Caught in The Act

Jason Bittner Gallery From DRUM! Night 2013

DRUM! Night 2013 clinics kicked off with Jason Bittner, who managed to live up to his reputation as a powerhouse double-bass thrasher while surprising the crowd with styles and techniques rarely associated with metal drumming.

Jason Bittner

Here’s my favorite shot from the reams of photos that have thus far made it to the DRUM! office. Here we get the rare chance to share the exact view Bittner had as he launched into his set.

Jason Bittner

Bittner concentrates on placing his notes in direct proportion to the click track blasting into his headphones.

Jason Bittner

A maze of stands, cymbals, drums, laptops, and water bottles surround Bittner during his clinic.

Jason Bittner

Check out the perspective from the balcony as Bittner improvises a chops-heavy solo for the crowd.

Gear Gallery From DRUM! Night 2013 Expo

Last Friday’s DRUM! Night 2013 festival was a tremendous success, with exhibitors, artists, and attendees alike proclaiming this year to be our best presentation yet. While every seat in the San Jose Repertory Theatre’s 500+ auditorium was completely sold out to see Chad Smith, Cindy Blackman-Santana, Jason Bittner, and Street Drum Corps, most attendees arrived early to check out all of the cool drum and percussion gear on display during our pre-show Expo.

Twenty lucky ticket holders were chosen to attend a 4:00 electronic drum kit seminar, in which Bob Terry explained and demonstrated the many creative options available with his Yamaha DTX/Zildjian Gen16 setup.

DRUM! Night 2013

In this shot, Terry hands the sticks to an audience member and encourages him to give the system a test drive.

DRUM! Night 2013

The Expo opened up to the rest of the audience at 5:00 with a mighty bang as gear-hungry drummers began to flood the aisles.

DRUM! Night 2013

As they did last year, Sabian used the opportunity to debut its all-new roster of Cymbal Vote models at DRUM! Night 2013, which the public will gradually whittle down into the company’s lineup of new cymbals for 2014.

DRUM! Night 2013

Eric Gunn of Craviotto Drum Company seems bemused by the onslaught of drummers crowding the exhibit floor.

DRUM! Night 2013

Adam Murphy explains the subtleties of drumhead selection to two rapt youngsters at the Remo exhibit.

DRUM! Night 2013

A proud mom looks on as her daughter is guided through basic drumming technique by Mike Farriss at the Pearl booth.

DRUM! Night 2013

The DRUM! Night merch table did record sales this year – of course we gave ourselves a particularly sweet location.

DRUM! Night 2013

Up on the balcony level, Bob Hymans explaines how the miracle of Velcro sets his Black Widow Drum Web apart from conventional drum rugs.

DRUM! Night 2013

John Jones listens attentively while a DRUM! Night attendee asks a question about the impressive assemblage of Thumper snare drums on display.

DRUM! Night 2013 Tops Previous Events: Chad Smith Leads Massive Jam At Concert Climax

San Jose Rocks In Biggest DRUM! Night Ever

DRUM! Night 2013, held Friday August 9, 2013 at the San Jose Repertory Theater, was the biggest night yet in the event’s four-year run. An all-star cast including Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, former Lenny Kravitz drummer Cindy Blackman-Santana, well-known for her Tony Williams project Another Lifetime, and Jason Bittner of Shadows Fall, along with emcees Street Drum Corps put on a blazing three-hour drumming demo for the capacity crowd of 515.

DRUM! Night is an annual event that includes a raffle and silent auction to benefit music education at Lincoln High School in San Jose. This year’s event included more than a dozen exhibits by top drum company manufacturers such as Pearl, Sabian, and Gretsch. Before the show, attendees also got a chance to sit in on an electronic drumming seminar with Yamaha and Zildjian clinicians.

The show was balanced by the genres of the different performers–metal, jazz, and rock. Each drummer chose a unique approach to explaining his or her art, playing along to recorded tracks, or soloing. During audience Q&A sessions students in attendance got a chance to interact with the stars and hear advice won after decades in the entertainment business. Cindy Blackman-Santana urged girls in the audience to not let their gender define them, but also that it is possible to be feminine and nurturing in a mostly male occupation. “I don’t have a problem being a woman drummer,” she said in response to one question, “though some people might have a problem with me.”

The show closed with all the stars playing together as Chad Smith exhorted his fellow drummers back on to the stage. These kinds of impromptu situations don’t always produce great music, but the three drummers clicked almost instantly and were then joined by Street Drum Corps for a rousing 10-minute drum jam.

DRUM! Night 2013 sponsors include San Jose Jazz Summerfest, Metro, DW, Gretsch, LP Music, Gibraltar, Sabian, Zildjian, Yamaha, Istanbul, Pro-Mark, Remo, Pearl, Tama, Vater, and Vic Firth.

For more information visit

Hit Like A Girl Tears It Up At MI

  • Drummer: Valeria Sepulveda
  • Venue: Musicians Institute, Hollywood, California.
  • Web site:

2013 Hit Like A Girl contest champion Val Sepulveda presented a drum workshop during the Women's International Music Network's Summit at Musician's Institute in Los Angeles on Saturday, July 27, 2013. The topic of the session was "Incorporating Latin Influences In Pop Music" and, using a well-organized PowerPoint presentation that included text, images and notation as well as audio and video examples, Val discussed and demonstrated how Latin drumming patterns are derived from dance styles and usually take the form of syncopated rhythms and authentic sounds. Val then explained how these influences can be used separately or combined to give pop and rock music a unique flavor and feel. Since she is originally from Chilé but now lives in the U.S., Val was also able to offer examples of how traditional Central and South America music has been changed by pop and rock influences, as well.

The clinic was sponsored by the TRX Cymbal Co. and the WIMN.

The Drummers Of Rockstar-Mayhem 2013

The fact that Rob Zombie drummer Ginger Fish had Mayhem’s most spectacular drum gags didn’t overshadow his powerful tone and athletic playing style.

Jeremy Spencer’s LED acrylic kit complemented the Five Finger Death Punch drummer’s megawatt smile as he crushed in on the band’s set and during an e-pad assisted solo.

Not only does Brann Dailor probably play more fills than any other metal drummer but he also handles lead vocals in many of Mastodon’s songs. His kit --- every tom a different pattern and color scheme –-- is highly unorthodox not to mention totally dope!

It was hard to analyze Amon Amarth’s Fredrik Andersson’s technique with a Viking longship blocking him, but you better believe the thunder of Valhalla rained down on the Mayhem masses.

Dave McClain of Machine Head threatened to burst his skins with the force behind his strokes in what was some of his most creative playing ever.

Children Of Bodom playing second stage?! It’s a crime against metal, but Jaska Raatikainen didn’t seem to mind. The Grim Reaper figure on the bass reso head was a homey touch.

You would never guess from Mark Castillo’s stripped down setup that Emmure were one of the most brutal offerings at Mayhem — more proof that it ain’t the size of the kit but the soul of the drummer that counts.