africa, and Cuba and to see a lot of countries around the world. We asked Frank Zummo to send pics of their journey as he and co-founders Adam and Bobby Alt traveled the world. They got to play at several bases, and had a lot of fun, but as Frank says, "The best part of the trip was performing for the troops and their families."
Chilling under the Flag of Bahrain.
Visiting musical groups have been a staple at American military bases for a century.
On stage in Djibouti, Somalia.br>
Flying in Cuba.
Welcome to Cuba.
Did that washing machine fly with them?