Thomas Pridgen Tour Diary

Thomas Pridgen

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.

Thomas Pridgen


Moe’s Alley | Santa Cruz, CA

“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!

Thomas Pridgen {pagebreak} Thomas Pridgen


The Mint | Los Angeles, CA

Man, L.A. last night was incredible! We ended up getting to the club at around 6 p.m. I was super excited that my boy Drew from Thump Drums finally was done making me new drums and brought them over. He built the kit out of resin for me. The drums showed up and just from their looks everyone was floored. “They look like art pieces” was the comment a lot of people kept making.

After gawking at the drums for over an hour we decided to put new heads on ’em and get ’em ready for the show. We put the heads on and tuned them up as best we could without setting the whole kit up.

An old lady who reminded me of my grandma came and told us how crazy the alley by the Mint got so we had to keep it quiet. After tuning softly I started to warm up in the van just with sticks.

I was so excited about the drums and playing on ’em for the first time I kept checking to see if the last band was done. After four bands it was our turn. When we put the drums on stage kids just flipped out.

After sound checking ’em I was pumped. They sounded super open and big — I was juiced!

I think the highlight of the show was just being able to play a unique new drum set and watch it hold up to my abuse!

The show was great. The people there loved the music and enjoyed seeing us and the new monster. After seeing that this could work I’m planning on powder coating the hardware and installing lights in the drums.

Thomas Pridgen


Double Door | Chicago, IL

“Guitarist Nick ‘Shreddy Krueger’ Brewer takes in the crowd in Chicago.”

We had an amazing show in Chicago. We always have a great time there. We got to the Double Door and there were, like, nine bands playing (haha!) in different rooms, of course. But yeah, it was packed.

I watched the opening bands’ sets and ran around for a bit talking to homies I knew who came out. Then it was our turn.

Thomas Pridgen

The soundman was a little baffled by the stage setup (drums turned backwards). He struggled to get the lines working. I guess it’s hard when your original left side is now right … but he worked it out.


After playing some songs I noticed how great the sound was. The crowd was super pumped. People were singing lyrics back. It was great.

We played our 11-song show without a hitch and overall it was a badass night. I had fun and even got to go to bar next door and have a drink.

Chicago Bulls!

Thomas Pridgen


Hailey’s | Denton, TX

We got to Hailey’s and we began to load in. After walking in the venue we all felt a good vibe. We knew this was goin’ to be a good one.

After goin' to eat at Fuzzy’s Taco Shop and grabbing ice cream, doors were about to open ... The fans in Dallas were amazing! They brought us gifts, mostly dangerous ones. I loved it. Fireworks always make me happy ...

When doors opened we sold a ton of merch — more than ever — especially before the show. After chilling for a while it was our turn. We played a nine-song set and the crowd was completely awesome. I really felt like this was the best show we played on this tour. Chris Matthews was on bass and I think this was one of his best shows with us. He killed it.

After we played, like, four or five songs, the crowd kept yelling “encore!” Viv was cracking jokes about how we weren’t even finished yet. I had a blast. We ended the show and headed to the merch table where we sold out of all the shirts we had. Some friends were having an after-party so after loading out and settling up we went to party. After chilling for about two hours we ended the night.

I loved Denton and I can’t wait to come back here and do it again.

Thomas Pridgen


EMO’s | austin, TX

Thomas Pridgen


Small Engine Gallery | Albuquerque, NM


Corazon Nightclub | Santa Fe, NM

New Mexico was amazing. We showed up in town after our El Paso show got cancelled. Met up with some friends there who were trying to get a show on the ninth. We ended up with two gigs, one in Albuquerque and the other in Santa Fe, an hour away.

We got to the first show and noticed how cool everyone was and how close the place was to where we stayed the night before. We were supposed to play last but we asked the other bands if we could go on earlier. After eating and grabbing ice cream from McDonald’s the night seemed to be moving fast and it was time for us to unload the van. We began to start setting up our gear outside when a rush of people came up and packed out the place.

The first band finished up and it was our turn. We played a 40-minute set, which was completely on fire, then we quickly packed up our gear and booked it to Santa Fe, where we played in front of a bar crowd.

The sound guy took a minute to get our sound dialed in, but by song two we were on it. We played another 50 minutes and then ended.

I was very excited because we never played two shows in one night and we totally pulled it off.