If chops and passion could be bottled, Thomas Pridgen would be in possession of a mighty mean potion indeed. In fact, he’d probably be an instant billionaire. Something tells us, though, that nothing about Pridgen would change — most definitely not his approach to drumming. That’s because Thomas Pridgen is drumming, in its purest embodiment. The intesity and raw musicality of his playing, the sheer, unbridled joy and abandon with which he unleashes it at will, is what we all aspire to as players. It’s what riveted us during his stint with The Mars Volta, and it’s what drives his burgeoning progressive-rock trio, The Memorials, most recently during a blistering two-month tour across the U.S., an intimate portrait of which he agreed to share with the readers of DRUM! No word yet on any potion.
“When there are a lot of bands on the bill I usually do my soundcheck outside on the curb.”
I had a blast on this gig! Lots of friends came out from the South Bay and from the area. I started to set up my drums outside while kids showed up. After the second band went on a kid asked me to show him a Mars Volta drum pattern, so I did. I was getting cool vibes. I started tuning up the drums. It’s weird, but playing outside feels extremely natural. The drums sounded super open. I didn’t really hit ’em that hard but it felt really good just being able to be free and outside in real air.
I started doing some exercises, trying to warm up for about a hour — mostly drum ’n’ bass and hip-hop grooves, and in no time we were moving the drums to the stage. Previously, Niayla and another band from Santa Cruz played. The crowd seemed warmed up and really happy and excited about us taking the stage. After line checking all the mikes we started up. With our first song, “Natural Disaster,” the mix in my monitors was close to totally perfect. I love when that happens! We continued to play about eight more songs, and during the show kids seemed to be having a good time dancing and wilding out.
We concluded and afterward signed fans CDs and shirts. The promoter walked up to us and said we gave him the best show he’s ever seen in that building. I thought that was rad ... I think our first show in S.C. was amazing, especially for being on a Tuesday.
I can’t wait to come back and do it again, Santa Cruz. Thanks for the good vibes!